Random Thoughts

How the West Won and Wins - 2

This is not a blanket indictment of the West. Nuremberg trials are the privilege of the victors only. Those truly interested need to read the journal of the Spanish Dominican priest who accompanied the Conquistadors to the Americas, 'A Peoples History of the United States' by Howard Zinn, Robert Hughes' "The Fatal Shores' cataloguing the settlement of Australia and Tasmania and Thomas Pakenham's "The Scramble for

It is my belief that xenophobia and racism are the inherent baggage of our evolution and served to ensure survival in the early human era, when life was nasty, brutish and short, as Hobbes described it. Even the beneficial evolution of more humane policies with time, is often exploited by powerful nations at present advantaged, due to past heinous and inhumane practices. They admit past sins and commit new ones by forbidding less developed nations (historically a century behind) from pursuing the benefits of free migration of labor, while imposing burdens of their new monopoly of intellectual property rights and financial expertise. By selective tariffs against low-tech manufactured goods and huge subsidies for domestic farmers, they destroy third world agriculture, deprive less developed countries their only opportunity for export earnings (textiles, cheap labor farm products) and hold these countries as captive markets for their overpriced high technology products and financial shenanigans.

The Asian financial crisis at the end of the last millennium was a classic example of the last as documented by Joseph Stiglitz, in his book 'Globalization and its Discontents'.  As in the past, corrupt, greedy and shameless native leaders serve as willing collaborators. To give some of the leading Western countries their just dues, the tendency to exploit does not even spare their own citizens. It is not only black, brown and yellow, but also their own white people are subjected to this reverse Robin hood philosophy of robbing the poor to further enrich the rich. Chinese leaders, who are sophisticated and quick learners, have emulated their style by providing slave labor of their own citizens to enrich entrepreneurs under the justifiable excuse of providing employment to its teeming masses.

To perplexed, curious or newly chauvinistic Asians, I want to say that the reason for your subordinate status is your religion, philosophy and mindset. The lust for power and resultant corruption without limits is quintessentially human, as Lord Acton observed when he said, 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'.

Israel's recent treatment of Palestinians is a good example, though the latter are not without sin either. The Jews have been discriminated against, subject to pogroms and yet when they got their own state, they behave no differently than other conquerors or colonizers with superior military might.

The history of Islamic conquerors has been written in equally profuse blood. There is a serious problem with the Abrahamic religions that they have far more of the arrogance of moral certitude than other religions. In all fairness, of the three Christianity is the most benign in theory, but the worst in practice. The second problem with Islam, Judaism and Christianity is they bestow the earth on a chosen people or human species. The collateral damage is to infidels, gentiles or heathens. The unintended benefit is the curiosity and desire of how to improve and continue to improve one's material status.

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More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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