When wading into the social milieu these days, we very shortly trip over sundry voices expressing their utter disfavor with western culture. Ironically, there are issues that deserve criticism but they are virtually always entirely different. In fact, a legitimate target to criticize is more often than not the very people so distraught over traditional western values.
Telling people they’re bigots for taking pride in the civilization that brought them forth better than any other is like taking a sledgehammer to your own soapbox.
Where our culture deserves judgment is not for its long-held and virtuous principles but where we have lost them. We suffer as a society today, not because we continue to honor classic ideals but because we have been shedding them at a frightful rate.
Our culture has never been perfect – there is no such thing – and certainly we have made advances in areas over the years. We should entertain and support endeavors to make valid improvements. But, the key there is valid. Too many recent attacks on fundamental features of our culture go way beyond the pale.
In the aftermath of the recent Notre-Dame Cathedral fire, among the expected expressions of sorrow and calls for restoration, came others less positive. This centuries-old edifice is at once a symbol of French, and more generally, western history, and as a result a target for anti-western sentiment.Where our culture deserves judgment is not for its long-held and virtuous principles...We suffer as a society today, not because we continue to honor classic ideals but because we have been shedding them at a frightful rate. Click To Tweet
Goldberg on Western Civilization
Jonah Goldberg, bestselling author and nationally syndicated columnist, offers his thoughts on the subject. Here are some highlights:
“Forget calling it Western civilization for a moment. Instead think of a kind of party platform with a bunch of planks:
- Support for human rights
- Belief in the rule of law
- Dedication to democracy
- Free speech
- Freedom of conscience
- Admiration for science and the scientific method
- Curiosity about other cultures
- Property rights
- Tolerance or celebration of technological and/or cultural innovation
“I’ll be generous and stipulate that 90 percent of the people who are offended by pride in Western civilization actually believe — or think they believe — in most or all of these things. They just have a problem connecting the dots, so I’ll try.
“Where do they think most of these ideas come from? Where were they most successfully put into action? What civilization today or in some bygone era manifests these values more? Chinese civilization? Islamic civilization? Aztec? African? Indian? Persian? Turkish?
“I’m not trying to belittle any of those cultures, nor deny their contributions to human history. I’m not even trying to argue – here, at least — that Western civilization is objectively superior in some scientific or God’s-eye-view sense…
“But the weird thing is that many of the people who are outraged by benign nationalism or the benign pan-nationalism that is pride in Western civilization take no umbrage when someone from Iran or China says they think their civilization is best…
“The irony is that the willingness to entertain the possibility that some other culture has something important to offer or say to us is actually one of the hallmarks of Western civilization…We ‘borrow’ stuff from other cultures constantly, starting with Christianity itself.”
Be sure to read the whole piece at What’s So Great about Western Civilization.