That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

David Brooks Reminds Us Of The White Man’s Burden

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Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

–Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden”

America, I know we have a black President, but now more than ever it’s time for us to pick up the white man’s burden, as Rudyard Kipling so eloquently put it and spread our culture.   The first obvious place to spread it to is Haiti.  As New York Times Columnist David Brooks put it,  “Haiti, like most of the world’s poorest nations, suffers from a complex web of progress-resistant cultural influences. There is the influence of the voodoo religion, which spreads the message that life is capricious and planning futile. There are high levels of social mistrust. Responsibility is often not internalized. Child-rearing practices often involve neglect in the early years and harsh retribution when kids hit 9 or 10.”

Brooks calls Haiti ” a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services.”   This is naturally quite disturbing to me as we have tried very hard to improve Haiti’s government by supporting 2 coups in the last 20 years to overthrow democratically elected leaders they mistakenly voted for .  We have neither the money nor the intelligence resources to quit overthrowing Haiti’s government.  Eventually, they’re going to have to roll up their shirt sleeves and get things together.  I think Obama owes it to these people to overthrow their government one more time, but after that I’d cut them off.

Brooks offers a simple solution and that’s paternalism.  He makes a very strong case for intrusive paternalism saying, “programs, like the Harlem Children’s Zone and the No Excuses schools, are led by people who figure they don’t understand all the factors that have contributed to poverty, but they don’t care. They are going to replace parts of the local culture with a highly demanding, highly intensive culture of achievement — involving everything from new child-rearing practices to stricter schools to better job performance.”

Let’s face it—poor people are lazy and ethnic poor are even lazier.  Now I’m not implying that the people of Haiti are ethnic in their own country, but they are still ethnic nonetheless.  We must go in and take over their culture with force and that is something that as white people we’ve been particularly good at over the years.  Even Jane Addams of Hull House fame got it.  Through her work, many immigrants were taught to give up their inferior ethnic cuisine for a diet rich in the American goodness of meat and potatoes.

Just as we do in our own country by privatizing black schools as charter schools and replacing ineffective older African-American teachers with 23 year old Ivy League educated Teach for America types getting authentic experience in the hood for a couple of years before moving on to public policy.   This is the white man’s burden and it is time for us to pick it up internationally as well as domestically.


Written by thatsrightnate

January 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm

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