Civilization: Is the West History?

Civilization: Is the West History?

2011, History  -  Playlist 183 Comments
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Ratings: 8.02/10 from 62 users.

Civilization: Is the West History?Niall Ferguson asks why it was that Western civilization, from inauspicious roots in the 15th century, came to dominate the rest of the world; and if the West is about to be overtaken by the rest.

Ferguson reveals the killer apps of the West's success - competition, science, the property owning democracy, modern medicine, the consumer society and the Protestant work ethic - the real explanation of how, for five centuries, a clear minority of mankind managed to secure the lion's share of the earth's resources.

1. Competition. The first programme in the series begins in 1420 when Ming China had a credible claim to be the most advanced civilization in the world: 'All Under Heaven'. England on the eve of the Wars of the Roses would have seemed quite primitive by contrast.

2. Science. In 1683 the Ottoman army laid siege to Vienna, the capital of Europe's most powerful empire. Domination of West by East was an alarmingly plausible scenario. But Islam was defeated: not so much by firepower as by science.

3. Property. Professor Ferguson asks why North America succeeded while South America for so many centuries lagged behind. The two had much in common (not least the subjugation of indigenous peoples and the use of slavery by European immigrants), but they differed profoundly on individual property rights, the rule of law and representative government.

4. Medicine. The French Empire consciously set out to civilize West Africa by improving public health as well as building a modern infrastructure. Yet in other European empires - notably Germany's in southwest Africa - colonial rule led to genocide. What was the link from medical science to racial pseudo-science?

5. Consumerism. Today the world is becoming more homogenous and, with increasingly few exceptions, big-name brands dominate main streets, high streets and shopping malls all over the globe.

6. Work. The sixth element that enabled the West to dominate the rest was the work ethic. Max Weber famously linked it to Protestantism, but the reality is that any culture, regardless of religion, is capable of embracing the spirit of capitalism by working hard, saving, and accumulating capital.

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Clinton Stephens
Clinton Stephens
4 years ago

The communist will hate this documentary. It tells the truth.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

Simply put: more of the same pro-establishment, liberal, anti-white propaganda that we've become accustomed to today. The author positively creams his pants at the idea that in just a few decades white people will be in a minority in the United States; welcoming the idea of a unified North and South American civilization as a way to make up for their "original sin": owning black African slaves. Heaps of white guilt are piled on people who had nothing to do with slavery, while ignoring the fact that it was these same people who ended the slave trade (which Europeans didn't begin and engaged in for less time than any other group of people!) while playing lip service the very real benefits that western civilization and technology have brought to Arfica(ns) (hint, we only irradicated disease in Arfica because it benefitted us ;-)). Plenty of obligatory references to the Evil Nazi's etc. I wasn't looking for yet another documentary confirming the incomparable evil of white people but here we are. Must watch if you need more proof that the state-funded globalist media hates whiteness! #ItsOkayToBeWhite

xavier
xavier
7 years ago

I hate that the kids of obvious African descent are not told of their ancestors vast contributions to European "exploration". The African universities in Timbuktu are the sole reason for the European renaissance in the first place, some of the education shared; astronomy, nautical navigation, the lost math from the Greek civilization. I hope we can all see the problem that this has caused in Black communities around the world.

meis
meis
8 years ago

I like how he interprets "competition" or rather misinterprets, really. His so called "competition" is born out of hating each others. The Europeans hated each others, then it leads to smaller "autonomy" kingdoms or broken into pieces (Martin Jacques compared it to the fallen Roman Empire vs Unified China), only then the "competition" comes around, and lots of exploitation in Africa (which Niall Ferguson hardly mention of), and Zhang He didn't even think of it. In short, "competition" = brutality and brutality rules. CCP must learn this. Isn't that what the elites across the world subscribed to? Isn't that what the Zionist Murica been doing in mid east?

John Murgaš
John Murgaš
8 years ago

It's funny to say that the history of the world is only western. There is no West without the East. From Science to Agriculture, Architecture to Fashion, Who were the first ones to wear PANTS? Asians and The Middle East to ride horses. THE WEST OWES EVERYTHING TO THE EAST. FROM STEEL TO MEDICINE. Who were the first ones to use Amapola ( Morphine) as medicine? AFROASIATIC CULTURES. R.I.P. WESTERN CIVILIZATION. 500 YEARS OF RACIST SCHIZOPHRENIC DOMINATION.

Shaving Pvt. Ryan
Shaving Pvt. Ryan
9 years ago

I was excited to watch this, but 5 minutes in I realize this is just bs British racist propaganda.

These are the real reasons why west dominated:

Savagery/Chattel Slavery (worst type of slavery the world has ever seen, dehumanizing people and treating them worse than animals)
Completely manipulating and converting/brainwashing the rest of the world at gun point
Genocide of natives through disease and murders
Conquest of trade and economy of countries through corruption and military attacks of countries (Dutch East company just 1 example)
Exploiting other countries(relates to the ones above. Still happening today through manipulative tactics like transfer pricing and corruption of military leaders in africa and south america, dont even care about people suffering from asthma due to the pollution of the mines and undrinkable GREEN WATER in villages)

Its spiteful when he said "work ethic". Thats when I realized this is racist propaganda. Are you saying the average brit who drinks his way to death at the pub works harder than a chinese or japanese?
South Koreans have a saying: You are lazy like a Japanese". And think about how hard Japanese people work?.....

This documentary is BS.

CarlaKah
CarlaKah
9 years ago

I wish we all understood the full scope of human evolution from 100,000 years ago till now. Including how dark skinned Africans turned white in Europe (albinism), where the first civilization ever was created (East Africa, in current Sudan), how we evolved from hunter/gatherers to capitalist citizens (theft, landgrab, a thirst for empire building and misuse of religions) and why most wealthy people on earth are white and most poor people are black and brown (murder, manipulation, genocides, rapes etc). Truth is if you are part of the dominant culture/group of people on earth you are a heir of an accumulation of atrocities that haven't been addressed let alone avenged by its victims.

Zishy
Zishy
10 years ago

realy bad documentory. twisting, lying, revisionist. pretty disgusting to watch when you are a scolar of history and see trough the pits and holes of the western hemisphere

goodman
goodman
10 years ago

I have a different point of view.
I don't think it's the work ethic that matters. There are so many poor countries in the world even though they work hard. The Netherlands, which is one of the wealthiest, has the shortest working hours.
I think what really matters is efficiency. How well a just society it is. How fair the law system is. How less corrupted the entire law system, government is..
When there is a good, fair system maintained, the society should prosper nomatter what.
That's my theory.

SirMe
SirMe
11 years ago

Most of Western Civilization was developed in Ancient Egypt, Phoenicians, Persia, and Mesopotamia (by Non-Westerners) and transferred to Ancient Greece and Rome. Work ethic is not a Western characteristics, it has been part of Asia for thousands of years. I also believe imperialism played an important role in developing Western Europe and America, though the documentary seems to leave that aspect out.

rodiee
rodiee
11 years ago

First SUPERPOWER in the world history is China.The oldest culture is the indians , and chinese.The most tech nation is Japanese.Now where will be a Europe and the "west civilization" whitout the east ???

john mason
john mason
11 years ago

not anymore bitches die like the rest. hahahaha its time to reap the evil people. the seven horses have been released

Hector Sanchez
Hector Sanchez
11 years ago

The west is the best.

Jose Rosales
Jose Rosales
12 years ago

I really enjoyed watching this documentary even though as an Atheist I was quite annoyed by one of his killer apps. The so called Protestant work ethic does exist but it is hardly protestant at all. A hard work ethic can be found anywhere on earth from a fisherman in Indonesia to a CEO in New York regardless of their faith or lack there of. The main reason why the USA has become the worlds most powerful country is in fact because of its citizens work ethic and vast resources. Our economy is great because of the diversity of its populace and the contributions made by Jews, Catholics, Protestants and people of other faiths and those who don't have a belief system.

Uberhaxor Roflcopternoob
Uberhaxor Roflcopternoob
12 years ago

I found this documentary series interesting, but there is a fair bit of information that contradicts many of the main theses that I wish Niall would address.

Firstly, most 3rd world countries have people working far longer hours for far less return. Even in India and China people put in longer hours for less return. It is not the protestant work ethic that is valuable here. It is not working harder, it is working smarter, mini-maxing, finding ways to have your cake and eat it. This produces the leisure time that allows people to come up with better ideas. Proof of this is to be found in comparing societies where labor driven economies grind humans down, as opposed to those where "mechanical contrivances" perform most of the work, i.e. capital economies.

Next. What drove the creation of mechanical capital in Europe ? This is where Christian superstition comes into play, specifically the belief in the holiness of filthiness, and that cats were the servants of the devil and must be killed. Diseases in Europe killed people in frighteningly large numbers periodically, but especially the Black Death. By driving up the price of labor, investment in inventing ans employing labor saving devices became important. This rather flies in the face of the Science and Medicine apps too. It was more about blind luck, like when the Mongols had 2 successive waves of European invasion halt due to deaths at the top.

Competition is an interesting idea, but is it a valid assessment of the failure of the Treasure fleets ? If this were true, then all small Balkanized communities would be the most competitive, with the most to gain from commerce. Now there have been examples of this being true, but there are many more examples of it being false. For every Netherlands or Portugal, there is a Sri Lanka, a Latvia, a Denmark, a Bulgaria, and Albania. What drove Europeans to Asia in search of spice was poverty, what kept them there was the greed and violence. It was less competition, and more a combination of Government policy and the economic model of the Mercenary Company (and it's violent mercenary ethos) from which all forms of legal companies ultimately derive.

I have few issues with the episode on Property, though once again I think that this is more about government policy, the failure of the aristocratic system due to nepotism and corruption, and the revolution of the masses against aristocracy, that won in the USA and failed in South America. I would have said it was about Nepotism versus Meritocracy, and that is a choice about how to run a Government bureaucracy.

As to science. Choosing the Ottomans as a counterpoint doesn't necessarily explain everything. China had led the world for a very long time in technical matters, and the Treasure fleets prove this. What we should really be asking is why China, the powerhouse of world technical innovation, stalled ? I would argue that it was the cost associated with building and maintaining the Great Wall that cut the R&D budget, and created a sense of isolationist complacency. Once again, this comes down to issues of Government policy.

I therefore attribute Europe's success in part to extreme good fortune, but mainly to flexible and responsive government policies introduced by people who knew what they were doing, or learned from their mistakes.

Terry Beaton
Terry Beaton
12 years ago

Everyone thinks that for The West to claim leadership in the exploitation of the worlds resouces and basic destruction of it by greed and mindless industialization is somehow 'self-glorification'. The fact is, The West (with it's Protestant focus on upward mobility and personal ambition) really is the leader in this pillaging of the earth. Why would anyone feel 'left out' in any discussion of who's to be credited for such an evil thing. It's true. It's the saddest thing I can imagine, and it's true.

Liam MacSuibhne
Liam MacSuibhne
12 years ago

An embarrassingly one-sided. myopic. self-glorifying portrayal of the West. Worse, a very apparent western-type need to link all the progress of many great cultures throughout many ages to a localised, quasi-religious revisionist theory of the 'importance' of Protestantism on a global scale. Tribal garbage.

The only thing that's 'finished' is the WASP right-wing mentality, as so vividly portrayed in this absolute failure of a 'documentary'. It's pretty much finished everywhere. Whether or not the USA grows up and joins the rest of the world in progressive, balanced and critical awareness of the role of socialism in a free society is entirely up to them. If they don't, they will be the one to lose out.

As for dealing with complexities of historiographies and sources of change, progress and development, this one rates as the low-brow of low-brows.

AA7
AA7
12 years ago

I agree with Dhananjaya's contention that Mr. Ferguson is incorrect when he concludes that China needs to imbibe a Protestant work ethic in order to succeed in its development. While Britain and North America (excluding Mexico) have been primarily Protestant in their history and can be said to have the Protestant work ethic as a driving force for their development, it is incorrect to say that China's development is due to its absorption of the Protestant work ethic. Chinese people have had their own strong work ethic since ancient times which is driving their current development. It was not because the Chinese people did not have a strong Protestant work ethic that China fell behind in its development. It is through other factors such as the lack of sufficient development in science or the lack of democracy that held China back.

Rahul Fulzele
Rahul Fulzele
12 years ago

The link doesnt work... :(

Dhananjaya
Dhananjaya
12 years ago

Just finished watching the entire series. I had enjoyed Ferguson's 'Empire' and 'Ascent of Money' and expected this to be of the same quality. Man, was i disappointed. I am not a guy who rants for objectivity, but this is nothing but one sided trash. I second 'Nagual's comments fully.

I am from India. I am really upset with the crafty ease with which he conveiniently forgets to mention the numeous atrocities his 'West' commited.
He paints a vivid picture of Germany's attrocities in Africa and how in 1902 many people was killed based on race lines and it was the world's fisrt genocide, before the word was even coined. He forgets that his favoured North American, Protestant ethic filled, property sharing people also committed a genocide when they killed thousands of native indians, just to grab their land.

The Chinese are imbibing work ethic because of the Protestant religion!
Wow, I wonder how Ming dynasty flourished in its prime with all the technology , economy etc in 14th Century? Before protestant religion came into existence.

The entire last episode was full of religious propaganda. I wonder if in few years, he will be Reverend Niall Ferguson instead of Professor Niall Ferguson.

unhappy
unhappy
12 years ago

I can't help but notice that all of these comments about the horrible Western world and all of our treachery are being submitted by computers via the internet (created in the west), in countries free to express themselves, likely Western Democracies (or this site would be blocked), all while enjoying life in their air conditioned/heated homes, eating safe and plentiful mass produced food, driving their cars and flying around the world at will. Oh yes, we ruined your lives. Poor you!!

Perhaps you would prefer Chinese rule where anyone not ethnically Chinese is considered an enemy of the state and all points of view contrary to the "Party" line are met with jail time. Or perhaps the tribal warfare and genocide of Africa. Maybe the overly corrupt democracy of India where you can't get police help unless you pay for it.

I'd like to see the world just for a day if any of the other contenders for world domination had won. Islam forced on the entire world and Sharia law. Chinese subjugation of the world and forced slavery on all non Chinese.

Did the West have problems and create new problems? Absolutely!! Could it have have been a whole lot worse? Absolutely!! Now enjoy your modern Western pampered lives and keep bitching about this horrible way of life being imposed on you.

Sources: I have lived in 32 countries throughout my life in every corner of the globe and I wouldn't trade my Western ideology, democracy or heritage for any other.

jpman17
jpman17
12 years ago

it seems to me , historically, the Capitalism and Western culture only thrives with the use of cheap and / or slave labour...definitely nothing to do with Protestant religious work ethic....maybe that Religious acceptance or work ethic (if you wish to call it that) is adopted by those who have no choices for any other labour options

wpsmithjr
wpsmithjr
12 years ago

You people and your snide comments.

Let me explain something to you...

Occupation, pillaging, slavery and subjugation are simply ways of life. If you don't think that eastern civilizations did their share of conquering and pillaging on their way up then you're living in a dream world.

Guess what?

The elite explorers, rulers, politicians and other "leaders" of society have ALWAYS taken advantage of their citizenry and still do today. It doesn't matter if you're talking about British colonialism, American "capitalism" or Ottoman confiscation... there has always been a small group of wealthy, elitist f*cks that have enslaved their people and forced them to ravage and/or conquer another group of people (who were already enslaved by their own group of rich elites).

When will the people of the world stop arguing over capitalism vs. socialism, west vs. east, U.S.A. vs. the "terrorists", left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, jews vs. the rest of us, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH?? When...

It is... and always has been... the people vs. their rulers. When we, the people, figure that out... then the game will change. Until then, wealthy, immoral, power-mad elites will always rule the world... and always have "the people" under their thumb.

And they will always use DIVISION in order to maintain their rule. To keep us all at odds with one another... so we don't try to blame them when the s.h.t.f..

Why do you think Obama vilifies "the rich" so much... when HE is one of them? So in the end... you won't go after the ruling class... just the business people... like they are doing in Britain right now. Burning down ordinary mom and pop businesses because it's all the fault of "the rich". You should be after the Queen's head instead.

Btw...

Vote for Ron Paul 2012
He doesn't want you to be his slave.

dusttracks
dusttracks
12 years ago

The West beat the rest with guns and disease. Europeans are not superior to any other people in any way. The west is still playing the same game today. Guns and disease. Nothing more.

dusttracks
dusttracks
12 years ago

Europeans were not the first to explore the planet. This is more cultural bullshit cheerleading.

Corbin Rempel
Corbin Rempel
12 years ago

Was impressed, for the most part, until the last 'app'..

Similar to Nagual's sentiment from a couple weeks ago, the over simplification and lack of grounded assertions have really brought out doubt and irritation in me.. (meaning that during one episode he will make one claim as a reason for excelling / diminishing and then simply slap on a different generalization when it conveniently suits him in later episodes.. specifically, south americas stagnation was supposed to be property, oh but just wait.. its because they are predominantly catholic..)

as was said in previous comments, how exactly did the Chinese import work ethic?!.. such a joke.. ahhh!!!... this whole last episode is ridiculous and nauseating.. definitely a capstone of his british arrogance (which is a general theme through out)

Anyways, lots of interesting info and interpretation - but def has its flaws, imo

"Although I brought up an atheist, I suffered from an extreme form of the protestant work ethic".. haha, seriously?!.. what a joke...

FadedGarden
FadedGarden
12 years ago

The ottoman empire came up with the scientific method didn't they?

Babz Rahman
Babz Rahman
12 years ago

Being of the leftie type, I do sometimes enjoy watching and listening to the views of the right and I found this documentary to be very enjoyable and quite correct though it doesn't delve into how these 'killer' apps were used to prevent other Civilizations and Nations from developing. However I think the episode about property was quite a peculiar one as he pitted one Western power against another Western power. I would've rather seen what the situation about property ownership was like in the East at the time.

vance victor maclaren
vance victor maclaren
12 years ago

The series is correct about most topics and very well done. It is true that just about everyone in the world today is more or less westernized culturally (please save your bland accusations of "racism" because that's not what the series is about at all).
I do disagree on one point: at the end of the series he argues that Europeans and Americans can still prevent meltdown because we have fundamental liberties that they don't have in China (free speech, democracy, rule of law, etc.). The problem with that line is that most of us are definitely not free economically. I am in Canada and the average person here is certainly not able to take any moral stand against the banker types ruining the world.

Nagual
Nagual
12 years ago

This documentary is loaded with so many logical flaws! There are so many racist and discriminatory view points here. First, what exactly is his definition of the West? Some times he means Europe, then just Austria as when fighting the "dreaded" Turks, then just the US and UK, then back again to all of Europe. In the conquest of the Americas he says the Brits and North Americans got it right with how they handled property. Question: Didn't he included the Spanish as part of the West in a previous segment, when he talked about exploration? Now they weren't included. Now China is developing because they are accepting Christianity? Does he mean that they never built their 5,000 years of culture, civilization with a work ethic? Is he implying that only protestants have a work ethic and it has only existed for just over 500 years? I'd like to add more killer apps, like ruthlesness, jealousy, thievery and dirty tricks. That is how England became a world empire. Israel? I don't know where he got this logic here on Israel. We have democracy? That is news to me! The UK is being shaken by the Murdock scandal. I guess that is just a minor set back as he would say in the legacy of Western democracy. I finished watching this to see where he was going and what his message was. What is he talking about when he brings up the legacy of Rome as Western civilization? The UK was a backwater barbaric colony of the Roman empire with a Celtic and Germanic population and now he (as with other propagandist) implies that it is the legacy of Rome!???????? Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Shall we follow his call to a new crusade; rally behind our bibles and combat the upstart Turks, Iranians and Asians! OMG! What a horrible message!

StevenLJones
StevenLJones
12 years ago

I've only watched the first episode. He seems to suggest that Opium was a Chinese problem before the British arrived.

When if fact it was the dear British who were the pushers. I can't help wondering what other tidbits that he will gloss over.

Abdul Guuled
Abdul Guuled
12 years ago

Violence, subjugation.. slavery....extermination of native population and taking their resources....disease resistance...these were the most critical to temporarily allowing the West to become wealthy...but as this show suggest, the West will have to give up their undeserving leadership role...with so much of the world resources consumed by the Western people, today in the most powerful nation of them all, science is at battle with "creationists"....what a waste! While Asian countries are fully embracing science.

Si Belsi
Si Belsi
12 years ago

not only useful in itself this doc is also good for those who has sleeping problems..watch and see...
get it..in interiors hes talking in a low voice and thats creating a hypnotic effect on the viewer
what?israils feel threaten by its sorounding..they came and occupied the arap lands that cost lots of innocent lifes..what else did they expect..an invitation,welcome gestures..bullshi***

kisubika priscilla
kisubika priscilla
12 years ago

guys guys...its no longer about Hard work only...its working smart.That's why the rich have their money work for them while the poor work for their money.Which one are you?

dont abuse each other.Just learn from the documentary.Well if he is not making sense to you,then make your own documentary and get us to watch it.

kisubika priscilla
kisubika priscilla
12 years ago

Indeed the West has lost the very foundation of their 'power' ,their Faith..
The faith which made them explore the entire world fearless is now thrown out of their constitution.
Most of those men,who invented things were God fearing.
The strength of a people starts from knowing who they are from the inside.
Its no suprise that America is the world's superpower,its because America was founded on biblical principles but now they are rejecting the very being which birthed them.The word "In God we trust" was never a mistake.It was a banner of what was inside every American heart.
You can't cut the tree on whose branches you are standing.If you think you are still standing,its because you haven't hit the ground yet but you're on your way down.

There is no Western culture no more,No Western Religion.No Western values.They are now embracing anything.The Western culture is getting erodded ..Most culture and conquest is based on Belief,Faith.If this goes on, the West will sit under Eastern religion,Eastern culture,Eastern faith.
Unfortunately If you can't stand for something you will fall by ANYTHING.

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali
12 years ago

Thank God I am not the only one who sees this docu for what it really is...All I see is a way to program young kids to believe what their ancestors did in the past was AYE-OKAY...no problem...Colonize lol.

What else will they come up with next...Dunno..But I am pretty sure there are more docus like this that will come out (or already have)..aimed at a child userbase and using trendy words like Aps comparing society to an IPhone...Thanks docu maker...Thanks for making us more material based people.

stephenkuemmel
stephenkuemmel
12 years ago

all of these docs are fuccking blocked

fvleo
fvleo
12 years ago

The plural of country is countries.

fvleo
fvleo
12 years ago

The plural of country is countries.

fvleo
fvleo
12 years ago

Silly Will is not curtious (sic) so why is he preaching. courtesy. I just skip the comments that sound angry and emotional now. I like learning, not being a psychiatrist to name-callers.

fvleo
fvleo
12 years ago

I assume this is sarcasm.

Thomas Keddy
Thomas Keddy
12 years ago

biased propaganda how about the wars the started and then won, that helped them control the world

SillyWillyOneNut
SillyWillyOneNut
12 years ago

Well, there ya go, trolling away as per usual,.. so add one more person to that long list of people that don't like you.

Moodie Younis
Moodie Younis
12 years ago

this is the dumbest most inaccurate documentary ever made. Oversimplified generalizations, dramatized often INCORRECT narration. China is still China. They never "succumbed" to western domination. What the hell is this guy talking about? Cant believe such false BS actually gets the green light to be made.

Suzanne Bailey
Suzanne Bailey
12 years ago

I made it ten minutes before I couldn't take the overbearing style and narration of this program. I do not care for this sort of dramatization of history.

kijunshi
kijunshi
12 years ago

3. He thinks the Chinese rise is related to, uh, Christianity? How racist and simplistic an association is *that*? It couldn't be that the Chinese culture has put great value in hard work since ancient times, as proved by the culture of the gaokao and it couldn't be that Chinese people have always had a great aptitude for economics and business, with only a brief interlude called Maoism. Oh no! It's all thanks to Western religion!!!1!1!

Sorry but I've also lived in Asian countries for a long period of time and I think that any time you start thinking that an Asian person (or, hell, any person) has adapted aspects of so-called Western culture because they like you/are overwhelmed by your superiority!/realize it's so much better than their ancient backwards ways!, you are putting your own head up your ass. China has adapted certain Western "apps" (barf) because they suit their own goals, and they mesh well with their OWN culture.

If you think a person thinks the same way as an American, or European, just because they're wearing a Backstreet Boys T-shirt, well... you deserve to be as baffled and disoriented as you will be when you realize - through actual real world experience! - the sheer diversity of perspectives in this world, and the fact that your own is just one in a multitude.

kijunshi
kijunshi
12 years ago

2. What the hell is this man's obsession with headscarves? Doesn't he know that the more people in authority freak out about something, the more attractive it is to the populace to rebel against it? Particularly since it is ENTIRELY true that the only real reason behind objection to a cute, flowery headscarf is the deep-seated belief that Islam is a monstrous thing that will eat our babies?

Islam isn't going to vanish if we ban the things - it will just go underground, in forms where it no longer has to defend itself to mainstream society. The way to make Islam and the Islamic peoples into good global citizens is not to shame them for their faith, that's just stupid. It's to let them evaluate their faith and culture against a mirror of the benefits of Western society, by close contact and participation with it, and let them decide for themselves how they will adapt their faith to the modern society.

Just... how on earth is the fact of stores selling cute, flowery, endless selections of headscarves not a clear sign of the total victory of Western capitalism and female choice versus the authoritarian hierarchical structures of radical Islam? I was so goddamn happy to see those stores. Seriously, what the hell is this man's problem?!?

Still one more point to go...

kijunshi
kijunshi
12 years ago

I don't usually comment, but I've watched this whole thing and I both enjoyed it/was entertained by it, and was genuinely offended - to the point of thinking the creation of this show was societally irresponsible - by a few aspects of his arguments-slash-personal-opinions-mentioned-alongside-his-historical-facts. A brief (okay, it was meant to be brief...) summary of those:

1. The repeated assertion that "colonialism had some good points, too!" Okay, perhaps not something to be denied right out of the gate... but what does he give as an example? Medical developments?? Let's be clear here - those medical developments were designed by colonizing white people to be used... FOR THE BENEFIT OF WHITE PEOPLE. The fact that African lives occasionally got saved by them was nothing more than a byproduct of science making human life better. Sure, not everything about colonialism was bad - just 94%! /sarcasm

ALSO (dammit) I just don't think it's appropriate for a British person, or really a European person, to stand in front of a camera on a television show aimed at kids and argue that "Colonialism had some good points, too!" Not without an appropriate - yes, APPROPRIATE - level of shame at the unspeakable horrors that were unleashed upon the peoples of the globe for the sole reason of European greed, and their refusal to acknowledge native inhabitants as human beings. I understand why, in the face of this crushing and nearly unspeakable moral culpability, a British person would want to weasel out of it, to make excuses for it, the same way white Americans make excuses for American slavery. I've been to Britain and heard these arguments myself. But this is cowardice, utter and base cowardice. I can't believe the BBC would fund that.

Oh, and before anyone comments, I do happen to be a white person from a country that committed colonialization. I just happen to be able to own that. Unlike this host.

I'm going to continue my arguments in another comment....

Paul Nelligan
Paul Nelligan
12 years ago

um, the benefits conferred on less civilized countries by european countries, is he mad ??

Man Kind
Man Kind
12 years ago

"The alternating current king Thomas Edison" That is absolutely wrong Edison was against alternating not only did it threaten is business of DC he hated the inventor of AC and the real pro pant Nikola Tesla. wtf Neil u dropped the ball on that one