Book Review: The Clash of Civilizations

by Elusive Wapiti on April 25, 2012

Book Review: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, by Samuel Huntington, 1996, 321 pages.

Summary: In this 16 year old book, Mr. Huntington divvies up the world into 9 distinct small-c civilizations, each with its own culture, which Huntington defines as blood, language, way of life, and religion:

(1) Western – Christian and post-Christian lands populated by Europeans. The border of Western civilization is marked not by Urals but where Catholicism/Protestantism ends and Eastern Orthodox/Islam begins

(2) Orthodox – Hellenes, Slavs, and other Eurasians influenced by/professing Orthodox Christianity

(3) Islamic

(4) African – Sub-Saharan Africa

(5) Latin American – Mesoamericans professing Catholicism

(6) Sinic – Modern-day China, Korea, Vietnam

(7) Hindu (Indian)

(8) Bhuddist – Modern-day Tibet, Mongolia, Burma, Laos, Thailand

(9) Japanese

Mr. Huntington argues that these civilizational fault lines better explain patterns of conflict and bandwagoning / balancing behaviors in interstate violence, particularly in a post-Westphalian world, than other paradigms. His taxonomy of civilizations tends to pivot around religion, in that he sees religious factors as the primary factor that defines culture, and therefore ‘civilizations’, with race/ethnicity coming in a distant second as key distinguishing factors. Mr. Huntington argues these characteristics to influence how each country within civilizations behave, not only inter-civilizationally with their “kin” countries, but those countries around them which may be members of a different civilization. In addition, civilizations with a “core state”…a state synonymous with that culture as a whole, behave differently (i.e., more stable, less prone to spasms of violent conflict) than those civilizations that lack a core state, such as Islam which lacks an identifiable core state. He also identifies several countries which he characterizes as “cleft” nations, those countries that contain more than one major culture: Ukraine, Sudan, and (possibly in the future if Mexican and Latin American migration continues apace) the United States. For Mr. Huntington asserts that cleft countries are particularly conflict-prone, particularly if they lay astride a civilizational fault line.

Huntingdon’s Civilizations (image via Wikipedia)

One major theme of Huntington’s book is the realignment of the world order from a binary East-vs-West or Cold War model to that where historical and religious roots return to the fore. He documents several ways in which secular Western power is declining, and what this decline means to the prevailing economic and political structure of the world. This is particularly with respect to the Chinese and Islamic civilizations–both “Eastern” civilizations with traditions oftimes in direct opposition to Western habits–these two civilizations are poised to reshape the world political dynamic in their favor.

Most at risk in this realignment and decline of the West is the notion of cultural universalism centered around Western values. Neither the increasingly assertive Sinic or militantly metastasizing Islamic cultures place anywhere near the same value on the principles of human rights, natural law, and Western-style individual liberty as the West at its apogee once did. Ironically, “democracy”, that form of government inherited by the West through Classical Civilization, improved, and spread around the world by Western Civilization appears to be midwifing what Huntington calls the process of “indigenization”. This term refers to the resurgence of once-marginalized native cultures gaining strength, power, and cultural relevance through the process of democratization to challenge Western hegemony–often by overthrowing Western-backed autocratic regimes.

Another significant theme of Huntington’s book is what he calls the revanche de dieu, or the “revenge of God”. Post-Enlightenment secularism, seemingly the dominant cultural force in the world 100 years ago, has largely reversed. God/gods/Confucianist beliefs, it seems, are making a comeback, and not just among hard core fundies but amongst entire peoples as a whole

“A new religious approach took shape, aimed no longer at adapting to secular values but at recovering a sacred foundation for the organization of society…moving on from a modernism that had failed, attributing its setbacks and dead ends to separation from God. People do not live by reason alone. They cannot calculate and act rationally in pursuit of their self-interest until they define their self, [and] interest politics presupposes identity…for people facing the need to determine ‘who am I?’ [and]‘where do I belong?’, religion provides compelling answers, and religious groups provide small social communities to replace those lost through urbanization”

Far from being archaic, religion in Mr. Huntington’s book has re-emerged as a–or maybe even the–dominant force in a society, and Mr. Huntington claims this renewed interest in belief has profound implications for the behaviors of civilizations and their constituent populations.

Other than these two major themes, Mr. Huntington spends the bulk of his book analyzing the implications of a world defined by his taxonomy, and in which the West recedes in the face of a trifecta of re-emerging Asian civilizations: Sinic, Islamic, and Orthodox. He discusses political reconfiguration as a result of this retreating-advancing dynamic, possible consequential “fault line” wars, and the effect that demography, economics, and non-Western civilizational self-valuation on the political order. He closes his book by discussing ways in which the West may arrest, maybe even reverse its decline…but sixteen years on it appears his prescription has yet to be heeded.

Analysis and Critique

Christianity and Western Civilization. One of the maddening things about Mr.Huntington’s description of the West is his over-identification of the West as Christian. For certain, Christianity, and the Roman Catholic Scholastics in particular, ensured the lessons of Classical Civilization did not fade into the dark mist of history past. Mr. Huntington argues, and I agree, that Christianity has played the decisive role in the shape, tenor, the “look and feel” of Western Civ. But, unlike Mr. Huntingdon, I contend that Western Civ is no longer Christian in any culturally significant sense. It may still retain some Christian cultural residue, to be sure, and large minorities of its peoples claim the Christian mantle, but the culture itself is thoroughly steeped in a secular quasi-religion that, like any other religion, marginalizes its competitors. Thus Christianity is increasingly cast aside as irrelevant, and the the values that Christianity impressed upon Western Civilization: the inherent dignity of men, the equivalent value of both sexes, individual rights, and individual responsibility, have started to retreat in the West (and worldwide) as a result.

The paradox of democracy, the interaction of power and democratization, and ‘Universalism’. I found Mr. Huntington’s discussion of democracy, particularly how it is being used usher in new eras of indigenization, to be quite interesting. Acolytes of democracy were fond of fantasizing that democratic governments were, by definition, Western-friendly. But as we can plainly see by events such as the “Islamist Spring”, democratization does not necessarily imply a particular country will align with the West in a climate in which the West has little power and influence. Showing his realist side, Mr. Huntington writes:

“…culture almost always follows power. Throughout history, the expansion of the power of a civilization has usually occurred simultaneously with the flowering of its culture and has almost always involved its using that power to extend its values, practices, and institutions to other societies. American hegemony is receding…the erosion of Western culture follows, as indigenous, historically rooted mores, languages, beliefs, and institutions reassert themselves. As Western power declines, the ability of the West to impose Western concepts of human rights, liberalism, and democracy on other civilizations also declines and so does the attractiveness of those values to other civilizations.”

Now that Western power is on the wane, other cultures find much less utility in being Western-oriented, and nowadays we find numerous examples of democratically elected governments being less disposed toward the West, Western policies, and indeed the entire Western-constructed economic edifice. “Electoral competition instead stimulates them to fashion what they believe will be the most popular appeals, and those are usually ethnic, nationalist, and religious in character”, not necessarily secular or Western-friendly.

This leads me to a discussion about ‘Universalism’, a concept that Mr. Huntingdon defines thusly:

[T]he Western universalist belief posits that people throughout the world should embrace Western values, institutions and culture because [Western culture embodies] the highest,most enlightened, most liberal, most rational, most modern, and most civilized thinking of mankind

Mr. Huntington discussed the very human tendency–seems that it is now the West’s turn to fall victim to this folly–to assume that its culture is superior, that its way of life and way of doing things represent the apex of human development, and is therefore their culture is rightfully pre-eminent. As such, Western culture more or less takes it as a given, without much thought to the contrary, that everyone worldwide should naturally agree with the Western conventional wisdom regarding human rights, individual freedom, economic principles, Western-style democratic government, nuclear non-proliferation, and arms control. Naturally, Eastern civilizations, with their differing cultural traditions and experiences, and with their increasing power, chafe at Western Universalism. This is particularly true with Islam and China, two civilizations who regularly flout Western cultural conventions (as in, for example, questions of human rights, of individual liberty, and of nuclear non-proliferation). And why shouldn’t they? They themselves have millennia of cultural tradition upon which to draw from, traditions frankly different from the West. In addition, in their eyes, their culture is infinitely superior, if for no other reason than the decline of the West fuels and reinforces their chauvinism. Particularly if one believes, as Huntington hints he may, that Western culture didn’t become dominant because it was intrinsically so much better, but because it made war that much more effectively than competitor civilizations:

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.

Apart from undermining Western claims to universalism, this is an interesting statement, especially when viewed in light of 2GW and 3GW warfare (which the West used to significant effect) and the back-to-the-future rise of 4GW and 5GW warfare. These ‘new’ ways of making war tend to neutralize, even sidestep, Western strengths while simultaneously exploiting Western weaknesses (e.g., media, diversity, democratic governance, etc). Moreover, 4/5GW seems to favor Eastern-style warfare…the sort that Westerners would find barbaric…and enables Asian cultures more naturally inclined to 4/5 GW to rise to the fore once more. But what disturbs Mr.Huntingdon the most about ‘false, immoral, and…dangerous’ Universalism is what he sees as the inherently destabilizing influence of the notion of a messianic ‘Universalist Prerogative’ with inter-state and inter-civilizational violence. The logic train for Huntingon goes like this: Universalism, spread by power, foments empire. Empires are maintained by violence, if not legal and economic, than of the political/physical sort. Eventually, dissimilar civilizations will rise to challenge the dominance of a foreign culture and alien people, and the reigning imperial power will attempt to stop the shift in power toward their adversaries. These challenges will eventually involve the use of arms…and there resides the danger of Universalism to the international community. Thus does universalism necessarily imply empire and imperialism, on the way to open warfare. Mr. Huntington, unsurprisingly, attempts to disabuse the reader of any favorable impressions of such a fashionable conceit.

Islam’s “bloody borders“. After having first introduced this term in a 1993 article [link opens PDF] for the publication Foreign Affairs, Mr. Huntington writes:

Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors. Muslims make up one-fifth of the world’s population but in the 1990s they have been far more involved in intergroup violence than the people of any other civilization. The evidence is overwhelming.

Mr. Huntington lists a few factors that contribute to this pattern of aggressive behavior: (1) the degree to which Muslim societies are militarized–it is hard to conceive of a single major Moslem country which is not heavily militarized, (2) proximity to non-Moslem peoples and states, (3) absence of core state(s) which could otherwise retrain and/or dominate wayward countries, and (4) the “pig in a python” effect of a high percentage of unmarried, unattached males with low/no prospects of marriage. A fifth factor, which Mr. Huntington calls “indigestibility”, is explained as follows:

Muslim countries have problems with non-Muslim minorities comparable to those which non-Muslim countries have with Muslim minorities. Even more than Christianity, Islam is an absolutist faith. It merges religion and politics and draws a sharp line between the dar-al-Islam and the dar-al-harb. As a result, Confucians, Buddhists, Hindus, Western Christians, and Orthodox Christians have less difficulty adapting to and living with each other than any one of them has adapting to and living with Muslims.

Mr. Huntington suspects that as Moslem societies age, the pig-in-the-python effect will recede. But indigestibility remains, as does Islam’s inferiority complex and, increasingly, the West’s desperate grasping at the levers of global power that erstwhile empire once manipulated so easily:

The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or US Department of Defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining power, imposes upon then the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West

Note that the assertion “…imposes upon them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world…” eerily prefigures the late 20th-century “Neocon Wars of Coerced Democratization” (my term), first in the Balkans, then in Iraq and in Afghanistan after 9/11.

The Future of the USA, and the West. In the final chapters of his book, Mr. Huntington narrows his scope and addresses the cultural war underway in the United States, the heart of Western Civilization. Specifically, he details the efforts of elites to deny the uniqueness of Western culture, if not destroy Western culture outright, in an effort to replace Western Civilization with no civilization at all. To wit:

Historically, American national identity has been defined culturally by the heritage of Western civilization, and politically by the principles of the American Creed on which Americans overwhelmingly agree: liberty, democracy, individualism,equality before the law, Constitutionalism, private property. In the late twentieth century, both components of American identity have come under concentrated and sustained onslaught from a small but influential number of intellectuals and publicists. In the name of multiculturalism they have attacked the identification of the United States with Western Civilization, denied the existence of a common American culture, and promoted radical, ethnic, and other subnational cultural identities and groupings. They have denounced…’the systematic bias toward European culture and its derivatives’ in education and ‘the dominance of the European-American monocultural perspective’. The multiculturists are,as Arthur M. Schlesinger said, ‘very often ethnocentric separatists who see little in the Western heritage other than Western crimes’. Their “mood is one of divesting Americans of the sinful European inheritance and seeking redemptive infusion from non-Western cultures”. The American multiculturists similarly reject their country’s cultural heritage. Instead of attempting to identify the United States with another civilization, they wish to create a country of many civilizations…a country not belonging to any civilization and lacking a cultural core. The mutliculturalists also challenged a central element of the American Creed by substituting for the rights of individuals the rights of groups, defined largely in terms of race, ethnicity, sex, and sexual preference.

If this were not bad enough, Mr. Huntington invokes the experience of another country that was also organized around ideological precepts rather than a common, shared culture…the Soviet Union. He thinks that counting on loyalty to an ideology, as do those who assert that to be American means only that one have an affinity for a set of principles, is, in the absence of a unifying common culture, foolhardy:

“[T]he total failure of Marxism…and the dramatic breakup of the Soviet Union”, the Japanese philosopher Takeshi Umehara has suggested, “are on the precursors to the collapse of Western liberalism, the main current of modernity. Far from being the alternative to Marxism and the reigning ideology at the end of history, liberalism will be the next domino to fall.’ In an era in which peoples everywhere define themselves in cultural terms, what place is there for a society without a cultural core and defined only by a political creed? In a multi-civilizational world where culture counts, the United States could be simply the last anomalous holdover from a fading Western world where ideology counted. Rejection of the Creed and of Western Civilization means the end of the United States of America as we have known it. It also means effectively the end of Western Civilization. The clash between the multi-culturalists and the defenders of Western civilization and the American Creed is, in James Kurth’s phrase, ‘the real clash’.

Mr. Huntington paints a bleak picture indeed for America, foreseeing the United States becoming a cleft country as a result of this deadly embrace of multiculturalism. America, in Huntington’s view, may very well split linguistically and culturally along Western and Latin civilizational lines; separate, alientated, and suspicious of the other. In other words, the United States will reconfigure to be Anglophone America vs. the Mexifornicated rump state of what was formerly the American southwest. But while we’re a lot further down this dystopian road that we were 16 years ago, Huntington hadn’t yet written off America’s chances at self-recovery. For America–and therefore Western Civilization–to survive, Huntington claims that both must reject the fashionable cancer of multiculturalism and embrace their common European (and, unsaid by Huntingdon, Christian) heritage. To live, America must ask herself the following question, and answer it in the affirmative: Is America a Western country? To answer “yes” means to embrace its roots, to look east to Europe, and not west to Asia. To answer “no” means to die a self-inflicted death.


About the author: EW is a well-trained monkey charged with operating heavier-than-air machinery. His interests outside of being an opinionated rabble-rouser are hunting, working out, motorcycling, spending time with his family, and flying. He is a father to three, a husband to one, and is a sometime contributor here at Spearhead. More of his intolerable drivel is available at the blog The Elusive Wapiti.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric April 26, 2012 at 00:53

Wapiti:
Huntingdon has an interesting thesis, but it has a few problems:

The first problem is Huntingdon’s belief that all these respective cultures evolved independently of one another; and that they represent distinct ‘civilizations’. Civilization refers to human progress generally; what Huntingdon is referring to are cultural norms. This is why he is also incorrect in stating that ‘western civilization’ makes false assumptions as to its superiority. Western culture is merely the dominant cultural strain in the overall scheme of civilization.

Civilization, however, is an irreversible process; despite academic blather about ‘postmodernism’. It cannot ‘fall’ in the sense Huntingdon employs that term; however, civilization can be stopped—the only way that this can be effected within a given culture is to reverse its course. This means to return a culture back to its pre-civilized conditions of barbarism and savagery. This is the mistake Huntingdon makes in analysing the Islamic cultures. Those cultures are LESS civilized today than at the earlier stages of Islam; IOW, they are degenerated and liable to sink into the lowest forms of tribal savages if they continue on their present track. Huntingdon overlooks a striking example of the same occurrance in the West: Hitler Germany was an almost total reversion back to barbarism with technology and science deliberately employed for the purpose.

Now what could happen in the United States is what happened to Germany and what is currently happening among the Arabians. Our status as a civilization doesn’t depend one way or the other upon immigration, our political structure, religion, or changing cultural norms. It has everything to do with how strongly the values that make a civilization are valued and enforced by the American people. And, currently, that’s not very much at all.

Huntingdon is right about the contemptuous attitudes about Western culture held by the elites; but the point he completely misses is that those elites don’t despise our culture: they despise the civilizing principles that our culture represents. What these political and academic gangsters really desire is not ‘multiculturalism’ or ‘universalism’ in the sense of a rational vision of tolerance and a universal brotherhood of man. Instead, they want a world where the principles of civilization no longer count—IOW, the law of the jungle and survival of the fittest which, because these elites imagine themselves superior to everyone else, will be essentially a return to prehistoric tribalism where force and fraud rules over a humanity that has the same cultural value as livestock, upon which these same elites can prey at will.

Encouraging thinking and independence is the strongest defense civilized man has against the ‘postmodern’ barbarians. It’s impossible to force a mind; and as long as man can think, civilization can’t fall into complete oblivion.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5
Hosehead April 26, 2012 at 01:24

I find it amazing that the nine small c civilizations do not include any reference to the most destructive, and at this moment in history, the most powerful, of all civilizations, i.e. those, who unitl recently, were a a people without a land, The Jews.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
AfOR April 26, 2012 at 02:16

Load of rubbish, the man doesn’t even know the difference between “culture” and “civilization”.

Never under estimate the influence upon the USA today of the demographics of the Mayflower, that is a cultural factor, not a civilisational one.

Indeed, much of the dark blue countries in that map have a common culture that only evolved in the 1950′s, and that is not even a common social culture, but a common economic culture.

Cultures die when people stop believing in them, and the transition from most of the population would fight for their culture to most would not only takes a couple of years, although the processes leading up to it take much longer.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6
Lovekraft April 26, 2012 at 04:02

Only so much room at the top and history demonstrates how this principle plays out. Weakness gets exploited and human nature dictates, via the survival instinct, how easily one abandons old beliefs when faced with oblivion.

Sustained attacks on Western anglo-saxon hegemony has resulted in progressives emerging in positions of power. This is of course aided and abetted by slimy opportunists and jackboot enforcers.

With this new power dynamic, Progressive ideals will become ‘conservative’ and abandon their previous disruptive tactics.

Which leaves conservatives on the fringe and the new ‘liberal’.

But the question is, how will progressives enforce their power? Becoming more conservative and turning to ‘traditional’ values (which they soundly renounced)?

Unlikely. They will rot from within, alienating themselves while bringing everything down around them.

Conservatives will be marginalized and must prepare for further and continued demonization.

Whether they will be around to ‘pick up the pieces’ is the question. But the Mens Rights Movement must keep aware of this and position itself for this contingency.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
Ethical April 26, 2012 at 06:22

Thanks for the review. All these interesting books are making me want a kindle.

It seems like a paradox, but I would agree with the author that a culture can be almost completely secular and still be a judeo-christian culture. I think Judeo-Christian religions promote the importance of each individual (choosing their own path to heaven) rather than emphasizing the responsibility of each person to his parents, his village, his society; or rather than emphasizing other things like his need to compromise his principles and find allies because the world is full of malevolent forces. This is the root of democracy and even when religion is gone these core principles remain among the secular.

I’m not sure I agree with the author that this focus on the individual may prove fatal in western democracy. The feminist push for unlimited entitlements and no responsibility certainly epitomizes the harm in allowing selfishness to be a driving societal force. But western societies have been so creative, inventive, and prosperous because of this individualism as well. The evil of feminism is winning out now, but the next generation of men may invent a way out of it.

I disagree with what I perceived to be elusive wapiti’s undercurrent of sentiment that religious and ethnic multiculturalism in the west is undermining western culture. As mentioned individualism is the root of western culture rather than religion or ethnicity and Roosh and many other travelers have pointed out when people come here rather than making the west less western it’s they instead who are changed by it … they become western.

Further more religious strife (not religion) is insignificant within the west. I would also argue there is less cultural ethnic strife than strife due to economic segregation by ethnicity … that is different ethnic groups are seen to disproportionately receive entitlements or disproportionately suffer deprivation.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
J April 26, 2012 at 06:43

I am descended from slaves, and I am white! The multiculturalists have done their best to erase the “FACT” of white slavery, so they can better cuckold us by guilt of black slavery. Both were terrible atrocities! To where African kings sold their captives from their wars against their own people, Obama’s Luo tribe is a perfect example in Kenya, that practice is still going on today. People like McCain come from families with large slave plantations in their history! Is it only me that notices who the multiculturalists are? The US and Great Briton did away with slavery, those so called enlightened easterners still practice it, in droves, I know I tried to hunt them down on the ocean! But to no avail. We are being played, on a massive scale. The people who cry the loudest, are the ones who commit the crimes, and we like sheople follow!

Also, feminism, that marxist beast has tainted us over the past 50 years. These bloodsucking, vampire movie loving harpies have painted us in the negative as well. Claiming we beat our wives for thousands of years. I checked, historically, it is almost completely false! I say almost because we all know that some men hit their wives, but we also know that most of them were hit by their wives first! Those who are just monsters, are not even remotely close to a representative sample of all men, not even half of men! Yet you would think that all of us, after checking out of work to pay for our families, went out on the weekend to rape and pillage our fellow citizens……..you know, for $%(*^ and giggles.

These multiculturalists, the leaders at least, are descended from the very people who committed all these crimes, and they know it. So they positioned themselves to the other side, by stabbing a few compatriots in the back, and claimed they never would have done it themselves, then they restart their ancestors operations in a new light. We may not be in physical chains, but we are in bondage. Like those poor kids in Nigeria, whose families sell them for mere pennies, we leave content, thinking we are off to a better life. We are being played. We are told to marry, have children, fight “our” enemies(read their enemies), produce for society, put up with our wives BS, and “earn” the respect of our community and peers! Yeah, works great when the finances are there for “everyone.”

Obama was picked by the “elties” because he is everybit as much one of them! Romeny, no different. It does not matter who wins, we as men will still be sent to wars for their battles. “when the rich wage war, it is the poor who die.” The media is the tool they have tried to keep us deceived with, we in the mens movement learned this firsthand! And we also have learned, that after fighting and dyiong, they will give our military, civillian jobs, our wealth to our corrupt babies mammas, and kick us to the curb. Those of us who are wise, or smart enough at least to avoid it have to know they have their sights on us! This is not paranoia, I am still under that shadow, but living. When the federal(read other peoples money) runs dry, they will come for us. If not us, somebody, and that somebody’s problem, is our problem too. I am just unsure on what to do about it?

However, just when we think we have won, and the finances are gone, these slave trading descended bastards will already have someone else to sell us to, for a profit. And their dsescendents will tell our descendents that they “never would have done that themselves.”

We are being played!

Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4
PeterTheGreat April 26, 2012 at 08:35

All civilizations have as their basis a unifying culture, no culture, no civilization. And culture is, at base, religion. Even the word is from the latin cultes, religion.

Thus, Christianity is indeed the unifying force of Western Civilization, and as it weakens so weakens our civilization.

The Catholic Church is beginning a new renaissance under the current Pope which will strengthen and revivify Western Civilization away from the soulless failed humanism and multi-culturalism. However, it will take a generation at minimum for it to become a great force.

Nevertheless, there is hope and if we can hold out individually the force of Western Civilization will be renewed.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2
keyster April 26, 2012 at 08:44

It seems the Western World adopts cultural memes promalgated by the USA, such as the arts (music and film) and of course feminism – – not the other way around.

They myth of the great melting pot of America where different cultures (ie- ethnicities), will all live together in harmony is at the heart of the “clash”, not religion. How often do we see hispanics, blacks and whites commingling at picnics in the park? We’re self-segregating in where we live and work and send our children to school.

It’s only natural to WANT to be with people that are more like you. Not skin color, but engrained cultural behavior. That’s why there are still black neighborhoods, mexican neighborhoods — you know on the wrong side of the tracks, where the real estate market is less desirable – – and then the tony gated communities where the whites are sequestered.

I’m sorry but I’d prefer to not live in a neighborhood where people think parking their cars and trucks on their lawn is normal. I must be a racist if I try to avoid living in mexican neighborhoods.

The very liberal elites that promote multi-culturalism and cultural diversity are the same people who live in very white urban areas or in high rise condominiums above the fray. Diversity is for everyone else but them it seems.

We’ll divide by race; hispanics in the southwest, blacks in the southeast and whites in the north west — its happening right now. The liberal areas (Northeast and Pacific West) will struggle with multi-culti, but even they’re segregated into smaller areas. Skirmishes will break out here and there; rioting, looting, ongoing racial tensions.

Come to Cracker Land – Idaho, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Utah, Montana or build a fence around your house.

Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 7
Elusive Wapiti April 26, 2012 at 09:11

Eric,

Civilization refers to human progress generally; what Huntingdon is referring to are cultural norms. This is why he is also incorrect in stating that ‘western civilization’ makes false assumptions as to its superiority. Western culture is merely the dominant cultural strain in the overall scheme of civilization.

Huntington took care to distinguish between civilization generally, and civilizations specifically. In short, civilizations are the cultural norms of which you speak, norms shaped mostly (in his opinion) by religion but also by language, geography, etc. He didn’t get into HBD in his book but I suspect he may agree that genetics is also a component of culture.

Also, his critique of Western Civ wasn’t that it was making false assumptions of superiority, it was that it falsely assumed that it was universal. He didn’t dispute that it was dominant, merely that Western Civ’s power and therefore influence was waning.

“Civilization, however, is an irreversible process”

Gotta disagree with you here. Civilization is not irreversible, as we in the West are witness to today, with the retreat of Western culture toward pre-Western paganism.

I think Rothbard had it right…civilization and ‘progress’ is not steadily linear, it zig-zagged and retreated.

Elusive Wapiti April 26, 2012 at 09:21

Ethical,

I disagree with what I perceived to be elusive wapiti’s undercurrent of sentiment that religious and ethnic multiculturalism in the west is undermining western culture.

It was actually Huntington’s sentiment, but I can understand any confusion because I happen to agree with it.

The way Huntington put it, the multikulti types undermine Western Culture by suppressing Western, IOW European, culture and introducing and promoting other cultures in its place. Their aim, in Huntington’s characterization, was to obscure or even obliterate what the cultural norms really were, to create a society formed around a set of ideals rather than an affinity to a cultural heritage reinforced by religion and language.

It is interesting to consider the last society organized around a set of ideals rather than religion and language and blood was the Soviet Union. We see how well that went. And the multikulti types want to take us down that road?

Annonymous April 26, 2012 at 12:03

Huntington is waxing too lyricxal about a regressive world reconfiguration he hopes to fit his neo-liberal theories and scare-mongering to.

But what this old school technical/social/cultural/political and religious analyst misses by deliberate default on account of his calculated bias, is the overwhelming and undeniable phenomena of CONVERGENCE.

The mohammedan-brotherhoods, even when they win democratic elections, to which they are naturally reluctant of and unaccustomed to, are not becomming more islamist but more Liberal. [Middle class demographic explosion, Euro-American education, The internet, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace ensures huge Liberal constituents applying internal pressures in this, progressive direction.]

The Tartars, Serbs, Cossacks, and other White Mongol classes in East Oceania, no matter the hard residue of oppressive statist autocrats of communitarianism, are becomming more Liberal. [Middle class explosion, Euro-American education, The Internet, Twitter, Facebook and Myspace plus younger more curious and feisty youthful populations ensures huge Liberal constituents applying pressure in this progressive direction.]

Ditto identical phenomena of greater wealth, greater education, greater and more informed world citizenry, greater national interminggling and instantaneous communcations creating and pulling together not dissimilar new constituents of Liberalism. That is, in Sub-Saharan and Supra Sharan Africa, Australasia, China, the Furthjes East, South America plus everywhere else human.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
Eric April 26, 2012 at 13:17

Wapiti,

I generally agree with Rothbard’s assessment, but I think that applies to cultures and not to civilization generally. Civilization has never collapsed, or ever can, on a global scale. When a culture collapses, others will move into the vaccuum and vie for dominance, the transitional people often seems to be a retreat or reversal, but the stronger will come out on top.

We see in today’s America this process in a microcosm. Academia, Government, and Media have undermined Western Culture to the point where it is practically no longer viable. The Latin, Asian, Islamic, and African cultures are competing for what will take its place. I can guarantee that whichever one wins, there won’t be any ‘multicultural’ elements involved in it. Western culture, though, is liable to make a revival in Europe and western Asia in response, and will continue over there.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
Eric April 26, 2012 at 13:30

Wapiti:
“It’s interesting to consider that the last society organized around an ideology rather than religion, language and blood was the Soviet Union.”

True, but the last society that was organized around these things exclusively was the Third Reich—and that wasn’t much of an improvement!

A think a good example of a successful social order was the one which survived the longest: the Romans. True, they were autocratic, but the Romans saw their society as the force for good in the world; their ruling class had a stake in national survival, and the state was seen as above, not an extension of, the various societies over which Rome ruled. This gave a stable balance between state power and individual rights. The government didn’t interfere in society and society didn’t try to impose its will on the state. Foreign nationals could become Romans under a process of doing service to the Roman state. Non-Romans were not considered civilized and had no benefits of Roman rule. That gave a stable balance between the rights of the deserving and denial of them to the undeserving.

Rome modelled its system on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle and the precedents of Alexander and the Seleucids. It would be an interesting experiment to see how systems like these would work in the modern world.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
Ethical April 26, 2012 at 14:21

“Their aim, in Huntington’s characterization, was to obscure or even obliterate what the cultural norms really were, to create a society formed around a set of ideals rather than an affinity to a cultural heritage reinforced by religion and language.”

Elusive Wapiti,

I have to admit that although I read over your response several times the topic was sufficiently complicated and I lacked so much important information that in the end I couldn’t respond at all.

Could you give some examples of “Western, IOW European, culture” being suppressed and other cultures promoted in its place?

Until I hear your response it’s still my gut feel that people change when they come to north america more than they change it. It’s also my gut feel that the biggest element of north american culture that immigrants take on is the individualism.

In terms of the rest of the anglosphere I think the situation might be slightly little different in the U.K. My impression when I visited was that immigrants to the U.K. seem to retain their national dress and live in entirely separate communities … like a block of their country was moved whole to the seat of the empire. My theory (made with no evidence whatsoever) was this happens because you can actually drive to the U.K whereas you have to fly to America. Somehow plane flights act as a filter for certain elements of culture.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Anonymous Reader April 26, 2012 at 15:01

Until I hear your response it’s still my gut feel that people change when they come to north america more than they change it. It’s also my gut feel that the biggest element of north american culture that immigrants take on is the individualism.

I guess you missed the mass street rallies a few years ago in LA, Dallas and other cities that featured the Mexican flag and demands for “Amnesty NOW” in both English and Spanish. They were excellent examples of how politics is done in places like Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, etc.

In terms of the rest of the anglosphere I think the situation might be slightly little different in the U.K. My impression when I visited was that immigrants to the U.K. seem to retain their national dress and live in entirely separate communities … like a block of their country was moved whole to the seat of the empire. My theory (made with no evidence whatsoever) was this happens because you can actually drive to the U.K whereas you have to fly to America.

Obviously you’ve never been to southern California, or any part of Texas on the border from El Paso to Brownsville, or Nogales Arizona. If you go to those places, you will note that a plurality to a majority of the people look different, speak a different language, and are clearly a different culture, than people in, oh, Minot, North Dakota. That is because they are essentially Mexicans, living within the border of the US.

Or you can tour NYC, and see parts of that city that don’t look like North America at all. Ditto for parts of San Francisco, LA, Houston, Miami, and so forth.

And dude, given enough money and a good vehicle, you can drive from Panama to Alaska. North America isn’t separated from South America by any ocean that I know of.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
Ethical April 26, 2012 at 15:41

“Obviously you’ve never been to southern California, or any part of Texas on the border from El Paso to Brownsville, or Nogales Arizona. ”

Good point. I’ve visited just about every state in the US and nearly every province in Canada at one time, but not recently, and I haven’t been to those places you mentioned.

“given enough money and a good vehicle, you can drive from Panama to Alaska.”

Another good point, but not applicable to any of the “old world” cultures I was talking about that immigrate here.

One thing that’s notable about your point is that Mexico and most of south america are considered a separate “Latin” culture but were colonized by Judeo-Christian cultures as well. Though they still speak the same languages and share the same religion as their colonizers they’re considered different cultures whereas the Anglo colonies in the new world are all part of the west. Is the difference that there’s no significant indigenous population left? If so it supports the author’s conclusion that eventually any indigenous population imposes it’s own identity on whatever culture is thrust on it.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
Anonymous Reader April 26, 2012 at 17:26

Good point. I’ve visited just about every state in the US and nearly every province in Canada at one time, but not recently, and I haven’t been to those places you mentioned.

The changes along the US – Mexican border in the last 10 to 20 years are quite striking.

“given enough money and a good vehicle, you can drive from Panama to Alaska.”

Another good point, but not applicable to any of the “old world” cultures I was talking about that immigrate here.

For what definition of “old world”? A few years back, foot traffic in Arizona especially around Douglas was so intense that trails 2 to 3 meters wide and 7 or more centimeters deep were created by the illegals crossing from Mexico. The US Border Patrol routinely was intercepting not just Mexicans, Guatamalans, Salvadorians, etc. but also Eastern Europeans, various Middle Easterners and some Africans. A plane ticket to Mexico City, followed by a trip in a bus to the border…no big deal. There have been documents in Arabic found in the Arizona desert (probably travel diaries), Slavic-speaking people picked up along the Rio Grande, etc.

One thing that’s notable about your point is that Mexico and most of south america are considered a separate “Latin” culture but were colonized by Judeo-Christian cultures as well.

They do have a separate Latinized culture. Mexico’s legal system is based on the Code of Napoleon, and is very different from the Anglo-Saxon code of the US. The Spanish empire was run from the top down in a very rigid hierarchy, and although most of the countries south of the Rio Grande have tried a Federal system based on the US Constitution at some point, in every case they have wound up with a centralized, top-down, pyramid-style government. Because that apparently is what fits their social structure. Do not forget that Spain was a feudal country until the 19th century; it wasn’t until after all the Western Hemisphere countries had become independent that Spain began to make any moves towards any sort of republican government. I could argue the Spanish Civil war of the 1930′s was merely another iteration of the Carlist Wars of the 19th.

Though they still speak the same languages and share the same religion as their colonizers they’re considered different cultures whereas the Anglo colonies in the new world are all part of the west.

This is true, and don’t assume that the Spanish of Mexico is the same as the Spanish of Spain. There are a lot of Indian words included in Mexican Spanish.

Is the difference that there’s no significant indigenous population left?

Um, that varies a lot from country to country. Mexico has very notable populations of indigenous peoples. Genetic studies are ongoing, but it appears that a whole lot of the female DNA in Mexico came from indingenous people, while a lot of the male DNA can be traced to Spain. But that’s in the cities. Out in the mountains, the jungles, the hills, there are a lot of people who are clearly not of Spanish descent. Do not forget that Cortez had local allies who were eager to smash the power of the Aztecs. Some of them were rewarded with their own lands, and held those lands for centuries.

In Peru Pizarro and his band of cutthroats basically decapitated the Inca empire and took over the place. A lot of Peruvians look like people did centuries ago. In Argentina, fewer indigenous people remain, and thanks to substantial immigration from Italy and some Central European countries the population is more of a “mixed-European”.

Each country has its own history, and some of them have substantial indigenous genes, others don’t. But that’s beside the point. All of them have the “haciendado” in their past to some extent, a feudal outlook that has nothing in common with the Vermont “town meeting” at all.
If the US still had a confident culture, that would not matter. However, because there are active agents of cultural destruction at work, you get such things as anti-Anglo bigotry being taught in public charter schools to children who speak Spanish as their first language, and who aren’t even citizens (neither are their parents). It’s an ongoing low level scandal in the Tucson public schools, that can be found via a simple search.

A balkanized, race-based spoils system is what many of the cultural “elites” want to administer, in short.

If so it supports the author’s conclusion that eventually any indigenous population imposes it’s own identity on whatever culture is thrust on it.

I don’t think that’s what Huntington is saying. And in any event, it can be demonstrated to be untrue. The culture of Tucson and Phoenix is definitely not Apache, or Pima, just to pick one example.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
Hf April 26, 2012 at 17:53

Curious…Did Huntington provide a timeline for this to take place?

As long as America has direct access to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and as long as American controls the seas, then America controls trade. No country is self sustaining, not for very long. without resources, and without access to trade, all countries risk choking.

I do see Islam rearing its ugly head again, but only if it unites under a single caliphate. And, as it stands now, the single largest Islam country economically and with best access to trade routes, is Turkey. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t turkey also the seat for the last unite Islam empire? I firmly believe Islam unites again, it will be turkey at its head again, due to it current economic strength and its location geographically.

China is seeing its new found wealth disbursed chiefly among its coastal regions, exactly as it had in all of its history. Yes, there has been improvement in the distribution of its wealth, but there are still a billion+ people that aren’t seeing any of it in the rural regions- 85% of china is rural. Not to mention, a significant portion of china’s new wealth is from mining, and without proper infrastructure, mining pollutes everything. Furthermore, china is crushed between India to its west, Russia to its north, and Japan just off of its coast. With no real access to trade its own trade routes, China MUST keep civil relations with other countries else risk getting choked off.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
Ethical April 26, 2012 at 18:29

@Anonymous
Thanks for the detailed and informative response. My point regarding the “old world” is that you can’t drive from the there to north america and I was speculating based on my experience whether the plane flight acted as some sort of cultural filter. Considering that it requires you to pay for a plane ticket, to have a passport, and to have secured a visa, it’s probably a socio-economic filter at the very least.

Regarding the “indigenous” population I was making the opposite point. I was referring to the relatively small indigenous population of Anglo colonies like north america and Australia in comparison to the majority indigenous populations from Mexico southward. Then I was speculating that if the lack of a majority indigenous population in the Anglo colonies was the reason they are now considered the west as opposed to the Latin colonies, this was consistent with what the author was saying.

The fact that “The culture of Tucson and Phoenix is definitely not Apache, or Pima” was exactly my point.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
anexpat April 26, 2012 at 19:53

It depends. As an (European) Spaniard living in Latin America, I am witness of the similarities and differences between Latin America and Western Europe.

Is Latin America part of the Western culture? Of course, it depends how do you define “Western culture” and “part of”. The book decides that Eastern Orthodox Christianity is not part of Western culture. I guess that, if you are so hair-splitting, Latin America is not part of Western culture either.

For me, Latin Americans are Western because:

1.- They speak a Western language (in each country indigenous language are a minority at best, non-spoken at worst).

2. – They have a Western religion (nobody worships Quetzacoatl).

3.- Their law is derived from Western law and, ultimately, from the Roman law.

4. – Their political systems (democracy, dictatorship, communism in Cuba) are Western political systems.

I could go on and on. There are only one thing that Latin America derives (partially) from indigenous culture: the races. There are Mestisos, so what?

I know that most Americans look at Latin culture as a mess and they have a point. But nobody said that Western countries should been a model. America and Northern Europe are so, to some extent. But Western civilization has always had poor, corrupt countries, both now and in the past.

I know that most Americans look at Latin culture as a deeply alien and maybe they are right. They are alien to American culture but not to some parts of Western culture. Southern Spain, Greece and, over all, Southern Italy are very similar to Latin Americans: corrupt, womanizers, screamers.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
anexpat April 26, 2012 at 20:01

“The culture of Tucson and Phoenix is definitely not Apache, or Pima”

The culture of Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Bogota or Lima is definitely not Astec or Inca either. It is a derivation of European Spanish culture, the way American culture is a derivation of European English culture (read “Albion’s seed”).

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
Eric April 26, 2012 at 20:17

Ethical:
“It’s my gut feeling that people who come to America are changed by it &c’

You’re absolutely right, except in some areas where immigrant populations are so concentrated as to enclaves. Even then, the people adopt some of the better aspects of American culture.

“Can you give an example of cultural suppression?”

It’s mostly being committed by white, native-born, Anglo-Saxon Americans who hate their own culture. This suppression is especially pernicious in the universities. I actually have seen course materials that present US and Western history as nothing but a chronicle of putting down minorities and women. I’ve seen English and English Lit courses where prominent authors are not even mentioned, while obscure female and minority writers are studied and scrutinized.

I even remember seeing a few years ago, some geographers were experimenting with new world maps because the current ones were ‘drawn from a Eurocentric perspective’! Of course, universities are notorious for requiring courses in ethnic and/or feminist studies; oppressive speech codes and numerous other crimes.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
jaego April 26, 2012 at 20:23

Huntington is right: Latin America is not Western Culture even if they are both Chrisitan. Of course parst of South America are White and Western, but they are not the people coming here to displace us.

The Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith? Not quite, since there are many strands that make up the West, and our genetic lineage is not the least of them. Why else has North America been so advanced and South America so backwards – except in White areas?

And of course, Europe isn’t Christian anymore. And that lessons the chance of any recovery since a Civilization needs a religion.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
Ode April 27, 2012 at 04:08

Hf says:
“China is seeing its new found wealth disbursed chiefly among its coastal regions, exactly as it had in all of its history. Yes, there has been improvement in the distribution of its wealth, but there are still a billion+ people that aren’t seeing any of it in the rural regions- 85% of china is rural.”

If you’re trying to say a nation cannot rise to greatness by having an unequal distribution of wealth well maybe you should look at the USA. The bottom half of it’s people control only 1% of the nation’s wealth while the top 10% own 70% of the assets. Yet despite this massive unequal distribution of wealth the USA has managed to achieve world economic status. Still not convinced, how about I give you more examples.

Look at the British empire during it’s heyday. Charles Dickens wrote some pretty interesting stories about how unequal society was back then. Or how about the Romans, hey they even practiced slavery, how’s that for inequality! I really don’t understand why so many people believe having a very unequal distribution of wealth automatically disqualifies a nation from rising to greatness when there are well known examples which suggests otherwise.

It’s not like the USA is an obscure nation, I’m quite sure a lot of people must of heard about it. *wink*

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
Art Vandelay April 27, 2012 at 04:44

Or how about the Romans, hey they even practiced slavery, how’s that for inequality! I really don’t understand why so many people believe having a very unequal distribution of wealth automatically disqualifies a nation from rising to greatness when there are well known examples which suggests otherwise.

Simply put, a society that’s only offering a good quality of life to a fraction of it’s population isn’t that great.

Now of course distribution of wealth doesn’t say a lot, because wealth tends to always end up in the hands of the few, it’s more about income and what can be bought with it.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Towgunner April 27, 2012 at 05:14

I agree with many of the things Huntington discusses. I would add that there is a “culture” that has arisen from the multicultural muck in the US, moreover, it’s time to assign ownership – this is the feminine culture, let’s examine. Death culture, led by femofacists activists like lady gaga, ghetto culture and sex culture, note that within each of these segments feminism reigns. So the culture that our “independent” and “superior” women produced is a bloody orgy of extreme sexual content followed by death – a huge snuff film if you will. We wonder why every civilization kept their women at bay.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
Hf April 27, 2012 at 08:14

@Ode

Im saying the distribution of wealth is a factor. But if it wasnt plain, what I was saying is ultimately, its resources and the access to trade via geographical location.

As proven with Britain after WWII. Part of the agreement between the US and Britain during and after WWII was that Britain needed to relinquish all but a few of its naval ports to the US. This successfully was the “nail in the coffin”, so to speak, for Britain’s dominance as the world power, while simultaneously paving the way for the US’s rise to world power.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
Hf April 27, 2012 at 08:30

@Ode some more.

I agree that the distribution of wealth here in the US isnt all that great, and getting worse. But, if you think that the distribution of wealth here in the US is even remotely as bad as it is in China, than you are sadly mistaken. China’s distribution of wealth, though better now than it has ever been, is still very far from even comparing to that here in the US, and unlikely to ever reach comparable status as the US’s, as bad as the US’s may be.

As Art has stated, distribution of wealth has always been lopsided, with the few always holding most of that wealth. Always. That is known. But China has historically, and still today, has one of the worse track records for distributing wealth. By far worse than the US. There is negligible improvement in China, even today.

But again, its trade that’s the key factor here. China must maintain civil relations, at the very least, with India, Russia, and Japan. And, the relationship between Japan and China has always been tenuous to say the least.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Hf April 27, 2012 at 08:31

opps, syntax issue on my previous post. Only the word “remotely”, in the first paragraph should have been italicized. My apologies.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Peace Debts April 27, 2012 at 10:00

According to this theory I was born in a so called “Orthodox civilization”. Well, I believe there’s no such thing as “Orthodox civilization”. Maybe that was the case in XIX century, but in XXI it’s absurd. Today “Orthodox civilization” is just a backward slightly retarded periphery of the West.

By the way this theory is very politically correct. “They are are not dangerous aggressive barbaric stone-age savages, it’s their unique ancient civilization and you must respect them and treat them as equals.”

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
Ode April 27, 2012 at 14:38

Keystroke says:
“I’m sorry but I’d prefer to not live in a neighborhood where people think parking their cars and trucks on their lawn is normal. I must be a racist if I try to avoid living in mexican neighborhoods.”

OMG that’s so true, I live in California so I should know.
Another aspect of Mexican culture that is unflattering is that the women tend to gain a lot of weight. You know what’s the difference between a 30 year old Latina and a 20 year old?
Answer= 50 pounds

What I say may be racist but if the truth is racist so let it be.
The problem with Mexican culture is it’s inferior. It produces: teen pregnancies, high school dropouts, and gang membership. That’s a guaranteed recipe for producing a 3rd world nation, not an economically prosperous nation. Aside from going to a Mexican restaurant once a week there is very little of Mexican culture that white people in the USA wish to adopt.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
Ode April 27, 2012 at 17:53

Art

Now of course distribution of wealth doesn’t say a lot, because wealth tends to always end up in the hands of the few, it’s more about income and what can be bought with it.

Using your definition the USA is actually a pretty good place to live for most people. Even a man of less than impressive social economic status say a plumber, garbage man, or armed security guard can make enough money to buy a house with a two car garage and fill that garage with so much consumer goods he can’t park his car in there.

One of the greatest culture shocks foreigners have while visiting America, yes even foreigners from “advanced” countries like France, Germany, and UK is the tremendous amount of disposable income the average American has. A garbage man in America enjoys an economic lifestyle equal to a doctor in France.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Jabberwocky April 27, 2012 at 19:21

Maybe this?: I define the USA structurally as a Capitalistic/Democratic-Dichotomy, with these two motivating forces playing off of each other, ultimately finding balance (hopefully). I think this C/D organizational umbrella defines our civilization more so than religion, language, race or blood. I think our general culture (religion, race, etc.) is secondary to the fundamental structure of our society. It is the clever balancing act of our organizational structure that is guiding our prosperity. (Bless you founding fathers.) Culture can either help or hinder this growth and prosperity, but the structure itself rewards the cultural attitudes that participate vigorously in the structure itself. In other words, the cultures that participate in Capitalism and Democracy will flourish under them. Those that reject C. and D. will be left out in the cold. Maybe I’m being optimistic.

Thought experiment: What was Rome’s organizational umbrella? Like the US, it allowed for and homogenized many divergent cultures to varying degrees. Unlike the US, a religion overtook it’s cultural apex before a slow decline of power. Did the organizational umbrella fail somehow? Did it fail before or because of this cultural shift? What is the US to learn from this example.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Jabberwocky April 27, 2012 at 19:36

And do these Eastern, these Sinic and Japanese, and other “civilizations” really, not push up against our power because they have imitated us. They have become our rivals by becoming more like us. Maybe the US, Japan, India, and one day China, will all become part of a trade driven umbrella civilization that reflects US culture more broadly than there own historic cultures. How many of their businessmen learn English or go to American schools? How many of their economies are blended into our own? Have they all not moved towards the Democratic/Capitalist-hybrid structure in some form or another? Which of these has gone in the other direction? Not one that I can think. I don’t think we will compete because of religion, race, etc, but because of resources and capitalistic competition. Islamic civilizations are more of an anomaly. They will modernize or fail, just like the rest, they will just do so with more kicking and screaming and bloodshed.

I think the ideas of this book lean toward an oversimplification basically. It’s such a complex web of variables.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
Ode April 28, 2012 at 04:37

Art

Simply put, a society that’s only offering a good quality of life to a fraction of it’s population isn’t that great

It is better to live in a country where people on average make $40,000 and there’s a small proportion who make $4 million rather then live in a country where everybody is Equally poor making $20,000

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
Laguna Beach Fogey April 28, 2012 at 05:58

Old book, very controversial, much discussed at the time.

Where Huntington fails is in the area of Race.

Race informs Culture. Civilisation results from a particular people, in a particular place, at a particular time.

Race is not a social construct, but Society IS a Racial contruct.

To deny the essential racial character of the US (and the West), is to surrender the struggle to the enemy.

If you can’t even defend actual human beings, our own flesh and blood, then why do you care in the first place?

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
anexpat April 28, 2012 at 09:00

One of the greatest culture shocks foreigners have while visiting America, yes even foreigners from “advanced” countries like France, Germany, and UK is the tremendous amount of disposable income the average American has.

Yes, when I was a teacher in US, I earned twice as much as what I earned when I worked as a teacher in Europe.

But I spent a lot more. America is designed for you to pay for everything and things are expensive.

So the net result was that I didn’t save anything in US, while I saved a fair amount of my earnings in Europe.

In addition, in America I had no time to live. It was only work, work, work, drive, drive, drive, spend, spend, spend. The rat race. In Europe, after work, I had time for leisure, to share with friends, to enjoy life.

After some years, I decided that this was not a way to live. My boss wanted me to stay in America, because I am such a perfectionist in my job.

If you go to Europe, you will find that Europeans value things beyond money. We call it “quality of life”. In America, it is about slaving oneself to have more money and more status.

So yes, if your measuring stick is money, obviously America is much better than Europe. But there are other measuring sticks. It all boils down to the kind of values you have.

Now, I am having the best of both worlds. In Latin America I earn an income most American could not dream of. And I have free time and a good lifestyle. And I am an alpha here.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
blert April 28, 2012 at 12:29

Point of reality: you can’t drive — on a road — from Panama to Columbia.

The tectonic collision is so severe that all attempts at road-building have stopped.

You must board a ferry and sail from Panama to Columbia…

So, in fact, two oceans separate the north from the south: the Atlantic and the Pacific.

( The Pan American Highway ends as an unpaved trail towards the Pacific beach in Panama, famously so. )

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
Ode April 28, 2012 at 17:56

So yes, if your measuring stick is money, obviously America is much better than Europe. But there are other measuring sticks. It all boils down to the kind of values you have.

I’ll take the money right now for the obvious reason that they’ll be plenty of time to jack off later on in life. A man goes through 3 phases in his life beginning, middle, and end. The middle part is perhaps the most vital. It is the 1/3rd of your life where you make 2/3rds of all the money in your entire lifetime so you might as well milk the opportunity while it’s still there.

When I get older maybe I’ll think about expating.

Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: