Brilliant response. I found good and bad stuff in Austin’s piece — you did a great job of articulating critiques of its flaws. I’m in agreement with Austin that a civilization needs an animating and unifying principle to avoid decline (I’ve thought a lot about the American Idea lately and how we’ve either lost touch with it and/or no longer accept it as valid. But w/o that idea (or something to replace it), the US is bound to be torn apart). And I’m in agreement with you that ‘the West’ is a myth that 1) we largely need to discard, and 2) it has been harmful and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. There’s a fine line between self-flagellation and self-awareness, and western civilization is still trying to figure out how to be honest about our past misdeeds w/o crossing over into guilt-ridden paralysis.