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Debate: A Clash of Civilizations?

December 9, 2006

*Wikipedia overview.
*The original article published in the journal Foreign Affairs.


James Kurth: The Real Clash

“…the real clash of civilizations, the one most pregnant with significance, will not be between the West and the rest, but one that is already underway within the West itself, particularly within its central power, the United States. This is a clash between Western civilization and a different grand alliance, one composed of the multicultural and the feminist movements. It is, in short, a clash between Western and post-Western civilizations.”

William Pfaff: Clash of Cultures

“Because traditional society is held together by religion, the modern West is in fact waging war against traditional religion. Why should it be surprised when the defenders of traditional religion strike back?”

Lee Harris: There’s No Clash Here

“…to have a clash of civilizations, it is not enough simply to have one civilization that is prepared to fight tooth and nail to defend its own ethos; there must, in addition, be another civilization that is also prepared to defend, with the same depth of conviction, its own ethical principles. The evidence, unfortunately, is that the West is not even remotely interested in mounting a defense of its values in the face of Muslim fanaticism. Worse, there are signs that the West is even prepared to sacrifice some of its core values in order to appease those who have always despised these values — values such as the freedom of individual expression and the right of every man to hold views that others find offensive and even downright blasphemous.”

Niall Ferguson: The civilisations of the modern world are more likely to collapse than collide

“I have never entirely bought the theory that the future will be dominated by the clash of civilisations. For one thing, the term “civilisation” has always struck me as much too woolly. I know what a religion is. I know what an empire is. But, as Henry Kissinger might have said, who do I call when I want to speak to Western Civilisation?… The really big problem with the theory, however, is right in front of our very noses. Question: Who has killed the most Muslims in the past 12 months? The answer is, of course, other Muslims.”

Hugh Fitzgerald: Clash of Civilizations? Yes and No

“There is only one clash that counts: that of Islam with all of non-Islam.”


Slate Magazine: Is There a Clash of Civilizations?
NRO Symposium: The Clash To End All Clashes?


Stanley Kurtz: The Future of “History”

“This is Samuel P. Huntington’s moment. The world of cultural and religious strife anticipated by Huntington in his much-discussed (and widely excoriated) book, The Clash of Civilizations, has unquestionably arrived. Yet whether we might also someday see an alternative world — the global triumph of democracy envisioned in Francis Fukuyama’s brilliant work, The End of History and the Last Man — is also a question that seems very much before us as we contemplate what it would mean to “win” the war in which we are engaged. The question of our time may now be whether Huntington’s culture clash or Fukuyama’s pax democratia is the world’s most plausible future.”

Roger Kimball: Why the West?

“Huntington has a fair amount to say in passing about the core values of the West. What he does not present is the explicit contrast between the vision of world as embodied in Western civilization and its noisiest rival, the world according to Islam. One of the most thoughtful attempts to do this is contained in The West and the Rest, the brief, eloquent new book by the English philosopher Roger Scruton.”


Robert P. George: A Clash of Orthodoxies

“This clash of worldviews is sometimes depicted…as a battle between the forces of “faith” and those of “reason.” I propose to challenge this depiction in a particular and fundamental way. I shall argue that the Christian moral view is rationally defensible. Indeed, my claim is that Christian moral teaching can be shown to be rationally superior to orthodox secular moral beliefs.”

Book Review: Who Are You? from First Things


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