- Capitalism and Alternatives -

cultural superiority? please....

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on September 30, 1999 at 16:03:33:

In Reply to: Yup, that's what they did. posted by Frenchy on September 29, 1999 at 14:19:56:

: Yup, that's what they did. And if you had been alive at that time you would have done the same thing.

How the fuck do you know? Are you me?

: I hope you don't believe that the Indians lived a pastoral life in harmony w/ Mother Earth, where the coin of the realm was co-operation.

"The Indians"? This is a meaningless term. there were thousands of different Amerindian cultures between Alaska and Tierra Del Fuego. Some of them were peaceful, others were warlike. Some, like the Maya, used up theirresources and consumed tehmselves into extinction. Others, liek the Alaskan natives, seem to have lived in fair harmony with their environment, judging from teh fact that their society was sustainable for many centuries. 'the Indians' means no more or less than 'Eurasian clture' or some such.

:Because if you do your sadly mistaken. You could take the time to find out how the Iriquois managed to create their 5 Nations. Clue; War and Domination.

Yes and how do you think the Holy Roman Empire was constructed.

: Ditto w/ the Aztecs and Mayas and Incas. Scientists now suspect that the cliff dwellers of the South West were ardent cannibals. Do you judge those folks by todays standards? Or do they get a pass?

First of all, I'm comparing the Europe of a hundred years ago to today's standards. Some folks alive today were around when the Germans were doing their thing with the Hereros. That hardly seems to qualify as ancient hsitory, especially as tehse folks were talking at teh same tiem about human rights, progress, etcetera. These crimes were committed in the modern age.
Second of all, look at the magnitude of teh crimes committed. Some Native American tribes may have fought each other, but I have yet tos ee evidence of a mass depopulation liek the one the Europeans carried out. The Amerindians simply couldn't commit effective genocide, they lacked the technology. Third, since when do the faults of the victim mean that the aggressor is not to be blamed for his crimes? This is an utterly irrelevant ad hominem.

: : Germany had a large and bloody empire in Africa and Europe. The Germans were responsible for two of the largest genocides of modern times, in Namibia (40% of the total population killed) and later against Jews, Communists, Poles, and others. (11 million - plus civilians killed). Sounds imperial enough to me.

: Fair enough. Any idea how many innocent people have been killed in tribal warfare in Africa in the past century?

First of all, Africa has at least three and a half times as many people now as it did during the height of the colonial era. So if you want to make the case that intertribal warfare is as great a crime as the murders of colonialism, then you should multiply the colonial death toll by 3 or 4 and THEN compare. Secondly, unfortunately for your case, I think that the 2 million killed in teh Sudan, the million dead from the Biafran War of '67, the 300,000 Ugandan victims of Idi Amin, the 200,000 Burundian Hutu victims, the 800,000 Rwandan Tutsi victims, the 300,000 or so killed by right-wing Congolese regimes between 1960 and 1996, et cetera, when added together, would probably not be much more than the 10 million killed in one colony alone by the Belgians. NBear in mind also that African regimes have had 40 years to commit these crimes, while the Belgians carried out theirs in only 24. Finally, exactly how many African countries have suffered from tribal conflict or warfare since 1960? I count about 19, which out of a total of about 55 countries is certainly a inority. Ergo, most African countries have NOT suffered from tribal conflit since 1960.

: How about those Africans who engaged in slave trade?

How about them? See above. Also, only some African societeis had slavery, many did not; where slabvery existed, it was a temproray form of bodned labor with substantial social mobility, usually as a punsihment for criminals or war captives; slaves were not ostracized from scoiety, many became welasthy and/or powerful.

: : Japan had a small but significant empire, milking Korea, Manchuria and Taiwan for several decades.

: : : It is simply not feasible that the prosperity of the West is based on the nationalism and empire buiding that we have left behind as immoral. The fact is, the West was richer and more powerful than the rest of the world long before the age of Empire. Why did the British conquer India? Why was it not the other way around? Why did Spain conquer the Aztecs - why were these roles not reversed? Because present day wealth is merely a continuation of a historical trend that has seen the European peoples, blessed with the advantages of their environment and political culture handed down from the ancient world, advance ahead of other races.

: :
: : The 'political culture' bit I see as extremely dubious. The west had an enviropnment which led to easier conquest, but whether that translated into a happier, better society is not clear.

: Right, tell that to immigrants who leave their S***-holes to live in Western style countries.

Do you have any idea how many people and countries you are insulting here? I find your 'america first' chauvinisme extremely offensive if nothing else. How would youblike it if I called America a $3!*hole?

Hard as it may be for you to accept, most people worldwide are happy withw here they live, and do not wish to becoem teh United States. Many of them look at us and are frankly apalled by what tehy see. The Swedes don't like our social inequality; the Cubans don't like our disregard for the poor; the Norwegians don't like our violent media; the Japanese don't liek our violent society; the Indians don't like our self-interested foreign policy; Africans don't like our racism and our lack of family ties; the Canadians don't like our militarism; the French don't like our commodified culture: and so on and so on. Not everyone wants to move here, you knwo; many of them think that their societies are better off, and in some respects, of course, they are right.

: : : This is not saying we are superior. It is merely a fact. Less powerful countries inflicted misery on their weaker neigbours - it is just that they lacked the technology to expand on such a grand scale.

: : Somewhat broad statement, don't you think? I ahve yet to see evidence that the Pygmies, the Trobriand Islanders, the Tibetans or the Khoisan inflicted genocide or conquest on their neighbors- and you'd be surprised, a lot of murder can be carreid out with stones and pitchforks. Just ask Pol Pot.

: Do Pygmies have a written language with which they could record a genocide they committed?

the argument form ignorance again? it won't wash. You can't see, "they MIGHT have committed genocide, so..." The fact is, tribes like the Pygmies and the Khoisan did not even ahve a concept of murder, let alone genocide; murder was unknown, and so, as a result, were punishments for this crime. You can't take the most peaceful societies known to human history and postulate that committed genocede/ Firstly, tehy ahd no possible motivation or opportunity- secodn of all, si it rational to assume that after committing genocide, tehy settled down and forgot completely what murder was? does that make sense?

:The Tibetans? They kept there people oppressed so badly that by comparison the Chinese invasion of '59 has brought blessings to the multitudes. Think how bad the oppression must have been.

Parroting the Maoist line again? Look who's defedning Maoist China now. Not that i veer had to defend it; the Maoists weren't communists, not even in the sense that Castro or the democratic communist Daniel Ortega were. it's not that i write off all 'Marxist' experiments as non-communist, you see, but i do write off teh Maoists. Again, tehre is no evidnec of any special degree of oppression in premodern Tibet; the monastic life was open to nayone, after all, and was not a hereditary elite.

: Can't we call a spade a spade and say that some cultures are demonstrably superior to others?

man, I can't believ you're saying this. I though these sentiments became outdated sometime oin- oh, the early'30s maybe? Superior in what regard? Obviously, some societeis are more peaceful than others, others produce more high technology, still otehrs produce less pollution....it all depends on what criteria is most important to you, doesn't it? In soem regards, the Tibetans and/or the Khoisan were definitely sueprior to teh west (e.g. leisure time, peacefulness, lack fo violence, social equality, environmental quality). In soem regards, tehy weren't. if the former criteria are mroe important in your estimation, then you shoudl rationally conclude that teh Khoi-San were better off than modern America. You get my meaning?

: : : If the Asians or Africans had "got there first" in terms of technology, what do you think the outcome would have been? It would have been the same, merely with roles reversed. That is unless you think a black person, say, is naturally more moral than a white person?

: : No, but some cultures (e.g. American) are more conducive to violence than others.

: Genetics?

No, I said 'culture'. Look at the evidenc, please, of crime rates in West Africa, India or Japan and then compare to the US or England.

: : : Assuming that we can put talk of the evils of the British Empire in the 19th century behind us when talking about present day economics, that leaves the question - is it immoral to operate a capitalist system?

: : We can't leave it behind us, because the empire was only disestablished about 40 years ago. Neocolonialism contineus, and countries are forced to produce cash crops while their people starve. Read what Bill and otehrs have written, or maybe I'll repsond later.

: That's fine because I'm not going to leave the murders of millions of innocents at the hands of Socialists/Communists etc behind either.

and what about the murders and needless of many more millions at the hands of your capitalist soulmates.

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