Walter Williams: Assault on Western civilization
Western civilization was founded on a set of philosophies that focus strongly on the sanctity of individuals and their power of logic and reason. This belief led to a desire to trust things that could be proven to be true or legitimate, from government to science.
Judeo-Christian morality has formed the basis of most Western notions of ethics and behavioral standards. Thus, the attack on Western civilization must begin with the attack on the church and Christian values, and, just as important, the family unit must be undermined. The reason why the church, Christian values and family are targets of the left is they want people’s loyalty and allegiance to be to the state. The church, Christianity and the family stand in the way. Let’s look at some of the left’s agenda.
Joe Biden, criticizing sexual assault, said, “This is English jurisprudential culture, a white man’s culture,” adding, “It’s got to change.” The Western world’s culture isn’t perfect, but women fare better under it than any other culture. Just ask yourself: If you’re a feminist, in which countries would you like to live? Would it be Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, China or countries on the African continent, north or south of the Sahara? In those countries, women encounter all kinds of liberty restrictions. Plus, in at least 30 countries on the African continent, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, female genital mutilation is practiced.
The greatest efforts to downplay the achievements of Western civilization start at our colleges and universities. An American Council of Trustees and Alumni 2016 study reported that “the overwhelming majority of America’s most prestigious institutions do not require even the students who major in history to take a single course on United States history or government.” Because of this ignorance, our young people fall easy prey to charlatans, quacks and liars who wish to downgrade our founders and the American achievement.
In 2012, 2014 and 2015, an ACTA-commissioned survey of college graduates found that less than 20% could accurately identify the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. Less than half could identify George Washington as the American general at Yorktown. One-third of college graduates were unaware that FDR introduced the New Deal. Over one-third of the college graduates surveyed could not place the American Civil War in its correct 20-year time frame. Nearly half of the college graduates could not identify correctly the term lengths of U.S. senators and representatives.
The left in our country often suggests that people who stand up for Western civilization are supporting a racial hierarchy. The fact is that the history of the world is one of arbitrary tyrannical abuse and control. Poverty has been the standard fare for a vast majority of mankind. America became the exception to what life was like. That exceptionalism inspired imitators, and our vision of freedom and liberty spread to what has become known as the Western world.
There’s a reason why the West leads the world in terms of scientific innovation, wealth and military might, and it has little to do with genetics. Instead, it’s the environment of freedom, both in the market for goods and in the idea marketplace. Rigorous competition brings out the best in mankind. Leftists and would-be tyrants find Western values offensive.
Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.