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jarvis
21-05-05, 21:54
Fifty years ago, Western civilization was a central idea, an ideal, in American political and intellectual discourse. American political leaders frequently said that the United States was the heir to Western civilization and that it had a duty to defend the West against its enemies, most obviously the Communist bloc led by the Soviet Union. American academic leaders regarded the Western tradition with respect, and courses on Western civilization were often required in American universities. The 1950s were an era when the leading institutions of America (and with their support and guidance, the leading institutions of Europe) were confident and articulate in identifying with and promoting the Western tradition.



Today, Western civilization is almost never mentioned, much less promoted, in political and intellectual discourse. When it is mentioned amongst Western elites, its traditions are almost always an object of criticism and contempt. Real discussion of Western civilization is usually by the political, intellectual, and religious leaders of nonwestern societies, most obviously Muslim societies. Indeed, the idea of the West seems to be most charged with vital energy in the excited mind of its principle contemporary enemy, radical Islam. The most lively consciousness about the West actually seems to be found within the East. Within the West itself, the Western civilization of 50 years ago has become the lost civilization of today.



What explains this great transformation? Which of the traditions remain a living reality today? And what might be the fate of these traditions in the future?



Among scholarly interpreters of the West, it has been widely understood that Western civilization was formed from three distinct traditions: (1) the classical culture of Greece and Rome; (2) the Christian religion; and (3) the Enlightenment of the modern era. Many have seen Western civilization as a synthesis of all three traditions; others have emphasized the conflicts among them, the struggle between the Christian religion and the Enlightenment being especially consequential.



The first of the Western traditions was classical culture. In the realm of politics, for example, Greece contributed the idea of a republic, while Rome contributed that of an empire. Greece contributed the idea of liberty and Rome that of law. Combined, these gave rise to the important concept of liberty under the law.



Christian theology established the sanctity of the individual believer and called for obedience to an authority (Christ) higher than any secular ruler (Caesar), ideas that further refined and supported the concept of liberty under law. Christian institutions, particularly the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church and its ongoing struggle with the Holy Roman Emperor and local monarchs, bequeathed to the West the idea of separation of powers.



The modern Enlightenment provided the ideas of liberal democracy, the free market, and the belief in reason and science as the means for making sense of the world. More particularly, the British Revolution of 1688 emphasized liberty and constitutionalism, while the French Revolution of 1789 emphasized democracy and rationalism. The differences between the Enlightenment in Britain and on the Continent would give rise to important divisions within the West during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. This was the case with the Industrial Revolution and the different responses to it; both state guidance of the economy and Marxist ideology played a much greater role on the Continent than in Britain or the United States.



The very term "Western civilization" is something of an anomaly. It was invented only a century ago, and it is not really comparable to the terms commonly used for other civilizations. Most other civilizations (e.g., Islamic, Hindu, Orthodox) have retained a religious identification, and, indeed, before the Enlightenment the term that people in the West commonly used for their civilization was "Christendom." The story of how "Christendom" became "Western civilization" is significant for understanding the changing nature of our civilization, and perhaps its fate.



The Enlightenment brought about the secularization of most of the intellectual elite of Christendom. This elite ensured that the civilization was no longer called that, even though much of its ordinary population remained Christian. The French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution spread Enlightenment ideas to important parts of that population, but the Christian churches continued to be a vital force. Since the Enlightenment, however, it has not been possible to refer to the civilization as Christendom.



For about a century, the preferred term for the civilization was "Europe." But this was also the time that saw the rise of European settlements in the New World to the status of independent nations. This made the term "European civilization" unsuitable, and in the early 20th century, a few Europeans conceived of a new and more appropriate term, "Western civilization." Almost as soon as it was invented, the term began to be used in the pessimistic context of civilizational decline, as in Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West (1918). Had the term been left to Europeans alone it would probably have had a short and unhappy life, particularly given the devastating moral, as well as material, consequences of the First World War.



It was the New World that was called in to redress the pessimism of the Old. Americans breathed a new meaning into the concept of Western civilization, first as they dealt with the great surge of European immigrants and then as they dealt with the European nations in the course of the two World Wars. For Americans in the first decades of the 20th century, Western civilization was principally the ideas of liberty and individualism, institutionalized in liberal democracy, free markets, constitutionalism, and the rule of law. Americans referred to this ensemble of ideas as "the American creed," which they promoted as a principal means to Americanize new immigrants. These ideas were, of course, direct descendents of the British Enlightenment, but they were also indirect descendants of some of the elements in the classical and the Christian traditions.



American intervention in the First World War and again in the Second World War brought about a redefinition of Western civilization. The new conception has been described as "the Allied scheme of history," but its central pillar was the American sense of historical mission. The new content of Western civilization became the American creed. Conversely, the new context for the American creed became Western civilization. The combination of American energy and European legacy gave the idea of Western civilization both power and legitimacy in both America and Europe. The power helped the United States win the First World War against the German Empire, the Second World War against Nazi Germany, and the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The legitimacy helped to order the long peace within Western Europe that was very much intertwined with the Cold War. With its appropriation by America, therefore, the idea of Western civilization experienced its heroic age.



The Cold War crystallized the political and intellectual division between the West and the East. The "Allied scheme of history," the product of the two World Wars, was institutionalized into NATO. Almost all of the members of the North Atlantic alliance appeared to be heirs of each of the three great Western traditions, and they seemed to be comfortable and confident in this identity. (NATO did include a couple of cultural anomalies -- Turkey -- which was obviously outside elements of the three traditions, and ... Japan, an immensely important ally of the U.S.-- which was outside any plausible geographical definition of the West. But these anomalies became acceptable with the argument that each of these countries was now engaged in the grand project of "Westernization.")



During the first decade of the Cold War, the struggle between the West and the East took the form of a struggle between "the Free World" and "the Socialist World," as the two antagonists referred to themselves. With the decolonization of the European empires, a new region, the South, emerged and the struggle was said to be between the First and Second Worlds over the future of the Third. Both the West and the East offered the South a particular version of the Enlightenment project, a secular doctrine of progress. The West promoted liberalism, which was largely a product of the British Enlightenment, while the East promoted Marxism, which was largely a product of the French Enlightenment. It is significant, however, that the West decided that it could not promote the other Western traditions, the classical culture and the Christian religion.



The 1950s, the high Cold War, were the golden age of the conception of Western civilization. With the 1960s, it came under sustained assault, and the Western traditions have been on the defensive ever since, though defensive may be too strong a term, since today very few defenders of Western civilization can be found.



What were the causes of this great rejection of the great traditions? We will begin with the classical one, which even in the seeming golden age was the most vulnerable.



The classical tradition was still taught to some extent in American and European universities in the 1950s. But deep within this classical education was a problematic assumption: that this tradition was relevant for a particular part of society. This was the elite who became the governors, administrators, and judges. The classical tradition valued aristocracy and hierarchy, honor and duty. ... Antithetical to the classical spirit are both the democratic spirit and the commercial spirit, which were greatly strengthened by the Enlightenment. They were, of course, especially prevalent in the United States. Whatever might be made of "classical republican" ideas at the time of the American founding, by the 1830s much of America was thoroughly democratic and commercial in its spirit, as Tocqueville famously demonstrated in his masterpiece Democracy in America. Although the America of the 1950s was the leader of the West during the golden age of self-consciousness about Western civilization, the classical tradition was by that time almost wholly invisible in American life. This meant that there would be no substantial interest in defending that tradition if it were ever assaulted by some substantial force.



The classical culture of Greece and Rome, so integral to both Western civilization and to the civilization shaped by Eastern Orthodoxy, formed no part of the history of most other cultures. It meant almost nothing to the peoples of Asia or Africa, or even to the Indian and Mestizo peoples of Latin America. But the United States had living within its borders many descendants of these non-Western peoples, and it would come to have vastly more as a result of the Immigration Act of 1965. Their political and intellectual leaders saw classical culture as a device by which the traditional elite excluded them from equal participation and respect within what should be a democratic society. In regard to the classical culture, therefore, the civil-rights movement became an uncivil wrecking operation. At the same time, the anti-colonial movement performed a similar operation in regard to Europe.



The political and economic elites of America and also those of Europe (who were now following American leadership in many ways) -- imbued as they were with the democratic and the commercial spirit -- had already ceased to believe in the classical tradition, since it was so remote from the actuality of their lives. Now, in order to maintain their political and economic positions in the face of the civil-rights and anti-colonial movements, they were quick to appease these anti-Western forces by abandoning the last remnants of the classical tradition.



The Christian tradition also came under assault in the 1960s, and the Enlightenment was again at the intellectual and ideological center of the attack. The Enlightenment had always believed in reason and science as the means of making sense of the World. Many of its adherents were possessed by an animus (actually, the original sin of pride) to overthrow all traditional authority, both secular and religious, and to appropriate all authority for themselves. This drove them to use reason and science in a biased way to deny any Biblical and spiritual basis for truth and to therefore denigrate the Christian religion.



This animus had existed in the Enlightenment tradition since its origin. However, in the 1960s there was a massive expansion in the number of students in secular universities and also a massive expansion of popular (actually pagan) culture promulgated by secular media. The Enlightenment mentality had penetrated much of the elite at the beginning of the industrial age. Now, at the beginning of the information age, it expanded its dominion over much of the young. These intellectual and cultural developments were reinforced by development in technology (the sudden availability of new contraceptive methods) and in the economy (the sudden entry of large numbers of women into the new full-time jobs produced by the information economy). They in turn resulted in a momentous political development: the rise of a powerful feminist movement and, when contraceptive technologies proved insufficient, its promotion of abortion as its central project.



Each of these developments, which surged in the 1960s and which continue today, contradicted the practice of the Christian religion, though Western elites have justified them as the progressive fulfillment of Enlightenment ideas of liberty and equality. Seen from a Biblical perspective, however, they are really just new manifestations of the ancient forces of pride and rebellion.



The assault on the Christian religion has been institutionalized by changes in the ethnic structure of both America and Europe. In the United States, a series of Supreme Court decisions erected a massive (and radically new) wall between church and state, in effect driving Christianity from the public square. This development was related to the collapse of the Protestant (WASP) ascendancy in the American intellectual and legal elites and to the ascendancy of Jews into those elites. In Europe, large-scale immigration from Muslim countries began in the 1960s and Muslims now comprise 5-10 percent of the population of many European countries.



Although the forces assaulting the Christian tradition have operated throughout the West, the effects have been different in Europe and America. In Europe, the Christian churches had been bound up with the traditional political and social authorities. As these authorities declined with the spread of liberal democracy and free markets -- the working out of the democratic and the commercial spirits -- the Christian churches declined along with them. By contrast, in America the large number of different denominations (a distinctively American term), which were independent of the state and each other, meant that almost from the origins of the U. S. there was a kind of religious democracy and market. If a particular church seemed to be bound up with a discredited and declining political or social authority, Christians in America could easily move to a new church, while keeping the essentials of the Christian religion. This helps to explain why today Christianity is much more vital in America than it is in Europe. The American elites have rejected it, but the Christian religion is meaningful and central to large sections of the population..



The only Western tradition accepted by the political, intellectual, and economic elites of the West is the Enlightenment. For American political and economic elites, this largely means the British (or Anglo-American) Enlightenment, with its emphasis on the liberty of individuals, institutionalized in liberal democracy and free markets. For European political, intellectual, and economic elites (and for the American intellectual elite located in academia and the media), this largely means the French (or Continental) Enlightenment, with its emphasis on the rationalism of elites, institutionalized in bureaucratic authority and the credentialed society. Together, these elites promote the contemporary version of the Enlightenment project. They are intent upon imposing it around the world -- and upon eliminating any vestige of the other Western traditions -- the classical and the Christian.



The rejection of the Christian faith by Western elites does not mean that they have rejected all faiths. Despite the claims and conceits of rationalists and scientists, every human being believes in some things that cannot be proven (and therefore cannot be established by reason) or that cannot be seen (and therefore cannot be established by science) and that therefore have to be taken on faith. Ever since the coming of the Enlightenment, Western elites have adhered to a variety of secularist and universalist faiths, which in effect have been religions without God. Kenneth Minogue has identified these as (1) the idea of progress, (2) Marxism, and (3) "Olympianism," which is the contemporary belief that an enlightened intellectual elite can and should bring about "human betterment ... on a global scale by forcing the peoples of the world into a single community based on the universal enjoyment of appropriate human rights." As Minogue demonstrates, each of these secular religions has identified Christianity as its enemy. Indeed, the Olympianism that dominates in our time sees the very idea of Western civilization itself to be an obstacle to its grand global and universalist project.



The universalist ideology of Olympian elites is largely consistent with, and perhaps reflective of, the expanding interests of global corporations. During the first half of the Cold War, American corporations found their most attractive business opportunities to be in Europe or other Western countries. During the second half of the Cold War, however, American multinational corporations expanded into non-Western regions. Finally, with the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the preferred arena for American multinational corporation became the entire world. For multinational, now global, corporations, it became important to be identified with ideals that appeared to be progressive and global, even inevitable and universal, and not to be identified with ideas and ideals that were Western and traditional.



The result of these developments has been the redefinition of the ideal economic arena from Western to global, of the ideal society from Western to multicultural, and the ideal political system from Western to transnational. There would be a universal empire -- except that it will be called global governance, and a universal religion -- except that it will be called human rights.



Historians usually date the beginning of the modern era at the end of the 15th century; the Italian Renaissance and the European explorations of the non-European world were major movements that inaugurated and shaped the new era. They were soon followed by others, such as the Reformation and the scientific exploration of the natural world. The postmodern era seems to have begun at the end of the 20th century, making the modern era just about half a millennium in length.



The modern era can be seen as the Western era: the defining movements originated in Europe, and Europeans spread, even imposed them over the rest of the world. Similarly, the postmodern era can also be seen as the post-Western era, with most of the Western traditions not only rejected by non-Western societies, but also abandoned by the elites of Western societies. All of the elements of the postmodern movement originated in Europe (particularly in France), where they could be seen as logical deductions from the French Enlightenment, and postmodern ideologues have engaged in a compulsive anti-Western project in both Europe and America. They have been joined by their post-colonial counterparts in the non-Western world. Together, they form a grand alliance against Western civilization.



The principal enemy is the contemporary version of the Enlightenment, especially the French Enlightenment. Because of its universalist pretensions and illusions, its adherents have made the people of the West indiscriminating about other cultures and unconfident about their own. They have therefore made the West disoriented and vulnerable to assault from the East and especially from Islam. This assault may come from attacks by networks of Islamic terrorists or it may come from members of the larger and alienated Muslim communities now in the West. But for Western civilization, Islam is merely a disease of the skin; the Enlightenment has mutated into a disease of the heart.



Who stands to defend Western civilization in its authenticity and fullness? Certainly not liberals. Those in the intellectual sector are largely multiculturalists; those in the business sector are largely globalists; and those in the political sector largely represent these business and intellectual views. All adhere to the universalist ideology, and liberals have never liked tradition anyway. They only accept their own tradition, that of the Enlightenment, if they re-conceive of it as being not "tradition" but "progress."



One would expect conservatives to like and support tradition. But among purported conservatives, it is important to make a distinction between traditional and neoconservatives. From their origins (be it followers of Leon Trotsky or of Leo Strauss), neoconservatives have seen the Christian tradition as an alien, even a threatening, one. As for the classical tradition, their view of it has been formed by the decidedly untraditional interpretation of classical philosophy given by Strauss. The only Western tradition that neoconservatives want to defend is the Enlightenment. In recent years, they have wanted to advance it in the rest of the world with the establishment of a kind of American empire. This is not a conservative project but a radical and revolutionary one.



The true defenders of the Western traditions will be the traditional conservatives. They are able to recognize that the central and crucial tradition of Western civilization is the Christian tradition, which has carried on the best elements of the classical tradition, while subordinating them to a higher Biblical truth. Christianity, in other words, kept the other Western traditions in balance. Perhaps in our time it is the calling of those few traditional conservatives found within the educated elite to reach out to the large numbers of Christians within their wider population, to help deepen their understanding of the major issues before us, and to give voice to their Christian -- and Western convictions.



The protagonists of the contemporary version of the Enlightenment may think that they will create a universal civilization, both abroad and at home, but the evidence is accumulating that they have instead opened the doors to the barbarians, both without (e.g., Islamic terrorists) and within (e.g., pagan disregard for human life.)



The best defense against the new barbarians will be found in the Christian religion, for with it, Western civilization became the most creative, indeed the highest, civilization in human history. With a revival of the Christian tradition, Western civilization would not only prevail over the new barbarians, but it would become more truly civilized.

Void
22-05-05, 18:02
amen :D :D :D
* wiping tears *
oh, well, there is a little truth in this article, have to admit (but too little, so, it is almost lost among the words - IMHO, of course, maybe not humble, but :D)
Before i`ll bring my counterarguments, let me ask you one dumb question: is it all your analysis? And if it is so, what sources you based it on?

alexriversan
22-05-05, 18:10
you have made this up? con-grulations. but i have not read it completely.

and, i do not have this small program installed here, called WC (wordcount)- to run for "is" "be".

without command, i wont rate/dis-assemble your writing.

just you make assumption:

>>some things that cannot be proven (and therefore cannot be established by reason) or that cannot be seen (and therefore cannot be established by science) and that therefore have to be taken on faith<<

some can, i assume. and then, "marxism". alarm bell. please, not more than once. please do not repeat the word.

because some were more equal, and made up this: "we cant do it. there are the rules, i do not have them here, but if we allow it to everyone, we would get chaos"->america has such people too. this is "managed anarchy" (=suppression)?

"cant do it"+"everyone"=alarm bell.

now, relating to this cut-out: i get the idea: "no scientific proof- this urges the establishment of non-rational faith."

this contains the informations indeed people are urged to take on the faith. :-)

--- have not read the rest

jarvis
22-05-05, 19:34
I don't understand what you two are upset about?
I basicly outlined the history of western civilization...whats so wrong about that? I figured maybe the folks from japan did'nt know the history..

mad pierrot
23-05-05, 08:37
Only if you don't take it seriously.



The best defense against the new barbarians will be found in the Christian religion, for with it, Western civilization became the most creative, indeed the highest, civilization in human history. With a revival of the Christian tradition, Western civilization would not only prevail over the new barbarians, but it would become more truly civilized.


:hihi:

Duo
23-05-05, 10:54
I don't understand what you two are upset about?
I basicly outlined the history of western civilization...whats so wrong about that? I figured maybe the folks from japan did'nt know the history..


Hey interesting post :wave:

I didn't read it all, will get bak to it, but very interesting points, one thing though, most of the people here are westerners :p, and very few few japanese members, thx anyaways though

alexriversan
23-05-05, 11:54
I don't understand what you two are upset about?
I basicly outlined the history of western civilization...whats so wrong about that? I figured maybe the folks from japan did'nt know the history..

now, imagine a mental bank account named "cant do it". add one cent every time a person hears/reads "cannot". it takes years...

the result are people who indeed cant do things, or, who tell others "we cant do it". if you ask "do you play basketball?" -> "cant play."

JUST DO IT

no one "must do" something, "can not do" something. hey, every body. except me. including even people which are not there.

---------------

relating to your post, you wrote a hudge amount. can you optimize it: instead of "is" "it seems to me" "i have read at/in ... that..." "to my knowledge, america has..."

whatever suits you. "is" appears more and more like a very abberative word to me. because it freezes things. and, writing does require "is" only exceptionally. for example, "the fridge is empty". verifyable objection. or, "right now, the fridge is empty". one example to use "is".

and, "will be" -> "one may"/"might get". "will be" equals an absolutive assumption about the future. and, japanese does not use future tense. especially not in a sense, not stating the point of time.

i.e. you could write "i have evidences, that around 2015 ....". this appears correctly as your prophecy.

---------------

i have read the final sentences: to revive christian traditions. sounds good. however, if they include "PG" "parental guidance:alcohol reference, cruel punishment and illustrative language"-

this might increase the readership of the bible. "think" about it- to rewrite the stories, excluding "must" "can not" "be" "is" "everybody".

of course, jesus really lived. he was just an ordinary guy, revoluted against the commercial practice in the temples. then, later on, he was punished, and this illustration seems barbaric.

it creates subcounscious anger, all day, each day.

Void
23-05-05, 16:06
Most other civilizations (e.g., Islamic, Hindu, Orthodox) have retained a religious identification
I`d say, it was more like the western classification of gouterh world. Besides there ia also another classification: ancient civilization, modern or medieval...


The Enlightenment brought about the secularization of most of the intellectual elite of Christendom. This elite ensured that the civilization was no longer called that, even though much of its ordinary population remained Christian. The French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution spread Enlightenment ideas to important parts of that population, but the Christian churches continued to be a vital force. Since the Enlightenment, however, it has not been possible to refer to the civilization as Christendom.
Well, doesn`t it just show that values, ideals and ideas shifted? It started, in fact, earlier at Renaissance time.


Had the term (gWestern civilization) been left to Europeans alone it would probably have had a short and unhappy life, particularly given the devastating moral, as well as material, consequences of the First World War.
Isn`t it too pessimistic and groundlessly? Spengler is not the whole european nation (nations), that was his opinion, but not of many others.


It was the New World that was called in to redress the pessimism of the Old. Americans breathed a new meaning into the concept of Western civilization, first as they dealt with the great surge of European immigrants and then as they dealt with the European nations in the course of the two World Wars. For Americans in the first decades of the 20th century, Western civilization was principally the ideas of liberty and individualism, institutionalized in liberal democracy, free markets, constitutionalism, and the rule of law. Americans referred to this ensemble of ideas as "the American creed," which they promoted as a principal means to Americanize new immigrants. These ideas were, of course, direct descendents of the British Enlightenment, but they were also indirect descendants of some of the elements in the classical and the Christian traditions.
Gee! :D What if I tell you that those ideas are just an inherent constituent of a human nature? Remember Crusades, times of great geographical discoveriesc People went to the Holy Land for forgivness and repentance? Fistful of them, others for the land, prosperity and freedom which only money could provide them. People rushed to the New World with hopes to find some wealth, a piece of land and house to live in... and so on


American intervention in the First World War and again in the Second World War brought about a redefinition of Western civilization. The new conception has been described as "the Allied scheme of history," but its central pillar was the American sense of historical mission. The new content of Western civilization became the American creed. Conversely, the new context for the American creed became Western civilization. The combination of American energy and European legacy gave the idea of Western civilization both power and legitimacy in both America and Europe. The power helped the United States win the First World War against the German Empire, the Second World War against Nazi Germany, and the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The legitimacy helped to order the long peace within Western Europe that was very much intertwined with the Cold War. With its appropriation by America, therefore, the idea of Western civilization experienced its heroic age.
* neighs, rollingc ecpecially at gheroic ageh and the US winning major wars of XX century * And let the force be with you, young padavan :D What was the year when american troops joined the Entente armies at the WWI? And at WWII, when the second (western) front was opened? At the critical point, when only extremely dumb and frenetic didn`t understand that Germany lost the war, and Russian army started driving german troops to the west. And to evaluate the proportion of two fears faced by Allies – revival of Nazis or Soviets washing their boots in Atlantic Ocean – what had a greater percentage? And although there indeed was some contribution of US to the war (wars) but it certainly not its achievement all along. And as for Cold War, well, can you tell it is over? With every day I doubt it more and morec But in any case, again there is a quite overestimation of American impact (at least of a role of its interpretation of gWestern civilizationh notion)


The "Allied scheme of history," the product of the two World Wars, was institutionalized into NATO. Almost all of the members of the North Atlantic alliance appeared to be heirs of each of the three great Western traditions, and they seemed to be comfortable and confident in this identity. (NATO did include a couple of cultural anomalies -- Turkey -- which was obviously outside elements of the three traditions, and ... Japan, an immensely important ally of the U.S.-- which was outside any plausible geographical definition of the West. But these anomalies became acceptable with the argument that each of these countries was now engaged in the grand project of "Westernization.")
Have it ever occurred to anyone that such "Westernization" was rather imposed? The greatest ganomalyh of gWestern civilizationh was simple snobbery: country that doesn`t look like european (at any or at all levels of culture, politics and economics) wouldn`t be accepted into gthe club of gentelmen in top-hatsh on equal bases. And even in this case that coutry had to prove its usefulness to gthe Westh; just the tool in most of the cases, not the partner.


The Cold War crystallized the political and intellectual division between the West and the East. [c] The 1950s, the high Cold War, were the golden age of the conception of Western civilization. With the 1960s, it came under sustained assault, and the Western traditions have been on the defensive ever since, though defensive may be too strong a term, since today very few defenders of Western civilization can be found.
Rather between the West and the Soviets. Since 60`s... ? Just wonder why :D



by the 1830s much of America was thoroughly democratic [c] in its spirit
I guess, only in spirit, but not much in reality


Their political and intellectual leaders saw classical culture as a device by which the traditional elite excluded them from equal participation and respect within what should be a democratic society. In regard to the classical culture, therefore, the civil-rights movement became an uncivil wrecking operation. At the same time, the anti-colonial movement performed a similar operation in regard to Europe.
So, the guys were just all wrong and misunderstood the precious gift of gWestern civilizationh? :D


The political and economic elites of America and also those of Europe (who were now following American leadership in many ways) -- imbued as they were with the democratic and the commercial spirit -- had already ceased to believe in the classical tradition, since it was so remote from the actuality of their lives. Now, in order to maintain their political and economic positions in the face of the civil-rights and anti-colonial movements, they were quick to appease these anti-Western forces by abandoning the last remnants of the classical tradition.
Or, maybe, more likely there was about time to abandon wrong interpretation of those values contaminated with hundreds years of colonization and ethnic abuse?


The Christian tradition also came under assault in the 1960s, and the Enlightenment was again at the intellectual and ideological center of the attack. The Enlightenment had always believed in reason and science as the means of making sense of the World. Many of its adherents were possessed by an animus (actually, the original sin of pride) to overthrow all traditional authority, both secular and religious, and to appropriate all authority for themselves. This drove them to use reason and science in a biased way to deny any Biblical and spiritual basis for truth and to therefore denigrate the Christian religion. [c] Each of these developments, which surged in the 1960s and which continue today, contradicted the practice of the Christian religion, though Western elites have justified them as the progressive fulfillment of Enlightenment ideas of liberty and equality. Seen from a Biblical perspective, however, they are really just new manifestations of the ancient forces of pride and rebellion.
I wouldn`t advise you to step on a quicksand of a religious ground. First of all, generalised gChristianh can make one think of any flow – Catholic, Protestant and even Orthodox. Second, every religion has its own history, and looking back at Christian religion one can`t say, that all what was commited by the Church complied the values it claimed to follow. Third, why it is decided that the ideals of Christianity are superior to the ideals of Buddism, Confucianism, Islam or Hinduism? Who proposed criteria of judgement and what are they?


Although the forces assaulting the Christian tradition have operated throughout the West, the effects have been different in Europe and America. [c] in America the large number of different denominations (a distinctively American term), which were independent of the state and each other, meant that almost from the origins of the U. S. there was a kind of religious democracy and market. If a particular church seemed to be bound up with a discredited and declining political or social authority, Christians in America could easily move to a new church, while keeping the essentials of the Christian religion. This helps to explain why today Christianity is much more vital in America than it is in Europe. The American elites have rejected it, but the Christian religion is meaningful and central to large sections of the population..
Well, and it is not rare when life comes down to the formula gChurch on Sunday and not to remember about it on Mondayh (contemporary system of indulgence). Not trying to offend anyone, but it`s a modern tendency all over the world, people are religious (in positive meaning of the word) only when it suits them (and thus emerges other side of "religious"). It is said, that God not in the Church or in one`s words – He is in one`s heart and deeds.


That`s for the first reading... more to come :evil:

No-name
23-05-05, 20:27
Education always seems like it on some kind of pendulum. It swings from one extreme to the opposite with no stop in the middle. In the US, we used to study history from a Western Civilization perspective. Now, we try to get a little of everything in, but with very little depth. My theory: If you live in the United States, it is probably a good idea to take US History. If you live in the West. Study Western History. If you live on planet earth, it might be good to know a bit about World History.

pipokun
24-05-05, 06:03
i'm sure soccer moms will save america

Void
24-05-05, 14:20
The assault on the Christian religion has been institutionalized by changes in the ethnic structure of both America and Europe. In the United States, a series of Supreme Court decisions erected a massive (and radically new) wall between church and state, in effect driving Christianity from the public square.
Wouldn`t it be different if Christianity was more tolerant toward others than it pretends (and pretended) to be? And wouldn`t claim to be the only one true and redemptive?


The only Western tradition accepted by the political, intellectual, and economic elites of the West is the Enlightenment. For American political and economic elites, this largely means the British (or Anglo-American) Enlightenment, with its emphasis on the liberty of individuals, institutionalized in liberal democracy and free markets. For European political, intellectual, and economic elites (and for the American intellectual elite located in academia and the media), this largely means the French (or Continental) Enlightenment, with its emphasis on the rationalism of elites, institutionalized in bureaucratic authority and the credentialed society. Together, these elites promote the contemporary version of the Enlightenment project. They are intent upon imposing it around the world -- and upon eliminating any vestige of the other Western traditions -- the classical and the Christian.
[c]
The universalist ideology of Olympian elites is largely consistent with, and perhaps reflective of, the expanding interests of global corporations. During the first half of the Cold War, American corporations found their most attractive business opportunities to be in Europe or other Western countries.


This is sad, but rather true. Sad, because, in fact, these are not true ideals of Enlightment, what had been spread all over the Europe and the world. The problem is, that long ago goals of a new-born society were substituted by the means (tools), and remained as just a word on a paper till today (and even today). And power (money as well) was kept in hands of a rather small group of elites. I think, this is one of the reasons of increasing anti-colonial, anti-globalistic, feminist and student movements.
But to be objective, there is another side of the shield. Those philosophers and elites who with all good intentions proposed their ideals and tried to find the ways for building new society thought too good about people. Slowly, inspite of all the circumstances and obstacles, ideals of Enlightment rooted in a society: value of education increases every day, today in many countries of the world there are many opportunities for personal growth ( i mean not only economical inprovement of self-being )c But today`s society is more likely a consumer society, which members are more into aesthetics and hedonistic principle, than into anything else. They are simply not willing to paticipate in any social life or make a contribution into any improvement of a human wordl on a global scope. And those who try to do something most of the times are judged as emotionally unstable, paranoic or the forgotten men (all other more rude synonyms one is free to choose for oneself :D) When you are not trying to change your future be sure that someone will make it for you.


Ever since the coming of the Enlightenment, Western elites have adhered to a variety of secularist and universalist faiths, which in effect have been religions without God. Kenneth Minogue has identified these as (1) the idea of progress, (2) Marxism, and (3) "Olympianism," which is the contemporary belief that an enlightened intellectual elite can and should bring about "human betterment ... on a global scale by forcing the peoples of the world into a single community based on the universal enjoyment of appropriate human rights."
Have to disappoint you, but looks like for hundreds years we faced the Christianity as a religion without God. Then why to be surprised at the secular teachings? And today there is a tendency not bring oneself up to the divine level, but to ground a celestial being, to bring Him on the same level – like gOkay, see, I am singing all these hymns for you, hear my prayers, do some good things for me, fella`, will you?h


The result of these developments has been the redefinition of the ideal economic arena from Western to global, of the ideal society from Western to multicultural, and the ideal political system from Western to transnational. There would be a universal empire -- except that it will be
called global governance, and a universal religion -- except that it will be called human rights.
What so wrong about this? What is so bad about well-balanced multinational and multicultural society? We are all in this beauty together, there has to be some unity, not the die-forming of all alike elements but the wholeness, system where element complete, amplify and enrich each other.


The modern era can be seen as the Western era: the defining movements originated in Europe, and Europeans spread, even imposed them over the rest of the world. Similarly, the postmodern era can also be seen as the post-Western era, with most of the Western traditions not only rejected by non-Western societies, but also abandoned by the elites of Western societies. All of the elements of the postmodern movement originated in Europe (particularly in France), where they could be seen as logical deductions from the French Enlightenment, and postmodern ideologues have engaged in a compulsive anti-Western project in both Europe and America. They have been joined by their post-colonial counterparts in the non-Western world. Together, they form a grand alliance against Western civilization.
The principal enemy is the contemporary version of the Enlightenment, especially the French Enlightenment. Because of its universalist pretensions and illusions, its adherents have made the people of the West indiscriminating about other cultures and unconfident about their own. They have therefore made the West disoriented and vulnerable to assault from the East and especially from Islam. This assault may come from
attacks by networks of Islamic terrorists or it may come from members of the larger and alienated Muslim communities now in the West. But for
Western civilization, Islam is merely a disease of the skin; the Enlightenment has mutated into a disease of the heart.
Sounds like witch-hunting. "Wise one changes and adapts, fool lives only to die." There is a time to revise the values and ideals of the West. To be proud but not arrogant, caring but not showing off, concerned but not obtrusive, helpful but not invading and so onc


The protagonists of the contemporary version of the Enlightenment may think that they will create a universal civilization, both abroad and at home, but the evidence is accumulating that they have instead opened the doors to the barbarians, both without (e.g., Islamic terrorists) and within (e.g., pagan disregard for human life.) The best defense against the new barbarians will be found in the Christian religion, for with it, Western civilization became the most creative, indeed the highest, civilization in human history. With a revival of the Christian tradition, Western civilization would not only prevail over the new barbarians, but it would become more truly civilized.
Back to the schoolbooks, man, but not to the refined ones you used to study. Go and learn how all Crusades has started, to the dawn of holy inquisition (or should I send you to the origins of Ku-Klux-Klan? ).