Reported the, “His remark provoked the ire of some professors, who charged him with insensitivity to the feelings of non-whites.” I just don’t get that.
Why should Bellow concern himself with those feelings when the civilization of his heritage is under attack and nobody evinces even the slightest concern about his own feelings?
Nearly all the major inventions of the past two centuries were Western—power generated by steam, electricity, internal combustion, and nuclear fission; telegraphy; the cinema and television; rocketry; the computer and the Internet. With the discovery of the New World (by a Western adventurer in 1492), the West’s expansionist impulse soared to ever higher levels.
The modern world is generally pegged by historians as beginning in 1500, which is also the beginning of the West’s push for global dominance. Huntington once wrote, “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.
I know I should think back with warmth and appreciation on the Reverend Jesse Jackson leading chants at Stanford in the 1980s that went: “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go.” But in fact—I can’t help it—I look on that with scorn.
The aim was to get the university to abandon its commitment to teaching Western history and culture, and it worked.
First, it is altogether appropriate and proper that this part of the story should be told, that the human costs attending the West’s rise should be recognized and discussed.
But second, this is not a distinctly Western phenomenon.And just when Dutch Baroque painting was reaching its fullest flowering with Rembrandt and his contemporaries, the West’s cultural momentum was picked up by the soaring new expression of Baroque music, reflected so powerfully in the cantatas and fugues of Bach.In literature, the West developed a penetrating “biographical” approach, dealing with the entirety of a life, as opposed to the Greeks’ “anecdotal” approach, which concentrated on a single moment.After all, how can you respect the peoples of other civilizations if you assert that they are essentially benighted wretches who need to abandon their own cultural sensibilities and impulses in favor of far superior Western ones?I know I’m supposed to embrace the view of liberals who deny any serious Western essence beyond a simple commitment to “freedom” and democracy, which they consider not really Western values at all but universal ones.These reinforced the West’s development of civic arrangements meant to protect citizens’ freedom of conscience from arbitrary government.