by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog
It’s an idea that is worth discussing because – much like how China does not want to discuss possible modern reverberations from their atrocious (mostly upper-class) practice of female foot-binding – the West does not want to deal with the cultural legacy of four centuries of segregation.
It’s so perplexing to listen to Western commentators demand in the same breath both massive Great Lockdowns and that everyone agree that they have the world’s purest and widest ideals of freedom. In The New York Times article France Weighs Its Love of Liberty in Fight Against Coronavirus a French government adviser said, “We gave up an absolutely fundamental freedom, that of movement, while most of the Asian countries chose instead to be much more coercive on the individuals.”
But… freedom of movement is the MOST important freedom, and restricting it is the MOST coercion possible. What do you think prison is? More than anything else it is ending your freedom of movement.
The only thing more coercive than having your freedom of movement taken away is capital punishment and physical torture. (Well, maybe – how long do I have to be tortured to avoid being caged for decades?)
Thus, the “freedom” the West has given up is “freedom”; what they feared losing was actually mere “privacy”.
Instead of acknowledging global cultural equality during this pandemic, the West is instead having absurd, logic-twisting discussions about how Asia “is much more coercive” than the allegedly “freedom-loving West”. Just as Americans can easily be manipulated and distracted by data-driven fear, the French are – once again – obsessively thinking very deep philosophical thoughts (which are also very deeply jingoistic and self-flattering) about “liberté” while their heads are buried in the sand as to how very, very repressive their public polices actually are.
There are three primary reasons for a public debate and discourse which is so contradictory: 1) constant, self-flattering cultural chauvinism, which obviously runs on illogic, 2) stupidity and hysteria – the Western corona overreaction is something of a new peak, though 3) the West doesn’t understand that Asians see their own primary coercive techniques as less brutal than those of the West’s.
Perhaps there will never be a meeting of the minds on the last one, but I think it’s rather easy to explain.
The West has two types of social shaming/control, but Asians have a third… which is the worst?
The first type of social control which is dominant in Anglo-Saxon cultures is modern segregation: South African Apartheid, US Jim Crow, American Indian reservations, equally brutal aboriginal policies in Canada and Australia – Anglo-Saxons have a long history of wanting to be quarantined away from people.
In all these areas the non-Whites are imprisoned at much higher rates and for inhumanly long times and with an inhuman amount of solitary confinement – all are more quarantine. Their elderly are quarantined as well – into nursing homes. Sweden doesn’t have to go on lockdown because, stunningly, more than half of their homes contain just a single person (an unthinkable desire for self-segregation, to Iranian culture) – more quarantine.
The West’s Great Lockdown is so absurd because healthy people are hysterically quarantining themselves, as opposed to the normal practice of the quarantining of the unhealthy & vulnerable people. It’s like Westerners can’t comprehend the logic of quarantine, just as they apparently can’t understand the logic that taking away one’s freedom of movement is about as bad a punishment as there is?
Asian countries have proven that immediately quarantining the corona-infected, and often those they contacted, is the best way to keep total deaths down. China shut down Wuhan because Wuhan was sick – but they didn’t shut down the whole uninfected nation.
However, perhaps the Anglo-Saxon West rushed into the Great Lockdown with such ardour because they have such a very long practice and culture of separating themselves away from others? The Anglo-Saxon view is typified by the “separate but equal” segregationist ideal: equality is there, but only after separation first.
What the West has done in 2020 is to segregate themselves from people they assume to be somehow inferior – in this case, medically inferior. I am not saying that they did this consciously, as with their treatment of aboriginals and non-Whites, but sub-consciously. “Segregating others” can also be logically viewed as a way to achieve a desire for “self-segregation”. In some ways that expresses more Western individualism, but segregation is simply their preferred form of social control (surely we can agree that all societies use and need some form of social control.)
One sees the segregation idea in their child-rearing techniques: an unruly child is socially shunned by being given a “time out” – they are sent to stand alone in a corner. A non-conforming student is locked away in detention – he or she is segregated from the good students. Alternatives do actually exist – rapping their knuckles with a ruler or being forced to wear a dunce cap – but these techniques are now considered “coercive” and antiquated in the Anglo-Saxon West, which is certain that their methods are the world’s best.
I can partially see why they have that false idea: These segregationist ideas have the advantage of not leaving any physical marks, thus allowing the lawgiver to feel they have done nothing wrong. There are, however, unseen psychological marks.
In the Latin Western World – where Spain and France were the dominant imperialists – segregation was not employed anywhere on the scale of Jim Crow/bantustans/reservations. Intermarriage was even practiced. These Latin cultures instead chose forced assimilation backed by physical punishment – corporal punishment must be constantly menaced in a capitalist-imperialist society where segregation does not exist.
The French were a steamroller of brutality in Algeria, for example. Arabs were allowed in – allowed “to be French” – but only if they shamefully stripped themselves of any “Arab” characteristics. Their social shame was not created by segregation, but by being mocked and publicly rejected for not living up to “French” standards.
But what unites both cultures is their rampant economic segregation: from banlieues to favelas to trailer parks to gated suburbs to their “where’s the worst area we can put the most amount of poor people” government estates/projects – there is zero sincere effort at economically integrating residential areas via government policy and will. Just go to Havana to see the socialist-inspired difference: the waterfront property right downtown was handed over the poorest citizens in a total opposite tack from Western cities.
How Asian cultures create social control – quite different than in the West
What Asian cultures rely on is not no-contact isolation nor brutal, bitter, perpetual cultural combat – I guess we could call it “group-arguing to produce self-criticism”. It’s easier to illustrate it in action:
So somebody is asked in China, Vietnam or Iran about if they have coronavirus, where they have been, and if they will download a tracking app to their smart phone. That person responds, “I’m not going to submit to any of this – I always have the individual right to my total privacy!” This is, after all, what many Westerners would insist.
Here is a condensed version of the retort which has probably been used countless times in the past few months across Asia:
“Whaddya mean you won’t say where you’ve been – we got a pandemic going on. You been living under a rock recently? Whaddreya – selfish or something?! Who do you think you are – the emperor? Or are you a motherless dog or something? Well, WE are not motherless dogs – you WILL tell us where you’ve been and our mothers WILL be protected from your selfishness! Do you expect everyone here to somehow not be offended by this display of arrogance? Do you think we are doing this for fun? How can you not let us track you? I am being tracked, he is being tracked, she is being tracked – you are ruining everything! Why do you want to endanger everything?!”
And then more talk about how larger things exist than just yourself, the necessity of being humble, the sacrifices others have already made, etc.
“Oh, so you’ve finally come around eh? Funny principle you have – ‘I live while everyone else dies!’ Here, sign this admission of guilt for breaking the quarantine. No, there’s no fine – we are trying to help people, not make money – but sign it!
In China if you are involved in a transgression which required the involvement of authorities you will indeed sign an admission of guilt/self-criticism which boils down to, “I’m sorry and I will not do it again”. Public criticism was also part of Vietnam’s incredibly successful corona fight: only 300 cases despite 90 million people and a long border with China.
“Whaddya mean you won’t sign it?! You just told us you finally understood that you were wrong! You’re not going to make us feel bad like we did something wrong when it is YOU in the wrong. And you aren’t going to be able to go around saying that the government is bad when YOU were the selfish one, putting us all at risk over corona. Sign here!”
Iran has had televised confessions, showing that public self-criticism does play a cultural role; unlike in the US, where the judge has total discretion and power, Iranian law guarantees a reduced sentence for the guilty who confess to their crimes, showing that public confession is valued and rewarded.
So you’ll finally sign, eh? Wasting our time like this… in the middle of a crisis no less! We got other people to help! Who do you think you are?!”
We should now understand why BBC reported that in South Korea a majority said they complied out of fear of “criticism” (i.e. public social shaming) even more than out of fear of the coronavirus. That must blow a Westerners mind: the virus is so very, very scary, we must get awayyyyyyy!
Is there scarring with Asia’s preferred method? Meh… they don’t abandon you or beat you, at least. Western methods often seem to Asians as bewilderingly cruel psychologically, physically brutal, incredibly isolating and – of course – incredibly arrogant and self-centered.
Just as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proved that the laws of physics are the same across the entire universe (thus it’s not better or worse to be standing in any one spot… anywhere) “moral relativism” says that any society’s morals and culture are all valid if we can properly understand them. So I am not saying the Asian model of social control/shaming is the best, but you must at least concede that it works for society – simply look at how they prevented the spread of corona in such a superior fashion.
The widespread prevalence of this type of social shaming – the “yelling parent” form – shows why Confucius was such a radical genius within his cultural context: for him the only explanation which needed to be given was one’s personal example – Confucius was not a yeller.
But such “torture” – i.e. being yelled at by the group, and a group which is usually led by an elder – is simply not part of Western culture. In the US a gun is pulled out after just 30 seconds of public yelling; in France yelling is only for at your romantic partner (and preferably in public view) – otherwise you have “lost your sang froid (cold blood)” which means a major loss of face for the French.
For Europeans (especially Roman Catholics) confession is done only in private; you will be waiting a long time if you are expecting public displays of humble self-criticism.
But Asians often agree, sadly, that you just can’t tell many Westerners anything because they will so loudly insist they already know it all. Furthermore, there’s no need for any discussion because of TINA – There Is No Alternative (to Western neoliberalism & neo-imperialism).
When it comes to the concept of shame, Westerners today insist that this is always a terrible and unproductive thing, and only found in “coercive” Asian societies and Abrahamic religions. Their lockdown is not “totalitarian social control” nor “shame-based” because it’s the West which is doing it – but try going out without a mask now and see how many “Karens” rudely confront you with essentially, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for doing that!”
I thought the pandemic was reminding us all of global and human equality? Let’s simply agree that Karens exist everywhere, and that the West is just as repressive and “coercive” as Asia.
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!
Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020
Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020
A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020
MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020
Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020
If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020
Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020
Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020
(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020
Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020
Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020
‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020
Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020
No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020
Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020
No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020
Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020
We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020
Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020
Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020
The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020
What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020
ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.
I have one for you too… everything will work automatically when there’s no unwashed or the “masses are not asses”. unfortunately, the rest of the highly populated world cannot afford this luxury. that’s where the govt steps in. what can be said for Sweden can be for Switzerland, Luxemborg, Austria etc etc.
“the West does not want to deal with the cultural legacy of four centuries of segregation.”
-I wonder when the protecting the working class left was replaced by the anti-white race war now leftists
I have two comments.
One is an excellent article by Thierry Meyssan who tracks the origin of the idea of placing the civilian population under house arrest.
Covid-19 and The Red Dawn Emails
Two is about Sweden’s choice of how to deal with the situation. There is more to it than single homes. We have a long history of not being victimized, an easily overlooked fact that makes us different, whether you like it or not.
Sweden’s take on corona explained by history
Your links don’t work
I know. Sorry about that. Here they are
People are naturally inclined to segregate themselves. It has always been the case. This goes back to the earliest recorded writings. If you don’t believe it, try playing Andrea Bocelli at a rap club. You might not survive.
Unfortunately I sent the wrong version, LOL, and I did not include the part how this is ECONOMIC segregation as well!
Arrgghh! Well, I assume this is obvious: I have repeatedly written how the West’s Great Lockdown is a forced march to suicide for their lower classes; it assumes that everyone has a salary, savings and stability (and thus is middle-class circa 1980).
Oh well, too late to change it… point is made hopefully.
Not a problem. The economic aspects seem almost too obvious to even bother with serious analysis for many, even as that analysis is sorely lacking. All too obvious to the lower classes (from which I came), and all too invisible to the salaried class (to which I now belong). Personally, I’m torn, in that my salary is still guaranteed (for now) and the work (from home) is now easier than ever before (which will likely open up another can of worms in the long term IMO, as salaried bosses and employees alike realize how little time in the day is actually required to fulfill their duties when not consumed by meaningless meetings), while also taking personal affront to the obvious and totally unnecessary attack on our personal liberties, never mind my individual intellectual capacity for realizing what is going on.
By the way, you write some seriously provocative essays! Keep up the good work!
The lower class’s are well versed in the forced path to suicide, its actually educated in them from youth, and then silently with being slaves to money, and since its all seems so normal, no one (or mostly no one) is prepared to make a case of it and accuse the gvt of the charge of tyranny it so rightfully deserves.
Paragraph now added — we aim to please :-)
Many thanks Amarynth!
Disaffected a very fine post. Many feel that working at home is a very fine thing for those whose job is like that. From what I have read and to those whom I have talked to who do it – that’s the future… and why not? I think it’s a real solution to the huge commuting problems which every city suffers from, thus it’s a real positive to come out of this corona hysteria. Surely SOME good will come from it.
I do write some provocative stuff, but I really do not try to be merely tabloid or sensationalist – just ask tough questions.
Alabama your comments are always appreciated – indeed, the lower classes see such heroism in their hard work and self-disregard: it is such an inspiration. However, we must indeed make a case of it!!!!!
The case has been made and is iron clad, now only the mechanism needs to be opened, which could take a while. tks fer your encouragement.
If I understand you, your point seems to be that underlying the class aspect of the unequal fallout of the lockdown policy is a psychological component. Or, in addition to the class aspect, and antedating it, is the psychological component. Or maybe that is a social-psychological component. Anyhow, my take-away from this essay is that “social distancing” does not intentionally target working and poor people but that that it is an unintended but inevitable consequence—sort of like, “Oh, I didn’t think of that . . . ”
Regardless of what your main point is (i.e., I may not get it), it sure does seem that whoever thought shutting down the economy and making people stay home was a great idea forgot to consider a few obvious issues. Like, who will drive the buses, deliver the mail, pick up the garbage, not to mention work in the hospitals. Now these people who have to continue working ( whose jobs have been de-unionized or never unionized) are called “front line workers.” And we regularly hear about those “on the front line.” I guess that is the zone of abscission created by these workers and the (potentially) ill. Like, checkout people in supermarkets are now “on the front line.”
Whether class- or psyche-driven, I agree with Thierry Meyssan that the whole situation is a case of mass hysteria.
With regards to the west, I’ve yet to see and would greatly welcome a class-based analysis for support or non-support of this all this lock down nonsense. The two classes being salaried employees vs. hourly employees and private contractors, with entrepreneurs and those living primarily/exclusively off investment income being largely above the fray. From my point of view (I’m one of the former), it comes down to whether or not your income through this thing (so far at least) is guaranteed or not. If it is, you’ll either support the lock down or adopt a liberal outlook towards it. If it’s not, you’ll almost certainly not support it. Of course, that much seems rather obvious, but from the point of view of those imposing the lock down (never mind for now those who might have actually caused the need for it in the first place) the question gets a bit more interesting; in that a class-based split might have been one of the original intentions for all this idiocy in the first place. Of course, admittedly, my particular brand of paranoia is more than a little bit western-focused, but that’s because I have suspected from the very start that this is just another false-flag psyop from the western “usual suspects” that gave us 9-11 and almost every terrorist event in the interim. Reactions to such events, although they are indeed important strategically to those who plan them in the first place, are necessarily 2’d order events, and of less interest to me personally.
Lennart, the second link you provided is inaccurately rendered, but I googled it. You write:
I think you do have a point here. Of course, we have our fair share of zombified Ziomedia addicts and traitors in the service of Empire, but there is a down-to-earth, agnostic, and fact-centered attitude that puts a lid on what works and what doesn’t for the ruling 1%. Sweden’s 1994 plebiscite on EU membership was unfortunately won by Reaction, but it was a close call (52% – 48%) despite the overwhelming financial resources of Sweden’s monopoly capital mobilized in the campaign for EU membership. In the Euro (€) plebiscite in 2003, their propaganda fell on deaf ears.
I feel inclined to say that the pandemic has been handled quite professionally by the Swedish authorities. By contrast, we do have a huge scandal with Stockholm’s brand-new, large, functionless hospital that continues to drain the city’s finances due to excessive fraud and corruption. But that started years ago, long before the Corona pandemic.
There is no doubt in my mind that the political leadership in Sweden is dysfunctional and is offset by competent leadership in business and in very few public offices, such as the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
My point is that somehow Sweden is and has always been isolated and thus less affected by the traits attributed in the article to the rest of Europe. I’m old enough to remember the days when Swedes identified themselves as Scandinavians, by no means Europeans. I think that’s why we managed to stay away from the Euro. The result of the plebiscite in 2003 was a shock to the establishment and, in my mind, proves that kind of popular shock may hit again.
Ramin has clearly never met an Australian aboriginal in his whole life. Anyone who has lived in Australia in close proximity to aboriginals will realise that they are totally different. Almost another species. I have lived in Cairns in Queensland for over a year. There are many aboriginals in that area. There are also many Asians – Chinese, Japanese, Thais, Vietnamese, Indonesians and so on. I have never seen an aboriginal person working in a shop. I have seen some people who are perhaps 1/4 aboriginal working in Coles, the large supermarket. I have never seen an aboriginal taxi driver, Uber driver, mechanic, builder, plumber, policeman, nurse, doctor, electrician, warehouse man and so on. Not one.
I am sorry for telling you the truth but that is the way it is. The Egyptians of 4 thousand years ago were a heck of a lot smarter than the Egyptians of today.
I too lived in Australia – for most of my adult life. I lived all over it in 4 different states, too.
You are correct in saying that you don’t see Aboriginal people doing the things Anglo’s do. That’s no reason to segregate them away in they way they have been, treat as horrifically as they have been – did you ever ready “lousy little sixpence?” – or cold bloodedly murder them and hunt to extinction as was done in Tasmania.
The Aboriginals of Australia have the oldest recorded still living culture – it’s about 65,000 yrs old. No-one else comes close. They lived isolated for all those years on that continent, – is it any surprise that they developed in a way totally different to anyone else?
You wont find any native kangaroos, wombats, koala bears, anywhere else, either. For the same reason.
Then along came the English and invaded and decided they were very much “totally different”. Not at all “our sort old chap”.
And so started the destruction of an ancient people and way of life – because the invaders couldn’t tolerate a difference.
Segregation practised to utter extremes.
As Daisy Bates said something like [apologies i cannot remember the exact wording] , “The Aboriginal can tolerate extremes of heat, desert, storms, hunger, despair. What he cannot tolerate is civilisation” [although to me its debatable which one was more civilised.]
Oh and I’ve never seen a Anglo Aussie tracker or desert water finder either come to that. :-)
What I’m trying to say is that naturally they are very very different to us, as are we to they. I think it only to be expected that they dont fit remotely into our way of living or thinking, nor do we to theirs. The thing is, the instant reaction of the invaders was to segregate and separate and ignore, i.e.. to quarantine, exactly as the author of the article is pointing out.
We are in 2020. Aboriginals are poorly adapted to the modern world. Furthermore, they do not wish to change.
I am sure that if there were a nuclear holocaust, the aboriginal would come into their own in Australia and survive when white and yellow people don’t. But I am writing about the current moment.
Blaming the whites of today for the things that were done over 100 years ago by a few of their ancestors is ridiculous. At that time, aboriginals raided and killed the males of other groups in order to steal their women. An ancient custom.
Currently, aboriginals in Australia have far more kids than Europeans and Asians. Obviously, they don’t know how to bring up these kids and their cases of child abuse are off the scales. An aboriginal kid is 8 times more likely to end up in the care of the government than a white kid. Almost no Asian kids end up in care.
“Furthermore, they do not wish to change. ”
Why should they?
BTW, you also do not “want to change.”
You seem to assume that there is something magical about the numbers 2020.
I expect that these numbers mean Zero to Aboriginals.
You are in their land, their universe.
Why don’t you just leave.
That is what a therapist would advise: You cannot change other people. You can only change yourself.
So, how about thinking about the changes you have to make in yourself to eliminate your conviction that others should change to suit you and your magic number?
The Anglos’ at least have always wanted to “quarantine” themselves from those they regard as untermenschen> and these are many. Basically anyone not of the wealthy ruling classes, the so-called Aristocracy with their lands and titles, and then later, not aristocrats but very wealthy industrialists.
They form(ed) the “Whitehall Mandarins” – the vast bureaucracy which alone with the Alphabet Intel agencies pretty well rule England and have always sought to keep away people “Not like us”.
Not able to go to the extremes they vented on the poor, poor native peoples of other lands, which they did with a viciousness and vengeance that has to be studied to be believed, but they still did it. They did it by keeping them desperately poor, struggling for basic survival, and by building huge estates with very high walls, or even the “ha-ha’** so built that not only could the peasants not access essential land to pasture their few animals, they couldn’t even be seen at a distance.
They did the same to the despised Cymraeg, whom from the start after their invasion drove the Cymru into the Western land and mountains, they renamed it “Wales” which comes from 2 old English words meaning “land of the foreigners”. They invaded – the original inhabitants were designated “foreigners” and treated so badly a long subdued state of animosity and expressed in many ways short of actual battle existed up to this day.
It’s a flaw in the Anglo I’m afraid you’ll find – and that it’s present in the French makes sense, for the modern Anglo has few Danish genes left, but is all French and North German [Saxon}.
It’s proved to be a toxic mix in many ways. Very talented often, with skills and kindness equal to none in the so called “lower classes” [and yes, that Class distinction is another example of segregation] The Ruling class has always reverted to this “us and them” whether to their own poor and down trodden, or the indigenous peoples of other lands.
I grew up the child of a coal mine electrician father, in a small coal mining village. Around us was countryside, and horse stables. There was NO way I could ever have accessed any for lessons or to get near their horses.
Then compare this to Vladimir Putin’s life where a man of ordinary working parents could get Martial Arts training, horse riding, skiing experience. Not possible to anyone of that class in England, due to this desire to segregate and “maintain distance boundaries” for Gods sake.
After all, they have their “first class” in airplanes for the well off, and they draw screens across it so they cant be bothered by hoi polloi seating behind them. It’s said that after the current economic collapse recovers, plane travel will become less frequent, more luxurious and much more expensive!!
What a surprise!!!
a “ha-ha” noun
A ditch with one vertical side, acting as a sunken fence, designed to block the entry of animals (and people ) into lawns and parks without breaking sightlines.
Very perceptive Pamela and true to this day. My mother born in 1909 in Lancashire was obliged to leave school at the age of thirteen to work in a cotton mill. She wore a woolen shawl, wooden clogs and a muff to keep her hands warm in winter.
The labor government of Clement Attlee in 1945 addressed these issues to some extent, particularly introducing the eleven plus exam that gave the working class access to free higher education at grammar schools and onward to university. Margaret Thatcher and the Tories have been instrumental in turning back the clock ever since.
Well, as an “Anglo-Saxon” male and “Westerner” I found that article to be somewhat passive-aggressive, and dare I say “racist” towards me and my people.
By writing “Anglo-Saxon” was the author thinking “Bad White Man”?
By writing “Westerner” was the author thinking “White People”?
Writing “Bad White Man” or “White People” would have been a little too obvious, so I can see why “Anglo-Saxon” and “Westerner” was used – racism under the radar, no?
I dont know if this comment will pass moderation, but it should – as I speak the truth and have not gone on an “Ad-Hominen” offensive – I have simply had the courage to state that I, as an “Anglo-Saxon” male (who is proud of his “Western” heritage, culture, and history) found this article to be biased and offensive.
If I am wrong, if I have missinterpreted this article, and it is not passive-aggressive (or racist) towards the “Anglo-Saxon” (otherwise known as the “White Man”), then I appologise for any offensive this comment may have caused.
MOD: OK folks. You’ve both had your say. (Reread Moderation Rule #2 please) Let’s move on politely, shall we?
To @UB I read all your comments on Iran, Venezuela here (and as @Uncle Bob1).
Not to sound rude, but what you say above, comes across as pouting.
My interpretation is there are many view points and what one thinks is superior might not apply universally, as it’s not indisputable truth.
It’s just the west is west and east is east and these are cultural differences that have been honed over centuries of practice.
Also what he’s saying and is accepted, is the West is a guilt culture and the East is a shame culture. That’s what keeps the mortal human in check.
This may be.
But we are 20 years past the “12-member EU” or the “Iron Curtain” which provided a nice&clean divide for the ideologists of the world. That time has passed.
“is the West is a guilt culture and the East is a shame culture”
Well, coming from Central Europe, I would not know. Would I? :)
I do know that here it is neither. The best I will describe it here is the “Rational/Meritocratic Culture”. This would mostly cover the DACH (D only before 1945), Czech-Slovak at least for what I know. And I would dare say Russia is very similar on this same as some of the Scandinavians.
Maybe you can call it also a “Survival Culture”. I.e. culture created by a historical need for efficiency to ensure the mere survival of one/village/society etc. I think you can generally find this also in other cultures which grew in inhospitable places where one had to fight to survive – Touaregs come to mind here.
This culture is where the Hussite and later Reformation (before being corrupted) movements came from- the notion on the eternal necessity of challenging the absurdities of established Dogmas. Of any Dogmas. Challenging their individual failings on rational grounds, not as a whole.
E.g. over here we have huge issues with any notion of “one true interpretation” of God/Idea/Anything. Not with the notion that there might be a God, or may be one God or – Any other statement.
But with the notion that anyone – any human – has the right to proclaim that “his preach/interpretation is the only right/correct one and all others preach false”.
Be the preacher a Catholic Pries, an Iman, a Communist leader, a Project Leader. Anyone. Literally. Anyone.
I believe this focus on Survival/Ratio is what then prevents a (pure) Shame-Culture or a (pure) Guilt-Culture to grow here.
I very much resonate with your conclusions. The basic culture here in Sweden, under the veneer of Christianity and scientism, is rooted in what you call Survival/Ratio. Most of the last 1000 years survival has been key for us and never a given, except for the last 100 years.
There is an interesting book on the subject,
written by James DeMeo.
Hi Uncle Bob,
The French always talk about “Anglo-Saxon culture” and the Anglo-Saxon/English-language media always takes offence and says, essentially, “What are you talking about?”! I have seen this over and over in France.
What I am certain the French mean is what I meant: there is a Latin Europe and a Northern Europe (Anglo-Saxon, i.e. English-German-Scandinavian (though Scandinavians may want to differentiate themselves)). The French don’t care at all about Eastern Europe and assume they will do whatever Paris says in the 21st century.
I think the problem is that many Anglo-Saxons (claim to) see all Europeans as “White”… but Latin cultures insist on their differences. And as do Slavic cultures. So I am not talking about “White people” – heck, Iranians used to be called “White” until 9/11, then we became re-classified as “Middle Easterners”.
So, it is complicated, but I was not thinking “Bad White Man” ever at all – that is fake-leftist nonsense. All “Anglo-Saxon” culture is not bad of course, but I do truly view their history as them liking segregation a LOT more than than Latin imperialist culture. For me that is a settled fact, and I described it that way – Latin European imperialism used different methods of social control/shame. Slavic imperialist culture is – of course – non-existent. So anglo-Saxon males and females should indeed be proud of their culture… but no one – Anglo-Saxons or Latins – should be proud of their imperialist aspects. China, Iran, Eastern Europe, etc. – these can never be classified as “imperialist cultures” of course.
So, I think the problem is that you see “Anglo-Saxons” as the “White man” – as you wrote; but Latin Europeans see distinctions; and Slavic Europeans want distinctions, but nobody cares about them in the Western MSM as a whole.
We have NO agreement on our definitions: Who is the “White Man”? Very hard to say, but for certain: White men (and women) are not bad, but imperialists are; and – for me, at least – at least 3 distinctions must be drawn in Europe: Mediterranean culture, Northern European culture, and East European culture… but I realise that even this is limited (to 3… we could make 5 or 7, or perhaps even 57 as there are at least a half dozen different cultures in France alone!)
As far as “Westerners”: this is a very Iranian term to describe Europe, US, Canada, Australia, Israel and/or Japan. A lot of Anglophones don’t even know what I’m talking about when I say “Westerner”, but I use it anyway because it is so very correct. But it is not a popular term in the English- or French-language worlds. Arabs know what I am talking about, however, because whatever a “Westerner” is it is definitely not Islamic-influenced, as I think you will agree.
So, perhaps it is all as clear as mud but I definitely meant no disrespect to any culture in general EXCEPT for imperialist culture, which is West European… and Westerner… and Turk (to Iranians and Arabs). Hope that sheds some light… no offence implied.
You yourself say there is a difference between Latino, (I will argue also Germanic which was never a true colonial power), Slavic etc.
Then you lump those together under “Europe” and are surprised people object.
Do not do this.
This is where your otherwise sound argument falls apart and no one will listen.
Instead, you should educate everyone in Iran you meet that “Western” is a wrong term and they should avoid using it. And they should definitely not equal “European” with “Western”.
You can easily argue that if these were one “block” – then why did the Americans create “Freedom Fries” after 2003 – well because France (and all Latino Europe and Central and Eastern, but not Anglo/Colonial Europe) gave them the middle finger.
Does this mean France, or Germans, or Russians are your Friends ?
But they are distinct from the Anglos and lumping these very diverse societies under “Westerners” is an approach worth a pub talker. Not someone who is as well-versed as you are.
You may get a pass on this error in Iran – but it is a still a huge error that reduces the impact of what you say beyond Iran.
And not only that. You do a dis-service to your society by permeating this “Europeans” myth among less-versed people.
I’m not entirely sure that Japan would be considered ‘Western’ like the US, Canada and Australia are.
Along with differences in culinary tastes and etiquette, it’s worth noting that Christianity is not as widely-practiced in Japan as it is in the West.
Then again, your definition of ‘Western’ might differ from mine, and I’d be interested to hear about which other countries/regions you consider ‘Western’ by your definition.
I don’t want to be nit-picking but the description of the English speaking North Atlantic as Anglo-Saxon isn’t accurate. The Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and Vikings were invaders, not to mention the Normans, after the Romans The UK Celtic fringe in the northern and western periphery, includes Scotland, Ireland, and Wales who have different traditions language and culture and have been historically in conflict with the English. The Irish seceded in 1920 after an insurrection, but the UK still (just) have a foothold in Ulster. The Scots were finally subdued at the battle of Culloden but were finally integrated into the Union in 1707. But at present Scotland is on course to leave England and join the EU, Ireland has already done so. Irish antipathy toward the is still strong. The long war against the English has been going on for approx 800 years and shows no signs of abating. Check out the recent election and the breakthrough of the overtly nationalist party Sinn Fein.
As a result of English oppression there was the migration of the Irish to the US and Australia and the Scots to Canada.
Just thought I would put the record straight.
There are now more people with Scottish last names living in England, than the total population of Scotland.
Much the same applies to the Irish. Therefore England’s population might be more accurately described as Anglo Celtic rather than Anglo Saxon.
I am a typical WASP – light skin, blue eyes, auburn hair, but I know from public records that I also have a few Scottish and Welsh great grandfathers lurking in there :-)
The Celts have also infiltrated Westminster, notably Lloyd George, Harold MacMillan, Anthony Blair and David Cameron.
Hi Uncle Bob,
You are right, Author described bad white people and their doings allover the world.
I would like to slightly correct your statement. Instead “Bad White Man” or “White People” I would say “Bad White Man from the West Europe”. I am white man with Slavic background. Therefore, I don’t share neither history, culture or way of thinking with the white people from the west Europe.
Again, I would agree with you. We should finally call all things by its right names. So, instead “Anglo-Saxon-Westerner” we should simplify terminology and call these people with right name as you suggested: “Bad White Man from West Europe”.
So, a bad Yellow Man and Bad Black Men are OK ?
Then, what exactly is a “Bad White Men from West Europe” ?
Is he Swiss ?
Is he German ? (For whom Africans fought in WW1 simply because the Germans we the only “westerners” who respected them at least a bit?)
Is he the one who /often in a true-but-mistaken belief this will be beneficial/ goes on to a “mission” to bring medicine and “civilization” to a less developed country only to cause pain and suffering?
Who exactly is this “Bad White Man”?
How about we stop name-calling and distinguish Bad/Despicable behavior and Good/Honorable behavior ?
How about we recognize that what may be seen as noble act in the short term – e.g. bring medicine to a simple agricultural society – can be horribly destructive in the long term (overpopulation due to a drastically lowered death rate) and that this fact MAY NOT be obvious at the moment or to the person doing it ?
How about we call a spade a spade and NOT ALLOW truly BAD PEOPLE behind evil policies HIDE BEHIND the a GENERALIZATIONS like “Bad White Men” (you can replace with “Bad Muslim Terrorist Man”) and thus avoid punishment/shaming/etc. by forcing their societies to shield them from counter-attacks which are done at a society level?
Example in point:
Many say “The West Destroyed” Syria.
By this they are doing EXACTLY what the evil people want – they are blaming actions of a person or a group, or a country on a nation (do not equate polity with people living under that polity) or even continent. Why Accept this ? Do we really want to insitigate an apocalyptic War of Civilizations ? Remember, that is EXACTLY what the truly evil people on every side are hoping for!
We should instead say:ň
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel, in no particular order, with a HEAVY support from the US, UK, France and some smaller European nation (yes, name them (!): NL, DK, BE) have started a war on Syria from within Syria. Abusing the internal issues the country had to try and destroy its polity.
We should say that the (ethnic/religious) issues which Syria had were mostly the doing of UK and France partitioning of the Ottoman empire to serve their purposes. There was no Germany, or Austria, or even US (at this time) involved in that.
Lets not allow the Evil to hide behind the “Bad White Man” (or “Bad Muslim Terrorist Man”) generalization shields.
/Note. The academic talk of West-European Imperialist/Colonial Culture is OK. Because is about approaches. One must not equate a specific culture or behavior (which usually is not prevalent among the populace) with a nation or country. Same way the war-on-civilization style lunatics roaming Syria today are not representative of Syrians (or Turks, or Chechens, or French etc.) the War-on-everyone-who-does-not-obey-us type of lunatics in the circles of power of UK/FR/US are not representative of their societies not to mention the societies lumped together under “West Europe” like Germans or the Swiss./
Hi, rare post here.
I believe the poster is guilty of over-generalization.
You refer to “The West” yet elsewhere admit you are actually attacking the Anglo-Saxon “colonial/seafaring culture” approach specifically.
You go as far as to admit the Latin nations (ESP, FRA, ITA), not to mention the Germanic (DE/DEN) or the Central European (roughly former Austro-Hungary) or Russia have a very different cultural background and approaches.
Speaking from Czech republic.
Here there were quite quick (pretty much overnight) mandatory masks/face cover and imposed limited lockdown – “go to work or essential shopping only” but ALMOST NO ONE WAS FINED OR PUNISHED OR SHAMED.
There was almost no fines is because everyone understood – both the police and people – that the purpose was to limit social contact -on average- and individual “transgressions” which were rare would not jeopardize that goal.
True, there were some exceptions, where some (single units) low-class businesses were kept defiantly opened and where individual over-active police officers prosecuted people not following the rules “by the book”. But these were really rare and you DID NOT see the police actively patrolling the streets.
And the society shamed the *Police* for any prosecution which was not warranted /e.d
The Minister of Interior went as far as to publicly state all the time that the Police was instructed and will be lenient as the purpose is “not to establish a police state”.
In other words, the society did not use active coercive measures as it was not necessary – the people respected it because they understood it was necessary to stop the spread of the infection as – and this is key here – “IN A SITUATION WHEN A NON-SYMPTOM PERSON CAN BE INFECTIOUS” – that was the only way.
Touching back on the last point – I believe this is the key part. The biggest issue in the Anglo-Saxon and even Latin world is that the political class is absolutely self-absorbed and totally inept.
It is this ineptitude which made these leaders (epitome being BoJo and Trump) not comprehend/trust the experts that the “no-symptoms but spreading” is a game changer.
As a result all these nations have failed
The Germanic/Central European, Russian not to mention Asian leaders do not have this limitation. They are generally less arrogant and able listed to their experts (and culturally would be shamed/not elected if they did not).
The “Indispensalism”/Exceptionalism is what was the doom of the Anglo & Latino world in this situation. Their (not only political) leaders were simply incapable of heading advice from anyone and then it was too late.
” areas the non-Whites are imprisoned at much higher rates”
I’m sorry but anyone who lives around African Americans knows why this happens: because they commit more crime than anyone else. Black males are 6% of the US population and commit 50% of the murders. No white racist made those murders happen. They happen because of a lack of impulse control, high time preference and inability to consider the future consequences of present actions.k
“The only thing more coercive than having your freedom of movement taken away is capital punishment and physical torture.”
No, censorship of free speech and free thought and the rapidly encroaching, coercive tyranny whose aim is to take away these defining aspects and activities that define every living, breathing human being, these are.
Ramin, I always enjoy your commentaries tremendously and find them highly educational. However, I think you have reduced this one to such simplicity, for understanding purposes, that you show you may not understand “us” as well as you think you do. We here in the “west” have something that your beloved socialist compatriots don’t appear to have. We get to argue the shit out of our “leaders”, the stupid politicians and public officials who have botched this so called “pandemic” and screwed up our lives. Via alternative media truth about the wisdom of lockdowns is emerging and people are starting to protest it. Reams of accurate medical information is coming out and even some MSM are reporting it. You know it is hitting home because Utube is starting to censor very serious information and some MSM cover it. Research which contradicts the loons seeps out and demonstrates the bug, while devastating to certain segments, is mild for the rest of us. We start to learn how to deal with the bug in spite of and outside the control of the “leaders”. We educate ourselves.
In YOUR socialist world it seems that people don’t get to think and act for what is best for themselves AND for others around them. The socialist government does their thinking for them in the name of the “people” and coerces the hell out of those who may not agree all the while restricting information people have. All in the name of protecting the people of course. But what happens when the leaders are wrong? Or evil. Or acting in their own self interest? A lot of people die don’t they.
But not to worry your world is coming to us soon, very soon. Vaccinations whether we like it or not(for the good of us all of course), permanent social distancing maybe even masks all the time and god only knows what else all in the name of the collective good even if there is no evidence to back it up.
The COVID-19 pandemic is just another reminder that Western Freedom and Democracy™ in particular are nothing more than Orwellian deceptions.
Indeed, America’s vaunted values are civilizational lies upon which the United States–and its closest crime partners like the United Kingdom, Australia, or Canada–are all based on as nation-states.
Take America, for example.
The American Empire was founded and built as a Anglo colonizer nation, premised on the *enslavement* of Blacks and the ethnic cleaning of Native people–all in order to steal an entire continent and construct the most devious empire in history on this stolen land that it continues to occupy to this very day.
Today, America–with its Western crime partners like the United Kingdom–wages serial wars of aggression; destabilizes or regime changes multiple nations around the world; and economically rapes much of the planet through its predatory system of free market capitalism and Dollar Hegemony.
That is not the behavior of a nation that is truly representative of Freedom and Democracy.
That is the behavior of an American war criminal empire that seeks to disguise its predatory character and parasitic way of life … behind the mask of Freedom and Democracy.
Pro-America propagandists and apologists are aggressively trying to prevent this mask from being ripped off with their diversionary finger-pointing about the “authoritarian” nature of Asia’s response to COVID-19.
“The American Disease”: Only the Overthrow of the Oligarchy Will Cure It
”The American Empire was founded and built as an Anglo colonizer nation, premised on the *enslavement* of Blacks and the ethnic cleansing of Native people — all in order to steal an entire continent and construct the most devious empire in history on this stolen land that it continues to occupy to this very day.”
It was a Euro-squatter genocidal project with most of the murdering being carried out by White Trash fake refugees, notably Scotsmen. On this basis, the entire Pindo mythology hogwash about ”revolution”, “liberty”, constitution-this-amendment-that can be resoundingly trashed altogether.
America, Canada and Australia all developed in different ways, (Indigenous genocide being in common), and the latter two did not in any way descend from America or American-ism. This is a common prognostication that is entirely false.
I guess “segregationist” in eh covid-19 context is a euphemism for racist.
Of all Westerners, regardless of the definition used, IMO the biggest racists of all, historically, have been the English.
I am reading William Dalrymple’s The Anarchy, about the take over by the British East India Company of India, starting with the very wealthy state of Bengal, ruled by Mughal emperors.
I won’t go into detail—that would be like telling the plot of a movie one saw recently—but the description of the personalities who ran the EIC (East India Company) from London, the shareholders, the on-site Company “head honchos” such as Robert Clive, the soldiers of fortune who went out to India to participate in the rape of rich Bengal—it is a case book in racial segregation and compartmentalization, where a whole society was demeaned and ridiculed as a psychological preliminary to stripping its assets and destroying it.
I am just now reading about the Bengal famine of 1770. The behavior of the Company in Bengal in the midst of an absolutely horrific calamity for the starving and dying Bengalese was still to try to screw taxes out of them and beat them until they produced assets that they did not have so these starving peasants and others were often beaten to death. Starving people. The English also, as in Ireland, made money speculating with the little rice that was available. They thought they had the right to this thievery dressed up as “business.” Some stories started to reach the Mother country and even the English public started to ask a few questions. Only die-hard racists driven by greed and lacking any sense of humanity or even *proportion* could consider themselves “cultivated” while behaving like barbarians toward the hapless people that came under their power. The people who were the source of the wealth they stripped from Bengal. These were not Aboriginals. These were members of an ancient society with extraordinary artistic, artisanal, etc. productivity that put to shame anything produced in England and was in fact producing extreme wealth for these interlopers. A great deal of the “We’re English” sense of entitlement stems from this in-bred conviction of racial superiority even over their obvious cultural betters.
The French imperialists were terrible too, in North Africa and Indochina (I recently read a book about the French Foreign Legion that describes, en passant, the horrors perpetrated on non-French peoples.) Still I have to say that I think the English, historically, take the prize for segregating themselves away from “others” because they believe they are inherently superior, and effectively ignore and rationalize any evidence to the contrary. A mind-set that determined to a great extent the shape of their imperialist endeavour. To be fair ( . . .), a few of them, such as Warren Hastings, did have a sense of fair play. He did not come from a privileged background, but was a highly (mainly self-)educated man. He tried to curb some of the worst excesses of his countrymen in India. Such people ended up being hounded by their own country and the class of English imperialist “Macher.”
I think this is a very perceptive article. You rattle a lot of people’s cages, I see. That is a very good thing for a writer to be able to do. You and Dmitri Orlov in particular, and also John Michael Greer, challenge my perceptions, and get me to consider things from another angle.
I think this article presents a wonderful illustration of a major difference between shame-based and guilt-based societies. It is a difference so fundamental people have a hard time accepting it. I certainly faced real culture shock for the first ten or more years I lived in Japan. After more than 35 years, I’ve come to see how it all works out, not only reasonably, but quite well. I still feel critical that they tend to judge by appearances much more than we would consider proper. For example, I have a friend here who shows various signs of Aspergers. I don’t think he has been diagnosed, and even if he were and he tried to explain his disability to people, they would still not accept him, because he is unable to act in the proper way, and it throws social relationships into disarray.
Meanwhile, of course, psychopaths act just fine and they get along because on the surface, they are doing their part. Confucianism’s approach to the phenomenon is to create roles and places for such individuals and proscribe behaviors they are prone to. My impression is whether East or West, psychopaths leave a lot of angry, injured persons in their wake, and there is pitifully little that can be done about them. By strictly proscribing behaviors they are prone to, the Confucian system may stifle them to some degree.
Very interesting observations.
Although I can’t say I understand the difference between a shame and a guilt society.
Not from the article, and not in general. Although many years ago I did read a book about the shame society, which had a lot of material on Japan.
It certainly would be a good idea if unacceptable behaviors of those with personality disorders were categorized and described in detail so that these people would at least be shamed for their behavior. Instead, the lousy behaviors are described so taht others can (sort of) recognize them and either try to fight back or just steer clear. The problem here is that one cannot just walk away from family members who have behavioral disorders and unacceptable behaviors. Or, if one does, it is pretty disruptive. Also, the emphasis seems to be on the offender (the person is disturbed or unhappy) but the victim(s) of the behavior are then responsible for some kind of intervention. Since offenders generally are unaware of their offense (that is part of the problem), the ball is in the court of the victims to figure out how to deal with antisocial behaviors.
Also, many antisocial behaviors are public behaviors—not relating to the private family space. Such as inconsiderate noise making.
RE “Confucianism’s approach to the phenomenon is to create roles and places for such individuals and proscribe behaviors they are prone to.” I am curious to find out Confucius describes and deals with antisocial behaviors. Do you have any reading recommendations?
Although this does seem to get away from the main point of the essay. Maybe I have to reread it . . .