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The Idea Of The West
Watch on the West
A Newsletter of FPRI’s Center for the Study of America and the West
The Idea of the West

Volume 1, Number 5
August 1998

By David Gress

This essay draws on David Gress’s new book From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents (The Free Press). Dr. Gress is co-director of FPRI’s Center for America and the West and co-director of our History Institute. From Plato to NATO, the second volume to emerge from the History Academy, follows the publication of Walter McDougall’s Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997). Gress and McDougall are jointly writing the third volume— The Use and Abuse of History.

If your organization would like to host a lecture by Dr. Gress, please contact Alan Luxenberg at 215-732-3774, ext. 105.

Since the end of the Cold War, culture, religion, and the complex sources of political passions have moved to center stage in the study of social change. Books such as Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations demonstrate a new interest on the part of social scientists in the big questions and the long sweep of history. The great economic, social, and strategic transformations of recent years are being explained not in terms of their immediate context but through an understanding of their deep anthropological and geopolitical roots.

This is a highly welcome development, although those of us who are historians may wonder why it took so long to realize the obvious— that you can’t explain major change by last year’s or even last century’s wars and elections. One important effect of the new interest in culture among American political scientists is that the distinction between domestic and international issues has become irrelevant. Analogous factors operate across borders, and putting American developments in one box and global changes in another only makes understanding and therefore rational policymaking more difficult. Social inequality, fundamentalism, the crisis of the family, drug problems, religious revivals, the rise of secular elites — such developments of vital significance for the future cannot be understood by reference to one country or region alone. They are global, and America is no longer a country apart, whose condition can be studied in isolation. The critical demarcations of today are not national borders, but the lines of confrontation that separate traditionalists from liberals, fundamentalists from secularists, individualists from collectivists, libertarians from statists, and they run through and across all countries.

The new scholarship on global change understands this. What it sometimes lacks is a historical understanding of the identity of one of the major players in the emerging world— the West. It was to fill this need and thus to complement the cultural focus of scholars such as Fukuyama and Huntington that I wrote From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents. This book answers the question “What is this West that everyone is talking about, either to praise or condemn?” It criticizes widespread notions of the West common on both left and right and restores to view a richer understanding of Western identity as it evolved over two thousand years than the superficial idea that the West is simply democracy and free markets. That idea is not so much wrong as insufficient. It is not enough to know that the West is democratic and capitalist; it is necessary to know how those features emerged and why, and that they are themselves but manifestations of an underlying, paradoxical, and unique civilizational identity.

It is necessary to know these things not just for the sake of scholarly accuracy, but because misidentifying the West gives a dangerously misleading picture of its role and potential in the twenty-first century global landscape. The American political and cultural landscape at the year 2000 is torn between two incompatible ideas: one, that the West is globally triumphant and that the future of the world will be one of Westernization, in which all societies and cultures converge on a democratic and capitalist norm, with McDonalds in every town and Disney videos in every home. The other is that the West is an evil culture of exploitation, patriarchy, and environmental degradation, a legacy of Eurocentrism that has been abolished in America by feminism and multiculturalism, and that certainly neither has nor deserves to have any future. One response to these opposed beliefs is to conclude that the West doesn’t really exist: each side invents the West it wants to have. Another, however, is to delve into history to find the true identity of a culture that, today, can generate such negative as well as positive feelings. After all, during the Cold War, politicians spoke easily of “the West”: were they also just making it up, or were they talking about something real?

Many Americans have encountered the West in the Western civ courses given in most colleges and universities. The history of those courses is a microcosm of the broader fate of the idea of the West in our time.

They were invented in the aftermath of World War I to give returning soldiers a grounding in what they had been defending in the trenches of France. A generation of American educators thought it possible and desirable to distill all the best ideas of the past 2,500 years of Greek, Roman, and European philosophy, literature, and social thought into a seamless, two-semester garment, a story of the slow but sure growth of liberty and individual rights up to its culmination in liberal American democracy.

The West of these courses was, for fifty years, highly successful in assimilating generations of students into a certain cultural tradition, one that was Eurocentric and very definitely built out of the ideas of dead white males. Since the 1960s, this West came under attack. The first attackers accused it of elitism: the story of Western civ ignored the poor, the slaves, the downtrodden. Later attackers, the multiculturalists, accused it of making European reason into a universal standard: other cultures had other ways of knowing and doing, and these were at least as good as those of the male chauvinist, technocratic West.

These critics had a point, though it wasn’t the point they thought they had. They were right that the “Western civ West” was superficial and turned all of history into a smooth success story. History is about passion, conflict, blood, and treachery as well as about reason, harmony, peace, and liberty. The identity of the West, which is indeed based on reason, science, democracy, and capitalism, did not grow with relentless logic from ancient Greece to the present. It grew by paradox and contradiction out of the jungle of desires, ambition, and greed that is human nature, always and everywhere. The story of the West is therefore the story of how universal human desires produced this particular culture in Europe and later in America, just as they produced other cultures elsewhere, such as Islam, China, Japan, and India.

My reformulation of Western identity for the twenty-first century turns on three basic claims.

First, the West did not begin with the Greeks. In the standard story, the Western civ story, the Greeks invented liberty and philosophy and thus laid the foundation of all subsequent Western identity. If that is true, why did it take so long to get from Athenian democracy to modern America? Something must have happened to delay the evolution of the West. My answer is that what happened was the West itself, which had to evolve by its own logic before the Greek ideas of democracy and philosophical investigation could reappear to inspire and shape modern politics, education, and science.

Turning the Greeks into the first Westerners is to misunderstand both the Greeks and the West. The Greeks were not modern democrats, not just because they denied the vote to women and kept slaves, but because their idea of democracy was unlike ours in critical ways. Common to both ancient and modern democracy is the idea of the equal right of all citizens to speak out and to participate in government. But the Greeks differed in defining democracy not just as the right, but the obligation to participate. Also, in Greece, democracy meant direct rule by all citizens. The idea of representation through universal suffrage which is the basis of modern democracy did not even begin to be formulated until the seventeenth century.

Second, the formation of the West was a centuries-long process that began when the Roman Empire became Christian in the fourth century and ended when the three legacies of Greece, Christianity, and the Germanic societies of northern Europe formed a symbiosis— which I call the Old West— by around the year 1000. Two features of this symbiosis remain essential to a substantive Western identity but are completely overshadowed by the contemporary emphasis on democracy and free markets and other universalist principles. The first was geopolitical pluralism: the West has always been about dividing power, so that no single person or entity could become supreme. This was not done by planning and foresight, as in the American Constitution. It happened by accident, because the balance of power in Europe never allowed a permanent empire to arise. It then appeared in hindsight — and this is the second feature — that dividing power was a condition of liberty. Democracy began to emerge in Europe in places where rulers could not exercise total control. These early and partial forms of liberty gave people incentives to work, save, and invest without fearing expropriation. Over centuries, these niches of freedom produced a new synthesis, which I call the New West: the synthesis of political liberty, property rights, and economic development.

A critical point in this analysis is that the West did not become free and prosperous because people in Europe were just lucky. Rather, Europe and later America benefited from an initially unintended side effect of political competition, namely that societies where power was less than total were also societies where people had property rights and therefore invested rather than consumed, which was the beginning of sustained growth. Growth, in turn, spurred interest in liberty as one of its preconditions, thus launching a positive spiral from which all could ultimately benefit.

Third, the New West of democracy, capitalism, and the scientific method grew out of the Old Western symbiosis and cannot survive if it does not keep its umbilical connection to the past alive. The Old West included elements that we today are tempted to regard as anachronistic or dangerous to liberty— Christianity and the Germanic ethos, for example. One purpose of my book is to revive the 18th-century idea that the Germanic societies contributed an original model of social liberty to the Greek, Roman, and Christian inheritance, the liberty of free tribes in which decisions were jointly made and that only joint decisions were binding on all. This Germanic liberty joined with Christianity to produce what I call Christian ethnicity, the loyalty of people to religion, king, territory, and personal honor that shaped the Old West in each of its many national and regional variants.

Western pluralism was not just a source of freedom and prosperity. It was also a source of conflict, because each ruler always feared losing ground to others. Many historians have condemned nationalism as the great vice of the West. I am concerned rather to account for the passions of nationalism by rooting them in Christian ethnicity, which is itself a kind of paradox— the paradox of a universalist religion in the guise of national ideology, whether English, French, German, Russian, or American. You cannot separate economic growth and democratization from political competition and war in Western history. They are all aspects of the same thing. The difference in our time is that Western societies have finally rejected aggressive war as a means of policy. One may hope that this leaves the other aspects— prosperity and democracy— to flourish.

This symbiosis in Western history of liberty and conflict brings us back to the blood and passion of history. It was not always pleasant for its victims and would not win many friends in today’s American academy. It led to holy war in the Crusades and to the ethic of sacrifice that launched and prolonged many later wars. But it also produced the energy necessary for the societies of freedom to survive the challenge of despotism in the world wars and Cold War of this century that is now ending. Therefore we need to recover these old connections, not to reintroduce war as a tool of policy, but to understand that change and progress in history are never simple and never costless.

The final message of the book is that universalism— the idea that everyone wants democracy and free markets, and will get them— is wrong because the world is not the West. On the other hand, if Western elites forget their roots and launch themselves into the illusions of a conflict-free multiculturalism, they risk bringing down the West and with it an essential building block of tomorrow’s multipolar world order. The West owes it to the world not to disappear.


The Idea of the West: From Avalon to the Cold War

By Jo Hedesan. Published in Esoteric Coffeehouse www.esotericoffeehouse.com on 27 Feb 2009.

The other day, being hit with an annoying bout of cold, I was (re)reading a short treatise by the medieval Iranian philosopher Suhrawardi. Suggestively called “A Tale of the Western Exile”, the story follows the saga of a wisdom-seeker in the “Western” lands (1). In this story of esoteric initiation, the “West” stands as a negative symbol of materialism and bodily pleasure. Suhrawardi was a heretic philosopher who was executed in 1191 by the Sultan. Yet, if you ask an average Middle Eastern man today, chances are that he will hold similar views regarding the West being decadently materialistic. The resilience of this perspective of the West coming from the East is remarkable. Yet the views of the West in Europe were often different. Let’s now briefly switch to another mythical tale, this time written on the other extremity of the medieval world, in Ireland. Here, the adventures of St Brendan tell us how the saint sailed to the fairy islands in the West. The voyage takes him to the borders of Christian paradise whence he must return (2). Here we have a dramatically different view of the West as a spiritual, if real, land of the blessed.

This over-simplistic analysis is not meant to say that the Westerners always looked to the West and Easterners to the East for salvation. Things are much more complicated than this, and they probably go to the core of what we feel about the cardinal points of East and West. They are obviously linked with the Sun’s path in the sky. In the East, the Sun is just rising, foretelling a new day. Hence the East is about renewal, hope, the promise of a new beginning. The West is the mysterious end – the unknown at the end of the road. The West is about death, afterlife, the latter times, and frequently about the hopes of earthly survival beyond natural death.

Indeed, the Greeks, Celts and other cultures viewed the West as the direction souls departed after death. Yet the good souls did not simply vanish, but would continue to dwell in the “Western” islands. Hence mythologies such as the Greek Islands of the Blessed and Avalon of the Britons focused on the existence of islands where dead souls continued on living. These islands were physical places in the people’s minds at the time: Christopher Columbus himself believed in the existence of St Brendan’s Island (3).

Apparently, these beliefs in the earthly paradise of the West did not vanish with the advent of Judeo-Christianity. As a religion born in Israel, Christianity naturally looked East for inspiration: its earthly paradise was traditionally situated in the Eastern Garden of Eden. The Crusades intended to recapture back the edenic land of Israel and the heavenly Jerusalem. Yet the failure of the Crusades and subsequent developments made Europeans turn westward. Henceforth, early beliefs in a Western paradise and Christian hope in a new Jerusalem mixed together. An interesting development occurred when Columbus came to believe that the Garden of Eden itself – another earthly paradise – could be reached by sailing to the West of the European continent (4). Amerigo Vespucci’s stories of noble savages in America also sparked visions of a Western paradise; Thomas More’s Utopia may have been one of them (5). The discovery of the Americas became equated with the discovery of a new worldly paradise. This belief was further taken up by Protestant theologians of England and the new colonies in America (6). Mircea Eliade suggests that the colonization of the Americas began out of a fervor for the restoration of Christianity by establishing a new earthly paradise (7).

Based on this “Western paradise” idea, the self-perception of America as the new ‘blessed land’ grew. As Eliade puts it, “it is very probable that the behavior of the average American today, as well as the political and cultural ideology of the United States, still reflects the consequences of the Puritan certitude of having been called to restore the Earthly Paradise.” (8, p.99).

Surely, it wasn’t just America that created the idea of the “West” as it is understood today. British authors contributed to the concept of “West” as cultural identity due to the decline of the discourse of race in the early 1900s (9). Yet it was after World War II and the rise of the Soviet Union that the ideology of the “West” became pervasive, singling out Western Europe and the U.S. as the standard-bearers of the ideology. <span style='color:red'>In the idea of the West, writers mixed ideals originating from Christianity, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, exacerbated by an anti-communist rhetoric. Many were so convinced that these ideas are universal that, following the fall of the communist regime in Eastern Europe, proclaimed the end of history (10) and sought to explain why the West has won (11). The post-9-11 world may have proven them wrong. </span>

This has been a short and far from in-depth essay on some of the origins of the idea of the West. The purpose has been to suggest that the West as it stands today is an imaginary construct originating from mythology, religion and later ideology built by the “West” itself. As the introduction tried to show, Easterners may have inherited quite a different perspective of the West from their own mythology, which may stand as an origin of their own rejection of the concept. In the end, the idea of the “West” that we hear about every day is no more no less than a product of imagination, and will survive as long as people invest their beliefs in it.


(1) Suhrawardi, S.A-D. (1976). Kitab Al-Mashari' Wa'l-Motarahat, Arabic texts ed. by H. Corbin (Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, and Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve).
(2), (3) Jeans, P.D. (2004). Seafaring Lore and Legend: A Miscellany of Maritime Myth, Superstition, Fable, and Fact (McGraw-Hill Professional).
(4) Sweet, L.I. (1986). Christopher Columbus and the Millennial Vision of the New World. The Catholic Historical Review, 72(3), pp. 369-382.
(5) Cave, A. A. (1991). Thomas More and the New World. Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, 23(2), pp. 209-229.
(6) Tuveson, E.L. (1980). Redeemer Nation: The Idea of America's Millennial Role‎ (Chicago: University of Chicago).
(7), (8) Eliade, M. (1969). “Paradise and Utopia: Mythical Geography and Eschatology”, in The Quest. History and Meaning in Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).
(9) Bonnett, A. (2004). The Idea of the West: Politics, Culture and History (Palgrave McMillan).
(10) Fukuyama, F. (1992). The End of History and the Last Man. (Penguin).
(11) Hanson, V.D. (2000). Why the West has Won.(Faber & Faber).
Russia and the Idea of the West:
Gorbachev, Intellectuals, and the End of the Cold War

Robert D. English

Columbia University Press


Table of Contents

Preface: An Intellectual History (PDF format, 14 pages, 48 kbs)

Introduction: Intellectuals, Ideas, and Identity in the Sources of International Change (PDF format, 16 pages, 64 kbs)


The Origins and Nature of Old Thinking (PDF format, 32 pages, 116 kbs)

Leaders, Society, and Intellectuals During the Thaw (PDF format, 32 pages, 112 kbs)

Intellectuals and the World: From the Secret Speech to the Prague Spring (PDF format, 36 pages, 120 kbs)

The Dynamics of New Thinking in the Era of Stagnation (PDF format, 42 pages, 140 kbs)

Advance and Retreat: New Thinking in the Time of Crisis and Transition (PDF format, 34 pages, 124 kbs)

The New Thinking Comes to Power (PDF format, 36 pages, 124 kbs)

Conclusion: Reflections on the Origins and Fate of New Thinking (PDF format, 12 pages, 52 kbs)

Notes (PDF format, 104 pages, 416 kbs)

Bibliography (PDF format, 30 pages, 128 kbs)

Index (PDF format, 28 pages, 128 kbs)

NATO expansion and the idea of the West - North Atlantic Treaty Organization
ORBIS, Fall, 1997 by James Kurth

The summer of 1997 saw a momentous event in the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and indeed of the West itself. This was NATO's formal invitation to three Central European countries - Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary - to become members of the alliance. The expansion of NATO has been the major foreign policy initiative of the second Clinton administration, and the entry of the three new members is expected to take effect in 1999. That year will be the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of NATO; it will also be the tenth anniversary of the collapse of NATO's historic and adversarial counterpart, the Warsaw Pact.

Three events, then, are linked in a narrative that is a grand and inspiring one. The first event, the formation of NATO, did much to bring about the second, the collapse of the Soviet bloc forty years later, and the second provided the opportunity for the third, the expansion of NATO to include the core members of the defunct Warsaw Pact (including Warsaw itself). This narrative culminates with the fulfillment, in our time and before our very eyes, of the inspiring vision and heroic determination of preceding generations of Western statesmen, especially those fabled American "Wise Men" who were "present at the creation." It is a fulfillment of two great historic ideas, the idea of Europe and the even broader idea of the West.

The cunning of history may be composing some ironic twists in this narrative, however. For the expansion of NATO may also bear some similarities with another great and even earlier event at the beginning of the cold war: the division of the Continent into Western and Eastern Europe at the Yalta Conference in 1945, which thereby submerged for more than forty years what had been Central Europe. If so, then the idea of Europe will not be reified, but abused. Further, the expansion of the Western project into Central Europe may be occurring at the very time that the concept of Western civilization itself has been discarded within NATO's central and essential power, the United States. If so, then the idea of the West will not be fulfilled, but abandoned.

The Idea of Europe and the Question of the Eastern Frontier

One of the themes of the proponents of NATO expansion is that it will bring the new members back into Europe. This is an especially important and explicit theme for the new members themselves.

From its beginning, NATO was seen as the defender of Europe against the Soviet Union, the great power of an alien Eurasia. But it was always understood that a part of Europe - referred to as Eastern Europe - had been captured (the captive nations) by the Soviet Union, and that this was a great and historic injustice. Although it seemed that little could be done about this injustice at the time, the statesmen of the West - as varied as Truman, Eisenhower, Churchill, and de Gaulle - continued to look for ways to bring about more freedom for the captive nations and to return them to their rightful European home. Now, with the admission of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary into NATO (and eventually also into the European Union), these nations will have at last come home.

But, of course, there are several other nations that are indisputably European but that will still remain homeless, at least for a while. In particular, most European members of NATO wanted to add Romania (a favorite candidate of France) and Slovenia (a favorite candidate of Italy) to the list of three new members, but these two additions were opposed by the United States. Other nations, also European but lying further to the east (especially the Baltic states), also wish to join the alliance, but NATO has been vague about how, when, and even if they will be allowed to do so. It has become dear that the eastern boundary of NATO's Europe is itself very unclear.

The question of where the eastern boundary of Europe lies and what it means has been a perennial and disputed one, not just for today but for generations. It raises issues not only of diplomacy and strategy, but of culture and identity. At what point on an eastward journey does Europe fade away and Eurasia (or even Asia) loom ahead?
Metternich famously said, "Europe ends at the Landstrasse," i.e., at the road leading eastward out of Vienna. In saying so, he left out of his definition of Europe all of the Hungarian domains of the Habsburg empire, of which he was the chancellor. Conversely, de Gaulle spoke of "Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals." Interpreted literally, his definition of Europe let Russia in but left America (and perhaps even Britain) out. The eastern boundary of Europe, then, may be found someplace between the definitions of Metternich (Vienna) and de Gaulle (the Urals). Between these two definitions is a vast region that has given rise to vast disputes. It is the region now comprising such varied countries as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, the Balkan countries, the Baltic countries, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldavia, and, most controversial and consequential, Russia.</b>

The United States versus Western Civilization

There is a certain irony in the United States searching for a new legitimating idea for NATO to replace the old legitimating idea of Western civilization. For in some respects, the United States itself has become the great power that opposes much of what was once thought of as Western civilization, especially its cultural achievements and its social arrangements. The major American elites - those in politics, business, the media, and academia - now use American power, especially the "soft power" of information, communications, and popular entertainment, to displace Western civilization not only in America but also in Europe. They attack and mock any traditional European authorities, such as religion, nations, families, and high culture. In their stead, they promulgate the current American ideas of human rights, multiculturalism, expressive individualism, and popular culture.

It is the American popular culture that is especially destructive of what was once defined as Western civilization. American popular culture presents as its normative human types the star entertainer and athlete. It exalts the personal qualities of inherent talent, self-centeredness, frantic energy, and aggressiveness. These are the distinguishing qualities of an adolescent, not of a mature person. It is no accident that adults in America are increasingly adopting the qualities of adolescents - particularly self-centeredness and aggressiveness - even in the elite professions, and that the most pervasive rule of American styles, fads, and fashions in Europe and around the world is found among adolescents.

Elite Americans imagine themselves as advancing the ideas of human rights, multiculturalism, and expressive individualism. They might even claim that these ideas are the best, perhaps the only worthy, legacy of Western civilization. In fact, they are subverting not only the traditions of the West, but of all civilizations. It is not surprising that some of these civilizations, especially the Islamic and the Confucian ones, have mounted various forms of resistance to these American ideas. Samuel Huntington has referred to this as "the clash of civilizations" involving "the West against the rest." But it also may be a clash between all civilizations: both the West and the rest on the one hand - and anticivilization, the actual behavior of many Americans today, on the other.

This new and anti-Western character of the American elite has implications for the grand project of a new and expanded NATO. The new NATO will not be based upon any vision or idea comparable to the Western civilization of the old NATO. That idea helped to build conviction among NATO's most important support, the American people, and to build credibility with NATO's most important adversary, the Soviet Union. That conviction and credibility in turn enabled NATO not only to protect its own members but also to support other countries whose geographical position precluded NATO membership but whose cultural identity was dearly Western, such as Finland, Sweden, and Austria.

The new NATO will lack the old vision and indeed will have no authentic and coherent union at all. It is mostly the product of bureaucratic momentum and political calculations. It therefore will have little conviction among the American people and little credibility with a Russia that one day will regain the strength to assert its interests.

The new and expanded NATO thus will bring with it two dangers. First, NATO will have undertaken a commitment to its three new Central European members - Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary - without the conviction and credibility needed to sustain that commitment in bad times as well as good. Even more ominously, it may have induced Russia to exact compensation from countries that must remain outside of NATO, most obviously the three democratic Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

The new NATO, as led by the new United States, thus is not likely to be the true fulfillment of the grand vision of the old NATO. It is more likely to be a contradiction of that vision - by putting the Baltic peoples at risk, by giving the Central European peoples a membership devoid of meaning, and by opening up a new gap between the foreign policies of the American elite and the international convictions of the American people.

1 For a detailed discussion of practical measures for the Baltic states, see Ronald D. Asmus and Robert C. Nurick, "NATO Enlargement and the Baltic States," Survival, Summer 1998, pp. 121-42.

James Kurth, professor of political science at Swarthmore College, recently returned from a trip to Central Europe. His many books and articles include "The Adolescent Empire: America and the Imperial Idea," in The National Interest, Summer 1997.




The Idea of the West
Culture, Politics and History
Alastair Bonnett

Palgrave Macmillan

The West: Ancient and Modern
Knowing the West
Geography and the World
Chapters in a Global History<b>
White Decay
The West's West: Beginnings
The Western Path Out of White Crisis
The West Versus Communism
Russia's West
The Revolutionary West
The Western Enemy
The 'Kidnapped West' and Russia's 'Return'
The Uses of the West
Fukuzawa Yukichi: Occidentalism and Nationalism in Japan
Ziya Gokalp: Finding Turkey, Inventing the West
Asia is One: The West as Spiritual Void
Who Wants to be Asian?: The Failure of Tagore's Mission to the East
Asian Spirituality: Transcending the West
Conclusions: Tagore and Modernity
Introduction: Forget Tagore
Pan-Asianism: Eastern Redemption, Western Nationalism
The Slacker West and Asian Values
Social Democracy: The Unproclaimed West
Westernisation: Victory in Defeat
Neo-liberal Democracy: Western Triumph and Western Blue-print
Conclusions: The Vulnerability of the Neo-liberal Model
The Clash of Utopias?
The Islamisation of Anti-Westernism
Conclusions: Islamism and Neo-liberal Globalisation


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What do you think of the sc-fi and fantasy surge in popular Western literature?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Essentially history of Western Europe is history of Christianity. What they did was to kill all their pagan myths which are really imagination. After Renaissance, Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution they revived their imagination with Science Fiction and Fantasy. However even here they back projected their founding ideology and one can see it if one peels the onion.

For example History channel in last few weeks had two episodes on "Clash of the Gods" a deconstruction of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.
Except for Jules Verne's sci fiction I am yet to find a non Christianised, sans Judeo-Christian underlayer for this genre.

The Foundation is in a sense the transfer of Roman ideas to Western Civilization.
Quote: It exalts the personal qualities of inherent talent, self-centeredness, frantic energy, and aggressiveness.

Isn't this is exactly the basic qualities of those who established american constitution and its foundations that is largely established on capitalistic values?

I see a generalization of a human setup by zone/state to a specialized functional (social-culture) aspect, and after certain realizations, we can entirely extract to generalize such behavior to another (way of living/ 'ism') specialized formations.

We can call it corrections.. but some may call it fallacies. The learning is more important here that falls back to fundamental religious setup that fails to energize such human behavior and guide the planet to a wonderful experience.

These quoted human characteristics are the fundamental issues of humanity that in the older years depicted them as evil/terrorists and now, upon taking valuable positions in a functional contemporary society, it becomes a categorized un-welcome behavior for the larger people.. cause, they hide under the other '-isms' they have established to live in, knowingly or unknowingly.
Quote: It exalts the personal qualities of inherent talent, self-centeredness, frantic energy, and aggressiveness.

Isn't this is exactly the basic qualities of those who established american constitution and its capitalistic foundations?

I see a generalization of a human setup by zone/state to a specialized functional (social-culture) aspect, and after certain realizations, we can entirely extract to generalize such behavior to another (way of living/ 'ism') specialized formations.

We can call it corrections.. but some may call it fallacies. The learning is more important here that falls back to fundamental religious/political setup that fails to energize such human behavior and guide the planet to a wonderful experience.

These quoted human characteristics are the fundamental issues of humanity that in the older years depicted them as evil/terrorists and now, upon taking valuable positions in a functional contemporary society, it becomes a categorized un-welcome behavior for the larger people.. cause, they hide under the other '-isms'[including political] they have established to live in, knowingly or unknowingly.

Bottom line.. only when we see such fallacies or get stumble upon such issues, we begin to take holistic views of such human/state political/social behavior. Misuse of power is overwhelmingly enjoyed by powerful humans and that is the same force that is driving to take a whole lot of entities around them, perhaps including a big state or civilization.

Also, we could categorize them as different states and orders of corruptions. Take it whichever way, there is this larger cultural value - religion/ism that these humans lay their foundation stones for moral values. That is where the grass roots lies.
The taxonomy of Western philosophy. Mind map

Mind map of Western Philosophy

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