Talk:Samuel P. Huntington

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

hey guys just wanted to add something. Though I do not agree with Huntingon's second book, and find it racist, there is nothing inherently racist or ignorant to suggest there may be civilization lines. The author(s) of this article mentioned the block of the US and Turkey. The problem is, Turkey had a forced westernization and as demonstrated by deep sentiment against some western values, more "radicallized" interpretations of Islam are coming forth. When I state radicalized, I am referring to Muslims with beliefs such as sex-segregation, death to apostates, stoning of adulterers and those beliefs. I understand that RationalWiki does not hold the high standards of evidence that Wikipedia has but I would disagree with the complete dismissal of Huntington's fundamental ideas based on what I see as anti-conservative or politically correct ideas. That obviously could not be the intent of the author, but in researching this topic, and in junction with psychological in-group out-group theories it becomes apparent that culture, in general, comes from (evidently) the population of the people. Mathematically speaking, and geographically, those areas that are closer have closer traditions. Obviously the idea of absolute and concrete boundaries regarding culture/civilization is ridiculous, but the boundaries are more opaque than the author might make it seem. Also i would recommend the removal of derogatory and false comments added to Sam Huntingon's page which are essential an ad hominem attack. The reason that he is famous is obviously because of conservative beliefs in fearing foreigners and strangers and that such. I do not justify discrimination but I do not think I would be alone in stating, that I believe that the value of the Western culture are objectively superior. While others may be moral or cultural relativists, I believe in a freedom of speech and gender equality most commonly found in Western culture as opposed to Sinic or Islamic societies.

One more thing I just feel the Turkey, US, Israel argument is plainly just fallacious. The idea that countries cannot break down their civiization boundaries for personal gain is not found anywhere in Sam huntington's work . — Unsigned, by: / talk 20:43, 21 February 2015‎

I'm pretty much the sole author of this article. I shall address your points in a Roman numerical list:
I. I believe The Clash of Civilizations is racist for at least four reasons: (A) He includes among the sub-Saharan African civilizations the blacker parts of Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyana, all of which are located along the northern coast of South America. And remember, it's just the blacker parts of those nations, and the whiter parts of French Guyana he includes within Western civilization. Other than racism, there is a second word to describe this BS- 'racecraft.' (B) 'Slavic' is an alleged civilization. More racecraft, for the lose. (C) He sees Islam as one homogenous-enough whole. (D) He sees Hinduism as one homogenous whole; he places the less black parts of Guyana and Suriname within Hindu civilization.
II. You note that Turkey had a forced Westernization and continue that Huntington may vindicated by the fact that fanatical elements are coming to the fore. I say, fanaticism (of whatever religion) ebbs and flows in many, many countries. What makes Turkey an exception to this? I'd like to point out that the Turkish Spring serves as something of a counter-weight to the emergence of fanatical elements.
III. You are totally correct. Countries with similar cultures and traditions do tend to have stronger relationships. Huntington's point here, while he is not the first to discuss it, is totally valid. Not everything that guy ever said, even in Clash, should be dismissed. Maybe this article should get a bit of a tune-up to reflect this. Hint, hint. ON THE OTHER HAND, North Korea and South Korea do not have similar cultures, and China and South Korea do not have similar cultures, even if a few traditions are shared. Why the Heck is SK in the same civilization as NK and China?
IV. You are correct in noting that I have no intent to push an anti-conservative bias; whether I do push one or not is up for debate. In my defense, I have complained that there is an anti-conservative or anti-libertarian bias on RW that I wish would not be here. My user page is one such place where I make that complaint. Of course, this does not mean that I lack an anti-conservative bias. Meditate on your suggestion of bias, I will. (Blame Yoda for the way I have chosen to structure that sentence.) BTW, Do I really come off as politically correct?
V. You say, "The reason that he is famous is obviously because of conservative beliefs in fearing foreigners and strangers and that such." I don't think that's the case. Every IR or polisci undergrad is required to read the original article version of Clash. One of my professors, hinting at agreement with Clash, introduced Huntington as an old man who had been a political scientist for a long-time and had the opportunity to do a lot of reading prior to writing Clash. Afterall, Huntington served on the Trilateral Commission. He was highly regarded long before Who Are We? I suppose this actually hurts my argument for "we don't know why [he was highly respected]," but in a sense, it doesn't. Should someone who published that racist screed in 2004 remain highly respected, whatever justification existed prior?
VI You say, "the values of the Western culture are objectively superior." Okay, if by Western culture, you mean what, if my memory serves me, what Huntington meant by Western culture, which is something that is only a few centuries old. Yes, it totally is superior to present-day Islamic culture and Chinese culture.
VII. I am NOT a cultural relativist! (Academic/learning contexts excepted, of course.)
VIII. You say that the Turkey-US-Israel claim does not contradict Huntington because Huntington does not say countries won't bypass their alleged civilizational orientation for their own gain. Part of me wants to say "fair enough." Another part of me wants to hold off on that. More meditation, maybe.
On a parting note, let me request that you join RationalWiki and always sign your comments with four consecutive tildes. Rand0 (talk) 17:41, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Having just chipped in some bits to the article, I thought I'd might do so here too, perhaps providing the Rand0 with more stuff to meditate on.
I haven't re-read the Clash book recently, but I recall most of it being a pretty decent romp through (world) history, but going completely off the rails in Western supremacy, nativism and what we now recognise as the neocon odd marriage of conservative political views, Wilsonian activism, and military interventionism, or simply outright fear mongering.
What I found useful in the original Clash article was to employ it in a student debate in which two teams had to imagine themselves being in 1993, one representing Huntington, the other Fukuyama, and make their cases for why one or the other was right or wrong - using only knowledge then available. Afterwards, we then had a broader discussion about what, with the benefit of hindsight, were the strengths and weaknesses of both theses. I think that Clash is especially important as both a historical view into the early 1990s and how international relations scholars were trying to cope with the end of the Cold War and as a foundational text that helped shape neocon world views.
As for Huntingdon seemingly becoming increasingly strident (or less charitably, slightly deranged) in his old age, I'm reminded of Chalmers JohnsonWikipedia on the other side of the U.S. political spectrum (though I think that his ideas had slightly more merit, but then again he was only trying to describe U.S. politics, not the future structure of world politics) and the Nobel disease among (natural) scientists. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:21, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I suggest the reading of Edward Said's Clash of Ignorance. It is a great attack on Huntington from a famed postcolonial scholar. --Aile Dhoo (talk) 11:44, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Huntingdon just made the same myopic errors that any chauvinist conservative who's essentially ignorant of non-Western cultures seems bend on repeating.
However, I also think that Said was kicking at at an open door, not to mention a fair degree of hindsight bias, considering that he was criticising Huntington's 1993 article from the vantage point of 2001.
In a way similar to how Huntington's article said more about 1993 and an opposition to Fukuyama, Said's article provides more of a view into post-9/11 2001 than a cutting piece of contemporary wisdom.
While I essentially agree with Said's objections, I'm always left with a vague unease that he was getting easy points by harping on past events with 20/20 hindsight (not as much in the original Orientalism which was a fantastic piece of deconstruction that largely helped cause a change in perspective, rather than merely reflecting it) and something approaching No True Scotsman or Whataboutism in his denunciation of "occidentalists" paying too much attention to aspects of the Orient they find strange, exotic or repellent. ScepticWombat (talk) 12:31, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Nevertheless I think it might be useful to use, link and reference Clash of Ignorance in the article as part of the critique of Huntingdon. We might also need to expand the article on Orientalism with Said's work. I myself feel that Clash of Ignorance is important in context to avoid the sweeping assumptions of cultures that can be made by certain figures like Silvio Berlusconi. Still I can understand the issue of hind sign but Huntingdon is unfortunately taken serious by one too many political figures instead of being treated as the pseudo-political work it is. That and I hope user reads Clash of Ignorance. --Aile Dhoo (talk) 16:21, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Huh? Who the hell takes "Mr. Bunga-bunga"'s words seriously? Silvio is not an authority on anything but sex parties, mafia contacts, corruption and underage prostitutes... ScepticWombat (talk) 16:35, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Whoever elected him when he was at office. --Aile Dhoo (talk) 22:10, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
That doesn't necessarily mean that his voters take their views on other cultures from the Bunga-Bunga Man, though, and he wasn't elected on his foreign/immigration policy, but on taxation, red baiting and a rather eclectic populism. Considering the absolutely silly things he has always said off the cuff (this oneWikipedia is probably the most (in)famous), I think you (and Said) are making far too much of this particular incident. ScepticWombat (talk) 08:23, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
If only we were... but alas the mentality of "the Clash" is dangerous in how has been adopted. --Aile Dhoo (talk) 09:48, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Philosophical Paradigm Shift[edit]

I read much of Huntington's work and even had a brief correspondence with him. While I think that parts of Huntington's work were racist, I don't believe the underlying theory was racist. I think he just occasionally applied his theory in a racist way. I think he snubbed South Africa because he supported aspects of Apartheid. I think French Guyana should be considered Western, as should parts of Namibia and South Africa, because of the influence of cultural institutions there that ultimately derive from Greco-Roman thought. Plus, I would point out that Huntington's theory calls for civilization-assignment of territories based on clustering with many different criteria; no territory is 100% Western or 100% Islamic. For example, because Saudi Arabia differs from most other overwhelmingly-Muslim nations in a couple of ways, it is not 100% Islamic, just 99.9% Islamic. I would also consider Latin-American civilization to be a sub-group of Western civilization, but I would acknowledge that elements from Pre-Columbian civlizations are still influential over much of the same territory. Also, although I'm probably in the minority here, I'd recognize certain commonalities between Quebec and what is traditionally thought of as 'Latin America,' although I wouldn't do the same for New Mexico or Louisiana. I'd consider Quebec to have some elements of Latin American culture, such as a relatively strong emphasis on the Arts, that show up in its history and politics on occasion, even though it's mostly Western in outlook.

In spite of all this, the article is currently missing the major point of Huntington's thesis. He was arguing that old Cold War dynamics, in which people associated based on shared beliefs in abstract political philosophies, would crumble. In its wake, people would establish institutions and associations based on common culture(the important aspects in individuals' lives,) and these institutions would predominate in the future. As a result, it's absurd to use US-Turkey relations as a counter-example because that relationship a declining Cold War relic and the two countries are becoming increasingly critical of each other. The fact that Erdogan has aligned Turkey with the Salafists helps prove Huntington's theory! Additionally, notice how fighting in the Ukraine no longer concerns Capitalism vs. Communism, but rather cultural and linguistic ties. Notice how India has become a significant US ally while it prevaricated during the Cold War, largely because of the mutual interests that are only apparent when Huntington's theory is considered.

I will go on:

-The rapid rise of Catholics in the Christian and Fundamentalist political movements, and increased political integration between Catholics and Protestants in Fundamentalist circles. In William Jennings Bryan's day, such a rise would have been unthinkable.

-The ending of the embargo with Cuba

-The changing dynamics between China and Taiwan

-The restored reverence the Chinese media has for its ancient history, in sharp contrast to its position for much of the Cold War.

-Putin's public admiration of many Tsars and his condemnation of Brest-Litovsk.

-The North Korean regime's self-declaration of a localized 'Juche' philosophy and official departure from traditional Communism.

-The increasingly nationalistic Abe in Japan.

-The political rise of "far-right" parties in Europe, especially in the European Parliament.

-Until a few hours ago, increased integration of the EU in spite of fairly distinct political philosophies between different member-states.

-The increased influence of the EU over the UK and the declining influence of the Commonwealth of Nations.

-A rising number of secessionist movements in the past 25 years. Consider East Timor, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Kosovo for examples.

-Adoption of Sharia Law in Brunei.

-Rising number of Americans renouncing citizenship and moving to other countries.

-The increasingly irrelevant role of economic interdependency to detente. Look at how trading partners clash in the South China Sea.

-The lack of concern shown by the US when Cyprus elected several Communists to office. In 1960, this would have been unthinkable.

-Islamic State's emphasis on attacking Palmyra to destroy Roman artifacts despite the fact that none of the artifacts were large statues or idols.

-The Taliban's destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which was a rare example of a major site that had both strong proto-Western(Greek) and Asian(Buddhist) elements. Curiously, during the Cold War, neither the Muslim Afghans nor the Soviets showed any interest in attacking the statues.Klkevelson (talk) 01:34, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

Here is why Huntington is respected[edit]

Samuel Huntington is respected for two of his books that he's written, The Soldier and the State and Political Order in Changing Societies. The Soldier and the State is a great book about military regimes and civilian relations with the military. Political Order in Changing Societies is the most influential book that Huntington has ever written and he is responsible for refuting the Walter Rostow theory of lineral modernization in developing countries. Essentially, the west forgets that modernization needs institutions and countries need political order. For example, economic modernization (neoliberalism) results in instability in developing countries as most of the economic growth is unevenly distributed and a future revolution will happen. I highly recommend reading Political Order, his arguments could easily apply towards the Iraq War(Huntington was against the Iraq War before he died), as America never focused on political order in Iraq and instead wanted a linear modernization model.Huntington is not taken seriously for Clash Of Civilizations and COC is taught as an example of how not to understand culture in lower level Poli classes. But regardless of Huntington's reactionary views, he's a highly respected academic who has contributed to his field. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Quote suggestion on Who Are We ?[edit]

Who Are We? is Patrick Buchanan with footnotes.”

This is how American political scientist Alan Wolfe described the book in a review for Foreign Affairs. I though it could be added to the section about the book since it is both accurate and amusing. Reference : Alan Wolfe, “Native Son: Samuel Huntington Defends the Homeland”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 83, No. 3 (May-Jun. 2004), p. 121 ; Bnm.lord (talk) 03:41, 12 June 2020 (UTC)