The Uniqueness of Western Civilization
by Ricardo Duchesne
Published in August 2012
Thibault’s Score: 3/5
The central thrust of the book is that only Western Civilization industrialized, because only the West had the unique characteristics required to adopt free markets.
He extensively criticizes cultural relativists who argue that all cultures are equal, arguing that non-material measurements of human progress are irrational. A starving, diseased, and violently oppressed population, Duchesne argues, can never be free or prosperous.
He also criticizes Sinocentrism, a theory that argues that for most of human history China was the world’s primary center of commerce. Duchesne argues that the classical Western world’s richest areas were more prosperous than China’s, although China was more advanced on a whole.
Fundamentally, the West’s aristocratic moral character is the main reason why the West is superior. He argues that this is compounded by various biological, environmental, and cultural factors.
I found Duchesne’s arguments to be compelling, but the writing style to be boring and repetitive. Overall this book is worth reading if you are into advanced libertarian thought, but has little interest for the general public.
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