So I picked up Why the West Has Won: Carnage and Culture which is a most excellent book. I find that the more books like this that I read the more certain I am that the whole social justice thing is bat shit insane and intellectually lazy. The West is culturally unique and culturally superior. I think, at this point, if you disagree with this statement you’re actually ignorant of other cultures. The moment anyone starts comparing cultures, in the way that Hanson contrasts Classical Greece with the Persian empire, the idea that the West isn’t superior completely breaks down. You can do the same with the modern West and say, China or India or Islam.
So when the social justice crazies start talking about institutional racism and such I start asking if we’re not comparing apples and oranges. The West is the way it is because of the culture of the West which is contained in individual Westerners and so I question if it’s entirely unexpected that migrants from other cultures don’t perform as well in the West. Even when we’re talking about black people, I ask if we should be entirely surprised that people who are from “black culture” don’t perform as well in Western culture as…well as…I suppose, Westerners.
If we want to talk about racism I think we first have to ensure that we’re starting from a point of cultural equality and I don’t think that we do that. This is, frankly, too difficult a discussion for most people. I find that talking about culture with Westerners is extraordinarily difficult because most Westerners think everyone on earth is a Westerner and so when you say, “Well, we’re a guilt based culture with an internal locus of control but this is actually rare among cultures generally” they have no idea what you’re on about. To them culture is food, music and dress and nothing deeper.
I find that when I talk about culture, therefore, the discussion goes nowhere. The left has no concept of culture and will insist on the equality of culture and one of the great things about this book is that it compares and contrasts cultures and then it says, essentially, “And you can’t dismiss this because the real world result of this is Western armies continually trashing non-Western armies”. Logically it therefore makes sense to ask if freedom of speech, individualism, rationality and open debate, etc allow Westerners to demolish non-Western armies over the past three millennia, why would we be surprised that these same cultural institutions allow Westerners to outcompete non-Westerners in all other areas of life?
This, I don’t think, is a question that’s really been asked and certainly not answered. It’s much easier to just say, “racism”. This is much lower information, you don’t have to survey millennia of history or ask difficult questions or do much thought and yet you’ll be lauded for it. You don’t even have to get to grips with cultural differences, in fact, thirteen year olds can do it on tumblr.
The other thing, of course, is that it requires people who are profoundly anti-Western to acknowledge that Westerners do things better, which is incredibly difficult. If you’ve been habitually and reflexively attacking white males then coming around to the idea that white males are where they are because they behave in certain ways and have certain values that give them a huge advantage, rather than there is some system that privileges them must, be nigh on impossible.