- We found the strangest claim that Mexico and South America are part of Western Civilization.
- We review the claim and provide our analysis.
Western Civilization includes several characteristics. One is that the country is a Western European-based country. The second is that that country follows the Enlightenment and then goes back further, following Hellenistic Greek rational thought. For example, science came out of the Enlightenment. It led to enormous numbers of developments that we used today –and these came from Europe and the European offshoot countries like the United States and Australia. We review the claims that other countries and regions are also part of Western Civilization.
Mexico and South America
I found this quote on Quora.
Why aren’t Mexico and South America considered part of Western Civilization like the US even though they are direct descendants of Western European colonies just like the US?
Here is the first answer I found.
I have written an answer to this form of question over and over now, because it keeps coming up. Mexico, Central and and South America are part of Western Civilization. Have been since the conquest, for the simple reason that Spain is part of Western Civilization and they were Provinces and Viceroyalties of Spain for 300 years. As Western independent nations, they all adopted Western French Revolution and American Revolution-based democracy, and not only that – they tended to do so even earlier than their European counterparts.
By the time the first Anglo settler stepped foot on the Chesapeake, Mexico had had a printing press outputting books on Western Civilization stuff for 76 years.
Some of the first books published were Recognitio (1554), Dialectica (1554) y Physica (1557) , Speculum coniugiorum (1556). All in Latin. The Western Scientific Language par excellence for millenia (yes, they also printed in Spanish). Hundreds of copies of hundreds of books were all around the country by the 1600s.
The first newspaper in America was published using this same printing press, in 1542. So a newspaper operated in Spanish for 73 years by the time anyone arrived in current US lands. A Mayflower migrant, had they had the opportunity to trek to Mexico City, could consult seven decades of Western Civilization history of the Americas, all on newspaper archives.
So why do a few people think it’s different in 2019?
In the 1990s, an old dude named Sam Huntington tried to re-do the map to satisfy the book he was writing, “Clash of Civilizations” and “Who Are we?”. A pretty racist little piece of work that was debunked by pretty much every historian and statistician that looked at its facts (which is why he was never admitted to the National Academy of Sciences – mathematicians accused him of distorting historical record and engaging in pseudoscience).
From Samuel P. Huntington – Wikipedia:
Huntington was repeatedly denied admission to the National Academy of Sciences; and his writings have been debunked and criticized as “pseudo-science” and “absurd manipulations of facts” to support his subjective prejudices against minorities and immigrant cultures in America. Huntington is credited with helping to shape U.S. views on civilian–military relations, political development, and comparative government even into the current Trump administration.
And why is this dead old man relevant?
Well, he’s sort of not… except….
To xenophobes and anti-immigrants and the “usual suspects” that don’t like “brown people” in the US, it is vitally important that Latin America is not seen as part of Western Civilization. Because they need to treat hispanics as an “other”.
It’s a little like believing in young earth creationism. Their beliefs are so weak, they fall if that “original item” is not “true”, like a house of cards.
Of course, all Hispanics know we are as much part of Western Civilization as they are (and the older part, in the Americas as I’ve proven). It’s not like we don’t know our own history or… I don’t know… speak Spanish (a Western European Language if there ever was one).
And this drives them nuts.
Isn’t it fun? – David Martinez
A Ridiculous Comment
This answer is really something else. This is because Mexico and South America are certainly not part of Western Civilization. And yet, the argument is that the only reason they aren’t is because of racism. This is typical of “brain turned off” explanations where the person moves from their conclusion and then fits the evidence to the conclusion. And this creates a false history that is based upon what WOKE is rather than was is true.
Furthermore, not all white countries are considered part of Western Civilization, and I question whether Russia can be considered Western. Certainly, they have a modality of behavior that is the opposite of The Enlightenment. To be part of Western Civilization, a civilization must be inspired by and follow the Enlightenment principles. Latin America is not based on Enlightenment principles, and it has extremely low intellectual property development. Furthermore, Latin America was colonized by Portugal and Spain, two countries that are like Eastern Europe, only “lightly connected” to Western Civilization. Neither Portugal nor Spain had much to do with the Enlightenment.
Covering Some Bases
First, most of the population in Mexico and South America is not European. Those of European descent are a small percentage of the societies in all but Uruguay, which is the opposite. So the first claim is no and true. Mexica and South America are not European.
The second reason Mexico and South America are part of Western Civilization is that they could use a printing press.
This is not a logical reason.
Asian countries eventually used the printing press, but this did not make them part of Western Civilization. For example, in Asian societies, the surname comes before the first name. So with Kim Jung Il, Kim is the family name. This means that the family is more important than the person’s name, which shows the lack of focus on the individual. Is it any wonder Asian societies have been so slow to roll out individual rights?
Secondly, to be part of Western Civilization, they must create significant intellectual property. Neither Mexico nor South America has ever done this. In the entirety of their history. Yes, one can point to some contributors here and there. But the contributions are tiny.
For example, let us review all of the Nobel Prizes people from Latin American countries won.
Country #1: Argentina
César Milstein*, Physiology or Medicine, 1984
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Peace, 1980
Luis Federico Leloir, Chemistry, 1970
Bernardo Houssay, Physiology or Medicine, 1947
Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Peace, 1936
Country #2: Guatemala
Miguel Ángel Asturias, Literature, 1967
Country #3: Brazil
Peter Medawar*, Physiology or Medicine, 1960
Country #4: Chile
Pablo Neruda, Literature, 1971
Gabriela Mistral, Literature, 1945
Country #5: Mexico
Mario José Molina Henríquez*, Chemistry, 1995
Octavio Paz Lozano, Literature, 1990
Alfonso García Robles, Peace, 1982
Country #6: Peru
Mario Vargas Llosa*, Literature, 2010
Country #7: Venezuela
Baruj Benacerraf*, Physiology or Medicine, 1980
Notice that the majority of Latin American countries have never won a single Nobel Prize. And only three countries in Latin America have won more than a single Nobel Prize.
Once we remove the Nobel Prizes for peace (as these are not real Nobel Prizes for intellectual accomplishment), we are left with a total of eleven Nobel Prizes.
And of the 11, 4 are for literature. This is not to denigrate literature, but you don’t have to have Enlightenment thinking to do great work in literature. That means that Latin America has produced only 7 Nobel Prizes outside of literature. But let’s keep them in. So that is for a population of 650 million people.
By comparison, a country like the Netherlands, with a population of roughly 2.6% of Latin America, has many more Nobel Prizes. They have nineteen once we remove the two for peace.
See the following list.
- Ben Feringa, Chemistry, 2016
- Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Peace, 2013
- Andre Geim, born in Soviet Union, now Russia, Physics, 2010
- Martinus J. G. Veltman, Physics, 1999
- Gerard ’t Hooft, Physics, 1999
- Paul J. Crutzen, Chemistry, 1995
- Simon van der Meer, Physics, 1984
- Nicolaas Bloembergen*, Physics, 1981
- Tjalling C. Koopmans, Economics, 1975
- Nikolaas Tinbergen*, Physiology or Medicine, 1973
- Jan Tinbergen, Economics, 1969
- Frits Zernike, Physics, 1953
- Peter Debye, Chemistry, 1936
- Christiaan Eijkman, Physiology or Medicine, 1929
- Willem Einthoven, Physiology or Medicine, 1924
- Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Physics, 1913
- Tobias Asser, Peace, 1911
- Johannes Diderik van der Waals, Physics, 1910
- Pieter Zeeman, Physics, 1902
- Hendrik Lorentz, Physics, 1902
- Jacobus Henricus van ’t Hoff, Chemistry, 1901
This means that a country with 2.6% of the population of Latin America won 170% of many Nobel Prizes! This means that a country like the Netherlands is around 65 times as productive at producing Nobel Prize intellectual property than Latin America as a whole.
And it gets worse than this.
Looking at the photos of the Latin American Nobel Prize winners, it is obvious that all of them are primarily European and not representative of the overall population. For example, Argentina is the most productive Latin American country producing Nobel Prizes. However, Argentina has a very differentiated Spanish population from the rest of Argentinians. Argentina considers itself the most European and goes to great lengths to wear European fashions and think of itself as European and not Latin American. Therefore, most of the Nobel Prizes in Latin America have been won by a single country, primarily European. Argentina would have the most substantial claim to being part of Western Civilization. However, even there, the claim is very weak.
These comparisons can be quite interesting. Notice China, with its enormous population, is roughly 9 times the size of Mexico only has seven Nobel Prizes.
- Tu Youyou, Physiology or Medicine, 2015
- Mo Yan, Literature, 2012
- Liu Xiaobo, Peace, 2010
- Charles K. Kao*, Physics, 2009
- Gao Xingjian*, Literature, 2000
- Daniel C. Tsui*, Physics, 1998
- Chen-Ning Yang*, Physics, 1957
- Tsung-Dao Lee*, Physics, 1957
Tiny Intellectual Property Production
Latin American societies produce tiny amounts of intellectual property by any measure, which is not the focus of these societies. Their performance is low functioning and always has been since its colonial origin and only indigenous Indians.
And this extends beyond Nobel Prizes. I am a full-time researcher, constantly reading research papers, books, etc., and I can’t recall reading published papers from any Latin American source. Intellectually, Latin Americans are so minor their contributions are barely perceptible. Latin America is like Arab countries, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, and if all of the people in these countries never existed and ceased to exist today, no one who studies intellectual areas would notice.
Getting Real on Inclusion into Western Civilization
So no, these countries are not part of Western Civilization, and it might be tempting to add them in to be “nice” and allow them to “co-opt” the accomplishments of other countries, but it is not factually accurate. And being WOKE should not replace rationality.
The Problem With Immigration From Countries Not Part of Western Civilization
The final part of the answer states that to enforce immigration laws, the US should categorize Mexico as not part of Western Civilization and then others. However, Mexicans are already other — they are Mexican citizens and not US citizens. They seek to become US citizens illegally. Mexico enforces its southern border against illegal aliens, and it does not need to categorize Central American countries as “other” to do so.
Lying About Latin America Being Part of Western Civilization to Allow More Latin American Immigration into a True Western Civilization
This last part of the comment shows the political nature of the quoted comment. This person wants Mexico and South America categorized as part of Western Civilization for this political reason. Apparently, he thinks that by placing all of Latin America into the Western Civilization bucket, will mean that all of these people will now be able to immigrate to white-managed countries like the US and Canada. After all, only a racist American or Canadian would want to enforce their border and immigration laws against their “Western Civilization brothers” south of the border. This reminds me of how Latin Americans often bristle at Americans calling themselves that. What is this obsession with formulating a connection to a society that has nothing to do with Latin America? Do Latin Americans think that the accomplishments of white countries belong to them? No other country calls itself America; Central and South America are regions, not governments. Everyone knows that when one says they are “American,” they are from the US.
Latin American Logic
This lack of logic is the hallmark of the logic rigging that is so common in Latin America and other places entirely separate from rational thought. And illustrates that Latin America is not part of Western Civilization, but neither is this commenter. Latin Americans have a habit of creating irrational explanations and concocting fake histories, as I cover in the article The Fake Reconquista: Why a Majority of Mexicans Think the US Southwest Belongs to Mexico.
Furthermore, a common reaction of Mexicans and Central Americans when they are deported back to their country is to break down into tears.
Let us If Mexico and Central America are part of Western Civilization and should not be viewed as “other,” why would the idea of having to live in Mexico or Central America bring tears to the eyes of those who have gotten a taste of living in a real Western Civilization country?
A Second Terrible Comment
And then, I found the following comment.
Only a person who thinks (or truly believes) that Spain is not an essential part of Western Civilization … or to state it differently, only a person who thinks (or truly believes) that Western Civilization is exclusively an Anglo-American Thing … would have asked this question. Mexico City had a University having the caliber of the Universities of Salamanca and Paris before the Pilgrims even landed at Plymouth Rock and long before Harvard and Yale came into existence. But for Spain’s 700 year Reconquista, France and then Germany and Austria and Italy would have been overrun by Moslems, and England would have been isolated from all the fruits of the European Renaissance … and if that happened, there would have been no Western Civilization worth talking about, and only then would this question make any sense … – Joseph Cascarallo de Adan
I have already explained that Spain and Portugal are only loosely connected to Western Civilization. But not all colonies of countries in Western Europe are part of Western Civilization. Africa was colonized by countries loosely connected to Western Civilization and countries at the core of Western Civilization, like France, England, and Germany. Does anyone think that Africa is part of Western Civilization? Or that to deny Africa’s inclusion into Western Civilization is to deny France, England, and Germany’s inclusion? I have denied Russia as part of Western Civilization, and Russia’s intellectual contribution far exceeds anything in Latin America.
And this race-baiting is getting tedious. Any culture can adopt Western civilization. But the reality is that being able to be is not the same as doing so.
Mexico’s Universities Preceeded US Universities?
This comment about Mexico City’s university is curious, as it did not seem to do Mexico much good, as Mexico has very few accomplishments as a society. If Mexico has universities that preceded the US, why did the Spaniards encounter such primitive societies in Mexico and elsewhere? The Spanish had steel and firearms and had figured out how to navigate across the Atlantic Ocean at a time when the Aztecs were still practicing human sacrifice.
Secondly, Islamic societies had “places of learning,” if not modern universities far before Mexico in around 850 AD; however, it did not do Syrians much good. Again, they are extremely backward today. Something existing or preexisting something else is not evidence that Mexico is part of Western Civilization. And this gets to the region’s progress since that time.
Let us see this quote.
“The 2007 Teacher Evaluation Census in Peru and Chilean Teacher Evaluation System (DocenteMás), indicated that teacher quality in the region is very low. Other education inputs and services are equally inadequate. School infrastructure and access to basic services such as water, electricity, telecommunications and sewage systems are very poor in many Latin American schools. Approximately 40% of elementary schools lack libraries, 88% lack science labs, 63% lack a meeting space for teachers, 65% lack computer rooms, and 35% lack a gymnasium. On the other hand, 21% of schools have no access to potable water, 40% lack a drainage system, 53% lack phone lines, 32% have an inadequate number of bathrooms, and 11% have no access to electricity. – Education in Latin America – Wikipedia
Does that sound like a region that is part of Western Civilization?
Western Civilizations With Terrible Education Systems?
The vast majority of the Spanish elite do not want and will not invest in the Indians and Mestizos’ education. Universities in Mexico and South America are better described as a type of country club for the elites. They can “George W Bush” their time in university, pay people to do their homework for them, and then be employed in their families’ businesses. There are ample enslaved people to exploit, so they don’t have to make much mental effort to do well in life. In Argentina, business people spend just a few hours on actual work, and the rest of the time is coffee breaks, talking about moving to Miami, and socializing.
This is the Latin American modality, and Latin Americans at the top would rather live this way than make any actual contributions.
This is the eventual end state of all slave societies. The same lack of intellectual effort was found in the Antebellum South of the US. You were either born into a land-holding family, or you were a slave or a white worker — no matter what you did, your position would not change much.
The last part of the comment is a type of misdirection. You started with a false claim that one must reject Spain as part of Western Civilization if one rejects Mexico and South America. Then it builds on the false assertion by talking about Spanish accomplishments and how great it was that they pushed the Muslims out of Southern Spain. It was great for Europe to be rid of Muslims — I agree — but this has nothing to do with whether Mexico and SA are part of Western Civilization. This commenter should also remember that Spaniards looked down their noses at the “jumped up” fake nobility of Spaniards in Mexico. Spain never considered any of their colonies equal, and the very idea would have been considered offensive to Spaniards.
People who include Mexico, South America, and Latin America in Western Civilization receive our Golden Pinocchio Award.
How Do Latin American Run Societies Score Versus Other Societies?
Country Civilization Scoring
|Score and Country Class
|Eastern or Southern Europe
|Latin American and Carribean
|African Country + > 20% of Pop. = Islamic
This claim about Mexico and South America is an attempt by very poorly performing societies that have no concept of The Enlightenment, no concept of freedom of speech, no concept of non-corrupt policing, or a non-corrupt judiciary, little idea of science, and enormous numbers of non-reading individuals and to place them into a category they do not belong. As they have so few accomplishments, they need to pretend they are part of the culture they have nothing to do with. Muslims have tried to do the same thing by introducing a tricky concept called the Islamic Golden Age, which you can see in the article The Steps The Muslims Used to Create the Fake an Islamic Golden Age of Discovery.
This seeks to take anti-intellectual countries with nearly imperceptible contributions to intellectual property and place them into countries with actual intellectual contributions.