There’s all sorts of truths in the world that can’t be buried no matter how hard people try to pretend. And no, I’m not talking about lizard hitleri or even central banking conspiracies, I’m talking about the difference between “social progress” and honest-to-goodness technological progress, the type that leads to genuine advancement vs. the pretense thereof.
On the “social progress” side is a seemingly endless fountain of abused words sprouted forth by the wealthy descendents of the last baby boom. These are the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the Neuroeconomics, the Cancer Research, and the unfortunate like. These are all well and good for keeping stupid people off the streets and making them feel good at the same time, but little more.
On the technological progress side is the type of advancement that’s so disruptive that no semi-civilised nation, clean drinking water or not,ii can afford to ignore. This is the type of progress that literally leaves you in the dust, eating dust, if you miss the boat. The distinction between the two is both clean and precise: one talks, one walks.
Those riding the coattails of technological advancement might like to pretend that social change is the more important of the two, but it’s only from their lofty interventionist pedestal that this sort of braindamage makes any sense. What Africa needs isn’t your dumbass notions of gender egalitarianismiii so much as your cheap used cell phones. Having the ability to call town to find out the going price for your cow or crop, depending on their risk tolerance in relation to said price, a farmer can save himself an all-day trip. That’s a huge deal. That’s a disruptive technology.iv Exactly like soap.
While it’s very much true that not every culture in the history of humanity developed some type of evolutionarily convergent soap product, it’s equally true that once soap was introduced, smelliness became a lot less tolerable. And yet, and yet! some still choose to go au naturel, at the expense of their mating opportunities, aussi naturellement.v Once the more advanced option is on the table, there’s no going back.
Likewise with computers. There’s no denying the fact that computers are sine qua non for survival going forward. And since borders are increasingly irrelevant, and we’re all connected in one big happy global village, we’re all part of the same advanced society no matter how deep we bury our heads in the sands of yesteryear. Much in the same way that post-1834 farmhands had to clean up (and move to the city) once the McCormick reaper came around, so too will the bell toll for those who pissily hawk dime bags to cruise ship tourists.
For those disinclined or otherwise unable to self-teach, the margins of the olive branch in some parts of the world look no more promising than this street-level sign for the Institute for Advanced Technology in Ocho Rios, Jamaica : Around the corner, though it took me two passes to find it, was this 2′ x 2′ hand-painted sign outside the IAT’s second floor entrance :vi
To the your average Jamaican pedestrian, the sledgehammer that is the future looks no more promising or important than this. Really, how easy is to ignore the outstretched arm of history when it looks this derpy ?
This is bad news bears for the non-Maroons trying to make it in a white man’s world.vii Being primitive works fine in small groups. Being primitive works fine in isolation. Being primitive works fine as long as the world isn’t knocking at your door and then beating it down with a battering ram if you take more than 15 seconds to answer it. So unless you’re about to (s)elect a politican who will outlaw the importation of any and all electronics for the next 8 years, being primitive won’t get you or your children very far in the decades to come.
Soap exists. Now you just have to use it.
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- Though I did recently watch Triumph des Willens and took home an appreciation not only for how happy and healthy the Germans portrayed therein appeared, but also how effeminate some of Hitler’s hand gestures were and how strongly he rolled his r’s. [↩]
- Interestingly, sewage and water treatment is what separates Jamaica, a British colony for a couple centuries, from Costa Rica, a former Spanish colony. Isn’t it funny how much one ruler can suck and another can, well, rule ? [↩]
- Genders are complementary, not identical. So stop trying to wedge your “women in tech” square into the round hole ! [↩]
- Compare this with, say, Uber. Surge pricing was the only interesting ingredient in their cocktail, but because it’s obviously “unfair,” the regulatory powers that be will ensure that it’s buried, if it doesn’t bury itself first. [↩]
- Take the stereotype of the successful black man who courts white women exclusively. Every stereotype conveys a hint of truth, even if the usual explanation is the one that makes the stereotyper sleep best, rather than the most likely explanation. The truth is hard to swallow, y’know ? [↩]
- Given the lazy phoneticism of Jamaican English, to say nothing of the African-Portuguese-Hindi-English-Spanish “patois” the locals speak to wun anova, that the IAT door sign reads “Enriching minds through advanced TRANING” isn’t so terribly surprising, merely an indication that people should try to crawl before they try to walk. [↩]
- Yes, the world is a white man’s world, and unless you’d rather live with the Kaffir, you’d better fight to the death to keep it that way. [↩]