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Rich nations must pay for "fixing" global warming problem
Posted by: McQ on Monday, November 12, 2007

Because, you know, the science is settled and they're the ones who've caused "the problem".

See how far this has gone?
The rich caused the problem and must therefore pay the price of fixing the global climate change crisis, a new report said on Monday.

Christian Aid, an agency of British and Irish churches, said industrialised nations were historically responsible and therefore morally liable to foot the multi-billion dollar cost of tackling the problem of man-made emissions of carbon gases.

"Nations that have grown rich in part by polluting without facing the costs of doing so must now repay their carbon debt to the developing world," said Andrew Pendleton, author of "Truly Inconvenient - tackling poverty and climate change at once".
No word on whether the rich nations get credit for feeding the poor nations over the decades, or providing them with aid and equipment for farming, infrastructure, etc. No word on whether poor nations will be debited for their inability to govern themselves and their perpetual poverty, mostly a function of their own governments.

Nope, this global warming thing is all human and all rich countries. So pay up. The UN, I'm sure, will be glad to monitor the payment program. I understand Kofi Annan is looking for something to do which in which he can use his previous vast experience. We'll call it the "CO2 for Food" program.

So step right up, for your convenience, the bill has already been figured:
Based on the Greenhouse Development Rights framework — an equation allocating responsibility for emissions of greenhouse gases — the United States should shoulder 34.3 percent of the annual bill, with the European Union on 26.6 percent.

India and China, both rapidly industrialising but still way behind their developed world counterparts, should bear 0.3 percent and 7.0 percent of the bill respectively.

Based on the calculation a year ago by British economist Nicholas Stern that acting now would cost one percent of gross world product a year, Washington's bill would be $212 billion a year while Brussels' would be $164 billion, the report said.
Don't forget to leave a nice tip.
 
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Well, given the vast descripencies between the rich and poor, I don’t think the rich really deserve much credit for "feeding" the poor. Aid is miniscule. That said, I don’t think aid is really the solution. We are wealthy in part due to our ability to exploit cheap resources and cheap labor from poor countries, and the problem really can be traced to the evils of colonialism, one of the most destructive forces unleashed on the planet. Corruption is abetted by wealthy western business and financial interests, willing to pay off the locals and rationalize it by saying "that’s the way things are done here." No, the rich nations don’t deserve much credit, they give a painless amount to ease their consciences, that’s all.

As for paying for global warming...well, unless something is done the real threat of the future may come from third world states capable of using WMD in a way to devastate the first world. They may decide that the system has been screwing them over and there is no chance for change, especially if global warming does, as predicted, hit the third world the hardest. They may decide they have nothing to lose by tearing down the system. So paying might be in our self-interest. But it can’t just be aid, that’s no real way to develop interdependent, sustainable economies. That just gets them used to handouts, and ultimately that feeds corruption and a psychology of dependency.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
ACK!
I was kidding McQ I was kidding!
Jeff -
AHEM... don’t you mean as the United States, font of all that is evil and carbon-ish, hands it over?

Looker -
but of course, deep pockets doctrine and determination of the most guilty will be necessary so we can factor in, like the US tax system, who should actually pay for the programs.

I would think it only practical if, for example, we had the US paying, say, 70% of the .1% of the world global output so we can exclude places like, um, Tuvalu
or Burundi where the economic impact of their actual contribution would probably be likely to cause sever economic harm and hardship. Particularly Tuvalu where literally the place could disappear if the US doesn’t stop it’s CO2 producing excesses.

In a nutshell my plan is to tax the rich, of course, and the United States is rich and we really don’t deserve what we have in terms of economic might. It was all acquired at the point of a gun so, we’re not really entitled to it.

(Where’s Joe, he’s far better at this kind of stuff than I am....)
But why am I not surprised the Professor thinks it’s all good.
Oh boy.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Prof, cut to the chase -

You think AGW is real.
We think AGW is crap.

You want to pay someone to, literally, pour CO2 down a hole, along with all the money that will involve to stop warming, plus any other scheme to address the human caused problem.

We’re willing to spend money to deal with with warming if it becomes necessary and we don’t think man is causing it.

.You cite consensus as science
.we counter that consensus isn’t necessarily good science
.Wrangle wrangle wrangle
.Paragraph after paragraph
.citation after citation

Disagreement which you take to be name calling and ad hominem.
You finish up with telling us if we have to resort to ad-hominem we’re not willing to deal with the problem and we should be willing to address the argument not the argue-ee.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Scott Erb,

About the best thing we (the West*) could do for poor countries is to drop our ridiculous barriers to trade. That would be worth far more than aid. Such a reduction would also be good from a climate standpoint on a number of different fronts.

*Whatever the heck that is.
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
The professor has me convinced on the merits his arguements:
1. Cant talk with the natives.
2. Cant buy the natives off.
3. Natives are restless
4. Natives plan on killing you when they get nukes.
5. No way to stop this.

Obviously, the only rational solution given the profs stated position is to kill all of the natives before global warming causes them to lash out at the unfairness of being on the lossing side of history.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
John - wow, you read my imperialist American mind. I instantly discarded it as a viable alternative, but it was one possible conclusion for the problem I reached based on the Professor’s post.

SoS - I apologize for my first post to you on the other GW thread.
I don’t know enough about you to go assuming much yet.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

About the best thing we (the West*) could do for poor countries is to drop our ridiculous barriers to trade. That would be worth far more than aid. Such a reduction would also be good from a climate standpoint on a number of different fronts.
That’s probably accurate.

As for the rest of you, you seem to have lost your reading comprehension. While I do think that the evidence seems virtually indisputable that humans are in some ways causing global warming, that was irrelevant to the point I made. I also wasn’t calling for the rich to pay for anything — I was noting that self-interest may force us to, given developments in the third world. Also, given that colonialism and western control afterwards has created massive problems of corruption, ungovernability and the like in the third world, it seems like it would be ethical and practical to try to help change things; removing barriers to trade would be a very helpful move. The current system is probably unsustainable.

The famous British scholar Hedley Bull predicted before his death about a decade ago that the "revolt against the West" would be the most dangerous threat to the international system in the coming century. I think we’re already seeing that this is the case.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
looker,

Its ok. If I had been thinking I probably should put out a few disclaimers, etc.

Call me a "free-market AGWer" if you want to put me into a category.
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
Scott Erb,

While I don’t disagree that much of the effect of colonialism has created significant problems for the formerly colonized (that’s not particularly surprising given the divide and rule tactics, etc. of many colonial powers*), much of the problem lies with the formerly colonized themselves, particularly the political leadership.

*Much of the pro-colonial rhetoric of course talked about "civilizing" various populations, but for the most part the colonial powers did little create post-colonial regimes which could function all that well - that’s not surprising since if they had they would have been undercutting the power of the colonial regime.
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
Well, given the vast descripencies between the rich and poor, I don’t think the rich really deserve much credit for "feeding" the poor. Aid is miniscule. That said, I don’t think aid is really the solution.
We don’t simply provide aid (which isn’t the solution anyway, one of the few points you get right).

We (the West) also provided the Green Revolution, the Royal Navy which largely ended the international slave trade, piracy, and defended Latin American independence, etc (the USN taking on those rolls since the ’40s), technology and trade (we are superb trading partners), as well as an excellent example in how to succeed through commerce.
We are wealthy in part due to our ability to exploit cheap resources and cheap labor from poor countries, and the problem really can be traced to the evils of colonialism, one of the most destructive forces unleashed on the planet.
Colonialism isn’t worse than, say, Mongol or Islamic invasions. The history of the world was conquest, and the conquests of the West were typically less destructive than those of the past.

Keep in mind, those who were colonized had that happen because they were already weak and well behind the curve culturally.

And not all colonial powers behaved the same. England behaved well, compared to, say, Spain.

Our success is due to commerce. Providing value to others in return for value received. Basic free market concepts, not the theft of leftist fantasy.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
has created massive problems of corruption, ungovernability and the like in the third world, it seems like it would be ethical and practical to try to help change things; removing barriers to trade would be a very helpful move. The current system is probably unsustainable.
Ah, yes they’re victims of their environment and our ’parental’ upbringing.
How many colonies did the US have in Africa anyway? What? None?
Oh, right ’western control’. Got it covered.

So they can’t get out of the situation they are in by themselves, we have to help. They can’t fix they’re own governments because?
Why can’t they?
You tell me instead of me saying snarky things.
I mean, we’re clearly going to have to ’fix’ their governments before we can do the ethical, practical things you’re suggesting.

We’ve been trying to change things, for years.
I know you think we didn’t do so well with our Iraq effort, so, as a Gedankenexperiment, suggest what we might do to fix Zimbabwe & Somalia in the short term so we can go about the ethical and practical changes necessary to address Anthropogenic Global Warming in the third world.

Bonus points if the UN isn’t involved in the answer.

SoS, well, I’m not necessarily trying to put you in a specific category. I’m all over the map myself. But as you can see we were thinking along somewhat the same lines here wrt who is responsible for some of the problems in the Post-colonial third world.

Only I’m being a snarky b@stard from long experience with the professor and you aren’t.
Still, if he comes up with some good answers I’ll actually acknowledge it, because fixing the third world is in every-one’s long term interest, even if it’s not down strictly for AGW.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I am reminded of a man who, upon finding that he is fatally ill, entrusts $10k each to three men, to throw into his casket immediately before burial, in order to contradict the old You-can’t-take-it-when-you-go saying. At the funeral, all three men deposit their envelopes at the appointed time. Afterwards, however, the first man, a pastor, says, "I have to confess something. The church desperately needed money to fix the roof of the chapel, and so I took $2000 out and only threw in $8000.” Then the second man, a doctor, shamefacedly admitted, “I needed to replace some monitoring equipment in my practice, and so I took $5000 out and only threw in the other half.” At which point the third man, a lawyer, proclaimed, “You should be ashamed of yourselves – stealing from the dead! I threw in a personal check for the entire amount.”
And so the United States can throw a check for $212,000,000 into the sun with the memo line ‘please throw fewer sunspots’ for all the good it will do us. Or is the US supposed to dig a hole outside DC with the pay-to-the-order-of line reading ‘Nature and The Environment’? Or – and this is just a thinking exercise here – do you imagine that these people want governments to give them money to do something not explicitly mentioned in the article? Nah, can’t possibly be that…
 
Written By: Nony Mouse
URL: http://
While I don’t disagree that much of the effect of colonialism has created significant problems for the formerly colonized (that’s not particularly surprising given the divide and rule tactics, etc. of many colonial powers*), much of the problem lies with the formerly colonized themselves, particularly the political leadership.
Yes, but no doubt colonialism left advantagous for the formerly colonized as well.

Peruvian indians may have preferred to remain as subjects to the Inca rather than the Spanish crown, but the reality is that someone was going to discover them someday. While the Spaniards behaved badly (despite attempts at restraint by the Spanish King), they did convert Peru into a much more advanced nation.

There comes a time when you need to stop blaming mommy & daddy for your failures . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The truth is revealed. Environmentalism has been hijacked for the purpose punishing successful capitalist countries and supporting failed dictatorial and socialist countries.

I liked the IPCC better when it was called the CCCP.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
They may decide they have nothing to lose by tearing down the system. So paying might be in our self-interest.


Historically, paying bullies hasn’t worked. See the Barbary War for an example.

What works? A good a**kicking.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don,

I’m of the opinion that being colonized is as often as not is a bad idea for the colonized. Colonization generally brings with it a whole host of pathologies including generally the creation of relationship of master and severant between the colonizer and the colonized. The colonized face a deep-seated feeling of inferiority that will from time to time erupt in violence against the colonizer but most of time lies below the surface in ways that aren’t particularly good them.

As for Peru, the Incas were colonizers/imperialists themselves. Spain to be frank bequethed to the New World both the significant pluses of Spanish civilization and its detriments.
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
Syloson and Looker: clearly these are complicated issues. I agree that blame has to be put on corrupt leaders and bureaucracies in the colonized states. Mobutu or Mugabe can’t (or could not) just say "the Europeans made me do it." Here’s the problem: polities and societies develop their own cultural norms and values. Political systems develop more or less naturally in accord with those cultures. The West is a cultural project as well — though some in the West think they have found the "right" and "proper" path (or the one dictated by "reason") and that therefore all should aspire to that, and any effort to export some of our culture is generally good. That causes people not to see the potential damage intervention can create.

What colonialism did was weaken or destroy indigineous cultural systems and leave in its place often very little. In Asia the penetration usually wasn’t as complete, and existing cultures could adapt. In Africa much of the old order was completely destroyed, borders did not correspond to ethnic realities, and the Westphalian sovereign state simply did not take. The reason conditions were such that governments became nothing but shake down operations and bribery centers, or that the elite competed to benefit their clan or ethnic group rather than the nation, stemmed from colonialism. Economies were shaped to benefit the European powers, and the worst corruption is in places with the most resource wealth (Nigeria, diamonds in Sierra Leone, etc.)

Absent a time machine, we can’t undo the damage, and making Europeans/Americans pay now not only is questionable on ethical grounds (today’s westerners aren’t responsible for what their ancestors did) but on practical grounds. Often trying to help we do more harm than good - aid goes into Swiss bank accounts, projects to develop become white elephants. I’m not sure what the solution is — and I am genuinely worried about the "revolt against the West." That will occur in various forms — migrations of peoples, rejection of western/Westphalian norms, and a variety of counter movements. (Chavez and the left in Latin America, perhaps a charismatic movement in Africa, and of course currently subverting Islam in the Mideast to rationalize an attack on the West). I’m not sure what to do. But throwing money at them isn’t a solution.

As to global warming, I think at this point we can’t do much to stop it, but we have to think seriously about how we’ll deal with its impact, especially on the third world, if famines and the like emerge. The next century could be very interesting.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m of the opinion that being colonized is as often as not is a bad idea for the colonized. Colonization generally brings with it a whole host of pathologies including generally the creation of relationship of master and severant between the colonizer and the colonized. The colonized face a deep-seated feeling of inferiority that will from time to time erupt in violence against the colonizer but most of time lies below the surface in ways that aren’t particularly good them.
I see it as a mixed bag. Some good, some bad, and a lot depending upon the respective actors.

This is not to say I defend it; I prefer the path Americans have followed in not being colonizers.
As for Peru, the Incas were colonizers/imperialists themselves. Spain to be frank bequethed to the New World both the significant pluses of Spanish civilization and its detriments.
Yes, they were, but they generally get a pass.

Same could be said of the Aztecs, Zulus, etc.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
What colonialism did was weaken or destroy indigineous cultural systems and leave in its place often very little.
They were generally weak to begin with. And in many cases ended up stronger, although often still falling short of European nations.
In Asia the penetration usually wasn’t as complete, and existing cultures could adapt.
Asia is an interesting example. In Japan and Korea it was the Americans, not the Euros, and we didn’t colonize. However in Japan in particular, they made a major effort to emulate us and to Westernize: they "got it".

China and India were England. India was the only true colonization among China, India, Korea, and Japan (except for some in China). It also represents one of the "best" colonization efforts.

Asian success is due to unique aspects of Asian culture, combined with the benevolent (or relatively so, in the case of India) Anglo-American efforts of the late colonial period.

The cultural "penetration" in Japan was deep, but the Japanese were a driving force in this, since they realized they needed to modernize if they were to control their destiny.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don,

British rule in India was a lot of things, but it wasn’t benevolent. India was expected to be a paying concern after all.

_________________________________

To me colonialism has all the drawbacks of socialism. It is top-down driven. It as often as not ignores local knowledge. The costs of screw-ups are born by people other than the decision-makers.
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
Don, you’re completely wrong in saying that indigenous cultures were weak pre-colonialism. Africa had thriving trade routes, kingdoms and political organizations. Where on earth do you get that kind of claim from? You are right about Japan — they decided to emulate the Europeans, and chose Prussia to study closely. But they also had a unique situation — not only a strong cultural identity but island isolation.

I also disagree that the West is less violent than the Mongols or Muslim invasions (though I do believe that is the right kind of thing to compare colonialism to). The Europeans destroyed cultures, exploited at a level beyond the Mongols or Muslims, had their own "convert or die" missions (and the Spaniards often didn’t even give the convert option), and of course world wars, the holocaust, and the evils of communism. All western. So we’re really pretty typical for the human race.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Don, you’re completely wrong in saying that indigenous cultures were weak pre-colonialism. Africa had thriving trade routes, kingdoms and political organizations. Where on earth do you get that kind of claim from?
Where on earth do you get yours from? Certainly not history books. Africa’s "thriving trade routes" prior to European colonization were dealing primarily in slaves — indeed it was the British (led by none other than Dr. David Livingston) who ended the African slave traffic (which was the number one commodity of the Muslim traders who created and maintained all of those marvelous trade routes).

Kingdoms and political organizations do not make civilizations strong, they just make them stronger than the next worse alternative which historically had been hunter-gather or warrior societies.

Syloson:

Colonization may not be the optimal method of reaching modernity, but the colonizer makes a huge difference. Compare, for example, the amazing general success of British colonies (America, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, India, South Africa) with that of, say, the French (Algeria, Senegal, etc.), Belgian (Congo), German (Tanganyika, Rwanda), or Italian (Ethiopia, Somalia) colonies. Arguably, the entire world is much better off for the British having spread their influence around the globe through colonization.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Quoting Hedley Bull (Said with a stiff upper lip) how fitting. Are you two related?
 
Written By: coater
URL: http://
"You should be ashamed of yourselves – stealing from the dead! I threw in a personal check for the entire amount.”

That lawyer had better hope God doesn’t decide to cash it for him.


"I liked the IPCC better when it was called the CCCP."

LOL. Very good.


"Italian (Ethiopia, Somalia) colonies."

Italy occupied Ethiopia from 1936 to 1941. Other than that, Ethiopia was always free and independant. Having never suffered the cataclysmic impact of Western colonialism, Ethiopia exemplifies the prosperity and freedom that could have been Africa’s but for the depredations of the European colonizers.

Heh.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Arguably, the entire world is much better off for the British having spread their influence around the globe through colonization"

I would argue that some of her colonies would be better off if they were still British colonies.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Michael W: You need to study up on African history, to claim the pre-colonial trade routes mostly dealt with slaves is just absurd.

Also, anyone who claims British colonialism did good for the colonized is simply wrong. I mean, it’s like saying slavery was good for the blacks in the American south. The West has a violent and destructive heritage, the age of reason initiated rationales for conquest and violence, leading ultimately to things like the holocaust and Stalinist purges. The British had the first concentration camp, and have a bloody legacy of what we would now call war crimes. The old structures of power and authority that kept life throughout the various parts of Africa stable were obliterated by the colonizers who structured things to their advantage. Now people see the legacy of that violence and don racist sounding approaches dismissing the people as somehow inferior to those of the West. It’s morally repulsive, though I can understand why some people don’t want to look reality in the eye.

Look, I’m not saying we’re guilty now or have to somehow pay reparations. But let’s not whitewash the past OK — especially not if we’re going to be self-righteous about the past of other people.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
British rule in India was a lot of things, but it wasn’t benevolent. India was expected to be a paying concern after all.
It was one of the better examples of colonialism. It doesn’t stand up to our modern standards, but it was superior to most other such efforts of the past.
Don, you’re completely wrong in saying that indigenous cultures were weak pre-colonialism. Africa had thriving trade routes, kingdoms and political organizations. Where on earth do you get that kind of claim from?
As a starting point, they wouldn’t have been victims of colonialism if they were strong.

The Incas—an empire of some 7 million—fell to an initial invasion of 168 Spaniards. The Inca the Spaniards first enountered had some 30,000 warriors with him, and the Spaniards siezed him and went from there.

The Inca were weak, despite any trade routes, despite (perhaps because of) their kingdom.
I also disagree that the West is less violent than the Mongols or Muslim invasions
The Mongols had an efficient warrior culture and little else, and they generally were assimilated into the cultures they conquered over time. They were very violent, but left little lasting culture, and in that sense were less "invasive", but at the same time also left little of lasting value.

You choose to willfully ignorant of the Muslims, who instructed the most violent Western invaders, the Spanish.

While communism was created in the West, it was in fact a reaction against the West and the evolving traditions that represented the best the West had to offer. Essentially, communism is anti-Western like the cr*p being generated in Women’s studies and black studies in the academy over the last 30 years.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Also, anyone who claims British colonialism did good for the colonized is simply wrong. I mean, it’s like saying slavery was good for the blacks in the American south.
British colonialism was good.

And, American blacks are perhaps the one group who had a lasting benifit from slavery—not the slavery itself, but the fact that it brought their ancestors here.
The West has a violent and destructive heritage, the age of reason initiated rationales for conquest and violence, leading ultimately to things like the holocaust and Stalinist purges.
The French age of reason led to "things like the holocaust and Stalinist purges", but that’s your side of the political spectrum, Scott, not ours.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Look, I’m not saying we’re guilty now or have to somehow pay reparations. But let’s not whitewash the past OK — especially not if we’re going to be self-righteous about the past of other people.


Scott,

You claim that Americans engaged in genocide with respect to the Lakota, and you also whitewash Mohammed’s rapes and murders. And you are wrong—on both counts.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"The West has a violent and destructive heritage,"

Evidently a genetic flaw in caucasians, as the other races are all pacific constructive.

"The old structures of power and authority that kept life throughout the various parts of Africa stable"

What structures? Parliaments?


" racist sounding approaches "

Yes. A clever way of accusing people of being racist without openly doing so. also known as plausible deniability.


"the people as somehow inferior to those of the West"

Because, as we all know, culture is genetic. Obviously, therefore, to denigrate (heh) a culture is to denigrate the people.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Michael W: You need to study up on African history, to claim the pre-colonial trade routes mostly dealt with slaves is just absurd.
Interesting rebuttal. Who is it that’s always complaining about ad hominem?

Anyway, I actually have a degree in history, the focus of which was the British Empire, including all that European exploration of Africa. I’m fairly well acquainted with the subject. You seem to be less so. Do a search for things "Islamic Slave Trade", "Muslim Slave Trade", "Arab Slave Trade" and/or "Oriental Slave Trade" and you’ll see what I’m talking about. And don’t let the misnomers of "Islam" and "Muslim" distract you — that really refers to the proprietors of the the trans-Saharan trade routes, not to any religious purpose behind the trade.
Also, anyone who claims British colonialism did good for the colonized is simply wrong.
Another interesting rebuttal. I assume you mean colonies such as America, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia notwithstanding right?
I mean, it’s like saying slavery was good for the blacks in the American south.
Well, actually, Walter Williams has suggested something along those lines:
"If you add up all the income black Americans earn and consider us as a separate nation, we’d be the 13th or 14th richest nation" on earth, says Walter Williams, a George Mason University economist. "Blacks have benefited from the fact of slavery, because we have far greater freedom and far higher incomes that we could ever find in Africa."
I’m sure you’ll disagree.
The West has a violent and destructive heritage, the age of reason initiated rationales for conquest and violence, leading ultimately to things like the holocaust and Stalinist purges. The British had the first concentration camp, and have a bloody legacy of what we would now call war crimes.
Ah, and now the mask slips. It was the violent and destructive heritage of the West — nay, the Age of Reason — that was ultimately responsible for the holocaust, Stalinist purges, and British repression. Not totalitarianism, which is apparently too myopic of a cause in your view, and certainly not socialism (that would be unthinkable), but the entire underpinning for modern civilization. Interesting theory there, doc.
The old structures of power and authority that kept life throughout the various parts of Africa stable were obliterated by the colonizers who structured things to their advantage.
Isn’t this the old "noble savage" argument — i.e. that these rustic, feral creatures lived in a state of relative peace and harmony until corrupted and abused by Western Civilization which simply exploited them. The only problem with that argument (other than being blatantly false) is that it conveniently ignores just how brutal, dangerous and short were the lives of these "noble savages."

Far from living in a veritable Garden of Eden, Africans’ daily lives were a life and death struggle to just stay alive. Being introduced to the Western world had the direct effect of raising their standard of living to heights never before imagined. There was plenty of abuse and exploitation along the way (although, again, it really did make a difference who was doing the colonizing), but the overall result was that their lives were improved. So much so that after all the colonists left, the standard of living dropped precipitously (which was, to be sure, also an indication of the exploitation that accompanied colonialism in that the people colonized were not integrated into the system of governance, but instead kept out of it altogether).
Now people see the legacy of that violence and don racist sounding approaches dismissing the people as somehow inferior to those of the West. It’s morally repulsive, though I can understand why some people don’t want to look reality in the eye.
How is identifying the benefits of colonialism to those colonized "racist" much less refusing to "look reality in the eye"? No one is saying the Africans (or any other colonized peoples) were inferior as people. The inferiority was in their knowledge of the world (history, sciences, technology, economics, medicine, etc.), a knowledge they were introduced to by way of colonization. I mean, you don’t regard your students as inferior because they don’t know as much about whatever it is you teach, do you?
Look, I’m not saying we’re guilty now or have to somehow pay reparations.
Well thank goodness for that.
But let’s not whitewash the past OK — especially not if we’re going to be self-righteous about the past of other people.
Who’s whitewashing and being self-righteous? Facts are facts. No one is denying that colonization was often brutal, exploitive and unfair. But there were benefits from it as well, which benefits are rarely acknowledged or even discussed. To use your term, the history is whitewashed to pretend that Western colonizers were simply evil, racist monsters regardless of the actual motivations and/or outcomes of colonization. In this way, moral arguments are introduced into the historical record and the facts of the matter are either discarded or distorted until they become unrecognizable.

Colonialism was an exploitative and brutal means of globalization that, nevertheless, had myriad benefits which both the colonizers and the former colonies enjoy to this day. That is just a fact.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Ah, and now the mask slips. It was the violent and destructive heritage of the West — nay, the Age of Reason — that was ultimately responsible for the holocaust, Stalinist purges, and British repression. Not totalitarianism, which is apparently too myopic of a cause in your view, and certainly not socialism (that would be unthinkable), but the entire underpinning for modern civilization. Interesting theory there, doc.
I don’t fully disagree with Erb on this. In my view, the French Enlightenment (as opposed to the English version) went off track and formulated the basis of communism and national socialism, et al.

The English Enlightenment was based upon a real, if dirty and less than ideal, experience. The French were also looking towards the Englsih reality, but from afar and with less practicle understanding. Hence, they became more utopian and their Enlightenment failed, and became the basis for the subsequent leftist/anti-Western movements.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Colonialism was an exploitative and brutal means of globalization that, nevertheless, had myriad benefits which both the colonizers and the former colonies enjoy to this day. That is just a fact.
Yes, but accepting that fact makes it difficult to blame all of the Third World’s failures on the West.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Because, as we all know, culture is genetic. Obviously, therefore, to denigrate (heh) a culture is to denigrate the people.
Interesting the racist arguments of the anti-racist left!

You can’t discuss the failure of black subculture, or discuss the issue of immigration and assimilation without being branded a racist. In fact, any critical assesment of non-Western culture is considered racist. It’s as if they think that race determines culture—which is in fact a racist belief.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"British colonialism was good."

I beg to differ, mon frere.

The British were little different from the other colonial powers in, as we all know, destroying the cultures of the colonized. Take music which, due to my musical tendencies, I am particularly attuned to. The British went to immense trouble to eliminate the indigenous African musical traditions and replace them with their own. The attrition rate of musical missionaries and musical commisioners from the Colonial Office was extremely high, not only because of the usual hazards of disease, parasites, and predators, but also because of injury due to the unfamiliarity of the native population with European musical instruments. Casualties due to misuse, accidental and otherwise, of bowed instruments such as the cello and violin were particularly high.**

They did succeed, however, in imposing Symphony orchestras, string quartets, and chamber orchestras on the reluctant native population. Not altogether successfully, I might add, as the lack of proper symphony halls and chambers forced them to perform in the open air, where the acoustics were bad. Bagpipes, on the other hand, never caught on. some of the local wildlife, it seems, took the unique sound of the pipes as either a challenge or a mating call, Either way the results were unfortunate for the piper.

Tragically for the burgeoning music scene in the colonies, the demise of colonialism in the ’60s all but destroyed European style music in the colonies. The abrupt loss of a reliable supply of reeds and strings wiped out the woodwind and string sections, rendering the remaining instruments useless. Attempts were made to procure reeds and strings locally, but forays into the marshes of Africa to procure reeds was all too often a one way trip. The local small felines in the area, being rather lower on the food chain than in Europe, were never numerous enough to provide the catgut for strings, and the larger felines (tiggers and such), in addition to being difficult to harvest, provided gut of such a large size as to be suitable only for bass strings.



** The Spanish had an even worse time. Unfortunately for them, a freedom fighter calling himself El Kabong managed to turn their overreliance on the omnipresent guitar against them.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I don’t fully disagree with Erb on this. In my view, the French Enlightenment (as opposed to the English version) went off track and formulated the basis of communism and national socialism, et al.
My reaction was to the "Age of Reason" comment. Your parsing is much closer to being correct. I think Edmund Burke would agree with you, at least in describing the fundamental impulses behind the American vs. the French Revolutions.

 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
The British were little different from the other colonial powers in, as we all know, destroying the cultures of the colonized.
Yeah. As this quote shows, the English really resorted to violence to destroy cultures and customs:
You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"Anyway, I actually have a degree in history,..."

Yeah, but I bet you haven’t read Irving Janis, so your degree is meaningless.


"You can’t discuss the failure of black subculture, or discuss the issue of immigration and assimilation without being branded a racist."

Amen! And you also cannot discuss the relative success of white/European culture without also being branded a racist.


"It’s as if they think that race determines culture"

Except that white/European culture seems to have the power to overcome race and render all races that practice it evil.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well...."

Yeah, that is one of my favorite quotes. Along with the caste system this demonstrates that there were, and are, some cultural customs that needed destroying.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
As a starting point, they wouldn’t have been victims of colonialism if they were strong.
Bullfeathers! Strong in a military sense, perhaps, but a strong culture doesn’t necessarily mean they can withstand a military attack!

Michael W: Do you really think British colonialism was good for the natives in Canada and America?

I tend to agree with Brits like Hume and Burke on these issues.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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