by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer
It was in the 1960s, as I recall, that college campuses resounded with the chant, “Hey hey, ho ho, western civ has got to go.”
The United Stateswas, and perhaps still is, the pinnacle of western civilization, but just what is that? To the campus hippies of the 60s, western civilization was considered to be a culture of oppression. They decried all the abuses of power which they identified with the United States, and with other western nations— and there were many.
What the student protesters did not notice was that the abuses of power in nonwestern nations are far worse than anything they could imagine. They idolized communism. The American communists of the 1930s fantasized that a worker’s paradise existed in Stalinist Russia, and completely dismissed all the evidence of Stalin’s brutal repression in which millions were systematically starved to death. Today’s American leftists are similarly deluded.
Despite whatever criticisms one might have of the United States— born as a nation of slave-owners, rife with Tammany Hall corruption, imperial greed that extended to India and China, and within the Americas—add to that the long litany of the failures of US domestic and foreign policies— despite all that, the United States is inherently a good country. It is good not only because Americans are good people, but more than that, because we stand on the shoulders of giants, as the saying goes. For all our faults, we are almost always moving in the right direction, toward more freedom, and toward greater charity to the entire world.
The remedy to our many flaws is not to embrace the evils of totalitarianism, nor to mimic primitive cultures, nor to tear down our own nation’s borders. It is to continue to build upon that which is good in our culture.
To do that, young people first need to understand what western civilization is, what are its beginnings and foundations, how it has enriched the world, saved countless lives, and lifted millions from poverty, not to mention defeating the worst tyrannies the world has ever seen.
Opposition to teaching that history is fierce. Ironically, those who most benefit from the achievements of western civilization are those who hate it most. Even more ironic is that they who would trash its achievements will feel its loss perhaps more keenly than anyone else. Those who abuse freedom are those who cherish it least, until at their own hands it is lost.
Western civilization is founded in two opposing traditions, the Hebrew and the Greek, the culture of faith and the culture of reason. The first recording of the clash and merger of these two traditions is in the Bible’s book, the Acts of the Apostles. This book chronicles the earliest days of the Christian faith, and from that point onward, it is impossible to separate Christianity from the rise of western civilization.
Until that period of time, there was no consequential mention in secular history of respect for individual rights, not only the rights of kings, but also the equal rights of peasants, and even the rights of our enemies.
The freedoms espoused by Christianity are not bestowed upon us by men, but by God, and God requires us to obey His law. It is that law which ignites the hatred of hedonists who disguise themselves as advocates of human rights.
Certainly human rights includes the right to do wrong, but those who do wrong detest being exposed as wrongdoers. Today, abortionists disguise their murders as “choice.” Those who are destroying our education systems always declare, “It’s for the children.” They are well aware of their criminality before God.
Those who would destroy western civilization must first destroy Christianity, and with it, its forebear, Judaism. It is no accident that the chosen people of God, and their nation, is more hated in the west than are all the terrorist armies combined. Iran is beloved by American liberals because although it poses an existential threat to the west, it first would destroy Israel.
Contrast this western hatred of Israel with the more pragmatic policies of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. These two predominantly Moslem nations, whatever their past animosity toward Israel, have waged war against Islamic terrorism, and are moving closer to an alliance with Israel against Iran. The Moslem Kurds also are fighting against Islamist terrorists, and doing so with only the most grudging and token assistance from the west.
Clearly, then, the liberal animosity toward Israel is not rooted in a love for Islam, but in hatred of God.
Christianity survived the lions in Roman arenas, not only survived but thrived. It will survive the attacks by American liberals. It will thrive.