Thursday, January 28, 2010
First published in TOQ Online: http://www.toqonline.com/2010/01/tired-of-low-quality/
Are you not tired of paying top dollar for an item and seeing it fall apart after a few years? I certainly am. My philosophy as a (reluctant) consumer has always been to spend a little more and purchase a high-quality item, rather than pinch my pennies and purchase whatever will do the job, and purchase it again and again, each time it breaks, ad infinitum. As time has passed, however, I have found myself increasingly disappointed with my purchases, for even top-of-the-line manufactured products have come to be built with increasingly flimsy materials. Close examination of even a supposedly industrial-strength kitchen appliance, for example, such as a Dualit toaster or a KitchenAid mixer, reveals, invariably, one key weak link: a key component made out of plastic, which, defying all the steel around it, has been designed to consign the entire device to the junk yard by breaking after a few hundred hours. As time has passed, therefore, I have come to find the shops are, in fact, replete with junk, and have turned, accordingly, to the antiques market in search for quality.
Before the 1950s, many consumer objects that we take for granted today were relatively more costly; but, at the same time, they were also manufactured to be durable. As a result, if a person purchased a typewriter at the age of 20, it was likely to last until his death, and beyond. It was also a repairable item. After the 1950s, however, the philosophy of major manufacturers changed, as it was realized that once everyone had everything they needed, sales would drop, thus making it impossible to maintain growth in many industries. The result was a shift away from quality and durability and towards inbuilt obsolescence and constant technological upgrades. This not only increased market share, as consumer goods could be manufactured (and therefore sold) more cheaply, but it proved up to eight times more profitable, because of the inbuilt need to constantly replace items every few years.
Thus, the consumer has ended up paying more in the long run for a worse product – worse despite the superior technology, because, after certain point and beyond a narrow set of key areas, most people hardly benefit from added functions. Toilet paper only needs to be soft; the quilting, the colors, the moisturizers, the instant chemical analysis and forwarding of nutritional recommendations to your email address by the electronic paper, are simply excuses to charge more.
What annoys me, however, is not so much the fact that such practices exist, for, in a free market economy, they are bound to appear and add to choice; what annoys me is the fact that the old-fashioned alternative has been made impossible by the predations of big government and its preferred debt-based monetary system.
The link is less tenuous that you would like to think.
Governments grow big in the hands of world-improver politicians who think they know better, and believe that society needs a big, fat, racially indeterminate nanny, offering top-down solutions to every problem (except, of course, those afflicting the hard-working White majority that feeds her) and keeping the multicultural pressure cooker from exploding. The big, fat, racially indeterminate nanny requires vast sums of tax money, and seeks to perpetuate her presence by gorging herself into immobility. She therefore craves for an ever-larger bite of private earnings, and desires to know, monitor, record, analyze, and regulate every aspect of a citizen’s life in order to tax it. Yet, of course, even the most rapacious tax regime would be insufficient to fund the nanny’s voracity (at least not without risking open revolt from the White middle class), so her handler-politicians, for whom avoiding the noose relies on a continuously growing economy, welcome a debt-based monetary system. Such a system enables them to bribe a lazy electorate with handouts without their having to worry about the funding, for the system makes it possible for governments to borrow without limit, safe in the knowledge that debts need not ever be repaid.
Since in this system, debt equals money printing, and money printing equals currency devaluation (a.k.a., ‘inflation’), the consequence for businesses is the progressive destruction of profits through accelerating tax predation, interest on debt, and monetary devaluation. This is compounded, in turn, by the fact that taxes, interest, and devaluations also progressively destroy the purchasing power of the consumer, upon whom businesses depend. In sum: everything becomes more expensive than it needs to be.
This makes a regular supply of technological breakthroughs necessary for survival. But, as these are by no means predictable or guaranteed, and it is difficult indeed to come up with a fabulously profitable business model, the next line of defense is, necessarily, economizing on materials, labor, and service; and drastically limiting a product’s lifespan. After a while, the only businesses able to offer genuine, old-fashioned levels of quality are small in size, narrow in scope, and vocational in nature. They are also difficult to find, as they are obscure and do not survive for long.
With such environmental pressures, it is not surprising to find that profitable businesses increasingly expend their ingenuity in constantly finding new and creative ways of deceiving the consumer. Cereal brands continue to sell their cereals in large boxes, whose graphics are enhanced every year, but whose contents are reduced in the same proportion: cereal boxes are sold half empty these days; it is all about visibility on the supermarket shelf. Kitchen towels are sold in 3 for 2 offers, but, upon closer examination, the three rolls are fluffed up, with the paper towels rolled so loosely that the three rolls contain less paper than two rolls selling at full price, so one effectively pays more for less. Meat is pumped with water, ostensibly “for added succulence,” but in reality to make the cut heavier and its price higher. More egregiously, as a BBC documentary showed in the United Kingdom a few years ago, meat that is past is display-by date, and sometimes even its use-by date, is routinely soaked in brine and repackaged with new use-by dates in the future. Much of the meat being sold in major British supermarkets is rotten and fit only for vultures (come and sue me: I have years’ worth of evidence).
Creativity is diverted from truly improving a product to finding ways to charge more for a worse version of it, concealing a downgrade that costs less under the illusion of an upgrade that sells for more.
The desperate drive for ever-keener efficiency savings degrade customer service in a similar manner. Nowadays it is virtually impossible to telephone a business above a certain size and speak to a human, let alone one of European descent: consumers are forced to endure obnoxious IVRs, installed on premium lines and fiendishly designed to phlebotomize the caller’s bank account with their tiered menus, perversely ordered options, and slow and overly prolix enunciation. And, where a way is found to circumvent the IVRs (pressing star or hash repeatedly tends to work), most of the time we are served by lobotomized, low-cost humans in a cubicle in an Indian call center, with incomprehensible accents reading from, and unable to comprehend anything outside, an infuriating, patronizing, pleonastic script.
The businesses that employ these subterfuges are the fortunate ones. Usually, they are the big ones, the ones able to open sweatshops in Vietnam and El Salvador and lobby election-conscious, donor-receptive politicians for a multi-billion dollar bailout when deserted by their customers. Those who cannot marshal these resources – the traditional family businesses – find themselves progressively crunched into oblivion.
When fiscal predations are aggressively inflicted on all areas of business, when success is systematically penalized and mediocrity regularly rewarded, when private citizen and small and medium enterprise alike feel the mounting fiscal pressure without the government offering anything in return (except more surveillance, more laws, more regulations, more red tape, more immigration, more propaganda, more spurious wars, more rigged elections, and more political correctness), it is not surprising that many feel tempted to go on strike and emigrate or disappear – to say, “You know what? To hell with it!”
While living in The Netherlands during the 1980s, I found that Dutch office workers groaned under a tyrannical fiscal regime. Some dreaded being promoted and awarded a pay-raise, since that would have put them on a higher and more punitively taxed income bracket, resulting in their being left with even less of the money that they had worked for. They were, as a result, not very motivated to be particularly brilliant. The moment the clock hit 5 o’clock, pens fell from fingers and offices experienced explosive decompression, with workers disappearing into the ether within seconds. At he same time, the high streets of all major towns were teeming any day of the week – teeming with young, able-bodied, healthy men and women (many of them colored), who preferred not working and receiving generous welfare payments over working and having their financial reward stolen from them.
During the 1990s, such a species was not uncommon in Nordic countries – their generous welfare provisions made it possible to live a perfectly comfortable, idle lifestyle.
Among Third World immigrants, this is El Dorado: an abundance of free money, security, reliable infrastructure, space-age technology, and a non-threatening population of soft, depressed, dependent, indolent Whites, sitting ducks for them to shoot down (or blow up) at their earliest convenience.
Against such backdrop, it no doubt becomes possible for some of the European aborigines to conceptualize periodic spells on welfare as an effort to claw back money that has been suctioned from their paycheck by the government. Certainly, this would avoid the risk of imprisonment through becoming a tax rebel.
The picture that emerges is a world of impoverished, demotivated workers, enslaved by debt and forced to endure poor customer service and to make do with flimsy, cheap (but overpriced), low-quality goods, manufactured by debt-ridden companies forced into subterfuge and pandering to privileged minorities in their desperation to stay above the rising waters of inflation and taxation; a world of pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, and Nigerian businessmen proposing to share their millions, because criminality is the only way left to run a profitable enterprise.
Fortunately, there is still a way around this in some areas. Mine is bypassing the shops and going to the antiques and second-hand market. Not only are antiques not subject to VAT or manufactured by raceless politically correct corporations, but one is more likely to find goods made to last a lifetime. Some of these goods, because they are both sturdy and low-tech, offer the additional advantage of immunizing the consumer against eventualities and small disasters. For example, two years ago my laptop broke down during a house move. I was, at the time, in the middle of writing a novel. What did I do? I lifted the cover of my 1955 Remington Noiseless and carried on typing. Another example: two months ago my wife and I experienced a power outage. Modern telephones need mains power to operate and we live in the country, meaning our cellphones have only a weak and intermittent signal. No chance of it holding out long enough to get past the IVR and the endless queue. What did I do? I went to my 1947 Bakelite rotor-dial telephone and called the electricity company, keeping silent until I was allowed past the IVR. Obsolete technology works just fine in many instances and provide a more economical and reliable solution to modern technological failure (an event likely to become more frequent in our dystopian future of crippling debt, shortages, 90% taxes, and hyperinflation). It also makes it more difficult for the government to keep track of the consumer, as newer technology is more capable and efficient in this respect.
Perhaps there is a suggestion here as to a possible way forward. I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this way.
I would like to think that the future is in traditional, high quality, original goods and services, supplied by small and medium enterprise capable of social intelligence and a personal touch. In other words, in going back to the good old ways, except with the benefit of modern science and superior technical knowledge. These were the ways that made Europe the world’s economic master. Of course, whether or not that remains a fanciful dream depends on what we do. But there is no doubt that the hard-working White middle class is tired of being ripped off with cheap, generic, sub-prime manufacture, IVRs, and microcephalous, fake-sounding, foreign call center nincompoops, employed by faceless, raceless, politically correct corporations propped up by bailout money and partly owned by a bloated, incompetent, traitorous, and virtually unaccountable government.
I certainly do not want to give the enemy my money, if I can help it.
Monday, January 25, 2010
First published in The Occidental Observer: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/Kurtagic-Haiti.html
Day after day, our brains are blitzed by the media with the horror from Haiti. While I would not wish a like disaster to befall my friends and loved ones, I cannot help but roll my eyes at the Western governments’ response.
I do not mind the initiatives to forgive Haiti’s external debt, as I understand enough about modern banking to know that banks lose nothing except profits when writing off a so-called ‘loan’: When banks issue a ‘loan’, as it happens, they are not lending actual assets that they have in their possession, but are, in, fact, creating an electronic fiction, out of nothing and backed by nothing, with a few keystrokes and clicks of a mouse on a computer. For this and other reasons, which I shall discuss later, I fully agree with the idea of writing off Haiti’s loans.
I also do not mind Western charities lending succour to the victims, provided said charities are private institutions, funded by private, consenting donors.
In agreement with Cong. Ron Paul, I do mind, however, when a Western government, such as that of Barack Obama in the United States, seeks to commit its taxpayer’s money to a programme of reconstruction in that part of the world. This is not so much because Western countries are all technically bankrupt and have been for years: after all, we still have the material means and intellectual wherewithal to extricate ourselves from our economic plight. No. This is because reconstructing Haiti would simply repeat the mistakes of the past, which have shown, conclusively and supported by examples elsewhere, that any effort to encourage a former colony now run by Black Africans to become a Western-style society, complete with rule of law, a thriving market economy, property rights, industrial production, modern communications, and the like, is futile and counterproductive. Haiti must not be re-built.
Haiti’s death toll — currently estimated at 200,000 — might have been caused by an earthquake, but it did not have to be that high. Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, pointed out a few days ago that
Northern California’s 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was more violent, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, resulting in 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, about eight times more violent than Haiti’s, and cost 3,000 lives.
That Haiti’s death toll was 3,000 times higher than that of Loma Prieta, and 66 times higher than that of San Francisco owes less to an "especially cruel and incomprehensible" cataclysm than to Haitian’s lack of work-ethic, corruption, and ability to plan ahead.
True, Haiti is one of the world’s least developed countries and the poorest in the Western hemisphere, with 80% living below the poverty line and 54% living in abject poverty; and, in our world, calamities only multiply in the absence of money — without money it is difficult to do anything. But Haiti was not always poor. In the 18th century, Haiti, then under French rule and called Saint-Domingue, was the most prosperous French colony in the New World. Its enormously profitable plantations produced sugar, coffee, cotton, and indigo, and drew in tens of thousands of French settlers. The impoverishment of Haiti, the first Black-ruled republic on the planet, with a population that is 95% Black, has taken place since its independence in 1804. In the struggle for independence, nearly 200 plantations were burnt or destroyed, and 24,000 of the by then 40,000 White settlers were killed.
Since then, there have been 32 coups d’etats, the forests have been destroyed, the population has exploded, and Haiti has come to rank near the bottom out of 179 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Indeed, the situation has become so chaotic at times that the United States has been forced to deploy troops there on three separate occasions: in 1915 (until 1934), during which time the United States funded a huge reconstruction programme; in 1958, during which time the United States attempted to once again rebuild Haiti’s economic infrastructure; and in 1994 (until 1996), during which time yet another rebuild tool place under Operation Uphold Democracy and Operation New Horizons.
The situation before the quake was no better a century ago. Writing in 1900, Hesketh Pritchard, an explorer and fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, reported in his book Where Black Rules White: A Journey Across and About Hayti:
What most astonishes the traveller in Hayti is that they have everything there. Ask for what you please, the answer invariably is, ‘Yes, yes, we have it.’ They possess everything that a civilised and progressive nation can desire. Electric light? They proudly point to a [power] plant on a hilltop outside the town. Constitutional government? A Chamber of Deputies elected by public vote, a Senate, and all the elaborate paraphernalia of the law: they are to be found here, seemingly all of them. Institutions, churches, schools, roads, railways . . . On paper their system is flawless . . . If one puts one’s trust in the mirage of hearsay, the Haitians can boast of possessing all desirable things, but on nearer approach these pleasant prospects are apt to take on another complexion.
For instance, you are standing in what was once a building, but is now a spindle-shanked ghost of its former self. A single man, nursing a broken leg, sprawls on the black, earthen floor; a pile of wooden beds is heaped in the north corner; rain has formed a pool in the middle of the room, crawling and spreading into an ever wider circle as the last shower drips from the roof. Some filthy sheets lie wound into a sticky ball on two beds, one of which is overturned. A large, iron washing tub stands in the open doorway.
Now where are you? It would be impossible to guess. As a matter of fact, you are in the Military Hospital of the second most important town of Hayti, a state-supported concern in which the soldiers of the Republic are supposed to be cured of all the ills of the flesh . . .
It was the same with the electric light. The [power] plant was here, but it did not work. It was the same with the [Army’s] cannon. There are cannon, but they won’t go off. It was the same with their railways. They were being ‘hurried forward,’ but they never progressed. It was the same with everything.
Pritchard’s account is often sympathetic towards Haitians, but, all the same, the picture that emerges is very negative. In the final chapter, the explorer concluded:
The present condition of Hayti gives the best possible answer to the question, and, considering the experiment has lasted for a century, perhaps also a conclusive one. For a century the answer has been working itself out there in flesh and blood. The Negro has had his chance, a fair field, and no favor. He has had the most beautiful and fertile of the Caribbees for his own; he has had the advantage of excellent French laws; he inherited a made country, with Cap Haitien for its Paris . . . Here was a wide land sown with prosperity, a land of wood, water, towns and plantations, and in the midst of it the Black man was turned loose to work out his own salvation. What has he made of the chances that were given to him? . . . Today in Haiti we come to the real crux of the question. At the end of a hundred years of trial, how does the black man governs himself? What progress has he made? Absolutely none. When he undertakes the task of government, he does so, not with the intent of promoting the public weal, but for the sake of filling his own pocket. His motto is still, "Pluck the fowl, but take care she does not cry out". Corruption has spread through every portion and every department of the Government. Almost all the ills of the country may be traced to their source in tyranny, the ineptitude, and the improbity of those at the helm of state . . . Can the Negro rule himself? Is he congenitally capable? . . . Today, and as matters stand, he certainly cannot rule himself.
A century later, we may be justified in reaching a similar conclusion.
Having said this, I am not here to replicate simplistic conservative arguments that blame Haitians for their predicament and prescribe solutions based on democracy, liberalisation, education, investment, accountability, transparency, and open markets. There is no doubt that Haitians, like sub-Saharan Africans, are the architects of their own misfortunes; but it is disingenuous to judge the diverse peoples of the world in terms of how well they conform to a European standard. As I have argued here and elsewhere, not all the peoples of the world were destined to be exactly like us. And, certainly, not all needed, or even desired, to be exactly like us.
Port au Prince vs Soweto: Black rule looks the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
19th-century explorers of sub-Saharan Africa — the Haitians’ ancestral homeland — were shocked by the absence of civilisation in traditional black African societies. The latter’s uncivilisation, however, was not the abnormal result of failed states or the World Bank’s interest rates, because these did not exist at the time: It was their normal condition. Uninfluenced by European or Arabic cultures, these were prehistorical tribal societies, which had never developed a written script, recorded history, used money, kept calendars, maintained roads, or had any need for an administration or a code of law. These societies still exist today in the African bush, and if they have changed noticeably or at all in the past 50,000 years, they certainly have not changed in our direction. Obviously, the traits that characterise us Europeans, and which we value so highly, were not essential for survival in the sub-Saharan bush; and, by extension, what Europeans find normal and natural, Black Africans find abnormal and artificial. Ideologies of progress and modernity — defining products of the liberal European mind — never occurred to the black man, even if subsequently he found them instrumentally useful. It is not surprising, therefore, that when a modern nation-state is placed under Black rule, conditions rapidly deteriorate: At best, Blacks are able to simulate the outer forms the European system, but never their substance.
With this in mind, it should be obvious that rebuilding Haiti would be a waste of time. I would also call it a form of imperialism. That the Western political establishment fails to recognise it and act accordingly, even though deep down our politicians know it, owes more to ideology than to ignorance of the facts.
The Left has a religious belief in progress. And, although they do not realise it, their thinking is profoundly Eurocentric. Consequently, the Left interprets history as a process in which humans — essentially Europeans with exotic skin colours and minor differences in physiognomy — go from worse to better, measured against values that are important to Europeans and no one else. When progress fails to happen, the self-absorbed, navel-gazing Left blames Europeans and sees it as the product of the imperfect implementation of Leftist theories. Unfortunately, modern conservatives have been influenced the Left and merely prefer a capitalistic and pragmatic — as opposed to a socialistic and utopian — interpretation of the Left’s progress ideology. The result is a campaign for ever more aid and development, fuelled by the belief that, given enough money, education, and opportunity, the Third World (including even Haiti) will eventually converge with Europe. For the Left, the daydream is universal equality; for the conservatives, bigger markets for capitalist enterprise.
Voodoo: distinct African flavour
Without a radical eugenics programme, however, the progress utopia will remain a fanciful dream.
With regards to the death toll in Haiti, I of course blame the Spanish and the French for purchasing slaves and shipping them to the Caribbean to work on their plantations. Had they dispensed with this nefarious practice and relied, instead, on their own muscle, Hispaniola would be today an immensely rich island, well prepared for any natural disaster. Short of loopy schemes such as shipping 9 million Haitians back to Africa, however, I propose that the best that we can do at this stage is not to re-build, but to complete the demolition. Subsistence farming, single-story mud dwellings of simple construction, no motorised vehicles, no electricity, no money, no books, no manufactured tools, and, most importantly, no firearms, trade, or Western intervention, is the model to follow. Let Haitians lose all vestiges of European civilisation and re-organise themselves in a manner harmonious with their endowments, sensibilities, and ancestral culture. Let them find their own point of equilibrium, even if it diverges greatly from ours. There is nothing wrong with voodoo or a pre-industrial, agricultural society, if that is what works for the people who live in it.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
A Latino, Nazi-obsessed blogger has been running a bizarre smear campaign against Professor Kevin MacDonald over at the OC Weekly. One of his recent bilge effusions was illustrated by the cartoon shown above. I think it is rather flattering and suggested to Kevin that he uses it.
Obviously, the cartoonist used the following photo:
As to the sentiment expressed in the cartoon, switch the races and you will get a pretty accurate depiction of what has been going on in Western classrooms for some decades now.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
First published in Taki's Magazine: http://www.takimag.com/site/article/yes_africa_imust_i_go_to_hell/
Note: In TakiMag the article appears under a variant of my original title; this variant was chosen by the editor. Later on it was used by a Swiss publisher, in German translation. I don't like it because it seems to make the piece about my taking delight in a callous attitude to the problems that afflict post-colonial Africa, whereas in its original form it was, in fact, a play on James Jackson's preceding piece "Why Africa Has Gone to Hell". It was intended to grab attention, and hence is provocative, but becomes ambiguous, allowing an alternative meaning, when reading the piece: while Jackson condemned the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa wholesale for their current troubles, I am condemning the White liberals of the West, whose sublimated imperialism condemned sub-Saharan Africa to its current troubles. The thesis is admittedly too radical for an article of this length, which is inevitably a blunt instrument, and out of its original context the title no longer seems adequate, so the thesis herein outlined will need book-length elaboration.
I welcome James Jackson’s courage in pointing out the fact that Africa’s chronic dysfunction is the result of, not white European rule in the past, but black Africans rule in the present—that, rather than its being the result of European colonialism and post-imperial indifference, as is the Left’s contention, chronic dysfunction in the region is the result of European post-colonialism and post-imperial aid programs.
I will not accuse him of Leftism, but Mr. Jackson still commits the fallacy—characteristic of the Left—of judging sub-Saharan Africa by European standards, and still seems to assume that Africa would develop into a European-style civilization if only Africans stopped playing victim and got their act together, for once and for all. This latter assumption stems from the belief, held by the Left, that black Africans are Europeans with black skin. Said belief is linked to another belief, one that values progress and measures it in terms of convergence with Europe’s present techno-industrial society—a type of society characterized by complex social organization, high technology, industrial production, scientific discovery, capitalism, rule of law, private property, citizen’s rights, modernity, and secular rationalism. The abnormality of these beliefs in relation to some non-European societies is not obvious to us, because we take them for granted. But taking cognizance of it is important, for the consequences are catastrophic: they underpin the entire aid and white guilt enterprise, which have fuelled a population explosion in the Dark Continent and the consequent tide of hungry and resentful immigrants into Europe and North America.
I have argued for some time that if stability is ever to visit the Dark Continent, we must allow black Africans to diverge from Europe and to reorganize in a manner harmonious with their temperament, proclivities, and endowments. I have also argued that we must not intervene, even if the end result is disturbing to us. What Africa needs is not more money and development, but none. Black Africans are different from Europeans. We may not wish to speak of African cultures, because in relation to ours they seem primitive, but we must accept that culture means something different for them than it does to us, and, while me may well have an opinion, our opinion is irrelevant if what they understand as culture is what works for them. Progress, as important as it may be for us presently, is out of place there. Africa has gone to hell because it must.
This is not to say that the present situation in sub-Saharan Africa (and I stress sub-Saharan, because we must not tarnish Morocco and Egypt with the same brush) is normal by African standards. It is not normal. It is the result of a period of transition – from white society to black society—that Western Leftists have been obstructing ever since the end of empire with their well-meaning (but all the same doomed) aid and development programs.
Traditional sub-Saharan societies are tribal; their spiritualities animistic; their medicine witchcraft; their sanitation poor; their farming subsistence or non-existent. J.R. Baker (Race, 1974) paints a picture of uncivilization: the aborigines were naked or semi-naked; they practiced self-mutilation; they resided in small settlements, in simple, single-story dwellings; they sailed on crude canoes carved out of tree trunks; they had not invented the wheel; they rarely domesticated animals or used them for labor or transportation; they had no written script or recorded history; they had no use of money, no numbering system, no calendar; they had no roads; and they had no administration or code of law. Chiefs were despotic, capricious, and cruel; slaughter was frequent; cannibalism was sometimes practiced. Dialects were simple, with limited vocabularies to express abstract thought. The average tribesman lived for the moment and lacked foresight. Any bright ideas usually perished with its inventor. Such a picture efficiently explains Africa in the 21st century.
It also explains why aid and development funds have achieved nothing except amplify the horrors in the continent: after all, once you introduce money in the above context, the spear gives way to the AK-47. Bono and Geldof and their fellow Live8 participants, the ageing, self-righteous, self-indulgent, cosmetically-enhanced rock stars that we know and loathe, have blood on their hands. So do the Western charities and media for supporting such efforts.
This why I think Mr. Jackson is right to want “the demolition of every road, college, and hospital we ever built” in black Africa. This ought to have been concomitant with de-colonization. If the European powers no longer saw it feasible to maintain an empire, they ought to have dismantled the colonial infrastructure and left the region as it was first found by the early explorers. Outsiders ought to have been forbidden, by an international covenant modeled after the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, from upsetting the sub-Saharan habitat by declaring the region a nature preserve. Of course, this was politically impossible at the time, and the European conscience, already afflicted by post-imperial guilt, would have been doubly troubled by the ensuing famines (without industrialized farms, you cannot feed millions of people). But the famines have, nevertheless, still visited the region, and not only have they not been averted, but they have been multiplied and magnified by the Western efforts to avert them.
The initial post-imperial famines might have been inevitable, but the end result would have been a smaller, re-tribalized, pre-historical population, able to feed itself through the traditional methods of subsistence farming, hunting, and gathering. After a few generations, sub-Saharan Africa would have no longer looked at the West with a mixture of envy, frustration, and hatred, because it would have forgotten about its existence, except through orally transmitted fables and legends. The white man would have been remembered as a god (or a demon)—as an alien being from another world, who built cities of gold and had magical powers beyond imagination. After a few generations, sub-Sahara African would have reverted to its pre-colonial ways, and completed its transition from a collection of failed states to a living record of humanity’s past.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Returning to the United Kingdom proved not an easy task. Below are images captured at Madrid Barajas circa 5am on Monday 11 January. My original flight (scheduled for 6 January) was cancelled at the very last minute (presumably like that of the sleepy travellers) and, since all earlier flights were fully booked, I was forced to delay my return journey by a week. David Irving suggested in yesterday's Radical's Diary that easyJet - an airline I resorted to due to threats of a British Airways strike - has been cancelling flights in order to consolidate bookings and optmise profits. Spanish newspapers, like the ABC, have suggested that easyJet was secretly dealing with an unofficial strike. I do not know which of the two are true, but it did seem strange that my flight on Monday went ahead at least in part because the airline had hired a Titan Airways craft and crew.