Europeans generally view our identity as Westerners dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. The philosophical tradition of the Greek city states combined with the Roman political might and all that. That is the background for our collective identity, although individual nations certainly have their individual histories, but overall we’ve all been affected by Greek and Roman tradition in one way or another. Simple enough, I assume. Then let’s look at two well-known men from ancient Europe, Socrates and Julius Caesar. Or in particular, their deaths.
Socrates is regarded as the father of European philosophy. He liked to make people question the things they thought they know, and he was put to death by the government for “corrupting the youth” with his ideas. Suppression of ideas and free speech isn’t just some anomaly that happened to happen by co-incidence because of the Patriot act or whatever. It has always been there in Europe from ancient Greece, to medieval Catholic church’s control of thought and speech to modern censorship and forbidding the questioning of the Holocaust etc.
Julius Caesar was arguably the most famous person ever to live in the Roman Empire, and very possibly the most famous political figure ever in the history of Europe. Do you know how he died? He was conspired against and assassinated by a bunch of Roman senators. If you think conspiracy theories are just some modern thing coined by delusional minds I’d recommend looking in the mirror and seeing who really is delusional. The next time you try to brush off information which disturbs your world view as a “conspiracy theory” and laugh, think again. Conspiracy and assassination have always been, and still are, at the heart of European politics.
If you don’t know who these two men were, you’re not a Westerner. It’s as simple as that. And if you’re a Westerner who thinks the government engages in censorship and violation of human rights only in places like China and Iran, I suggest you grow up. And if you’re a Westerner and you proudly “never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories” I suggest you get back to your child-like fantasy garden of Eden with a benevolent computer God where you can be free and innocent in your happy state, and not soiling yourself with knowledge of evil, as the omniscient computer God will take care of you. Not recognizing evil empowers it, so keep your ignorance and your evil in your Utopia.
Oppression, conspiracy and other nasty stuff have always been present in our culture. I cannot fathom how some people can convince themselves this is not the case. I am not saying this means we should throw our hands up in the air and say it’s hopeless, because evil exists. No. I’m saying evil exists, so we must be aware of it and prepared for it. Always.