miércoles, 1 de abril de 2009

So, are we Latin Americans part of the 'West'?

Emilia has written a very interesting essay on Latin America, named 'Is Latin America Truly Western?' (also posted on her website Cynics Unlimited). This is quite a controversial subject in Latin American countries, or at least in Chile. Same way that the 'n-word' can only be used by Afro Americans, not many Chileans are prepared to readily accept the label 'Third World' given by someone from the West proper (nobody's ever heard of Canada bombing or invading other countries, so they're spared acid criticism). So classing Chile as not quite part of the West only means it's the Third World, and I think that's where the problem is rooted: the West is associated with wealthy industrialised nations, while Latin America is -at the most- an emerging area. The term 'West' means rich countries, but in fariness, we should realise that it's applicable to The Americas (ie North, Central and South) , despite the sad reality: the southern part has lagged behind the northern part for far too long.

But this leads to a semantic problem then: what's the definition of the 'West'? Certainly, and following Emilia's analysis below, high technology and high standards of living are not exclusive to the West. We now see that we all use the term 'West' although nobody really knows what it means. In my view, the very essence of the West dates back to the Greco-Roman world. The cultural cornerstones of the West were crafted there: philosophy, democracy, science, and the Latin language, among many others, are some of the most distinctive fundamentals that today define 'the West' even until now. By extension, the Roman Empire's influence extended to North Europe, and then to The Americas., so we´re all part of the West. This may explain why we don't think of Russia as the West, or all Slavic countries for that matter. It may be a wishy-wahsy definition, for instance, Romania cannot be called a Western country, althoigh it certainly is a Latin one. To call a country truly Western we have two boxes to tick: in the past, it must have been heavily influenced by the Roman Empire; and more recently, it must have not been subjected to the Soviet Empire. So much for West Europe. What about Latin America?

The Continent does tick a number of other boxes: its culture does come from the foundations laid out by classical philosophy, its laws and language also come from the classical tradition, just like main components of its culture. OK, most countries have fledgling democracies, but all Latin Americans know is a good thing to vote for their political leaders. Even Cubans, although mainly in exile, want democracy and have always wanted it. So apart from not being industrialised and with precarious democracies, its culture is rooted in the Greco-Roman world. And that makes it Western.

A more practical definition of the West would be any country where the proper Westerners manage to carry on with their regular lifestyles without being shaken up by cultural differences - only feeling mildly irritated. Having said that, I'm not sure if your average Santiago guy could easily manage to live in La Paz or Quito, to name but a few. So I think that Latin America is part of the West, but some parts are more westernised than others.

Well, the above was my opinion. Here you have Emilia's thought-provoking essay:


Is Latin America Truly Western?


By Emilia Liz

While surfing the Net recently, I came across a website that posed an interesting question: is Latin America Western? Though the site did not give a definite “yes” or “no” to the question, it discussed some of the reasons why people might or might not consider Latin America a part of the West.

The term “West” is somewhat ambiguous these days. “West” and “Western” seem to have joined the ranks of words like “Creole,” “humanist,” and “liberal,” whose meaning varies according to where, when and by whom they are being pronounced. Most people would agree that Canada, the United States, Australia, and Western Europe are clearly part of the West. But they might disagree on where to place East Germany, for instance, which until the fall of the Berlin Wall belonged to the Communist Eastern bloc but which has strong linguistic, historical and cultural ties to Western Europe.

Latin America’s status as part of the so-called Occident is also shaky. On one hand, a writer for Canada’s National Post Magazine referred to Colombia as the “most dangerous country in the West.” An Ecuadorian friend similarly tells me that of course his country is Western; after all, it was colonized by Europeans long before many areas of the United States were. Others, though, would hesitate to include Latin America in the Western fold. Some leftists, seeking to create a sense of Third World solidarity, lump the region together with Africa, Asia and the Middle East rather than with Europe and North America. Ironically, many right-wingers too would place Latin America outside the Western pale, not only because the region is not industrialized but because the majority of its inhabitants are not “white” (that is, of unmixed European descent).

My answer to the website’s question is that yes, Latin America is Western. Saying that Latin America is not Western is to my mind a bit like saying that humans are not mammals. In other words, what else could it be? Just as humans possess all the physical features of mammals (hair, the ability to produce milk for their young, and so on), Latin American culture is largely based on that of Western Europe, more specifically Spain’s and, in the case of Brazil, Portugal’s.

The first objection to classifying the Latin American countries as Western is that they are not industrialized, at least not to the same degree as those of Europe and North America are. But industrialization is not the exclusive domain of the West. Japan is one of the most industrialized nations in the world, yet it certainly is not Western. The far less technologically developed Philippines is far more Westernized than Japan, due to its three hundred years under Spanish control. While the wish to promote solidarity between Latin America and other Third World areas is commendable, those who do so sometimes forget (or prefer to ignore) that culturally — even if not politically or technologically - the former resembles Europe more than it does Asia or Africa, for example.

Another reason often cited for not including Latin America in the West stems from the fact that most of its people are not “white.” However, Turks are genetically similar to Europeans, but few consider Turkey a Western country. Others might argue that large portions of Latin America, such as Bolivia and Guatemala, are inhabited by people with no European ancestry whatsoever. But the same thing could be said of Canada, where in the most northerly areas of the country the population is mostly Aboriginals and Inuit.

Moreover, most Latin Americans have at least some European ancestry. There are even some with no non-White background at all, such as a former boyfriend of mine who was born in Peru to a German-Northern Italian couple. Even setting Latin America’s “white” inhabitants aside, the average mestizo [1] or mulatto [2] has more in common with his or her European forbears than Indian and/or African ones. He or she in all likelihood speaks a European language — Spanish in most of the region and Portuguese in Brazil — as his or her mother tongue, practises a religion that while not originally from Europe took root on that continent more widely than on any other, and leads a lifestyle similar to that of Spain, Portugal and other Latin countries like Italy and France.

From this standpoint, it’s hard to claim that Latin America is any less Western than the United States or Australia. The difference is of course that the latter two places derive their culture from Britain whereas the former traces its culture to Spain or Portugal.
Undoubtedly Native American and African customs have influenced Latin America. And it’s understandable that countries like Mexico, which broke away forcefully from their “motherland,” Spain, are now stressing their Indian roots over their European ones. Other nations emphasize their “mestizaje” — the term for “racial mixture” in Spanish — in an attempt to recognize their dual (or in the case of places like Brazil with a strong African component, triple) heritages. But the reality is that for most mixed-race Latin Americans — who, by the way, form the majority of the area’s population — their European heritage has played a far greater role in shaping in their world views, social attitudes, and daily lives than has their non-“white” ancestry.

Indeed, the fact that miscegenation — generally involving Europeans and other “races,” though individuals of mixed African and Native American descent also exist — played such a major role in Latin American history is probably the principal reason for that region’s status as part of the West. It’s important to stress that not all Spanish and Portuguese colonies joined the ranks of the Western world. Spanish rule in the Philippines, for example, did not transform the islands into a Latin country. Though Spain did have considerable influence on the Philippines — in converting most of the people to Catholicism, in providing Spanish loan words to the local languages, and in giving the people Spanish first and/or last names — the Filipinos’ pre-colonial Asian culture remained largely intact even after three centuries of Spanish domination — roughly the same amount of time Spain controlled Latin America. Interestingly, miscegenation between Spaniards and Filipinos (or should we say Filipinas, because practically all such unions involved Spanish men and Filipina women) occurred on a fairly limited scale, as very few Spaniards settled in the islands. As historian John Phelan explains, the Philippines failed to become a Latin nation as Mexico did in part because the former lacked a mixed-race population to help Hispanicize the natives and by extension the country.

A friend from Colombia, a man of mixed Spanish and Native American descent who would never have passed for “white” in the United States, admitted to me that he felt “at home” on a visit to Italy because Italy is a Latin country, like Spain and Portugal. Obviously Latin America is not a carbon copy of Iberia. [3] But neither is the United States a replica of England. And just as no one would ever classify humans as fish, amphibians, reptiles or birds, Latin America cannot be anything but Western.

Notes
1. The term “mestizo,” though it literally means “mixed” in Spanish, in Latin America generally refers to people of mixed European and Native American ancestry.
2. A “mulatto” refers to a person of mixed European and African descent.
3. “Iberia” refers to Spain and Portugal.

15 comentarios:

Mario Abbagliati dijo...

@ Chile Liberal,

"In my view, the very essence of the West dates back to the Greco-Roman world"

"To call a country truly Western we have two boxes to tick: in the past, it must have been heavily influenced by the Roman Empire; and more recently, it must have not been subjected to the Soviet Empire. So much for West Europe. What about Latin America?"


¿Y qué pasó con el cristianismo? Una cosa es ser ateo, y otra es negar la evidencia de la influencia, positiva o negativa, del cristianismo en occidente. Rusia no es occidental porque su cristianismo es ortodoxo.

Carlos Alberto Montaner ha escrito un par de libros muy interesantes al respecto de latinoamérica y occidente.

Los latinoamericanos y la cultura occidental
http://www.carlosalbertomontaner.com/Los_Latinoamericanos.pdf

Las raíces torcidas de América Latina
http://www.carlosalbertomontaner.com/LAS-RAICES-TORCIDAS.pdf

Chile Liberal dijo...

@Mario: el cristianismo, siendo una idelogía nacida en el Oriente Próximo, es ajeno a Europa. La versión "católica romana" que tuvo vigencia durante la Edad Media tuvo tal influencia del Imperio Romano y de la cultura romana que ni siquiera puede considerarse cristianismo. Por ejemplo, la tortuosa e inexplicable creencia en la "trinidad" no es más que una adaptación de la tradición romana de adorar a dioses en triadas, así como la Navidad (fiesta del Sol) etc.

Como dije en mi artículo, los baluartes de Occidente son la democracia, la filosofía clásica, el quehacer científico. Todo ello existió en Europa antes del catolicismo romano, y de hecho, fue el catolicismo el que sumergió a Europa en los mil años de tinieblas.

El Renacimiento y la Ilustración han contribuido más a Occidente que cualquier creencia religiosa.

Es tan así, que el propio proyecto de Constitución Europea ni siquiera menciona al cristianismo en su preámbulo (lo que despertó críticas en el papismo recalcitrante).

Mario Abbagliati dijo...

@Chile Liberal,

Cuando Valéry Giscard d'Estaing redacta el proyecto de constitución europea , ni una palabra de cristianismo, pero sin embargo, 1) “La Unión respetará y no prejuzgará el estatuto reconocido en los Estados miembros, en virtud del Derecho interno, a las iglesias y las asociaciones o comunidades religiosas”; 2) “La Unión respetará asimismo el estatuto reconocido, en virtud del Derecho interno, a las organizaciones filosóficas y no confesionales”; 3) “Reconociendo su identidad y su aportación específica, la Unión mantendrá un diálogo abierto, transparente y regular con dichas iglesias y organizaciones” (Artículo I-52).”

¿La lógica de la logia, quizás?

Por cierto, ¿cuál fué el primer libro que imprimió Gutenberg?

SergioA dijo...

Chile Liberal: argumentas como si Occidente fuera Europa.
América también es Occidente y en su documento más importante se lee: "IN GOD WE TRUST".

Mario Abbagliati dijo...

¡Y Obama jurando sobre la Biblia de Lincoln!

Como recordaba John Gray en su artículo sobre el espejismo ateo,

"Es cierto que la religión ha decaído bruscamente en varios países (Irlanda es un ejemplo reciente) y que desde hace muchos años ya no determina la vida cotidiana de la mayoría de la población británica. Gran parte de Europa es sin duda poscristiana. Sin embargo, nada sugiere que el distanciamiento de la religión sea irreversible, o que sea potencialmente universal. Estados Unidos no es más secular hoy de lo que fuera hace ciento cincuenta años, cuando Tocqueville quedó impactado y perplejo por la omnipresencia de la religiosidad. La era secular fue, en todo caso, un tanto ilusoria. Los movimientos políticos de masas del siglo xx constituyeron vehículos para los mitos heredados de la religión, y no es accidental que esta reviva ahora que dichos movimientos se han desmoronado. La actual hostilidad hacia la religión es una respuesta ante este desenlace. La secularización está en retirada, y el resultado es la aparición de un ateísmo de tipo evangélico que no se había visto desde tiempos victorianos."

http://www.letraslibres.com/index.php?art=13631

Chile Liberal dijo...

@Mariom jue abr 02, 11:35:00 PM

No sé por qué citas el texto, quizás porque no entiendes que en Europa en geenral, y Francia en particular, existe el máximo respeto a la religión que practique cada cual. Cómo no, si es una cuestión privada.

La religión, no obstante, no tiene pito que tocar en la cosa pública.

No entendí tu uso de la conjunción adversativa ,"pero sin embargo". No veo a qué contradicción apuntas.

Los liberales siempre nos opondremos a que un sujeto sea perseguido por su religión, sea cual sea. Uno de los baluartes de Occidente es la tolerancia. Del mismo modo, es inaceptable que unos grupillos religiosos se arroguen la potestad de regir a la sociedad basado en enseñanzas de seres mitológicos.

@SergioA: el lema "In God We Trust" recién se introdujo oficialmente en 1956.

@Mario, vie abr 03, 06:53:00 PM: EEUU fue uno de los primeros países del mundo en establecer una férrea división entre iglesias y Estado.

Ahora insisto que la religión, ni la protestante ni la autodenominada "universal", sirven para definir Occidente. Emilia algo menciona al respecto en su artículo, al poner como ejemplo a Filipinas, un país católico que no es occidental:

"Spanish rule in the Philippines, for example, did not transform the islands into a Latin country. Though Spain did have considerable influence on the Philippines — in converting most of the people to Catholicism, in providing Spanish loan words to the local languages, and in giving the people Spanish first and/or last names — the Filipinos’ pre-colonial Asian culture remained largely intact even after three centuries of Spanish domination (...)"

Cristian Mancilla Mardel dijo...

Concuerdo plenamente con el criterio que utilizas para definir Occidente. La cultura grecorromana sigue siendo el referente principal para definir lo que somos hoy en día. En los hechos, ni siquiera las lenguas han variado tanto desde el latín en adelante como para llegar a decir que sean enteramente distintas: ciertamente hemos perdido la intercomprensión, pero las relaciones gramaticales siguen intactas.
El asunto religioso, en efecto, no es tan definitivo para delimitar qué es lo Occidental, puesto que los griegos y los romanos fueron siempre politeístas. Había algunos ateos (como Jenófanes y Lucrecio), pero el culto oficial estaba dirigido a diversos dioses y los romanos llegaron a practicar la apoteosis con sus emperadores.
Pero querría aclarar que, si bien es cierto cuando dices "la religión, no obstante, no tiene pito que tocar en la cosa pública"; esto no significa que ella no pueda ser considerada como factor para describir una cultura en particular. La cultura Occidental, por ejemplo, puede ser descrita desde el ámbito religioso como una que comenzó siendo politeísta y llegó a ser monoteísta después.
Por otra parte, aunque el cristianismo haya nacido en Oriente, como lo dice Emilia, ha sido Occidente el que lo ha practicado y expandido de forma más notoria y significativa.
En cuanto al asunto de la trinidad, ésta también es reconocida en la iglesia ortodoxa. Y me parece dudosa tu afirmación de que los romanos adorasen dioses en tríadas, puesto que tenían templos aparte para ellos (salvo por el Panteón y quizás otros ejemplos que ignore).
Tampoco estaré de acuerdo con que califiques la Edad Media como "los mil años de tinieblas", puesto que fue una época muy rica y gracias a la cual se conservó gran parte de la herencia grecorromana.

Chile Liberal dijo...

@Cristian: el papismo destruyó todos los textos clásicos. Lo único que se salvó fue lo guardado en Alejandría, Bagdad y por sobre todo, en Córdoba, bajo el dominio moro. Los teólogos papistas comenzaron a escribir sus primeros desvaríos, como Tomás de Aquino.

Ver Escuela de traductores de Toledo:
"En el siglo XII la «Escuela de traductores de Toledo» vertió principalmente textos filosóficos y teológicos (Domingo Gundisalvo interpretaba y escribía en latín los comentario de Aristóteles, escritos en árabe y que el judío converso Juan Hispano le traducía al español, en el que se entendían)."

Por supuesto, Alfonso X y otros reyes comenzaron a interesarse en el enorme conocimiento de los moros, no sólo en filosofía sino en matemáticas. Todo ello fue entregado a los europeos, salvado de las garras de la autodenomindada "iglesia universal"

Tanto así que embajadas culturales fueron enviadas a la España mora. De esos intercambios surgieron centros de estudio como Salamanca u Oxford.

Otra de las patrañas del papismo es hacernos creer que ellos preservaron la cultura de Occidente y crearon universidades.

Falso.

Ellos destruyeron y arrasaron con todo.

Imposible reconocer como fundamento de occidente a quienes justamente destruyeron todo el legado occidental clásico.

Anónimo dijo...

(El papismo) "Ellos destruyeron y arrasaron con todo."

How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods40.html

Today is the official release date for my new book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. From the role of the monks (they did much more than just copy manuscripts) to art and architecture, from the university to Western law, from science to charitable work, from international law to economics, the book delves into just how indebted we are as a civilization to the Catholic Church, whether we realize it or not.

By far the book’s longest chapter is "The Church and Science." We have all heard a great deal about the Church’s alleged hostility toward science. What most people fail to realize is that historians of science have spent the past half-century drastically revising this conventional wisdom, arguing that the Church’s role in the development of Western science was far more salutary than previously thought. I am speaking not about Catholic apologists but about serious and important scholars of the history of science such as J.L. Heilbron, A.C. Crombie, David Lindberg, Edward Grant, and Thomas Goldstein.

It is all very well to point out that important scientists, like Louis Pasteur, have been Catholic. More revealing is how many priests have distinguished themselves in the sciences. It turns out, for instance, that the first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body was Fr. Giambattista Riccioli. The man who has been called the father of Egyptology was Fr. Athanasius Kircher (also called "master of a hundred arts" for the breadth of his knowledge). Fr. Roger Boscovich, who has been described as "the greatest genius that Yugoslavia ever produced," has often been called the father of modern atomic theory.

In the sciences it was the Jesuits in particular who distinguished themselves; some 35 craters on the moon, in fact, are named after Jesuit scientists and mathematicians.

By the eighteenth century, the Jesuits

had contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes, to scientific fields as various as magnetism, optics and electricity. They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiter’s surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturn’s rings. They theorized about the circulation of the blood (independently of Harvey), the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon effected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light. Star maps of the southern hemisphere, symbolic logic, flood-control measures on the Po and Adige rivers, introducing plus and minus signs into Italian mathematics – all were typical Jesuit achievements, and scientists as influential as Fermat, Huygens, Leibniz and Newton were not alone in counting Jesuits among their most prized correspondents [Jonathan Wright, The Jesuits, 2004, p. 189].

Seismology, the study of earthquakes, has been so dominated by Jesuits that it has become known as "the Jesuit science." It was a Jesuit, Fr. J.B. Macelwane, who wrote Introduction to Theoretical Seismology, the first seismology textbook in America, in 1936. To this day, the American Geophysical Union, which Fr. Macelwane once headed, gives an annual medal named after this brilliant priest to a promising young geophysicist.

The Jesuits were also the first to introduce Western science into such far-off places as China and India. In seventeenth-century China in particular, Jesuits introduced a substantial body of scientific knowledge and a vast array of mental tools for understanding the physical universe, including the Euclidean geometry that made planetary motion comprehensible. Jesuits made important contributions to the scientific knowledge and infrastructure of other less developed nations not only in Asia but also in Africa and Central and South America. Beginning in the nineteenth century, these continents saw the opening of Jesuit observatories that studied such fields as astronomy, geomagnetism, meteorology, seismology, and solar physics. Such observatories provided these places with accurate time keeping, weather forecasts (particularly important in the cases of hurricanes and typhoons), earthquake risk assessments, and cartography. In Central and South America the Jesuits worked primarily in meteorology and seismology, essentially laying the foundations of those disciplines there. The scientific development of these countries, ranging from Ecuador to Lebanon to the Philippines, is indebted to Jesuit efforts.

The Galileo case is often cited as evidence of Catholic hostility toward science, and How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization accordingly takes a closer look at the Galileo matter. For now, just one little-known fact: Catholic cathedrals in Bologna, Florence, Paris, and Rome were constructed to function as solar observatories. No more precise instruments for observing the sun’s apparent motion could be found anywhere in the world. When Johannes Kepler posited that planetary orbits were elliptical rather than circular, Catholic astronomer Giovanni Cassini verified Kepler’s position through observations he made in the Basilica of San Petronio in the heart of the Papal States. Cassini, incidentally, was a student of Fr. Riccioli and Fr. Francesco Grimaldi, the great astronomer who also discovered the diffraction of light, and even gave the phenomenon its name.

I’ve tried to fill the book with little-known facts like these.

To say that the Church played a positive role in the development of science has now become absolutely mainstream, even if this new consensus has not yet managed to trickle down to the general public. In fact, Stanley Jaki, over the course of an extraordinary scholarly career, has developed a compelling argument that in fact it was important aspects of the Christian worldview that accounted for why it was in the West that science enjoyed the success it did as a self-sustaining enterprise. Non-Christian cultures did not possess the same philosophical tools, and in fact were burdened by conceptual frameworks that hindered the development of science. Jaki extends this thesis to seven great cultures: Arabic, Babylonian, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, and Maya. In these cultures, Jaki explains, science suffered a "stillbirth." My book gives ample attention to Jaki’s work.

Economic thought is another area in which more and more scholars have begun to acknowledge the previously overlooked role of Catholic thinkers. Joseph Schumpeter, one of the great economists of the twentieth century, paid tribute to the overlooked contributions of the late Scholastics – mainly sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish theologians – in his magisterial History of Economic Analysis (1954). "[I]t is they," he wrote, "who come nearer than does any other group to having been the ‘founders’ of scientific economics." In devoting scholarly attention to this unfortunately neglected chapter in the history of economic thought, Schumpeter would be joined by other accomplished scholars over the course of the twentieth century, including Professors Raymond de Roover, Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, and Alejandro Chafuen.

The Church also played an indispensable role in another essential development in Western civilization: the creation of the university. The university was an utterly new phenomenon in European history. Nothing like it had existed in ancient Greece or Rome. The institution that we recognize today, with its faculties, courses of study, examinations, and degrees, as well as the familiar distinction between undergraduate and graduate study, come to us directly from the medieval world. And it is no surprise that the Church should have done so much to foster the nascent university system, since the Church, according to historian Lowrie Daly, "was the only institution in Europe that showed consistent interest in the preservation and cultivation of knowledge."

The popes and other churchmen ranked the universities among the great jewels of Christian civilization. It was typical to hear the University of Paris described as the "new Athens" – a designation that calls to mind the ambitions of the great Alcuin from the Carolingian period of several centuries earlier, who sought through his own educational efforts to establish a new Athens in the kingdom of the Franks. Pope Innocent IV (1243–54) described the universities as "rivers of science which water and make fertile the soil of the universal Church," and Pope Alexander IV (1254–61) called them "lanterns shining in the house of God." And the popes deserved no small share of the credit for the growth and success of the university system. "Thanks to the repeated intervention of the papacy," writes historian Henri Daniel-Rops, "higher education was enabled to extend its boundaries; the Church, in fact, was the matrix that produced the university, the nest whence it took flight."

As a matter of fact, among the most important medieval contributions to modern science was the essentially free inquiry of the university system, where scholars could debate and discuss propositions, and in which the utility of human reason was taken for granted. Contrary to the grossly inaccurate picture of the Middle Ages that passes for common knowledge today, medieval intellectual life made indispensable contributions to Western civilization. In The Beginnings of Western Science (1992), David Lindberg writes:

[I]t must be emphatically stated that within this educational system the medieval master had a great deal of freedom. The stereotype of the Middle Ages pictures the professor as spineless and subservient, a slavish follower of Aristotle and the Church fathers (exactly how one could be a slavish follower of both, the stereotype does not explain), fearful of departing one iota from the demands of authority. There were broad theological limits, of course, but within those limits the medieval master had remarkable freedom of thought and expression; there was almost no doctrine, philosophical or theological, that was not submitted to minute scrutiny and criticism by scholars in the medieval university.

"[S]cholars of the later Middle Ages," concludes Lindberg, "created a broad intellectual tradition, in the absence of which subsequent progress in natural philosophy would have been inconceivable."

Historian of science Edward Grant concurs with this judgment:

What made it possible for Western civilization to develop science and the social sciences in a way that no other civilization had ever done before? The answer, I am convinced, lies in a pervasive and deep-seated spirit of inquiry that was a natural consequence of the emphasis on reason that began in the Middle Ages. With the exception of revealed truths, reason was enthroned in medieval universities as the ultimate arbiter for most intellectual arguments and controversies. It was quite natural for scholars immersed in a university environment to employ reason to probe into subject areas that had not been explored before, as well as to discuss possibilities that had not previously been seriously entertained.

The creation of the university, the commitment to reason and rational argument, and the overall spirit of inquiry that characterized medieval intellectual life amounted to "a gift from the Latin Middle Ages to the modern world…though it is a gift that may never be acknowledged. Perhaps it will always retain the status it has had for the past four centuries as the best-kept secret of Western civilization."

Here, then, are just a few of the topics to be found in How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. I’ve been asked quite a few times in recent weeks what my next project will be. For now, it’ll be getting some rest.

Su Excelencia dijo...

Si el pelmazo anónimo tuviera un mínimo de buenos modales, se abstendría de copiar y pegar ladrillos tan largos y plúmbeos. Sobre todo tratándose de basura de los lunáticos racistas de Lew Rockwell.

Ignacio Burges dijo...

Ese libro que cita el retrogrado "anonimo" es de Thomas Woods, autodeclarado autor ultraconservador, aunque un falaz e ignorante de libertaddigital de nombre Juan Ramon Rallo lo llama "liberal"( igual llama "liberal " a Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn defensor de Pinochet y de la Sudafrica del apartheid)

Bueno los catolicos destruyeron la Biblioteca de alejandria donde descansaba todo el saber clasico, ahi empezo un milenio de ignorancia, y hubo cosas que jamas se recuperaron.

"La gloria de la Biblioteca de Alejandría es un recuerdo lejano. Sus últimos restos fueron destruidos poco después de la muerte de Hipatia. Era como si toda la civilización hubiese sufrido una operación cerebral infligida por propia mano, de modo que quedaron extinguidos irrevocablemente la mayoría de sus memorias, descubrimientos, ideas y pasiones. La pérdida fue incalculable. En algunos casos sólo conocemos los atormentadores títulos de las obras que quedaron destruidas. En la mayoría de los casos no conocemos ni los títulos ni los autores. Sabemos que de las 123 obras teatrales de Sófocles existentes en la Biblioteca sólo sobrevivieron siete. Una de las siete es Edipo rey. Cifras similares son válidas para las obras de Esquilo y de Eurípides. Es un poco como si las únicas obras supervivientes de un hombre llamado William Shakespeare fueran Coriolano y Un cuento de invierno, pero supiéramos que había escrito algunas obras más, desconocidas por nosotros pero al parecer apreciadas en su época, obras tituladas Hamlet, Macbeth, Julio César, El rey Lear, Romeo y Julieta. "

http://www.bib.uc3m.es/~nogales/csagan.html

Ignacio Burges dijo...

Sobre Thomas Woods Jr (autor del libro citado en el mamotreto de anonimo) no vaya a salir alguien que diga que es liberal:

"In articles he has written dealing with the political spectrum of Americans, Woods makes a sharp distinction between conservative thinkers with whom he sympathizes, and neoconservative thinkers. In articles, lectures and interviews Woods traces the intellectual and political lineage of both the older conservative, or paleoconservative, school of thought and the neoconservative school of thought. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Woods,_Jr.

Anónimo dijo...

Algunos parecen buscar la cuadratura del círculo: el liberalismo estalinista.

Chile Liberal dijo...

El texto que presenta Anónimo de nuevo saca a colación la tontería de que los cristianos fundaron las primeras universidades. Dale con lo mismo. Y dale el burro con lo mismo. Y sigue el burro con que los cristianos fundaron universidades.

Los primeros centros de conocimiento se encontraban en el Califato de Córdoba (España actual). Entiendo que al papismo le cueste creerlo, pero es así:

La universidad europea
Las universidades europeas más antiguas fueron fundadas por los árabes. Córdoba experimentó desde el siglo VIII un verdadero renacimiento cultural, y en la época del Califato de Córdoba (siglo X) llegó a editar miles de libros que se albergaban en setenta bibliotecas (...)

Ah, y respecto a la destrucción del tesoro de Occidente depositado en la Biblioteca de Alejandría (otra vez notable aporte de Ignacio Burgues) remito a los contertulios a lo siguiente:

Los cristianos (destrucción de la Biblioteca de Alejandría)
A finales del siglo IV, el emperador Teodosio el Grande, en respuesta a una petición del patriarca de Alejandría, envió una sentencia de destrucción contra el paganismo en Egipto: en el año 391, el patriarca Teófilo de Alejandría demolió el Serapeo al frente de una muchedumbre fanática y sobre sus restos se edificó un templo cristiano.[17] Parece que es en este momento cuando la Biblioteca-hija del Serapeo fue saqueada y desperdigada o destruida. El historiador romano Sócrates de Constantinopla proporciona el relato de la destrucción en el libro V de su Historia ecclesiastica, escrita alrededor del año 440:

A petición de Teófilo, OBISPO de Alejandría, el emperador publicó una orden para demoler los templos paganos en esa ciudad, ordenando también que debía ser puesto en ejecución bajo la dirección de Teófilo. Aprovechando la oportunidad, Teófilo se esforzó al máximo para exponer los misterios paganos al desprecio público. Y para comenzar ordenó que el Mithreum fuese limpiado y se exhibiesen los símbolos de sus sangrientos misterios, que caricaturizó en público. Luego destruyó el Serapeum, que también mostró lleno de supersticiones extravagantes, e hizo arrastrar el falo de Príapo por el foro. Así acabaron esos disturbios, con el gobernador de Alejandría, y el comandante en jefe de las tropas de Egipto ayudando a Teófilo a demoler los templos paganos.

Ignacio Burges dijo...

Pero si anonimo y sus amigos la encontraron el "liberalismo" cristofascista.

"CRISTOFASCISMO, CRISTOFASCISTAS:
Adjetivo con el que se designa popularmente a la corriente política que se denomina a sí misma “liberal” porque apuesta por el liberalismo económico y el nombre “liberal” vende bien como marca, pero a su vez aboga por el ultraconservadurismo y el nacionalcatolicismo."