Why the West’s Worth Defending
Before giving six reasons that the West is worth defending, George Weigel writes:
In his book, “Without Roots,” Pope Benedict XVI deplored the addiction to historical self-deprecation rampant at the higher altitudes of European cultural and intellectual life: a tendency to see in the history of the West only “the despicable and the destructive.”
The same problem exists on this side of the Atlantic; in our universities and among our cultural taste-makers, the healthy western habit of moral, cultural and political self-critique can dissipate into forms of self-loathing. Perhaps a civilization can afford to think of its past as pathology when it has no competitors. That is manifestly not the case today, when the West is being challenged by radical Islamist jihadism and by the new and market-improved authoritarianism of China.
So, a question: What’s right about the West, about this unique civilizational enterprise formed by the fruitful interaction of Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome — biblical religion, rationality, and the idea of a law-governed polity?
Reading what follows, the modern American may feel a jolt from the audacity of confidence. Are we even allowed to risk the appearance of chauvinism — thoroughly rooted in our religious tradition?