For Encounter Books’ “Close Encounters” video interview series, I spoke with the eminent Hoover Institution classicist, historian and National Review Online contributor Victor Davis Hanson on a wide range of subjects from the decline of the American academy to Middle East policy, North Korea, the Mueller special counsel and the assault on the Trump presidency from all sides and much more.
Tag: Western Civilization
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Amy Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she specializes in social welfare law and policy as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets. She is the author of Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century.
Professor Wax has become a controversial figure because of her politically incorrect comments advocating in favor of bourgeois values and the WASP culture from which they stem, and in her claims that black students had generally performed at significantly lower levels than other students in her classes in context of a conversation about the downsides of affirmative action — comments that got her ousted from teaching the first year civil procedure class for which she had previously won an award for “teaching excellence.”
For Encounter Books I recently had the opportunity to interview the eminent Professor Leon Kass on his latest book Leading a Worthy Life: Finding Meaning in Modern Times.
During the interview [audio, transcript], Professor Kass and I discussed among other things how one defines a “worthy life,” finding meaning in this modern libertine (though often not libertarian) age, the decline but potential for rebirth of core values and principles of Western civilization, squaring scientific progress with ethics, rekindling a love of excellence and much more.
In a new piece for the Claremont Review of Books, I argue that Israel’s Temple Mount policy from its reclamation in 1967 to today — intended to appease Arab aggressors — is a microcosm of what ails the West. In fact, it reflects the perfect symbol of our civilization’s lack of confidence in its moral legitimacy, sovereignty, and the right to defend against aggression.
Here’s a taste:
Israel does not err alone. The Temple Mount, which is core to the Judeo-Christian world generally, and to Israel—which is the first line of defense of Western civilization against Islamic supremacism—is symbolic of the West’s broader ideological maladies. Leftism sees the West as an evil, oppressive, occupying force. The hysterical reaction to President Trump’s Poland speech in defense of Western civilization—which was read by the Left with scare quotes as a defense of racism and colonialism—is the product of such “progressive” brainwashing.
The West has deemed itself morally illegitimate, the decadent and depraved creation of dead European white males. To make up for real and imagined historic injustices, the West has frequently repudiated its fundamental principles, and actively undermined its institutions. Its crisis of moral legitimacy is revealed in virulently anti-religious secularism, and in attacks on the natural rights to life, liberty, and property by an administrative state operating without the consent of the people.
The West’s lack of confidence in its sovereignty is revealed in open-borders policies that result in endless migrant floods, regardless of whether the migrants will or can enhance economic or social development. Progressive activists go so far as to imply that every migrant—legal or not—has an inherent right to citizenship, or at least to the rights guaranteed by citizenship. The multicultural credo that holds all cultures to be equal and inherently valuable is thought to obviate the need for borders.
The West’s unwillingness to defend itself against Islamic aggression reveals itself in Europe’s “no-go zones.” In America, it reveals itself through our see-no-Islam national security and foreign policy, and in the pervasive belief that we must appease our enemies with bribery (Iran Deal), sacrifice our rights (anti-free speech measures so as not to offend), or remove our defenses through politically correct policies chiefly oriented towards concession rather than victory (“Countering Violent Extremism”). At the heart of these policies is a belief that the West is the aggressor, and our enemies are the aggrieved.
The West’s lack of confidence ultimately extends to its right to survive. If one of the least abashed Western nations won’t assert itself at Temple Mount, it is hard to be sure where other nations will draw lines they are prepared to defend without yielding.
Read the whole thing here.
Father George William Rutler has written a piece over at the Catholic Crisis Magazine worthy of the West’s attention, and therefore consequently unlikely to get it in these times of willful blindness and unblissful ignorance.
In it, he pens a critical passage linking the prescient poet Rudyard Kipling to the persecuted Christians of the Middle East [emphasis mine]:
[O]ne still might echo Rudyard Kipling: “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” The Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Amel Shumoun Nona, has warned from exile in Kurdistan: “Our sufferings today are a prelude to what even European and Western Christians will incur in the near future. Your liberal and democratic principles here (in the Middle East) are not worth anything. You need to rethink our reality in the Middle East because you are receiving in your countries, an increasing number of Muslims. You too are at risk. You have to take strong and courageous decisions, at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think that men are all the same. It is not true. Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand in time, you will become victims of the enemy you have welcomed into your home.”
East is East and West is West. Yet the Wise Men in their wisdom outwitted King Herod and such wisdom, mated with self-neglectful virtue, melts all physical and ideological boundaries with a charity that gives hope to the most helpless. That is why Kipling continued with his ballad:
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!
Jews have served as the historical canary in the coal mine of Western civilization, with the nation of Israel today’s first line of defense against Islamic tyranny.
But the unheeded cries of persecuted Christians in the Middle East are a harrowing reminder that Islamic supremacism’s enemy is Judeo-Christianity in toto.
We’re all infidels now, and indeed have been for all time.
There is a slow-motion global jihad being waged against us all, and we ignore the Islamic supremacist ideology that animates its soldiers abroad and at home at our own peril and to our own great detriment.