US President Donald Trump holds an arms-sales chart with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018. Photo: AFP/Mandel Ngan
Then-US president Donald Trump holds an arms-sales chart with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018. Trump's successor Joe Biden is less enthusiastic about embracing the Saudi regime. Photo: AFP / Mandel Ngan

In any conversation, Western citizens tend to express the pride they take in what they define as “Western values.” Arguing that they abide by a set of high moral standards that sets them apart from the rest of the world, they fail to notice that the values they claim may be the accidental product of the strict rules and regulations that control and discipline their societies. Should these provisions ever degenerate, Westerners will behave chaotically and immorally. 

Western nations’ superiority is derived from the fact that they are scientifically driven nations that offer dignified, prosperous lives to their citizens and provide them with appropriate paths for personal growth, which positively reflects on their societies’ evolution.

Moreover, Western nations have articulated ruling mechanisms that allow their politicians to exercise and share power, but do not necessarily serve their citizens’ best interests. Meanwhile, moral values can be better observed in the actions of human beings living in the absence of democracy and rule of law.   

The authenticity of moral values is most noticeable in individuals who stand by their beliefs and values knowing that voicing these will result in certain disgrace. For example, unlike Westerners whose freedom of expression is protected by law, citizens of autocratic nations often struggle between expressing their opinions, which – if not to the liking of the ruler – could land them in prison for years, and keeping silent, living safe, neutral lives.  

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is a practical proverb that may safeguard the lives of people living in “Rome,” but that lacks the basic essence of morality. It reflects an attitude that encourages people to offer bribes when working in a corrupt nation and to refrain from doing so in nations where strict business regulations are enforced.

Although many Western nations penalize their citizens for committing bribery overseas, international companies often manage to overcome this obstacle by assigning a local agency to handle corruption on their behalf. 

Decades ago, Western nations habitually committed completely immoral acts such as serious crimes, national wars, gender inequality and sexual harassment, among others –until they put into place a number of transformative rules and regulations that allowed them to live progressive, moral lives, attain their present superior status and develop a constructive Western interstate relationship.

The West makes no attempt to build this type of constructive relationship with the rest of the world, where its relationships are driven mostly by economic interests. 

Although Western scholars often argue that autocracy is a barrier to national advancement, some Western nations behave hypocritically by offering large amounts of aid to autocratically ruled countries with whose leaders they often maintain harmonious relations. Accordingly, they export arms and military equipment to these nations knowing that their military-budget provisions could be better spent on offsetting real national deficiencies, such as education and health care.

Western nations have managed to develop a path to prosperity that serves them well and that revolves around self-interest, national strength and competitiveness; their moral values were probably formulated to advance this lifestyle.

The present Covid-19 pandemic portrays how Western nations deal with human evolution by advocating for providing ventilators to infected youngsters expected to spend long lifetimes in the service of their nations, at the expense of their elders whose past national contributions are discounted. Meanwhile, the culprits behind the ventilator shortage have yet to be interrogated.

The majority of Western populations no doubt behave morally; however, they are powerless citizens who are only able to make their voices heard once every few years, at elections, when choosing their representatives mostly from a predetermined basket of political elites who are often manipulating their nations’ policies, regardless of their political leanings, leading us to question the very essence of Western democracy. 

By extolling their moral values, Western nations tend to acquire a sense of false moral supremacy, which is eventually translated into imposing their ideas and policies on the rest of the world – a move that in itself dismantles the core of morality.

Actually, the true achievement of Western nations came at the hands of previous generations who fought to establish democracy and rule of law in their nations that had been sinking into a state of massive chaos, thus creating the supremacy status that the present Western generation is arrogantly harvesting today.  

Mohammed Nosseir

Mohammed Nosseir is an Egyptian liberal politician who advocates political participation and economic freedom. Nosseir was member of the higher committee at the Democratic Front Party from 2007 to 2012, followed by being a member of the political bureau of the Free Egyptian Party until 2013.