First of all, the examples of societal collapse are illustrative of the point that culture, ideas and what Quigley characterized as 'outlook do matter - and that they matter a great deal. So much so that the combination of these factors will ultimately determine the direction that a particular nation takes.
This leads us to the second of your assertions. That "Germany today, Norway and Sweden today, even Peru today don't make up great threats to world peace or to the United States." You are correct as far as that goes. But it's what underlies and connects these seemingly disparate nations that does pose a therat to all of us who adhere to the Western ideals of individual freedo, conscience and compassion. As Quigley puts it,
The problem of finding constructive patterns for Latin America is much more difficult than the problem of finding constructive priorities. One reason for this is that the unconstructive patterns that now prevail in Latin America are deeply entrenched as a result of centuries and even millennia of persistent background. In fact, the Latin American patterns that must be changed because today they are leading to social and cultural disruption are not really Latin American in origin, or even Iberian for that matter, but are Near Eastern, and go back, for some of their aspects, for two thousand or more years. As a general statement, we might say that the Latin American cultural pattern (including personality patterns and general outlook) is Arabic, while its social pattern is that of Asiatic despotism. The pattern as a whole is so prevalent today, not only in Latin America, but in Spain, Sicily, southern Italy, the Near East, and in various other areas of the Mediterranean world (such as Egypt), that we might well call it the "Pakistani- Peruvian axis." For convenience of analysis we shall divide it into "Asiatic despotism" and the "Arabic outlook."
So what we're really looking at is not the superficialty of the construct of nations, but of cultural patterns and outlook that have more influence than appeals to a particular nationality. America was always more of a cultural ideal whose roots lay in the foundation of the Christian West.
Thus, the Pakistani-Peruvian axis ofwhich Quigley speaks is is cultural / sociological one; the geographic endpoints of his putative axis are merely place markers to indicate its exent - much like saying "from here to Timbuktu." I'm willing to grant Quigley a bit of hyperbole as he makes his point rather well.
As to the contention that Quigley says that Christianity somehow isn't a major factor in Spanish culture - that's incorrect. What he does say is that much of the nominally Christian culture along his axis had failed to ameliorate or otherwise change the destructive aspects of the outlook comprised of he combination of Asiatic despotism and the Arabic outlook. And that it had in fact become contaminated by those destructive influences. Citing Quigley once again:
Interestingly enough, these attitudes have successfully survived the efforts of the three great religions of ethical monotheism, native to the area, to change these attitudes. The ethical sides of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam sought to counteract harshness, egocentricity, tribalism, cruelty, scorn of work and of one's fellow creatures, but these efforts, on the whole, have met with little success throughout the length of the Pakistani- Peruvian axis. Of the three, Christianity, possibly because it set the highest standards of the three, has fallen furthest from achieving its aims. Love, humility, brotherhood, cooperation, the sanctity of work, the fellowship of the community, the image of man as a fellow creature made in the image of God, respect for women as personalities and partners of men, mutual helpmates on the road to spiritual salvation, and the vision of our universe, with all its diversity, complexity, and multitude of creatures, as a reflection of the power and goodness of Godthese basic aspects of Christ's teachings are almost totally lacking throughout the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and most notably absent on the "Christian" portion of that axis from Sicily, or even the Aegean Sea, westward to Baja California and Tierra del Fuego. Throughout the whole axis, human actions are not motivated by these "Christian virtues" but by the more ancient Arabic personality traits, which became vices and sins in the Christian outlook: harshness, envy, lust, greed, selfishness, cruelty, and hatred.
The upshot of all of this is hat none of us live in an intellectual or political vacuum. The extent of prosperity, liberty, and population are defined by our culture and our world view - or outlook, as Quigley puts it. Human history is a continuum, not merely a series of events, or as someone once put it, "one damn thing after another." The ideas and cultural patterns of antiquity have left their mark on all of the succeeding centuries, no matter what our pretentions and protestations to the contrary. All of it had consequences, consequences that we experience today.
Understand that I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you; it's just that there's more to the story than meets the eye. And that we here in America are in fact very much alone with respect to our unique cultural patterns and outlook, all of which are under assault and have been degraded by generations of the Machiavellian-Gramscian-Marcusian memes.
The essence of it is this: destroy our unique American culture based upon liberty, individual conscience and all of those thigns so eloquently summarized by Quigley as the crown of Western civilization, and very bad things will take its place, courtesy of the confluence of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and the Scandanavian-Slavic axis. Some have spoken of a thousand years of a new Dark Age. Try ten thousand. Or more. That's what's at stake here.
Look at what you've quoted Quigley several times as saying:
Love, humility, brotherhood, cooperation, the sanctity of work, the fellowship of the community, the image of man as a fellow creature made in the image of God, respect for women as personalities and partners of men, mutual helpmates on the road to spiritual salvation, and the vision of our universe, with all its diversity, complexity, and multitude of creatures, as a reflection of the power and goodness of Godthese basic aspects of Christ's teachings are almost totally lacking throughout the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and most notably absent on the "Christian" portion of that axis from Sicily, or even the Aegean Sea, westward to Baja California and Tierra del Fuego. Throughout the whole axis, human actions are not motivated by these "Christian virtues" but by the more ancient Arabic personality traits, which became vices and sins in the Christian outlook: harshness, envy, lust, greed, selfishness, cruelty, and hatred.
That's quite a fierce and blistering indictment: "Almost totally lacking." It sounds like what you and he want to do is to have it both ways. To make a savage attack on Spain and Latin America as societies where Christianity hasn't had much of an impact and then to deny having made the indictment.
Professors love to do things like that, to lead readers to some extreme conclusion and then attack people for simply connecting the dots. But if you or he want to weasel out of what he's obviously saying, fine, but be aware that other people reading what he wrote aren't going to be taken in by the disavowals.
I don't entirely disagree with you and Quigley. What Quigley writes about Latin America isn't radically different from what Octavio Paz said about Mexico, his own country, but there's a contempt and dismissiveness in Quigley, as well as a complacency about the North American alternative, that Paz didn't share.
There probably are some similarities between Latin America and Southern Europe on the one hand, and the Middle East and Islamic world on the other, at least in comparison to the United States. But Quigley is far too quick to reach the conclusion that Latin American society is more influenced by "ancient Arabic personality traits" than by "Christian virtues." I'd want to study indigenous New World peoples, look at Christian and European societies in other historical periods, and examine how other non-Western cultures handled the issues that he brings up.
I don't exclude the possibility that South and Central America failed in someway to develop as we have, but similar failures occurred in societies with no Arab or Muslim influence at all. Such "failure" may be the norm around the world, rather than something exceptional, and such success as we've had may be more recent and unusual than he assumes.
What Quigley's doing is just what plenty of Southern Europeans and Latin Americans did when they attacked Northern Europe or North America as not really Christian, as given to the worship of Mammon and machines. He just turns their indictment on its head. It was wrong, foolish, and unfair when they attacked us in that way, and what Quigley wrote is equally wrong, foolish, and unfair.
It's bizarre to imagine a Catholic professor at a Catholic college having such a bitter, jaundiced view of some very Catholic societies. Maybe the poor man really understood that what he was talking about wasn't so much Christianity as individualism or classical liberalism, excellent things indeed, but not identical to Christianity.
Also, even if Quigley was spot-on about world problems 40 or 50 years ago, his stuff can't be read today as if it were the last word on other societies. One can't write about Madrid or Buenos Aires or Mexico City today without taking into account the influence modernization and democratization have had on those cities, and their countries and cultures.