Archive for the ‘Modernity’ Category

Colonization All Over. So Why So Bad?

March 23, 2017

It goes without saying that colonization was a terrible thing, whine those who want to look good to themselves and other whiners. Colonization was a crime, they insist. At least that’s what PC people howl on every roof, as part of their unwitting campaign of rage against civilization. Because civilization, which was not civilized, caused colonization, this evil of evils, they crowe. Right.

We the descendants of the colonized shall howl from every roof what victims we are.

We the descendants of the colonizers, shall howl on every roof what criminals we are.

We the bipolar paranoid schizophrenic stand as accused, and may as well be mowed down by Islam driving SUVs, trucks, jumbo jets, and non sense, all over us.

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Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, who does not descend from colonialists and colonizers?

All the Americas were colonized.

All of Oceania was colonized (twice at least).

Was the colonization of Australia by aborigines (who are part Denisovans), 50,000 years ago, a bad thing? It killed a lot of marsupials!

Sénégal: Organized, unified, but never really colonized! A very rare case!

Japan was colonized (twice at least). Japanese civilization started for real, when the archipelago was colonized. By the Chinese.

Some will say China was never colonized. Well, there used to be 100 nations with 100 languages in China, as recently as three centuries ago (the emperor himself recognized then, in a very sophisticated intellectual exchange with the Jesuits; and he expressed both his will to respect that, and his incapacity to do otherwise). However, nowadays, Mandarin (just one language) is taking over, all over. And all Chinese are forced to assimilate with the Borg in Beijing. That’s colonization therein. Is it bad? My daughter is learning Chinese, or, more exactly, Mandarin. She will be able to talk all over.

Madagascar was colonized (thrice; from Indonesia, Africa, France). Even Greenland was conquered by the Inuits, who pushed away the Vikings… (On their way, the Inuits had annihilated previous denizens in the northern Canada archipelago…)

Most of Africa was colonized multiple times. By descendants of Neanderthals (!), Bantus, Phoenicians, Greco-Romans, Arabs, etc.

All of Russia is a huge colony, all the way to Kamchatka. “Russ” initially means Eastern Swedes.  The Eastern Swedes, Viking style, invaded the huge placid rivers of Eastern Europe, all the way down to the Black Sea (where they could trade with the Romans). In the Tenth Century, Vladimir of Kiev conquered Crimea from the local Khan (Mongols who had themselves conquered centuries earlier the Greeks, who had conquered a millennium prior, etc.)  

Even China was momentarily (a few centuries here and there) conquered by Buddhists, Tibetans, Mongols, Mandchous…

Arabia was greatly colonized by Persia, much later Turkey (Ottomans) for centuries.

Europe?

Europe, shortly before Rome rose, was invaded by the Celto-Germans, who covered up the entire continent, all the way to Anatolia. When Caesar invaded, Gaul (“Gallia”) was made of 60 nation-states.

Much of India was invaded, colonized by white men coming from the north, central Asia, four thousand years ago, or more. That’s why India and Europe enjoy the same Indo-European language family.

Egypt was invaded by the Arabs, more exactly by Caliph Omar’s army. Never recovered (whereas Egypt had recovered from colonization by Black Pharaohs, Nubians, Sea People, Libyans, Greeks and Romans). Egyptians themselves had to decolonize the Sahara desert and concentrate on the Nile Valley and adjoining oases.

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A real question is: which places in the world were not colonized?

Paradoxically, much of West Africa is one of the most pristine, uncolonized places.

West Africa is generally viewed as having been a French, British, Portuguese colony, and that’s superficially true.

West Africa also exported a lot of slaves (to the Americas).

However, West Africa was one of the much untouched places. (Contrarily to whiny repute!)

Not like Europe: all old European languages were wiped out by the Indo-European, Celto-German invasion (or close to it: Basque is a tiny remnant of what once was.)

And don’t brandish southern Europeans as old stock: the Middle Easterners came from the Fertile Crescent, with their futuristic crops (wheat, etc.) and their genes, 9,000 years ago. Another invasion to run over the many Sapiens invasions all over Europe, in the last 100,000 years. Neanderthals made it to North Africa, big time, and their genes to South Africa, but apparently not to West Africa.

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A real question: when is colonization good, when is it bad?

From the point of view of the invaded, one will guess that colonization is often bad. Yes, but not always. The invasion of Gallia by Caesar would end up creating the strongest part of the Roman empire, Francia, and the Birth of the West. Viewed that way, it was a good thing. And it sure is a good thing if there was no other way to get that good thing. Was it? We don’t know. Was Caesar innocent of the invasion? We don’t really know.

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“Colonization” in West Africa was mostly a joke, or more exactly, civilizing: ten French officers ordered around 5,000 Senegalese soldiers who, truly, conquered Sénégal. So, in truth, Senegal conquered Senegal under French management. In truth, there were basically no colons in Senegal: the land stayed property of the Senegalese (compare with the USA, where Indian lands were nearly completely distributed by the colonial government in Washington to the European colons!)

A big argument for the “colonization” of Africa was the eradication of slavery, which was endemic, pandemic, chronic, extensive and ubiquitous in Africa (the globalization of African slavery to the Americas, escaping the long arm of European law, has not been properly characterized…)

Here are the national languages of Senegal:

Some of these languages are tonal, some are not (making them a different as latin and Chinese!) It goes without saying that packing such different nations in so tight a space (less than 200,000 square kilometers), result in mayhem, just to keep the population stable. So Senegal has, rightly so, just one national language.

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Colonization is good when it brings lots of progress, and less mayhem:

This should go without saying. However, the usual interpretation of (hard) multiculturalism is that all cultures are equally worth of respect. This thesis implies that progress does not exist. So we may as well regress, and have plutocracy.

So we see who these proponents of hard multiculturalism were trying to seduce: the powers that be.

By refusing to see when, how colonization has been, and could be, good, they refuse to bring reason to judge destiny. A silly attitude, considering how fast destiny moves these days.

But of course fundamentally hypocritical.

At least, nobody can accuse me to be a hypocrite. I don’t under (hypo) criticize. It’s much more fun, to over-criticize… And criticize all over… Colonization: assess, but don’t deny, its crimes, just as its merits. And remember the fine lines between colonization and immigration.

Patrice Ayme’

Serres Decapitates France

July 13, 2014

I just landed in France with the elegance of the death star among minnows. A contributor to this site, Kevin Berger, attracted my attention to an editorial of Roger Cohen, “France Decapitated”, amplifying moaning from Michel Serres, a philosopher.

Probably to set the tune of fundamental idiocy that was going to overshadow his entire editorial, Cohen complained, to start with, that the Tour De France started in Yorkshire. In his crass ignorance, the connection between France and England eludes him totally (although Cohen is now a USA citizen, he originated as a South African Jew).

French Light Speed Communications, 18th Century

French Light Speed Communications, 18th Century

Cohen whined that having the Tour in England showed that “nothing was sacred anymore, and pigs will fly”. Well, since pigs already write for the New York Times, they may as well fly. As this essay will show, given enough ignorance, anything flies handsomely.

Mark Cavendish, the (ex) number one sprinter in the world, tried to force his way in the first sprint of the Tour, in Yorkshire (he himself recognized). He fell, dragging others in his fall, injured himself and then had to abandon the Tour, on day one. On day four and five, Christopher Froome, who won the Tour last year, fell three times on Northern France’s cobblestones, and also had to abandon. Cavendish, Froome, are British. At one point they owned the Tour. It’s only natural the Tour comes by where they are from. The roads were packed along the Tour in Britain, driving many a rider furious from too many cameras in their faces.

Ah, lest Cohen did not get the news, the Franks conquered England in 1066 CE, and stayed permanently after making an alliance with the people and freeing the 20%-25% or so, of the population who were slaves. English democracy was definitively launched by a number of Frankish rebels.

The Franks ruled what they called “Renovated Rome”. Indeed they spoke Latin, used Roman Law, and originated as the Roman army.

The original Roman army had evacuated Britain in 406 CE, for budgetary reasons caused by plutocratic will. (On the continent, the Franks had officially replaced the legions in 400 CE.)

Knowing there was no more highly trained, superiorly armed legions facing them, but only local soldiers, the unconquered savages of Northern Germany and Scandinavia attacked in the following six centuries and overran Britannia, including the Roman successor states (Northumberland, etc.), in a succession of complex invasions.

For centuries Britannia and Gallia had been part of the same Roman state. Earlier both were part of the same Celtic civilization, for more than a millennium. After 1066 CE, they were again part of the same polity, itself officially the “Renovated Roman Empire” explicitly proclaimed under Charlemagne… But effective for more than three centuries.

However, the rulers of Western Francia, gained by Gallic arrogance, proclaimed that the Paris/French king was “emperor in his own kingdom”, sometimes around 1000 CE. This brought a mess of little leaders, all over Europe, with no central authority until the European Union.

The mess of too many little great leaders after 1066 CE, all over Western Europe, led to no less than 50 major wars.

This is the fundamental reason to make a united Europe that Europhobes do not know about, in their crass ignorance, and immanent treacherousness.

Cohen, by refusing the Tour in Britain, on the ground that makes pigs fly, rejects history, plays dumb, and embraces hatred for European unity. In the garbage, please.

Cohen: “That the French are unhappy has become a commonplace. A nation that loves ideas is living in an ideological void. If that void is filled by anyone it is the rightist leader Marine Le Pen with her cleverly dosed venom about Europe, immigrants, crime, globalization and the other supposed culprits behind French national decline.”

That is roughly correct. Except that rumors of a French decline have been much exaggerated. And the solution is thriving next door in an independently managed part of Francia: Switzerland. (Let alone Germania, also independently managed Francia.)

Cohen: “France is a modern country as well as a beautiful one. Its attributes, from its health system to its rail system (when not on strike), are well known.”

I had a very personal demonstration of the superiority of French health care this week: my four year old daughter was cured within hours, from French antibiotics, after a harrowing flight. Californian doctors were apparently firmly set to leave her fate to the will of God. In the USA, antibiotics are for plutocrats and their animals, much dying keeps We The People in check.

French rail has held the world speed record for rail for seventy years or so (but for a few months of German domination). In the late 1950s, the Japanese bought and deconstructed French electric engines for building their own high speed trains.

The French health care system is not just good, it’s innovative, and the world profits from it. In the 1950s an observant French surgeon discovered the modern psychiatric drugs. Meanwhile a French woman discovered that Down syndrome was caused by an added chromosome. More recently deep brain stimulation was discovered in the Grenoble CHU as a method to cure Parkinson’s and other diseases.

A serious French effort has been underway for years to make a permanent artificial heart (a patient died mysteriously, so it’s not easy).

Cohen: ”But the French dislike modernity. They mistrust modernity. That is the nub of the problem. They dislike and mistrust it for two reasons. Modernity has redefined space and relegated the state. This is intolerable.”

A “modern” country that dislikes “modernity”, while inventing all sorts of “modern art”, and “art deco”, and “nouveaux philosophes”? And the number one inventor of “Relativity” was Henri Poincaré, who even named it, not Einstein. France, as the country that brought E= mcc (Poincare’ 1900, Einstein, 1905)? Intolerable. Quick let’s attribute that to a German Jew.

Lest you ask, Poincaré also invented topology. Among other things. Unfortunately he died while middle aged. If Einstein was turkey size, Poincaré was T Rex.

Modern, modernity and modernism are French attributes, thus are absolutely not the nub of the problem. Cohen, parroting three pence philosopher Michel Serres, is wrong as wrong can be.

Cohen is off the deep end here.

France is not just modern. France’s fundamental tradition is modernity. France’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, rests on modernism.

And so it shows. France invented the first cars (Eighteenth Century), hot air balloons and planes. All the preceding were private efforts under government (military) contracts. But the first submarines or helicopters were also made in France. And also cameras (both black and white, and color). Also the first (and, so far, only, ever) ram jet plane. The Concorde, by the way, still holds many speed records (the ones without air refueling).

The nuclear chain reaction and how to extract energy from nuclei, was so discovered in France, that the French government yanked all the patents out in January 1938, lest the Nazis read and understand them (fortunately, that understanding dawned on the dumb Nazi physicists led by Heisenberg only August 7, 1945).

More recently, the Minitel was a highly successful precursor of the internet. Astoundingly, and little known, the transistor, the integrated circuits and the PC were all invented in France (and quickly stolen by Silicon Valley and other USA propagandists). Optical pumping, a necessary precursor to the maser and laser, was also discovered in France.

On Mars the Curiosity Rover is mostly Americano-French. Besides scientific instrumentation, a French company made its supersonic parachute, another, Thales, made its laser.

Thales makes the world’s most powerful lasers, when it’s not building the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. The most advanced American material science labs purchase Thales lasers. French laser physicists are scared that, if they do not stay financed enough, they will lose their edge on the rest of the World. In ten years. (The NSA is supposed to fix that.)

The major advance of the Franks beyond Antique Rome, freeing Europe of slavery, was made possible by more advanced technology where it really made a difference (mechanical advantage, hydraulic hammers, super-horses, more advanced agriculture, including the new genetically engineered beans of the Tenth Century).

That was also necessary. The moral advance of “Equality, Fraternity” occurred only because more advanced technology allowed to get rid of slavery, in the 7th century. Just as, someday, it will allow to get rid of work.

Let’s not forget that the Franks replaced the Romans, first of all, because they had better, and that means more modern, weapons. Similarly, four centuries later, the steel of the Franks proved superior even to the superb Damascus steel of the Islamists.

So modernism is the essence of France: no modernism, no Francia. One does not change essence overnight. Cohen does not know what he is talking about in the matter of French culture: it is centered, in the fullness of time, around modernity. To put it mildly.

Cohen: The redefinition of space has involved the technology-driven elimination of distance. As Michel Serres, a prominent French philosopher, put it in a lecture last year at the Sorbonne on the digital world, “Boeing shortens distances; new technologies annul them.”

Philosophers are like blades of grass in the French prairie. Yet, I like Michel Serres. Once a mariner, his feet are firmly planted in the waves, essence of the universe. However, why did Serres use the sentence: “Boeing shortens distances…”. This is a deliberate lie, a sophisticated lie, but still, a lie: it is construed to give a misleading impression. Serres could have said: ”Jets shorten distances…” Jet engines were not invented by Boeing, but by Messerschmitt, a European company. The Brits were the second to realize jets. Even several years later, captured Me 262 operated by American test pilots were much better than the best jets made in the USA.

Boeing, indeed, is an American company. Airbus is European, French dominated, and makes as many planes. So Serres wants to depict France as under aggression from the USA, rather than from Toulouse (where Airbus churns out more than 50 jets a month; arguably the world historical capital of aviation).

To deliberately inflict on the naïve a misleading impression, that’s behavior unbecoming a philosopher.

All the more as the French were big time pioneer of aviation to the point many parts of planes wear French names. French military aviation was huge as early as 1914. The Aeropostale in the 1920s and 1930s, inaugurated long range airmail, all the way to Chili (as readers of the Petit Prince may know).

Besides the French invented the proto-Internet with Minitel, and it was a massive success. A French government program, as early as 1945, enlisted top German scientists, to make fast signalization for very high speed trains.

Hard for me to take seriously philosophers who make such stupid mistakes.

Cohen: “Humanity has also changed its relationship to the state. The French place deep faith in the state. It is the righter of wrongs, the mediator of human affairs, the source of social justice, the object of duty, and the repository of power. The very word deregulation is odious to the French.”

Humanity is changing its relationship to the state in Switzerland. Elsewhere, not as much, if at all. Actually the argument is common in Europe that the state, in the guise of the European Union, is taking too much importance, and that the EU is regulating too much.

Cohen, aping Serres: “A revolution in communication is underway, not seen since the invention of the printing press, but it is not a French revolution. It is in fact an anti-French revolution. It challenges fundamental French values, the French sense of self, and the French attachment to the state.”

Whatever. The French state, centuries ago, had set-up a semaphore signalization system. France was covered with 556 stations. In tall towers placed upon hilltops, 10 to 35 kilometers away, a two armed device depicted symbols read through a telescope. That was retransmitted, just the same. This signalling system could transmit a signal 250 kilometers (150 miles) in two minutes.

According to Serres and his parrot Cohen, that’s supposed to be anti-French? On January 7 1785, a Frenchman, Blanchard, having thrown his pants out to lighten the ship, succeeded to cross the Channel in a Montgolfiere. A few weeks earlier Pilatre de Rozier, who had flown over Paris 15 months earlier, died, when his hot air balloon caught fire during the crossing. Were all these attempts at modernism, anti-French?

Articulating one’s logic around idiocies, amplifies idiocy. Let’s heap spite on such critters, in Quranic style.

The question still arises: what ails France? As France, clearly, is ailing. If not Serres’ dumb hypothesis that France hates modernity, then what? I will answer this in another essay. Interestingly, while presently the greatest fuel for the right wing Front National, it is easy to fix.

Patrice Aymé