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Arrested for falling for another woman
#11
Not to derail the thread, but I think the conversation here is more interesting that the article, to be honest.

I think there is also a lot of value in terms of understanding present situations in many parts of the world, to think about the lasting effects of European colonization around the world. Like [MENTION=23097]Insertnamehere[/MENTION] brought up, the law against homosexuality that is mentioned in the article is a colonial law. Europe can pat itself on the back by thinking how good Western European societies treat people, but that is by no means a historical legacy.

Of course it wasn't just Western Europeans who have conquered and colonized other peoples, but the scale and influence of that specific example, as well as the wealth and power it brought to those countries is pretty clear. Its kind of crazy to try to imagine what England, for example, would be like if it had not been a colonial power, like if it were only its own resources and what came from trade that it had access to. What a different society it might be. I don't think that history of colonization only affects the modern situation of the formerly colonized countries.

But Western Europe isn't the same as it was 100 years ago. And I find that really interesting. I know there are a few users here who not only have a lot of knowledge about European history, but also a lot of passion for it. I'm thinking of [MENTION=21405]meridannight[/MENTION] and [MENTION=23123]Alto[/MENTION] because you two have certainly made the impression on me that you both have that knowledge and passion and that you really care about and love the histories of your countries. But my question is open to anyone that wants to answer it.

What I'm curious about is, in your opinion, what things were factors in changing Western Europe in general, or any country there specifically, into the kind of place it is today? It is pretty obvious that Western European countries have high standards of living, that they are very forward thinking in terms of how people are treated and the freedoms people have, the relative peace and stability enjoyed there.

In other words, if we were to look to Europe, or a specific country there, as an example of how a society can change for the better, what would be the most important things to do or focus on?



(if this is too far off topic let me know and I'll make a different thread)
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#12
Emiliano Wrote:But Western Europe isn't the same as it was 100 years ago. And I find that really interesting. I know there are a few users here who not only have a lot of knowledge about European history, but also a lot of passion for it. I'm thinking of [MENTION=21405]meridannight[/MENTION] and [MENTION=23123]Alto[/MENTION] because you two have certainly made the impression on me that you both have that knowledge and passion and that you really care about and love the histories of your countries. But my question is open to anyone that wants to answer it.

What I'm curious about is, in your opinion, what things were factors in changing Western Europe in general, or any country there specifically, into the kind of place it is today? It is pretty obvious that Western European countries have high standards of living, that they are very forward thinking in terms of how people are treated and the freedoms people have, the relative peace and stability enjoyed there.

In other words, if we were to look to Europe, or a specific country there, as an example of how a society can change for the better, what would be the most important things to do or focus on?

yes, i do care passionately about Europe, its past and future.

your question is very good, and it could be grounds for a very interesting discussion.

to give you the most obvious answer -- what factored to change Europe in general to what it is today -- the French Revolution, of course. that, by far, was the biggest effector of change that resulted in the progressive society we see in Europe today. the Revolution, and Napoleon who consolidated its progressive outcomes into law. most Western European constitutions still base off of the Napoleonic Code.

and, while we're on the subject, it was France of the Revolution that first decriminalized homosexuality of all European powers (in 1791). it was in 1799 in France that Cambacérès, an openly homosexual man, served as a second consul with Bonaparte, and helped put together the Napoleonic Code.

there's more to the subject than the French Revolution, of course. i would argue that with all the negative phases Europe has gone through in history (the Inquisition, Savonarola in Firenze, just to name a couple of examples), European mindset was never truly ever divorced from human nature. as a consequence, Europeans have always, to a greater or lesser degree, left people to their own devices, to make up their own minds about what to do and what not to do.

examples of progressive spirit far ahead of their time continue to flare up throughout the whole European history from ancient Rome to the Enlightenment era (e.g. there were examples of pairs of men marrying -- actually getting married in the Roman church -- in 16th century Italy; and in Firenze men stood up to Savonarola and staged a riot during his sermon).

there are these bright sparks scattered all over the European history, that i'd say the underlying current has always been there. it just needed a large-scale impetus to establish its roots, the opportunity which the French Revolution successfully provided it.

that's the most general-term answer to your question. of course, a lot needed to be done even after the Revolution, but that's where i'd start looking. Europe of today is unquestionably the result of the French Revolution.
''Do I look civilized to you?''
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