Culture Knowledge Center:
What is Western Culture?
Brief History of Western Culture
Where Is Western Culture
Transcends Geography and Race
Race and Culture... No Connection
Western Culture Superior?
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,
culture can also be referred to as advanced culture; this
is because its ideas and values promote the development and sustainment
of advanced civilization.
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
Then the rediscovery of Western culture in Europe in the Late Middle
Ages prompted the Renaissance. Western cultures 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.
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 mixedand often largely mixedwith
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
Culture Transcends Geography and Race
Western culture is based on objective reality and universal human
nature, it is open to everyone, transcending
both geography and race.
In other words, Western culture is humanitys 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 valuesand 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 raceor, for that matter, an issue
of ethnicity, language, class, national origin or gender.
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 cultures 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 culturesand individuals of any race
could have conceivably first developed Western or advanced culture.
In other words, Western culture is in no way inherently Caucasian
The level of a cultures development is ultimately explained,
not by race, but by the fundamental ideas of the cultureparticularly
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
cultures level of development as a product of race. As a result,
they view any claim of cultural superiority as a claim of racial
superiorityand, accordingly, condemn the idea of cultural
superiority as racist. However, as we have seen, a cultures
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
A pro-human life culture recognizes the requirements of proper human
survival, namely the values of reason,
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 peacefulthat 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
Life expectancy in nations where nonwestern culture dominates
but Western culture still has modest presence (abbreviated list)
Life expectancy in nations where nonwestern culture overwhelmingly
dominates and Western culture has little or no presence (abbreviated
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 culturedeserving universal admiration
Reisman, Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism,
Intellectual Activist, (April 30, 1990), reprinted as a pamphlet
(Laguna Hills, CA: The Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics
and Psychology, 1992). The pamphlet is available online and free
 Ibid, p.5 in pamphlet
 Ibid, p.7 in pamphlet
 For information on the objectivity
and secularity of moral values, see Ayn
Rands The Virtue of Selfishness; The Objectivist
Ethics, (New York, Signet, 1982).
 Edwin A. Locke, The
Greatness of Western Civilization, (Capitalism Magazine,
Sept, 30, 2004).
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