Against Western Elitism: Not Against Western People

Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves.

(Genesis 11, 4)


To be opposed to or to dislike any particular people as a whole is defined as racial prejudice, since nobody can know a whole people. Thus, ‘anti-Semitism’, now usually defined as hatred of Jews, is racist. In the last century millions of Jews were slaughtered by anti-Semites in Western Europe. On the other hand, anti-Zionism is not racist; many devout Jews are anti-Zionists and Zionism was long ago condemned as racism by the United Nations. This is because Zionism is a political belief that Jews are a people superior, ‘exceptional’, to others. Similarly, to be opposed to Western people is racial prejudice; but to be opposed to Western elitism, the racist belief that Western people and values are superior to others, is not racist.

Indeed, Western peoples have always been the first victims of Western elitism, ever since it was developed as an ideology in the eleventh century. First to suffer were Western people in Sicily, then in England, Wales and soon after in Scotland and Ireland. Only after this came the oppression, by Western elitism, of Non-Western peoples. The first of these suffered at the very end of that same eleventh century. These were Jews in Western Europe and Muslims in the Middle East. After them, and throughout the second millennium, came new victims – in Africa and Asia, in the Americas and Australasia, in India and China. Our question then is twofold: What precisely is Western elitism and how should we react to it?

Western Elitism and Opposition to it

Western elitism is the result of a debased or secularised religious ideology. This developed firstly into Roman Catholicism, secondly into Protestantism, which withdrew religion from the public domain, promoting morality at home and secularism in public, and finally into atheist secularism. Western elitism founded a humanistic culture that is dehumanised because it is heartless and irreligious. It is secularist, materialistic, mechanical, idolatrous, acquisitive, individualist, rationalistic, intellect-bound, exploitative, capitalist, usury-bound, globalist. It has only a truncated, discursive, rationalistic and atheistic way of thinking. With only superior science and technology, it has cleverness, but no wisdom.

Western elitism thinks it is universal and looks on others as irrational, backward and superstitious. It has brought forth a way of life that is cold, calculating, soulless, faithless, rootless, immoral, mindless, cowardly, philistine, shallow, superficial, trivial, banal, artificial, frivolous, selfish, greedy, hedonistic, effete, fashion-addicted, corrupt, decadent, degenerate, promiscuous and money-grubbing. It is the essence of spiritual mediocrity and moral emptiness and has no sense of destiny, creative depth, ideals or lofty ambition. It has commerce, comfort and amoral pleasure, an idolatrous faith in its own creation, but not faith in the Creator. Godless, it has become proud, arrogant and full of hubris.

Western elitism, expressed in imperialism and colonialism, now called globalisation, has created many perverted reactions, ironically conditioned by forms of Western elitism such as Marxism. These reactions see the world in black and white, are violent, fundamentalist, terroristic and nationalistic. They regard not just Western elitism but all Western people as savage and barbarous. Such perversity defines the suicide bombers (kamikaze) of Shintoism, Hinduism and Islamism. The destruction by Islamist terrorists of the Twin Towers and mass murder of people of all races and all creeds working for global capitalism in the Capital of the American Empire is the most classic case of such anti-Western terrorism.


There is no justification for a racially, nationally or religiously exclusive attitude to the Western world, especially one involving violence and terrorism. Discerning opposition to the West is valid, never terrorism. Moreover, opposition is to be directed at Western elitism, not at victimised Western people, and opposition must be guided by Faith. Faith tells us that there is not only discursive, intellectual thought, but also non-discursive, noetic thought, the thoughts of the soul. Faith tells us that experience of reality is more important than mere rationalism, that the wisdom of a simple and pure heart and spiritual heroism are far mightier than any technology, that repentance is required for thinking that we are mightier than God.

Western elitism is not a civilisation because it has lost its spiritual roots and so a unified spiritual culture. It is without Faith or Tradition. It is neither authentic, nor profound, having no spiritual values or ambition to seek salvation and Paradise. The contemporary spiritually and morally aimless West needs an inclusive world view and way of life based on its own Orthodox Christian roots. This world view is noble, integral, holistic, organic, it has historical tradition, spiritual depth and health and understands inevitable suffering and death. Today’s Western world, dominated by Western elitism and its illusory technology, is called on to reverse history by repentance, returning to its roots in the Faith and the Tradition.