Alyssa Ahlgren: The Unmatched Exceptionalism of Western Culture

The seemingly harsh but patently obvious truth is that not all cultures are created equal. There are objectively bad ideals and there are good ones, and as history denotes, the good ones prevail.

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Ilhan Omar stated we need to end “Western imperialism” at Bernie Sanders’ rally in early November. Dennis Prager was laughed at and booed on Bill Maher’s show for evoking the truth that America is the least racist, most diverse nation in the world. The mainstream narrative continues to misguidedly reject Western culture and by doing so, we’re biting off the hand that feeds us.

Revisionist history has overtaken our lens of America and Western civilization. Democratic figureheads like Ilhan Omar build their careers on the faux idea of American imperialism fueled by white nationalism. Proponents of this anti-Western thinking believe that the West was only established and maintained due to violent colonialism and white ethnocentrism. 

First of all, Western culture has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. Western culture is a set of ideals. To believe that Western civilization’s sole contribution was and is minority oppression and bigotry is not only a misread of history, it’s a misunderstanding of reality. The United States, like all developed and successful nations, has embraced Western values and in turn benefit from free, tolerant, and prosperous societies. 

Equal opportunity, self-determinism, the yearning for truth and reason, individual liberty, and rule of law are only a few of the many superior ideas of the West that have led to cultural, political, and economic success. Even to this day, non-Western cultures include practices that are in clear violation of human rights and harbor beliefs that we consider to be morally unjust. 

Let me pose a simple question. Where would you rather be a woman, or gay, or transgender – the West, Africa, Latin America, India, Asia, or the Middle East? If you want to live in freedom, safety, and societal acceptance, there is only one right answer. 

Western culture is by far the most tolerant and open minded, and this is especially evident in our treatment of women and the LGBTQ community. Acceptance and equality under law is a uniquely Western value derived from the belief that we are all divinely valued. 

Women in most Eastern cultures are not free to marry whom they choose, and it is natural in many African societies for men to have child brides and punish women through rape if they are “irritated.” In the Middle East, Sharia Law allows women to be legally beaten by their husbands, and homosexuality is subject to legal punishment – sometimes the death penalty. We even see modern slavery in countries such as India, Libya, China, and North Korea. What we Westerners view as simple liberties are nonexistent in many non-Western cultures.

The seemingly harsh but patently obvious truth is that not all cultures are created equal. There are objectively bad ideals and there are good ones, and as history denotes, the good ones prevail. Eastern societies that have copied Western principles have seen drastic improvement in standards of living. This is evident in countries like Japan and South Korea. 

It’s also no coincidence that the only country in the Middle East to adopt Western principles is also the most successful. Israel is a liberal democracy that exudes tolerance which is completely foreign to the region at large. About two million Arabs live in Israel among its citizenry living in relative prosperity. Not only that but Arab Muslims sit in the Knesset. By mirroring values taught by Western culture, Israel is able to thrive in a war-torn, Islamic region while even giving a voice to those who vehemently oppose a Zionist viewpoint.

This may come as a shock to some, but slavery, racism, bigotry, and colonialism pre-dated Western civilization. The West was born out of a deeply corrupt world. The Judeo-Christian values rooted in Western ideology set the stage to abolish slavery, drive economic prosperity, and promote tolerance. Now, the sins from Western culture did not derive from the ideals itself, but from the flawed human beings implementing them. This is where mass confusion ensues when we think about the West. The mistakes of man can only be attributed to the ideology in which they follow if the ideology itself is corrupt. 

For instance, Muslim women who do not cover themselves appropriately are subjecting themselves to justified rape according to Islamic culture. In this case we blame the culture as well as the man because the man is following the culture. If a Christian man rapes a woman that is not appropriately covered, we would rightly call for the persecution of the man. In this case we blame only the man and not the culture because Western culture unequivocally condemns this behavior. 

It is patently impossible to believe in Western values and be a racist, a bigot, xenophobic, or intolerant. No culture in the history of man has taken in more immigrants and refugees, has lifted up more from abject poverty, and has liberated more enslaved or oppressed people. Western ideals are what formed universal human rights and women’s rights; any belief system that is driven to impede on the sovereignty of the individual is in direct conflict with Western civilization.

We cannot be intellectually honest and state that Western culture is responsible for its rocky implementation by mankind. The results of Western civilization come when man implements its ideals accurately. Abolishing slavery, technological and medicinal innovation, religious freedom, individual liberty, and the equal rights we experience today are thanks to the implementation of principles cultivated by the West.

To those advocating against Western civilization — next time you hop in that Volvo with a “Resist” sticker on the bumper to drive to an ANTIFA rally, remember that you are allowed to protest our government, can afford a car, freely associate, and express your views openly because of the principles of Western civilization. Next time you get into an argument on social media about why you think Western culture is a cesspool of evil, remember that you are a product of that culture. You will know exactly what it feels like to live in a culture of oppression and intolerance if you are successful in destroying the principles you are privileged enough to stand on. 


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Alyssa Ahlgren

Alyssa has her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and currently works as an analyst in corporate finance. She grew up in northern Wisconsin and is a former collegiate hockey player. Alyssa is pursuing her passion for current events and politics through writing and being an advocate for the conservative movement.