Western Civilization

Start with this title

1.  The Great Conversation: The Subtance of a Liberal Education, Robert Maynard Hutchins, 1952.  Here is a copy of the book at Amazon.   This is a very famous volume, edited by Robert Maynard Hutchins but collaborated by Mortimer Adler, who is famous for his How to Read a Book, How to Speak & Listen, and so on.
2.  How We Should Live Then:  The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, Francis A. Schaeffer, 2005.
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This comes from a November 25, 2017 post by Charles Burris over at LewRockwell’s blog. It features a SNL that Steve Martin did making fun of the marketing of King Tut whose remains were on tour all across the globe of the west.  You can see the video here:

 

The tradition of the West is embodied in the Great Conversation that began in the dawn of history and that continues to the present day. Whatever the merits of other civilizations in other respects, no civilization is like that of the West in this respect. No other civilization can claim that its defining characteristic is a dialogue of this sort. No dialogue in any other civilization can compare with that of the West in the number of great works of the mind that have contributed to this Dialogue. The Spirit of Western Civilization is the spirit of inquiry. Its dominant element is the Logos. Nothing is to remain undiscussed. Everyone is to speak his mind. No proposition is to be left unexamined.

Robert Maynard Hutchins, The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education.

Logos is an ancient Greek term. It means reason as expressed in human speech. The Greeks believed reason to be the controlling principle in an orderly, harmonious universe (cosmos).

The faculties of reason (conceptual thought) and language (propositional speech) are what once distinguished human beings from other creatures.

But no longer. With the malodorous stench of fascism prevalent on college campuses coast-to-coast, destroying free inquiry and open intellectual discussion, what Robert Maynard Hutchins’ defined above as the signature characteristic of Western Civilization, why would any sane student (or students’ parents) pay exorbitant inflationary tuition to attend one of these abhorrent institutions of barbarism and cultural degeneracy?

11.  On the idea that it was western civilization that first thought of bringing slavery to an end, Gary North observed this

The ones who abolished slavery were the Quakers. Trinitarian churches fought abolition for decades. Only after 1780 did a few Christians get on board.

This was very interesting.  A subscriber posted an article in 2016 about the decline of culture.  He wrote

This story is quite long but well worth the reading, if you are interested in the current state of western education and how it got to this state. The fact that students (and graduates) cannot answer even the most basic questions about western history is NO accident. What we have is a systematic program to “deculturize” students so they have no strong affiliation to any country, culture, society, race, ideology (other than statism) and don’t know what went on before and have only the foggiest idea of what the future holds.

Here is his article from Minding the Campus website.

I found the linked article to be a not particularly original piece on a trend which has gone on far too long for either sanity or safety. It ultimately goes back to the substitution of Anthropology for Classics as the basic orientating world view in standard education. Anthropology wouldn’t have been bad if “cultural relativism” hadn’t insidiously shifted from being a methodological principle (empathy and delaying judgement on any society’s customs for the purpose of greater understanding) into an axiological principle (universal value-neutrality). Franz Boaz (a neo-Kantian) sewed the whirlwind, but the Cultural Marxists reaped the rewards with their anti-civilizational and identity politics rhetoric.

Did you get that?  So once the focus turned to Anthropology with its cultural relativism and away from the Classics, we lost our orientation.  Another subscriber mentioned a book in this light, called Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, Robin S. Eubanks, 2013.  Here is a summary blurb of her book

Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon provides the necessary information to confront what is intended to be a wholesale transformation of the US economy and our society without any of our consent. Author and attorney Robin S. Eubanks lays out what was supposed to remain hidden until it was too late to stop the sought ‘irreversible change.’ She tells us: If Education is a means to an End, what is the Real Vision for Transformation? –How the reading and math wars were never about how to teach –How the new Common Core is actually not about content –Why the logical, rational mind is the real target of education reforms –Why higher ed had to be changed to push equity in credentials as the goal –What’s wrong with a 21st Century Skills focus –Why the classroom objective keeps coming back to the student’s values, attitudes, and beliefs Finally, Credentialed to Destroy provides repeated proof of how education was seen by the Soviets as their favorite weapon against the West during the Cold War. This book details extensive evidence from the 80s that education became an invisible and purposeful means of restructuring the West, especially the US, away from individualism and capitalism towards a more collectivist orientation in the future. A goal that guides the actual Common Core implementation and planned economic transformation described in detail in troubling quotes that lay out a global push. This book gives everyone the information they will need going forward to appreciate what has changed in education, when, how, and for what purposes. Precisely the information necessary to actually be internationally competitive and prosperous in the 21st Century.

From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 1500 Years of Western Cultural Life, Jacques Barzun, 2001.

The Liberal Imagination, Lionel Trilling, 1950. 

Gilbert Highet, The Classical Tradition

Great Books and Great Snippets,” The Cult of Individuality, Robert Nisbet, 1971.

This author, J. Evetts Haley, was recommended for stories about the west and about Western Civilization.  I don’t know but once I read a few, I will definitely get back to you on this.  Here is his Amazon’s author’s page and here is a Wikipedia entry on him. 

Another author recommended on western civic life was Samson Rafael Hirsch.  Will let you know.  

ARTICLES
1.  “Are Western Values Losing Their Sway?” Steven Erlanger, NYT, September 12, 2015.
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