To my dismay, I have increasingly chanced upon not only Americans finding fault with the conventional American way of life, but with Western civilization et al. as being to blame for any of the challenges we face as a nation. There is nothing wrong with western thinking. We have not been doing a hell of a lot of western thinking. Western thought brought us the likes of Peter Abelard, Augustine, Boccaccio, Byron, Caravaggio, Cicero, Dante, Dostoevsky, Galileo, Hobbes, Gericault, Homer, Luther, Machiavelli, Masaccio, Michelangelo, Hayek, Petrarch, Habermas, Raphael, Locke, Rembrandt, Adam Smith, Rousseau, Sophocles, Stendhal, Vermeer, Virgil, and Nozick to name but a miniscule fraction of the brilliant minds produced, nurtured, and influenced by Western culture. Along with the myriad of unnamed original thinkers who produced, nurtured, and influenced Western civilization. The strength of the Western thought is its relative accessibility, when compared to the far more rigid, autocratic, and often esoteric philosophy of the East.
Had we simply applied the time honored Western school of thought, rather than a forensic review, of facts leading up to the current economic malaise in which we find ourselves firmly ensconced, we would find that …
1. Western thought would have told us that something is wrong with a housing market that is booming for more than a decade without an apparent natural demographic driving it.
2. Western thought would have told us that something is wrong with interest rates remaining in the low single digits while the economy is booming.
3. Western thought would have told us that something is wrong with people who have never qualified for even the most lenient of mortgages are suddenly homeowners in upscale neighborhoods.
4. Western thought would have told us that something is wrong with cooks, gas station attendants, and homemakers who are suddenly movers and shakers in the residential "flip" market.
5. Western thought would have told us that something is wrong with government insured deposits (FDIC) financing "Low Doc" or "No Doc" mortgages to nearly anyone with the ability to sign their names on a dotted line.
6. Western thought would have told us that something is wrong with real estate novices buying homes in lucrative neighborhoods for $500,000.00 and selling the same home a few months later for a $50,000 profit.
7. Western thought would have told us that something is wrongwith a family being able to refinance their new home twice in the first couple of years of ownership and being able to pull out substantial amounts of cash each time.
8. Western thought would have told us that something is wrong with and nation having a blazing hot economy while;
a) expelling its manufacturing base into foreign exile,
b) producing an annual crop of increasingly uneducated citizens,
c) drowning in public debt mainly due to unprofitable transfer payment schemes,
d) stripping the economy of capital to grow an expanding multitude of redundant, inefficient, ineffective, and often counterproductive bureaucracies staffed with highly compensated individuals of mediocre acumen.
e) steadily decimating its entrepreneurial spirit in the private sector by regulation, licensing, taxation, and employment liability.
Western thought would have told us all these things, but as I stated earlier, "We have not been doing a hell of a lot of western thinking." Instead, we have been PROGRESSIVELY (Hint-Hint) adopting ideologies, principles, and tenants foreign to us in the west. In stark contrast to those in the East who have been doing the exact opposite and growing fabulously wealthy using historically western ideologies, principles, and tenants. Western thought is unique in that it is inherently non-elitist. Wisdom is recognized, documented, and transmitted regardless of the social standing, rank, or pedigree of the individual from which it emanates.
The ongoing and deteriorating state of crisis we in the west are experiencing is not a failure of Capitalism; it is solely due to our failure to be the Rational, Resourceful, Inventive, Adaptable, Intellectual, Optimistic, Innovative, Capitalists that we are…thanks to our unrivalled Western school of thought.