I share Kevin Rudd’s appreciation of what’s good about Western culture (“Don’t believe rumours of the West’s death”, The Australian, 1/8), but he can’t resist slipping a couple of his pet projects into the mix.
Democracy is a definitive Western ideal, but the “flexibility of free markets” is an economic implementation detail, just as likely to be found outside the West. Insofar as the people decide to regulate for social good, that is their will.
The power of the “inquiring mind” is undoubted, but why must it be “individually driven”? Western science has always been a collective enterprise, as is the open-source development model of very Western companies like Google and IBM.
Democracy, by definition, is collective decision-making. There is no guarantee it will favour individualist, free-market ideologies.