The Reconquista Initiative
Europeans are Required for Western Civilization
Consider this quote:
Basically, the alt-right is a group of thinkers who believe that Western civilization is inseparable from European ethnicity—which is racist, obviously. It’s people who believe that if Western civilization were to take in too many people of different colors and different ethnicities and different religions, then that would necessarily involve the interior collapse of Western civilization. As you may notice, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence. It has nothing to do actually with Western civilization. The whole principle of Western civilization is that anybody can involve himself or herself in civilized values.(http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/gist/2016/11/ben_shapiro_on_steve_bannon_the_alt_right_and_why_the_left_needs_to_turn.html)
That quote was from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, a quote which he made in a 23rd of November 2016 interview with Mike Pesca for Slate Magazine in an article titled “The Alt-Right Is Using Trump.” Now Shapiro has been a strong critic of all facets of the Alt-Right movement, but regardless of this, and even regardless of any other issues surrounding the Alt-Right and the Alt-West, Shapiro’s quote raises an interesting question: Is European ethnicity necessary for, and inseparable from, Western Civilization? Indeed, are Europeans required for the preservation of Western Civilization? These are fascinating questions, but more importantly, they are vital ones for any proponent of Western Civilization, for their answer will dictate what is required for the survival and continuation of that civilization. So, is Shapiro right? Can Western Civilization be maintained without Europeans? Can it survive even if the European ancestry that originally made it is significantly diluted by other ethnic groups? Or rather, is Shapiro wrong, and can it thus be shown both that Western Civilization really is inseparable from Europeans and that European ethnicity is a necessary component for the continued existence of Western Civilization?
Now, before we seek to answer the aforementioned questions, let us clear the air that has been tainted by Shapiro’s use of the word ‘racist’, which he uses to label the position that European ethnicity is needed for Western Civilization. In response to Shapiro’s use of this term, and thus in response to his attempt to essentially poison the well by its use, let us consider the following. First, the term ‘racist’ is so overused in our society, and it is so often used in place of an argument, that we should be leery and skeptical of anyone who uses it today; essentially, its use should serve as a sort of red flag that warns us that someone might be trying to avoid addressing an opposing point-of-view by simply making that point-of-view appear unpalatable and shameful, rather than arguing that it is actually wrong, which is what Shapiro could be doing here. So an attitude of caution is in order. However, and more importantly, the second point to note about this matter is that—as Shapiro likes to say—facts don’t care about your feelings, and facts don’t care about charges of racism either, and so even if it was racist to claim that Europeans are required for the maintenance of Western Civilization, that accusation would be entirely irrelevant to the actual truth of the claim under discussion. Consequently, the issue of racism is quite immaterial to the issue of whether the claim is true or not. And since truth is to be valued above all else, then who gives a damn if a truth is deemed racist or not by those who are too afraid to deal with it. Third, even if, for the sake of argument, we consider the racism charge to be sufficiently important as to merit countering, note that Shapiro may actually be incorrect in his accusation of racism. Why? Because—and I say this as someone with Eastern European ancestry—a case could be made that it is not just European ancestry that is required for Western Civilization, but more specifically Western European ancestry; thus, Eastern Europeans, on their own, would not have been able to create and maintain what we consider to be Western Civilization. But if this is the case, then the racism charge is seriously diluted, for while Western and Eastern Europeans may have certain differences, they are all of the same race, and so to label as ‘racist’ the idea that Western Civilization requires Europeans is simply making too broad of a claim. And so, even if the racism charge is worthy of a response—and it’s really not—a case could be made that that charge is actually wrong.
So, having addressed Shapiro’s accusation of ‘racism’, and having shown that it is ultimately irrelevant and even potentially wrong, let us now address the main issue at hand: Does Western Civilization require Europeans? Now, in order to answer this question, consider first the Likelihood Principle, also sometimes called the Expectation Principle. The Likelihood Principle states that if some observation or piece of data is more likely or more expected on Hypothesis 1 rather than on Hypothesis 2, then that observation or piece of data is evidence for Hypothesis 1 over Hypothesis 2 (so long as the hypotheses are not ‘ad hoc’ creations, which they are not in this case). So, in the context of our discussion, if some observation was more expected on the hypothesis that Europeans are indeed required for Western Civilization, then that observation would count as evidence in favor of that hypothesis. Thus, we can use the Likelihood Principle to determine which hypothesis—namely, whether Europeans are or are not needed for the maintenance of Western Civilization—is supported by the observations and data that we have.
Consider, first off, that if Europeans were not needed for the existence and maintenance of Western Civilization, then, on such a hypothesis, we would quite reasonably expect that other groups of people would have created something very much akin to Western Civilization in other parts of the world. Indeed, given that Europeans were able to do so, there is nothing that would have precluded other ethnic groups from doing so if they could. And this is precisely what would be expected if non-Europeans were able to create and sustain something akin to Western Civilization without a European influence. The problem for this hypothesis however, is that history shows that this is not the case. Indeed, while other ethnic groups were able to create other types of civilizations, only Europeans and their descendants were able to create what we call Western Civilization. And this historical observation is precisely what we would expect if Europeans were required for the creation and maintenance of Western Civilization. And the strength of this observation is made even more acute when we consider the fact that, as mentioned, other ethnic groups were able to create other civilizations, and thus were quite capable of being civilized in certain respects, but they were not able to create civilization akin to Western Civilization. Indeed, these other groups were civilized, and so they had nothing that stopped them from being civilized, and yet, even though they were civilized in their own manner, they did not create anything like Western Civilization.
Furthermore, the above observation that only Europeans created Western Civilization, and that this observation serves as evidence in favor of the idea that European ethnicity is required for Western Civilization, is also supported by the fact that Europeans were and are able to export and maintain Western Civilization wherever they go, such as to places like Canada, Australia, and so on. And this occurred regardless of the climate or environment that Europeans migrated to; by contrast, other cultures in those exact same locations and climates were unable to create something akin to Western Civilization in them even though they had more than enough time to do so. At the same time, some countries—like Haiti or countries in Africa—that had Western Civilization when they had Europeans in charge of them, but then lost the Europeans, also lost their ability to maintain Western Civilization after the Europeans had left. And again, these types of observations are what would be expected if European ancestry was a necessary component of Western Civilization.
Also note the fact that when other ethnic groups enter the areas of Western Civilization and are thus introduced to what that civilization entails, these other ethnic groups, if they remain as an ethnic group rather than separating and existing as disparate individuals, often do not adopt and reflect the ideals of Western Civilization; and indeed, numerous ethnic enclaves within Europe and North America that are, internally, more reflective of traditionally Middle Eastern or African or Asian society than they are of Western Civilization are an example of this point in action. And again, this is what would be expected if European ethnicity was required for the maintenance of Western Civilization. At the same time, and in contrast to the earlier point, enclaves of Europeans in non-European countries create microcosms of Western Civilization when in those locales, which, again, is what would be expected if European ethnicity was needed for Western Civilization.
So, given the Likelihood Principle, a strong case can be made that all these observations do indeed serve as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that European ethnicity is necessary for the maintenance of Western Civilization. How strong this evidence is, is a different question, but it is nevertheless still evidence in favor of the aforementioned hypothesis.
Now, perhaps it could be argued that since non-European ethnic groups in non-Western countries—for example, Koreans in South Korea or the Japanese in Japan—have, in the present era, seemed able to adopt what could be called Western Civilization could thus serve as an example that Western Civilization does not require Europeans for its continuation. Indeed, it seems reasonable, at first blush, to suppose that if non-European ethnic groups can adopt Western Civilization, then the existence of Europeans is not required for the maintenance of such a civilization. But there is a serious problem with this contention: namely, not only did Western Civilization exist in Europe and its direct colonies prior to these other non-European groups adopting something similar to Western Civilization, but it also largely due to both the superior example and direct influence of Europeans that these other ethnic groups adopted something akin to Western Civilization for themselves. And what this means is that there is no way of knowing that these other ethnic groups who have embraced Western Civilization could or would have done so without both the direct and indirect influence of Europeans. For example, had Europeans not shown the superiority of Western Civilization—such as by, for example, defeating the Japanese in World War 2 or beating back the North Koreans during the Korea War—and had Europeans not had a direct political, economic, and social impact on the countries that have now approximated Western Civilization within themselves, then it is questionable whether or not anything like Western Civilization would have developed amongst these other ethnic groups without such a European influence. At the same time, without the continuation of the example of the superiority of Western Civilization by Europeans and their North American descendants, and without the direct influence that Europeans have on the countries in question, there is no way of knowing whether or not these non-European countries or ethnic groups could maintain Western Civilization or whether they would revert to a different form of civilization, such as one that they might have embraced in the past. So the fact that some non-European ethnic groups are able to maintain something very close to Western Civilization at this point in history is not a clear indication that Western Civilization can continue without Europeans, for the European influence, even if only indirect, might still be indispensable to the maintenance of Western Civilization amongst these other ethnic groups. And indeed, another way of looking at the above point is the following: while it is true that non-Western ethnic groups can easily adapt to the use of Western technology and Western institutions, this does not necessarily mean that they would be able to invent those technologies or those institutions, nor maintain those technologies and institutions in existence without continued European influence and guidance, even if that influence and guidance is only indirect. Thus, while non-European ethnic groups might be able to adapt to Western Civilization, they might only be able to do so, so long as Europeans also remain in existence to refine, and support, and set the example of what Western Civilization is. Consequently, the fact that non-Europeans can adapt and exploit the benefits and tools of Western Civilization at present is not evidence, or at least by no means clear evidence, that Europeans are not needed to sustain that type of civilization in the future.
And so, given the fact that we have certain observations which count as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that Europeans are required for the maintenance of Western Civilization, and given that any objections to this hypothesis and the evidence for it are by no means conclusive, I contend that it is thus reasonable to believe that European ethnicity is indeed required for the maintenance of Western Civilization. This does not necessarily mean that it is unreasonable to believe the opposite, but it does mean that, at the very least, both positions are reasonable. And note, once again, that whether or not the belief that Europeans are needed for Western Civilization is deemed racist is entirely immaterial to the reasonableness of that belief.
Now, at the same time that it can be said that the belief that European ethnicity is needed for the maintenance of Western Civilization is a reasonable one, an even more forceful support for holding to this idea can be made. And to understand what this is, consider, first, the fact that the arguments and points made against the claim that European ethnicity is required for the continuation of Western Civilization are, as stated, by no means certain. Next, note that even if it is accepted, for the sake of argument, that both the hypothesis that European ethnicity is required for the maintenance of Western Civilization is reasonable, and so is the hypothesis that it is not, the fact remains that, throughout recorded history, only Europeans, or ethnic groups that Europeans have been directly involved with, have been able to create and maintain Western Civilization. But now, in light of these latter points, and keeping in mind the immense value that maintaining Western Civilization offers to humanity, it is thus pragmatically sound, at this point, to act as if Europeans are required for the maintenance of Western Civilization, and to continue acting in such a manner until and unless conclusive evidence shows that that hypothesis is incorrect. In essence, because the loss of Western Civilization would be so detrimental, and because the one thing that we do indisputability know is that Western Civilization only arose amongst Europeans and their descendants, and it has only been maintained by Europeans and those that they have had direct contact with, then we should place the burden of proof on those disputing the inseparability of European ethnicity from Western Civilization rather than on those who affirm it; indeed, the loss of Western Civilization is too great a price to pay to act otherwise, especially if we do so without sufficient evidence to guarantee, beyond a reasonable doubt, that we are not wrong in that assessment.
Finally, two additional points need to be noted. First, even though this essay reached the conclusion that it is indeed reasonable to believe that Europeans are required for the survival of Western Civilization, and that, pragmatically-speaking, we have good reason to act as if that conclusion is the case even if the evidence for it is not certain, note that this fact does not mean that European ethnicity is the only thing that is required for the maintenance of Western Civilization. For example, this essay could also argue that Christianity, or at least a worldview strongly colored by Christianity, is also inseparable from Western Civilization; in fact, the arguments included in this essay concerning why we are both reasonable to believe and to act as if European ethnicity is inseparable from Western Civilization could also be made in the case of Christianity. But nevertheless, the point here is to note that while we are reasonable to believe and act as if European ethnicity is a necessary condition for Western Civilization, that should not be mistaken for a claim that European ethnicity is a sufficient condition for the existence and maintenance of Western Civilization. It is necessary condition, but it is not, in and of itself, a sufficient one. And the second point to note is that the reason for why Europeans are, to the best of our knowledge and current evidence, unique in their ability to create and sustain Western Civilization is also largely irrelevant to the present point that it is currently reasonable to belief that they are unique in this respect. So even if, for the sake of argument, it is admitted that European civilizational uniqueness is primarily due to past environmental and cultural factors that only Europeans experienced, rather than being due to innate European traits, this fact does not necessarily negate the claim that European ethnicity and identity is inseparable from Western Civilization, for the case might be that these environmental factors are not reproducible again, and so, as such, only Europeans, who have already experienced these factors, now have the ability to maintain the Western Civilization that they first created. And so it needs to be understood that there is no necessary connection between why only Europeans were able to develop Western Civilization and the claim that European ethnicity is inseparable from Western Civilization.
And so, the long and short of it is: it is reasonable to believe that actual Europeans are required for the continued survival of Western Civilization. At the same time, given the lack of conclusive evidence against this reasonable belief, and given the known fact that only Europeans have created and maintained Western Civilization, and finally given the value of Western Civilization to all of humanity, we thus have strong pragmatic reasons to act as if Europeans are indispensable to Western Civilization until and unless conclusively shown otherwise.
Anno Domini 2016 11 28
Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam