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Western Civilization

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Me-Patch
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Western Civilization Dec. 10th, 2009 @ 10:35 PM Reply

So I read these two different books, one was by Bernard Lewis an Emiritus Professor of Near East Studies at Princeton University, and the other was by former presidential canidate Pat Buchanan. Neither book was directly about the current state of western civilization, but they both touched on some interesting and conflicting points about our world as we know it.

Buchanan - "All about us we can see clearly now that the West is passing away. In a single century, all the great houses of continental Europe fell. Not one European nation, save Muslim Albania, has a birthrate that will enable it to survive through the century. As a share of world population, peoples of European ancestory have been shrinking for three generations. The character of every western nation is being irremediably altered as each undergoes an unresisted invasion from the Third World. We are slowly disappearing from the Earth."

Lewis - "By the early 1990s it was clear that socialism had failed and that the often misguided and inept reforms introduced by reformist governments had impeded rather than advanced the economic development that governments had so plausibly promised and peoples had so eagerly awaited. Only in one respect were these economic policies successful - in underpinning a series of ruthless and pervasive dictatorships in which the liberties of the Western order were undermined and destroyed. Politically Western influence was reduced to a minimum but, in every other respect, Western influence grew apace.
The most visible, the most pervasive and the least recognized aspects of Western influence are in the realm of material things - the infrastructure, amenities and services of the modern state and city. Here there is clearly no desire to reverse or even deflect the processes of modernization. Nor indeed are such things as aeroplanes and cars, telephones and televisions, tanks and artillery, seen as Western or as related to the Western philosophies that preceded and facilitated their invention.
More remarkably, even some avowedly anti-western states have retained the western political apparatus of constitutions and legislative assemblies."

In his book Buchanan basicaly claims that Western civilization is dying and that WWI and II are the root of our downfall. In Lewis' book he argues that Western civilization had emerged from the Cold War triumphantly and is now far more influential than ever.

Personaly I have to side more with Lewis, Buchanan just kinda sounds like a KKK leader mindlessly proclaiming the white man to be an endangered species. And even if that were so our culture still kicks ass, and everyone else still has to modernize by way of adopting our social innovations.


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SeanyPancakes
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 10th, 2009 @ 11:29 PM Reply

You should take a look at Sam Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations.

Be careful about some of these guys, many get it waaaay wrong. For example, Fukuyama's The End of History.

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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 11th, 2009 @ 02:02 PM Reply

At 12/11/09 01:48 PM, SouthAsian wrote: Ok.What should we discuss?

Ignore this.I know what we could debate.So your saying that with the disapperance of European cultue,influence,and their strengths in the global sense, you believe the world will experience a sort of new Dark Age?Or that societies aroundthe world will disintegrate and slowly become so dilapidated so as to render all the world to 3rd world status?

I actually feel the contrary.I feel that European imperialism and encroachment into non European lands led to a substantial disproportion for economic,and social rights for the natives.the colonisation into African and Asian lands lead to segregation and the subjugation of non whites.n India the British established their own sort of Caste system making the Southern Indians feel inferior to the Higher caste Indians in te north.This has lead to embitterment,and hostility even now.

so when the Europeans finally left, they left the now improverished lands even more so insecure and vulnerable.I mean it's so easy to say that there will be no progress, no development, if the whites fall out of the picture,IF you ignore the cultural,intellectual,and social advances non whites have contributed.

Me-Patch
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 11th, 2009 @ 04:31 PM Reply

At 12/11/09 02:02 PM, SouthAsian wrote:
At 12/11/09 01:48 PM, SouthAsian wrote: Ok.What should we discuss?
Ignore this.I know what we could debate.So your saying that with the disapperance of European cultue,influence,and their strengths in the global sense, you believe the world will experience a sort of new Dark Age?Or that societies aroundthe world will disintegrate and slowly become so dilapidated so as to render all the world to 3rd world status?

No thats what Pat Buchanan was saying.

I actually feel the contrary.I feel that European imperialism and encroachment into non European lands led to a substantial disproportion for economic,and social rights for the natives.the colonisation into African and Asian lands lead to segregation and the subjugation of non whites.n India the British established their own sort of Caste system making the Southern Indians feel inferior to the Higher caste Indians in te north.This has lead to embitterment,and hostility even now.

In Buchanan's point of view the end of imperialist Europe suggests the downfall of Europe as a world power and thus the disintegration of western society and western influence. But as I said earlier I side more with Lewis, who sees the end of European imperialism as a reflection of the evolution of western society.
Lewis - "At one time the word 'imperialism' was commonly used to describe the Western impact, but this becomes increasingly implausible as the brief period of direct European rule recedes into the past, and the United States remains remote and uninvolved."

so when the Europeans finally left, they left the now improverished lands even more so insecure and vulnerable.I mean it's so easy to say that there will be no progress, no development, if the whites fall out of the picture,IF you ignore the cultural,intellectual,and social advances non whites have contributed.

Europe didn't become the major world power until like the 16th or 17th century anyway, I'm sure the rest of the world still knows how to govern itself without them.


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SouthAsian
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 11th, 2009 @ 05:55 PM Reply

At 12/11/09 04:31 PM, Me-Patch wrote:
No thats what Pat Buchanan was saying.

I see.

In Buchanan's point of view the end of imperialist Europe suggests the downfall of Europe as a world power and thus the disintegration of western society and western influence. But as I said earlier I side more with Lewis, who sees the end of European imperialism as a reflection of the evolution of western society.
Lewis - "At one time the word 'imperialism' was commonly used to describe the Western impact, but this becomes increasingly implausible as the brief period of direct European rule recedes into the past, and the United States remains remote and uninvolved."

Right.Ok I understand now.Just wanted to have it clarified it a little more.

Europe didn't become the major world power until like the 16th or 17th century anyway, I'm sure the rest of the world still knows how to govern itself without them.

Haha I'd hope so.In any case with the changing economic and military standings of once isolated nations such as China and India we have already started to see a resurgency in the ability of these nations who can now be assumed to become a leader in global influence in their own right.

SolInvictus
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 11th, 2009 @ 06:54 PM Reply

the end of specific aspects of a culture are inevitable, i don't see why this scares people so much.


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MultiCanimefan
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 11th, 2009 @ 09:59 PM Reply

At 12/11/09 06:54 PM, SolInvictus wrote: the end of specific aspects of a culture are inevitable, i don't see why this scares people so much.

A unique identity forever lost.

butsbutsbutsbutsbuts
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 12th, 2009 @ 11:00 AM Reply

The origins of culture/technology is irrelevant to whether you should utilise it or not.


I think Halo is a pretty cool guy. eh kills aleins and doesnt afraid of anything. Way didnt sye pik cell it is a good fighter!howwouldImake a thingmovewiththearrowsorsomething

SolInvictus
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 12th, 2009 @ 02:14 PM Reply

At 12/11/09 09:59 PM, MultiCanimefan wrote:
At 12/11/09 06:54 PM, SolInvictus wrote: the end of specific aspects of a culture are inevitable, i don't see why this scares people so much.
A unique identity forever lost.

replaced by another identity that likely won't be so different.


VESTRUM BARDUSIS MIHI EXTASUM
Heathenry; it's not for you
"calling atheism a belief is like calling a conviction belief"

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Me-Patch
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 12th, 2009 @ 03:47 PM Reply

At 12/12/09 11:00 AM, butsbutsbutsbutsbuts wrote: The origins of culture/technology is irrelevant to whether you should utilise it or not.

The point made about the growing utilization of Western culture and technology around the world was intended as evidence to Bernard Lewis' argument that Western civilization is stronger and more influential than ever.

See what I'de like to hear are some points or opinions on wether the West is dying or thriving or neither.


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lapis
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 12th, 2009 @ 04:33 PM Reply

See what I'de like to hear are some points or opinions on wether the West is dying or thriving or neither.

I heard from a Chinese colleague that they celebrate Christmas now in cities like Shanghai and Nanjing. Nothing that Jesus would approve, just a celebration of hedonism carried out in the form of shopping sprees in malls decorated with Christmas trees and appropriate lighting.

At the same time the Chinese government is forcing companies such as Google to use censorship if they want to delve into the Chinese market. I mean, it all depends it what you consider to really define "the West". Ask a Western politician about what he thinks are important values and he'll give you something like liberty or freedom or democracy. Yet those ideas are currently being curbed and constrained in powerful countries such as China and Russia. But I guess that Western culture, or at least the superficial apsects of it, are spreading.

I mean, it's probably best to first clearly define what you mean by "the West", or at least split up the different aspects of the "the West" before a cogent discussion about the spread and/or decay of its influence can take place.


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Me-Patch
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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 12th, 2009 @ 04:56 PM Reply

At 12/12/09 04:33 PM, lapis wrote: I mean, it's probably best to first clearly define what you mean by "the West", or at least split up the different aspects of the "the West" before a cogent discussion about the spread and/or decay of its influence can take place.

Well I'm not an authority on the subject but it's my thread and thats a damn good point so I'll give it shot. The defining aspects of modern Western culture in my opinion are thus- religous freedom, democracy, political pluralism, constitutional government, market economy, cultural syncretism, and seperation of church and state. Christianity maybe, but mixed togethor with secular humanism as well. And also I suppose the products, technology, and pop culture that we produce.


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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 12th, 2009 @ 05:19 PM Reply

I think the Third World is becoming the new West, IN the West. What I mean by this is the recent influx of Middle Eastern and Eastern Asian immigrants should be looked at as a changing of the guard. For example, in my little white suburban town of Williamsville, the entire school board is Asian. Our town supervisor is named Satish Mohan.

Does that mean that we resent them? No. We've embraced them and let them earn their way into our society.

Today it is difficult to tell the difference between an Irish descendant, an Italian descendant, and a German descendant. If we allow these new immigrants into our societies, one day we won't be able to tell the difference between an Asian and an Irish man, or a Middle Eastern from a Italian.

Except the blacks, they will always be different

ZING!

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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 21st, 2009 @ 11:03 AM Reply

Look at it this way--Western Civilization is ending only in so far as it coming full circle, and now, more and more, we are seeing Eastern countries like China grow back to their original superiority. After all, Civilization itself started in the East, and now it's going to begin again with a new paradigm (hopefully, the new model will be like Blade Runner or Akira).

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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 21st, 2009 @ 01:39 PM Reply

At 12/12/09 04:33 PM, lapis wrote:
I mean, it's probably best to first clearly define what you mean by "the West", or at least split up the different aspects of the "the West" before a cogent discussion about the spread and/or decay of its influence can take place.

This is a superb point. People used to tag Japan onto their definition of the west, and as economic reform takes hold, people ought to start including South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. Sometimes people will use "North" to refer to the developed countries and "South" to refer to the undeveloped ones.


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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 21st, 2009 @ 01:39 PM Reply

If underpopulation is going to be an issue, why don't they just parachute some Nigerians into Italy so the production of goods doesn't crash?

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Response to Western Civilization Dec. 31st, 2009 @ 01:23 PM Reply

At 12/10/09 11:29 PM, SeanyPancakes wrote: You should take a look at Sam Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations.

Be careful about some of these guys, many get it waaaay wrong. For example, Fukuyama's The End of History.

Aw jeez, I had a political science prof who would just bitch-slap anyone who brought up the Clash of Civilizations in anything and actually spent a whole lecture debunking the book.

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Response to Western Civilization Jan. 2nd, 2010 @ 10:31 AM Reply

I disagree with Lewis generally, but I don't even take Buchanan seriously. I have generally the same feeling about the two passages you've selected.

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Response to Western Civilization Jan. 3rd, 2010 @ 04:59 PM Reply

Well as far as I'm concerned, until we remove the Latin alphabet from use there's always gonna be a tenant of "Western Civilization" alive and kicking; the Romance languages. 2000 year reminder of the Western Civ roots.

this would be a second tenant still kickin. But I'm very clearly biased in what I define as "Western", and what elements I consider inherent to that definition.

Since, as already well pointed out, it entirely depends on what one defines as "Western", and on what "Civilizing" aspects adhere to that culture.


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