Nov 112017

NPR today ran an hour of interviews on the subject of “the West,” in the context of the clash of civilization between The West and, well, the non-West. The first interview was with Victor Davis Hanson who did a good job of defining just what is “The West.” The concept of The West is much like that of the United States… neither are based strictly on a geographic region, nor of a particular ethnicity or religion. Instead, *anyone,* no matter where born or raised or how indoctrinated, can become a Westerner by accepting the basic precepts of Westernism. Thus places like Japan and South Korea can be reasonable described as “Western.”

A New Clash Of Civilizations?

The precepts Hanson puts forward include:

  1. Free market economics
  2. Protection of private property
  3. Free speech
  4. Free expression
  5. Secularism
  6. Diversity of religion
  7. Emancipation of women
  8. Trust in rationalism and scientific inquiry
  9. Induction rather than deductive or religious superstition

Hanson also wrote about these assumptions a month and a half ago regarding the current fad for stuffing Columbus Day down the memory hole:

It is fashionable to trash the civilization that created Columbus as destructive and pathological, but those who do so often have never experienced the alternative first-hand or at length, and assume that their own prosperity, security, and protected freedoms are birthrights rather than fragilities that exist largely only in the West and Westernized Asia or emanate only from the Western anomalies of self-criticism, secular rationalism, unfettered inquiry, free expression, constitutional government, free-market economics, private property and religious tolerance.

Hanson ended that piece with this important observation:

In some strange reductionist and iconic way, the symbolic world of the Aztecs is romanticized — and left far behind; the world of Columbus is still demonized but constantly sought out.

This being NPR, though, this first good interview that defends the worth, value and importance of The West and argues for the preservation of it is followed by a series of interviews that smear the West and Westerners and those who support The West as being Nazis, rapists and Islamophobes. Because Of Course.

The final piece is about the history of contact between Elizabethan England and the Ottoman Empire. It’s interesting, but there’s one particularly telling bit. A British history professor, who has written a book on the topic, is asked by the interviewer to tell of the “wonderful stories” of Englishmen who “freely and openly converted to Islam.” And what’s the story we get? An English merchant named Samson Rolly (sic?) was kidnapped by Turkish pirates circa 1570, forcibly converted to Islam, *castrated,* and somehow winds up being the chief eunuch and treasurer of Algiers. Around ten years later an English ambassador asks Samson (now with a new name) if he wants to go home, and the guy decides to stay where he is. This “wonderful” story, which the professor chuckles his way through and calls “funny,” is the story of someone kidnapped, mutilated, brainwashed and deep within the throes of Stockholm Syndrome. And yet, it’s those who want to defend the West from exactly this sort of thing that are the bad guys in the bulk of the piece… and in a whole lot of modern culture.


Well, the first bit with Hanson is certainly worth a listen. If the embedded player doesn’t show up below, you can download the audio file HERE.


 Posted by at 5:56 pm
  • Thucydides_of_Athens

    VDH us always a great reminder of the cultural heritage we have from the Greeks, and excellent in explaining how we have kept our cultural inheritance alive through the centuries (at least so far).

    As for the other nitwits, I always wonder why they are not packing their bags and moving to where they would obviously feel more at home? (Rhetorical question, they are at least smart enough to understand they will be far better off as parasites living off the West than in any non Western setting).

    One can hope the opening “Trumpian” era puts these people solidly in their place.

    • Scottlowther

      > I always wonder why they are not packing their bags

      Simple: they want “here” to be more like “there,” and they are working to make it happen. And sad to say, they are succeeding. With distressingly high percentages of college students buying into communist supremacy, that it’s not OK to be white, that astrology and whatnot are awesome, that speech needs to be strictly controlled so that political and religious views they don’t like can’t be heard by *anyone,* it would be easy to suggest that the forces of darkness are winning.

      • Peter Hanely

        They want “here” to be more like “there”, being in denial that “here” is prosperous because of how it’s different from “there”.

  • I’d rather post as a guest

    It’s thoughts like these that lead me to Vox Day

    • Scottlowther

      Yeah, but then VD goes and gets all racist-y and weird.

      • Adam

        Is that supposed to be sarcasm or do you legitimately not condone Vox Day?

        • Scottlowther

          Step one: consider that Vox Day/Ted Beale is an advocate of a Christian theocracy. Step two: consider everything I’ve ever said on the subject. Step three: draw rational conclusions about how well those worldviews play together.


          ” I consider myself more of a Christian nationalist…” But he somehow equates that to: “or a Western Civilizationist…”

          The two concepts don’t closely map to each other, and the one is utterly unlike any politics I’d willingly associate with. And then there’s:

          Where he says: “The answer for those who support Western civilization,
          regardless of sex, color, or religion, is to embrace white tribalism,
          white separatism, and especially white Christian masculine rule.”

          Yeah, no. I’m out.

          Plus, there’s a bit of comments in this:

          “I suppose I’m asking as I am not sure that Christianity is one of the pillars of Western success.

          It is. It is the basis for modern science, among other things.”

          Ahhhhhh…. no. Christianity – like any other religion – is no more the basis of modern science than astrology is.

          The guy’s a goof. Some interesting ideas, some entertainment value, but a whole lot of his politics is a turnoff.

          • Brianna

            “I suppose I’m asking as I am not sure that Christianity is one of the pillars of Western success.

            It is. It is the basis for modern science, among other things.”

            I once heard an argument in favor of this. It was essentially that, “Judaism and Christianity set people up to accept that the world operated according to laws which are inviolable (Christians accept miracles, yes, but they also accept that in the absence of specific divine intervention, the world will operate according to knowable natural law). This as opposed to a lot of other religions that just say things happen because the God or Gods will it so, and so there’s no point in trying to figure out the rules by which stuff happens, since there aren’t any.

          • Scottlowther

            Yeah, but… no. If you read the Old Testament, it’s nothing *but* constant Divine Meddling. It’s absolute near-nonstop chaos. Look at the story of Korah in Numbers: after having been mis-led by Moses for *years,* wandering aimlessly through the Sinai without reaching either east or west (which is in and of itself something of a miracle; random walking through such a small space should get you to one side or another in short order), Korah and 250 other leaders went to Moses and said, in effect, “you stink at this, you should let someone else lead.” To which God responded by opening up the Earth and swallowing all those men like the ground collapsing under the Orcs at the end of Return of the King. And for good measure, God then sent a plague among the other terrified Hebrews that wiped out 14,700 (fourteen *thousand*) more; God only stopped this when Aaron burned some incense and appeased God.

            Now, if you think this describes a universe that runs on mechanical rails…

            And if you think it’s solely Old Testament wackiness, the New Testament ha its share of incomprehensible “Natural World Chaos.” According to Matthew, once Jesus died on the cross, the Temple was ripped apart and bodies of “man” dead saints came back to life and wandered the town. For the vast bulk of the people of Jerusalem, they’d have no idea that anything special was going on, till all of a sudden a major building suddenly exploded and zombies began to roam the streets. If *this* sounds like a universe running on inviolable, comprehensible laws…

            Plus, there are the examples the New testament provides of time itself not running in a linear fashion. Mathew 2:1 says Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great. Fine. Luke 2:2 says that when Mary was pregnant with Jesus, they were taxed by the governor of Syria, Cyrenius. Fine. But Herod died in 4BD, and Cyrenius was not governor until 6 AD, so Jesus was born at least ten years before Mary was pregnant with him, clearly implying that in the middle east of circa 1AD, time portals were a common enough feature of the landscape to merit no wondering mention in the New testament whatsoever. How can you have a comprehensible universe if you can’t even rely on the forward progression of time itself?

          • publiusr

            It’s the Max Weber Protestant work ethic sort of thing

  • Coincidentally I have been re-watching Niall Ferguson’s Civilisation, his 6 ‘killer apps’ that gave the West its advantage had a lot of overlap with Hanson. The full series is on youtube- Worth checking out.