The Dalai Lama, White Europe, and the Third World’s Drift from Pride to Parasitism
The event was hosted by a Swedish outfit named—please pardon my Swedish—Individuell Människohjälp, “IM” for short. I think the full Swedish name means “Individual Assistance.” It’s some kind of international do-gooder outfit which “now works in thirteen countries worldwide focussing on people’s right to education, good health and the ability to sustain a life in dignity.” Sounds very Swedish. I wonder if they take money from George Soros.
I shouldn’t be so reflexively sour and cynical, though—Heaven forbid! Jolly good luck to IM. Most to the point, they did give the Dalai Lama a platform to say something sensible.
I’ve always had a soft spot for this Dalai Lama. I met him once, 34 years ago, when he and I were both much younger (he is currently 83). He struck me as having just the right balance of humanity and gravitas that I’d want in a religious leader. Of course, a lot of what he said was bland religious-leader stuff about world peace and such. But nothing was plainly false or idiotic, and some was refreshingly honest.
In the West, I do not think it advisable to follow Buddhism. Changing religions is not like changing professions. Excitement lessens over the years, and soon you are not excited, and then where are you? Homeless inside yourself.
If Tibetan Buddhism has a Marketing Department, that must have got them wailing and rending their garments. It’s true, though.
The Dalai Lama’s remarks in Malmö were similarly sensible. On the topic of Third-Worlders flooding into Europe uninvited, he said: “Receive them, help them, educate them … but ultimately they should develop their own country … I think Europe belongs to the Europeans …”[Dalai Lama: ‘Europe belongs to the Europeans’, AFP/The Local, September 13, 2018]
So, OK, he’s accepting the flim-flam about them being refugees, which hardly any of them actually are, and he presumably thinks they are penniless and desperate, when in fact they are mostly well-dressed middle-class types with cellphones who could afford to pay the people-smugglers.
He is also looking at the issue from his own point of view, as a genuine refugee. The Dalai Lama fled his homeland sixty years ago when Communist China asserted totalitarian control over the country. Since then he’s kept alive the dream of himself and his fellow exiles one day returning to a Free Tibet.
So, OK, there are qualifications to be made. Still the Dalai Lama said a sensible thing at the end there: “Europe belongs to the Europeans.” Yes, it does.
His saying that thing of course generated much gasping and sputtering among Goodthinkful Europeans. [‘Europe Belongs to Europeans’: Dalai Lama Stuns Swedish Public, Sputnik, September 14, 2018] A depressingly common response was, “Why don’t the Dalai Lama and his followers set an example by returning to their own country?” Answer: because they would, beyond a doubt, be tortured and killed by the ChiCom Gestapo. You really don’t need a Ph.D. in Far Eastern Studies to know that.
The Dalai Lama’s observation turned my thoughts to the sea change in the international order that’s occurred over my lifetime: the drift from pride to parasitism.
Case in point: Another remark that caused shrieking and wailing among Goodthinkers this week was President Trumps’ skepticism about an updated count of deaths from Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in mid-September last year. The government of the place recorded 64 deaths. A few days ago, researchers at George Washington University published a report that estimated “there were 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria between September 2017 and February 2018.”[GW Researchers: 2,975 Excess Deaths Linked to Hurricane Maria, August 29, 2018]
President Trump took it personally, tweet: “This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising billions of dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico.”
That’s what ignited the shrieking and wailing. Hispanic supremacist Representative Luis Gutierrez called it “delusional” and predicted that Trump will respond more energetically to this week’s Hurricane Florence than he did to last year’s Hurricane Maria because Trump “has a golf club in North Carolina.” [Gutiérrez Responds To President On Puerto Rico Hurricane Deaths, September 13, 2018]
Whatever. Clinging as I am to the hope that Trump may actually do something to restore our national sovereignty, and believing as I do that Representative Luis Gutierrez is pond scum, I’ll take the President’s side on this one.
Mention of Puerto Rico, though, brings to my mind that great, slow, decades-long trend from pride to parasitism among the peoples of the Third World.
The trend is vivid to me because I’ve watched it across these decades, starting in my college years in England during the early 1960s.
Those were the last years of European colonialism. I knew some of the people whose countries had been colonized. I was at college with them: bright young guys from Africa and the Muslim world, on scholarships at my university. They were full of pride and hope for their new, newly-independent countries.
Now the white colonialists had gone home, they told me, talented locals like themselves would take over—become president of the national airline, the national bank, the national university. White-colonial supremacy would be replaced by local meritocracy. These black and Muslim classmates of mine couldn’t wait to get home and take up some high-level position in their new, proud, independent nations.
It’s embarrassing to look back on that from today. The pride and hope has all evaporated. Meritocracy never gained much of a market share in black or Muslim nations. The president of the national airline in Upper Bongalia is the nephew of some big political playah or gangster boss; nobody interested in actually learning anything attends the national university, which is just a make-work government program. The goal for any Third Worlder with anything on the ball is to get to some Western country—to Europe, North America, Australia.
Faith in the ability of these old colonial territories to govern themselves in any rational way has faded away across the decades I’ve been watching. Everybody out there in black Africa or Islamia wants to get to a country run by white Europeans. That’s why they’ve been crossing the Mediterranean, south to north, in the hundreds of thousands and millions.
The trend in the New World hasn’t been so clear, mainly because colonialism over here was less British and French, more Spanish, and Spain got out of the colonialism business long before the 1960s. In Puerto Rico Spain was replaced by the U.S.A., and in some of the Central American states like Guatemala there was a sort of unofficial commercial colonialism by U.S. corporations. Both things generated local resistance, and there were strong movements for national pride and independence through the early and middle 20th century, egged on by the U.S.S.R. through the Cold War, and actually victorious in Cuba and Nicaragua.
But now, as in the Old World, it’s all evaporated. The mood among Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans, and the rest is not one of pride, it’s one of parasitism. They don’t want to take charge of their own affairs in a spirit of pride and national independence; they want to break into, or be absorbed by, some prosperous First World welfare state.
In a referendum conducted last year, before Hurricane Maria, less than two percent of Puerto Ricans voted for independence—a lunatic fringe. (Pro-independence parties said they were boycotting the election.) [23% of Puerto Ricans Vote in Referendum, 97% of Them for Statehood, By Frances Robles, New York Times, June 11, 2017] The overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans want the same thing that black Africans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and other inhabitants of Old World colonialized territories want: they want to live in countries established by and run by white Europeans.
Taking the wide view, looking at humanity as a whole, this is nothing to be happy about. Pride is much more positive, more admirable, than parasitism. In a happy, harmonious world like the one the Dalai Lama dreams of and does his best to coax into being, distinct people—including Tibetans—would all have their own countries, under their own control, practicing rational government with proper respect for their own and others’ cultural traditions.
It’s really too bad that we don’t live in a world anything like that. Even worse: No world anything like that looks like coming into being any time soon.
Concluding thought: One of my favorite little useless historical factlets concerns Colonel Younghusband’s 1904 expedition to Tibet as a representative of the British government. The principal Tibetan government official Younghusband ended up negotiating a treaty with had the title “Chief Doctor of Divinity and Metaphysics.” (Pictured right.)
I have wondered, ever since reading that, whether perhaps we shouldn’t have a metaphysician at the topmost levels of our own governments here in the West.
The subject-matter of metaphysics, after all, is the nature of reality. The metaphysical theory currently dominant in the Western world, as illustrated by that last segment, is that reality is whatever makes us feel good.
Do we really want our societies to be run by people who believe that? Perhaps a little more metaphysical sophistication at the top wouldn’t hurt.
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