Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins Include the Return of “Liberty”

     The United States Mint has announced designs for silver dollar and gold ten-dollar coins to be minted in 2012 commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore/Siege of Ft. McHenry in 1814.

     The obverse of the silver dollar coin will feature “Liberty” waving the Star-Spangled Banner, the large flag of fifteen stars and stripes that remained flying over Ft. McHenry despite the bombardment by the British. Key was inspired by the incident he observed aboard a British ship to pen the poem that was set to music and became the national anthem. In the background of the coin is an image of the fort. The visually-striking reverse is filled with the waving flag, over which the legends are inscribed – an unusual design, in that it has no field, only the device. 

     The allegorical figure of Liberty, inspired by the Roman goddess “Libertas,” appeared on the obverse of all early American coins, as she did on many Roman coins. She last appeared on circulating U.S. coins in 1947 on the Liberty Walking Half Dollars (1916-1947), but classic images of her have been minted again on various bullion and commemorative coins since 1986. Not including images of the Statue of Liberty, which are currently on Presidential Dollar coins, the last new design bearing an image of Liberty to appear on a commemorative coin was in 1996, on the National Service Dollar, which was a design based upon the work of Augustus St. Gaudens for a private medal over a century ago. Thus, the significance of the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Dollar is that it bears the first new design of Liberty to appear on any U.S. coin in 16 years and the first totally original design specifically designed and engraved for an American coin since the Lynchburg, Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemorative Half Dollar in 1936. See also my post from April of 2009, Commentary on Current U.S. Coins,, in which I explain the Founding Fathers’ preference for images of Liberty, as opposed to portraits of leaders.

     The gold ten-dollar coin features a scene of a naval battle during the War of 1812 on its obverse. On its reverse are the fifteen stripes suggesting the waving Star-Spangled banner and fifteen stars; over it is inscribed the words “O say can you see” in Key’s handwriting.

     You may view the designs and specifications of the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins at the following link:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Conservative Analysis of the 2012 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

     United States President Barak Obama signed the nearly $1 trillion 2012 omnibus appropriations bill into law. The act authorizes spending for 10 cabinet departments and the Legislative Branch.

     The appropriations bills for the other four departments was signed a few months ago, which resulted in a savings of nearly half a billion dollars.

     Although there was much media focus on the deal worked out with the Republican-led House of Representatives to extend the payroll tax cut for two months until a full-year extension could be worked out and also to extend unemployment compensation, there were several other provisions of interest to conservatives. 

     The bill contains $95 billion in spending cuts, including a delay in the environmental regulation of coal dust. There will be many cuts in domestic spending, as well as additional savings will come from the military drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

     Conservatives were most successful in the policy riders they were able to attach to the bill, such as an expedition of the granting of permits for off-shore oil drilling, some curtailment of Interior Department land-grabbing powers, repealing regulations restricting the purchases of incandescent light bulbs, banning federal needle exchanges and prohibiting federal abortion funding in the District of Columbia. Additionally, the bill continues not to fund the Internal Revenue Service to implement Obama’s federalization of health insurance and the transfer of terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the U.S. mainland. Another rider forces the President to decide whether to expand the Keystone gas pipeline. 

     A number of other riders conservatives attempted to insert into the bill were rejected by the President in the deal. Although the spending cuts in this compromise are small relative to the size of the federal budget, they represent continued progress in cutting spending without raising taxes. There will be major controversies next year, during the election campaign, over the extension of the Bush tax cuts, reducing domestic spending, averting massive defense cuts and the extension of the gas pipeline.

Corbett Signs Several Bills into Law

     Since I posted that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the state budget without raising taxes and signed the welfare reform, tort reform and Castle Doctrine bills into law, he has signed a number of bills approved by the Republican-led General Assembly. Of these, in addition to signing the Commonwealth’s new redistricting plan into law, several are noteworthy. 

     One law signed by Corbett bans texting while driving, while another loosens some regulations on the sales of alcohol. The Governor signed a bill to close loopholes in the law that requires the registration of sex offenders; the amendments will apply the existing law to out-of-state sex offenders and tighten the registration requirements for homeless offenders. The bill also makes it a felony for school teachers to engage in sex with students. 

     Corbett also signed a law regulating abortion clinics like health-care facilities and requiring at least one random inspection per year. The law was prompted by the case of Philadelphia Dr. Herbert Gosnell who ran a “House of Horrors” abortion clinic where a woman died because of a grossly-negligent lack of proper health care and several babies were born alive and then murdered. The measure passed both houses of the legislature with large majorities and significant bipartisan support, but some liberals opposed it because they claimed the new regulations would be so onerous as to restrict access to abortion.

     It is revealing that liberals find regulations on legitimate businesses not to be excessively burdensome, but regulations to protect women’s lives they find excessively burdensome in the name of “women’s rights.” The liberal Democratic members who opposed the reasonable regulations in the bill claimed that the measure became politicized by becoming a referendum on abortion; it appears that their claim reveals the political reason for their opposition: their opposition to the right to life.

     Although the General Assembly concluded the first year of its two-year session with a flurry of legislative activity, several major issues, among others, remain under consideration: the Governor’s proposed Marcellus shale local impact fee and school vouchers and the plan by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai to privatize the state’s liquor stores.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Italian Parliament Approves Monti’s “Save Italy” Fiscal Reforms

     The Italian Parliament has approved Prime Minister Mario Monti’s proposed $40.5 billion worth of fiscal and economic reforms. The reforms are intended to reduce Italy’s debt while stimulating economic growth.

     As I have been posting, Italy had passed several rounds of austerity measures under Monti’s predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, but has come under increased pressure by the European Union to do more both to cut its debt and to spur economic growth, as Italy, with its eighth-largest gross domestic product in the world, is the Eurozone’s firewall. It is on track to reduce its debt by 2013 or 2014, but suffers from meager growth, which has contributed to the lack of investor confidence in Italy’s ability to avoid defaulting on its debt. 

     According to ANSA, the new measure, dubbed by Monti the “Save Italy” program, includes several measures intended to reduce debt, including a tax increase on luxury items and homes, an increase of the value added tax (Europe’s version of sales tax) and gasoline tax, and a crackdown on tax evasion. There will also be pension reform, the elimination of several government agencies and provincial government spending cuts, ANSA reported. Leading by example, Monti is personally giving up his salaries as Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, according to the Italian news agency. On the economically stimulative side, ANSA also reports that there will be some deregulation and tax cuts for investors in Italian businesses and for businesses that hire the young and women and that declare their incomes fully (another anti-tax evasion measure), or that make energy-saving renovations or invest in infrastructure.

     Berlusconi’s center-right party, the largest in parliament, supported his successor’s proposal, as did the center-left and some in the center, with the Northern League being the most vociferous in opposition. ANSA reports, however, that Berlusconi has threatened to withdraw his party’s support of Monti if there are any more tax increases. 

     Monti had announced ahead of time that following the passage of this further round of austerity, he will propose more measures that will be focused strictly on increasing economic growth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

“Partisan Bickering” vs. Debating

     The liberal media and other commentators usually ascribe divisions within the United States Congress to “partisan bickering.” There is a big difference between bickering and arguing and especially between “partisan bickering” and debating, the latter of which is public discourse, either in a legislative body by representatives, or among the people.

     First of all, the divisions between legislators are usually ideological, not “partisan.” Even if there are narrow partisan interests involved, these are secondary to the underlying ideological principles that attract people to political parties in the first place. In other words, partisanship is a usually a facet of ideology, especially nowadays when the parties are less run by political patronage machines than by people who believe certain principles of government. 

     Second, to accuse someone of “bickering” is to imply that he is being vituperative (i.e. unnecessarily argumentative) or petty (i.e. arguing about minor matters). It is misleading to describe major differences of opinion on serious issues expressed in public discourse, whether by elected officials or private citizens, as “bickering,” as the expression of such differences are seldom examples of being vituperative or petty. Legislators express their ideological disagreements about important matters because of the importance of the matter being debated and their personal conviction in their principles. Indeed, it is important to note that many bills pass unanimously without any controversy. With a few notable exceptions, it is their disagreements that tend to make the news.

     It is also noteworthy that often legislators’ differences of opinion are expressed civilly toward each other, regardless of how passionate they might express their opinions about the issue. Indeed, individual legislators may be working in opposition on one matter while working with one another on another matter. Therefore, they have an incentive to avoid unnecessary or overly personal argumentation, which is hardly characteristic of bickering, despite such characterization by the liberal media of even the most civil debates. 

     The reason the media describe legislative differences of opinion as “partisan bickering” is itself a reflection of the liberal media’s ideological bias. The media believes that conservatives are wrong and that they should not, therefore, express opposition to liberalism. Expressing conservatism, the liberal media believes, cannot possibly be because of reasonable thinking, but because of partisanship or some personality fault (such as vituperativeness or pettiness); even being ideological is derided as a fault, if the ideology is one they oppose. Thus, to refer to legislative differences of opinion as “bickering” and especially as “partisan bickering” is to dismiss the validity of arguments by conservatives by essentially making an ad hominem argument. In other words, it is the liberal media’s way of trying to intimidate all conservatives from engaging in public discourse at all, let alone to advance their arguments and initiatives in a legislature, because even though the term “partisan bickering” appears to apply objectively to both sides, it really applies strictly to the expression of conservative principles.

*      *      *

     I write with personal experience as a former elected official who sat on a legislative/executive body that approved most resolutions unanimously, but generated the most media attention with a handful of issues of that produced sharp ideological division. In one instance, a Democratic member made a conservative suggestion in a committee, to which no one objected. When it came before the full body for consideration, however, some of the liberal members opposed the suggestion. Although there was overwhelming public support for our conservative position, some liberals in the media and elsewhere accused the body of spending too much time debating a matter they dismissed as insignificant (i.e. petty) because it was mostly “symbolic.” Yet it was not we, but the liberals who took up the body’s time arguing about it at all. Although relatively little time, in fact, was actually spent debating the matter (with most of it taken up by the liberals), the point is that no time would have been spent on it whatsoever had the other side agreed with us in the first place. But although it was the liberals who were spending the time on the matter, we were blamed by liberal commentators for wasting the body’s time. In other words, to the liberal media, a debate is something blameworthy – and only one side’s fault, at that, the conservative side. I note a contradiction as the matter must not have been as insignificant as the liberals claimed it was or else they would not have objected to our position as vociferously as they did and it would not have attracted as much media interest in it as it did.

     Thus, the incident revealed that liberals in office and in the media do not consider it appropriate that any time be spent considering the reasonable arguments of conservatives because they cannot conceive of any reasonableness of conservative arguments. Thus, they imply that we conservatives are being petty simply by expressing our opinions in public office, regardless of which side is the one actually taking up the time with its arguments, for only liberalism must advance, as all else they consider an obstacle to “progress.” The incident also revealed how liberals are intolerant of other opinions and generally believe they must resort to hominem arguments, like accusing people of “partisan bickering,” to advance their cause.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vaclav Havel, In Memoriam

     Czech playwright, dissident under Communism, triumphant statesman and human rights activist Vaclav Havel died today in the Czech Republic at the age of 75. His plays and other writings reflected his motto “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hate,” and focused on human dignity amidst oppression. 

     Already renowned for his plays, Havel gained international fame for his dissidence after the Soviet crushing of the “Prague Spring,” the period of liberal Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, in 1968. His works were banned and he was imprisoned several times over the next two decades, once for over four years. It can be said that Havel was the Alexander Solzhenitsyn of Czechoslovakia. 

     Havel was looked to by his countrymen as a leader with moral standing as the Communists began to suppress brutally the rising anti-Communist protests sweeping Eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia, in 1989. He took a lead role in the peaceful opposition of what become known as the “Velvet Revolution.” After the fall of Communism that year, they playwright was elected President of Czechoslovakia.

     President Havel presided over the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the removal of Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia. He brought his state into the European Union and NATO and established its free market economy. Havel regretted that he could not bridge the divide between the Czechs and Slovaks. He resigned the presidency in 1992 in order to avoid presiding over the breakup his country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Havel was then elected the first President of the Czech Republic in 1993, a post he held for ten years. It was a ceremonial position from which he unsuccessfully attempted to exercise moral influence. Havel supported the Liberation of Iraq, which ironically ended in victory the day of his death. 

     Havel’s international prestige remained high, however, as we he was honored by many awards around the world. He wrote a number of books during and after his public service. After Havel left office, he wrote a memoir of his service and returned to writing plays. The playwright-turned statesman was involved with a number of human rights organizations that defended the oppressed around the globe, as well as the Victims of Communism Memorial (See my post from August of 2009, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Opens Online Museum,

     May Havel’s legacy of virtue and decency inspire all of us to oppose tyranny, which is an assault against the human person, and to stand for liberty.

U.S. Mission in Iraq Ends in VICTORY

     The United State mission in Iraq has formally ended in victory. The Obama Administration points out some of the benefits of the mission, but declines to use the word “victory.” Someone has to use it: The Liberation of Iraq was a victory!

     As I posted in August of 2010, Operation Iraqi Freedom Ends in Victory,, the U.S. overthrow a state sponsor of terrorism who was a regional bully, enforced United Nations resolutions, captured and destroyed hundreds of chemical weapons and materials for making additional weapons, liberated 25 million people from a brutal dictator and brought him and his regime to justice, defeated al-Qaeda and removed one of its chief arguments against the U.S. by being able to withdraw from Saudi Arabia, where 24 American troops had been murdered by Islamists before the war, on our own terms. The U.S. gained an ally in the War on Terrorism. 

     The figure reported of 4,500 fatalities for American servicemen during the war includes several hundred non-combat deaths. The point I am making in mentioning this fact is that opinion polls before the war suggested the American people were willing to accept as many deaths to liberate Iraq as were lost on September 11 (nearly 3,000), meaning the total fatalities were only slightly over that number. The American people turned against the war, however, well before that number was reached, in part because only a few score were lost by the overthrow of the Baathist regime, which raised expectations the war would be relatively short and bloodless. In other words, the Bush Administration was victimized by its own early success. Also, the death toll must be judged with the consideration that an additional enemy was defeated in Iraq, namely al-Qaeda.

     The economic cost in treasure for the war is usually exaggerated by the liberal media, as the fiscal costs do not factor in any economically stimulative aspects of the war, which, in turn, increase revenue to federal and state governments. Moreover, the costs must be measured against the status-quo antebellum, meaning the U.S. would have continued to have to expend money fighting a minor war with Iraq by enforcing the no-fly zones. The U.S. was also able to end its embargo on Iraqi oil and other goods, as well as win contracts for Iraqi reconstruction. See also my post The Iraqi Economic Stimulus from September of 2010

     The cries of “bringing our troops home” in regard to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and in general, as well as for soldiers stationed abroad in peacetime, reflect ignorance about defense, even leaving aside the benefits of a forward defense strategy. Soldiers do not belong at their homes; except for leave time, they belong on their posts. “Home” does not mean even mean U.S. soil, as American soil includes places like Guam or Saipan, in addition to U.S. embassies, where American troops will continue to be stationed, including in Iraq. Home also includes American ships at sea, which are places of U.S. sovereignty. Indeed, sailors and marines on ships in the theater of operations Iraq or Afghanistan will not necessarily “come home,” but be remain in place and simply be redesignated as no longer in a combat zone. Moreover, under the principle of federalism in the U.S. Constitution, no soldier is truly home, even if only in the sense of being in his homeland, if he is in a foreign state, even if that state is one of the other states in the American Union. Thus, a citizen of Pennsylvania, for example, is only at home in Pennsylvania, not in Alaska or Hawaii.

     We mourn the loss of the Americans, Iraqis and other allies who gained this hard-
fought major victory in the War on Terrorism while we continue to care for the physically and emotionally wounded. We honor and praise all the heroes and martyrs for their deeds, as well as all the political leaders in the U.S.-led coalition and in Iraq who made this victory possible, as well as celebrate their accomplishments. May we continue to be vigilant in protecting liberty and our interests in Iraq and around the world.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Failure of the Congressional “Supercommittee/” Balanced Budget Amendment Opportunity

     The Congressional “Supercommittee” that was tasked with reducing hundreds of billions of dollars of United States debt has failed to keep its charge, which will trigger significant automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending.

     The efforts to reduce the debt came to naught because of liberal Democratic insistence on raising taxes, even though the historical record is clear that the rising debt is the result of overspending, not undertaxing, and also that raising taxes reduces revenue by decreasing economic growth while cutting taxes increases revenue by stimulating economic growth.

     The drastic cuts to defense would “invite aggression,” according to the Defense Secretary, yet President Barak Obama has threatened to veto any Congressional effort to avoid the cuts.

     I decided to post about this issue not only as an update, but to point out that there is still time to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would avoid the drastic defense cuts while making prudent cuts to domestic spending and avoiding tax increases. There are proposed amendments being considered by Congress. We conservatives should use this opportunity to promote a balanced budget amendment.

Obama Signs a Bill Allowing Indefinite Detention of Terrorists

   United States President Barak Obama has signed the defense reauthorization bill, which includes a provision that allows military detentions of terrorists on U.S. soil indefinitely, even if they are American citizens. 

     The provision targets suspects who have joined a foreign army or terrorist organization at war with the U.S. It codifies existing authority that was approved by Congress after September 11. The Administration retains its prerogative to try terrorists in military or civilian federal court, which some in Congress wanted to restrict. 

     Although the indefinite detentions provision was opposed by liberals, along with libertarians, it attracted significant bipartisan support in Congress. At issue in the public discourse over the provision was whether to regard terrorists as criminals or prisoners of war. As I have noted before, they are neither; terrorists are war criminals who have no rights under the law of nations. Thus, the provision rightly treats terrorists like war criminals.

     The signing of this provision represents another example, with some notable exceptions, of the Obama Administration generally continuing the policies of the Bush Administration in the War on Terrorism, which I have reported regularly in my posts.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Obama Administration is Penny-Wise and Pound Foolish about Dollar Coins

     The Obama Administration announced that it is limiting production of United States Dollar coins only to collectors, according to the Washington Examiner.  In order to save the $50 million in production and printing costs, the Administration will forfeit the 62-cent profit on each coin and spend an estimated $5.6 billion in more printing costs for $1 Federal Reserve Notes that the dollar coins could have replaced.  In short, in order to appear fiscally responsible, the Obama Administration is being penny-wise and pound foolish.

     See also my posts, Dollar Coins Are Not a Waste of Money from September of 2011 and two posts from October of this year: Follow-Up: Dollar Coins Are Not a Waste of Money and Use Dollar Coins and $2 Bills

     It is no surprise then, that the federal government announced on the same day a record 38th month of budget deficits, according to the Conservative News Service, and a corresponding increase of several trillion dollars in debt.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

U.S. Attorney General Holder Must Resign or Be Removed from Office

     In my January of 2009 post, Hold the Line on Holder,, I had singled out Eric Holder as the one Cabinet appointment by United States President Barak Obama that conservatives should have resisted. Holder’s record as Attorney General validates my concern.

     Recently, Holder has come under fire because of Justice Department program called “Operation Fast and Furious.” Under the program, guns were provided to Mexican drug cartels ostensibly to track them, but really in order to make appear as if loose gun laws in American states are to blame for drug violence in Mexico. A U.S. Border Control agent was among the scores of people who were killed by the drug cartels using the guns. Questions have arisen about lack of proper tracking and retrieval of the guns, as well as deception by the Justice Department in order to avoid congressional oversight and even to disguise the program’s true purpose. Some critics have called for Holder’s resignation because of the Fast and Furious scandal. 

     The scandal over Fast and Furious may result in Holder’s resignation, firing or impeachment, but there also has been a pattern of radical policies implemented by the Attorney General on behalf of the Obama Administration. 

     Holder dropped charges of voter intimidation during the 2008 General Election against the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia. The armed Panthers were caught on film intimidating voters at a voting precinct. The Justice Department had won a judgment against the Panthers, but dropped the case. A career Justice Department prosecutor resigned in protest, claiming that political leadership of the Department under Attorney General Holder had expressed its policy of not prosecuting voter intimidation by blacks against whites, instead of enforcing the equal protection of the laws, as required by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Holder also declines to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, a bipartisan Clinton-era federal law that allows states the option to not recognize “gay marriages” in other states instead of being forced to recognize them. 

     The Attorney General’s implementation of policies reflect Obama’s failure to recognize the problem of terrorism as a facet of a war by militant Muslims against the United States, instead of as only a criminal problem. For example, the Holder attempted to conduct civilian trials for the September 11 conspirators and other terrorists who are war criminals, not common criminals. Indeed, he has not only charged terrorists with crimes and had them read their right to remain silent instead of interrogating them sufficiently. Holder has weakened American security by softening interrogations of terrorists and by threatening to prosecute criminally those Americans who harshly interrogated terrorists in order to prevent terrorist attacks against innocent American civilians. The Attorney General’s record on the War on Terrorism, which reflects a widespread left-wing view within the Obama Administration, has been the most significant blemish on Obama’s otherwise adequate record on the war. But even this one blemish is a risk too great to abide. 

     For all these reasons, the tenure of Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General must soon come to an end. We conservatives should continue to expose the radical left-wing policies of Holder and other Obama Administration officials and hold them accountable.

4,000th Visit to my Blog Tracked by StatCounter

     StatCounter has tracked the 4,000th visit to my blog since April 2, 2009. Thank you for visiting. As always, separate visits are counted as pageviews that are at least one hour apart and do not include my own pageviews.  

     The 3,000th visit was logged less than seven months ago.  I shall continue to post of significant milestones, but save fuller reports for anniversaries of the commencement of  tracking by each counter.

     I appreciate your patronage of my blog.  Please continue to visit regularly.  Thank you for making it successful.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Roman-Inspired Western European Civilization vs. Greek-Inspired Eastern European Civilization

     Lately, modern Greece is increasingly being referred to as part of “Western Civilization” and even Ancient Greece is being called the place of origin of Western Civilization. Although it may be only a stretch to include Greece, Russia or other parts of Eastern Europe within Western Civilization, it is strictly erroneous to consider Ancient Greek civilization as the origin of Western Civilization.

     “Western Civilization” refers to Western European Civilization. It developed after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 A.D., which comprised much of Western Europe. Although there was some continuity with late Roman (i.e. Christian Roman) civilization, there was a political and cultural void during the post-Roman upheaval. Two figures, in particular, emerged to impose order amidst the chaos. First was St. Benedict, the 6th Century Italian son of Roman parents, who founded Western monasticism according to his orderly, yet balanced Rule. The Benedictine monasteries were centers of spirituality and learning where the monks conserved not only Scripture and the writings of the early Church, but the writings of ancient Greek and Roman civilization. The second figure was the Frankish King, Charles the Great (“Charlemagne”). He built upon the work of his grandfather and father and reunited Western Europe politically under a shared post-Western Roman civilization. By 800, Charlemagne was crowned “Emperor of the West” by the Pope, as the new “Holy Roman Empire” was the successor to the Western Roman Empire. The “Age of Christendom” can be dated to this time, a time when, despite political divisions, Western Europeans were united by the Church.

     While the Western Roman Empire fell in the late 5th Century, the Eastern Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople (formerly “Byzantium”), continued for nearly another thousand years. Its early Greco-Roman character soon became more distinctively Greek, while retaining some Roman influences, as it became known as the “Byzantine Empire.” While Latin had been the language of the West, Greek had been the language of the East. Although both Eastern and Western Europeans were Christians, they expressed their faith differently, apart from the divisions that led to schism late in the late 11th Century. Thus, although Hellenistic (Ancient Greek) and Greco-Roman Civilization influenced Western Civilization, Greece is not the place of direct origin of Western European Civilization, but of the distinct Eastern European Civilization. Ancient and medieval Eastern European Civilization, like Western European Civilization, produced many fine fruits. 

     Therefore, “Western” Civilization does not mean “European” Civilization in general, in the sense of being Occidental (Western), as opposed to Oriental (Eastern, e.g. Asian) civilization. Only Western European Civilization is the cultural successor to Western Roman Civilization. Even if Eastern European Civilization, which has been less active in the contemporary era, currently would be considered to form, together with Western European Civilization, a new general “Western Civilization” that encompasses the entire Occident, it would only be because the former has been subsumed by the latter, not because they share a common direct ancestor. Regardless, although the two civilizations influenced each other, they remain different enough to identify them as distinct. The fact that some contemporary Eastern Europeans consider themselves Westerners does not alter these facts.

     In addition to historical accuracy and the recognition and appreciation of different cultures, a major significance of this point is that it disproves the common misconception that Ancient Greece is the source of inspiration for the American so-called “democracy.” The late 6th Century B.C. Greek democracy, which lasted only thirty years, along with other ancient Greek ideals, was only partially inspirational to the American Founding Fathers. The Republic of Rome, along with certain ancient Roman ideals, was the main source of inspiration for the American representative republic. Indeed, democracy is a Greek word and republic a Latin one. James Madison made clear the differences between a democracy and a representative republic in Federalist #14 in defending the proposed Constitution that established a federal republic on the American Continent instead of a democracy, which is only practical on a small scale, among other problems.

     In conclusion, the ancient Greeks and Romans influenced each other, but Roman-Inspired Western European Civilization (“Western Civilization” for short) is culturally distinct from more Greek-Inspired Eastern European Civilization.  Therefore, Ancient Greece is not the cradle of Western Civilization.