~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Guns, Germs and Steel

I'm watching the PBS series based on the book of the same title by Jared Diamond.

It's very interesting... and very wrong.

Diamond argues that stories of superior Western European culture being responsible for Western dominence in the world today are just that... stories. He argues that there were just as many brave Incas as there were brave Spaniards and the reasons for the Spanish conquest of the New World were due to geographic luck. He argues that Western civilization owes it's prominence to a set of geographic prerequisites that allowed us to develop guns, germs, and steel at an accelerated rate as compared to other parts of the world.

I roundly reject the notion that Western Civ boils down to location, location, location. If our dominating influence in the world is due to geographic happenstance, if our civilization was so casually aquired, if our very way of life was formed by arbitrary circumstance, why in the hell do we fight so hard to preserve that influence, that civilization, that way of life? Hmmm? I mean, if it's all a matter of environmental chance, why bother? Diamond's theory is a defeatist philosophy riddled with loathing for our cultural sucesses. Where's the geographic explanation for why we value freedom? What's the chance-based explanation for why we insist that the rest of the world recognize fundamental human rights?

Culture, not environment, is what spawned our dominent influence. Western culture spawned Vegas and Atlantic City. Not the other way around. Odds had little to do with it.

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