Editor’s note: Post was republished with further thoughts and an expansion upon of commentary upon the impact of history and culture on a people.
“Appalachia’s idea of a moderate drinker was the mountain man who limited himself to a single quart [of whiskey] at a sitting, explaining that more ‘might fly to my head’. Other beverages were regarded with contempt.”
Bold title huh? To some extent the answer is, yes. Governments ARE us. Blame can be thrown out for some issues, but it can’t alleviate our responsibility completely in how our nations, provinces, regions, etc form and operate.
Despite Mongolian domination and destruction for 300+ years, China is not a shithole while parts of Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, etc. are. Why?
Well a people’s culture are actually VERY significant as are the traditions, heritage, language, and attitudes that shape them, their history, and set foundations for their future.. Let’s get down to brass tax.
Do we get the governments we so richly deserve? Are the people of a nation just as responsible for it’s path as it’s government? These are sobering questions, if not harsh one’s about a people’s morality and culture. This is the main thrust of the this post.
Consider the meltdown over Trump’s use of the word “shitstorm”. Social media and TV networks lost their minds over him saying something that many of us thought was common knowledge and wasn’t controversial – at least 10 years ago. You can’t even have an honest real conversation about it with out the usual “ist” and “isms” brandished and having your job threatened.
For all the “racism” accusations that fly every single damn day to the point of making the word mean absolutely nothing, I am left to wonder what it actually has to do about “race” and how exactly Trump is wrong about his description of said countries. They may have good food, nice people, unique language and customs, but it doesn’t pave over the issues that plague those places to the point they want to move HERE.
Seriously. We all knew Trump was lude, rude, and crude and plenty of us backward fundamentalist bigots really do appreciate it. Ever talk to the residents of the places he described as “shitholes” and what they think about their home country vs the new one?
They’ll be far more brutal than Trump was in their assessment, but there’s that segment of the population determined to to tell them how their previous home country was just as good as their new place of residence. Obviously all cultures are created equal. Brain drain doesn’t exist. The peoples from the cultures of Norway and Sweeden vs Sudan and Afghanistan produce exactly the same wealth, ideas, riches, and contribution to the modern world.
Certain people might practice female genital mutilation, honor killings, calls to murder Jews, throwing gays off roofs, actual human sacrifice of albinos for all sorts of reasons, insane amount of corruption and bribery which relegates a country to 3rd world status, but we awful misogynistic sexist racist bigots here in the West don’t have enough women in STEM and Chic Fil A didn’t actually support the idea of gay marriage. Totally comparable.
Andrew Klavan makes this point and more effectively in an article for City Journal, “Of Crudeness and Truth” in his own version of a revolutionary act in today’s culture.
“Let’s state the obvious. Some countries are shitholes. To claim that this is racist is racist. They are not shitholes because of the color of the populace but because of bad ideas, corrupt governance, false religion, and broken culture. Further, most of the problems in these countries are generated at the top. Plenty of rank-and-file immigrants from such ruined venues ultimately make good Americans—witness those who came from 1840s potato-famine Ireland, a shithole if ever there was one! It takes caution and skill to separate the good from the bad.”
It’s not just Africa which has shitholes, it’s place in Eastern Europe, Russia, parts of East Asia, areas in the Middle East, parts of the Caribbean, and slums all over South America. Hell, even Mexico – a 2nd world nation – has plenty of places that people there consider a shithole and are desperate to flee from. But I digress as this storm originated with comments about Africa so let’s attend to that continent.
Africans Aren’t Black. They Are Africans.
Let’s go for a moment back to that race angle that these people love to obsess and bloviate over. Africa isn’t a “Race”. Neither are Africans. Africa is a BIG place and consists of many various ethnicity, races, and languages all that have fought, enslaved, conquered, annihilated, and mixed with each other.
Why do people always assume its about race? Sure, some people might think “Black!” when they think of Africa, but there’s a hell of a difference between Bantus and Egyptians or Sengalese vs Moroccans. African’s don’t even think of themselves as “Black”. That’s an american thing and American blacks have literally nothing in common with Africans except a somewhat similar skin color and some similar susceptibilities to genetic medical conditions.
When it comes to similarity in DNA the Bantus of South Africa have more in common DNA wise with Europeans, than they do with the Bushman (KhoiSan) that the Bantus displaced and destroyed in South Africa. Even similar skin color doesn’t equate to being the same race in Africa or being viewed as such.
I’ll back that up. Here in the states, the professors from the “African studies” department and “diversity” offices can be met with a fresh dose of solidarity in Minnesota as recent immigrant students from Somalia fight with American blacks in the schools. Despite efforts to reduce the friction it’s still there. (You can’t just artificially create a shared heritage, language, culture, etc.)
Travel to Ghana. You’ll notice Ghanaians consider people who aren’t actual “Africans” as white in a slang manner. If you were black, brown, or whatever else and went there, they would consider you a white foreigner. That’s just how they see it. Per the New York Times:
“Many African-Americans who visit Africa are shocked to find that Africans treat them – even refer to them – the same as white tourists. In Ghana, the term “obruni,” or “white foreigner,” is applied to all foreigners regardless of skin color.
To African-Americans who come here seeking their roots, the term is a shocking sign of the chasm between Africans and African-Americans. Though they who share a legacy stained slavery, they experience it entirely differently.
“It is a shock for any black person to be called white,” said Mann, who moved here two years ago. “But it is really tough to hear it when you come with your heart to seek your roots in Africa.”
Yes the continent is quite diversified, but across much of it you see the same vicious internal corruption to the point of destabilizing and ensuring poverty for a majority of the populations of said countries/regions in Africa. It seems to even transcend region ranging from South Africa all the way up to Libya. It’s a way of life to the point that an estimated 75 million people have to pay bribes annually.
Think that’s not an example of living in a shithole? Please go live there and attempt to resume your normal Western life. In fact continue to, expect the roads to be maintained, the police to actually show up, your neighbors not rob you, the government not shake you down, the banks actually transfer your money, your mail to show up, your electricity to work, and your food to be truthfully labeled. Expect life to be as easy in a Shithole as it is there.
I’m not exaggerating how bad it can be in countries on the continent. Consider Nigeria through the lens of Aussie Tim Newman who lived in Lagos there working for 3 years. The level of corruption there is staggering to the point where it’s woven into every day life as if nothing else is expected. I’ll quote a large portion:
“There is no getting away from the fact that corruption in Nigeria has infested almost every aspect of life, work, and society. I can’t think of a single area where I didn’t encounter a scam of some sort. Some of them were pretty normal – policemen hassling motorists for bribes, for example – with others being less common elsewhere. Filling brand named alcohol bottles with local hooch was widespread practice. Not so bad in itself, but these were being sold through supposedly legitimate suppliers and turning up in established bars. Others were unique to Nigeria.
I knew a guy in charge of oil shipments for a foreign oil company who received a call from somebody in the authorities saying he was not going to release the multi-million dollar cargo until somebody had bought his cousin $10 worth of phone credit. My acquaintance found himself going to the shop, buying a phone card, and handing it over to some scruffy bloke who showed up at his office in order to allow his crude oil out of the country.
The corruption, theft, and graft can take many forms: falsifying a CV (I don’t mean enhancing, I mean pretending you’re a Lead Piping Engineer of 12 years experience when actually, until yesterday, you were a fisherman); selling positions in a company; stealing diesel from the storage tanks you’re paid to protect; issuance of false material certificates; impersonating an immigration officer to access an office, from which you then tap up the people within to fund your latest venture; selling land which isn’t yours; deliberately running down the country’s refining capacity in order to partake in the lucrative import of fuels; falsifying delivery notes of said refined fuels in order to receive greater government subsidies; deliberately restricting the country’s power generation capacity in order to benefit from the importation of generators (which must be run on imported fuel); theft of half-eaten sandwiches and opened drink containers from the office fridge; tinkering with fuel gauges at petrol stations to sell customers short; conspiring with company drivers to issue false receipts indicating more fuel was supplied than actually was; supplying counterfeit safety equipment; falsifying certificates related to professional competence (e.g. rope access work); paying employees less than stipulated in their contract (or not at all); cloning satellite TV cards, meaning the legitimate user gets their service cut off when the other card is in use (the cards are cloned by the same people who issue the genuine cards); the list is literally endless. There is no beginning or end to corruption in Nigeria, it is a permanent fixture.
Nepotism is rife: family members are employed and promoted before anyone else. Outright theft is rife: from a pen lying on a desk, to billions from the state coffers. Dishonesty is rife: from the state governors to the street urchin, lying to enrich yourself is the norm. You name the scam, it is being done in Nigeria. Eventually, nothing surprises you.
As I said before, you’ll find such practices everywhere, but to nowhere near the extent found in Nigeria.
Apparently it wasn’t always like this. There was a time, probably from around the 1970s to 1990s, when Nigeria had a reasonably diverse economy. Besides the oil and gas, they had agriculture, manufacturing and assembly (Peugeot set up an assembly plant in Nigeria in the mid-1970s), brewing (there is a both a Guinness and a Heineken brewery), refining, construction, and pharmaceuticals. Some of these survive today. There were decent universities, and students wishing to graduate had to apply themselves. Security wasn’t much of a concern to the average citizen.
I don’t know the details, but at some point in the 1990s one of the military dictators decided to flood the place with oil money in order to buy support. This had the effect of drowning every other form of enterprise and ensuring that oil and gas was the only game in town. This is bad in itself, but by no means unique to Nigeria.
What was worse is that this quickly instilled a mentality across Nigeria that there was a lot of money up for grabs, and getting your hands on it wasn’t in any way related to honest efforts or applying yourself to something constructive. Nigeria became a place where if you’re not getting your hands on some of the oil money, either directly or indirectly, then you’re going nowhere.
With oil money washing over the whole country like a tidal wave, soon everyone was trying to secure their own piece of the action, using fair means or foul. Imagine throwing a huge box of sweets into a playgroup shouting “Grab what you can!”, and the chaos that ensues will be similar to what happened to Nigeria on a national scale.
At least, this is what I gather happened – I may be wrong – but for sure, the current situation reflects what I’ve described. The economy is funded almost exclusively from oil and gas revenues, and everything else is merely feeding off that. The new hotels in Lagos, the growth of capital city of Abuja, the importation of luxury goods, the Audi and Porsche dealerships, the sky-rocketting real estate prices, the money earmarked for infrastructure projects, the increase in flight passengers, all of it is directly or indirectly linked to the oil money.
Okay, maybe there is some hyperbole in there. Agriculture still makes up the lion’s share of GDP, and the services sector is booming. Advertising is a big industry in Lagos, although the most common thing you see advertised is advertising space. But nobody is going to get anywhere herding cattle, picking pineapples, or working in a sawmill. Even the owners won’t be earning that much, not if that’s their only income. There is very little opportunity to get rich, or even advance, unless you are somehow connected to the supply of oil money.
One of the results of this national free-for-all is the formation of groups, societies, associations, and unions whose raison d’être is to obtain as much money and benefits for their members as possible. This isn’t much different from Europe in respect of trade unions, but groups and subgroups form at micro-levels with sometimes comical precision.
The Lagos Association of Road Maintenance Engineers, Roundabout and Lay-by Division, 4th Department. The Nigerian Association of Water Truck Drivers, Lagos Chapter. Membership of one or more of these associations is both essential and compulsory: essential because an individual would get trampled very quickly in the general melee of Nigeria, and compulsory in the sense that you have almost no chance of being allowed to quietly ply your trade without paying dues to some group or other. It’s not clear what the legal standing of a lot of these groups is, but it’s often hard to tell how they differ from a standard extortion racket.
One of the most powerful unions in Lagos, the transport union, used to shake down any okada (motorcycle taxi) driver passing through their checkpoints, claiming the money was used “to protect them from the police”. I doubt the money was used in such a manner, but people do need protection from the police in Lagos. Not that the okada drivers had any say in the matter: membership was automatic, and the union muscle would beat any non-compliant driver or confiscate his vehicle. The power of the oil and gas workers unions is legendary, ensuring their members enjoy pay and benefits which are the highest of any local staff in the world, and often outstrip those of the expatriates.“
Can you imagine living in that as any race, ethnicity or multi-gendered pan-sexual and not considering it a shithole and looking for better pastures?
Now it may not entirely be their own doing if you consider the effects of colonialism, but awful tragic reality is still reality and the corruption during colonial times has continued with the current governments and elites. In fact it’s gotten much MUCH worse.
This is despite some groups of people there trying desperately to alter corruption, but are meant with significant pushback by those who benefit from it and used to it as a way of life. They end up dismissed as trying to “Westernize” the country. Yea, the horror.
Yes, there are levels of corruption. However, you can’t say that same level of corruption with that same vicious direct impact exists on the same level or equally across the other continents. Or about the economic tax dollars that someone from Norway or a first world nation will bring compared to someone from a 3rd world country.
So shift focus for a moment. When it comes to facts, it matters the messenger, but the message, Haiti is for the most part a shithole. Imagine Bernie or some you like said it instead. They would be correct. Seriously ask people from Haiti who have immigrated here about what they think of it and see what they say.
Guess where all the recovery money they got from the hurricane went? Not to the people there. Government officials there and their friends and family used almost all of it for themselves. This is what plagues so many 3rd world countries. Many countries in Africa that are devastated and relegated to third world status because of the corruption there thats innate to their cultures.
“But those places where refugees are fleeing from aren’t shitholes!” That’s quite delicious irony considering that you can’t suggest the refugees go back to those now non shithole countries because it’s too dangerous and simply speaking… a shithole that they don’t want to go back to. I don’t blame them.
That’s not even taking into account the brain drain, where most of their best people have moved here or to First world nations. It kind of sad for those left behind.
Magic Dirt And Mass Immigration
People bring their cultures with them and that includes the corruption there that’s innate to those cultures. They don’t just magically conform to their new places of living and become firm advocates and believers of democracy, tolerance, free speech, and dare I say, feminism. Generations of customs, culture, and traditions don’t go out the window. Seriously, go ask the Somalis in Minnesota what they think about feminism. Yet still, the magic dirt theory prevails.
Again, people bring their worldviews and cultures with them. They don’t just happen to adapt the worldviews, cultures, and societal cohesion that people who’ve been living here for several generations or even just a few that make our government and society’s corruption less destabilizing then theirs.
Take into account when the Irish immigrated to American enmasse. They brought their views and local organizational mindset to the big cities and utterly changed them. Just as the communities helped provide for themselves under the struggle of English rule, they did the same for their fellow Irishmen making sure they got jobs in the right places of power.
We know it today as machine politics when we think of urban cities like Chicago or New York. Big city machine corruption in politics came with them. It eventually became so intertwined in American politics that people don’t even see it as Irish. Now the Irish assimilated over time, but it didn’t happen in one or even two generations.
Even after assimilation, ethnic backgrounds and immigrants homelands still have implications and influences that we still see today. There’s a reason that people in the Appalachians chose to live there specifically as well as the drug problems that plague it now, just as there is for those in Virginia, New England, or the South.
(Even more shocking you’ll realize why people from New England look down on people from the Appalachians known also as Borderers of Scottish and Irish roots – an attitude that’s existed since the country was founded.)
What’s happening with immigrants today from places like Africa? While they are better off here then where they came from, assimilation hasn’t quite occurred. Again, we don’t know exactly how long it may take them to assimilate, but it’s a far different time now then it was 100 years ago with the attitude toward actual assimilation a point many on the Dissident Right have been wisely hammering.
That’s not to mention that many immigrants who came over before 1900 already had some cultural similarities to the “native” population in the US.
Instead of doing everything possible to get immigrants to adapt and to become American, we encourage “diversity.” Instead of encouraging them to learn English, we provide translators both in the private and public sector allowing first generation immigrants to not bother with learning English – which is key if they want to succeed.
Sure, their kids will most likely learn it in the schools, but these kids are a huge disadvantage to succeed because their parents can’t help them with even basic homework. If they can’t, and struggle in school or to find a job in a crowded minimum wage entry level job where they can be replaced easily with another cog in the machine, what do you think they will do? Crime, drugs, etc are often the easy and logical next step. Sad, but true.
Now the Churches of many immigrants provided a network of support. The same can be said of much of the Black population in the US as well. But they have limited resources and can only handle so many people. It’s obvious it’s already overstretched.
In fact, local zoning laws prevent Churches from even offering basic things such as housing at the Churches themselves. There are reasons for this, but the end result is still the same.
Yet, you have recent columns from guys like Bret Stephens at the NYT which promote the “benefits” of mass immigration, while ignoring the negatives and labeling those who point them out as “ists”, “isms”, and “phobes.”
“Also obvious is that immigrants don’t steal jobs. They fill jobs Americans won’t do or create those that haven’t been invented. They don’t bring crime to cities. They drive out crime by starting businesses and families in shrinking cities or underserved neighborhoods. They don’t undermine American culture. They feed, enrich and reinvent it, not least through their educational ambitions for themselves and their children.”
Now he might have a point on crime, but what about the rest of it? For example we see evidence to the contrary in history when it came to immigrants vs native population and their propensity to commit violent crimes, or the noted impact of it in places like the UK. Filling jobs Americans won’t take?
Live in a poor urban neighborhood and you’d be shocked at the jobs people will take if only those jobs existed – or weren’t filled by newer immigrants willing to do demanding work for less wages than a native worker. I suppose that’s the competitive market place for you, but a consequence of that is driving down wages, not to mention what it’s already done to Union and organized labor power in the US.
Consider what might happen if people with antithetical or contrary views to American culture – whatever that looks like in your area of the country – settle in mass where you live. Imagine California suddenly taking in a lot of Somali immigrants who don’t hold kindly to the idea of LGBTQ rights. Suddenly it becomes a problem for them there if those immigrants don’t assimilate in terms of worldview. Multiculturalism has its price you know.
Vulgar But True
Now on the topic of “shithole” it might be a harsh way to put it, but would putting it in other more “polite” words lessen the impact or change the fundamental issue for him or others on the subject?
Would people freak out this much if someone else said it? At this point I as well as many others in the Dissident Right are convinced people who loathe Trump will simply take anything he says and attribute the worst possible meaning and implications to it.
Sure, if actual refugees want to come and escape that, then let’s make sure they have views that arent in total opposition to the current citizens here. That there is as far as I’ll go for now in this post.
Instead of this diversity nonsense, we need to curb the amount of immigrants who come to the US with worldviews who have little compatibility with the people here.
Doesn’t matter how much people scream about racism. These are all places you don’t want to live. Most of the people there don’t. It’s why they keep trying to come over to the Europe or the US. India is a bit restrictive with their immigration and the Chinese and Japanese don’t let foreigners become citizens.
I’m not from an African country. Or from Haiti. I don’t have any skin in this game. Of course I won’t be offended. Well, I’ll imagine it was slight instead directed against my mother’s side of the family who came from Armenia.
Would I take offense if Trump or anyone else labeled one of my ancestral homelands a shithole? Well, the truth hurts, but I’ll state it regardless. Take Armenia where my mothers side is from.
Parts of Armenia are a shithole – though I would point out much of it is not our fault. (Hell, there is a reason the “Armenian mobster/mafia” stereotype exists.) Much of the Middle East is for many reasons. Is it the fault of the people there? Yes and no. (Border war over territory, conquest by neighbors and empires over the millenia,etc.) I suppose the same point could be made for “shithole” countries.
Countries that aren’t shitholes surprisingly? China, Japan, India and many parts of Asia. Surprising, considering Mongol conquest and devastation. (I’m thinking of countries not traditionally considered to be part of the West, though you could still argue some places in Eastern Europe and Southern Italy are indeed shitholes.) I consider there to be quite a few variances in shitholes including the US.
To sum it all up; there’s consequences to immigration and we need to think about them, not ignore them.
PS: I propose a new drinking game. Every time Don Lemon says the word “racist” or “racism” on CNN, take a shot. You should be plastered and literally floored in a matter of hours. Alas, I digress.