What is Western culture? Is Western culture better and superior and best? Resource and library for Western culture

Western culture is likely the world’s most controversial subject.

Some say that it is great, enlightened and worth vigorously fighting for. Others say that it is harmful, depraved and should be destroyed. And many believe that the truth lies between these two views.

Which view is correct and why? And, more importantly, what exactly is Western culture?This Knowledge Center is designed to answer these and related questions.

You are encouraged to start with “What is Western Culture?” and continue from there.

Capitalism and its definition, characteristics, strengths, history and benefits. Western culture and non Western culture and free enterprise, market economy, market economies

Since Western culture recognizes rights and their foundation, it is capitalistic. This is because capitalism develops insofar as individuals are free to exercise their rights and choose to exercise them.[1]

Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of rights, in which all property is privately owned. It is characterized by the pursuit of material self-interest and rests on a foundation of reason.

It is further characterized by saving and capital accumulation, exchange and money, the profit motive, the freedoms of economic competition and economic inequality, the price system, economic progress and a harmony of the material self-interests of all the individuals who participate in it.[2]

Pre-Capitalism — Death Never Far 
In Western Europe, before the development of capitalism in the late 1700s, life for the vast majority of Western Europeans was similar to life for everyone in the world at the time. Merely surviving was an immense struggle, and, on average, people were not expected to live beyond the age of 30.[3]

Famine in Western Europe was common, as was the mass death, infanticide and cannibalism that accompanied it.

Poverty was so severe that the following were considered luxuries usually available only to the rich: shoes, clothes without holes, adequate warmth, candles for light, eating utensils, toys, bathing more than once a month, healthcare, an education.

Work, assuming one could find it, usually consisted of dangerous, unrelenting and exhausting manual labor. And preparing a simple meal or performing routine household chores took precious hours. Sleeping four or more adults in one bed was common, as was all-pervading filth, including raw sewage running through the streets. Disease was everywhere, an inescapable trademark of this era.

The children of this pre-capitalism world were hit hardest. The mortality rate for infants under one year was at least 30%, and the rate for all children from birth to 19 years was at least 50%. And surviving children as young as five often needed to work to help ensure that their families did not become gravely impoverished.[4]

Capitalism The Savior
Capitalism ended this nightmare for Western Europeans. In a historical blink of an eye, it virtually wiped out poverty, countless diseases, hunger, child mortality, human misery and the need for child labor — and ushered in, for hundreds of millions of people, unprecedented levels of wealth, health, and abundance. Life expectancy in Western Europe, as a result, more than doubled to at least the age of 75.

Capitalism also emerged in the United States in the 1800s as well as other nations settled by Western Europeans—resulting in similar life-sustaining and life-enriching benefits. In the mid-20th century, capitalism spread to Asia, immensely improving life in many nations, such as Japan and South Korea. And, currently, capitalism is lifting millions from poverty in other parts of Asia, including India and China.

Capitalism = Higher Life Expectancy
Today, capitalism has at least some presence in nearly all nations of the world. It does not currently exist (and has never existed) anywhere in a full, perfect, and complete form. Wherever capitalism exists, it is mixed with statism. Statism is a social system based on the violation of individual rights; statism includes communist, socialist, fascist, simple dictatorship and “welfare” type systems.

The more a nation embraces capitalism, as opposed to statism, the more progress it achieves. One need only look at life expectancies around the world to see that this is true.[5]

Current life expectancy in nations where capitalism has significant presence (abbreviated list)
82 – Australia
78 – United States
82 – Japan
81 – Israel
80 – Italy

Current life expectancy in nations where capitalism has only modest presence (abbreviated list)
71 – Philippines
66 – Russia
70 – Honduras
65 – Pakistan
59 – Senegal

Current life expectancy in nations where capitalism has little or no presence (abbreviated list)
30 – Haiti
47 – Nigeria
45 – Afghanistan
40 – Zimbabwe
64 – North Korea

Bastion of Benevolence 
The engine behind capitalism’s ability to generate economic progress and the longer life expectancies that result is the division of labor and individual rights. Individual rights sanction each person to pursue his or her own self-interest and benefit—as long as he or she respects the rights of others. 

This means that, under capitalism, a person can only obtain the cooperation of others voluntarily through trade, not through force. In other words, a person under capitalism, according to economist George Reisman:

“…must show [others] how cooperation with him is to their self-interest as well as his own and, indeed, is more to their self-interest than pursuing any of the other alternatives that are open to them. To find customers or workers and suppliers, he must show how dealing with him benefits them as well as him, and benefits them more than buying from others or selling to others.”[6]

For example, Henry Ford did not force people at gunpoint to buy his Model T. He attained customers, and thus benefited himself, because his automobile appealed to the self-interest of consumers since it was superior to other options open to them, such as the horse and carriage. Voluntary exchange for mutual benefit, which this is but one example of, is institutionalized under capitalism—resulting in continuous improvement of people’s well-being and standard of living.

Capitalism, then, is humanity’s bastion of benevolence: Under capitalism, there is only a harmony of rational self-interests because a person is only able to benefit himself by showing that he can benefit others.

Protects Link Between Reason and Survival 
More fundamentally, capitalism leads to economic progress because it is based, not on faith or fantasy, but on reality and facts—specifically the objective requirements of proper human survival. 

Capitalism recognizes that virtually everything that human life requires is ultimately a product of human reason. A Western, capitalist society protects this link between survival and reason by upholding one’s freedom to act upon one’s own rational judgment (in the pursuit of one’s own self-interest).[7]

Therefore, it’s no wonder that the countless achievements that make human life secure and enjoyable were created under capitalism, such as air travel, refrigeration, radio, television, nuclear power, medical cures, indoor plumbing, the motion picture, the telephone, the light bulb, the computer, the Internet and the automobile.

And it’s no wonder that life under capitalism becomes increasingly secure and enjoyable. When human reason is free to operate, it is limitless in its ability to solve problems of human survival and to continuously improve the quality and longevity of human life.

The development and spread of capitalism raised the expectation of life at birth in the world from roughly 26 years in 1820 to 66 years in 2000, the greatest gain by far in 5,000 years of human history.[8] And assuming capitalism is not thwarted, life expectancy will likely rise to at least age 75 by 2050.[9] Capitalism clearly makes the Earth more and more habitable and friendly to human life, not less so.

It’s also no wonder that, under capitalism, human reason thrives in the form of economic planning. Capitalism, indeed, represents the opposite of chaos in that it is characterized by an immense amount of projection and preparation. For example, every day there are countless businesspeople who are planning to expand or contract their firms, who are planning to introduce new products or discontinue old ones, and who are planning to open new branches or close down existing ones. And every day there are countless workers planning to improve their skills, change their occupations or places of work, or to continue with things as they are. And every day there are countless consumers planning to buy homes, cars, stereos and how to use the goods they already have.[10]

From its rational foundation to the limitless and remarkable achievements, advances and economic planning that take place under it, capitalism is clearly the system of reason and for reason—and, therefore, the system that makes most of human life possible and worth living.

Nonwestern Culture and Capitalism 
Since nonwestern culture does not recognize rights and their foundation, it cannot achieve capitalism and its benefits. In nations where nonwestern culture dominates—where theocratic, communist, socialist, fascist and military dictatorships rule—individuals are not free to act upon their own rational judgment in the pursuit of their own self-interest. In other words, government controls and regulations over the economic and political lives of the citizens severely impede or destroy the workings of capitalism in these nations.

As a result, these nations are characterized by widespread poverty, manual labor, unsafe working conditions, filth, disease, helplessness before nature, child mortality and child labor. In other words, these nations are much like the pre-capitalism Europe described earlier, as they would logically have to resemble.

• • • •

Capitalism is based on the recognition of rights. It is in harmony with humanity’s rational nature. It lifts people out of foulness and into prosperity. It is inherently and profoundly benevolent. It makes most human survival and happiness possible. Capitalism is, in short, one of the most beautiful words that can be spoken.

Everyone on earth should fight for capitalism and the Western ideals and values that make it possible as if their lives depend on them—because, in fact, they do.

[1] George Reisman, Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics; “Chapter 1: Economics and Capitalism” (Ottawa, Ill, Jameson Books 1998.) p.19.
[2] Ibid, p. 19
[3] Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal; “What is Capitalism?” (New York, Signet, 1982) p.19.
[4] Jackson Spielvogel, Western Civilization, Fourth Edition, (Belmont, CA, Wadsworth 2000) p. 533.
[5] CIA World Factbook 2010
[6] George Reisman, Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics; “Chapter 1: Economics and Capitalism” (Ottawa, Ill, Jameson Books 1998.) p.28.
[7] Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal; “What is Capitalism?” (New York, Signet, 1982) p.19.

[8] Deirdre McCloskey, The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce, (University of Chicago Press,) p. 26.
[9] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision and World Urbanization Prospects
[10] George Reisman, Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics; “Chapter 8: The Dependence of the Division of Labor on Capitalism” (Ottawa, Ill, Jameson Books 1998.) p.269.

Rights, individual rights and their definition, violations, types and lists. American rights, natural rights, human rights, western culture and non western culture

Western culture recognizes rights.

This follows logically from Western culture’s embrace of reason, individualism andhappiness. This is because rights originate from humanity’s rational nature, belong only to individuals and make possible self-preservation and the enjoyment of life.

Rights Born with Us 
Reason, which is humanity’s primary means of survival, is an attribute of the individual. This fact demands that the individual be able to act on his or her reason and judgment and that it be considered wrong for others to forcibly stop him or her from doing so. In other words, human nature demands that the individual haverights.

Rights are principles defining and sanctioning an individual’s autonomy in a social context.[1] Rights, in other words, sanction freedom—which means freedom from physical force initiated by another or others, particularly by the government.[2] [3]

Since the source of rights is reality, specifically the requirements of survival for a rational being, rights are inalienable. They are absolutes incapable of being surrendered, transferred or revoked by another or others for any purpose.

Or as American statesman John Dickinson (1732-1808) explained: “Rights are not annexed to us by parchment and seals…They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power without taking our lives.”[4]

One Fundamental Right 
All individuals everywhere possess one fundamental right: the right to life. This right has several branches, which are merely different aspects of it. These branches are the right to liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

 

  • The right to life is the right to protect, sustain and further one’s life; it is the right to take all of the action that one’s life requires as a rational being.
  • The right to liberty is the right to act in accordance with one’s judgment to attain one’s values.
  • The right to property is the right to sustain and benefit oneself by keeping, using and disposing of the material values that one has created or earned.
  • The right to the pursuit of happiness is the right to live for one’s own sake, fulfillment and enjoyment.

An individual possesses these rights absolutely as long as he or she respects the same rights in others.

From these basic rights there are many applications, including but not limited to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to petition and assemble, as well as the right to trial by jury and due process of law and protection against unreasonable searches and arrests.

Guardian of Rights 
The only function and purpose of a proper government is to protect the rights of the individual. Government is the agency that holds a monopoly on the lawful use of force in a given geographic area.[5] And a proper, fully Westernized government uses force, under impartially defined laws, only in response against those who initiate its use—that is, only against those who violate rights.

In other words, according to Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826): “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.”[6]

A proper government derives its moral authority from “the consent of the governed.” This means that the power a proper government possesses has been delegated to it by the citizens for the purpose of protecting their rights. If a government does not protect the citizens’ rights, but violates them, then such a government has no moral authority or rational reason to exist.

The types of government that violate rights, as opposed to protecting them, include theocracy, communism, socialism, fascism, Nazism, absolute monarchy and simple dictatorship. These governments, by their nature, are truly at war against their own citizens. The citizens, consequently, have the right to defend themselves by overthrowing their government and creating a new, proper one.

Danger of Democracy 
A proper government is not a democracy. A democracy literally means unlimited majority rule or mob rule. A democracy allows the majority, by vote, to violate rights—the rights of individuals in the minority. In other words, a democracy holds that there is no right and wrong, and people can do whatever they please, given they have enough votes.

Or, in the words of American Founding Father James Madison (1751-1836): “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; they have ever been found incompatible with personal security or…rights…”[7]

A proper government is, or should be referred to as, a rational republic. This is a system of government that is restricted to protecting rights, such as the system established by the United States Constitution. Majority rule in such a system applies only on a limited basis, such as in regard to the selection of government officials and representatives. In other words, a rational republic recognizes that rights are absolutes that are not subject to vote.

Dream Out of Reach 
Non-Western culture does not recognize rights. Governments of nations where non-Western culture dominates are disgustingly abusive and brutal toward their own citizens and often others. These governments act not as servants that protect rights, but as masters that violate them. This tyranny ultimately exists because non-Western culture fails to embrace the foundation of rights: reason, individualismand worldly happiness

Since non-Western culture devalues reason, it does not respect the requirements of survival for a being who survives by reason—that is, it does not respect rights. In addition, rights require that people deal with one another and settle disagreements through the use of reason, discussion and persuasion—not by physical force. But since reason is devalued in non-Western culture, physical force becomes the primary way to settle disputes, and rights seem impractical as a result.

Further, by not embracing reason, people in non-Western culture are often ignorant and helpless, lacking the knowledge required to produce the material goods that their lives require. This contributes to the fact that people in non-Western culture must often fight over a limited quantity of material goods, even food. Violating others rights, as a result, becomes a requirement for survival since they must cheat, steal, kill, etc. to survive. For example, competition for scarce resources is likely one of the causes of the violence in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

Non-Western culture’s rejection of individualism also prevents it from respecting rights. Virtually all emphasis and value in non-Western culture is placed on God or/and the group (such as the state, society, the class, the tribe). The individual, by contrast, is considered largely insignificant or even unreal. Consequently, according to this view, any and all sanction to independent action and freedom belongs, not to the individual, but to God or/and the group, specifically to those on earth who claim to represent them, such as a dictator.

Finally, non-Western culture’s general scorn for worldly happiness prevents it from respecting rights. Non-Western culture holds that the individual does not exist for his own sake and fulfillment, but only to serve God or/and the group. In other words, the individual is only a means to an end, not an end in himself. However, only a being who is an end in himself can claim a sanction to independent action and freedom. If the individual exists to serve God or/and the group, then he would have no rights, but only the duties of a servant.[8]

* * * *

The slave labor, speech and press restrictions, executions and imprisonment without trial, beatings, government expropriation of property and countless other rights violations, which are part of daily life in non-Western culture, will not go away—not until reason, individualism and worldly happiness are admired and pursued, at least implicitly.

Only when people in non-Western culture embrace these ideals and values will they start living the dream of having their rights recognized.

Happiness and its definition, philosophy, meaning, causes, keys and tips. Happiness and Western culture and non Western culture including Islam

Western culture holds that the attainment of one’s own worldly happiness should be the focus of each person’s life.

Put differently, Western culture holds that worldly happiness is, in the words of Aristotle, “the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing… the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”[1]

Happiness is a fundamental and lasting sense of joy and serenity that results from achieving personally meaningful and rational values. Happiness is an indication that one is living successfully, a life proper to a human being, while suffering (as a way of life) is a sign that one is not.[2]

Harmony of Happiness
To pursuit one’s own happiness is to pursue one’s own interests, one’s own success and one’s own well-being—as opposed to engaging in self-sacrifice and self-denial. Happiness, then, is selfish.

As a result of this fact, the seeking of one’s own happiness is often viewed as a threat to others since selfishness is traditionally associated with the sacrifice of others to oneself. This viewpoint has some validity in non-Western culture where, to a far-reaching extent, people cheat, steal, brutalize, enslave and kill others in an attempt to sustain or advance their own well-being.

The ideals and values of Western culture, however, encourage people to pursue and attain happiness in a way that is in harmony—not conflict—with others’ well-being and happiness. For example:

 

  • Reason allows people to deal with one another by discussion and persuasion, not force or fraud.
  • Individualism holds that each person can support one’s own life and achieve one’s own happiness by one’s own effort—not as a parasite, living at the expense of others.
  • Rights protect individuals from being forcibly sacrificed for the benefit of another or others.
  • Capitalism demonstrates that respecting rights is in the rational self-interests of all people.

Western culture, therefore, fosters a benevolent or rational selfishness, in which people neither sacrifice themselves to others—nor others to themselves.[3]

Saved from Dead End 
Western ideals and values, as we have seen, discourage traditional selfishness—that is, pursuing one’s own well-being at the expense of others. By doing so, the ideals and values, in effect, discourage a person from heading down a self-defeating path.

This is because a person virtually cannot attain his or her happiness or proper self-interest by lying, cheating, stealing, assaulting, enslaving, murdering or by engaging in any other heinous act traditionally associated with selfishness.

Such actions, by their nature, put the perpetrator in profound conflict with others and their well-being. As a result, even if a person acts selfish in the traditional sense only every so often, such a person will, at least to some degree, live an anxiety-ridden and dangerous life that teeters on disaster.

Liars, cheaters, thieves, murderers and the like must be intensely concerned with getting caught, spending time in jail and/or, perhaps more seriously, forever labeled untrustworthy and cast out as pariahs—losing at least some of the benefits of living in society as a result. And for many such individuals, a simple knock at the door, bump in the night or countless other normally non-threatening occurrences become terror since they may represent the police or, perhaps worse, their victims seeking revenge.

Slave owners, such as those in non-Western culture, also must live with fear. They must always be concerned with revolt, no matter how well their slaves are treated, and the gruesome things their slaves might do to them out of resentment.

And the more able a person is in sacrificing others to himself, such as in the case of a dictator, the more enemies he makes and the greater the hatred for him. It is no wonder that Hitler and Stalin, for example, both ended up paranoid psychotics given that they had made millions of mortal enemies.

Trying to attain happiness through traditional selfishness is clearly not practical. Any benefit gained is equaled or outweighed by the cost or risk involved, usually by a wide margin. And its impracticality is even more evident when viewed in light of the alternative.

Conflict Cleared 
The alternative is the ethical code of conduct that Western ideals and values encourage: rational selfishness. It demands that one deal with others through trade—through voluntary exchange for mutual benefit—not by force or fraud. Through trade, there are no sacrifices given or collected and no victims or victimizers. There are only victors since both parties gain.

As a result, trade virtually eliminates human conflict and leads to genuine goodwill, peace, decency, kindness and benevolence among rational people. Far from making enemies, a person often makes enthusiastic supporters and even friends among those with whom he or she trades because their lives are benefited from the exchange.[4]

Consequently, individuals of enduring success around the world, including the richest people, are essentially not thugs and swindlers, but traders. Bill Gates, for example, made virtually all of his fortune by dealing with others voluntarily for mutual benefit, not by victimizing people.

Only a person who is rationally selfish—that is, only a person who, at least implicitly, embraces Western ideals and values—is truly capable of achieving his or her happiness and self-interest.

Non-Western Culture and Happiness Incompatible
Non-Western culture sometimes, reluctantly, gives lip service to the importance of worldly happiness. The fact, however, that suffering is the normal state of life in non-Western culture proves that it does not take such happiness seriously.

Non-Western culture is incompatible with happiness because it holds that the individual must sacrifice his for the well-being of the group (such as the state, society, the class, the tribe). But since the group is, in fact, nothing more than a sum of individuals, its happiness or well-being cannot logically be achieved in this way. If all must sacrifice for all, only universal misery can be attained.

And non-Western culture does not take worldly happiness seriously because it often does not take this life seriously. Islamic culture, especially, regards this life on earth to be, not an end in itself, but merely a test for or precursor to a life after this one—a life that promises happiness. According to this view, the more a person denies his or her own worldly well-being, that is, the more he or she suffers in this life in the service of God, the more prepared and worthy he or she is to achieve happiness in the next life.

Fool’s Creed 

A major reason why non-Western culture tends to strongly emphasize happiness in the next life, as opposed to this one, stems from its devaluing of reason. To not emphasize reason is to not emphasize reality, facts and knowledge. For example, in addition to being mostly illiterate, many people of Arab and North African nations are ignorant of such basic facts as man’s landing on the moon.

“Knowledge is power,” said Francis Bacon, and it includes the power to be happy. The more one knows about the world, the more one is able to deal with it successfully and the less likely one is to be frustrated. Knowledge of grammar, math, logic, natural science, economics, history and philosophy—to name just a few areas—is enormously practical in helping one to live confidently, successfully and, therefore, happily. By contrast, without knowledge one is, by definition, ignorant and thus virtually powerless to achieve success and happiness.

Since they choose to devalue reason and, therefore, knowledge, it is no surprise that people in non-Western culture believe that this life on earth is hell on earth. As a result, they seek happiness where they believe it may exist for them: beyond this life. Consequently, death is their primary concern, not living life on earth. Or, as Osama bin Laden simply puts it, in speaking for at least a significant part of the Islamic world: “We love death.”[5]

This belief that one must die to find happiness is a Fool’s Creed. The ideals and values of Western culture, especially reason, make possible an unlimited potential for happiness in this life on this earth. In fact, one could say that Western culture and the joy it offers make death the departing of Paradise, not the entering of it.

Individualism and its definition, characteristics. The value of the individual in Western culture. Non Western culture and individualism. Independence and sovereignty

Individualism means emphasis on the individual person. Western culture’s embrace of individualism stems from its embrace of reason because, as we shall see, the individual — and only the individual — has the ability to reason.

Hero of Humanity is the Individual
A group of people does not have the ability to reason, strictly speaking. Only the individuals comprising the group do because all perception and thought takes place within the individual mind. There is no group brain.

A group of people, for example, may create something new. However, since a group is merely a sum of individuals, what the group produces is ultimately the result of individual reason and judgment. For example, the television is considered a group invention. And it is true that no single person invented it, but this does not change the fact that it resulted from the contributions of individuals, not a faceless collective.

Also, when a person uses ideas and achievements of others to create something new, something above and beyond what already exists, the creation is the person’s own individual accomplishment, a result of his or her own initiative, effort, ingenuity and reason—not that of his or her predecessors. The light bulb, for example, is Thomas Edison’s achievement, and his alone, because he brought it into existence, even though others before him invented glass, a screw base, etc.

Everything that makes human life secure and enjoyable—from achievements in medicine, music and engineering to breakthroughs in transportation, literature and government—was ultimately the creation or discovery of one: the individual using his or her power of reason. The individual, therefore, is the hero of humanity.

Independent 
The individual, with his or her power of reason, can gain knowledge, competency, self-reliance and self-respect through his or her own effort and self-development. In other words, the individual can achieve independence; he or she need not have a fundamental dependence on others, including God, for survival and well-being.

Achieving independence does not require that one live alone, say, on a self-sustaining farm. A person has much to gain, such as knowledge and trade, from living in society. Rather, being independent requires that one think for oneself and pay one’s own way through life by working productively.

By definition, being independent rules out acting as a parasite, such as engaging in crime or, as a normal course of living, relying on private charity or government welfare.

Self-responsible Sovereign 
To have the faculty of reason implies that one has free will. Thinking is an act of choice; it is not automatic or instinctive. It is initiated and sustained by one’s own volition. A person has the choice to think, to question, to judge, to fully focus on reality or to coast mindlessly and then, by default, become a mere product of his or her genes and social influences.[1]

For example, a person can be raised by racist parents and come to personally adopt their irrational views. This person, however, especially by the time he reaches adulthood, can choose to think about and question the truthfulness of his bigoted views and reject these views, even if this process is difficult. If he does not question his views and remains a racist then this, too, is his choice.

The individual, therefore, is not just capable of being independent. The individual isindependent in the sense that what he believes and does—in other words, who he is—is ultimately a product of his own choice. As a result, the individual is self-responsible, the master of his own destiny and, in a word, sovereign.

Individualism Rejected
Non-Western culture rejects individualism. It holds that all achievement is ultimately a gift from God or/and a product of the group—not a result of the individual and his or her reason, volition and initiative. 

In other words, nonwestern culture may hold that God controls, and is responsible for, everything—including the individual and whatever he or she may achieve.

It may also hold that the individual is merely a feeble, dependent and expendable fragment or cell of the group. And the group (such as society, the state, the class, the tribe) is regarded as a super-organism that is somehow apart from and superior to the sum of its individual members. Consequently, according to this view, any and all achievement is the achievement of the group, that is, of a faceless collective.

Therefore, God or/and the group, not the individual, is considered sovereign and the primary value in nonwestern culture. Consequently, the individual in nonwestern culture is viewed as having relevance and value only insofar as he knows his place—that is, only insofar as he submits to, depends on and serves the will of God or/and the group.

Islam, for example, literally means “to submit.” And communism and socialism, with commune and social meaning “group,” are based on the primacy of the group and the subjugation of the individual to it.

Reason or Submission 
In nonwestern culture, submitting and surrendering oneself to the will of God or/and the group has nearly irresistible appeal because reason is devalued in the culture. This causes the individual to believe that reason—his own independent ability to grasp knowledge and truth—is inadequate to provide the guidance that his life and well-being require.

This leaves the individual feeling helpless, like a bird without wings, and desperate for anyone to tell him what to believe and do. As a result, the individual freely subjugates himself to the will of God or/and the group since they, not the individual, are viewed as powerful and efficacious.

 

• • • •

It is unnatural for the individual to be weak, submissive and dependent. Now is the time for the world to embrace the ideal of individualism by recognizing that it is proper for the individual to be rational, strong, independent, heroic and, in essence, the source of all achievement and greatness.

Reason, logic, secularism in Western culture. Mysticism, religion, faith and subjectivism in non-Western culture. Philosophy, definition of reason

Many fundamental differences exist between nations where Western culture dominates (nations of the First World) and nations where non-Western culture dominates (nations of the Third and Second World.)

Disparities in knowledge, achievement, economic development and life expectancy name just a few. The differences are ultimately explained by the fact that Western culture is derived from reason and non-Western culture is not.

What is Reason? 
The ancient Greek philosophers, especially Aristotle (384-322 BC), were the first to formally recognize that objective knowledge is acquired by reason. 

Reason is reality- or fact-based thought and perception. In technical terms, it is the faculty that enables humans to gain objective knowledge by organizing information from their senses into concepts according to the laws of logic.[1]

Reason is based on the view that reality—the world we live in—is real, absolute, universal, objective, complete in itself, and exists independent of and prior to the thoughts, hopes, desires and prayers of anyone and everyone. Reason presupposes that reality is orderly and stable, governed by causality and is, therefore, knowable and intelligible to the human mind. Secularism and science stem from this view of reality.

The competitors to reason are mysticism and subjectivism. 

Reason Devalued in Third World
Mysticism is a cultural force throughout nearly all of the world. But it is especially influential in the Third World, namely Africa and the Middle East.

Mysticism is the claim to a supernatural means of knowledge—one other than or contrary to the evidence of the senses and reason, such as revelation and intuition. All religion is a product of mysticism.

Mysticism is based on the view that the reality we perceive is not real, that it is merely a reflection or distortion of “true” reality, which is supernatural. Therefore, the reality we perceive, according to this view, is dependent on “true” reality and is manipulated by it in ways that are largely beyond the grasp of reason.

Hence, a society that embraces mysticism places emphasis, not on this world, but on “true” reality. Specifically, such a society often emphasizes the existence and power of a supernatural being, such as Allah (the Islamic God), who is believed to represent “true” reality.

And instead of being guided by reason, a mystical society is typically guided by individuals on earth and sacred texts that are believed to provide mystical insight into “true” reality—such as Muhammad (Allah’s spokesperson on earth) and the Koran (the word of Allah revealed to Muhammad), respectively.

Reason Devalued in Second World
Subjectivism is also a cultural force throughout much of the world, albeit a fading one. And it is especially influential in the Second World, which contains communist, socialist and left-leaning nations.

Subjectivism holds that truth varies, usually for different groups of people, such as different economic classes, and that each group, to some degree, creates its own truth. In other words, what may be true for one group is false for another. As a result, this view holds that different groups and their versions of truth clash and compete, i.e., bourgeois/capitalist truth vs. proletarian/worker truth.

Subjectivism is based on the view that reality is not universal, absolute and independent of people’s desires—but can be altered, in whole or in part, by human consciousness. As a result, subjectivism holds that people should dispense with, at least to some degree, the notion of objective reality—as well as with reason, the tool for grasping it.

In fact, the Second World holds that the claim that reason and its conclusions are valid is mere propaganda, created to help the capitalists exploit the working class. Or, in the words of Karl Marx: The “kingdom of reason [is] nothing more than the idealized kingdom of the bourgeoisie.”[2]

Despite its reputation, the Second World does not and has never represented reason. It is ultimately as hostile toward reason as is the mystical Third World.

Reason and Survival 
Humans cannot survive as animals do. Animals survive by relying on their physical traits, such as fur to protect them from cold. And they rely on claws, sharp teeth, keen senses, brute strength and speed to catch prey and avoid predators. Animals also rely on instinct to guide their actions and to keep them alive.

If we humans tried to live like animals, relying mainly on our comparatively puny physical traits or instinct, we would quickly perish, probably from starvation or exposure to the elements.

For humans to survive, we must do so as humans. That is, we must use our minds. To achieve any hope of survival we need shelter, clothes and hunting tools. And to flourish we need language, agriculture, medicine, a proper government, industrialization and countless other values. These things are not created instinctively or merely by physical labor. Nor are they gifts from God. Rather, they are primarily the products of human reason.

In other words, humans are the “rational animal”—not because we always use reason, but because our capacity to reason is our defining attribute, our basic means of survival.

Culture of Success 
Over the past 200 years or more, Western culture has given the world a glimpse of the potential of the rational animal. In places where Western culture has dominated, a flood of material and spiritual wealth has flowed forth, benefiting human life by every objective measure.

Western culture has proven that humans are not helpless or hopeless. We need not cower before nature and the challenges of living, but can rather face them boldly—with the confidence that we, through the power of reason, can ultimately answer any question, triumph over any obstacle, achieve greatness and shape the world in the image of our values.

Western culture has shown that life on earth can be fulfilling, joyful and even heavenly. And it has shown that the reaching of ever-higher levels of knowledge, achievement, progress and human splendor can be commonplace, and that setbacks and suffering need only be temporary and unimportant.

Culture of Failure 

Both Western culture and non-Western culture show the power of reason. Western culture shows what happens when reason guides a culture; non-Western culture shows what happens when it does not.

Ignorance, superstition, dogma, poverty, despair, dread, meekness, disease, violence and premature death are the hallmarks of non-Western culture. And whatever advanced knowledge, progress and reprieve from misery people living in it have ultimately comes from Western culture.

With the suffering that accompanies it with each passing day, non-Western culture proves that people can reject reason as their guide to thought and action, but they cannot escape the fact that reason is man’s means of survival.

How much longer will people of the Third and Second World, by choosing to not embrace reason, reject their humanity and doom themselves to darkness, including genuine darkness?

Reality or Brutality 
One hallmark of non-Western culture that deserves special attention is violence.Disgusting brutality on a ghastly scale often takes place within, or emanates from, nations where non-Western culture dominates.

Some of the blackest examples of violence within non-Western culture include: the murder of at least 85 million people in communist nations in the 20th century[3]; the murder of nearly one million people in Africa since the mid-1990s; and the murder of as many as 600,000 people in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.[4]

Some of the blackest recent examples of violence emanating from non-Western culture, in terms of loss of life, include of course the September 11, 2001 massacre and the Madrid and London bombings.

The lack of embrace of reason in non-Western culture is ultimately the cause of these atrocities. Reason is the only objective way in which people can communicate and understand one another. When people deal with one another by reason they refer to reality as their objective arbiter and guide, and this allows people to ultimately settle disputes peacefully.

When people claim, however, that their knowledge is mystical, above reality and reason, or that it is subjective, and that reality is relative and reason is mere propaganda—then no persuasion, communication or understanding is possible. Consequently, in case of disagreement, there can be no recourse except to physical force and violence.[5]

Until people in non-Western culture recognize that reason is the foundation of a proper, civilized and peaceful society—the failure, the suffering and the bodies will only continue to pile up.

What is Western culture? What is non Western culture? The history and definition of Western culture. Western culture and race, racism, multiculturalism, westernization

Western culture is a body of knowledge derived from reason.


This foundation of reason has made possible a vast accumulation of understanding related to reality or nature, including human nature.

This understanding is represented in several core ideals and values, which include individualism, happiness, rights, capitalism, science and technology.

Western culture can also be referred to as advanced culture; this is because its ideas and values promote the development and sustainment of advanced civilization.

Brief History
Western culture began in Ancient Greece. There and in the Roman civilization it developed until the start of the Middle Ages when it largely vanished from Europe. During the Middle Ages, Western culture resided, instead, in the Arab / Persian world to a modest degree.

Then the rediscovery of Western culture in Europe in the Late Middle Ages prompted the Renaissance. Western culture’s continuing development then led to the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and to what is considered today as modern civilization.

Where Western Culture Is 
Today, Western culture has at least some presence in nearly all nations of the world. It does not currently exist, however, anywhere in a perfect and complete form. Wherever Western culture exists, it is at least partially mixed—and often largely mixed—with non-Western culture.

Western culture currently dominates in many Western and Central European nations and several nations settled by Europeans and their descendants. Western culture also significantly exists in many Asian nations, such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, and it is increasingly influential in India and China.

It has only a modest presence in most of the rest of Asia as well as Latin America and Eastern Europe. In much of both Africa and the Middle East, Western culture currently has little meaningful presence.

Western Culture Transcends Geography and Race 
Since Western culture is based on objective reality and universal human nature, it is open to everyone, transcending both geography and race.[1]

In other words, Western culture is humanity’s culture. Contrary to conventional belief, one does not need to be Caucasian or of European descent to admire Western culture or, indeed, even help to build it. Any individual or society on earth can adopt it and thereby become Westernized.

Indeed, millions of people each year with no ancestral ties to Europe recognize the universal appeal of Western culture. They do so by immigrating to and immersing themselves in nations where Western culture has meaningful presence. Or they personally embrace and promote Western culture in the nations where they live.

These adopters of Western culture understand that truth is truth, ideals are ideals and values are values—and it does not matter from where such things come or who originally discovered or identified them. In other words, adopters of Western culture know, on some level, that culture is an intellectual matter, not an issue of geography or race—or, for that matter, an issue of ethnicity, language, class, national origin or gender.

Race and Culture… No Connection 

The fact that Europeans or Caucasians largely developed Western or advanced culture does not mean that they are innately superior or only they are capable of creating it.

One needs simply to know that North African, Near Eastern and Middle Eastern individuals developed the first civilizations or civilized cultures. And while these cultures flourished, Europeans or Caucasians had generally not yet developed beyond savagery.

Further, significant elements of Western culture came from other parts of the world, including the first civilizations and Asia. Also, individuals of all races, ethnicities and many national origins have contributed to the development of Western culture over the centuries and continue to do so today.

And if current trends continue, Western culture may be taken to new heights in Asia in this century or the coming centuries rather than in areas dominated by Caucasians or people of European ancestry.

It is also worth noting that the Aztec and Inca cultures of Central and South America, respectively, were in some ways nearly as advanced as European culture at the time, despite the fact that they were relatively young. Had the Aztec and Inca civilizations not been conquered and had more time to develop, it is conceivable that their cultures may have come to rival, even surpass, European culture.

All of this is to show that race has nothing (or at most virtually nothing) to do with a culture’s level of development. A certain race may appear to be more advanced at a given time, but, over the broad view of history, it is clear that no race is superior or innately more capable than others.

Individuals of any race could have conceivably created the first civilized cultures—and individuals of any race could have conceivably first developed Western or advanced culture. In other words, Western culture is in no way inherently Caucasian or European.

The level of a culture’s development is ultimately explained, not by race, but by the fundamental ideas of the culture—particularly by the degree to which reason is embraced as the guide to thought and action.

Western Culture Superior?

Many people strongly disagree with the belief that a culture can be considered better than others. They do so because they view a culture’s level of development as a product of race. As a result, they view any claim of cultural superiority as a claim of racial superiority—and, accordingly, condemn the idea of cultural superiority as racist. However, as we have seen, a culture’s level of development is not a product of race.

People also object to the idea of cultural supremacy because they do not believe that culture can be judged objectively. This, too, is incorrect. The proper standard for objectively evaluating a culture is by the degree to which its core values are for or against human life.[4] A pro-human life culture recognizes the requirements of proper human survival, namely the values of reason, individualism, happiness,rights and capitalism.

In other words, pro-human life culture is Western culture. And the extent to which a nation embraces Western culture is the extent to which it is free, prosperous, modern and peaceful—that is, supportive of human life. One need only look at life expectancies around the world to see that this is true.

Life expectancy in nations where Western culture dominates (abbreviated list)

Australia 81
United States 78
Japan 81
Israel 79
Italy 80


Life expectancy in nations where nonwestern culture dominates but Western culture still has modest presence (abbreviated list)

Philippines 70
Russia 67
Honduras 69
Pakistan 63
Senegal 59


Life expectancy in nations where nonwestern culture overwhelmingly dominates and Western culture has little or no presence (abbreviated list)

Liberia 40
Nigeria 47
Angola 39
Zimbabwe 40
Laos 55

Source: CIA World Factbook 2006 

Objectively judging cultures is not only legitimate and possible; it is ultimately a life and death issue. And when cultures are judged, it is clear that Western culture, with its life-giving and life-sustaining magnificence, is the greatest culture—deserving universal admiration and praise.