The Second Version

09/01/08

A Culture Bereft Of Pride

In Dubai, they are altering the very geography of the land, building fancy-shaped artificial islands only to erect grandiose holiday resorts.

At the beginning of 2007, in a Discovery Channel documentary (Megastructures, probably) a young rampant Taiwanese man said that the Taipei 101 skyscraper is the symbol of the supremacy of Taipei over other cities of the world.

In Indonesia, cultural self-criticism is pretty rare (at least as far as my experience goes) but national pride is encouraged at every step; the Monas stands tall and proud in the center of Jakarta, and a barong-wielding (Update: my agent in Jakarta tells me that's a parang in fact) Kapitan Pattimura figures on the 100o rupiah bill.

In the West? When a project for a new big structure is presented, among the first questions there are "What's its environmental impact/carbon footprint?" and "How many poor children could we feed with that amount of money?". And even worse, there are people actively campaigning for de-growth and a return to a more poor life.

In the West, mentioning the bloody and painful birth of countries has become unpolite. The images of soldiers and patriots wielding the tools of liberty tend to be relegated in obscure corners (unless it's the communist butcher Che Guevara), lest the sight of a gun will offend some delicate pacifist mind.

The Western culture is becoming bereft of all pride. Western achievements - the sciences, the arts and crafts, the literature, the philosophy, and those who made all that - are increasingly seen as old, anachronistic junk, useless in this age of citizens of the world. Or worse, as manifestations of arrogance, as spoils of theft and exploitation of other cultures, more ingenious but too naive to resist the predatory evil of westerners. These trends are the strongest in an Europe senile demographically and culturally, but America isn't immune.

Only the empty shell, the strengthless buttress of multiculturalism is celebrated.

The future belongs to those who want to seize it, and if Europe first and America later will renounce to have a place in the future of the world, others will take it and won't even give thanks. Because those who voluntarily give up are not worth it.

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