Why Western Civilization and not America, multicultural or global?
When I was looking at the problems in Britain, I looked to other countries like America, Sweden or New Zealand to see how they do things better and I quickly realized that we’re all doing much the same things and making the same mistakes. We’re fast heading towards a global consciousness, but we’re not there yet. The society and challenges in America are pretty similar to Germany and Australia but is still quite distinct from the Congo, Burma or Pakistan. The core of the West is in America, Europe and the English-speaking people round the world. But the ideas have spread globally from there.
Why does this matter?
The world as we have known it is fast unraveling. Religious terrorists are on the rampage. We’re failing to properly integrate immigrants and still have problems with race. Our governments are becoming increasingly authoritarian, invading our privacy and shutting down freedom of speech. Our finances are unsustainable. Inequality is rising. The American Dream is out of reach for many. We are polluting the planet and wasting resources. Politics is stuck in a culture war between conservatives and liberals. American is losing its place as top dog. When that happened to Britain a hundred years ago, it lead to two world wars. We don’t want history to repeat itself.
On the bright side, we have the most amazing opportunities ever. We have more people, more knowledge, better connected, learning faster than ever before. A new global civilization is emerging and we have the opportunity to shape it.
We have a choice. We can be passive and allow the future to happen to us or take charge, build on our strengths and liberate our human potential.
How can a single individual make a difference?
I noticed that people had lost confidence in authority and that it was in retreat everywhere. I set about interviewing teachers, parents, doctors, policemen, military officers and even my own grandparents. I asked them ‘what gives you the confidence to assert your authority- and, secondly, what makes you defer to the authority others?’ They all gave exactly the same answers. They were singing from the same hymn sheet. I quickly realized I was talking to a group mind. There was a giant wobble in it. We are social animals just like a shoal of fish or flock of birds. I could even perceive it behind the forehead, just above the eyes. Each of us carries a map of our civilization and navigate it with our inner compass. Initially I found that depressing, but then I realized that it was fantastic because if we could put right that inner map and recalibrate our compass, like upgrading our software, we can quickly learn and adapt.
Tell us about ‘Analyze West.’
Analyze West is written as a novel. The main character is called ‘West’ who is the embodiment of Western Civilization. He presents to the Emergency Room with panic attacks and the weight of the world on his shoulders. He sees a psychiatrist Dr James Hill who takes him on a journey of psychotherapy through each of the big issues facing the West including terrorism, immigration, the economy, sex, racism, and Russia. It goes through twists and turns and includes a love story and a big showdown. It culminates with West inviting everyone to help him write a New Magna Carta which leads on to the second book- a psychiatrist’s prescription for Western Civilization.
What’s your diagnosis for Western Civilization?
We are quite fragmented with different parts of our group consciousness disconnected from one another. We lack a clear identity and have consequent problems with race, religion and integration. We have many value systems running through us from the tribal family self, the religious, patriotic, scientific, business self through to our postmodern liberal. Too often they fight one another rather than working together. Parts are arrogant and materialistic. Many of us have lost our spiritual core. Our communities and families are often weak. We are riddled with the victim-perpetrator-rescuer game in everything from crime through to welfare and terrorism.
We have a suicidal self destructive. It often splits off, denies its part of the West and identifies with the anti-world of protest movements or even foreign enemies. We have dehumanized ourselves in the way we live from work to medicine. We’ve deconstructed and fragmented ourselves with postmodernism, but haven’t yet reintegrated to make a healthy self. There are big generational differences with very optimistic signs emerging in the younger generations.
What’s your treatment plan for this patient, the West?
I propose a New Magna Carta, a strategy to rejuvenate the West. We need to heal our historical and racial wounds. We should integrate all our parts- liberal and conservative, masculine and feminine, black and white, spiritual and scientific. We should celebrate our successes, cover our weaknesses, build on our strengths to rejuvenate our democracy, freedom, justice and science. We should harness capitalism to maximize our human potential. We need to empower ourselves from victim mentality, We should end all forms of poverty, including the poverty of love, security, skills, discipline & imagination.
What was the original Magna Carta?
Magna Carta means ‘Great Charter.’ It was the first written assertion of our rights and freedoms. It was an agreement forced upon King John of England 800 years ago by his Nobles and Clergy. King John was an unpopular King. In fact, this may sound rather familiar. The people were tired of his unpopular wars and he had taxed them to the hilt. He had fallen out with the Pope. The King agreed reluctantly that he was subject to the law himself. It gave the Church and City of London freedom to operate in England. It guaranteed freedom from arbitrary arrest and the right to a fair trial by jury. Initially, it benefitted only the powerful few and the church, but ever since, it has been used as a source of authority to ever widen the circle of freedom. It is the foundation of the US Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the UN and EU Declaration of Human rights and remains on the statute books of the United Kingdom, India, Australia and the many other countries of the former British Empire. After the Bible, it’s one of the most powerful documents in our history.
Western Civilization has been responsible for so much harm. Surely we should kill it off and replace it with something better?
Doubt, criticism, challenging authority and the drive for continuous improvement are amongst our greatest strengths. However, we’ve taken it to the extreme so that a suicidal part of us hates our civilization and wants to destroy it. This is driven by four main pathologies.
One, it’s a reaction to living out of harmony with nature and our own human instincts. Two, we get stuck in the victim-perpetrator-rescuer game. Three, we drew the false conclusion that power is always bad and always abused. Four, we are carrying unprocessed shame and guilt for past abuses of power such as racism, slavery, colonisation, holocaust and patriarchy.
To be healthy and productive they must be balanced with self-acceptance grounded in celebration and gratitude for our successes and for compassion and forgiveness for our failures. We need to believe in ourselves again. We need to heal our collective emotional wounds. We need a healthy awareness of our strengths and weaknesses and to build upon those.
What are the successes and strengths of Western Civilization?
Our strengths are in our freedom, reason, science, creativity, democracy, justice and capitalism. Even dull things like accounting, insurance and regulation are powerful tools. Our successes include better health and longevity. Most people have clean water, abundant food and shelter. We are safer and better protected from life’s risks than ever. We are more free than ever to be who we choose to be. We choose our own governments. We have ever improving knowledge and technology. The average person has a quality of life beyond the dreams of the wealthy elites of the past. Western Civilization has brought together the world into one global consciousness for the first time.
Many people complain about political correctness but you say you want to upgrade it. Why?
We’ve done a good job over the last 50 years of suppressing the traditional bigot- the racist, sexist, homophobic bigot and that’s a work in progress. Unfortunately a new forms have bigotry have arisen. Religious bigotry of the kind we thought belonged in past centuries has re-emerged due to mass immigration, especially in Europe. In the modern world, statistics and numbers are very useful, but the reductionist bigot takes it too far and reduces all humanity to a spreadsheet or a target. Then in the postmodern world, we have a whole diversity of bigots. It’s good to be against racism, but we have the racist,‘anti-racist’ bigot who promotes racism against white people and victim mentality in minorities. It’s good to be against sexism, but we have the feminist bigot denigrates men and has an intolerant attitude to women who do not fit their stereotype. It’s good to promote fairness, but the anti-success bigot promotes jealousy and envy against those who are successful. It’s good to live in harmony with nature but the environmentalist bigot hates people, hates business and corrupt science. All of these bigots bully those who don’t submit to their prejudiced world view. Together they are a massive barrier to our development. All of them must be suppressed and made taboo.
What motivates this diversity of bigots?
The intention is good. We feel shame, guilt and anger about abuses such as slavery, inequality or harm to the environment and we’re determined to put it right. However, we have failed to healthily process those emotional wounds. Part of us denies them or minimizes them. Another part has split off from the rest of us and has identified with the victim. We take on the role of rescuer like the anti-racist, the environmentalist, the equality campaigner and feel hatred for the perceived perpetrator whether that be white people, capitalism or the rich. We then attack them, which makes us feel good because we think we’re helping the victim and fighting evil but it is a trap. The rescuer further disempowers the victim and creates new victims with these new forms of abuse. It’s deeply harmful and counterproductive.
What do we do about racism?
We need to sincerely aim for a post-racial world in which people are judged according to their behavior and character alone. We need to stamp out all forms of racism, including the racism found amongst minorities and the self-loathing of white people. Where there are apparent racial differences and inequalities, we must address the underlying causes. We should never discriminate by race, but we should discriminate by beliefs and behaviors because some things are better than others. We need to heal the racial wounds. It has to be a deep and sincere process. We must have zero tolerance for racial supremacism, racial identity or victim mentality. The word ‘racism’ should be used accurately, not used as a weapon. Above all we need to nurture a positive, healthy patriotism and a civilizational story of which we all feel proud and included.
What comes after feminism?
Both men and women have a balance of masculine and feminine in us. Each comes in healthy and unhealthy forms. Healthy masculinity is decisive, logical, practical, courageous and assertive. As feminism rightly pointed out, toxic masculinity is abusive, dominating, exploitative, callous and egotistical. Healthy femininity is intuitive, nurturing, receptive, empowering and empathic. The feminine is the foundation community and relationships. The unhealthy feminine is submissive, dependent, unable to set boundaries, unwilling to take care of herself and lacks confidence. So we should bring out the best of both in ourselves and support others to do the same.
You say we should stop arguing about climate change. Why?
I propose that the whole world puts a massive effort to discover new technologies to generate cheap, secure, clean, abundant and renewable energy. Whether you believe in climate change or not, there are five great reasons to do it.
- Security- We want to have control over our energy supplies
- Freedom- every time we fill our cars with petrol, we’re funding religious extremists, terrorism and the Russian military.
- When human beings mean business its amazing what we can achieve. In the 6 years of World War 2, we had a huge leap in technology. If we put that level of effort into research for new energy technologies, we could unleash a new industrial revolution and,
- that would drive a transformational economic boom
- taken together, that would improve the living standards of everyone, especially the poorest people on earth
‘Is mass immigration a threat or an opportunity?’
Both. The rich have benefitted from abundant, cheap labor and more consumers. The poor have experienced a competition for wages and resources, racism, religious extremism and alienated communities. The liberals have enjoyed the opportunity to feel global, to experience diversity and to prove that they’re not racists. Conservatives have been unsettled by a loss of security, an assault on their national identity and a loss of freedom of speech. Also, we should distinguish different types of immigrants. At the top end, we’ve had an influx of energy, skills, creativity and entrepreneurs. Cities like London and New York are now truly global. Some immigrants have been very successful, loyal, law abiding and well integrated. Others have engaged in crime, corruption, racism and religious bigotry.
‘How can we make a success of immigration?’
Like any healthy organism, we need to manage the boundary. We need to be a team, a positively patriotic group which welcomes new members and helps them integrate with our culture, values and language and expect them to obey our rules. We need to ensure that everyone already here has a fair chance to succeed in life and has equal rights. We must control our borders and carefully select new members for their energy, potential and skills. You can only be a member if you believe in the rights & freedoms of others, in democracy, pluralism and the rule of law. If someones primary loyalty is to a foreign country, we should help them to resettle somewhere they feel more at home.
What’s the psychology behind religious extremism and terrorism?
- The modern world of science, business and technology is a massive challenge to tradition, family, community and religion. It leaves people feeling alienated, insecure and meaningless. Every country has struggled with that. Sometimes we push back with a conservative or fundamentalist backlash. The French had their revolution. The Germans did Nazism. The Russians did communism. And similarly, in the Muslim world, some people are turning to religious extremism. It’s exciting. It provides a ready made identity with black & white answers and someone else to blame.
- That transition is similar to a teenager breaking free from the constraints of their family. It releases the natural warrior energy which we all have and all need in its healthy form. Without discipline and authority, the dark side of human nature runs wild and you get the law of the jungle, the triumph of the strong over the weak.
- They’re stuck in the victim triangle of victim-perpetrator and rescuer. The psychology is very similar to Hitler- we the pure tribe once lived in a mystical rose-tinted past. We have been oppressed victims of the evil scapegoat who are responsible for all our suffering. So we must exterminate the enemy and restore peace, purity and goodness.
How do we respond to all the wars and terrorism in the Middle East and Africa?
Ultimately, it’s a developmental process that they need to go through themselves. Like a teenager, they need strict boundaries, authority, love and opportunity. It has to come from within. The more we try to do it for them, the more it plays into their victim mentality and absolves them of responsibility for sorting out themselves. The natural history if it is that once people get tired of endless conflict, injustice and savagery, they crave discipline, order and justice. In the Middle East that means either the Army or a strict religious order, much like Iran has done since 1979. That provides the structure and stability which enables people to internalize the morality, become self policing. People being to educate themselves, set up businesses and grow the economy and you see the next phase of development into freedom and democracy.
How do we stay safe while the Islamic world is in transition?
- We must be militarily very strong and vigorously defend our own security. Europe needs to massively increase its defense spending.
- We must make our civilization so attractive and successful that people want to join us. We must be positively patriotic, welcoming people from all backgrounds to become a part of us. We must robustly assert the freedom of religion alongside the freedom to criticize religion. We must make it safe for comedians to laugh at all forms of authority and bigotry. No one has the right to force their religion upon anyone else. Anyone whose intention is to dominate us, to undermine our freedom and democracy has no place in the West. If someone’s primary loyalty is to a foreign country or entity then we must help them resettle there.
- Some of what they say is right. They present a challenge to us to raise our game. We need to stop invading their countries and interfering with their governments. We need to overcome our self-loathing, our moral relativism, our empty materialism and rejuvenate our own spiritual core.
What do you mean ‘we need to restore our spiritual core?’
We’ve divided the world up into small parts to understand and measure things. That’s delivered us amazing technology and material wealth but we have devalued those things which we have not been able to measure such as family, security, fairness and trust. In too many areas of life, people are treated like cogs in a machine or numbers on a spreadsheet. We need to reconnect with our spirit, heart and gut instinct. For example, medicine is technically brilliant but has forgotten the basics of healing and compassion. We’ve been taken in by the pseudoscience of box-ticking and protocols, but we neglected clinical experience, wisdom and judgement. A healthy person and a successful society require that each of us is a free, sovereign being who is responsible for ourselves, carry authority, make judgements and use our intuition. So, we must treat people like human beings and put a financial and political value on the things we most care about.
How can we put the financial system right?
- We need strict regulation and law enforcement to slap down the toxic side of capitalism- corruption, cabals and exploitation.
- We should put a financial value on what we truly value- health, love, care, security, community, family, freedom, clean air, forests and fairness. If we properly measure the value of things, we can harness capitalism to maximize human potential to do good. People are experimenting with this now, trying out new currencies, inventing new types of company structure and ownership and financial reporting.
- We should do something radical like Deng Xio Ping. He allowed the Chinese peasants to keep any surplus they made. Productivity soared, they saved and invested and that powered the Chinese industrial revolution. We should do the same with welfare. People should get to keep any extra money they make through work or entrepreneurship to liberate them from the welfare trap.
- Money is a token of value and human energy. Capitalism as the flow of human energy into human potential.
What limits should we place on freedom of speech?
Very few. You should not be allowed to promote violence or to undermine democracy. You should not be able to invade personal privacy or to slander people. Freedom of speech is the best guarantor of our freedom from tyranny and oppression. Our greatest strength is the vigorous pursuit of science and democracy. Where there are people with bigoted, intolerant and foolish opinions, it is best to get them out in the open and subject them to scrutiny, to reason and laughter. We must have an open and competitive competition of ideas. Nothing and no one should be beyond criticism or scrutiny. We must make it safe to laugh at the full diversity of bigots, especially religious bigots.
Can we end the culture war between conservatives & liberals?
Yes, certainly. There are many dimensions in politics, such as libertarian and authoritarian, spiritual and secular, masculine and feminine, patriotic and global. For any particular issue we should draw on the healthy strands of each dimension for the best outcome. Take crime and punishment. Conservatives say ‘punish them!’ Christians say ‘forgive them!’ Liberals say ‘rehabilitate them!’ Socialists say ‘sort out racism, inequality and poverty!’ It’s a pointless argument. We need to do all of them effectively.
It would help to distinguish healthy and unhealthy politics. The healthy right is patriotic, supports freedom, justice, security and God. The unhealthy right exploits the weak, lacks compassion for the less fortunate, is nationalistic and maintains vested interests. The healthy left favors fairness, equality, a safety net for the vulnerable and is inclusive of minorities. The unhealthy left promotes victim mentality, resentment, jealousy, promotes racism and colludes with religious extremists.
What do we do about Russia?
Russia’s still predominantly a power-based culture. They need that to keep a firm boot on the heads of all the criminals and oligarchs. The shadow side of that power is a feeling of inferiority, shame and fear of looking weak. They are still a traditional culture and they are horrified by our postmodern liberal values. Russia is still mourning the loss of the Soviet Empire. They crave our respect. We had an opportunity to make friends with the fall of the Berlin Wall but instead we promoted gangster capitalism and NATO moved into Eastern Europe so it’s not surprising they don’t trust us.
So we must be very powerful. They respect strength and exploit weakness. Europe needs to wean itself off Russian gas. We must set very clear boundaries and defend them AND respect their boundaries. We must communicate very clearly to avoid misunderstandings. We must be respectful of our differences in values and not force our values upon them. We should remind them that they have other threats much more dangerous than us- vodka, demographic collapse, religious fundamentalism and China colonizing Siberia. We have shared interests and should cooperate much more.
How does victim mentality affect our culture?
Sometimes, we get stuck in the game of victim, perpetrator and rescuer. We blame others for our problems rather than taking responsibility and empowering ourselves. Sometimes we play the rescuer role where we try to sort out other peoples’ lives for them. It seems a good idea, but not if we are doing it to make ourselves feel good and if we disempower the victims in the process. Often as rescuer we enjoy attacking the perpetrator, creating new victims in the process. We see this play this out in our personal lives. It’s endemic amongst criminals, in healthcare and in foreign aid. The Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a game of competitive victimhood for 70 years. It’s even in our fairy tales! Cinderella was a victim of the ugly sisters. Prince Charming is the ultimate rescuer who whisks her off to fantasy land.
How can we overcome victim mentality?
We can shift our focus from what we don’t want to what we do want and take steps in that direction. We take responsibility for our situation and take charge of our emotions. We use the power that we do have and making choices about our behavior. We perceive our situation as an opportunity to learn, adapt and grow. We assert ourselves and communicate effectively. We live in the present and focus on opportunities and dreams rather than living in the past and blaming others. We accept reality as it is and flow with life. We stop trying to be right and instead try to be happy. We let go of our losses and attachments and forgive the wrongs done to us and free ourselves up for the future.
When we see someone else in victim mode, we can support them by asking empowering questions which inspire them to learn, to think or act differently or to find their own solution. We don’t try to fix others. We leave power and responsibility with them and respect their right to make their own choices.
What got you interested in the Future of Western Civilization?
As a boy growing up in the 70’s society seemed to be falling apart and I was determined to find out why and to put it right. As a junior doctor I saw the social decay up close and was horrified by the soul-crushing bureaucracy of the health service treated the staff and patients like cogs in a machine. I set myself on the path of what I called Organic Leadership- to align organizations with human nature and treat people like human beings. Half way through an MBA at London Business School, I watched 9/11 live on TV.
I realized that we were going to have to do our foreign policy differently and launched myself into the world of diplomats, politics and the military. I quickly realized that our counterterrorism strategy was focused on them, on trying to manipulate others, but we were missing out on the most powerful thing we could do to influence others- to change our own beliefs, emotions and behaviors. I noticed that we had lost confidence in our civilization and lost a sense of who we are, what we believe, what’s right and wrong, true and false. So I launched a series of interviews with visionaries called the Future of Western Civilization project. I wrote up the analysis in “Analyze West” and the conclusions in the ‘New Magna Carta.’
How can our listeners find Analyze West or the New Magna Carta?
Visit analyzewest.com. Search Amazon with Analyze West or the New Magna Carta. You can watch the Future of Western Civilization series on YouTube or listen to it on iTunes. You can join the discussion on the Facebook group or contact me Nicholas Beecroft on Facebook or LinkedIn. analyzewest.com has the links to all of those.