The Entangled Civilization - Democracy, Equality, and Freedom at a Loss
Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 380 pages. January, 1995.
Why are democracy, equality, and freedom currently in such turmoil? The author discusses the confusion and pessimism in Western civilization today. He presents his theory of civilization and suggests how the enormous problems within Western civilization can be addressed by pursuing the original basis of Western civilization --- individualism. The three key values of democracy, equality, and freedom are then reinterpreted from the perspective of individualism, and possibilities for dealing with the problems of Western civilization are suggested.
Book description as provided by the author:
"By reflecting our evolutionary background, the structure of the human brain contains two primitive levels which deal with the basic existence of ourselves as animals, such as sex and territorial defense. On top of these, we have another level dealing with human characteristics, such as morality, ethics, reason, compassion, and the art of interhuman relations. Medieval Europeans were very much under the influence of the primitive parts of the brain. Along with the rise of the modern West, they learned to restrain them.
But the rise of the modern West also entailed colonialism and slavery. The Africans in America have been forced to suffer for centuries. There is now abundant scientific evidence that when humans experience hardship, adults become childish. When the hardship is extreme, humans tend to exist under the dominance of the two lower levels of the brain. As a result of their tragic past, the African-Americans have created a unique culture of their own, characterized by these tendencies.
This culture emphasizes sensuality, spontaneity, action, and emotions, which appeal to the more primitive aspects of human existence. For this reason, it is irresistible. African-American superstars in rock music, sports, and entertainment became the role models for everyone. But unfortunately, this culture is incompatible with the basic characteristics of the modern West, which emphasize logic, reason, rationality, and the restraint of emotions and spontaneity. The West is also being Africanized more and more in counterproductive ways, as seen in drugs, vandalism, violence, and crimes against persons. Western civilization's abuse of the Africans has boomeranged back upon itself."
- Part I: PROBLEMS OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
- Western Civilization in Confusion
- Ideology, Bureaucracy, and Technology
- Culture and Biology; Culture and the Individual
- PART II: A THEORY OF CIVILIZATION
- The Self in the Life Space
- The Manipulatory Drive
- Identification and Variation
- The Conditions for Civilization
- The Maintenance of Civilization
- The Failure of Civilization
- PART III: REFLECTIONS ON WESTERN CIVILIZATION
- The Contradictions
- Individualism and Democracy
- Individualism and Equality
- Individualism and Freedom
"While reading this book, it became evident, that the author has read many good books on economy, political philosophy, history, socialism, statism, science, and psychology, while he lived in Japan, Europe, and America. This book shows how vulnerable the Western civilization got through socialism, how the self as an object in a collective setting is manipulated, that the cause for people's violent protest against nuclear power plants is based on egoist human thought. When explaining how collectivism is emphasized at the expense of individualism, he writes on page 230:
'But the ironic point here is that collectivism is carried out on the basis of the individualistic perception of human behaviour without knowing or realizing this. This is another very important point in this book, and I would like to ask you to read the above sentence once again.'
"Explosive content without any journalistic hype: Must read!" --- (The ModulaTor)
"Often outsiders can provide thoughtful perspective. This is the case here as Japanese-born Kitahara analyzes forces promoting the rise and decline of the West. He reviews voluminous writings by classic critics of capitalism, including Christopher Lasch, Herbert Marcuse, Karl Marx, David Reisman, Joseph Schumpeter, Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee and Alan Wolfe. He talks about such defenders of capitalism as F. A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. He wrestles with a wide range of issues, including technology, bureaucracy, equality and culture....The questions he raises need to be addressed by all who care about the future of our civilization." --- Jim Powell (Laissez Faire Books)
This is the second book of Kitahara's trilogy on the rise of the modern West and its future.
About the Author
Michio Kitahara was born in Japan but received his Ph.D. from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He has held teaching or research appointments at the Universities of Maryland, Michigan, and San Francisco, as well as the State University of New York at Buffalo. He currently lives in Sweden in order to study the fate of Scandinavian social democracy firsthand.
What is "The 25th Century Movement"?
The 25th Century Movement is a contact network of individualists and liberals in various countries who are gravely concerned about the present state of Western civilization. In the name of "democracy" and in the name of "peace," wars are carried out without the consent of people. Poverty is artificially created by the state. The euro is enforced upon the peoples in Europe without their consent. Many politicians of the European Union are totally corrupt. The state punishes you if you do not pay taxes. But nobody is responsible when tax money is wasted.
The cities in North America and Europe are filled with vandalism and graffiti,
and citizens are afraid of being mugged and robbed.
Women are constantly afraid of being raped.
A sniper suddenly begins to kill people indiscriminately at a totally unexpected place.
Movies glorify violence and sex.
Drugs are everywhere and available to everyone.
Children kill other children.
Conceivably, a civilization has its own life cycle and we can do nothing to
change this fate, as Oswald Spengler said.
A civilization may be in the final stage for a long time.
It may take several centuries to die.
We tentatively assume that, by the beginning of the 25th century,
Western civilization in its present form will be dead completely.
This may happen much earlier. What can you do after that?
It is possible to build a variety of civilizations based on a variety of assumptions.
We should not think that all civilizations must be based on the same assumptions.
Theocracy may be one possibility. Dictatorship is another possibility.
But in order to have a productive and flourishing civilization,
a dictator must be a perfect person, and such a person is unlikely to exist in this world.
The 25th Century Movement suggests as follows:
(1) democracy as direct democracy rather than representative democracy;
(2) equality as equal respect for others, rather than equality as sameness;
and (3) freedom as negative freedom (freedom from unwanted actions by others)
rather than positive freedom (freedom to act as one wants).
These assumptions accept the importance of the individual.
By emphasizing them, we can have a new civilization without the problems
that characterize today's Western civilization.
- Start a party called "Direct Democratic Party."
The key objective of this party is to let people -- not politicians --
make as many political decisions as possible by means of referenda, as the Swiss do.
Get politics back in your own hands.
Don't allow politicians to manipulate your own life against your will.
In this way, we can avoid or reduce totally unnecessary phenomena such as wars,
poverty, corrupt politicians, absurd bureaucracy, and wastes of tax money.
- Treat others as you yourself want to be treated.
This is the original meaning of "Love thy neighbors."
Be polite and courteous equally to all people.
But people are different from each other.
Reject all enforced attempts to make people artificially "equal,"
such as political correctness and various quotas.
- Insist on the importance of negative freedom.
Reject smoking in public places.
Reject noise pollution.
Reject pollution of land, water, and air.
- Insist that the protection of citizens from crimes against persons is the most important duty of the state.