A new political value system is needed to devise and implement constructive national policies in face of global threats and challenges
Position Paper by the
What do the last U.S. presidential elections, the Brexit vote, recent elections and escalating political turmoil across Europe, and Middle East bloodshed, all have in common?
They are all intricately related to key civilizational choices and policies.
NOT ALL CIVILIZATIONS ARE THE SAME
Viewed through the lense of millennia, with some ups and downs, human societies along history have generally evolved from less advanced civilizations to more advanced ones. Similarly, it’s undeniable that in our contemporary world, the advancement level of civilizations range from Stone Age and even cannibal societies in certain isolated jungles or islands, to the most advanced and sophisticated societies in the West and Far East, and a whole spectrum in between.
The Civilization Level (CL) of a society is not an abstract concept, it is an objectively measurable quality. Criteria for such objective measurement include a mix of features such as freedom and tolerance, gender equality, life standard, social security, health, education, technology, etc.
The CL of a society is clearly the result not only of its economical, social, and educational resources, but also of its prevalent cultural mores, traditions and belief systems. In fact, the United Nations (UN) publishes a 272-page annual Human Development Report that defines and tracks the “Dimensions of Human Development” for the world’s countries and regions, by way of following criteria: (a) Long and healthy life; (b) Knowledge; (c) Decent standard of living; (d) Participation in political and community life; (e) Environmental sustainability; (f) Human security and rights; (g) Promoting social security and social justice.
The same report measures and ranks the development level of the world’s countries and regions by way of a quantified Human Development Index (HDI), compiled from three key markers relative to the population: (a) Health: Life Expectancy, (b) Education: Years of Schooling, and (c) Income: Per-Capita GDP.
Human History is all about raising our HDI (i.e., our CL) as measurable by objective criteria such as the above. In fact, just like the process of natural evolution in our planet, we can say that the fundamental purpose of human existence is raising our HDI (i.e., our Human CL). This is the only single yardstick by which human progress and advancement in our past and present can and should be evaluated.
Civilizationism is the discipline that studies and evaluates ideologies, values, and government policies based on their approach toward the CL in a particular nation or society. Those that promote ideologies and policies toward advancing the CL of a society can therefore be termed as Pro-Civilizationist; while those that promote ideologies and policies toward harming the CL of a society can be termed as Anti-Civilizationist.
In order to understand, evaluate, and guide our world, such characterization can be considered much more relevant than traditional categorizations of “Right vs. Left”, or “Conservative vs. Liberal”, within a country’s political continuum.
- In Higher Civilization Level societies (HCL societies that make up the Western World), the main challenges are (a) preserving the high CL, (b) working toward its advancement, and (c) preventing its reduction or dilution.
- In Lower Civilization Level societies (LCL societies that make up the Developing World), the main challenges are (a) advancing the CL, while (b) preventing its deterioration. Here the function of “preservation” is much less significant, since the society desperately needs to focus on advancing its CL.
Preserving the high CL of an HCL society requires preventing the penetration and dilution of its CL by elements of LCL societies. This is the prime Pro-Civilizationist requirement and task of an HCL government leadership (in this context, UK’s recent Brexit decision emerges as a clear Pro-Civilizationist move toward preserving national civilization and identity). Hence with regard to HCL societies, Conservative policies that preserve and protect their own culture should be seen as more Pro-Civilizationist; while Liberal/Leftist policies that promote Immigration from LCL societies — i.e., Multiculturalism within the country — need to be considered more Anti-Civilizationist.
There is nothing “racist” about such evaluation, since racism relates to discrimination based on biological race characteristics only, whereas we are referring here solely to social, cultural and civilizational values. Furthermore, Civilizationism needs to be blind to racial characteristics, since we can classify segments of Asia (Japan, Korea, China, etc.), the Arab World (UAE, Kuwait), or Africa (South Africa) as HCL societies.
CIVILIZATIONISM IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
Improving the CL of an LCL society requires a high push toward advancing pro-Civilizationist values and policies in that society. This is the prime Civilizationist requirement and task of an LCL government leadership. Hence with regard to LCL societies, Progressive and Reformist policies of the Left that aim to raise the CL should be praised and encouraged as Pro-Civilizationist; while Conservative policies of the social or religious right, that fight social and economic reforms, or promote feudal rural orders, religious fanaticism, anti-secularism and other regressive traditions, should be condemned and discouraged as Anti-Civilizationist.
In the Developing World, when Civilizationism and Democracy collide, Civilizationism should take precedence. Because if it doesn’t, sooner or later you lose both. Advancing the CL of such a country should have priority over any other objective. This is because in most LCL nations, as much as 90% of the voters can be functionally illiterate and dominated by tribal or religious leaders, rendering Democracy inapplicable and certainly counterproductive to the CL. Instead, relatively authoritarian regimes such as monarchies or strong secular/national rulers could prove more constructive toward political stability and reforms that can raise the level of CL.
Unfortunately many foreign policymakers in the West’s HCL societies are unfamiliar and even clueless as to the basic civilizational realities of LCL societies, and project many features, values, and solutions of their own HCL societies onto these LCL societies. This fundamental foreign policy blunder of our times can be termed Civilizational Projectionism, which has been at the the root of the West’s promoting wrong policies in LCL societies — such as parliamentary democracy, religious freedom, excessive liberties, etc. — that have proven highly destructive to the stability and advancement of many LCL societies that were not ready for them.
CAN CIVILIZATIONISM SAVE EUROPE?
The European Union (EU) was originally meant as an economic federation (European Economic Community; EEC) promoting the good causes of open trade and economic cooperation among the various nations in the region. However, along the years the EU has morphed into a Brussels-based supra-national bureaucracy increasingly grabbing sovereignty away from the individual nation states. The end result has been:
- Economic destitution and large-scale unemployment in Southern nations that could not keep up with the North’s industrial engines. Due to the single Euro currency, less-productive nations such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy were precluded from the ability to stimulate their economies by way of devaluing a national currency. Hence they lost their economic independence and entered into a state of economic stagnation and even collapse.
- Civilizational trauma and severe terror attacks resulting from lack of proper immigration/refugee controls and policies within the Schengen borders, as well as due to multiculturalist policies promoted by a Brussels-based bureaucracy that tolerated surging immigration from the Middle East and Africa.
For many countries, EU membership thus turned into a bitter experience that aims to dilute and even erase their nation’s cultural and economic identity, and replace it with some faceless regional agglomeration. As a revolt against such loss of control of national destiny, the Brexit vote signifies a clear Pro-Civilizationist line-in-the-sand toward protecting and preserving national identity.
Many other segments within all walks of Europe are also waking up to the same reality, namely the fact that the EU enterprise constitutes a major Civilizational threat to their national cultural identity and an economic dead-end.
Accordingly, anti-centralization and anti-immigration policies in Europe can be seen as Pro-Civilizationist and deserve to be encouraged; while pro-centralization and pro-immigration policies can be viewed as Anti-Civilizationist and need to be discouraged.
CAN CIVILIZATIONISM CURE MIDEAST ILLS?
As a result the West’s misguided policies based on the fallacies of Civilizational Projectionism, extensive segments of Middle Eastern Lower CL societies — Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, are good examples — were brought to the brink of destruction and pushed into an abyss of Islamist tyranny instead (the so-called “Arab Spring”).
It is a fact of life that, on a long-term basis, Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East gravitate toward rule by only three types of alternative regimes:
- Monarchy: Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Gulf sheikdoms, Iran under the Pahlavis, Afganistan under Amanullah Khan, etc;
- Authoritarian Secular/Reformist Republic: Kemalist Turkey; Nasserist Egypt, including the current Sisi regime; Tunisia under Bourgiba and successors; Baathist Syria, Iraq; Libya under Ghaddafi; Azerbaijan under the Aliyevs; Central Asian Turkic republics; etc;
- Islamist Regime: Mullah regime in Iran; parts of Iraq after Saddam; results of “Arab Spring” in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen; etc.
Among these three alternatives, only the first two are Pro-Civilizationist and offer relative peace and stability. They may be imperfect by Western democracy standards and backed by some military guardianship, but they are infinitely preferable to the third option which only leads to disastrous Jihadist militancy with Anti-Civilizational chaos, destruction, bloodshed and tyranny.
U.S. POLITICS: A CIVILIZATIONIST LOOK
Objectively speaking and without getting into party politics:
- Multilateral Free Trade agreements (resulting in wide-range de-industrialization and economic impoverishment); Pro-immigration/pro-refugee Open Borders policies (accelerating de-Americanization and the dilution of U.S. national identity); In the Middle East: So-called “nation building” and “pro-democracy” policies that consistently end up empowering Islamist tyranny (resulting in a severe Jihadist surge in the Middle East and serious terror threats to Western security): All point to clear Anti-Civilizationist policies.
- Bilateral Fair Trade agreements geared to improving US foreign trade terms (resulting in wide-range re-industrialization and economic growth); Border Controls toward immigration and refugee inflows (reinforcing U.S. national identity); In the Middle East: More realistic foreign policies that partner with Secular/Reformist regimes as opposed to Islamist movements (resulting in severe blows to Jihadist entities such as ISIS, and curtailing terror threats to Western security): All point to clear Pro-Civilizationist policies.
Need we say more?