On Celebrating “Western Civilization” – a thought in response to Steve King

There are basically two ways to celebrate “western civilization,” the cultural heritage that gave rise to Europe, Russia, the Middle East, parts of North, Central, and South America, Africa, Australia, and the United States of America.

One tactic is Iowa congressman Steve King’s approach, which seeks “homogeny” by encouraging the “restoration” of “our culture and demographics,” railing against immigration arguing, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” and declaring that white people have made more “contributions” to civilization than “any other subgroup of people.” This is the type of approach that causes the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, to tweet, “GOD BLESS STEVE KING!!!”

The other approach is to invest in the study of the humanities—history; social sciences; anthropology; ancient languages like Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Aramaic; modern languages like French, Spanish, Italian, German and English; music and art history—and to understand that America’s strength comes from its cultural and racial heterogeneity—from its adoption and incorporation of the best of the world’s discoveries, inventions, theories, philosophies, and contributions—into the grand experiment we call America.

To be sure, we must invest in science and education. Research and technological development allow us to solve problems and cure diseases that give us every advantage as a nation, and which bring us respect and gratitude from other nations who benefit from our capacity to afford and accomplish such innovative achievement and progress.

But we must also invest in the humanities—the study of those cultural histories from around the world that formed and shaped our own American culture.

One cannot rail against the demise of western civilization and then vote to cut funding for education and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

We must invest in art programs and music programs and language programs that allow Americans to learn America’s true history and strength—that we are a nation of immigrants and of religious and philosophical plurality. No one race defines us. No single language defines us. No sole religion defines us. No lone philosophy or political party defines us. America’s strength is in its diversity—of ideas, of beliefs, and yes, of its people—and not its religious, ideological, or racial homogeneity.

We must fund the NEH. We must fund humanities education.

That is, unless you want everyone in America to think, believe, and look like Steve King.

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2 Responses

  1. …and what is REALLY ironic is the part about “we cannot restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies”. He means “restoring our civilization – the one that we recently created after the complete and utter destruction of native American civilization with OUR babies”.

    It is people like Steve King who make me see our civilization as the huge organism it is – with a rampant cancerous tumor in it. People like him and David Duke, spouting off their incredibly short-sighted, narcissist, emperialistic positions – THAT IS the cancer – the part of the organism that is simply running amok and taking over, completely unchecked. It propagates as it wants, with absolutely no respect to the organism as a whole. It is so short-sighted that it cannot even understand that if it were to continue unabated, it would simply destroy its host. Thus, it would also be destroyed. But this cancer doesn’t care.

    Sometimes I feel like fighting it is pointless (especially with the current rodeo of goats in Washington). But then I hear or read someone like you, and it gives me hope. Thank you!

    Paul G

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