• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The best

Sorry, multiculturalists, some cultures are better than others:

The great ideas of the West—rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law and equality under the law, freedom of thought and expression, human rights, and liberal democracy—are superior to any others devised by humankind. It was the West that took steps to abolish slavery; the calls for abolition did not resonate even in Africa, where rival tribes sold black prisoners into slavery. The West has secured freedoms for women and racial and other minorities to an extent unimaginable 60 years ago. The West recognizes and defends the rights of the individual: we are free to think what we want, to read what we want, to practice our religion, to live lives of our choosing.

[. . .]

The edifice of modern science and scientific method is one of Western man's greatest gifts to the world. The West has given us not only nearly every scientific discovery of the last 500 years—from electricity to computers—but also, thanks to its humanitarian impulses, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. The West provides the bulk of aid to beleaguered Darfur; Islamic countries are conspicuous by their lack of assistance.

[. . .]

 The culture that gave the world the novel; the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert; and the paintings of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Rembrandt does not need lessons from societies whose idea of heaven, peopled with female virgins, resembles a cosmic brothel. Nor does the West need lectures on the superior virtue of societies in which women are kept in subjection under sharia, endure genital mutilation, are stoned to death for alleged adultery, and are married off against their will at the age of nine; societies that deny the rights of supposedly lower castes; societies that execute homosexuals and apostates. The West has no use for sanctimonious homilies from societies that cannot provide clean drinking water or sewage systems, that make no provisions for the handicapped, and that leave 40 to 50 percent of their citizens illiterate.

And one is the best of all.

Posted in: Current Affairs


Bob G.
Tue, 03/04/2008 - 12:37pm

One word:


Tue, 03/04/2008 - 5:01pm

This kind of cultural one-up-manship is troubling. I, for one, have trouble telling exactly what "the West" is supposed to mean. From what I can tell, it is a shorthand for Euro-centric superiority. I don't doubt that European norms of politics and cultural expression have been enormously influential on the world, just that those norms are unambiguously good. The legacy of "the West" is multiform, and to only focus on its positive influence is to short-change debate on questions of race, politics and social structures that, like it or not, are still important. Merely asserting Western superiority is to engage in useless polemics, instead of treating seriously the legacy of rational discourse that our civilization developed.