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Why Has the West Been So Successful?
The Right Side of History—A Review
Why, exactly, are so many Americans so angry and unhappy? Almost any other country today, and any prior version of the United States, would give its eyeteeth to enjoy our manifold blessings. The country is prosperous and at peace; it faces rivals and nuisances but no major threat. The government acted decisively and capably to crush jihadist terrorism and avert a global depression. Innovation is galloping, crime is down, kids are behaving, and — the ultimate gift — Americans live almost a decade longer than as recently as Right here in America, right now. Yet, right here in America, populist rage and illiberal backlash are seizing the day.
Hundreds of police officers were required from 10 UC campuses across the state to protect his speech, which was -- ironically -- about the necessity for free speech and rational debate. He came to argue that Western Civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas. We can thank these values for the birth of science, the dream of progress, human rights, prosperity, peace, and artistic beauty. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty and gave billions spiritual purpose. Civilizations that rejected Jerusalem and Athens have collapsed into dust. The Nazis rejected Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and they shoved children into gas chambers. Venezuela rejects Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, and citizens of their oil-rich nation have been reduced to eating dogs.
Broadside Books March 19, pages. Paradise Lost , which was first published in , in many ways anticipated one of the biggest philosophical problems of the eighteenth century, and its protagonist, Lucifer, is arguably its finest exemplar. Lucifer is the archetype of man at the edge of modernity, stranded in a Godless void, facing the abyss, with only his reason to understand himself and his new position in the natural order. Milton contrived to portray Lucifer as a proud and spiteful figure—his reason was merely an instrument to rationalize his hatred. Drawing on an antagonism first sketched by Leo Strauss, Shapiro argues the twin pillars of Western society are Judeo-Christian moral law and Greek scientific reasoning: Jerusalem and Athens.