What does ‘Western culture’ mean anyway?

Western culture without Shakespeare, Kant and Plato?

In a Wall Street Journal column, Bret Stephens recently wrote that Western societies lack the “civilizational self-belief” that others have. Daniel Larison in the American Conservative replied to him that “in modern times, ‘the West’ has often been even more narrowly defined to exclude nations that objectively share the same intellectual and religious heritage for contemporary political reasons”.

Larison is right: “Western culture” is not what liberals have in mind. Europe’s political establishment is still suffering from shock at the election of Donald Trump and the wave of populist movements, from France to the Netherlands. “The West”, the liberal establishment repeats as a mantra, is under threat from Russian expansionism. But what are these “Western values,” according to our élites?

Gender ideology? Multiculturalism? Secularism? Ideological and mandatory open borders? Pacifism? Slander of Israel? Eugenics? Feminism? Cultural sanctimony?

  • tom_billesley

    Shakespeare, Kant and Plato? White males, so beyond the progressive pale. Their works will no longer be taught at universities and any public acknowledgements will be removed from the halls of academe.

    • gambezi

      Racist, fascist. You want a new Dark Age, well you will probably get it. And you won’t like it. Read “The Swerve” if you can. Kant and Plato are a problem not the creators of our civilization.

      • tom_billesley

        I didn’t think the /sarc was necessary.

  • vwVwwVwv

    western culture mean everything what maks my life worth living.

  • El Martyachi

    Buttsex, marijuana and free stuff?

  • Art Deco

    Presumably Larison is referring to the distinction Samuel Huntington drew between the Byzantine descendants and the Roman descendants. That’s a perfectly legitimate distinction to draw, and a distinguishing feature that differentiates the two is political history.

  • Art Deco

    At the core of ‘culture’ is ‘cult’. Western civilization descends from the synthesis between the Christian culture (descended from the Jews), the Classical culture, and the barbarian Germanic culture, a synthesis manifest by the 9th century. Social practice developed and refined in the West then diffused to the rest of the globe.

  • Art Deco

    The problem with our elites has been delineated in part by Thomas Sowell. They have a witless ersatz culture they’re trying to impose on everyone else.

    • gambezi

      Most people today are very poorly educated, especially the ones tho claim to be educated by our pathetic education system. So our ‘elites’ are truly a bunch of dummies. Decline of the west, take a look at “Dark Ages America”.

      • Art Deco

        Most people were always ‘poorly educated’ in a certain sense. Educational institutions at all levels used to do a better job of inculcating a common core and of not getting sidetracked by non-academic mush. However, people did not have too many years of it on average. Harry Truman had a secondary school diploma. He earned it at a time (1902) when my home town (with a population of 150,000) could be adequately served by a single public high school which enrolled perhaps 15% of the population between the ages of 12 and 18. Truman’s brother quit school at age 12.

  • gambezi

    If you don’t know what it means go back and get a real education. Western civilization brought rationality, independent thinking, science, humanism, enlightenment, progress, democracy, freedom, everything we take for granted today. It also brought capitalism, world conquest, vicious wars, genocide, etc. Every civilization has it’s bright and dark side.

  • gambezi

    If you don’t know you need to get a real education.