In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

28 Historically Speaking November/December 2005 The European sense of superiority, of having been singled out, first by nature, then by God, to play a special role in the history of creation, derived from the conviction that only those who dwelt in the kind of law-governed , free urban communities of which "Europe" was constituted would ever be likely to possess the capacity to harness nature to their purposes . The others, the "barbarians" . . . remained forever in unenlightened herds (Anthony Pagden ed., The Idea of Europe: From Antiquity to the European Union (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 49. It took the convulsive experiences of the 20th century to dissipate this hubris. The carnage of two world wars called into question, on the one hand, the supremacy ofthe nationstate and, on the other, the inevitability of the spread ofEuropeanism. What would eventually emerge as the European Union had its origin in Franco-German determination to avoid the possibility of ever again finding themselves in conflict. The destruction of cultural artefacts amid the rubble of shattered ancient cities stirred all right-minded people to a fresh appreciation of the magnificence of their shared heritage. The impact of the loss of empire had more complex psychological results. Because the "beneficial legacy" of representative government and universal suffrage survived only in a few ex-colonies, their erstwhile masters had to acknowledge that political institutions developed in Europe were not universally valid. Parliamentary democracy has its roots in principles of kingship and common law, which, in their turn, derive from Christianity. It is not readily transplanted into alien soils. Furthermore, those who have ruled over or lived alongside Muslim peoples and Slav states with an Orthodox Christian culture have developed some understanding and appreciation of the different mindsets of such communities. When we have, over the centuries, attempted to change them, we have usually ended up getting our fingers burned. It has taken a remarkably long time for us to learn to live and let live. This, I think, goes some way toward explaining the difficulty, not to say impatience , our American friends have in understanding us. When President Bush made a tour of European capitals in February 2005 he received a distinctly cool reception. This was not just the legacy ofthe Iraq War or even the resentment political leaders feel at being treated as satraps of U.S. client states. It has to do with a fundamental difference of viewpoint. Europeans no longer hold the belief that what is good for us is good for everyone else in the world and that it is our responsibility to spread with evangelical fervor the gospel ofdemocracy and capitalism. We have—and not before time—abandoned that sense of superiority which carried European culture and institutions around the globe with such mixed results. And we are very cautious about our use of the word "freedom." We have discovered that it is a commodity one nation can take away from another but which no nation has the power to bestow. What, then, is Europe? A community of nations finding its own identity for the 21st century. A community whose crusading epoch is in the past and which has no inclination to embark on another. Fainthearted? Possibly. Or, perhaps, it has simply learned a modicum of humility. Derek Wilson, a freelance historian and contributing editor to Historically Speaking, has hundreds ofbooL·, articles, and media appearances to his credit. He is also organizer of the annual Cambridge History Festival, which attracts a growing number of overseas visitors. His latest book, to be published this spring by Doubleday, is Charlemagne. For more details see his Web site—www.derekwilson .com. The Impact of Quantum Theory on Causal Understanding Stephen Kern • ur understanding of the causes of human behavior has changed dramatically over the past 150 years. Although one can point to many shifts in thinking about causality, nothing was more significant than the impact ofquantum theory. It shattered the model of causal understanding that had dominated Western thought since the 17th century. Quantum theory forced researchers to limit the applicability of the classical Newtonian model. This model dominated thinking about causality in the physical world until the late 19th century, when physicists began...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6438
Print ISSN
1941-4188
Pages
pp. 28-31
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.