Why The West Won

Vincent brings up a quotation by the brilliant Dr. Samuel Huntington that’s worth analyzing. Dr. Huntington states:

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.

Indeed, Dr. Huntington is right, but his point doesn’t mean that there’s nothing intrinsically valuable to Western culture. Western culture is based on values like universal education, personal liberty, and equal justice under law. By comparison, shari’a demands absolute submission (the literal meaning of the Arabic word islam), meaning no education for women, no music or art, and absolute oppression. Clearly anyone can see which values are superior.

But values are next to worthless without the ability to protect and preserve them.

Dr. Huntington is right, the West won because of military power. Another great historical and political scholar, Victor Davis Hanson has a very astute and important book that explains why. His book Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power explains why Western armies defeated vastly superior armies in places like Salamis, Lepanto, and Roarke’s Drift.

What he finds is that military ability and culture are intertwined. Why did the Greeks defeat the Persians at Salamis? Because the Greek military rewarded innovation and the Persians did not. Why do Western armies have superior technology on the battlefield? Because Western societies are societies that reward innovation of different ways of thinking, while most non-Western civilizations are founded on the principle of conformity.

Western culture became dominant because of military force. However, that military force is based on the ability of Western culture to reward the kind of behaviors that lead to success. Western culture is based on the enduring principles of human liberty – values that bring prosperity and liberty to anyone, not just those who had the luck to grow up on the shoulders of the Greeks and the Romans. As Prime Minister Blair stated, the values we’re fighting for in this war aren’t just Western values. They are universal human values. No one wants to live in tyranny, no one wants to live in poverty. People want security and liberty.

The question that faces the world is: will we give those things to the people to need it, or will we wait until the next deadly attack to act? The next September 11 will be conducted with weapons far more deadly than crude bombs or aircraft. It will be conducted with some of the most deadly weapons on the planet – chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Dare we wait until that Holocaust happens to act? It would be foolish and immoral to do so. Either we fight now, on our terms, or we fight on the terms of the enemy.

The history of Western civilization is the history of people of vision using military force to defend important human values. If values such as educating women, allowing people to vote, and respecting the rights of minorities are worth anything than they must be fought for or such values will be lost.

6 thoughts on “Why The West Won

  1. “If values such as educating women, allowing people to vote, and respecting the rights of minorities are worth anything than they must be fought for or such values will be lost.”

    Where you talking about America here or was this another reference to Old Europe…I’m confused…

  2. talking about “personal liberty”, and who is going where, I recommend you to check and compare American and European policies regarding data protection…
    that could open your eyes on the impact of corporates on personal rights and privacy!!

  3. OK, I’ll go to a baseball game and boo our national anthemn. I’ll probably get jeered at.

    You go boo your national anthemn.

    In France, it’s a crime.

    Also, European copyright laws are far more stringent than American ones – in fact, some of the most draconian American copyright laws were designed so that American copyright law would be similar to that of the EU. (See Eldred v. Ashcroft)

  4. 1- If booing the french anthem was a crime, every single french person would be in jail right now after the last world cup of soccer…never heard of someone getting busted for that, but here again, you probably know my country better than I do (remenber:”if you work more than 35h/weeks in France, you’re sent to jail”!! ahahahahaha:-))

    2-I was talking about data protection, not copyrights. if you take an international flight coming or leaving the US, you can only get on board if you fullfil a list, which details are sent to many different federal agencies(NSA,FBI,OSP,CIA…).some of these details can be very personal, like sex, age, religion,food…these details, in order to be properly sent to all agencies, are gathered by private companies…do I need to say more about where you can stick your privacy in the US nowaday? Moreover, airline companies willing to enter the US must provide them with the list of passengers(with the above-mentioned details). Provide any organisation with these details is illegal in regard with EU legislation. What does that tell you about airline competition? Can anyone imagine that this law was passed not only for security reasons, but also to gain marketshares(or monopoly) on US flights?

    3-copyrights is not really in my field of knowledge (not to talk about Aschcroft VS. Eldred), but I know a lot about patents…the EU was considering moving to a system close to the American one. And then they realised that the BSA(my favorite name ever: the Business Software Alliance) was pushing for that. They discovered that switching to an american system would mean that no one could create a program without paying fees to Microsoft, or IBM…don’t expect the knowledge in computer science to improve anywhere else than within these big companies that can pay for many patent, and are just waiting for someone to use it to claim for money. This system is a real scandal, because companies are patenting ideas (like software code), which means: if the patent for :”display the letter A on a computer screen” did exist, everyone creating a soft where the letter A could be displayed should pay a fee…(this was a basic example so that everyone understand, don’t come telling me this example isn’t true)

    and if you come to france(I mean if there is an end to air strikes, if you don’t get shot going down the plane, if you don’t get robbed claiming your luggages…) please refrain from booing our anthem, you could be sentenced to death!! ;-))

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