Letter: Are we a civilization on the decline?
In the mid-1930s, I remember my uncle reading a work in two volumes, titled "The Decline of the West" by Oswald Spengler, a German philosopher now long dead. His thesis being that great civilizations, for example China or Greece, had a lifespan of many hundreds, even thousands of years. They arise, produce materially and intellectually, mature and decline. It appears that our Western culture may be validating Spengler. Certainly the European nations who explored and populated the new-found continent we know as America have been in constant war as they compete for power and the earth’s resources.
Our Western society is entrapped by the desire for "easy money" offered by the crooked financial wizards of Wall Street, in collusion with powerful banks and an assortment of less-than-honest financial institutions whose tentacles reach throughout much of Europe.
For example, a principal cause of the California housing debacle was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had protected the average homebuyer by separating the safe savings banks from the predatory and dangerous speculations of commercial banks.
It is disturbing to find that Bank of America, a prime sinner in the recent financial collapse, has received the monetary equivalent of a Papal blessing and is currently the prime advertiser on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Other advertisers include major manufacturers of lucrative war-related industries, including Northrup-Grumman.
Last, let us realize that our nation is engaged in an unrealistic war for dominance in the oil-rich Mideast at astronomical cost, not only in dollars, but more importantly in the death of thousands of Americans and millions of tribal peoples. So they are different in religion and culture; that is their privilege as well as it is our privilege to prefer our Western culture and various religious faiths.
Returning to the opening paragraph of this letter, I am not a student of the rise and fall of civilizations, but the little I see on the "better" news channels would, with few exceptions, tend to validate Spengler.
Janice H. Whiting
EDITOR’S NOTE: NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and other Public Broadcasting System programs do not carry advertising, per se, but have corporate underwriters who serve as sponsors.