Our Mannkal team has entered the Western Civilisation ‘debate’ through our Sun Rises in the West Conference in Oct. 2010. In doing so, we have added another dimension to our activities which offends the usual politically-correct crowd and commentators who are always ready to denigrate their own society.
Whilst ‘Western Civilization’ is no longer taught in most Australian universities, our use of the term itself has stimulated debate beyond our expectations.
At the time of writing, a factual and seemingly uncontroversial article by Kevin Donnelly published by the ABC attracted 421 responses, the majority quite emotionally irrational. A small number were particularly vitriolic about the suggestion that we should actually teach key aspects of Western Civilisation.
So, the debate continues, and we certainly encourage this.
It appears that the main cause of such vitriol is the unclear concept of what Western Civilization (or ‘the West’) actually is. The West is not a linear progression of the ‘great and the good’. History never runs in a straight line; it zigzags with its numerous unintended consequences and we can all learn from this.
However, attacks on Western Civilisation are not entirely without some humour:
- American university students are told that ‘the West’ is bad because it comes from Europe and has an unsavoury history of exploitation, oppression, racism, sexism, so America should de-Westernize.
- European university students are told that ‘the West’ is bad because it is American and is an attempt to subjugate Europe to American ideas of uniformity, capitalistic, hyper-democratic, egalitarian models of how to live and do things that are alien to Europe and should therefore be rejected.
Now, back in Australia, we invite your comment on why these subtle, successful and exciting ideas of ‘the West’ are no longer taught in most Australian universities?