Western civilization: multiple attacks
In the 1960s, the members of The Great Generation (the survivors of The Great Depression and the victors of World War II) were told by the Woodstock Generation that The Ten Commandments were old hat. Instead, we should be living our lives according to Albert Camus, Hugh Hefner, Timothy Leary, Margaret Sanger and Jean Paul Sartre.
The Woodstock motto was: If it feels good, do it. The ensuing attack on traditional American values destroyed millions of young lives through illegal drugs, alcohol and sexual excess. The destruction continues to this day.
And now, Western civilization is under further attack from two other fronts. On the Left are the multiculturalists who claim that Western culture is no better than any other culture and may, in fact, be inferior. On the far Right are the radical, fundamentalist Muslim clerics who claim that Western culture is so inferior and so offensive to Islamic culture that it must be destroyed.
Yet, one would have to be blind not to observe that the human condition is vastly improved in the West where democracy, capitalism and science are allowed to flower. By contrast, totalitarianism, socialism and ignorance are hallmarks of the non-Western world in which so many millions live in abject poverty.
Incredibly, some non-whites in the multiculturalist camp act as if Western civilization invented the practice of slavery when in fact that odious practice was inflicted by people of color on people of color long before it became a temporary (and now fortunately extinct) facet of Western civilization. Indeed, it was the tribal chieftains of some African tribes who turned their captured enemies into slaves and then sold them to the Arab slave traders who then sold them to white sea captains for transport to the Americas.
It is historically correct (but politically incorrect) to point out that the indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America practiced slavery long before Columbus reached the Americas. In fact, the Aztecs and Mayans cut the hearts out of hundreds of thousands of their slaves. Some of our own Native Americans tribes kept slaves. The Anasazi even ate some of theirs.
Therefore, the Native American, anti-Columbus, anti-Italian Columbus Day protests are both misdirected and unfair. Italy did not exist when Christopher Columbus was born. He was taken as a small child from Genoa to Spain, but spent most of his life in Portugal. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that Columbus was actually a Sephardic Jew. (See: www.shofar.org)
Some, but not all, African-Americans want to be paid reparations for the harm done to their ancestors by slavery. Granted, it is to the everlasting shame of the white race that the English and some of the American colonists were willing to do business with the Arab and African slave traders. But as the distinguished East Indian-American scholar, Dinesh D’Souza, points out, “In point of act, what is uniquely Western is not slavery, but its abolition.”
Only in the West has slavery been eradicated. We fought a bloody civil war to end slavery here while slavery continues in parts of Africa and Asia and the Arab world. For example, the Koran preaches a form of male domination that amounts to virtual slavery for Islamic women. In some parts of Islam, female genital mutilation is the norm.
Meanwhile, the radical Muslim clerics believe the American version of Western civilization is so degenerate that it deserves destruction. But while they may see the struggle as a holy war against Western civilization and the Judeo-Christian way of life, we should not engage the Islamic radicals on a religious or cultural basis.
The radical Muslims who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon must be crushed. Not because of their religious beliefs, but because they are a threat to our existence. We step on cockroaches because they pose a health risk. Terrorism must be eradicated for the same reason.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about terrorism. See: www.thegrandconspiracy.com.
©2001. William Hamilton.