Sunday, January 24, 2016

Reverse neo-colonialism.

The default mode of our elites is that anything that happens--from terrorism to tsunamis--can be understood only as deriving from the perniciousness of Western civilization. As Jean-Francois Revel wrote, "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

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There will be no environmental doomsday. Oil, carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation: none of these things is worth worrying about. What's worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that aren't worth worrying about that we don't worry about the things we should be worrying about. For 30 years, we've had endless wake-up calls for things that aren't worth waking up for. But for the very real, remorseless shifts in our society--the ones truly jeopardizing our future--we're sound asleep. . . .

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In a globalized economy, the environmentalists want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. Yet, insofar as "globalization" is a threat, the real danger is precisely the opposite--that the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World. Pigs are valued assets and sleep in the living room in rural China--and next thing you know an unknown respiratory disease is killing people in Toronto, just because someone got on a plane. That's the way to look at Islamism: We fret about McDonald's and Disney, but the big globalization success story is the way the Saudis have taken what was 80 years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins of no fixed abode and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Manchester, Buffalo . . .

Notes
[1] "It's the Demography, Stupid The real reason the West is in danger of extinction." By Mark Steyn, Wall Street Journal, updated 1/4/06 (emphasis added).

3 comments:

  1. It's a cliche that hindsight is 20-20. But that's only true if you bother to look back at all.

    I'm not sure, but I doubt that today's schools teach much about the "why" of history, if they teach much of history at all.

    There are fairly accepted and easily understood reasons why the Roman Empire collapsed, even without looking more deeply than 5th-graders could understand.

    There are reasons why the "tulip-market" collapsed - which again could be understood on one level in a fifth-grade class.

    How about the 30 years' war - a tremendously important event? Not only can it teach us much just about the social-economic background in which it was fought. (For example, why did so many mercenaries choose to fight?)

    But that period also has cogent lessons about politics, religion, sociology and diplomacy. That war not only resulted in the Treaty of Westphalia - from which it can be argued that the modern idea of the nation-state derived - it was also fought against the background of the struggle of the West versus Islam.

    What the nobles and clergy (politicians) of the time failed to understand is that every time they shifted the ownership of a place from one person or entity to another, it changed the laws regarding property, inheritance and trade for everyone in that place. Although the new "owner" of that place might think he was just accepting the same caretaker role, the people who had to live with the underlying laws, religion, mores and religion/language/conventions of the new order were very seriously affected.

    So. Politics, religion, customs and law MATTER. This could be taught to, and understood by, fifth-graders. And historical facts can help bring the lesson home.

    Bunny: modern economics, capitalism, political posturing and scare-mongering for political gain, the differences between Islam and Western values, and the nature and causes of the differences between the 1st and 3rd world might be better taught and understood in 8th or 9th or 10th grade.

    But there is no logical or physical reason why a 14 year old should not be able to use his cognitive skills to look back at history and see the results of human actions, whether social, political, economic or religious - even if all those are sometime bound together.

    With that hindsight - actually, an understanding or at least an overview of real-world history - any young adult should be able to see what the priorities are for a nation and/or people are in 2016.

    AT THE VERY LEAST, THEY SHOULD UNDERSTAND WHY IT MATTERS.

    I believe I've said nothing here that is left or right, or that should offend a college student wanting a safe place, social justice or a fair representation of history.

    But you can't learn without looking back. And, in looking back, you must also understand the "gestalt" of the past - what people believed, understood, accepted and thought they "knew."

    The punchline: The modern Western world (Europe, Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia, and South America - though South America got reamed) learned by example and experience that capitalism worked. That world shrank after the fall of the Roman empire to depredations of moslems, illiteracy, political machinations of "leaders" and the natural tendencies of individuals to take advantage of circumstances.

    But that civilization grew and prospered - not BECAUSE of Rousseau or Locke or Smith, but because they acted out over generations what those philosophers then discovered.

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  2. Whoops! I got too subtle (drunk) to make the point:

    There will always be somebody smarter, more powerful or more charismatic than you telling you which way to look or how to see things.

    Be on the lookout for new ideas and perspectives, but use your own hindsight (learning), understanding, wisdom, faith and experience to judge.

    You have a right to discriminate (look up the real meaning), judge, decide and act.

    Someone grabs your energy and says global warming will destroy us. Someone grabs your nation and says 1400 years of Islam is not antithetical to Western values.
    Someone grabs your schools, media and culture and says you were privileged and evil. And you need to give more of your money in taxes to support that idea.
    Someone tells you that homosexuals can dictate who does business with whom, and boys can go into women's bathrooms because they say they are different than their sex.
    Someone tells you that you must support and pay for their decision to kill what you might believe is a life within a mother's womb.

    Of COURSE it's ok to believe what you want to believe, whether it's any of the above or anything else.

    But when did it become ok for so many to tell us WHAT to believe or shut the heck up?

    And, if you don't believe what they believe, why should you have to pay them to support their beliefs?

    (I think the founders figured it was just common sense that a government would defend its country, protect its citizens and borders, provide a currency, deliver mail, secure trade, contracts and international treaties, and provide an ultimate court to adjudicate all that.)

    (All this other stuff about feminism, homosexuality, abortion, multi-culturalism, how much taxes should be used to support social agendas? I really think the founders expressed and promised that the STATES were the 18th century idea of states: sovereign places. And I think they expected the states to be DIFFERENT and people to be DIFFERENT and vote with their feet in regard to how they wanted to live, vis-a-vis social stuff.)

    If Maine took a penny tax to support indigents and you didn't agree, move to Maryland. But maybe Maryland allowed abortion. Ok, go somewhere else.

    In a way, the trouble isn't so much that the media or academe or the politicians are telling us what to think. The trouble is that people have come to believe that everyone must believe the SAME THING.

    And yes, I believe that's the fault of the leftists and statists, because they've proven time and again, that when they get power and you don't believe as they do, you suffer.

    Leftists are the ones who believe everyone must believe the same thing. Leftists are the ones who believe its ok to force everyone to believe the same thing. Leftists are the ones who will encroach on any other state, individual, society or enclave to impose their will.

    And they will use the courts, media, academe, epithets, violence or the gun of the law to suppress any dissent.

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  3. Tim, what passes for common sense these days is, well, isn't. As a friend likes to say, liberals, statists, feminists, "living Constitutionalists" and the like don't have the sense that God gave a duck. Hard to improve on that. With the advent of socialism, which might be understood as a natural outgrowth of man's hubris founded in the technological and scientific achievements of (some) humans, men fell in love with the idea that life could be managed. The medical revolution further solidified the idea that we were in control and pretty much untouchable. Disease may have had a more chastening or grounding influence than is appreciated these days. A lot of aberrant behavior that led to an early dirt nap now was not subject to sanction of any kind unless it is the high cost of AIDS drugs.

    The past didn't even get discredited. It was simply dismissed as having any lessons. 100+ M deaths at the hands of communists in the last century and yet we have a socialist who might be nominated by the Dems. I don't know what's more persuasive on the issue of state power than 100 M deaths but for modern Westerners they are something of no consequence.

    Again I turn to Franklin for guidance on modern depravity and stupidity: "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."

    That's where we are. Waiting for the test results to be posted.

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