Thursday, October 11, 2007

Where do 'Western' values, law and government come from.

Churchill once said something along the lines of; "Democracy is the worst form of government - except for all the others!".
I'd agree. It may not be perfect, but it's better than what most of the world suffers under.
It also is in itself a mechanism that self-regulates.

I was musing on my (long) drive home on the origins of those values and the system that has evolved to be 'the West'. Just what ARE those foundations and building blocks? In my opinion they are;

.The Laws of Moses. The 10 commandments (we are based on a Judeo-Christian ethics and morals model.

.Ancient Greek Philosophy (for me, best illustrated in Pericles Funeral Oration)

.The Anglo-Saxon values which won out over the Norman way, best illustrated by Magna Carta.

.The English Bill of Rights of 1689.

.The system which evolved based on all these, best summed up by Blackstone's 'Commentaries...'

.The baton passed. To the new world. the Jeffersonian ideals so succinctly put in what have to be the most beautiful words in the English Language - or any other - The US Declaration of Independence. (And the equally important US Bill of Rights).

The are are of course many other landmark documents. The French 'Rights of Man and the Citizen'. The UN Charter. However, I'd argue that these are both clearly based on the documents (and more importantly the environments that conceived them) already mentioned.

Most countries are UN member states. Many pay but lip service to the principles set out in the documents I've linked to. Few follow them. Those that follow these principles invariably prosper. Their societies deliver to their Citizens a longer, safer, happier and freer life (", liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..."), than ANY other system or ideology that has been tried. And with a consistency measured in centuries, in the case of England, a period approaching a millenia.


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