Wednesday, September 21, 2005

WEST IS A DIRECTION, WESTERN IS ALL CULTURES' DIRECTION

This could be pure nonsense, but why was the USSR considered "the Eastern block," though some of those Eastern nations now join many Far Eastern nations as part of the West, and our current war is about "Westernizing the Middle East?" I propose a geographic analogy:

These terms (North, South, East, and West) were coined before men knew the world was round. West was, and still is, a direction that one can travel; eventually we learned that travelling ever Westward can bring one back to the same point on Earth. The same goes for East, North, and South, or any other direction one can imagine, of course. West, however, has morphed into a cultural term. It now represents or influences cultures literally around the globe, some with very different histories than those originating "the West" as a culture.

Why has the West been so successful at changing so much of the world? Why is Eastern Europe so much more "Westernized" than Western Europe these days? Why do the Islaofascists in the Middle East plot terror against "Western" infidels, and rail against their influence? Because, much like West is a direction on the map, it has become a direction in human culture, including international politics. The general direction is toward greater individual freedom, but as in my geographic analogy, travelling too far "West" can bring a nation right back to oppression of individuals' rights that it was trying to escape. This has become a problem in the U.S, as well as much of Western Europe. Policies claiming to be "of public benefit" threaten to strangle individual freedoms, and the legal abdication of personal responsibility in favor of "deep pockets" lawsuits or "social justice" helps propagate these policies. The U.S, as the leading Western nation, should be on the forefront, fighting to curtail abuses of it's own government bureaucracy against citizens, especially (but not solely) those of the judicial branch.

But I digress.

Successful countries adopt Western policies that enhance their productivity first, as Japan, Taiwan, and others have done, with political freedoms following in each case. Not every society takes a "due West" course. Each nation that "Westernizes" does so differently. China is an example of a nation that has adopted Western economic policies, while maintaining a Communist dictatorship. This will test the theory of economic freedom bringing about political freedom. While China poses a major threat, it is not as great as the Soviets presented at the height of the Cold War. Right now, we must take care of the business at hand in Afghanistan and Iraq, and insure that these countries move in a western direction, expanding individual freedoms. To do any less invites enlarging the suffering in those nations, and adding to the next potential threat to "the West," regardless of how many here at home hate that idea. The internal opponents of the "West" only have the luxury of hating the West because of the freedoms provided them under Western free speech policies, so they really don't have a valid argument against "Westernization."

1 comment:

John said...

Great job.