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Does The West Have The Will To Survive?

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In Thursday's Wall Street Journal, there was an interesting interview with the Italian Leftist journalist Oriana Fallaci.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/t...n/?id=110006858

In the interview, Ms. Fallaci makes some valid points and quotes an essay by Pope Benedict XVI entitled "If Europe Hates Itself". In the essay, the Pope said: "The West reveals . . . a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; the West . . . no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure."

When a Leftist Atheist such as Ms. Fallaci echoes the words of Pope Benedict, there is something notable afoot. I can’t help but think that America is afflicted with the same pernicious disease. It seems so many in this country have become obsessed with self-doubt that we no longer have the will to fight for our own survival. According to recent public opinion polls, some 59% of the American people now oppose the war in Iraq and 46% are in favor of an immediate withdrawal of US troops from that country. If we are unable to stem the tide of Islamic fundamentalism, the future of free men is indeed very dim.

As mentioned in the WSJ article, the historian Arnold Toynbee wrote that "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder". I’m afraid that America and Europe are both drinking from the same jug of poison Kool-Aid. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but do any of you see positive signs of hope for the West?

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[...] do any of you see positive signs of hope for the West?

A definition of "the West" would help the discussion. What do you mean by that term?

What I mean by the term is this idea: A complex of cultural elements -- in fields as diverse as science, technology, law, and art -- that stand logically on a philosophy of reason, and historically have passed from the best elements of ancient Greek culture.

"The West" -- also known as "Western Civilization" -- is not European culture, which is a heap of cultural elements (some based on a philosophy of reason and many not) defined historically by geography.

I see one positive sign for the West: The pope's own analysis. It echoes the view of his mentor, the late Pope John Paul II, as he explained in the 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio, and other publications. In that encyclical, John Paul II fought against both nihilism (of modern philosophy) and fideism (a turning to faith alone, and eschewing reason in theology and the rest of life), while fighting for a greater role for reason. Of course, he fought for a lot of garbage too, but the distinguishing characteristic is that he advocated expanding reason's role in intellectual life of our times.

Why is the pope's analysis important? Because the pope represents the mainstream of the Church, and the Catholic Church represents the populous core of Christianity, and Christianity is the dominant religion of European culture, and European culture is still the main "medium" in which Western Civilization thrives.

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A definition of "the West" would help the discussion. What do you mean by that term?

What I mean by the term is this idea: A complex of cultural elements -- in fields as diverse as science, technology, law, and art -- that stand logically on a philosophy of reason, and historically have passed from the best elements of ancient Greek culture.

That's a very good definition and it is essentially the one I'm working under, even though I didn't state it or even think about it as clearly as you.

p.s., I bought your Aristotle book. Haven't read it yet, but it's next on my list.

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According to recent public opinion polls, some 59% of the American people now oppose the war in Iraq and 46% are in favor of an immediate withdrawal of US troops from that country.

On the plus side, it does not say WHY they oppose the war. The reasons for that could be bad or good, so it may not be as alarming of a statistic as it might first appear.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
I’m afraid that America and Europe are both drinking from the same jug of poison Kool-Aid.  Sorry to be so pessimistic, but do any of you see positive signs of hope for the West?

I do. The West does not hate itself as much as the Middle East--not yet, anyway. And, overall, we are still more confident and rational than them. Islamic fundamentalism does not arise from an abundance of self-love, self-confidence, and rationality.

We may pull out, but it won't be because we are riddled with self-doubt. It will be because we are tired of getting our asses handed to us on foreign soil. Pulling out may be the best thing we could do right now, until we are sufficiently motivated to at least declare formal, open war on some Middle Eastern dictatorship--and sufficiently willing to do what needs to be done to win the war.

Fleeing is not the end of the world. It is usually the sign of a rational assessment of the situation at hand. It is a survival mechanism.

It is our current faith-based administration that is blindly leading us into the pit of suicide. Those calling for withdrawal may be our only hope. For, once we withdraw, there will only be one place to go: back to the drawing board.

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For, once we withdraw, there will only be one place to go: back to the drawing board.

Your ideas have been very helpful to me in the past, and I always find your comments intriguing even where I ultimately disagree. Your comment above is a puzzle. Why do you think that the U. S., or the West in general, has only one place to go after a retreat?

Surely, the choices of places to go is broader than that one alone, and they depend in part on why the West retreats from Iraq. For example, rather than returning to the drawing board -- that is, rethinking reactions to the threat of aggressive religious fundamentalism -- why could not a nation's leadership retreat into a bunker mentality or simply adopt the conventional European "police-matter" approach or simply drift doing nothing (particularly not rethinking strategy)?

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I’m afraid that America and Europe are both drinking from the same jug of poison Kool-Aid. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but do any of you see positive signs of hope for the West?

Rasmussen has a new poll that shows 51% of Americans want to see military retaliation for the attacks in London. You can see the poll HERE.

Only 25% of those polled said we should respond by pulling out of Iraq.

Despite a year of suicide bombings, trumped-up prisoner abuse scandals, Downing street memos and relentlessly negative reporting by virtually the entire main-stream media, most Americans want more military action, not less.

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Why do you think that the U. S., or the West in general, has only one place to go after a retreat?

Because a retreat is still understood to be a retreat from the enemy whom you will fight another day. You retreat in order to regroup and restrategize. That is the purpose of retreating. Otherwise, you might as well surrender or die.

Now, I'm not saying that we will miraculously arrive at the right strategy next time. But I don't see how our next strategy could be any worse than what we have now.

The reason to retreat is to set the context for restrategizing. This country needs to begin thinking again. We need real choices. Debate. Right now, we are caught up in the blind momentum of Bush-based faith and sacrifice. And there's nowhere to go but deeper and deeper into the bloodbath, until all of America is a battleground in this epic rematch between Christianity and Islam. We need to pull ourselves away from this blind faith and start questioning again.

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Today's political leaders in the West are driven more by polls than by objective reality. Therefore wars today are fought not to defeat an enemy, but to win the hearts and minds of the enemy. World opinion drives the actions of leaders so military decisions are luke warm.

We have the technology to win this war, but not the testicular fortitude to use it.

If you want to win and have the means to win at your disposal, but refuse to use those tools due to the concern over the reaction of others, that is obscene. Especially when service men and women are dying and being wounded.

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Does the West really hate itself...or are we made to get that impression by the minority that does, a minority that controls the flow of information; namely, the left-wing minions who run the media and academia? They excel at being miserable, and won't rest until all of us are equally miserable. They go out of their way to try to make the sheeple feel guilty about their existence.

The West is such an easy target for the left-wing nutjobs because it's the only system that, by its nature, tolerates dissent.

ps.: I meant to say "culture" in place of system

Edited by Bailey
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