Trev and I have sparred over the years about the role of Europe in the modern world and I'm glad we're continuing to do so. He is correct in pointing out the perils of summarizing 500 years of history in 500 words. I also confess to being a Europeanist, which means it's easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that "it's all about Europe." I agree with him that:
- Europe didn't exist in a vacuum and its culture has always incorporated contributions (both material and ideological) from other parts of the world. So, it can be misleading to summarily refer to "European" culture.
- We need to be extremely wary of inferring European moral superiority or 'pride of historical place' from the vast power Europeans applied to the modern world, especially since much of that history demonstrates European brutality, exploitation, and disregard for other peoples.
I've noted elsewhere that the 19/20C might well be anomalous in terms of 'Western" preeminence when taking a broader historical view. Still, from our spot here in the early 21C, the "West" has had the greatest effect on creating the modern world.