Are Westerners ignorant of countries and cultures outside their own?
Oh heck yeah. But it isn't just ignorance of other countries and cultures, it's ignorance of real life in other parts of their own country, ignorance of how Washington works, ignorance by the childless about parents and kids, ignorance of science and medicine and technology, etc.
Too many Westerners believe that just because they surf the web and read a handful of pre-groomed pseudo-news snipits from their favorite purveyors that they therefore are well informed and know how the world works.
When you combine the nonstop polarization on issues in the West with the adamant "I know I'm right because I saw the meme" mentality you end up with ignorance riding a rocket to hell.
I don't think ignorance of other cultures is simply a western issue. In fact, I think developing countries are more ignorant of other cultures than western countries. To begin with education is poorer in these countries, meaning people are less informed in general. Further, people in these countries are going to be more driven to learn things that are likely to be useful to them. One would generally want to learn Literacy, Math, I.T., etc. rather than learning about other cultures. The pursuit of knowledge strictly for academic reasons is a luxury of the rich.
If so, what's to blame?
This isn't hard... We USED to teach civics.. Right wingers think learning civics from a LIBERAL teacher is left wing indoctrination, so they ENDED it..
If THAT didn't make us dumb enough, they wanna get RID of science too.. Cause, you know, science is a liberal plot..
I feel that ''The West'' is more au fait with the lifestyles and cultural heritages of other societies than they are of ours.
Whilst it is advisable and helpful to be aware of the customs and practices of cultures other than your own it is more important to be fully conversant with the intricacies and nature of the society in which you live.
We can all learn from each other but it is important not to become obsessed with the ways of foreign nations and to be careful not to adopt elements of other societies which would weaken or dilute the principles upon which your own culture was founded.
I think that other cultures have copied, if not stolen and exploited many of the inventions and discoveries of the west including 'mass production', (courtesy of Henry Ford), manufacturing processes ( we must remember the industrial revolution began in the U.K) and marketing techniques as developed and honed by the mighty corporations of the United States.
Of course other nations such as Japan, and now numerous Asian countries have taken western inventions like the computer, the internet, television, the radio, the telephone, cameras, the automobile, the aeroplane, the internal combustion engine, the jet engine, space going rockets and and so forth and are beating us at our own game, so far.
Western culture, but in particular the so called pop culture of the U.S, has been adopted and adapted by most other free nations.
The culture of many worldwide sports such as golf, rugby, cricket, Marquess of Queensberry rules boxing, and many would argue, modern day soccer all originate in the U.K.
In this context it is clear that western innovation, originality and creativity has enriched the lifestyles and living standards of other non-western nations to a significantly greater degree than they have to ours.
The importance of protecting these world beating qualities of the western peoples must be recognised.
It is ''Johnny Foreigner'' who looks to the west for new ideas and technical advancement much more so than vice versa.
It is to the west that the begging bowls point during the endless crop failures of many African nations and other natural disasters.
Yes, we have a lot to learn from the rest of the world, but there is a lot more they they can learn from us.
Yes, cultures that cover women in burka cages... suck. Cultures that practice cutting clitorises off of girls... suck. Cultures that make alcohol an offense worthy of prison or death...suck. Cultures that stone people accused of minor offenses even if not proven...suck. Cultures that pull out knives and cut horrified children in blood rituals...suck. And not wanting to mingle with such cultures? Is normal and sane.
No, because this implies that every single person in the West is ignorant of other cultures. Whilst it is true that some people are ignorant of other cultures for whatever reason, not every single person is like that. There many who make it their job to research other cultures and implement it into their life and the life of others.