Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dr. Samuel Huntington R.I.P.

Samuel Huntington has left us and he has left us a more enlightened. I saw this coming, I sent him an offer of a complementary copy of my book, Culturism, a year ago. His secretary said Dr. Huntington is too ill to read new books. This, of course saddened me. It did so because I consider Dr. Huntington the main scholar to have inspired culturism. His 'Clash of Civilizations' model is the culturist model.

Huntington's book, 'The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order" describes the post-Cold War world. During the Cold War the question was, "Which side are you on?" All nations either identified with the USSR or the USA. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that question no longer had meaning. The search for national identity then defaulted back to older sources. These sources would be ethnic, nationalist and religious.

When the Cold War ended many assumed that the world would become united under western precepts. There would be what Fukayama called the "End of History." Everyone would become globalist. We forgot about history as other nations saw their chance to reassert themselves. Huntington noted that even in economics, the basis upon which the democratic, capitalist union of the world was to happen, Australia was not let into the Asian trading organizations. We went globalist while others stayed nationalist and we have been stripped in the process.

When people assume the new global order, they fantasize it happening under an agreement on western values of democracy, individual rights and free markets. It does not occur to us that others imagine this union on an Islamic basis or happening via again acknowledging China is the center of the world. Huntington foresaw the demographic rise of Islam. He understood that history mattered and that both would resent the West's prominence. As in culturism, Huntington argued for respecting others' sphere of influence. In Asia that would mean not protecting Taiwan. With Islam that would require containment, not conversion. Huntington warned that our attempts to impose western values we imagined were global could aggravate the clash of civilizations.

In the Clash of Civilizations Huntington also talks about swing civilizations. He wonders if Russia and Latin America will become more like western core states or less. In recent years Latin America has become more democratic. But this requires the strength of a core state to promulgate such values. He shows that wars break out on fault lines. Fault line wars tend to lead to extremists, not moderates. The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of the World Order is summarized under 'book summaries' under 'world history' at the culturism website, www.culturism.us. But I recommend buying the book.

Huntington's "Who are We?" also greatly influenced culturism. In this work he focused on Mexico forcing American demographic change. He worried about us becoming a 'cleft nation.' That is a nation with two different linguistic groups and historic allegiances. He pointed out how poorly this had worked out historically. It leads to Civil War. Furthermore, he relied on Ronald Inglehart's World Values Survey to show the importance of a futuristic, non-fatalistic values system to progress. More information on this important survey is at www.worldvaluessurvey.org.

It is frustrating that twenty years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, people still do not recognize the Clash of Civilizations model has come to pass. Islamic aggression and Chinese dominance are no longer remote possibilities. The idea of America becoming an unstable cleft nation gets more entrenched with each day. Politicians all act as though sides are a thing of the past and all share the same values in the new global order. The words culturism and culturist are basically offered to provide an easy way for people to show agreement with Dr. Huntington. Even as we carry on, reading his works provides us with more ammunition. We will sorely miss this giant intellectual warrior.
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