‘Shithole Countries’: What Makes a Country? the Place or the People?

‘Shithole Countries’: What Makes a Country? the Place or the People?, by Ilana Mercer.

To listen to the deformed logic of the president’s detractors, it’s the former: the “country” makes the person. No sooner does an African or Haitian immigrant wash up on American shores — courtesy of random quotas, lotteries and other government grants of privilege and protection — than the process of cultural and philosophical osmosis begins. American probity and productivity soon become his own. …

Easily one of the most controversial thinkers on the causes of underdevelopment in Africa, Etounga-Manguelle, a former adviser to the World Bank, contends that “What Africans are doing to one another defies credulity. Genocide, bloody civil wars, and rampant violent crime suggest African societies at all social levels are to some extent cannibalistic.” Why? In part, because of the inveterate values held by so many Africans.

Etounga-Manguelle and scholars like him, cited in “Into The Cannibal’s Pot,” are responding to an “explanatory vacuum” that has opened up among honest academics.

All have been willing to admit that constructs like racism, discrimination, and colonialism no longer serve as credible causal factors in divining underdevelopment and delinquency. …

The idea that culture is benign and harmonious if not disrupted is a delusion, argues anthropologist Robert B. Edgerton, who also believes that in Africa, “traditional cultural values are at the root of poverty, authoritarianism, and injustice.

By taking account of culture, posits David Landes, a Harvard economic historian, and author of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, one could have foreseen the postwar economic success of Japan and Germany. The same is true of South Korea (versus Turkey), and Indonesia (versus Nigeria). …

Culture:

Western cultures emphasize the future; view work as a blessing rather than as a burden; promote individuals based on their merit; value education and frugality, are philanthropic, identify with universal causes, and have higher ethics.

In static cultures, individuals tend to be fatalistic rather than future-oriented; live for the present or past; work only because they need to; diminish or dismiss the value of education, frugality, and philanthropy; are often mired in nepotism and corruption; and promote individuals based on clan and connections, rather than capabilities.

“I am because we are” is how one wag encapsulated the cog-like role of the individual in African culture. In advanced cultures, on the other hand, the individual, and not the collective, is paramount.

Although PC culture is doing its best to change that.

The paucity of planning and future preparation in African life, Etounga-Manguelle puts down to a suspended sense of time. …

Magic wins out over reason; community over individual; communal ownership over private property; force and coercion over rights and responsibilities; wealth distribution over its accumulation. …

The left’s delusion is due to the blank slate fallacy:

Be it Africa or Arabia, the Left labors under the romantic delusion that the effects of millennia of development-resistant, self-defeating, fatalistic, atavistic, superstition-infused, unfathomably cruel cultures can be cured by an infusion of foreign aid, by the removal of tyrants such as Robert Mugabe or Jacob Zuma, or by bringing the underdeveloped world to America. …

It is forbidden by PC to mention genes or IQ:

What precisely, then, accounts for the unequal “civilizing potential,” as James Burnham called it, that groups display? Why have some people produced Confucian and Anglo-Protestant ethics — with their mutual emphasis on graft and delayed gratification — while others have midwifed Islamic and animistic values, emphasizing conformity, consensus, and control? …

Such an investigation, however, is verboten — a state-of-affairs Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson blamed on “a prevailing rigid orthodoxy,” which is the preferred academic phrase for political correctness: “Culture … should never be used to explain anything about the people who produced it.”