Jim is much too kind when he reads this quote by Mitt Romney:
Citing the book “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations,” Romney detailed his interpretation of author David Landes’ thesis. “He says if you can learn anything from the economic history of the world, it’s this: culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said.
David Landes’ book puts forth the idea that European cultural is superior to all other cultures. That’s why their economic system has prevailed. I don’t want to get into the subjectivity of Landes’ measurements here, but I would urge you to do just that.
However, I want you to think about Mitt’s words.
If he were standing in same place in 70 CE, he would have said that Roman culture is superior. If he was standing in Jerusalem during the Middle Ages, he would have said that Islamic culture was superior. If we was standing in Jerusalem in the 1930’s, he would have said that German culture was superior.
I am not an anthropologist, but I do follow the works of some. I would have to agree that some cultures are indeed superior than others. For instance, those cultures who practice child or ritual sacrifice are simply not superior or equal to those who have long ago banned it. Or, cultures who practice slavery and women’s subjugation are not superior or equal to those who have abandoned the practices. However, we have to understand that their are subjective markers – usually the economic indicators of Landes – and their are objective markers – think R. Girard, such as religion and the way in which the oppressed are treated. With that said, however, focus on what Mitt has said, to the Jews. If they accept this language, they are hypocrites.
A bigger gun does not make you superior.
But… what does Mitt mean by “and a few other things…”
Culture and what?