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The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat (Continuum Compact Series) Paperback – 1 May 2005

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.; New edition edition (1 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826485693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826485694
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 12.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,277,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"'... a veritable tour de force which deserves to be widely read.' The Commonwealth Lawyer; 'Scruton's book is a powerful and eloquent analysis of one of the greatest issues of the age. It should be read by everyone grappling with the necessity of understanding and responding to the al-Qa'eda offensive and avoiding a clash of civilisations.' Ian Christie, Resurgence No. 219, July/August 2003. '... a tour de force of concision, learning and wisdom... an important and impressive contribution.' The Literary Review"

About the Author

Roger Scruton is one of the most prominent contemporary English writers and media personalities. A philosopher who has lived for many years in the Middle East, Scruton has been Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, London and Boston University, USA.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
In this short but illuminating book, Scruton examines the political institutions of the West as regards the relation between religion and politics, and the threat of radical Islam. Briefly but with great clarity he explores the political history of West that gave us individual freedom, prosperity and the pursuit of knowledge. These pillars rest upon Greek thought, Roman Law and Judeo-Christianity. He points out that freedom needs to be defined and that it also needs restraints in order to continue to function. The success of the West is based on the practice of separating church and state, of recognizing the two different realms. This is the fundamental difference with Islam.
Islamism is a totalitarian ideology precisely because the totality of society must submit to religion. The author argues that the political process in Western societies is what has made it so successful - western democracies are governed by politics while the Rest are ruled by force. In the West, the political process functions through negotiation and compromise. Religion and culture are binding principles but they do prescribe. But with the collapse of these roots in much of the West, a vital defence of our culture is being lost. According to Scruton, the love of freedom alone is not enough for our civilization to survive. He considers the nation state as a precondition for democracy and the rule of law. Under Islam, the Sharia is the only source of law and there is no room for dissent.
The UN is a club of gangsters. Most UN representatives do not represent the people of their countries but only the thuggish regimes that lord it over the people. In addition, Western elites and radical Islamists both despise Western civilization. This is particularly pronounced in academia, the media and the entertainment community.
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The West and the Rest is a book I have read three times and on each occasion extracted some new realisation. It is a small volume but so packed with civilisational counter-intuitiveness that it will make your head spin.

The most profound insight (that I dwell on almost daily when I listen to the news) is the link between democracy and the nation state. Scruton argues quite persuasively that to have a democracy means starting with a nation that sees itself as one. In other words, democracy is the child of nationhood and not the other way round because, in a democracy, all must agree to abide by the wish of the ruling majority. This is only possible because they trust (a key concept) that the majority have the best interests of all (not just their own) at heart.

A democracy calls for the participants to view each other as partners in a joint and quite specific project with names such as England, Ireland, France, Japan, India, Germany, The U.S, Israel and Australia.

It also demonstrates why these Western Nations have democracy and "the Rest", those places ravaged by factionalism, sectarianism and an understanding only of a greater Ummah never will. It also explains why the EU will never be a democracy and why a Balkanising multiculturalism is such pure poison to nationhood first and democracy second.

Sobering stuff when you see our foolish leadership spending our blood and treasure on "bringing democracy" to some bedevilled place on a map. They might as well be trying to grow bougainvillea on Mars.

They should have read this book!
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Format: Paperback
Roger Scruton explains very well the theoretical difference between the West (freedom, separation of Church and State) and the Rest (e.g. Islam).

But this is not the motive behind the 9/11 calamity. As one other commentator wrote here before, the real reason is the fact that the US is seen as an enemy of the Arab people. One blatant sign is its unconditional support of Israel in the Palestinian conflict.

Scruton's essay is based on abstract concepts (membership, religion, the muslims, the West, the Rest, authority). But 'religion' doesn't exist, there are only 'religions' (thousands of sects).

He sees 'loss of membership' as one of the main reasons for Western decadence. Membership (or solidarity) is not a basic need for mankind. People become member of something if there is a personel gain or plus.

Some of his ideas are very difficult to swallow.

Preposterous is his statement that 'the French Revolution should primarely be seen as a religious phenomenon'. One of the most important backers of the Enlightenment (Le Grand Orient de France) professes that 'believing in a God is a serious mental disease'.

Or, 'It is from a deficit of membership that the urge to revolution arises'. This is plain nonsense. People are revolting when they are exploited or when their individual basic needs or rights (food, land, shelter, freedom) are in danger or not respected.

Further, 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori!' This is beautiful but bare nonsense, when we see all the draft dodgers. Powerful families keep their offspring at bay and fight with mercenaries.

Another of his obsessions is the 'devastating pornography'.
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