Africa BC/AC (Before and After Colonialism)


By ilana mercer
From their plush apartments, over groaning dinner tables, pseudo-intellectuals have the luxury of depicting squalor and sickness as idyllic, primordially peaceful and harmonious. After all, when the affluent relinquish their earthly possessions to return to the simple life, it is always with aid of sophisticated technology and the option to be air-lifted to a hospital if the need arises.

Is there any wonder, then, that “the stereotype of colonial history” has been perpetuated by the relatively well-to-do intellectual elite? Theories of exploitation, Marxism for one, originated with Western intellectuals, not with African peasants. It is this clique alone that could afford to pile myth upon myth about a system that had benefited ordinary people.

What is meant by “benefited”? Naturally, the premise here is that development, so long as it’s not coerced, is desirable and material progress good. British colonists in Africa reduced the state of squalor, disease and death associated with lack of development. To the extent that this is condemned, the Rousseauist myth of the noble, happy savage is condoned. Granted, Africa’s poor did not elect to have these conditions, good and bad, foisted on them. However, once introduced to potable water, sanitation, transportation, and primary healthcare, few Africans wish to do without them. Fewer Africans still would wish to return to Native Customary Law once introduced to the idea that their lives were no longer the property of the Supreme Chief to do with as he pleased.

It “is an absurdity to assert that cannibalism, slavery, magical therapy, and killing the aged should be accorded the same ‘dignity’ or ‘validity’ as old-age security, scientific medicine, and metal artifacts,” noted anthropologist George Peter. While old habits die hard, most “people prefer Western technology and would rather be able to feed their children and elderly than kill them,” he notes in Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress. And the West largely eliminated “many of the worst endemic and epidemic diseases in West Africa.” Ask Moeletsi Mbeki, the brother of South Africa’s former president Thabo Mbeki. He has admitted that “the average African is poorer [today] than during the age of colonialism.”

Even so—and whether they stay or go—the blame for all the ills of this backward and benighted region falls on Westerners. One dreadfully off-course notion has it that the colonial powers plundered Africa and failed to plow back profits into the place. This manifest absurdity is belied by the major agricultural, mineral, commercial and industrial installations throughout the continent. The infrastructure in Africa was built by the colonial powers. Far from draining wealth from less developed countries,” as P. T. Bauer richly documented, in Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion, “British industry helped to create it there.”

Another widely canvassed, equally implausible, accusation is that the West, which was streaks ahead of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia well before colonization, got rich on the backs of poor nations. How then do we explain the fact that the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Australia, have achieved some of the world’s highest living standards? After all, none of these nations had any colonies (except Australia, which after World War I acquired sovereignty over the former German territory consisting of what is now Papua New Guinea). They were rich without any meaningful ties to the undeveloped world. The wealthiest and most advanced countries were themselves colonies once: North America and Australia. As Bauer conclusively proved, the West’s human resources, and not any exploitation of the backward world, account for its innovation and achievements.

Much less is it legitimate to claim that contact with entrepreneurial Europeans and Asians has enervated Africa. Regions that have had the greatest commercial contact with the West are far and away more developed than regions that had little such contact. Compare the people of West Africa, parts of East and Southern Africa, and the inhabitants of Africa’s ports, with desert and rainforest dwellers like the Bushmen and pigmies. Or, with never-colonized Liberia, Afghanistan, Tibet and Nepal.

We can’t lay the blame for Africa’s tragedy on the much-deplored exploitation of natural resources either. Most natural resources are useless lumps of nothing. Without the ingenuity of men—iron, aluminum, coal and oil would lie purposeless and pristine in the wildernesses, and the matter and energy abundant on earth would come to naught. Such a state of affairs describes pre-colonial Africa, to which the colonial powers introduced the wheel and wheeled transport.”

Much of British colonial Africa was transformed during the colonial period,” writes Bauer, also in Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion:

In the Gold coast there were about 3000 children at school in the early 1900s, whereas in the mid-1950s there were over half a million. In the early 1890s there were in the Gold Coast no railways or roads, but only a few jungle paths. Transport of goods was by human porterage or canoe.

Before colonialism, sub-Saharan Africa was a subsistence economy; because of colonialism it became a monetized economy. Before colonialism, there were only bush back roads through which men trekked with goods on their backs. During colonialism roads were built. In pre-colonial times the absence of public security made investment in Africa too risky. Post-colonialism, investment flowed. With the colonial administrations came scientific agriculture, introduced by the colonists and by “foreign private organizations and persons under the comparative security of colonial rule, and usually in the face of formidable obstacles.”

“In British West Africa public security and health improved out of all recognition … peaceful travel became possible; slavery and slave trading and famine were practically eliminated, and the incidence of the worst diseases reduced. Mortality fell, population increased, communications and ‘peaceful contact within Africa and with the outside world’ increased in British colonies.” As uneven and problematic as progress often was, “everywhere in Black Africa modern economic life began with the colonial period.” “Economic modernity could not have been effected without a mediated imperial structure,” maintains economist Niall Ferguson. In Africa, colonial governments encountered “conditions unfavorable to material progress,” to wit, civil and tribal war and slavery. By establishing the rule of law, protecting private property and enforcing contractual relations, building infrastructure, and organizing “basic health services,” and introducing modern financial and legal institutions—the colonial powers enhanced, rather than hindered, progress. Although—or perhaps because—all these advancements interfered with traditional customs, they also advanced the continent materially.

Clearly, political independence doesn’t go hand-in-glove with material progress. But grievance-based explanations have a way of evolving. Before independence, Africa’s backwardness was attributed to colonialism. After independence, neocolonialism replaced colonialism as the excuse du jour for the failure of African leaders to ameliorate their people’s plight. Neocolonialism encompasses any unhappy condition that can no longer be attributed to colonialism. Pizza Hut opening an outlet in Lima can easily be framed as the modern equivalent of Pizarro descending on the Incas, to paraphrase journalist Henri Astier.

On rare occasions the interests of an African politician and his people will converge. On one such occasion, and in desperation, the former president of Sierra Leone, the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, where life expectancy is just forty-nine years, “asked a visiting British politician, in the presence of journalists, if it might be possible for his country to become part of the British Empire again.”

When all is said and done, the West is what it is due to human capital—people of superior ideas and abilities, capable of innovation, exploration, science, philosophy.

Human action is the ultimate adjudicator of a human being’s worth; the aggregate action of many human beings acting in concert makes or breaks a society. Overall, American society is superior to assorted African and Arab societies because America is still inhabited by the kind of individuals who make possible a thriving civil society.

Adapted from Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) by ILANA Mercer. Ilana’s latest book is The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016).

 

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Why was Charles I executed?


Why was Charles I executed?
By Keir Martland 

I am what might be jokingly termed a ‘crypto-Anglican.’ Often, I attend some of the more ‘High Church’ services in the Church of England, principally at my College Chapel when ‘on duty’ as a Warden, alongside my regular attendance of Roman Catholic services. This is partly out of a spirit of ecumenism and partly out of an aesthetic appreciation of Choral Evensong and Anglican High Mass according to the Book of Common Prayer. Indeed, there is much to recommend this kind of Anglicanism to the aesthete. Firstly, the Church of England owns – or rather, is in possession of – all the old Catholic churches in this country, and these churches are invariably the prettiest in the country. Secondly, there is something charming, but also interesting on an academic level, about the Cranmerian English of the Prayer Book, such as in the archaic and foreign-sounding “spare thou them.” Thirdly, the Anglican choral tradition is hard to compete with, and Choral Evensong – at least, at my College Chapel – is a delight for those who enjoy early Stuart and Restoration Era “Mag & Nuncs” and anthems (the works of Orlando Gibbons and Pelham Humphrey are particular favourites of mine). It is this rich tradition that the Personal Ordinariates established by Pope Benedict XVI seek to preserve.

And yet I digress already, for it is in a spirit of ecumenism (an entirely benign effect of Vatican II) and not aestheticism that I write today. Today is the 368th anniversary of the execution of the Anglican Martyr King Charles I. 368 years ago, Charles I was executed outside the Banqueting House at Whitehall following two Civil Wars, also known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Charles had lost both Civil Wars and had failed to reach a settlement with the Scots, Parliament, or the Army, and eventually the latter took the initiative to break the deadlock, put him on “trial” following a royalist defeat in the Second Civil War, and murdered him. But why did this happen? Continue reading

Make Jerusalem Safe Again


By ilana mercer

RELOCATING the American Embassy to Jerusalem, as President Donald Trump has pledged to do, is more than symbolic. It’s what Christians should be praying for if they value celebrating future Easter Holy Weeks, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, located in Jerusalem’s Old City. With such a forceful gesture, the Trump Administration will be affirming, for once and for all, the undivided Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State. Continue reading

Cambridge (England) Had Its Own Afrocentric History Denier (Part II)


By ilana mercer

A known quantity in the faking department is Rev. Al Sharpton. In a video that gets considerable play on TV, Sharpton informs a rapt audience that “white folks” were cave dwellers when blacks were building empires and pyramids; teaching philosophy, astrology and mathematics. “Socrates and them Greek homos” were mere copycats, aping black civilization.

As revealed in “Helping The Sharpton and Obama Afrocentrism ‘Fade to Black,’” this mythistory has a presence in America’s schools, tertiary and secondary.

By now we know that mass media and government under both national parties routinely generate fake news to achieve political ends. That our progressive pedagogues propagandize the youth: That’s well-known and passively accepted, too. Less known is the extent to which fabricated history has been incorporated into curricula.

In “Black Athena,” Martin Gardiner Bernal of Cambridge, England, suggested that “Ancient Greece” had been “fabricated,” and that chroniclers of “classical civilization” had concealed its “Afroasiatic roots.”

Ditto historian George G. M. James, whose “Stolen Legacy: The Egyptian Origins of Western Philosophy” claims that a rather large chunk of ancient civilization is fraudulent. The Greeks stole it from the Egyptians. The Egyptians were as black as Al Sharpton and Idi Amin.

The school tracts known as the “Portland African-American Baseline Essays” are another counterfactual abomination to have percolated into America’s anti-intellectual schooling system.

The Science Baseline Essay, in particular, claims that thousands of years ago, Egyptians-cum-blacks “flew in electroplated gold gliders, knew accurately the distance to the sun, and discovered the Theory of Evolution.”

According to Afrocentric academic Cheikh Anta Diop—a Senegalese with considerable celebrity in the US—Africans invented everything from Judaism, to engineering, to astronomy, including dialectical materialism (apparently Marxism is cause for inventor’s pride).

It’s easy to dismiss this mythistory as too ridiculous to swallow. However, mythical thinking thrives in a culture that eschews objective truth: ours.

Where once there was an understanding that a reality independent of the human observer exists; students are now taught that truth is a social construction, a function of the power and position—or lack thereof—of persons or groups in society.

Casting fact and objective truth as no more than a perspective is a handy bit of egalitarianism: If nothing is immutably true, then all positions are but a matter of preference and can claim equal validity. This vortex is the scaffolding for Afrocentric pseudohistory; the American academy its perfect foil.

When all is said and done, what are a few curricular concessions if they increase self-esteem among young Africans? What’s the big deal about making history palliative rather than factual, if, as Collin Flaherty would say, it makes the black kids less angry?

For this reason—and unlike the equally nonsensical Holocaust denial, which immediately raises establishment and media ire—remedial historical revisionism for blacks meets with little objection.

Refuting Afrocentric pseudohistory has fallen largely to Mary Lefkowitz, a brilliant Greek classicist. In “Not Out Of Africa: How “Afrocentrism” Became An Excuse To Teach Myth As History,” she asks: “If the Greeks had learned their philosophy from a large theoretical literature produced by Egyptian writers, surely some trace of that literature would have remained in Egypt?”

Alas, there’s no point searching for logic where there is only African chauvinism. Nor should one look for methodological coherence in the tracts mentioned. For scholars whose mission it is to promote a view of African superiority, Afrocentrists have done a poor job.

Their methodology consists in neglecting chronology, treating myths as history, and using citations fraudulently to support the crux of their argument. In Afrocentric works, hypothesis morphs into fact, authorities that don’t bolster a thesis are recruited in its service, and the absence of proof becomes evidence of conspiracy.

One example among many of a jarring deception is a reference to the “Egyptian Mystery System” whence the Greeks allegedly stole their philosophy. The reference comes not from an authentic historical text, but from eighteenth-century French fiction and Freemasonry.

As amusing is that the city of Alexandria was founded only after Alexander’s conquest of Egypt, and the library from which Aristotle allegedly pilfered his genius was founded after the philosopher’s death.

Accompanying the dogged repetition of the lies are the vicious ad hominem attacks leveled at scholars like Lefkowitz, who has dared to confront the evidence.

Of course, entire civilizations are not typically the kleptomaniac’s item of choice. Afrocentrists, moreover, look especially dimwitted in their incongruous claims, considering that, on the one hand, they blame the Great White and his wicked, linear thinking for practically every reprehensible event in history. On the other hand, they lay claim to his civilization.

If Eurocentric culture is so horrible, why would these fake historians want to claim it as their own? By coveting it, aren’t Afrocentrists providing the ultimate validation of Western Civilization?

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* Part I is “Helping The Sharpton and Obama Afrocentrism ‘Fade to Black.’”

 

ILANA Mercer is a paleolibertarian writer and thinker based in the US. Her weekly column was begun in Canada in 1999. Ilana is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) and Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow ilana on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IlanaMercer , Gab: https://gab.ai/ILANAMERCER, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaleolibertarianAuthorILANAMercer/.
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WALES IS NOT A ‘NATION’


Ronald Olden

Only a fiercely proud Welshman can make a statement like this, and get away with it. But Wales is not a ‘Nation’. We are ‘special’, and ‘special’ in a way which should appeal to ‘libertarians’.

Wales is a ‘Community of Communities’. It has no noticeable ‘National’ characteristic. Within the confines of our Peninsula, Wales is as culturally diverse as the rest of the UK put together. Significant proportions of Welsh people speak a language totally different from English, and even that language varies significantly, between North and South.

North, Mid and South Walian people have little or nothing in common with one another and rarely travel to each other’s regions. Some never manage to do so at all. And the Western third of Wales, whether it be North, Mid or South is very different from the Mid South and Eastern regions. Pembrokeshire, in the far West, is different again, and is sometimes referred to as ‘Little England beyond Wales’. Wales truly is a ‘Community of Communities’.

All that unites the Welsh is the fact tht we are not English, Scottish or Irish.

Wales’ lack of ‘National’ coherence arises from the fact that we never became a ‘Nation State’. We are the part of the island of Great Britain, which isn’t England or Scotland. The Welsh name for Wales is ‘Cymru’ and means ‘foreigner’ or ‘outsider’. Which is exactly what we are. We are outside England. But Continue reading