Is it better to be a paternalistic colonialist or a patronising anti-colonialist?

If you’ve never picked up a copy of Naom Chomsky and Andre Vltchek’s conversational repartee entitled On Western Terrorism : From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare,i there are some nuggets of interest (more from Chomsky than from Vltchek, and particularly about the nefariousness of the USG vis-a-vis its meddlesome foreign policy for the past century),ii but overall, these two are incredibly, almost unbearably patronising. To take just a couple particularly nauseating examples :

Chomsky : It’s kind of an interesting fact that colonized people often accept and even honor their own repression. Once in Kolkata, I went to visit the Victoria Memorial Museum, and when you get there, the first thing that greets you is a big statue of Sir Robert Clive, one of the people who destroyed India. I was taken by the guides through hall after hall of hideously ugly paintings, of the British beating Indians and humiliating them and so on. Then I went to Queen Victoria’s tearoom, which had somehow been reconstituted, and it’s truly like some national shrine. All this was the symbol of India’s destruction, and who knows how I was taken by the guides through hall after hall of hideously ugly paintings, of the British beating Indians and humiliating them and so on. Then I went to Queen Victoria’s tearoom, which had somehow been reconstituted, and it’s truly like some national shrine.

Vltchek : The British Empire certainly indoctrinated millions of its subjects. For instance, in Malaysia elites are still doing all they can to appear even more British than people from the UK. All monuments from the days of the Empire are painstakingly preserved. Even in Sabah, in Borneo, they have English tearooms and restored mansions turned museums that used to belong to the colonizers. And the ultimate aim of young educated Malaysian people is to study at some prestigious university in England; to basically shed their Malayness and become as close to the former colonialists as possible.

The same trend could be seen in Kenya, where the local elites, those that are now plundering their own country on behalf of the neo-colonial masters, are dressing like the English gentlemen used to, some decades ago. Kenyan judges are wearing wigs identical to those worn by their counterparts in Britain, and many of those with high standing are imitating an English accent.

In Southeast Asia, many people are convinced that the colonial rulers governed them justly. There is an absolutely pathetic discussion going on now in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore on why Malaysia is so much ahead of Indonesia, for example. Many of them think that this is because of the wonderful rule of the British Empire in Malaya; so many Indonesians are actually complaining that the Dutch were not as good colonial rulers as the Brits!

Pretty gross, eh ? Can you think of anything more despicable than this ? And no, under no circumstances and in no fashion are we speaking about the laudable behaviour of the previously colonised peoples, but rather the abhorrent and holier-than-thou bullshit from this prissy pair of soi-disant “intellectuals” who don’t (or shouldn’t) have two pennies to rub together. It’s as if these two numbskulls imagine that everyone in the world should, for reasons not entirely clear nor particularly well-founded, be born with an unfailing and omniscient autodidacticism that majically imbues them with the shamanistic power to fend of the malséant spirits of what are clearly superior and more advanced cultural mores, lest anyone’s heads be filled with the “evil ideas” from those “mean colonialists” who couldn’t possibly be shining the light of civilisation on the endarkened corners of the world. Impossibru ! Then Chomsky and Vltchek have the gaul to wonder aloud why 40 – 60 mn “people” have died since WWII (ie. the end of colonisalism properly speaking). Hmm, maybe because there were no adults left to keep the children from hacking each other to pieces and blowing each other into smithereens ?

All these quotes demonstrate is that the Malays, Singaporeans, Indians, Kenyans, Indonesians, etc. are a hell of a lot smarter than Chomsky and Vltchek could ever hope to be,iii certainly when it comes to working from causes rather than towards purposes, which, really, is a truer test of intelligence than IQ ever was. These previously colonised peoples don’t have the luxury of wishing the world would be this way or that way, all they have before them is an option between i) their old spear-chucking waysiv and ii) the ways of 19th century Europe. That’s it. That’s their dilemma until such time as Martians land from outer space and instead of just leveling the planet actually take the time to teach us their superior ways – for their ways must be superior or else we would’ve been visiting them !

When the table’s flipped, who are Chomsky and Vltchek, from the comfort of their armchairs somewheres in the “civilised” braindamaged West, to tell hundreds of millions of people what would be nicer and better for them ? If they’re too busy to bother traveling to Asia or Africa themselves, to spend their lives as platonic missionaries of soviet justice,v why can’t they resign themselves to letting lesser peoples learn from better peoples, just like a schoolboy or schoolgirl goes to class to learn from their teacher ? Yes, little children could pull each other’s hair and call each other “poopy pants” for the rest of their lives, as they’re inclined to do naturally, but that’s hardly something to aspire to, now is it ?

So unless Chomsky and Vltchek are about to beat a different type of morality into some far-off peoples in far-off lands, they’d be better served letting those peoples choose for themselves what’s best ; and if that means them choosing a teacher that these armchair assholes aren’t fond of, well, too bad so sad, but that doesn’t change a damn thing. They can’t go back in time and stop the unwashed from experiencing soap just for the saying of it. That’s not how the real world works.

It’s easy to do what Chomsky and Vltchek are doing – it’s cheap to tawk – it’s a hell of a lot harder to walk the walk. Sunt facta verbis difficiliora, just ask the paternalistic colonialists, or any successful parent for that matter.

So which is better ? That’s easy : the virtuous.

___ ___ ___

  1. If you’ve ever laid awake in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering where Chomsky and Vltchek have traveled and lived, this book is for you. Otherwise, this article should be sufficient for most anyone’s purposes. PDF here. []
  2. Though, to be fair, this is junior high level history. []
  3. And smarter too than the Jamaicans, who’ve left their colonial infrastructure to rot and rust in the sun. []
  4. Which were all fine and dandy until heavenly figures descended from on high, bringing soap, the knowledge of cleanliness, and other untold wonders. []
  5. Soviets put their country on the vanguard of the fight against imperialism, racism, and discrimination. But a huge sector of the population was not ready for it, it resisted, it remained racist. I think that was the case, not only in the former USSR, but also all over Eastern Europe. Then, once the system that was promoting egalitarianism collapsed, all those terrible oppressed bigotries surfaced again.

    This, and many other quotes, make it plain as day that Chomsky and Vltchek long for the days of the “just” and “right” USSR (not unlike alf, the lathe dog), so readily do they excuse the atrocities of that long-gone pseudo-Tsarist regime while, in the same breath, railing against the ones they presently live under for doing the exact same thing but under a different banner. How they manage to sleep at night while maintaining such cognitive dissonance is anyone’s guess. Two legs good, four legs bad ! []

8 thoughts on “Is it better to be a paternalistic colonialist or a patronising anti-colonialist?

  1. Saifedean Ammous says:

    The real face of American imperialism is not McDonald’s and Coca Cola, it is Chomsky and Harvard. Chomsky does not want the third worlders to live their own lives as they please; he wants them to live as he and Harvard please, under State Dept elections and a USD-denominated central bank. This is progressivism, from the Bolshevik revolution to today: spreading the most pernicious strains of communism all over the world to destroy nations and bring them under the heel of Harvard and Chomsky.

    Leftist rhetoric on the evils of imperialism is purely projection. The less developed nations always benefit when getting trade, technology, capital, management, and expertise from more advanced nations. They are destroyed and decimated, however, as soon as a tiny minority of over-educated, unproductive, foreign-paid trash begin parroting Harvard Progressive democratic dogma.

    The real reason to be an anti-imperialist is not to oppose trade and development, it is to oppose Progressive imperialists like Chomsky, who really really know what’s best for the dark eternal victims.

    • Progressive imperialists are only ever “imperialists” by self-ascription, for they have neither the men nor the will to be act directly and with force, these being the necessary ingredients for imperialism proper. So while Chomsky and Harvard might provide the convenient pseudo-intellectual underpinnings of the so-called powers that be, and provide convenient ex post facto rationales for this policy or that outcome, Progressive America can only ever exert its influence – at this juncture in history at least – via indirect methods, be they JP Morgan, Starbucks, or mercenaries.

      As to the “destruction” of “less-developed nations,” it’s not quite clear what there is to destroy. Their happiness ? Too bad, they shouldn’t have sucked. Next time, they’ll pick better parents.

  2. Saifedean says:

    While they certainly lack the self-awareness, testicles, and brains to run an imperialist project competently and productively, they certainly have no compunction about sending other people’s children to die for the cause of social justice, which, of course is more important than pesky outdated morals like not killing innocents and the like.

    Developing countries may suck today, but they sucked far, far less before the State Department showed up with democracy and progressivism and the United Nations and The International Community. Just look at the difference today between Chile and Argentina, Morocco and Algeria, Oman and Yemen, Thailand and Cambodia, to see what a difference progressive imperialism makes.

  3. […] is attempting with the bathroom brouhaha is no different than the cancer, retirement, sexism, racism, human rights, homelessness, ADHD, opiate addiction, etc. “problems” that the […]

  4. […] presented them, no matter how barbed the outstretched hand. There are indeed far worse things than colonialism. […]

  5. […] not at all evident how much you thought those poor middle class white folks could take of your patronising verbal abuse,iv sexual discrimination,v and outright racism,vi but you reaaaallly crossed the line […]

  6. […] at the Musée Des Beaux-Arts Montréal was of the entirely vomit-inducing “post-pre-de-colonial” hurr durr, but swimming around those mental land mines yielded an entirely unique […]

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