Olivia Pierson’s Western
Values Defended: A Primer
, is just what its title says it is, a primer
for those unread in what those values are that need to be upheld and defended.
It is a short book, just a general survey of the Western values that are rooted
in ancient Greece but which came to fruition in the Age of Reason and the
Enlightenment. It is only 71 pages long, but it is loaded with ideas which most
people are not familiar with. 

An Amazon review best describes
Pierson’s opus: “
Olivia Pierson is the author of To Love Wisdom – Gateway to
the Heroic for the Young
– is an introduction to philosophy for young
people aged 10-13 and Western Values
Defended: A Primer
– a  punchy and
relevant overview of the greatest gems of Western civilization, and how they
came to define the daily character of individual liberty in the West.” She
writes about politics, history and culture on her website oliviapierson.org.  A reader wrote, “An exceptionally
well-written defense of Western liberal philosophy and culture! At a time when
Western values are overwhelmingly menaced, Ms. Pierson systematically explains
just what Western values are, and why they’re so overwhelmingly important. The
West today is massively under assault from the forces of socialism and
religion, and Ms. Pierson persuasively and passionately explains how we all can
— and must! — fight back against the horrifically threatening darkness.”
For any well-read adult who is
conversant in the issues covered by Pierson, her book is “old news.” What they
must remember is that it is an introduction
to those issues. It would make an incomparable text book in elementary and
high school as an antidote to the government-mandated multicultural pap being
taught in schools today (at least in the U.S.). She introduces the issues in an
elegant, compelling style, one which “old hands” on the subjects will find
attractive and informative (I learned a few things about some of the issues I’d
not encountered elsewhere). It was difficult for me to choose my favorite
chapters in Western Values Defended: “Religious
Tolerance” (which includes a moving and much-earned tribute to Hypatia of
Alexandria, horridly martyred by early Christians because of her mind), “The
Emancipation of Women and Sexual Freedom,” “Freedom of Speech and the Press,” “A
Commitment to Scientific Inquiry,” or “Capitalism and Innovation.”
 Pierson
lays out quite clearly to what Western civilization owes its origin and continued
existence: his mind, or his rational faculty. Man is the only animal that can
change and better the conditions of his existence, by changing his environment,
and he can do that successfully by thinking, by using his mind. She quotes Francis
Bacon, the 17th century English philosopher, statesman, and essayist: “Nature,
to be commanded, must be obeyed.” Another quotation of his that came to mind at
the same time was, “Seek first the virtues of the mind; and other things either
will come, or will not be wanted.” Pierson demonstrates that when man employs
his mind in the furtherance of his life and values, he naturally exploits its
potential virtues, and the results are so multifaceted that one could make a
nearly endless list of the things that benefit and extend one’s life. 
Capitalism has been the greatest life
extender in history. Pierson writes: “What people do not seem to understand is
that a socio-economic system is itself a moral issue.” (60). It is the only
socio-economic system that has a rational basis, ergo a moral foundation. There are other such systems,
and every one of them has imposed and perpetuated misery, ill-health, poverty, subsistence
starvation, and shorter life spans: theocracies, communism, and socialism, all
of which are illusionary and fundamentally anti-mind and anti-freedom and all
of which, regardless of their “benign” inauguration in any country, must become
tyrannies and dictatorships (if things don’t work as “planned,” it must be the
fault of the producers!), not of the proletariat, but of a self-appointed
political elite, jealously kept in power with force and the secret police. (See
now the state of the “proletariat” in Venezuela,
reduced standing in line for hours for toilet paper and batteries and other
necessities, the distribution of which the government took over “in the name of
the people” and created scarcities. It’s socialism at “work.”Venezuela was once
a mildly prosperous nation, thanks to its oil reserves, which the government nationalized
and expropriated years ago.)

Venezuela was one of the original founders of OPEC).
Any government that assumes the role of wealth distribution has abandoned
reality for wishful thinking. Socialists, Social Justice Warriors, and other
collectivists wish to command nature by ignoring it, or without obeying it or
even acknowledging that it exists (e.g., the American Environmental Protection Agency).

One of Pierson’s most illuminating
chapters is the one on Freedom of Speech, and she inevitably touches on the
continuing conflict with Islam, which calls for censorship of any speech that
is in the least critical of Islam (and by extension of Muslims) and the fatal
punishment of anyone (Muslim or infidel) who dares voice a position on Islam,
serious, scholarly or satirical. She writes that freedom of speech, “happens to
stop the vast majority of ideological
conflicts
from spilling over into physical violence.” (p. 44) Muslims can
demonstrate and chant “Freedom of Speech Go to Hell” in Britain without being
attacked by skinheads but any Briton who tweaks
the noses of Muslims
in a private email can be charged by the UK government
with blasphemy or racism or “incitement” to violence. The British and other
Western governments uphold a double standard, favoring Muslims in law but “lawfully”
punishing others for saying what is on their minds about Islam.
To prohibit by force or with threats of
it from speaking one’s mind is a form of mind-control, and Islam is very good
at that, or at least effective. But the freedom of speech to insult the West
and call for its destruction has not stopped Muslims from attacking those “guilty”
of “offensive” speech. The French publication Charlie
Hebdo
is not out of the fire yet.
Nor has it stopped our own governments from
proposing blanket censorship of all communications that denigrate or “offend” Muslims,
even when they are found guilty of the most horrendous crimes. In many cases, Muslims
don’t need to resort to violence to shut people up. Western governments,
using the power of the state, will act as their proxies by suppressing speech.
Pierson writes, “When any culture
provides a robust arena for the fierce competition of ideas to be expressed without
hurt feelings derailing the issue, the men and women of such a civilization can
only improve, and not devolve.”  What many
fail to grasp, however, is that Islam fears such an arena, because it knows it
would come out the sorriest, and so it works incessantly to either suppress
free speech or get Western governments to do the dirty work for it. For all the
violence Islam is responsible for, for the thousands of deaths and
indescribable misery it has caused over its 1,400-year existence, Islam is basically an ideology of cowards
It fears the sunlight of freedom and
unfettered speech. So it skulks in the darkness and strikes you behind your
back, or while you’re sleeping or soaking in the rays on a beach. Olivia Pierson’s
Western Values Defended will help
more people, and especially the young, understand that. It will open new worlds to them, such as
the treasure trove of Western values, and the cancerous spread of statism and Islam.