Had the Greeks lost at Salamis, Western civilization might easily have been strangled in its adolescence. Had Hitler not invaded the Soviet Union, the European democracies would have probably remained overwhelmed. And had the Japanese just sidestepped the Philippines and Pearl Harbor, as they gobbled up the orphaned Pacific colonies of a defunct Western Europe, the Pacific World as we know it now might be a far different, far darker place. Continue reading “The Last Generation of the West and the Thin Strand of Civilization”→
The passing of Nelson Mandela has been attended with the usual global encomia we have come
to expect from those political leaders who have become international celebrities. Sometimes these extravagant praises and out-sized mourning surpass any real achievement. It is hard to find any justification in Princess Diana’s life for the hyperbolic praise and hysteria that saturated her funeral rites. Many another “leader of his people” or “liberator” has after his death been bestowed with dubious qualities and achievements, while his crimes and flaws are airbrushed from the narrative. That’s why George Orwell famously counseled, “Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.”
Future historians may temper the current exalted judgment of Mandela, and there is much to remember as the world rushes to beatify him. His endorsement of communists and support for terrorists he made part of the struggle against apartheid should not be forgotten. Nor should be the victims of machete attacks and “necklacing,” the gruesome practice of putting around the victim’s neck a tire filled with gasoline and then igniting it, This form of lynching was a favorite of the African National Congress, of which Mandela was a member.
But after spending 27 years in prison, Mandela recognized on his release in 1990 the pragmatic reality that the dismantling of apartheid and the inclusion of the black majority in governing South Africa meant that the revolutionary justice of the sort that has ruined Zimbabwe, and the command economy beloved by Marxists, both were the road to just another form of injustice and ultimately failure. Continue reading “Nelson Mandela, Western Saint”→
The United States has ridden — and tamed — the wild global tiger since the end of World War II. The frantic ride has been dangerous, to us, but a boon to humanity. At the same time, America’s leadership role has been misrepresented and misunderstood abroad and at home, including by some of our country’s own leaders. Accordingly, our current president, Barack Obama, has decided to climb down from the tiger, with the certain consequence that it will run wild again.
The crowning achievement of postwar American policy was the defeat of Soviet Communism. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, America aimed at a “new world order.” There was to be no place, at least in theory, for renegade dictators like Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. After 9/11, the U.S. declared a “war on terror” and led an international effort to stop Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Islamist jihadists.
Despite the occasional mishaps, setbacks, and errant strategies, U.S. leadership nonetheless ensured worldwide free commerce, travel, and communications. When it could, America promoted free-market economies and democracy in authoritarian states. Continue reading “Jumping Off the Global Tiger’s Back”→
Today launches the Freedom Academy®, a project some 18 months in the making. In the present age, we need a meeting place where people can rediscover what freedom entails and appreciate the origins and role of liberty. The majority of Americans yearn for a rebirth of these values that have sustained Western civilization, and birthed the American experiment. Such reverence for our heritage and origins is why we at PJ Media will offer a variety of ways to understand our present dilemmas through an appreciation of past ideas and events.
Despite all the contemporary upheavals in Washington—whether over the government shutdown, debt-ceiling increase, or Obamacare—we can be certain that history remains both our gateway to the future and our window to the past. The political strife we are witnessing is not new, but a continuance of the age-old struggle between the tragic and therapeutic views of the human condition, over the collision of history and humanities with the social sciences, and the liberty of the individual pitted against the coercive power of the collective. Continue reading “The Launch of the Freedom Academy”→
The full magnitude of the modern West’s ignorance of its own past recently struck me while rereading some early history books concerning the centuries-long jihad on Europe. The historical narrative being disseminated today simply bears very little resemblance to reality.
Consider some facts for a moment:
A mere decade after the birth of Islam in the 7th century, the jihad burst out of Arabia. Leaving aside all the thousands of miles of ancient lands and civilizations that were permanently conquered, today casually called the “Islamic world”—including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and parts of India and China—much of Europe was also, at one time or another, conquered by the sword of Islam. Continue reading “Surreal and Suicidal: Modern Western Histories of Islam”→
The modern West demonstrates a phenomenon unknown in history––unprecedented wealth, technology, and access to information combined with abject stupidity. Wisdom once known by every village explainer and cracker-barrel crank has been discarded and replaced with phony “sciences” making claims about human nature and behavior that are based on nothing other than false assumptions, political ideology, and wishful thinking. Whether it’s foreign policy, managing the economy, or teaching the young, our leaders institute policies that violate the traditional wisdom accumulated by generations of human experience. Continue reading “Rich, Arrogant, and Stupid”→