Home > 2011 Posts, About Dave > Too New!

Too New!

I like old stuff when it helps me learn about the path of Western Civilization.

Egypt

Why old stuff? Since I was a boy, archaeology and ancient history always felt like fun. The more I learned, the more fun I had. The same was true for science, engineering and business, which is the professional and career path I took. But history and archaeology have always been my avocation.

Greece

For me, with a few important exceptions like the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Venetian Republic, if something is newer than the Fall of Rome in the West or the Reign of Justinian in the East, it’s too new to be very interesting. Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Hebrews, Mycenaeans and Minoans all hold a fascination for me. But Angkor Wat (circa 1150-1650 AD) and native Hawaiians (a stone age culture until circa 1800 AD), not so much. Even details of my own Cherokee ancestors’ stone age culture interest me very little.

Etruria

Why Western Civilization? The short answer is values. I couldn’t disagree more with Gandhi’s reported sarcastic reply when asked what he thought of Western Civilization, that “it would be a good idea.”

To my mind, by the mid 20th century, Western Civilization had proven itself. Today, with very few exceptions, whenever most anyone in the world is given a truly free choice, they aspire to live under its basic values. Radical academics, shyster lawyers, religious fanatics and secular ideologues may shriek or smirk their objections and denials, trying to occlude the reality of people voting with their feet (when thugs don’t prevent it), but both shriekers and smirkers fail laughably.

Carthage and Rome

So in my studies, I try to learn the origins and paths that Western Civilization took to deliver what we have today, a precious heritage worth appreciating. And after several decades, it’s clear to me that this heritage is not at all just another set of cultural features among many equivalent ones.

It is in fact the pinnacle of human achievement.

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