Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark

In light of the savage and virulent attacks on President Trump and his defense of Western Civilization in regards to his recent speech in Poland perhaps we should pause and reflect upon these two grand and probing questions: What is Western Civilization? What constitutes its historical make-up and distinction from other civilizations?  There is no better place to begin to answer these questions than with the magisterial BBC series, Civilisation. It has set the gold standard for broadcasting integrity and intellectual content for almost five decades.

Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark—is a television documentary series outlining the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages. The series was produced by the BBC and aired in 1969 on BBC2. Both the television scripts and the accompanying book version were written by art historian Lord Kenneth Clark (1903–1983), who also presented the series. The series is considered to be a landmark in British Television’s broadcasting of the visual arts. I remember viewing the entire series on PBS in 1970 and have never forgotten this experience. Accordingly I have used this series as a teaching tool with my World History high school students since 1994.

President Trump eloquently and forcefully said exactly what needed to be said about defense of Western Civilization. Whoever crafted and honed this epic speech performed a remarkable task, brilliantly weaving references to Polish history as integral to the story of the West, to the common relationship with the United States, and to the solidarity of the American and Polish peoples. This was a speech that could have never been delivered by Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.


8:05 am on July 12, 2017