Inglehart–Welzel Cultural Map

Source: World Value Survey

The plot above is the result of the “World Value Survey”. It assumes that there are two major dimensions of cross cultural variation in the world: “Traditional values versus secular-rational values” and “Survival values versus self-expression values”.

Sounds interesting at least for 3 seconds. Then we are discovering the strange axis labels – the opposite of tradition is lost tradition not rational value. The authors explain traditional values by the importance of religion, parent-child ties, deference to authority and traditional family values. People who embrace these values also reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride and a nationalistic outlook.

As a protestant, Inglehart–Welzel put me top right “having less or no traditional values, no religion, parent-child ties, no need for authority and traditional family values”. According to them I am “pro divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide with low level of national pride” – which is clearly wrong, just by a simple example.

I am quite sure that a  single item analysis – lets say divorce rate vs Gross Domestic Product would compare countries much better. But do we even need such kind of science? The whole scheme is dangerously simplified – producing more stereotypes that I would have expected from any political scientists.

Damit stoße ich nun wieder an ihre alte Frage an mich: wie ich mich denn in dieser Zeit als Deutscher fühle? Meine Antwort muß sein: Gar nicht. So wie Hölderlin einst sagte, es sei die Zeit der Könige nicht mehr, so ist nun die Zeit der Völker nicht mehr. (Heinrich Blücher)