AS WE PONDER the two rather "spotty" major candidates gearing down for the final leg in the 2008 race for the US presidency, let's reflect upon a few choice words written about the same time our own original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787.
No stranger to serious ideas, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship [rarely benign]. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.
"During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance ;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage."
In other news, somewhat more to the point of this blog, given the pathetic and worrisome the lack of persuasive skills in navigating this country back to solid land exhibited by these two candidates, let's isolate the idea behind God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis. This book, and similar books seems to suggest that we are quite unfortunate to be saddled with a "Eurocentric" culture and how severely "Islamic civilization" is being treated, unfairly and without just cause.
There are endless numbers of books detailing the dark side of European colonialism, some of them no doubt justified, yet comparatively few good books have been published on the victims of 1400 years of Islamic Jihad on several continents. The problem is that Islam gets too little criticism, not too much.
In contrast, we actually believe European culture is being slighted today. We now face a situation where the United Nations increasingly wants to ban "Islamophobia" across the world as hate speech, while books saying that Western civilization should have been wiped out are praised. Which civilization is actually being demonized here?
For much of its history, Europe has undeniably been a rather violent place, though this is not unique to Europe. We must question, however, whether Europeans are particularly "ethnocentric." After having spent a lot of time reading history from several continents, visiting other countries and talking to people from different cultures, the impression is that Europeans have, by and large, been less ethnocentric and a lot more willing to give credit to other cultures than is common elsewhere.
Frankly put, Western nations are being destabilized as a direct result of mass immigration from more truly oppressive countries scattered across the entire world, including, and especially Muslim ones. Our current problem is that we are too open-minded and naive, not that we are "too racist."
This is still a flaw in the empire suffering from the latest wrinkle of noblesse oblige, but precisely the opposite of the spirit we are constantly being accused of having.
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