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PostCIVILIZATIONS: "Why West is Best," Paul Johnson (Ronald Hilton, USA, 11/26/01 9:11 am)
Rosa de Pena of Argentina replies to my praise of the Paul Johnson article: "Well, I have my problems with Paul Johnson, in that he not only believes that Western Civilization is superior, but that its highest exponent is to be found in the British Empire, at least as it used to be. It is a viewpoint deserving of consideration, but not when it leads him to make bizarre ethical judgements. Such as condemning the decision "Brown against the Board of Education" which put an end to "separate but equal" schooling, on the ground that it attacked some of his cherished legal principles. In discussing political figures, he can be indulgent towards people like Mussolini and Franco, but he is capable of calling Eamon de Valera "a macabre apostle of death and destruction", a judgement that comes more from his inordinate love of the British Empire than of the observable facts. When Paul Johnson stops making lunatic judgements, I might pay more attention to him".
My comment: "Lunatic" is not a WAIS word, especially when talking about a distinguished writer like Johnson. That Peter tells you about Paul tells you more about Peter than it does about Paul. Johnson is like Bill Bennett. You may disagree with him, but you must take him seriously. I agree with him about de Valera. As for the British Empire, all one demands is a well-documented view, and it is evident to me that decolonization came too fast. I was in South Africa before the change, and it was a well-ordered community with a low crime rate. Now people are afraid to go to Johannesburg. The is not a defense of apartheid. I was in Rhodesia just before the change, and it did not have apartheid. People mixed freely, and it was a decent, pleasant society, but like all societies imperfect. The government was run by Ian Smith,a hero of World War II, and a very decent man. Mugabe was making harangues without impediment, and foreign reporters were just lapping it up. Now look at Zimbabwe today. Incidentally, the Almanac of Current World Leaders opens with Afghanistan and ends with Zimbabwe. What a couple! As a boy in England, I remember that people were being encouraged to emigrate there and help develop the country, which a lot of decent people did.
I feel the same way about the US. Some Americans and lots of foreigners, including some who are here, denounce it irresponsibly. We have a perfect right to expect a balanced comment. I will post an item to this effect from Paul Simon. As for Latin America, Spain's reputation there has suffered badly from the "black legend" (leyenda negra). No wonder Spaniards have replied with a "white legend". They have the right to defend themselves.