Skip to comments.Letter from Africa: How the history of real racism and human nature, is distorted by the Left.
Posted on 03/11/2014 7:44:11 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
I am writing this column from Cameroon, on the coast of West Africa, during my sixth trip to Africa. Having traveled to some 20 African countries, I find myself, like so many other visitors to Africa before me, sort of intoxicated with the continent. And I am not referring to the wildlife, as much as I have been enthralled by it in safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Rather I am referring to the African peoples.
Here, then, are some observations:
First and foremost, just as when I visited Auschwitz and the killing fields of Cambodia, when I visited places here in West Africa from which Africans were sent as slaves to the New World and places in East Africa from which Africans were sent as slaves to the Middle East I have been overwhelmed by the amount of cruelty human beings have inflicted on other human beings. There is obviously no limit to the amount of suffering men have been willing to inflict on other men, no matter how innocent, no matter how young, and no matter how old.
This fact must lead all reasonable human beings that is, all human beings who take evidence seriously to draw only one possible conclusion: People are not basically good. Human nature is not good.
There is no more obvious example of widespread wishful thinking than the belief that people are basically good. Come here and see where millions of men, women, and children were yanked from their family, village, and friends, and shipped in torturous conditions to a life sentence of back-breaking work permanently apart from everyone they ever knew. Then tell me that people are basically good. And needless to say, do the same after visiting a Nazi death camp or a Cambodian killing field.
Second, racism the belief that people of a certain skin color are inherently different (and inferior or superior) is not only evil; it is moronic. Racism is in equal amounts stupid and vile.
Third, given how evil racism is, and how much horrific suffering it has engendered, it is as tragic as it is reprehensible that it has been thoroughly politicized, and thereby thoroughly cheapened, in America. What the Left both black and white has done to racism will one day be regarded as one of its worst moral legacies. Every black and every white who has called criticism of President Barack Obama racist, who has labeled opposition to race-based affirmative action racist, or who has called the Tea Party racist has not merely engaged in a libel. He or she has done something even worse: cheapen the evil that racism is. If the Republican party is racist, if America is racist, if opponents of President Barack Obama are racists, then, lets be honest, racism just isnt all that bad.
Fourth, nearly every African who has given the issue thought knows that America is not only not racist, it is the best place for an African to emigrate to. That is why more black Africans have come to America voluntarily than came to America as slaves a statistic that virtually no college student is allowed to know.
Africans who emigrate to America know how little racism exists there. They suspect it before emigrating; they know it after emigrating. Indeed, America, the Lefts depiction of it notwithstanding, is the least racist country in the world.
Fifth, every African economist who has written on the subject whom I have interviewed on my radio show is convinced that most Western monetary aid to African countries not only does not do good, it does great harm. The reason, of course, is that it goes mostly to corrupt elites.
Corruption is Africas greatest problem. Not poverty. Not lack of riches. Not racism.
The word corruption does not arouse the moral revulsion that it should. We think of it as more a nuisance than a great evil. But corruption kills societies. There is no hope for any society in which corruption is endemic.
One final thought: Here in Cameroon, as elsewhere in Africa, the knowledgeable guides who lead tours of the slave centers note that Africans were deeply involved in the slave trade and that, without them, the slave trade could not have existed. If only this fact were taught as readily in American universities as it is here in Africa not in order to minimize white complicity, but because universities should teach truth.
Flawed human nature has no color.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University
Every human grouping has good and evil people. The difference that matters is which group does the culture push to the top. In countries that are hellholes - corrupt people are incentivized to the top. In counties like the United States - until recently - basically good people have been pushed forward.
The WSJ had an article about the black farmers in Africa complaining about food aid. One quote was, “You can’t compete with free.”
Mexico is rich in natural resources, yet it is still a $#!thole, because the culture is corrupt. Bribery is expected in Mexico. Sure, it happens in the U.S., but the societal expectation here is that an attempt to bribe a cop will gain you a jail sentence, while in Mexico, NOT bribing a cop might land you in jail.
Consequently, the attitude in the U.S. is that hard work and intelligent investing will result in monetary success, while in Mexico, anything you can grab for yourself by any means is fair game.
RE: The WSJ had an article about the black farmers in Africa complaining about food aid. One quote was, You cant compete with free.
The question is this — Are there enough Black farmers to provide food for the starving in Africa?
If the answer is ‘yes’ —
1) Are these food reaching the starving?
2) Do the starving have money to afford them?
If the answer is ‘no’.... what’s the alternative if you have surplus food in the Western world?
RE: Sure, it happens in the U.S., but the societal expectation here is that an attempt to bribe a cop will gain you a jail sentence, while in Mexico, NOT bribing a cop might land you in jail.
Living and working in the Philippines for a few years, businessmen tell me that NOT bribing anyone will cause DELAY or worse — things never to get done.
Also, I’ve seen a lengthy list a FReeper put together @ Republicans that, throughout history, have supported blacks...
This Prager piece is important, thanks for posting it.
Corruption is Americas greatest problem too.
You’re right on this... thanks for sharing Jeff.
We're undermining productive members of these societies - while propping up their goons. It's insane.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.