Is Political Philosophy the key difference between west and the rest even now?


One of the reasons by which west has perhaps emerged successful is through political philosophy, philosophy is a method of discourse that seeks to corner the opponent into providing coherent answers that are not rooted in identity based reasoning. Western world has gone through incredible transformation over last 5 centuries and one of the key component of that transformation has been the political philosophy that emerged in parallel and its place in guiding their worldview.

Which is why one might observe and study the arguments and discourse of people in other countries in public and in parliament . One must check for the proliferation of enlightenment values in these societies . If it is tribal in nature with no understanding or value given to plain reasoning not rooted in identity or no active pressure by various levels of society, from civic rights groups to media to academics to politics & business to this effect, then one might conclude that they deeply value tribal identity as a means to be preserved without it being called into question(free speech), these societies are going to continue to be trapped in the said discourse without any recognition precisely as the political /tribal interests of various participants across different sections of society are rooted in identity .Civic groups, media, academics in those societies for all their pretensions of being liberal or secular are infact engaging in this tribal discourse.  Without enlightenment values, can these societies transform?.  I would have to say no. This brings us to the fact that progress measured merely in terms of benefits or poverty or maternal mortality etc can still accompany  illiberal politics. Any difference measured in these societies will be imagined only through identity and solutions will also be driven with regards to identity.

Philosophy must be therefore made a necessary part of education, specially made for law,media,politics and science .  This is so, because with freedom one can gain further freedom and make social progress on all measures, but society without freedom , even if it advances in some or all other social scores cannot be certain to preserve or gain further freedom .  I see lot of comparison being made between Islamist states or states with Islam given primacy and India or china/communist states and India. This is unfair comparison altogether, making progress while preserving freedom is harder than otherwise.

Should Hinduism survive?

I have read the annhilation of caste by Ambedkar in my teens,read Gandhiji’s Harijan ,one copy, where he answers to some perverse people who justify untouchability .I have read the horror stories of human sacrifices in parts of India coming from parts of Hinduism. And I have been revolted beyond measure and have at various times felt the sheer horror of it all. And I have abandoned Hinduism, I gave up my traditional faith, I have for various other reasons including personal ones come back to it, but in a different way. With more a sense of nyaya/vaisheshika, the need to rid oneself of delusions. I think untouchability, caste violence and violence in general against women, many of these are horrors we still live with and if One cannot get rid of these horrors in 150 odd more years. or not make very significant progress, then one must end it for it is not good and is not defensible. It has the right to flourish as that had been hijacked by historic forces. If it doesnt work in the end, then it must end too.

I once began reading the book of arundhati roy,” listening to the grass hoppers”, even after I had become atheist, I was in depression , and the book made it much worse, I didnt finish that book, I still have it somewhere. If there is nothing to be salvaged knowing all the worst there is, then there is nothing there to value any of it. But one shouldnt be ignorant. And make choices on that. There is something in its philosophies, if not vedanta, then nyaya, if not nyaya, then bhakti, if not bhakti, then yoga, if not yoga, then , karma yoga. Or may be a combination of many. It has a richness in its diversity, whether it be ramanuja who took a shudra as his guru,invited him to his home for meals and was not there when he did come, his wife served but later washed the home and bathed herself, and ramanuja on returning didnt like this, many such incidents pushed him to become monk instead tried to work to bring this to end.

There are problems in all people, in him and others as well, but this here points to atma stuthi(conscience) and sadachara( ethics of good people from all classes) , while these methods were hierarchically less in value compared to texts, They in time as more texts were written led to movements of various gurus possible.For ethical learning could happen with out the texts from the good people as well. This was the one good escape route for more general ethical learning that played a part in bhakti movement. While it is interesting that the earliest dharma shastra apastambha sutra was better than the later manusmriti, for it put mutually agreed ideas superior to vedas, for he considered “dharma and adharma do not fly around declaring this is righteous and this isnt, even gods and demi gods cannot declare so.”

As patrick olivelle says, apastambha argued that parts of vedas are lost and one can only infer from the behavior of people to find the true ideal dharma , so one must learn from customs of men and women. On the other hand manusmriti doesnt like reasoning to be the sole basis for declaring moral issues either. So while Hinduism over time began to value different opinions, it didnt find “reasoning” to be the primary source to discover this, Inspite of nyaya being a recognized tradition.

Islamoskepticism or Islamophobia

Religions have many aspects to it,what matters for growth is that it comes down to being able to take criticism. If criticism leads to complex arguments, then depending on the nature of those arguments one can make progress, provided they can atleast temporarily keep the religious side interested with the belief that they do have a chance to come through.  So there has to reach a (seemingly) stable equilibrium between the critics and the believers. If this isnt possible then religious believers might find it difficult to sustain belief.

Islam truly is poor in its resources compared to other religions, it is precisely for this reason for its comparative poverty in its expression. Because it is anchored to Mohammad. we need to first find a way to compare between different religions, our understanding of this phenomena of “religion” has been shaped  largely due to christian/western worldview and its impact on how other systems of belief are perceived.Reason why we have many new world isms (Shintoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Sikhism,Jainism, Buddhism). So lets compare instead by many making different criteria to see where they stand.A kind of card, too many red cards and that religion is the worst. On inequality, Hinduism is worst, on freedoms to criticize , Christianity/Islam are worst, on use of violence for conquest, Islam is again the worst with concept of “Jihad”,so is Christianity. political ambitions,theologically for expansion bringing them into conflict with others, Christianity,Islam are worst.Just look around for christian and Muslim expansion in last 1000+ yrs by both.   Finally we can come to the central pillars of religions which have founders, Jainism Mahavira,Buddhism Buddha, Christianity Jesus,Sikhism ,Islam Mohammad. Continue reading Islamoskepticism or Islamophobia

Why tribalism wins

Why tribalism wins ?. For this we need to consider what would be the alternative of tribalism?. Individualism. However individuals collaborate to achieve goals . The act of collaboration leads to competition between different kinds of ideas . Here there is big difference between complicated ideas which require deep study which cannot be done over short period of time and simple ideas which require less study. The more complex an idea, the less numbers of people shall be able to follow and the simpler an idea, its easy enough to get many to support them. It should also be easier to get many to debunk them as well. But here we end up with cognitive biases of the mind. No matter the ease with which one might debunk the simple idea, one might still not win the case for the complex idea precisely because it is complex, one might debunk it in favor of another simple idea. This leads to evolution of rhetoric, branding, a way to compress very complex set of ideas into simple enough ideas that can gain support .

In all this, we are now faced with the logistics of how ideas are disseminated , the fidelity with which they are disseminated, all options are made available, how well are all options equally explained. All this requires commitment of workers. So, the requirement of nuance, the logistics of the entire exercise, the need to motivate workers , the simple minded ideas and rhetoric one needs to deploy to win over others to one’s side , especially if one’s own ideas are too complex. This leads to a need for improvisation, rhetoric, taking advantage of cognitive hacks of our minds.
And once these methods are put in place, this machine becomes self sustaining, the use of cognitive hacks will keep getting deployed. All this lead to dominance of tribes over individualism.As it will be the efficiency of how these are run that shall decide the success.

Individualism also leads to spectrum of different positions. As Steven Weinberg once put it, “Without religion, good people will be good and bad people bad, with religion, to get good people to do bad,that takes religion”. As simple as this might sound, One might discover that the personalities of these “good people” might diverge from each other as well. If so, one might find that these good people might further divide themselves as their individual exploration space would be different from each other, their cognitive capacity, their methods of reasoning and subjective experience might all differ. The narcissism of individualism leads to the bizarre culture of validating people for discovery of their personal truth , popularization of phrases like “speaking your truth” comes to the mind. The narcissism of individualism will lead to a culture of much internal bickering and be taken over by the more tribal groups, whether they be internal or external.

Truth is not easy to find for all. At some point one has to go by trust due to the impossibility of one individual gaining perfection in diverse fields .Even in one field, one is far away from experts. This is true at both at the level of knowledge but also at the level of governance. The requirements of building systems of governance to scale leads one to also trust large numbers of people as part of the system. The constraints alone make Tribalism seem necessary. Add to it the divergent thinking styles of people to it along with diverse beliefs of people, how can it not be the case that tribalism would win. Once a tribe is formed based on certain markers, it becomes self sustaining and change the world in unique way in consonance with those tribal markers.

The difference is one therefore as to how an eco system of tribes tame themselves over time and evolve strategies of not trying to out compete each other to harmful effects but to help enable each other and to also solve the trouble of freeloaders .

In absence of clear cut answers one can only go by heuristics and methods to help us. In science and math, it is the consistency of methods, experiments that helps us. They act as guard rails .  We need to educate people about guardrails, one such guard rail could be skin in the game and belief in progress in incremental steps, experimental groups one can track over period of time and test for intervention  rather than to force experiment on everyone with no way to convince others that one’s ideas are indeed true.

Are all religions/ideologies reformable ?

Are there no constraints to ideas/ideologies,religions that can be reformed?. Or anything can be reformed?.
Is it possible to get Hitler admiring people to not be racist ? or to stop hating jews?. Or is it the case that no matter the endless creative de tours one takes it will in the end fail as some people will see it straight forward and follow the example of hitler and become racist/anti semitic.

If individual leaders are the anchors that would constrain ideologies like nazism along with its other ideas, can something similar be true for other ideologies & religions? Should we be surprised by ISIS considering the model they were following?. Will it not be the case that for all the reforms, there will always be break away movements that will once again want to follow the original teachings with straight forward views of the times?.

I leave it for you to ponder. This is very important, because there are people who would want to believe that all ideas can be redeemed and to express doubts over this would invite charges of bigotry. If a bad religion x can be tweaked, another bad religion y can also be tweaked, does that mean all bad religions can be tweaked to be moderate and if some one disagrees , is it enough to simply call them as bigots as an answer in itself?. Or could they be true. If they are true, would it not be the case that the world that unfortunately ends up with that particular religion/ideology, many good minded people of that world will end up giving cover for it will eventually hurt them all?. Politeness itself can become a catastrophe?.

The appropriate answer to such answer would be to preserve a world where one isnt entirely polite, one is willing to call out all religions/ideologies and test and prod them. And be allowed to declare that some or all ideas cannot be truly be reformed and encourage people to abandon them in its entirety. The proof of burden of moderation should be on particular ideologies/religions & not on everyone else to be polite.

There is no morality

Recently, threats of vandalism of temples have been made in TN , India. Assault on few individuals,petrolbomb attack of bjp work place in Tamil Nadu by followers of Indian atheist periyar,works of atheists are popular in our world now, of them supposedly being better than religious folk, and periyar is praised in parts of India, not realizing that he has a complex history and the violent motives of his followers are part of that legacy. His quotes are being passed around as a meme.
so let me quote the same here and modify it a bit to make another argument.

There is no God, There is no God, There is no God at all,The inventor of ‘God’ is a fool,The propagator of God is a scoundrel,the worshiper of God is a Barbarian.

we can also say,

There is no morality, There is no Morality, There is no Morality at all, The inventor of ‘Morality’ was a manipulator, The propagator of Morality was liar, The believers of Morality are selfish cowards.

If one is to discard religion for lack of evidence, then one might discard belief in morality as false too. I find the logic of atheists false . one cannot demolish the idea of belief in religion through scientific scrutiny and deny applying the same scrutiny as well to idea of ‘morality’. We are apes, designed by Darwinian evolution whose purpose isnt morality. It is mere survival. Designed by natural laws totally blind to all abstract things that humans cherish.

The recognition of this would mean the joke is infact on atheism & atheists who believe they can wash off their hands of crimes of all religions , infact, by declaring their criticism of religion on empirical facts, Atheists would at once be forced to acknowledge that their criticism of religion is in error for that same scientific scrutiny should make them accept man to be a beast. All the violence of man everywhere would have to be embraced as theirs as well including religious violence because it is part of our collective human endowment. The natural conclusion of such materialistic worldview based on such trivial empirical data of there “being no god” for lack of evidence would mean that all violence is justified for there are no abstract entities like ‘justice’. Abstract Truths have no independent existence in this world.

A lot of problems in today’s world would be cleared up if one made this clear that ‘morality’ is not true , the excessive left rhetoric can be demolished pointing to basic facts that we are not equal in our physical attributes or mental capacities. But this is only possible by demolishing idea of ‘morality’ itself. All there is, is naked ambition for power, egotism, Machiavellian worldview, lies,deceit, the ultimate summit of man then in this world is absolute power and sensual pleasures.

This will leave us with the only real options we have, which is the physical world and the abstract rules by which we wish to live by, any attempts of designing any kind of moral rules must accept that they are ultimately abstract , just as religions are.

How we live therefore depends on assumptions we buy into.There are many abstract set of rules by which human beings can live by.The difference between truth and belief is that, truth emerges irrespective of belief, but a particular set of abstract rules which one might decide to live by on the other hand requires active belief of many individuals . so, both the discovery of such abstract rules and participation firstly requires one to first value knowledge and the assumptions on which such knowledge is constructed, but it is not obvious that everyone values knowledge and even if they do, not necessary that they would give up on their cherished codes of living. Or that in future some of them might very well return to some form of it or something different.

This will at once clarify to us about nature of regimes like china and religion of Islam. They dont buy into same assumptions as those of other societies. With this basis it would be straight forwardly prudent that groups of different worldview should try to pacify others by reciprocal actions. That this becomes the primary way to consider issues rather than to live in whiggish worldview, where one sits quietly living day to day life while other groups with clear motive to harm you keep arming themselves, or keep attacking you repeatedly through acts of terrorism.

This would mean that we can either sit quietly assuming all things will turn out right by themselves and be willing to risk one’s downfall or be proactive in bringing series of reciprocal tactics of various kinds to pacify aggressive group ideologies and individuals of those groups. This is a better way than to simply believe that somehow all religions are destined to “reform”. There is no guarantee for this. Others shouldn’t have to bear the risks for this blind belief.

India’s Rotherham

I predicted that cases like these were happening in India, did happen in India earlier as well but were not being shown in media as whole. There are many cases happening even now but here is evidence from over 2 decades back. The case of muslims preying on non muslim girls, the methods used are similar.

Muslim Impostor, Pretending to be Hindu BJP Supporter, Lures & Abducts Girl – Baghpat, UP

The term people use is “loveJihad”, while one can question some of the sources, in absence of mainstream media outing such instances, one must go by these alternative news outlets.

2 gangs have been busted in last 4 yrs in 2 different cities , but I am unable to find them as the terms used are described suchthat it is hard to find.


Evolution of societies: A Perspective

It is hard to try to understand evolution of societies, there are many factors, all the way from geography to genetics to culture, language,religion. so feel free to disagree to this.

I would try to place 4 factors to see the differences between societies.

1.Diversity of thought/ideas, freedom for disagreement

2. Scaling, reinforcement or social conformity, the ability to bring large numbers of people to act or to have greater cohesion . Asabiya would fall into this category

3. incentive system,law & order.

4. external factors,threat of other groups,geography.

Of course, for even these ideas, we could go further back to ask why did these traits evolve in some places and not in others and so on. However, I do value these first 3 factors as they are what would constitute internal engine for societies to modulate themselves. The fourth being external threats and how that interaction plays out.

My view is to look at what societies can possibly do of their human resources. It makes sense to talk from the point of view of agency , of what can one possibly do to transform a society at a reference point A to another reference point B. Much as basic physics is study of dynamics of matter over time, basic social sciences should be about dynamics of societies over time as well.

What kinds of interventions can transform societies from a reference point A to reference point B. And is it reversible?

From the point of view of political agents of these societies, all they can possibly do is to either change their ideas about some views, bring conformity in large numbers of people,change incentive system, law & order.

Now that we have these in place, we can look at evolution of societies. Here Christianity began under the influence of polytheists, it gained institutions from Romans in the west, its common law, its ideas in science, philosophy, politics, all of these ideas were mined in due course of time, before that though it also brought conformity.

So Christianity had traits of diversity of ideas embedded in its early history, it also had better incentive system in place, copyright laws, patent laws , institutions of learning, these I believe brought them a decisive advantage. For it provided them a certain kind of knowledge of future possibilities for change in both society ,economy, sciences, one weaving into another and this was helped by profit motive and recognition/fame. Newton and Leibniz famously fought for credit, Galileo apparently sued his student. I am not sure of earlier periods where preeminent scientists and thinkers of a culture were suing each other for having stolen each others work , literary or scientific/mathematical/technological works.

These were given a fillip with peace of Westphalia, due to religious wars in Europe, the scale of violence and lack of outright victory of one group over the other side meant that christian conformity of one sect came to an end. This religious pluralism inside Christianity perhaps gave about a period of relative peace which helped bring the age of enlightenment in Europe into being as the old truths were now being replaced with new ideas of nature. Descartes,Newton,Hobbes,Locke were some of the people who published their works in the period. The total sum of interactions, publications, ideas and most importantly the incentive system propelled the society from the old and into the new and the bold . Also the beginnings of colonial expansion was perhaps enough incentive for religious peace in Europe and exploration outside for profit .There were other fish to fry.

I think the wars of religion placed a very important role, it meant Europe now had to simply accept heresy(Protestantism). While other societies had some of these traits, the totality of all these traits were not there, is not there even now in many societies.

Imagine the Catholics winning out decisively against protestants , then perhaps it would have the strength to decisively close the new avenues of research as a potential threat for formation of new heresies. Again, the position of dominant power could have changed this. Or if say the threat of Islam was felt very strongly in Europe, would they have then been willing to value rationalism over faith?. Here I am invoking the 4th factor of external threat. The questions that must matter are what factors can tilt societies from one mode of development to another?.  How must those internal and external incentives be tweaked, how does the internal structure of society align with this?. Is there too much diversity that society essentially is fragmented?. Or is the conformity to dogmas has a momentum that it cannot allow for freedom of speech?.

And if one were to value the peace of Westphalia as having played an important role in change of Christianity, One suspects the initiative of reform inside Islam, when plurality is not accepted within Islam itself,to expect them to be tolerable of other religious people seems strange.

A replication of what happened in Europe would entail them confronted by futility of war of social conquest within themselves first,to confront the cognitive dissonance of finding oneself in fruitless violence among themselves. I am not confident that cognitive dissonance can be elicited if Muslims were at war with non Muslims though. And what would the cost be for them to abandon excessive zealotry.

While India had religious pluralism, it didnt have universities, development in science, the printing press, incentive system for literature or sciences /technology.

Islam did not for various reasons including geography either have this pluralism or the incentive system. One Idea I have picked up from the following article on consciousness is the idea of counterfactual depth.

If action depends upon inference, then systems must be able to make inferences about the consequences of their actions. You can’t pick what to do unless you can make a guess about the probable outcome. However, there’s an important twist here. A creature cannot infer the consequences of its actions unless it possesses a model of its future. It needs to know what to expect if it does this as opposed to that. For example, I need to know (or subconsciously model) how my sensations will change if I look to the left, to the right or, indeed, close my eyes. But the sensory evidence for the consequences of an action is not available until it is executed, thanks to the relentless forward movement of time.

As a result of the arrow of time, systems that can grasp the impact of their future actions must necessarily have a temporal thickness. They must have internal models of themselves and the world that allow them to make predictions about things that have not and might not actually happen. Such models can be thicker and thinner, deeper or shallower, depending on how far forward they predict, as well as how far back they postdict, that is, whether they can capture how things might have ended up if they had acted differently. Systems with deeper temporal structures will be better at inferring the counterfactual consequences of their actions. The neuroscientist Anil Seth calls this counterfactual depth.

So if a system has a thick temporal model, what actions will it infer or select? The answer is simple: it will minimise the expected surprise following an action. The proof follows by reductio ad absurdum from what we already know: existence itself entails minimising surprise and self-evidencing. How do systems minimise expected surprises, in practice? First, they act in order to reduce uncertainties, that is, to avoid possible surprises in the future (such as being cold, hungry or dead). Nearly all our behaviour can be understood in terms of such uncertainty-minimising drives – from the reflexive withdrawal from noxious stimuli (such as dropping a hot plate) to epistemic foraging for salient visual information when watching television or driving. Second, the actions of such systems upon the world appear to be endowed with a purpose, which is the purpose of minimising not-yet-actual, but possible, surprises.

We might call this kind of system an agent or a self: something that engages in proactive, purposeful inference about its own future, based on a thick model of time.”

So, the age of enlightenment brought about a new consciousness in Europe, A kind of counterfactual depth unlike other among others. What all these developments did is increase progressive agnosticism. To entertain ideas different from one’s own is to for a moment engage in cognitive dissonance leading to certain kind of agnosticism by stealth. Progress therefore has been thorough this agnosticism by stealth reinforced many times over by mercantilism. To Imagine is to change. However, asabiya is also important, one cannot become agnostic to the point that societies become internally divided and are unable to bring the scale of numbers and pressure to bring about a transformation.


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.”
Clash of civilizations

Brown Pundits