On Western exceptionalism

Ian Jobling has another nice piece on what makes the Western world exceptional down at the Inverted World. Whatever the reasons, it is beyond doubt to anyone who has studied the world history that whites have produced most of the scientific and technological progress in the known universe and that makes them very special indeed. Jobling does a decent job of trying to understand why Europeans even with lower IQs than East Asians have worked wonders:

Debate in white societies is not a casual affair. For many of us, convincing others of the truth as we see it is our priority in life. Whites’ orientation towards the truth is so powerful that we make heroes out of men who died for their convictions, like Socrates, Jesus, and Galileo. Our Western heroes are very different from heroes of other world regions, who affirm the power and superiority of the culture that produced them. Rather, our hero myths contrast the integrity of the individual vision of the truth with the complacence and conformity of the culture that persecutes the prophet or philosopher. So far from validating and protecting the social order, the Western hero is heroic because he challenges order. The individual can be right, and the whole rest of the world can be wrong: this idea is the essence of the West and distinguishes it from all other cultures.

For most of their history, white cultures have been highly authoritarian; however, there was always greater room in the West for criticism of authority than in non-Western cultures. Even during the most dogmatic period in our history, the Middle Ages, whites were relatively free to express their own versions of the truth, even if they tended to undermine authority. In part, this freedom was a result of another Western tradition: the separation of church and state. The substantially autonomous church had great freedom to criticize the temporal authorities.

The individual as a hero who can be right even when all those who are in power are wrong has not survived in the East even to the extent as they have in Europe and the US. That was surely true during the Cultural Revolution in China and I’m sure it has been true during most other phases of history. Even though I’m somewhat partial to the view that the median Eastern Asian is a better person in many respects than the median white (see for example this piece on AmRen) it is the individual genius that is needed to push societies forward and that is probably why oppressive Asian societies have not prospered quite as well as the Western ones. No matter the average European does not even manage to control a simple thing like his food-intake levels, the genius has found ways to prosper around the average fools for ages as at least they have not been as keen on killing them as their peers in the East. Though of course now the situation is rapidly changing as the Western countries are so busy importing the people who have kept the rest of the world from advancing into the West. Today we have the riots in Denmark. Tomorrow we might have the killings of the intelligent dissenters. Just like in the Middle East and Asia.

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