2002 September 12 Thursday
Ian Buruma to dictators: stop blaming the West

Writing in The Guardian Ian Buruma takes on those who blame the West for all the troubles in the world.

One answer to this is that some perspectives may actually be better than others. If the right to speak or believe freely, without being tortured in prisons or mental asylums, is a western idea, then so be it; let everyone profit from it. Another answer is that we don't really know what people's real perspectives are if they get locked up for expressing anything but officially prescribed opinions.

Neither of these answers are currently fashionable in the humanities departments of our universities. On the contrary, postmodern theory encourages the notion that cultural, racial, or political perspective is all.

As Buruma points out, what is being taught in Western universities is not helping the poor and is only helping the Third World thugs:

It is all too common for a bright person from the non- western world to enter a European or American university, only to pick up the latest critiques of western imperialism. This is a great balm for tender feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, but it doesn't help such students to face their problems at home.

It makes it easier to blame those problems on the west, which is no help at all to the hungry and the persecuted, but very good news for the tyrants.

So who is worse? The dictators that run their repressive governments in ways destined to keep their people impoverished? Or the First World academics that teach ideas that let the academics feel morally superior while they provide rationales for the abuses that the Third World rulers do to their peoples?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 12 03:16 PM  Civilizations Clash Of


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