That the West is in steady decline, is clear for all to see, and equally clear is the answer to the question which forces are destroying it: generally speaking, the misguided ideas of the left and extreme left, the delusions of utopianism, collectivism, –as it is often termed- and egalitarianism, etc. For many conservative intellectuals and commentators, this seems to be a sufficient explanation for the development that definitely set in after the first world war, and had already begun at least some decades before. The answer to the problems that have beset the West is a return to the social and moral codes of the past which had always worked so well. The idea that society can be molded according to human wishes has to be forgotten; the mind is not omnipotent, and it is utter foolishness to try to alter the traditional form of society, the product of generations of organic growth. Although the conservative family is a large one, and many variations exist within it, even touching on fundamental issues, this is roughly the point of view espoused by this school of thought.
Inadequate solutions and the “diplomatic process”.
By now, you must have had more than your fill about Syria, WMDs and the Guardians of Peace in Moscow and Peking. Early on, the case has been “interesting” and now, when nothing new seems to be left, the matter becomes crucial.
At the outset, the writer must confess to a bias. It relates to a childhood experience. My father, an MD used to take me for walks. He used the chance to instruct me about medicine because he wanted me to become a physician. One item I recall was that whenever possible, we should avoid medicine. Due to his lessons I am now fortunate because, having avoided pills, medication has its full effect on me. Other units of instruction related to the detection of cholera and typhoid. I can still recall his lecture about wearing silk shirts in a trench. It is supposed to keep lice away. As a 1914 volunteer at the age of 18, he must have had a valid experience to pass that one on to a kid that did not know much about lice.
There are clever ways to ruin a successful society.
We know that there are no truly local and thereby isolated developments. No criminal insanity that becomes the law of a foreign land will rest in the “Half-Baked Oddities Museum”. Be certain that what you filed as “how did those nuts come up with that?” will be presented to your community to save it and the world.
Bringing coal to Manchester is a deed that responds to a need that is already filled. Knowing that, we could avoid the critique of measures to which the title refers. It is unlikely that the readers, not being inmates of closed institutions, need arguments against the capping salaries to twelve times of the lowest paid by a firm. So, this piece does not intend to recruit support but warns, “You are next”.
Regardless of popular shibboleths, more often than not, the meeting of cultures took the form of collisions. These tended to be wars followed by the subjugation of the beaten. If the weaker people survived the conquest, if it could maintain its identity, the calamity provoked a search for the causes of the rout. This has especially been the case once mankind became aware of technology and its impact on human affairs.
There is nothing inevitable about the investigation of the origins of might and subservience. Some cultures failed to raise the question even if the answer presupposed their survival. The time gap between subjugation and the response could take generations. Here the dissimilar cases of China and Japan occur. Regardless of its isolation prior to 1854, Japan reacted promptly to reverses. The switch from seclusion to conscious adaptation, transformation through learning, was instantaneous. China, on the other hand, responded by ignoring challenges. Her rulers stubbornly resorted to old approaches that have become irrelevant through the achievements of her foes.
The American journalist Cornelius Vanderbilt IV, interviewing Adolf Hitler before WW II, captured the German Führer, who after he introduced himself in German, with a motion to the throngs that awaited him, began speaking: “Tell the Americans that life moves forward, always forward, irrevocably forward.”
Was Hitler a progressive or conservative? Certainly a difficult and irritating question which cannot be answered straight forwardly - however it symbolizes how much blurred the features of Western progress have become. The aim of this essay is to separate those blurred features by tracing them back to their roots in antiquity, and in the process referring to Jerusalem or Judaism with the same confidence that we invest in Athens and Greek philosophy.
Self-confidence is needed to propel nations from the past into the future.
As we look back and around, myths appear to be a reoccurring product of all communities, civilizations, nations and religions. This is so because of our addiction to explanations that can create “order” amidst the seeming capriciousness of man’s experiences. This craving for certainty and their incessant repetition sustains myths so that their illusions serve as substitute truths.
Not surprisingly, also our present kowtows to articles of faith that serve as palliatives and as reassurances of lived collective morality. At present, a significant one of the species is that the encounter between cultures leads to their convergence and that the result is their mutual enrichment. This tale of Green – Left vintage not only ignores reality but also replaces it with an illusion. The concept is that, in the meeting between the rocket scientist and a shaman that invokes the rain god, the involved parties are equal. For that reason, it is incumbent upon the scientist to “show respect” and to adapt. It is rated as racist cultural chauvinism to entertain the thought that if this happens, the rockets might stay on the parched ground.
Today’s issue of depreciating childhood dovetails perfectly with my previous installment on infantilizing adults: both are reflecting a loss of the sense of maturity and responsibility in our Western culture. For instance, today every newborn is burdened with a four to six figure number of debt depending on his or her whereabouts ( cf. David Willets; “The Pinch – How the Baby Boomers took their Children’s Future-and why they should give it back”, Atlantic Books London: 2010, p.259, 269). Now the first dramatic example of instrumentalizing childhood was the Bohemian version of the Dreyfus affair. In Prague it was the Jewish cobbler Leopold Hilsener who was falsely accused of ritual murder. A little Christian girl called Anezka Hruzova had been found dead on the 1.4.1899 in Polna. And it was the first Czech president after gaining independence in 1921, Professor T.G. Masaryk, who made is name with the revision of the court indictment finally exonerating Hilsener. Nevertheless since then the West is drifting towards a gradual and not merely symbolical - think of child rape and “pedophilia”- reversal of the Abrahamic abolition of child sacrifice.
Favored myths and popular lies.
There are developments that do not fit your anticipations if you are socialized by Western values. Reality and our cultural assumptions can clash. Several postulates that are said to be mankind’s goals only express local cultural preferences. Their summary would be a sentence about “liberty”, the “pursuit of happiness” and “self-evident”.
True, the order that produced these concepts has been sufficiently successful to justify emulation. However, it does not follow that the way of the achievers is predestined to become a guideline for all of mankind. We may add that, the worldwide differences in wealth and rights reflect this. The rejection of the values that advanced societies hold to be universal explains global differences in achievement. The attitude expressed through this rebuff reveals why much of mankind remains unfree, badly governed, and poor.
I. Introduction. No area of Western history is quite as recondite as that of the Diadochic empires, the successor-kingdoms that sprang up in the wake of Alexander the Great’s meteoric campaigns (334 – 323 BC) to subdue the world under militaristic Hellenism. One knows that the unity of Alexander’s Imperium, ever tenuous and improvisatory, broke down immediately on his death, when his “companions” fell to bellicose squabbling over bleeding chunks of the whole. Of Ptolemy’s Macedonian Egypt, one knows something – largely because the realm’s newly built Greek metropolis, Alexandria, became culturally the most important polis in the Mediterranean world, even after Octavian conquered Cleopatra and organized her Macedonian rump-state into Rome’s emergent world-federation. To transit from historical fair-certainty to historical incertitude, however, requires only that one switch focus from the Ptolemaic kingdom in the Nile Delta to the Seleucid... Indeed, to the Seleucid what? For Seleucus’ prize in the wars of the successors stretched in geographic space from Syria and Cilicia, and associated insular territories, eastward through portions of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor into the hinterlands of Parthia and Bactria. The Seleucid kingdom’s borders, as distinct from those of the more stable Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt, remained, like the Heraclitean river, in constant flux; moreover, the Seleucid kingdom steadily withdrew in the direction of the sunrise, sacrificing its westerly regions for the defensibility of its easterly keeps, until in its last act, as the remnant Greco-Bactrian principality, it attempted to perpetuate itself against political mortality by an exodus-through-conquest from Central Asia across the Hindu Kush into Northern India.
Representation by the worst we have.
There is a wisdom that Duly Noted likes to repeat. Quite often, their most despicable members define communities. This is a likely outcome as we notice the “bad ones” first. This expresses an evolutionary trait that helps us to avoid danger. Furthermore, “good news is no news” makes us emphasize the negative. No conversation is made about good weather. Most Letters to the Editor are gripes. When have you thanked a tour operator for a perfect trip?