By Walter Williams
July 25, 2017
The idea of the sacredness of the individual is rare in human history — and worth defending.
Here’s part of President Donald Trump’s speech in Poland: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”
After this speech, which was warmly received by Poles, the president encountered predictable criticism. Most of the criticism reflected gross ignorance and dishonesty.
One example of that ignorance was penned in the Atlantic magazine by Peter Beinart, a contributing editor and associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York. Beinart said, “Donald Trump referred 10 times to ‘the West’ and five times to ‘our civilization.’ His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means.” He added, “The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white.”
Intellectual elites argue that different cultures and their values are morally equivalent. That’s ludicrous. Western culture and values are superior to all others. I have a few questions for those who’d claim that such a statement is untrue or smacks of racism and Eurocentrism. Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limitations placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning. Thieves face the punishment of having their hands severed. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in some countries. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to Western values?
During his speech, Trump asked several vital questions. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” There’s no question that the West has the military might to protect itself. The question is whether we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation.
Much of the Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. Islamists’ use multiculturalism as a foot in the door to attack Western and Christian values from the inside. Much of that attack has its roots on college campuses among the intellectual elite who indoctrinate our youth. Multiculturalism has not yet done the damage in the U.S. that it has in Western European countries — such as England, France and Germany — but it’s on its way.
My colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell reveals some of the problem. He says, “Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the ‘infidels’ of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise.” Sowell adds, “Nowhere have whole peoples seen their situation reversed more visibly or more painfully than the peoples of the Islamic world.” Few people, such as Persians and Arabs, once at the top of civilization, accept their reversals of fortune gracefully. Moreover, they don’t blame themselves and their culture. They blame the West.
By the way, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. One just has to accept the sanctity of the individual above all else.