Phi Beta Cons

Procedure Requires Content

The Intelligence 2 debates that Candace mentions do seem interesting.  But here are some thoughts regarding Douglas Murray’s contribution to the topic, ”We should not be reluctant to assert the superiority of Western values.”  It feels good to hear this so emphatically stated, although, believe it or not, Murray may actually be going a little overboard when he says that “Western values are not just another way to live, but the only way to live.”  Still, one is happy to see the affirmation.  But one soon notices that despite his averral, Murray does not posit much content  to Western values.  For him they are mainly procedural.–”the rule of law, parliamentary democracy, equalities [sic?], freedoms of expression and conscience.”    As admirable as Murray’s stance is, this kind of thinking will do us in.  People need culture; they cannot live by ideas and procedures alone.    
And if our values do depend on a cultural formation, and they do, that means not everyone in the world can come to the West and participate in them.  Murray’s stance has the effect of making the values universal for all mankind–”the only way to live”–but then gives them no substantive basis.  The values may be universal in theory but they require practical application for mere mortals.  And if we do continue to have mass immigration without a cultural core, we will have multicultural balkanization, and then, ironically, the erosion of the procedures and ideas themselves — as is happening in Britain, in Europe, and even here in the United States – which will no longer have a cultural base to carry them. 
However, congratulations must go to Douglas and his team for winning the debate. 

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