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Somalia overview

2002-01-17 15:45:20+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

[ related topics: Politics History ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-01-17 15:59:56+00 by: Pete [edit history]

Man, those Linux guys get around.

(Okay, nobody seems to find it funny. You've a typo, Dan. It's Alex Cox.)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:33+00 by: Dan Lyke

D'oh! Yah know, I read it as "Alan Cox", said "that's funny, I didn't think of him as a political commentator", and completely missed it. Even after your comment.

Obviously not coherent today.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:33+00 by: petronius

Back to the topic: My two comments on the Cox article 1. Leftists seem to feel that there is exactly one reason for everything. Once that reason is discovered, pointing out any other factor in an event is surrender to fascism. The fact that there might be oil in Somalia finishes Cox's argument; nothing more needs to be said. The soldiers were there to protect Chevron, period. Aidid's depradations are irrelevant.

  1. There also seems to be a general attitude that only Americans or West Europeans are capable of evil. Wicked non-westerners were either taught their wickedness by westerners, or is only in innocent response to the wickedness of westerners. They are children, sadly misled. If the west disappeared, they would immediately return to their Edenic happiness.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:34+00 by: dhartung

Conoco, not Chevron, Petronius.

And your 2nd point is one I frequently make. Westerners, especially Americans, are to be held responsible as the root cause of any bad result, no matter how remote. The flip side, of course, is that nobody but Americans are ever held responsible. (Den Beste wrote on this a while back, too.)

Uh, I almost began ranting. DEL DEL DEL.

Anyway, an extreme version of this thought process leads to a hopelessly utopian view of any non-modern, non-globalized society -- e.g. the myth that American Indians were a stable society in harmony with nature, until the big bad evil environment-exploitin' Indian-enslavin' Europeans came along. This of course ignores the steady attrition of large mammals across both continents of the Americas, clearly due to human hunting to extinction. The only reason the Indians didn't do worse is that they had lousy tools. Similarly, there is an idea that there should be natural sympathy for the bin Ladens of the world because they, like our young McDonalds- and Starbucks-smashing friends, oppose modernization and globalization. I was actually presented with this argument in an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, and I haven't responded to it, because I can't respond without becoming apoplectic.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:37+00 by: sethg

dhartung: Orwell tagged this thought process as "negative nationalism" back in 1945. See Notes on Nationalism for a broader and deeper analysis of this pathology.