Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Questioning the "Clash of Civilizations"

Lenin's Tomb has the lowdown. Postmodernists (and of course their precursors such as Nietzsche) often were challengers of the fundamental assumptions underlying "Western Civilization" that are part of our socialization process. One of those assumptions is that we in the West "own" the Enlightenment, when in actuality such an assumption is dubious at best. The "civilized" Europeans/Americans against the "barbarian hordes" from the Middle East and elsewhere makes for a wonderful fairy tale - albeit one that has deadly consequences as our current sorry era amply attests. See, the problem is that we end up with an edifice that excuses the demonization and demolition of the Other in the name of spreading our "obviously superior" values and way of life across the globe. You know, the "White Man's Burden", "Manifest Destiny." Same song and dance we've seen for centuries now - with abundant corpses left to show for it.

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