Thursday, February 25, 2016

Civilising The Uncivilised?

Someone told me that it's a duty of the Western man to civilise folks in non-Western countries, to teach them about human rights and to explain that sowing off heads with a blunt knife isn't really a good pastime. We also should intefere in their armed conflicts to restore peace and prosperity.

Which reminds me of a sci-fi story I read in my youth. Two locals in the South American desert are shooting at each other for the possession of a well. Suddenly a flying saucer lands and an alien comes out. He tells the adversaries that shooting at each other is really NOT NICE and that all men should live in peace and harmony. He tells them he is a space alien and they think he is an American. The alien further preaches about pacifism, non-violent conflict resolving skills and the brotherhood of men. They keep shooting at each other.

Finally the alien has enough, he picks up his own blaster and after destroying a couple of lone trees/rocks (don't remember what it was exactly) tells the men he'll kill them both if they don't stop fighting. This time they obey. The alien steps into his flying saucer and flies away. The local men resume shooting at each other.

Well, what do you think?


  1. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 25, 2016 at 3:30 AM

    I think it is really complacent and patronizing to think that non-Western countries are unable to solve their own problems if we do not interfere. They are grown up people, are they not? They should be totally capable to solve their own problems and if they are not -well, it is Darwin Awards then.

    And when it comes to Western values and civilization -well, people in should be smart enough to realize that the Western Way has proven to be superior in most ways.(people are happier, GDP is higher, education is better etc.) If they are too stupid to see that and adapt our ways, it is their loss.

  2. Enough of White Man's burden? After all, it's such an antiquated concept...

  3. The reason I remembered that story is because the person in question kept telling me that we should teach the terrorists that violence is wrong, yet how can we teach them anything if they hate everything Western and want to kill us? It means we'll have to use violence, too, which is supposedly wrong. It's mind-boggling.

  4. It's very difficult to know when to step in. Maybe when women and children are just commodities and not even allowed a simple education. Perhaps when there is a brutal regime intent on annilating a segment of it's people as the Jews were being slaughtered in World War 2.

  5. WWII didn't start because of Jews, it started because Hitler attacked Poland, a country which had signed a mutual defence treaty with Great Britain. So GB declared war on Germany in return. Yet the pretext of brutal dictatorship has been used by certain countries to military intervene in the affairs of other countries, with disastrous results. Is Libya better off now?

    As for education, well, I'd like to stress that I was speaking specifically about military interference, not about bribing people with Western money to change the laws. Personally I would strongly object to men of my country dying in war to give some woman in another country an education.

    On the other hand, if there is some emergency in another country, I think it's OK to send humanitarian help, but it's totally different...

  6. I'd like to add that we were talking specifically about "Bring democracy to..." project. I'm not against all interference, it may be sometimes necessary. It's just that I don't believe Western ideas of democracy work for everyone.

  7. Kipling's 'White Man's Burden' only makes sense in an imperialistic context, like that of Kipling's 19th century British Empire (and even then, his poem warns of the high costs of imperialism).

    It indeed seems patently absurd to try to impose liberal democracy on those who don't want it - as well as suffering from an internal contradiction (forcing people to be free?).

    Let go, and let God, as they say.