Is a war on Western Civilization justified?
A Lutheran minister, a Presbyterian minister, and René Descartes, the French philosopher famous for saying: "Cognito ergo sum (I think. Therefore, I am)," walk into a bar. The Lutheran orders a beer. The Presbyterian orders whisky. Descartes (the "s" is silent) orders French Champagne. [Reader alert! This joke requires careful thought.]
The three of them discuss the value of Faith vs. Works. The Lutheran, quoting Romans 1:17, proclaimed, "I am ’justified’ by Faith alone." The Presbyterian said, "I am ’justified’ in whatever I do because I am Predestined to go to Heaven." But before Descartes could speak, the waiter reappeared and asked Descartes if he would like more Champagne. Descartes said, "I think not," and vanished.
As the reader might gather, this column centers on the idea that the actions of most people are based on some kind of "justification." In other words, I am "justified" in taking Action B because of the effect Action A has had on me. As in: "The Devil made me do it." Or, how about "Western Civilization made me do it?"
Perhaps, this can explain the actions of some African-American NFL players who say they are protesting how people of color are treated by law enforcement. Perhaps, this explains the recent acts of violence directed against police officers, the burnings of public buildings, the destruction of historic statutes and monuments, the attempts to desecrate the American Flag, to ban our National Anthem, and to remove any visages of Christianity and prayer from the public square.
What the African-American protesters may really be protesting is white, Christian Western Civilization which, despite the efforts of Christian missionaries, never gained a significant foothold on the African Continent.
Granted, there are wrongs within our society that need correction. For example, in 2017, black-on-black violence in Chicago just notched its 600th murder. Last year, recorded 781 black-on-black murders. If the NFL protesters (all of them millionaires) need a wrong to correct, Chicago beckons.
Space does not permit an explanation of why some races are dark-colored and some races are not. The Vitamin D/Melanin Theory must await another time. Suffice it to say for now that where the sun burns hottest, we find dark-skinned people. Where the sun burns less, we find light-skinned people.
As history records, the lighter-skinned peoples living between the Caucasus Mountains (Caucasians) and Scandinavia developed Western Civilization. It began with the olive-skinned ancient Greeks and Romans. Eventually, they developed a set of behavioral prescriptions possibly best expressed by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount and, unfortunately, "more honored in the breach than the observance," as Shakespeare observed in Hamlet, Act I, scene 4.
But what if you feel the surrounding civilization, no matter how richly rewarding, is not of your choosing and, therefore, unwelcome. Are you then "justified" in opposing the ambient civilizations much-revered patriotic rituals? Or, would your distemper be lessened and your objectives better served, if you stood up straight and pledged to make America truly the "land of the free and the home of the brave?"
Graduate-school philosophy humor aside, what happened to René Descartes, the father of modern western philosophy? He did not vanish. Descartes lived from 1596 A.D. to 1650 A.D.
©2017. William Hamilton.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and was a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: The Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
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