Welcome to the Center for Western Civilization, a new site online and a new physical presence close to the University of California, Berkeley.

Ignorance is the greatest threat to our civilization. Departments of Liberal Arts are shrinking in our major universities. Courses in the Western Tradition, history, literature, art, poetry, philosophy, and ethics are no longer required. Few students have enough understanding of the origins and principles of Western Civilization to maintain or advance our democratic institutions. The absence of this critical knowledge threatens the future of our personal freedoms.

It is our responsibility to support every effort to keep the lights of freedom burning before we descend into darkness.

Located near the University of California, Berkeley, the Center will host symposiums, retreats, lectures, meetings, and provide housing for interested students from home and abroad. It will be a place to research, discuss, and further our understanding of the institutions and moral values of Western Civilization.

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“What do we mean by “becoming American”? When we break it down, there are three irreducible elements. First, accepting the values encoded in the U.S. Constitution: free speech, the division of powers, religious toleration, and so on. Second, understanding the unwritten codes bound up with those values: civic engagement, open competition, private contract, equality for women. Third, speaking English. And where do these three characteristics have their origin? Not in Korea or Romania or Ecuador, though people from those places can adopt them as easily as anyone else. What we mean by Anglo-Saxon civilization is the set of cultural, social, and political assumptions parceled together in the English-speaking world.”
Daniel Hannan, Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World. Broadside e-books, 2013. Kindle edition, Loc.5139



“Plato’s Forms are remarkably inconvenient. They remind us that there is always a higher standard, a model of excellence by which everything we do or say or encounter must be measured—and inevitably be found wanting. At one level, we all become Platonists when we are conscious of our own shortcomings and weaknesses. We move through life aware we could be, or should be, someone different: someone more honest, more courageous, more compassionate…For Plato, that someone is the higher self. We may resent its presence, but it’s hard to ignore. Being true to that self, the soul, means living up to those models of perfection in thought, word, and action.”         

Arthur Herman, The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization (Random House, 2014) 21


Sir Roger Scruton (1944-2020), upon receiving the Defender of Western Civilization award  from Intercollegiate Studies Institute, September 19, 2019:

“Our Western Civilization is not some peculiar, narrow little obsession of people who happen to live in a certain geographical part of the world. It is an inheritance, constantly expanding, constantly including new things. It is something which has given us the knowledge of the human heart, which has enabled us to produce not just wonderful economies and the wonderful ways of living in the world that are ours, but also the great works of art, the religions, the systems of law and government, all the other things which make it actually possible for us to recognize that we live in this world, insofar as possible, successfully.”

For video and full speech, visit: https://isi.org/intercollegiate-review/a-thing-called-civilization/