[ExI] The Evils of the West

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 15 13:42:48 UTC 2009

--- On Tue, 4/14/09, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Eschatoon Magic wrote:
> > Why not just "On the world stage, this means trying to
> help all
> > societies acquire the institutions that deliver the
> goods", without
> > "Western"?
> Yeah, I only meant it as an additional adjective, not a
> qualifier. (We'll have to ask some Language major what
> the exact terminology is.)
> It just so happens that almost all the institutions that
> "deliver the goods" are Western (and their derivatives,
> e.g. Japan, of course).
> Dan wrote
> > I thought two of the quintessential Western traits --
> dating back to  > the Ancient Greeks -- were 1) to
> be self-critical and 2) to learn from
> > others.  Think of Herodotus and
> Hippocrates.  (To be sure, I doubt
> > Westerners had or have a monopoly on these
> traits.  It's perhaps more
> > accurate to say these traits tend to be more extreme,
> historically and
> > currently, among those in the West.  I grant that
> probably many if not
> > most in the West do not adhere to these traits and
> just sheepish
> > follow whatever fads are current.)
> Yes, self-criticism in pretty Western all right, but
> on the other hand, surely no one elevated self-criticism
> to the heights advocated by Mao. Every neighborhood cell
> in his reign had to undergo extremely intense
> "self-criticism
> sessions" in which anyone at all, IIRC, could be accused
> of
> being insufficiently Red or insufficiently obedient to the
> path Mao laid down.

Mao was a disciple of what Western ideology?

Also, these self-criticism sessions are not really like the signature trait of Western self-critical attitude.  The former is merely following an external model -- specifically, conforming to a totalitarian ideology -- that's the hallmark of cult behavior the world over.  It's not really, to that extent, self-criticism.  It's function is social: conformity to the community however defined.  The latter is usually toxic to that kind of conformity.  Don't you agree?
> As for learning from others, yes, I admit that that too is
> a pretty Western trait. The Eurpoeans were extremely eager
> to learn from the Arabs and later the Chinese---but those
> cultures had no reciprocal interest. (East Asia and India
> eventually came around.)

I would have stated, to be precise, "most people in those societies" "had no reciprocal interest."

> No, what I meant by the Western institutions that "deliver
> the goods" was free-market capitalism, rule of law, and
> very high regard for private property. Well---at least
> we *used* to highly regard all three...

I would agree with these Western institutions.  They would, however, in my mind, no go along with some of the proposals made by some here about treating certain individuals merely because of their religious beliefs and not because of some particular actions they've actually taken (remember that quaint view of "innocent until proven guilty" and also of matters of law dealing with actions and NOT beliefs?).




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