[FoRK] Africa

Wulf Losee wulfconsumer at gmail.com
Sat Jan 9 16:16:24 PST 2010

Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> Survival and job skills are fairly separate issues from modern
> social, governmental, ethics, and morality beliefs.  They are
> intertwined somewhat, but mostly substitutable.

Yes, good point. We should not confuse technology with ethics. But, in my
opinion, you're still displaying a certain cultural arrogance in assuming
that the Western humanistic ethos has put us on a higher ethical plane than
other cultures. And I would argue that that arrogance has blinded you to
your own moral and ethical shortcomings. Please don't think I'm singling you
out for criticism, but I am using you as an example that the capacity for
self-delusion is universal among the human species. Those of us with modern
minds, medieval minds, and primitive minds all have this basic human fault.

As for the Children of the Enlightenment, you write...

> They likely don't have slaves.  They likely don't
> hack the heads off of their "servants" on a whim.

While slavery is still a very real and persistent problem in various areas
of the 3rd World -- we tend to ignore the fact that our consumer culture
also encourages slavery. Those sneakers that you purchased, can you be sure
they weren't manufactured in some Fijian sweatshop where the workers are
prisoners in all but name? Are you sure your hands are really that clean?

Someone else on this thread has pointed out that our modern weapons, used in
just wars, have probably killed far more children than any child-sacrifice
in Uganda has. For example, how many children have died in Iraq since Saddam
Hussein (admittedly a psychopathic butcher in his own right) was deposed?
 The only difference I can see between the child-sacrificing Ugandan witch
doctor and the controller of the remote drone sitting in her Herman Miller
Aeron Chair (tm) in Langley Virginia, is that the witch doctor can see the
blood on his hands, but the drone controller can't. Which of the two is more

I guess what riled me about your posting, is that your tone sounded like one
of those 19th-Century mill owners -- who spoke of morality and good works --
and who donated their fortunes to bring the fruits of civilization to the
heathen in darkest Africa -- but who failed to hear the sobbing of the
children working in their mills.

But perhaps I'm too harsh. As one of the Children of the Enlightenment, you
may very well have a higher ethical sense than any of the angry mullahs,
witch doctors, bible-thumping priests. So go and wash your hands now, and
feel satisfaction that you have reached the sublime peak of human potential.


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