- Capitalism and Alternatives -

African civilization

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on December 25, 1999 at 17:03:45:

In Reply to: Verbs and Nouns, part two. posted by Frenchy on December 25, 1999 at 12:54:46:

Let's begin with the facts; teh Nazis, and all fascist groups, are creations of teh far Right. The evidence for this is the following.
1) Nazis and conservatives agree that human traits and abilities are innate. Think of modern conservatives saying that low-performing kids in school are genetically not equipped to learn, and then think of the Nazis saying the same thing about the lower classes in Gernmany.
2) Nazis and conservatives both share an opposition to liberalism, Communism, Marxism, and socialism. The Nazis' calling themselves national-socialists was akin to Leopold II calling his private fiefdom the Congo Free State, or to Somoza calling himself the Liberal Party, or to North Korea's cal;ling themselves a PEople's Democracy.
3) Nazis and conservatives both believed in competition over cooperation, and that hierrachy and class society were the natural state of mankind.
4) The Nazis, ;like conservatives, upheld militarism; pacifism, on the other hand., has been wholly a left wing movement.
5) The Nazis upheld nationalism, and racism, which are fundamentakllky incompatible with left-wing ideologies.
Remember the historical alliances between the Nazis and other extreme Right-wing groups. Trujillo in the DR; the Apartheid enthusiasts in South Africa; the Belgians in teh Congo; all of these guys used or made common cause with the Nazis.

: : : So, I guess that the widely known lack of natural materials in Africa account for the lack of cathedrals (even if they would've been built to the Zebra God),

Your contempt for religions other than your own is really astounding. Look at me; I'm a Hindu, but I recognize that the African religions, though soemwheat different than mine, were no less valid or good. It would be nice if you had the courtesy to do teh same. Your flippant rference to teh Zebra God is similar to cases of Pacific Islanders who interpreted teh Christian God as a three-headed god of a cannibal people. (the last is a reference to teh ceremonial eating of Christ's body and blood.) In both cases the desire to understand a religion on its own terms is virtually absent.

African religions are, for the most part, polytheistic, nature-reverent, ancestor-reverent, and accepting of reincarnation and mediation between teh supreme god and humans. They certainly did build statues and temples to their gods, particularly among teh ethnic grousp of southern Nigeria (the polytheistic Yoruba, for example) and teh Vodoun Temples in Benin. The stone city of Zimbabwe, and teh oracular cave shrines, were also built largely for religious purposes. And of couse, as far as cathedrals go, the massive sunken cathedrals of the Ethiopoian Orthodox Church deserve consideration, as do teh Muslim Mosques of Djenne and Timbuktu. Ethiopians, incidenmtally, were Christianized by St. Mark after the death of Christ, centuries befroe the northern Europeans ever rose out of barbaric savagery.

:aqueducts, roads to compare with the Romans, sailing and navigation discoveries and a couple of other things.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but when Europeans went to Dahomey in the 1800s, tehy were favorably impressed by the roads and their size. In general, most Western travelers to West Afroican cities and kingdoms were impressed by the urban centers tehy witnessed; teh fundamental differenc,e as far as tehy could tel;l, was taht African cities had been able to develop with a higher average standard fo living, and a smaller gap between rich and poor, than the cities of Europe. In Timbuktu, for example, tehre was near universal literacy, as well the hsitorical remains of a university, and most urban dwellers shared a very similar (high) standard of living. (Archaological digs today are confirming this). Similarly, teh status of teh poor was much higehr in cities like Edo and Dahomey than in European metropolises, as testified by contemporary witnesses. Finally, of course, let's not forget the non-urbanized societeis of Africa, e.g. teh hunter-gatherer Kalahari San, who have historically worked only 3 hours a day to procure what they need to live, have had the rest of teh day to enjoy leisure in a natural environment, and who eat a nutriotionally more-than-adequate diet witha higher protein intake than Americans.

: : : Besides, I read somewhere that there were some African civilizations that did build pretty impressive structures, they just weren't anything like what was created in Europe.

: : Yeah. They were elephant dikes; built to keep elephants away from the crops. Eminently practical.

: Your not going to compare an elephant dike to say, Chartes?

And your statement taht they were 'nothing like' those in Europe (with its implication of superiority) is absed on.....what? Prejudice? Subjectivism?

: : : : In contrast, America is angled north-south and its climate varies widely according to latitude; thus preventing easy migration (also preventing the easy spread of technology, since little migration results in little exchange of ideas).

: : : Sure, that's why the Bearing Sea land bridge couldn't be crossed by the Chinese and why they couldn't eventually migrate down to Tierra Del Fuego.

: : I said easy migration; not all migration. The spread of people down the length of America took thousands of years; whereas the spread of ideas and pathogens throughout Asia took a few years due to the relative ease of travelling.

Yes, remember the Black Plague.

: : : : : : : Condidering that those civilizations had lived there for so long I'd have to say they died out from their own ignorance.

: : : : : : Not so; see above. They died out mainly from environmental limitations and infighting over environmental resources.

: : : Yeah, like I said, ignorance.

: : Says the man who lives in the belief that humanity can always beat the natural forces of the planet he lives on...
: No, not 'beat', but used to man's benefits. I think it's a lot easier for people not to live on a flood plain, say, or a low lying valley, then to try to 'beat' nature in that arena. If man can't do it, well, yeah, Mother Nature will have a tasty snack; the ignorant who cannot adapt.

The San did a quite good job of living with mothernature and not egtting beat by her. Unfortunately, the South African capitalsits had soemwhat different plans for them....

: : Genocide is genocide; and it was the priest that gave the orders at Cajamarca, even if Pizarro wanted to obey.
: Sure, all peoples in history have blood on their hands. What's your point?

Says Frenchy with his theory about humans being naturally genocidal. That makes a lot of sense. I'm still waiting for Frenchy to tell me about genocides perpetrated by the San, the Pygmies, the Semai or the Tibetan Buddhists.

: : : : Be careful, Frenchy; are you really trying to say that the white European Caucasian is the highest form of humanity? - because you're edging dangerously close to it.

: : : I don't know if 'highest form' is the way that I'd put it, but yeah, especially in terms of advances in political science,

of the people that brought us Social Darwinism, Nazism, Scientific Racism and Colonialism, as well as Capitalism...


of the people that brought us sweatshops, slums, and a civilization that works longer hours for less than it got 20 years ago...

:science and technology, etc.

of the men who brought us the neutron bomb, mathematical equations describing the falling of buttered toast, Love Canal, Bhopal, synthetic estrogen mimicking chemicals, d-thalidomide, mercury pollution, rain forest destruction, social Darwinism, scientific racism, etcetra/.....\

: : : I'm not at all quesy about stating the obvious. Feel uncomfortable about that? Don't want to admit those things yourself?

: : To me, the highest form of science and technology is one that can be sustained. You might be able to go 200 mph in a car if you push the engine to breaking point; but you can get much more use out of it if you treat the engine with some care.
: Yes, but the only reason your even able to say that is because you have the benfit of hindsight. Hindsight brought to you by the advances in science brought to you by the Pygmy tribes of Africa?

You know, you shoudl read up a little on teh San or Pygmy lifestyle. They certainly have it all in terms of social cohesion and happiness, beating us by a country mile.

: Go ahead, yell 'Racist', get it out of your system.
: Maybe you'll feel better, or not as guilty or, hell, I don't know.
: It's still true though, isn't it?

Nonsense. I'd liek tos ee your repsone to teh points I raised. I really would.

: : : : : : That said, the idea that Western society is any less brutal is also bunk.
: That's for sure. But at the same time, let's not forget that it's largely from the West that many of the political ideas that find so much appeal in the world come from.

Yes, like Marxism and soxialism; as for capitalism, try promulggating it in India and watch as people laugh in your face. Anyway, Marxism was largely influenecd by primitive communism in places like Siberia; the mdoern republic had forerunners in India, etcetera.

: : : : : As long as millions of peoples from around the world keep applying for visas at American Embassies I'll just have to take that with a grain of salt.

: : : : So you refuse to admit that the US Air Force dropped 539,129 tonnes of bombs on Cambodia in the years 1969-1973; that they somehow didn't kill 700,000 civilians in the process?

: : : Smooth seque into Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyite/Maoism.

: : Not at all. The point I'm making is that the US (the highest society in your view) committed genocide on civilians during our lifetimes.

: : In what way is genocide committed with B-52s any better than genocide committed with spears?
: What you call genocide I call war that was fought in the middle of the Cold War.

which was instigated by us, no less....

: And a war that, had it been won, would not have resulted in the millions of people who found it better to flee to other countries (with the US as the primary destination),

....and socialist China being the next highest. Incidentally, your evidence is what, exactly? Why do you think that south Vietnam wouldn't ahve degenrated into another terror state like capitalist Indonesia? or capitalist Pakistan? Why do you think teh RVN woudl have followed 'good capitalism' rather tahn 'bad capitalism"? AFAIK, no Asian country has ever acheived 'good capitalsim', with the exceptions of Japan and possibly Taiwan, to an extent. Considering that the last leader of the RVN, Air Vice Marshal Ky, was a confessed Nazi sympathizer, the idea that the RVN would have been a bloody terror state seems more than likely. The VC saved South Vietnam from the bloody and unpopular hand of Ky and his allies; if it wasn't fro our influence, teh liberation would have come sooner and with much less bloodshed.

:the millions who were 're-educated,

"Capitalist states kill their dissidents, we educate them." So said the Communist Samore Machel of Mozambique, and he was right. Would you prefer that thousands of prostitutes, traitors to their country and corrupt and murderous officials be left out on the sterets of a brokenm city to witehr away in filth and misery? Don't you think they shoudl be re-integrated in society? Do you eblieve in rehabilitation at all?

Vietnam certainly did hold peopel in prison, and kill people, for their political views, and that was immensely wrong. But capitalist Indonesia, whish NEVER endured a civil war, held IN TIME OF PEACE between 1.25 and 3 times the number of prisoners in re-education camps as did socialist Vietnam. Why aren't THEY the object of your criticism?

On the subject of refugees, to force anyoen to becoem a refugee is wrong. But it's worth remembering that the American revolution produced MANY TIMES the number of refugees that teh Vietnamese revolution did (as a % of population).

: and the millions who were slaughtered in Pol Pot's communes. All those things gratis the Left and World Communism. Geeez, talk about being careful about the examples you pick.

Nonsense. Pol Pot was kicked out by the Vietnamese Communists, if you'll remember. And ideologically, his policies betrayed everything the Left has ever stood for, most fundamentally of all his judging people by tehir productivity- a capitalist trait if I ever heard one. Inf Pol Pot was a communist, then Hitler was a capitalist. Even the fartehst left communsist revile Pol Pot, all except for one tiny group of fringe Maoists named the MIM.

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup