Bruce Pardy, writer for Financial Post, Canada: If you live in a Western nation like Canada in the 21st century, you have more freedom, prosperity and peace than most of the rest of the world at most other times in history. Yet these countries have never been at greater risk. The threat is not pandemics, climate change or war but something more insidious. Modern Western civilization grew out of the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries. The ascendancy of reason in human affairs produced the scientific method and later the Industrial Revolution. Add in the rule of law, individual liberty, private property and capitalism, and you have the basic recipe that has raised most of humanity out of poverty over two centuries.