Spengler and the geography myth

In Form and Actuality, Spengler also appears to have anticipated my expressed doubts about the ability of non-Anglo Saxons to correctly grasp, let alone uphold and sustain, the Common Law-based Rights of Englishmen, on the basis of changes in their geographic locations:

“Today we think in continents, and it is only our philosophers and historians who have not realized that we do so. Of what significance to us, then, are conceptions and purviews that they put before us as universally valid, when in truth their furthest horizon does not extend beyond the intellectual atmosphere of Western Man?

“Examine, from this point of view, our best books. When Plato speaks of humanity, he means the Hellenes in contrast to the barbarians, which is entirely consonant with the ahistoric mode of the Classical life and thought, and his premisses take him to conclusions that for Greeks were complete and significant. When, however, Kant philosophizes, say on ethical ideas, he maintains the validity of his theses for men of all times and places. He does not say this in so many words, for, for himself and his readers, it is something that goes without saying. In his aesthetics he formulates the principles, not of Phidias’s art, or Rembrandt’s art, but of Art generally. But what he poses as necessary forms of thought are in reality only necessary forms of Western thought, though a glance at Aristotle and his essentially different conclusions should have sufficed to show that Aristotle’s intellect, not less penetrating than his own, was of different structure from it. The categories of the Westerner are just as alien to Russian thought as those of the Chinaman or the ancient Greek are to him. For us, the effective and complete comprehension of Classical root-words is just as impossible as that of Russian and Indian, and for the modern Chinese or Arab, with their utterly different intellectual constitutions, “philosophy from Bacon to Kant” has only a curiosity value.

“It is this that is lacking to the Western thinker, the very thinker in whom we might have expected to find it — insight into the historically relative character of his data, which are expressions of one specific existence and one only; knowledge of the necessary limits of their validity; the conviction that his “unshakable” truths and “eternal” views are simply true for him and eternal for his world-view; the duty of looking beyond them to find out what the men of other Cultures have with equal certainty evolved out of themselves. That and nothing else will impart completeness to the philosophy of the future, and only through an understanding of the living world shall we understand the symbolism of history. Here there is nothing constant, nothing universal. We must cease to speak of the forms of “Thought,” the principles of “Tragedy,” the mission of “The State.” Universal validity involves always the fallacy of arguing from particular to particular.”

It would be a mistake to confuse Spengler’s historical relativism with modern moral relativism.  Anyone who speaks more than one language is familiar with the phenomenon of the untranslatable word; how much more untranslatable are the concepts that cross temporal, genetic, and cultural boundaries as well as mere linguistic ones? What the Ancient Greeks meant by the term we translate as “barbarian” is very different than our concept of the word, while even words as seemingly simple and straightforward as “African” and “infringed” are today interpreted very differently by people living at the same time within the same political boundaries.

Spengler’s observation underlies the problematic nature of mass immigration in general as well as the total madness of permitting mass immigration from non-European nations in a quasi-democracy in particular.  To expect any respect for the totemic foundations of Western civilization from those whose very structural worldviews are, quite literally, alien, is to defy both logic as well as millennia of recorded observations through history.  And even the modern fear of addressing the consequences of this madness beautifully illustrates Spengler’s point; would the highly civilized Athenians who brutally butchered the Melians for the crime of remaining neutral in the Peloponnesian War, hesitate to act in seeing their agoras overrun by aliens?  Would the Romans, who went to war with their own socii rather than permit them to claim Roman citizenship? Would the Chinese, past or present?