Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 3/1/2011 10:36:51 AM
"Yet the one certainty in this century of Western angst has been that despite repeated war and economic crisis, the West has remained supreme throughout." UK Telegraph/Jeremy Warner
It often strikes me that, even after at least 100 years or more of abuse, the West remains visibly "wealthy." I have concluded that this is solely due to the enormity of wealth created over several hundreds of years. Wealth not just in terms of financial assets, but culture, art, philosophy, etc.
Consider the inhabitants of the USA. Many live on this storehouse of wealth, not realizing they are consuming it daily and producing none to replace it. What storehouse? The work of Locke, Paine, Jefferson, and countless others ' the philosophy of individual freedom and liberty, all men created equal, etc. many still believe they have it, despite never having read any of it directly or in any way understanding it.
How is it being consumed? Every act of Congress, Executive Order, Patriot Act, financial bailout, public education, etc. Each one chips away at the previously stored wealth of the philosophy of freedom and liberty ' call it classical liberalism.
Yet, many still believe they live free. It speaks to a) the amount of wealth that was once stored in this idea, and b) how very long it can last even if not replenished.
What of the monasteries and universities of Western Europe. Consider the centuries of training, education, development of philosophy, etc., behind each one of these hundreds of entities. No, not all of it pointed to liberalism, but much contributed toward liberating events culminating in the 17th and 18th century.
I have mentioned before: Jacques Barzun (From Dawn to Decadence) and Martin van Creveld (The Rise and Decline of the State) cover this (in different ways) much better than I can. They both conclude the notion of state is at an end, and smaller more localized structures will replace it.