Thursday, November 5, 2009
Problems of the IMPERIALISM OF GUILT and the Hypocrisy of Western Liberal Criticism of East Asia.
There's a running theme in Western liberal criticism of East Asia which is rather odd and amusing: the notion that East Asian nations are unnaturally and obsessively homogeneous unlike the more diverse and 'progressive' nations around the world. East Asian homogeneity is especially jarring to Western liberals since East Asia is the most successful part of the world outside the West. East Asia challenges the notion that a nation must be diverse in order to make social, political, and economic progress. Japan, Taiwan, and Korea all developed and progressed politically, economically, and socially while remaining racially homogeneous. (It seems a nation doesn't have to be racially diverse to draw from diverse ideas and innovations from around the world. You don't need Frenchmen to have French restaurants, you don't need Germans to make quality machine parts. From the outset of their Westernization, Japanese observed, learned, copied, and made their own revisions and innovations. Rest of Asia followed.)
Anyway, the liberal narrative would have us believe diversity = progress/innovation/prosperity while homogeneity = reaction/stagnation/poverty. We've been lectured on and on about why Spain was eclipsed by other European nations; it banished diversity by kicking out Muslims and then the Jews. And, we've been told us that Vienna was a cultural paradise in the early 20th century because of the diversity. (Perhaps, their success had less to do with diversity per se than with the presence of smart/talented Jews. After all, suppose Vienna had kicked out gypsies, Serbs, and Croats but kept the Jews. It probably would have still been culturally and intellectually interesting. Suppose Spanish kicked out Muslims but kept the Jews; the economy might have continued to thrive. So, the key to success wasn't just open diversity but selective diversity. A scientific project with only Ashkenazi Jews would be more successful than one with Pakistanis, Zimbabweans, Bolivians, etc. Btw, wasn't Spain eclipsed by Great Britain, an even more racially homogenous country?)
Western liberals are troubled with the rise/success of East Asia since it doesn't fall into their historical/moral paradigm. It was bad enough that East Asian rightwing regimes(even the Chinese Communist Party become essentially a quasi-fascist patriotic party after Mao's death)proved to be more progressive and successful than leftwing regimes(such as North Korea, Maoist China, and communist Vietnam), but now Western liberals are faced with having to explain why racially and culturally homogeneous East Asia has made the most amount of progress(outside the West).
So, it's no wonder that the liberal media would take every opportunity to point to the 'evils' of 'racism' and 'xenophobia' in East Asia(though almost never against Zioinist Israel). Western liberals would have us fear and loathe the rise of East Asia since it's not the triumph of diversity and progressive values but of nationalism, 'racism', and reaction.
But, there is one big problem with this view. First, there is the problem of what might be called the IMPERIALISM OF GUILT. It projects Western notion of historical guilt onto other peoples. This has been MOST offensive in regard to Palestinians. Since the West oppressed Jews and committed the Holocaust, there is the notion that antisemtism is evil. But, it doesn't seem to occur to many Westerners--esp. in the US--that Arab hatred of Jews has its own context and logic. Palestinians hate Jews not because of racial ideology but because Jews took Palestinian land. To accuse Palestinians of the evil of antisemtism is to the apply the IMPERIALISM OF GUILT. It's as though the entire world has to conform to the Western notion of historical guilt and right/wrong when the non-Western world operates by different histiography and experience. Similarly, maybe the Korean dislike for foreigners has less to do with 'racism' and more to do with historical insecurity due to having suffered invaders from Mongolia, Manchuria, Japan, Russia, etc. for example, Japanese or Koreans may still be nasty, unpleasant, and pigheaded, but to use the charge of 'racism' may miss the point or the nuances of how they see history--their own and of the world. Similarly, maybe not every instance of anti-Gypsy feelings among Europeans is a case of neo-Nazism; maybe, it has something to do with the fact that Gypsies have a shameless criminal culture and go from place to place to commit all sorts of petty robbery.
Of course, as East Asians have grown rich or richer, they may now indeed look down on 'dirty' foreign workers in their own countries. But, even here, we must take into account class context and differences. To rich East Asian businessmen or affluent liberal global elite, the presence of foreigners could mean cheap labor or sign of political progress. To poorer East Asians, it could mean competition and loss of cultural identity. For poor or poorer people, cultural identity and traditional values are all they have.
Another problem with the liberal Western view of East Asia is the moral contradiction of their argument. On the one hand, Western liberals condemn the entire history of Western expansion, conquest, 'exploitation', slave trade, spread of diseases, rape, and etc. We are told over and over of how white people invaded the Americas, shipped blacks across the Atlantic, settled in places in South Africa, forced sex on natives or non-whites, used and exploited non-white labor(such as Chinese railroad workers). Yet, the reason why much of the world became diverse is precisely because of Western imperialism and expansion. Without it, there wouldn't be a single black person in the Americas. South Americans would all be pure-blooded native 'Indians', not mestizos of mixed blood(initially the result of Hispanic rape of native women). South Africa would be all black than having a substantial white and Asian population. USA would be less diverse if whites hadn't brought over non-whites for slave work or cheap labor--to pick cotton, to lay down railroad tracks, to pick tomatoes, to clean bedpans of old white people, etc. So, this DIVERSITY that white liberals so proudly extol had largely been accomplished through conquest, rape, slavery, and exploitation of cheap labor. Diversity was FORCED on the native 'Indians' who never had a chance to say "NO, we don't wanna be invaded, lose our lands to whites and blacks and other newcomers, and mix our blood with the invading peoples." Blacks never had a chance to say, "NO, we don't wanna be shipped across the seas and made to work on plantations." So, even as Western liberals condemn the history of imperialism, they are most obsessed with and supportive of the product of that evil historical process: DIVERSITY. It's like condeming interracial rape but praising its outcome. Western liberals are wittingly or unwittingly rationalizing and even justifying--through a roundabout way--their conquest of the world.
Seen from this angle, their ideological attack on East Asia is both understandable and funny. East Asia is the only part of the world that never fully came under Western imperialism. Japan modernized early, China was too big and homogenous for any one power to dominate. Korea was colonized by Japan. Also, East Asia was reasonably advanced, unified, resistant to Western diseases, and populous. So, East Asia could not be conquered and raped like native 'Indians' of the Americas. Also, as East Asia was mainly inward looking, it didn't import millions of slaves from Africa. (Japan did try to join the imperialist club but ultimately failed miserably and LOST EVERYTHING). So, Asian homogeneity exists because it was spared or resisted the aggression of the West and also because it never imported huge numbers of blacks nor conquered non-Asian territories. (Sure, they exploited their own kind, but that doesn't fall under the rubric of 'racism' or 'imperialism'.)
You'd think this is a GOOD thing: not being invaded & having your nation/culture wholly altered by imperialists--as happened to the "Indians" of the Americas, racial cousins of Asians--or not having brought millions of African blacks to work as slaves on rice paddies or bamboo fields.
Instead, white liberals trash East Asia for its lack of diversity and for its obsessive homogeneity. Would white liberals like East Asians more if East Asians had been conquered and raped(and racially altered)like "Indians" of America or if East Asians had forcibly imported 3 million blacks from Africa? East Asia would surely be more DIVERSE, just as much of the Western sphere is diverse--mainly because diversity had been forced on non-white peoples.
Of course, diversity is today being forced on the white majority of Europe and North America, as if the only way to wash away the sins of imperialism and 'racism' is to now 'rape' the white population as well. All said and done, diversity was mostly the policy of the elite. White elites decided to explore and conquer new lands, to rape and enslave non-whites. Now, the white elite wants to mongrelize most whites as well. In both cases, the vast numbers of people had NO SAY in any of this. The natives of Mexico were never given a chance to say NO. And, American and European whites also aren't allowed to say NO. If you say NO in the USA, you're demeaned as a 'xenophobic racist' and blacklisted. If you say NO in Europe, you're locked up for 'hate crimes'. Western imperialism has morphed into the imperialism of guilt and into auto-imperialism. Long ago, the white elites used white masses to conquer non-white worlds. Today, the white elites use non-white masses to conquer the white world. Just consider the Labor Government policy of increasing non-whites to maintain elite liberal power.
So, this may explain the hypocritical hostility of white liberals against East Asia.