This last stage marks the advent of intellectual liberalism, political liberalism—as embodied in modern representative democracies—and economic liberalism.
In all of these three cases, the new paradigm is a self-regulated or selforganizing order along with pluralism, which is not only tolerated, but also starts to be positively valued. As these words themselves suggest, Nemo relies on the works of F. A. Hayek and Karl Popper to illustrate the content of this paradigm, which is synonymous with classical-liberal philosophy and which he believes fully encapsulates Western culture’s salient traits.
His willingness to identify Western culture with liberalism is so strong that he simply rejects, for example, the idea that the totalitarian regimes in the West had anything to do with Western culture as such. According to Nemo, they simply reflect an episode of collective regression to a previous atavistic and tribalistic layer of the kind Hayek discussed.
Hayek’s theory of cultural selection also helps Nemo explain the spread of Western culture’s two great intellectual inventions—the rule of law and the market economy—into other cultural areas. The discovery of these two intellectual constructions, Nemo emphasizes, has brought all humanity extraordinary technical, scientific, and economic progress, although Homo sapiens sapiens has remained biologically the same for the past 150,000 years. The West invented them, but now the West exerts a competitive pressure in the world.
Other cultural areas therefore imitate and adopt— sometimes with great success, as in the case of technology—the outer forms of the Western civilization. At this point, however, Nemo’s optimistic liberal universalism abandons him, and he becomes preoccupied with the West’s identity and with the protection of that identity.