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Multicultural Origins of Civilization

Adolf Hitler American flag Another response to Multicultural Origins of Civilization. This was originally an exchange on Craigslist, but I've expanded my answer since then.

West Civ.: Still best, more proof: < RicoP > 12/29 12:30:14

As Walter Russell Mead explains in his trenchant (and entertaining) "God and Gold: Britain and America and the Making of the Modern World," first Britain and then America have built the most prosperous and creative economies the world has ever seen and have prevailed in every major military conflict (except when they fought each other) since the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Many of those victories have been achieved in conflicts far more grueling than what we have faced in Iraq. -Michale Barone

Winning war is proof of greatness? < robschmidt > 12/31/07 15:54

Then Vietnam must be the greatest nation in history, since it kicked our butts in the 1960s.

The US didn't prevail in Korea and it's not going to prevail in Iraq.

Britain would've lost WW II except for US help. How does that prove Britain's greatness?

Britain had an empire and lost it because of its political and economic weakness. Again, not exactly a sign of greatness.

Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and the Soviet Union were also part of Western civilization. So Western civilization was on the losing as well as the winning side in two world wars.

Other Western countries such as France and Spain have lost several wars since 1688.

Why should we allow this rhetorical baton-passing from Britain to the US as if there's only one example of Western civilization? Fact is, every country in Europe, the seat of Western civilization, has suffered reversals and declines. No European country has more power now than it did at its peak.

Since Western civilization arguably began with the dawn of of ancient Greek civilization circa 750 BC, why should we limit ourselves to events after 1688? Rome's despotic empire and its fall, the Dark Ages, William the Conqueror's victory over Britain, and the failed Crusades are all part of Western civilization's record.

Britain now has only the fifth largest economy in the world after the US, Japan, Germany, and China. The presence of two non-Western countries on the list shows there's nothing unique about Western civilization.

Many people think the US has less political and economic clout than it did a few decades ago. Economists predict that China eventually will overtake the US as the world's leading economy.


Related links
The myth of Western superiority

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