Since the prosperity of the Roman Empire, Western society has established itself as the dominant economic and political force in the global arena. Western society established itself as the most civilized economic power by basing itself on ideas seen through Ancient Roman and Ancient Greek concepts that include equality, liberty, and democracy. While no civilization is perfect, Western society has seen immigrants flock to it like no other society has seen. While some people suggest that calling Western society “superior” is some kind of racist sentiment, I argue that one of the greatest aspects of Western society is the fact that anyone from any nation, religion or ethnicity can establish themselves in Western society. It is no wonder that immigrants risk their lives to enter Europe and the United States. The fact is, these nations offer economic freedom and racial and religious equality, coupled with liberty and democracy. These characteristics make Western countries the ideal destination for immigrants looking for a better life.
First, let’s define a Western society. According to Science Daily, “Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Western lifestyle or European civilization, is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe” (1). Besides Europe, this can also describe the United States, Canada, and Australia. Simply put, Western countries are nations whose cultural, linguistic, and economic lineage are associated with Europe. Although Europe at a time was unappealing to immigrants, at the moment, immigrants are flocking to Europe and the United States for their stable politics, stable economic situation, and overall safety. This makes western civilization an ideal place for immigrants and refugees to escape political turmoil.
By no means am I suggesting Western civilization is perfect. The history of Western civilization, particularly the British Empire and the colonization of Africa, represents a bleak and wretched time for citizens of Africa and Asia who were exploited for monetary gain. However, at the current moment, Europe and the United States is a highly welcoming environment for legal immigrants and actual refugees. While Europe and the United States struggle with their own domestic issues, they present themselves as a highly favorable alternative to failing economies, human rights violations, and the lack of opportunities we see in non-Western nations.
I am not suggesting that non-Western nations are undesirable, but instead that Western societies have highly desirable attributes that make them highly sought after. Immigrants are flocking from every corner of the globe to enter Western civilization. My own parents are immigrants from the Middle East and their lives have been exponentially improved as a result of their immigration. As Christians in the Middle East, a highly persecuted religious minority, my parents were able to escape egregious human rights violations and now enjoy a peaceful life free from war, persecution, and economic instability. This is not only my story: this is the story of millions of immigrants and refugees who escaped hardship to come to the West. Although their journey was hard and they risked their lives, their reward for coming to the west was financial security, liberty, political power, and an overall higher standard of living. This is why the West is so great: Its welcoming environment still has room to grow and improve, and yet, immigrants continue to pour into the West. As we criticize Europe and the United States, let’s remember that many of our parents faced harsh lives in their home countries, and although the immigration system is slow, the United States welcomes immigrants with open arms and will continue to do so for millennia.