Do you think voting is a good idea or a bad idea? Do you believe that government should be by the consent of the governed, or do you think the people in government should not be accountable to the governed? Do you like the idea of a central government defining reality for everyone and picking the winners and losers of life, or do you think government must be restrained and allowed only to do a few things for citizens? Lastly, do you believe in inherent, inalienable rights of individual citizens, or do you believe everyone should be a subject of the government, with only as many liberties as those in power choose to dole out?
The concepts of a limited, decentralized government that governs by the consent of its citizens does not come from Chinese civilization, Islamic civilization, or from the civilizations of India, Central Asia, or the Western Hemisphere. The concepts of inherent inalienable rights, restrained government, presumption of innocence and trial by jury (as examples) came to us through the historical process that created Western Civilization.
Notice I did not say that these wonderful concepts are European. These concepts actually had their origins in Asia, where the Hebrew people had the belief in a single God who gave them absolute truth contained in the writings of the Law and the Prophets. Their legal code, lived out in the world’s first true republic (Israel’s 12 tribes around 1406 BC before the time of their monarchy), encapsulated these wonderful legal concepts we now see in the US Constitution and many other legal systems around the world.
Western Civilization began with the Hebrew people, and eventually merged many of the concepts of law, and, art, literature, and science found in the pagan cultures of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, various Germanic tribes, and the Vikings. Since this civilization, with its lengthy, vast, and deep history stems from sinful fallen human beings, it is certainly filled with evil and failure (like any civilization).
And yet, there is much, in fact a great deal, that freedom loving people should be thankful for as descendants of Western Civilization. Stay tuned to the next several blogs for examples of the blessings of this unique culture that has helped define the world we live in.