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Old 02-22-2013, 07:10 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
7,058 posts, read 5,083,550 times
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Originally Posted by workaholics View Post
I'm talking about the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and parts of Latin America. I keep hearing about "western culture" and "Judeo-Christian values" but I was wondering what the prevailing morals, values and ideals are that create this distinctive western style of living, compared to, say, Africa, Asia and the Middle East

Equal rights? Consumption? Capitalism? Free speech?
Free stuff at this point seems to be the point.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:37 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,211,334 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
You can fork out all the "nice-sounding" terms you want, and you can call it "freedom, individualism, democracy" whatever. They all sound so noble. In reality the West has gone well past those nice terms and stepped into a new Dark Age. Narcissism, predatory behavior, elbowing your way even when you knock down others in the process, consuming until you drop on the floor, not being able to form affection-based bonds...all of these have real consequences on the human psyche.
When you live in the West (particularly the US, and a few others with cultures very close to this one) and if you still have an oz of sanity left in you, you can see these consequences all around. The western ideals are not what they used to be.
Individualism turned into narcissism; "freedom" turned into freedom from human connection and mental isolation (otherwise, the western world has never been as enslaved as it is today - by corporate powers); and so on.

Just because you use a "nice-sounding" term to call a certain kind behavior doesn't make that behavior OK. The behavior still stinks...just like a pig with Chanel lipstick on.

So yes, the sarcasm knob is turned exactly where it should be.
I agree to an extent, but I also question whether most of these are even exclusively Western values or modern values. People talk about the 'good old days' but remember the past had a lot of evil things about it too, and sometimes what we think was better wasn't all that better before. Were people really that much more friendly to each other before? Or did it just seem that way?

I do agree social isolation is increasing, especially in the US, Northern Europe and Australia. A combination of the suburban built form and an individualistic culture, where rights and tolerance are held up (nothing wrong with those alone, within reason) but human connections are harder to find.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,672 posts, read 8,111,526 times
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I actually don't think that Westernculture is particularly materialistic, it's just that these coutnries are the richest and have had the most opportunity so far to be materialistic, but with cultural substratum in Christianity, particularly in areas influenced by Calvinist philosophy, the instinct for opulence has been checked somewhat in a way that we don't seem, and never saw, from the elites in the Arab world, India, or China. I think the following is an interesting, and very short, essay on the effects of capitalism on culture, which is relevant to what's happened in the West:

How Capitalism Creates The Welfare State The Dish
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:41 AM
 
30,374 posts, read 31,251,406 times
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I would say individual freedom.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Westminster, London
878 posts, read 1,120,788 times
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Nowadays? Selfishness, greed, hedonism, materialism and an increasing bent on collectivism.
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