COLUMBUS DAY

If you've heard the lunatic left chanting (they seem to do everything in a sort of hive mind collective), "Hey, hey, ho, ho.  Western Civ has got to go", you might be wondering why and what it is they want to replace it with.  On Columbus Day, you might also notice that this explorer is disparaged in bitter terms as responsible for the genocide of Native American people and presumably the person who first infected the Americas with that which has to go.

It appears that the left equates Western Civilization (also known as European or Western Culture) with White  people, i.e., purveyors of genocide, oppression and Capitalism.  For the left, other cultures featuring "people of color" are superior in some respect they never  quite explain.  Examining those cultures, however, reveals that human nature is not very different across the globe, even if cultures are.  Native Americans, far from being idyllic people who are peaceful and guardians of the environment, were typically at war with each other and even wiped out entire tribes including men, women and children.  Those they didn't kill, they captured and either hideously tortured to death, or enslaved.  They were also more concerned with survival than the environment.  Their demise upon the introduction of Europeans was due to disease inadvertently introduced.  Small Pox was the most devastating.  Certainly, there was war  between the natives and the colonists and those wars were frequently brutal. The natives treated whites as they did their indigenous opponents, with brutality, and in return, the whites called them savages and treated them in kind.

But if Europeans had not colonized the Americas, what would the trajectory of native cultures have achieved?  The South and Meso-American cultures certainly had high achievements (although it may be that they were inherited and they claimed  they were taught by a mysterious stranger), while most tribes were still essentially living in the stone age with hunting, fishing, gathering and small-scale agriculture.  There wasn't much prospect of their cultures changing without outside influences.

Western Civilization, while in some respects similar (given human nature), went beyond war and conquest to create something unique in the world.  Staring with the Greeks and their ideas of  democracy, philosophical inquiry,  art, literature and skepticism towards superstition and religious beliefs; extending through the Romans whose engineering and laws formed an advanced civilization; then through the growth of knowledge and art in the Renaissance; and finally the Age of Reason and it's attendant rights of man,  there was a flowering of science, technology, art, architecture, music, literature and mostly individualism.  The Judeo-Christian religion, when it wasn't abusing and ignoring its basic tenets, also contributed to the notion of personal responsibility.

In Asia, there are certainly highly intelligent people who were held back for centuries by an associative culture that disparaged and discouraged individualism in favor of group identity.  To stand out from the crowd was shameful and so, innovation was largely lacking.  For example, contrast Japan before and after it was opened up to the world.  In the Islamic world, the idea of submission to Allah led to fatalism that discouraged individual effort and a rigidity of doctrine that punished independent thinking.  (The so-called Golden Age of Islam was in part a corruption of the religion's central doctrines and in part the influence of Hindu scientific achievements being adopted by Arabs.)  Latin America has long had a "Caudillo Culture" that idolizes the strong man, whether church authority or the latest dictator.  And the top down suppression of society had repressed economic growth.  And Africa has been a basket case of corruption, tribalism, superstition and according to some demographers, low average intelligence. 

So where would humanity be without Western Civilization?  If you look about the world, you'll notice that the scientific method has been adopted everywhere.  Architecture, fashions, music, movies and even the idea of democracy, free market Capitalism and human rights are now universal even if in some cases, notably Marxist, the political and economic systems are regressive.  European colonialism resulted in the spread of culture that elevated humanity culturally, economically and politically.  If  you want to know what America would be like if the Europeans, with all their imperfections, had never arrived, just look at what the Americas were like 500 years ago.  

I think we owe  Columbus a holiday.  Not  because he was the first European to visit the Americas (he wasn't), but because he opened up this continent to progress, even if that progress was painful, unsteady and creatively destructive at times.  The culmination of the best in European culture was eventually epitomized by the creation of the United States, a country that still remains a beacon of progress for the rest of humanity.  Those who yearn for a fantasy land of idyllic romanticism need to understand that human progress isn't easy, but with the ideas of science, ethics, individualism and freedom, there's always the possibility of a better world ahead for everyone.
Website Builder