Tag: western culture

Harvard professor and human evolutionary biologist Joseph Henrich discusses the psychological, cultural, and institutional roots of Western development. His latest book, The WEIRDest People In the World, received the Manhattan Institute’s 2022 Hayek book prize.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

Member Post

 

They just got their categorization wrong by failing to distinguish between race and culture. But if their categorization of race as inseparable from culture is correct, the conclusion may be that people of different races cannot live together in a society, and we would be better served by building separate race-based societies, rather than trying […]

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Virtues Laid Stone-by-Stone

 

The media flows with genuine tears over the catastrophic fire at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. Historians would be quick to point out that such awful fires have occurred with dismaying regularity across the centuries. The difference here was the possibility of limiting the damage through modern firefighting equipment, plus the fact that technology allowed the entire world to learn about the tragedy within minutes.

Since Monday’s blaze, commentators across the world are the hailing this remarkable 850-year-old cathedral as a “Treasure of our Western Culture” or “A Landmark of our Western Civilization.” All true, of course. All true.

In Praise of Western Colonialism, White Men, and Modernity

 

AerialPPThe existing leftist social environment backed by political organizations, academia, and media is for white men, especially Europeans, to be eternally responsible for their colonial and imperial past. I consider white guilt to be one the most dangerous mentalities poisoning the western world.

Western civilization has done a world of good in human history. Western culture has given us Bernini, Mozart, Montesquieu, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Newton. The western world has given us individual liberty, freedom of expression, a culture of human rights, and the rule of law. It has given us electricity, clean water, airplanes, computers, medicines, and automobiles. The west has given the world modernity.

Undoubtedly, there were many problems with western colonialism, but there were also a lot more decent things westerners had done for other races as well. British imperialism did a lot of good around the globe, from India to Hong Kong to South Africa. We think of French colonialism as problematic in comparison to British imperialism. Just look at the differences between Haiti and the Bahamas. Even so, French colonialism was a force of good in some parts of the world. France had done worthy things for the Khmers in Cambodia. I probably sound biased since I come from a Francophile family. My maternal grandfather was influenced by French culture. He grew up speaking both French and Khmer as his native tongues. His father was very French in the way he thought and talked. So I’m quite fond of France and the French in general.

No, Rubio: The American Dream Is Not Universal

 

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 10: Presidential candidate Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (L) (R-FL) speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal at the Milwaukee Theatre November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The fourth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top eight candidates, and another for four other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)I’m a fan of Sen. Marco Rubio. He’s an impressive man, and really shines in debates. If he’s the GOP nominee, I’ll relish watching his performances against Hillary Clinton (recall that her only experience facing off with a good debater forced her to run for her first term in this cycle, instead of planning her presidential library at the end of her historic two terms).

Yet, in Tuesday night’s GOP debate on the Fox Business Network, I was struck by what Rubio said about the American Dream, rightly seen as a desire to live in a society of economic and personal liberty:

It’s a universal dream of a better life that people have all over the world.

Hands Off My Hips, White Girl!

 

Earlier this month, there was this big dust-up at Salon over white girls who belly dance. To whitesplain for a moment (if palefaces like me are even allowed to whitesplain): for white girls to do a brown girl’s dance is an act of cultural appropriation, and therefore imperialism. More generally, for Westerners to focus on any one aspect of a non-Western culture is to demean the entire culture with our shallow, Westernized understanding.

I have to give the readers of Salon credit: most of them sensibly saw right through this supposed outrage, judging by the comments they left (or humorous responses they wrote). But it did get me thinking a bit about what it is that makes something “exotic”, and why “the exotic” appeals to people, especially Westerners.