Against the West

Daniel Larison notes that “the West” is a poor substitute for “Christendom.” In the context of post-World War II conservatism, it’s also a substitute for “America.” When the Right stopped talking about America first and started talking about defending the West — from the heathen East, of course, be it Communist or Islamic — you knew the Rubicon had been crossed.

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2 thoughts on “Against the West

  1. Scott P. Richert April 29, 2008 / 12:44 am

    While it’s certainly true that, in the rhetoric of the Cold War, “the West” was a frequently used term, we shouldn’t forget that it was in use by members of the Old Right before the end of World War II. To pick one book off the shelf at random, John T. Flynn uses it in As We Go Marching.

    Historically, “the West” included Russia and Central Europe, while “the East” was the Orient. The rise of the term “Eastern Europe” for the nations of Central Europe coincides with a shift in the understanding of “the West” that matches that which you discuss above.

  2. Daniel McCarthy April 29, 2008 / 2:47 am

    Thanks, Scott. You’re right,of course, the Old Right certainly didn’t avoid the term “the West,” but it did seem to proliferate and preponderate during the Cold War.

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