Friday, 12 February 2016

Attitudes to Africa

Our modern era in The West sometimes seems to be defined through distinctions concerning one's attitude to Africa (implicitly sub-Saharan Africa). And on this question we have, as usual, gotten things upside down.

The mainstream secular Left has a concern with Africa that is both obsessive and wholly material - as must inevitably be the case, given the atheist and Liberal assumptions of our mainstream culture. The secular Left, from a vantage point of Western comfort, convenience and ease, regards Africa with pitying superiority underpinned by gnawing guilt.

Africa is (accurately, on the whole) seen as a place of endemic starvation and violence; a place of bodily suffering - and the conclusion is that something must be done, involving large amounts of Western medicine, money and expertise.

This imperative of curing poverty and disease comes from the Western perspective of near-total spiritual and existential bankruptcy. We see that Africa lacks what we have; but what (some) Africans have that we lack is utterly invisible. And that is Christian faith of a strength and purity which is far beyond almost anybody in the West (including beyond the mainstream Western self-identified Christian churches).

The consequences of faith are not just invisible, but actively denied - we will not acknowledge that religious faith makes any significant difference; certainly we will not acknowledge that it makes all the difference in the world. For the mainstream secular Leftist, religious faith is just a pathetic delusion, which tries but fails to make up for the reality of material poverty, oppression and disease.

From our position of utter existential poverty, of extreme spiritual suffering (such that we want nothing more than a life of continuous distraction, excitement and pleasure leading to a painless death; and partly organize, but wholly welcome, our national extinction and population replacement)... from this comfortably nihilistic perspective we want Africans to have the same as us. We apparently want this deeply: we want for Africa to be as this-worldly as ourselves.

So far Africa's interaction with the West has brought good and ill alike; but what counts as good, and what counts as ill is perspectival upon whether faith is regarded as real and serious or as a childish escapism.

The good includes Christianity. Why am I personally so sure this is good? Because of what I know of African Christians, including those I have met personally and the reports of those I trust who have direct experience. African Christians are better Christians, on the whole, than those in the West - and they seem to get extraordinary strength and happiness from their faith. If you are not persuaded - so be it: this is how it strikes me; and not as a subtle distinction but as a very solid fact.

The harm Africa has derived from The West includes almost permanent near- or actual-starvation, high levels of horrific violence, and some of the worst governments in the history of the planet. These are (mostly unintended) by products of Western medicine, Western aid, Western technology, Western expertise and Western ideas (such as communism).

In sum, Western interventions caused and sustains a massive population explosion in Africa, which continues.

Before contact, Africa seems to have been a place with a low and sparse population, kept in check by a high level of lethal diseases; and a relatively high standard of living in terms of the amount and variety of food and a low requirement for work and a high availability of social living.

Until the 1960s Africa had less starvation than either Asia or The West, and while it did have a high proportion of violent accidents and deaths, this was not the truly monstrous and sadistic violence that has been experienced over the past decades - this required the technology, organization, ideologies and destabilization which the West amply provided.

Well, the West has given Africa the goodness of Christianity, and we are in no position to help much more in that respect (indeed, quite the opposite - we in The West need Africa's faith). And most of the rest has turned out to lead to very horrible consequences - which are only exacerbated when the West continues to provide what it imagines to be 'help' and 'aid'. The effects of Western medicine, public health and hygiene were helpful in reducing suffering over the initial short term, but have been utterly catastrophic in the long term and continuing.

We in The West are so blind to the transformative power of the spirit that we are simply unable to understand what life is like for a really faithful and strong Christian. Everything looks different to one who sees the world in an eternal context and from an attitude of joyous gratitude at salvation.

To discount and deny this, as the secular Liberals of the West do when considering Africa, is the very worst kind of 'cultural imperialism'; because it encourages us to continue to destroy true personal fulfilment in the name of an insipid ideal of comfort, convenience and pleasure which we ourselves have come to despise - although were remain addicted to it.

Indeed the key is that word addiction: we are behaving like an addicted pusher - feeding Africa with exactly that which has enslaved us in terminal misery.