Ricardo Duchesne ~ “The Uniqueness of Western Civilization”: A Review

Martin Hewson reviews Ricardo Duchesne’s “The Uniqueness of Western Civilization”

January 10, 201375 Comments

Kevin MacDonald

We at TOO have cheered the publication of Ricardo Duchesne’s The Uniqueness of Western Civilization as a major step forward in defending the West against the academic tide of multiculturalism. I call attention here to a very positive review by Martin Hewson, a political scientist at the University of Regina. Hewson notes that Duchesne’s work is “the most significant and comprehensive contribution to a post-multicultural world history.” “A book that asks great questions and offers bold answers deserves itself to be called great. The Uniqueness of Western Civilization is one of those not unflawed but rare books.”

What I found most heartening is that Duchesne’s book is central to an emerging wide-ranging critique of the current academic regime in which politically and ethnically motivated attacks on the West are dominant. The purpose of these attacks is to denigrate Western accomplishment, inevitably with the assumption that all peoples are the same. Western dominance is therefore analyzed either as the result of good fortune or because the West was uniquely predisposed to predatory exploitation of other peoples. Hewson writes of the “affirmative action” whereby China is elevated to an exalted position whereas the West is viewed as nothing special. But as he notes, “Multicultural world history attacks Eurocentrism as the summum malum, but it tends to find no problem with Sinocentrism or Eurasiacentrism”—a statement that lays bare the anti-Western animus underlying the entire project.

Hewson cites several other works that are compatible with Duchesne’s account. For example,

Toby Huff’s Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution: A Global Perspective (2011) lays out the comparative tracks of scientific development in Europe, China, Mughal India, and the Ottoman Empire. He cites the example of the telescope. Invented in Holland in 1608, it was soon taken by European travelers to the courts of Asia. But only in Europe was it used to make new discoveries about the heavens. Huff explains that both European institutions as well as Europe’s human capital made for such a divergence.

This points to the emergence of a group of scholars who are willing to challenge the multicultural zeitgeist that is so dominant in the university. There is no question that multicultural history has arisen as an intellectual support for the transformation of Western societies as they head into the utopian multicultural future where White people are properly respectful of every other culture but their own—where White people have been brainwashed into thinking that, if the West has any uniqueness at all, it is the result of dumb luck or moral turpitude.

Just as multicultural history emerged as intellectual support for multiculturalism, the reaction against multicultural history is a reaction to the failure of multiculturalism:

But now, in response, post-multiculturalism is becoming a force. It arises from a sense that multiculturalism has been a failure. Post-multiculturalism charges that multiculturalism, whatever its intentions, has failed to help its supposed beneficiaries; it has failed to openly address the real sources of their situation; it has allowed various forms of illiberalism, religious suprematism, caste, ethnic, and tribal exclusion to flourish without effective censure; it has suppressed free speech and criticism in the name of respecting diversity; and it has encouraged or turned a blind eye towards the denigration and devaluation of the West and its secular, liberal ethos. Now, too, multicultural world history faces its own post-multicultural critique. Multicultural world history on this account is marginalizing the West and its accomplishments; it is preventing criticism of the deficiencies of non-Western cultures; and it is allowing the value of diversity to trump the equally valid values of liberty, critical reason, and creativity.

Hewson is essentially stating that multiculturalism means the death of the West, and he is quite right in that regard.  Further, he and Duchesne are asserting that the culture of the university is deeply complicit in this assault on the West.

Ultimately, given that multiculturalism is a failure, the only way to prevent the disasters mentioned by Hewson from completely displacing Western culture is to prevent immigration of other cultures into the West and to begin the process of repatriation. The nascent intellectual counter movement centered around Duchesne’s work will give heart to politicians, to conservatives in the media, and to others who wish to challenge the ongoing suicide of the West.

Despite heaping praise on The Uniqueness of Western Civilization and Duchesne’s theory that aristocratic striving and competition are central to understanding the West, Hewson has some reservations and notes some unanswered questions. I am sympathetic with Hewson’s comments on the need for a complete theory to include data on the uniqueness of Western family structure that, in my view, is the consequence of evolution as northern hunter-gatherers—monogamy, exogamy, the nuclear family, de-emphasis on extended kinship, and the creation of high-trust societies based on egalitarian individualism (see my review, Discussion section).

Hewson closes by asking several fundamental question: “what would a Westless world have looked like? Posing this question gets to the heart of what difference the West has made, how central it has been in history, and how ‘Eurocentric’ world history actually is.” I entirely agree. The West invented the modern world. As Duchesne emphasizes, there is a dynamism and revolutionary tension in Western history that is missing from the rest of the world.

Hewson also asks:

What caused the rise of the two northern regions of Eurasia? Why did the rise of the North eclipse the more southerly regions? In the twenty-first century, Northeast Asia (with its offshoots such as Hong Kong and Singapore), is once again alongside the West as the leading region of industrial growth and technical progress. Why have NW Eurasia and NE Eurasia been so prominent for the last millennium or so? This particular great divergence, the rise of the North, has yet to receive sustained attention.

Continuing this general topic, Hewson notes, based on a recent review article, that “relative levels of economic development today in different regions are predicted by relative levels a millennium and more ago. Economic conditions appear to be affected by traits that have been transmitted across generations over the very long run.”

Attributing present differences to traits transmitted across generations over millennia immediately suggests biological differences. The phenomena mentioned here are exactly what an IQ realist would expect. IQ realists such as J. Philippe Rushton (Race, Evolution and Behavior [abridged version]) and Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen (IQ and the Wealth of Nations; IQ and Global Inequality) have emphasized the higher IQ of northern Eurasian societies—Europe, China, and Japan. They propose that the north-south gradient in world IQ  ultimately resulted from the need to confront harsh Northern environments. Such environments pull for the ability to engage in long-term planning (e.g., preparing for the winter by building sturdy shelters and making warm clothing) and by solving novel problems by means-end reasoning. Such cultures also pull for impulse control which is related to the personality trait of conscientiousness.

Thus, as the emerging body of post-multicultural history is showing, the West is culturally quite different from China. But these culture areas are quite similar in IQ, with China and Japan actually having a slight edge, most notably in what psychologists call performance IQ (e.g., spatial reasoning associated with aptitude in engineering and certain types of mathematics). IQ is a trait that is transmitted across generations over the very long run and thus must be considered when attempting to explain the persistence of differences in economic development over the last millennium and persisting today. While IQ is likely being maximized in current environments of good nutrition and health care, there is little doubt that  there is strong genetic influence on differences in IQ, so that racial/ethnic group differences in IQ will continue far into the foreseeable future.

I suspect that the search for answers in post-multicultural history will ultimately lead to an appreciation of the importance of IQ as well as an understanding of the uniqueness of the West in ethnic/racial terms. In the end, a thorough understanding of the West will inevitably lead to an appreciation of the irretrievable loss that will occur if present trends for the displacement of Whites in Europe and elsewhere continue. Multiculturalism rests on a fundamental lie—that people are completely interchangeable so that admitting the rest of the world into Western societies is unproblematic and will lead to a glorious and harmonious multicultural future—a view that completely ignores the research on the well-known costs of multiculturalism in addition to those mentioned by Hewson: political alienation, lack of trust, racial/ethnic conflict, and lack of willingness to contribute to public goods. The rise of post-multicultural history will be an important corrective in exposing this lie and in developing a confident intellectual elite that is able to combat the suicide of the West.

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