Clash Of Civilisations – Samuel Huntington

After Ukraine, China asserting itself, Turkey – Rise of Erdogan, Myanmar (Burma) crisis, Even India with rise of Modi . I think this book deserves a revisit. Perhaps all his works deserves a visit.

collection of his quotes .

“This changing international environment brought to the fore the fundamental cultural differences between Asian and American civilizations. At the broadest level the Confucian ethos pervading many Asian societies stressed the values of authority, hierarchy, the subordination of individual rights and interests, the importance of consensus, the avoidance of confrontation, “saving face,” and, in general, the supremacy of the state over society and of society over the individual. In addition, Asians tended to think of the evolution of their societies in terms of centuries and millennia and to give priority to maximizing long-term gains. These attitudes contrasted with the primacy in American beliefs of liberty, equality, democracy, and individualism, and the American propensity to distrust government, oppose authority, promote checks and balances, encourage competition, sanctify human rights, and to forget the past, ignore the future, and focus on maximizing immediate gains. The sources of conflict are in fundamental differences in society and culture.”

“In the post-Cold War world flags count and so do other symbols of cultural identity, including crosses, crescents, and even head coverings, because culture counts, and cultural identity is what is most meaningful to most people.”

“ability of Asian regimes to resist Western human rights pressures was reinforced by several factors. American and European businesses were desperately anxious to expand their trade with and their investment in these rapidly”

“The dangerous clashes of the future are likely to arise from the interaction of Western arrogance, Islamic intolerance, and Sinic assertiveness.”

“The philosophical assumptions, underlying values, social relations, customs, and overall outlooks on life differ significantly among civilizations. The revitalization of religion throughout much of the world is reinforcing these cultural differences. Cultures can change, and the nature of their impact on politics and economics can vary from one period to another. Yet the major differences in political and economic development among civilizations are clearly rooted in their different cultures. East Asian economic success has its source in East Asian culture, as do the difficulties East Asian societies have had in achieving stable democratic political systems. Islamic culture explains in large part the failure of democracy to emerge in much of the Muslim world.”

“The prevalence of anti-patriotic attitudes among liberal intellectuals led some of them to warn their fellow liberals of the consequences of such attitudes for the future not of America but of American liberalism. Most Americans, as the American public philosopher Richard Rorty has written, take pride in their country, but ‘many of the exceptions to this rule are found in colleges and universities, in the academic departments that have become sanctuaries for left-wing political views.’ These leftists have done ‘a great deal of good for . . . women, African-Americans, gay men and lesbians. . . . But there is a problem with this Left: it is unpatriotic. It repudiates the idea of a national identity and the emotion of national pride.’ If the Left is to retain influence, it must recognize that a ‘sense of shared national identity . . . is an absolutely essential component of citizenship.’ Without patriotism, the Left will be unable to achieve its goals for America. Liberals, in short, must use patriotism as a means to achieve liberal goals”

“What, however, makes culture and ideology attractive? They become attractive when they are seen as rooted in material success and influence. Soft power is power only when it rests on a foundation of hard power. Increases in hard economic and military power produce enhanced self-confidence, arrogance, and belief in the superiority of one’s own culture or soft power compared to those of other peoples and greatly increase its attractiveness to other peoples. Decreases in economic and military power lead to self-doubt, crises of identity, and efforts to find in other cultures the keys to economic, military, and political success.”

“The argument now that the spread of pop culture and consumer goods around the world represents the triumph of Western civilization trivializes Western culture. The essence of Western civilization is the Magna Carta, not the Magna Mac. The fact that non-Westerners may bite into the latter has no implications for their accepting the former.”

“There can be no true friends without true enemies. Unless we hate what we are not, we cannot love what we are.”

“reaffirming their Western identity and Westerners accepting their civilization as unique not universal and uniting to renew and preserve it against challenges from non-Western societies.”

“These transnationalists have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations”

“the situation between Ukraine and Russia is ripe for the outbreak of security competition between them. Great powers that share a long and unprotected common border, like that between Russia and Ukraine, often lapse into competition driven by security fears. Russia and Ukraine might overcome this dynamic and learn to live together in harmony, but it would be unusual if they do.”

“One grim Weltanschauung for this new era was well expressed by the Venetian nationalist demagogue in Michael Dibdin’s novel, Dead Lagoon: “There can be no true friends without true enemies. Unless we hate what we are not, we cannot love what we are. These are the old truths we are painfully rediscovering after a century and more of sentimental cant. Those who deny them deny their family, their heritage, their culture, their birthright, their very selves! They will not lightly be forgiven.”

“God and Caesar, church and state, spiritual authority and temporal authority, have been a prevailing dualism in Western culture. Only in Hindu civilization were religion and politics also so distinctly separated. In Islam, God is Caesar; in China and Japan, Caesar is God; in Orthodoxy, God is Caesar’s junior partner.”

“Collective will supplants individual whim”

“People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against.”

“Hypocrisy, double standards, and “but nots” are the price of universalist pretensions. Democracy is promoted, but not if it brings Islamic fundamentalists to power; nonproliferation is preached for Iran and Iraq, but not for Israel; free trade is the elixir of economic growth, but not for agriculture; human rights are an issue for China, but not with Saudi Arabia; aggression against oil-owning Kuwaitis is massively repulsed, but not against non-oil-owning Bosnians. Double standards in practice are the unavoidable price of universal standards of principle.”

“It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation-states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”

“Becoming a modern society is about industrialization, urbanization, and rising levels of literacy, education, and wealth. The qualities that make a society Western, in contrast, are special: the classical legacy, Christianity, the separation of church and state, the rule of law, civil society.”

“Every civilization sees itself as the center of the world and writes its history as the central drama of human history.”

“In the emerging world of ethnic conflict and civilizational clash, Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems: it is false; it is immoral; and it is dangerous.”

“Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.”

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

“Democracy is premised, in some measure, on majority rule, and democracy is difficult in a situation of concentrated inequalities in which a large, impoverished majority confronts a small, wealthy oligarchy.”
The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (1991)

“Cultural America is under siege. And as the Soviet experience illustrates, ideology is a weak glue to hold together people otherwise lacking racial, ethnic, and cultural sources of community.”
Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity (2004), p. 12

“Many more people in the world are concerned with sports than with human rights.”

“In the emerging era, clashes of civilization are the greatest threat to world peace, and an international order based on civilizations is the surest safeguard against world war.”

“In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.”

“Religiosity distinguishes America from most other Western societies. Americans are also overwhelmingly Christian, which distinguishes them from many non-Western peoples. Their religiosity leads Americans to see the world in terms of good and evil to a much greater extent than most other peoples.”
“Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite,” The National Interest, November, 2002, p. 16

“It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation-states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”

“The balance of power among civilizations is shifting: the West is declining in relative influence; Asian civilizations are expanding their economic,military, and political strength; Islam is exploding demographically with destabilizing consequences for Muslim countries and their neighbors; and non-Western civilizations generally are reaffirming the value of their own cultures.”

“Some Westerners, including President Bill Clinton, have argued that the West does not have problems with Islam but only with violent Islamist extremists.Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise. The relations between Islam and Christianity, both Orthodox and Western, have often been stormy. Each has been the other’s Other. Th e twentieth-century conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism is only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon compared to the continuing and deeply conflictual relation between Islam and Christianity. At times, peaceful coexistence has prevailed; more often the relation has been one of intense rivalry and of varying degrees of hot war. Their “historical dynamics,” John Esposito comments, “. . . often found the two communities in competition, and locked at times in deadly combat, for power, land, and souls.” Across the centuries the fortunes of the two religions have risen and fallen in a sequence o f momentous surges, pauses, and countersurges. ”

“Some Westerners […] have argued that the West does not have problems with Islam but only with violent Islamist extremists. Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise.”

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/38041.Samuel_P_Huntington
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Samuel_P._Huntington
Clash of civilizations

Headwinds Ahead : The Growing Divergence Between Truth and Productivity?

Throughout Human history, Productivity has required an understanding of nature, whether it meant predicting the seasons for agriculture or navigating the seas for trade through astronomy or curing diseases through medicine. European societies gained a huge advantage over other societies by creating incentives for exploration of ideas by institutionalizing patent & copy right laws in the late medieval period and eventually by enshrining the notion of free speech.

Productivity leaped ahead in these societies, which promoted a culture of intellectual exploration of ideas. And never has there been a society where a scientist like Einstein gained a degree of popularity transcending his own time to become the visual cognate to the word “genius”. All this gave a great boost to the social status of many scientists in these societies. And in the 20th century people across the world are now familiar with the name ‘Einstein’. Meanwhile, the establishment of awards to scientists has been an annual affair for over a century by the prestigious Nobel committee. However, the nature of progress itself thus far should not reassure us with regards to the future.

Continue reading “Headwinds Ahead : The Growing Divergence Between Truth and Productivity?”