Last week, we discussed the homes of the three great high civilizations, civilizations that had an Axial Age: https://surakblog.wordpress.com/2021/03/24/what-are-we-trying-to-defend/
Those three homes were:
- the greater eastern Mediterranean, encompassing Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Levant, Greece, and Persia;
- India, from the Indus to the Ganges, south across the subcontinent, and north to the Himalayas;
- China, from the Yellow River to the Yangzi.
Thanks to very large populations, the latter two have remained in some sort of linguistic and religious-spiritual continuity since ancient times. The first homeland of civilization was just small enough to get knocked off course by invaders: the Roman empire. In turn, the Roman empire was changed by its encounter with Greek brilliance and culture, and Jewish and Christian spirituality: https://surakblog.wordpress.com/2021/03/26/the-two-foundations-of-western-civilization/
This collision moved the locus of Western civilization from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe: eventually, to northern and western Europe. Greece ceased its leadership in mathematics and philosophy, and the only major new religion from the Middle East failed to win hearts and minds through gentle example.
So what happened at this point in history? Are we a continuation of classical Western civilization, or are we a new instance of Western civilization, built on the ruins of the previous Western civilization?
Charles Murray’s book Human Accomplishment is a massive study of the greatest accomplishments of humanity for 2800 years, around the world, in the humanities and the sciences. This book would take a full column just to summarize.
Human Accomplishment is full of useful references: lists, graphs, and maps. Below is a map showing the core areas of most human accomplishments in the last 500 years, up to 1950.
This is core Europe: England, France, Germany, and Italy, as well as their closest neighbors: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland, and small numbers from eastern Europe, Iberia, Russia, and Scandinavia.
This intellectual line could have come to an end easily in the World Wars that wasted so much of European talent, but for the vitality of Europe’s most ambitious offspring, America. According to Murray, the zones of greatest accomplishment in America, up to 1950, appear in the following map.
The new core ranges from Maine to Virgina, across the old midwest (Northwest Territories), and somewhat in California. These areas are largely left-wing now. The most conservative areas created little innovation.
These maps teach me that civilizations can move. Even as leftist society engages in a hysterical paroxysm of self-destruction, after a possible dark age, our civilization can re-emerge elsewhere.
However, Murray’s study of great accomplishments teaches him that four cultural dimensions are required:
- organizing structure;
- transcendental goods.
On each of those points, leftist society has surrendered the possibility of future progress. Murray adequately documents the need for a civilization to have purpose, organizing structure, and transcendental goods, all betrayed by secular-humanist anarcho-socialism. Even autonomy is gone from the left’s world.
We can only preserve civilization in a nation that provides intellectual autonomy at the same time it maintains one dominant culture, and punishes fundamental subversion (violence, dangerous drugs, pedophilia and other sexual perversion, socialism, satanism) severely.