Loving Western Civilization
The past eight years have been hard on the people of the western world. It is now not only common, but fashionable, to condemn western civilization and the institutions that made it great. People of European descent are often looked upon as complicit in the “crimes” of their ancestors: racism, colonialism, genocide, and cultural appropriation. The attempt to condemn, undermine and even eliminate, western civilization has been institutionalized in schools, universities, government, and the media. It is now commonplace for people to gain status and power by hating western civilization. Well…I am here to tell you that I love it.
Johnathon Haight, co-author of the famous book The Coddling of the American Mind recently identified the year 2014 as a turning point in western education. It was 2014, or thereabouts, when students began showing up on campuses fully propagandized against western civilization and determined to end it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t really surprising. Since preschool they had been “taught” that western civilization was responsible for every evil known to man from “patriarchy” to the destruction of the planet. They had also been taught that “whiteness” was society’s greatest problem. How could they have come to any other conclusion, then, that western civilization had to go?
A Personal Testimony
In one of my previous posts, entitled “I was an Atheist Buddhist Communist,” I outlined how I was conditioned, even brainwashed, by far left woke ideology. By the time I was 24 and a high school teacher, I was immersed in anti-Christian, anti-western ideology to the point where I felt that everything Asian was wonderful and everything Western was bad. Looking back on it, I can hardly believe that I felt that way, but I did. As a young teacher I set about influencing as many students as possible in my anti-Western ethic and trying to convince people that the West and western civilization was evil. Then something happened.
Kenneth Clark and “Western Civilization”
Eventually, due to a teaching rotation, I ended up teaching Western Civilization 12. In those days, long before political correctness and DEI, it was a prized elective. The course was based on Sir Kenneth Clarke’s famous series and book of the same name. Teaching it opened my eyes. There before me was the full story of western civilization, complete with its triumphs and disasters, but mainly focussing on the greatness of the West. I began to question my beliefs. If western civilization was so bad, how could it be responsible for so much advancement, beauty and progress? How could I sit there, in a classroom, in a materially wealthy western city griping about the West, a place that had given me the right to condemn it? Wasn’t that a perfect example of hypocrisy? At one point I was sitting in the back of the room, students facing away from me (thank goodness), watching one of Clark’s masterful episodes about the growth of political freedom in the West and I began to tear up. My entire viewpoint had changed.
Swelling Symphonies, Soaring Cathedrals
Bit by bit I began to reclaim my pride in being western and in western civilization. As the years went by I started to appreciate the greatness of the West. I was still fascinated with Japan and Japanese culture and would eventually live there for eight years, but the seed of the West had been planted in me. It would never disappear and, eventually, I asked myself, “Why should it?” After going to Europe in the early 1980s and then again over many years, I saw a world of greatness I could not have imagined. Soaring cathedrals, magnificent cities with astonishing architecture and incredible art, the sound of symphony orchestras, the beauty of universities that had been there for over 1500 years. All of it spoke to me of the greatness of the West and the legitimacy of my heritage. It wasn’t responding to a “dog whistle” as the far left would have you believe, it was the truth.
The Judeo-Christian Connection
Something that travel and reading taught me was the vital importance of Judeo-Christian values in western civilization. Without it the West as we know it would not have existed, and neither would the idea of universities, hospitals, theological speculation, mercy and compassion to an enemy, the golden rule, and a host of other advanced ideas. Other civilizations had them to a certain degree, but not like the West. At one point I actually laughed out loud reading about how the formulators of the E.U. constitution were twisting themselves in knots trying to deny their Christian heritage. All they had to do was look out the window to see a cathedral or historic church and affirm it. There were other influences on the West of course, like our Greco-Roman heritage and the customs of the Germanic peoples, but to exclude our Judeo-Christian heritage, pretending it never existed? Ridiculous…
So now you will not find me condemning the West to make points with liberal progressives. Quite the contrary. I have never been prouder of it and more knowledgeable about it than I am now. I can still see the value of other civilizations of course, but condemning the West? Never again…