Saturday, December 21, 2013

I believe the gentleman does not like those activists

Today, I want refer to “movements” for the “rights of the indigenous.” Having served and visited extensively in Central and South American countries with large “indigenous” populations, I can freely state that the region’s “indigenous” cultures largely ceased to exist hundreds of years ago thanks largely to European brutality and diseases. “Indigenous” culture now means rural poverty. Calling to protect “indigenous culture” really means seeking to preserve rural poverty; to keep people poor, sick, illiterate, and isolated from the great and small wonders of our age. It means helping condemn them to half lives consumed with superstition, disease, and watching their puny children struggle to live past the age of five. It’s a call to keep certain people as either an ethnic curio on the shelf for the enjoyment of European and North American anthropologists or, equally vile, as exploitable pawns for the use of political activists, such as the reprehensible pseudo-indigenous President of Bolivia, the old drug trafficker, and Chavez toady, Evo Morales.

When I hear these calls, I think, “We don’t protect rural poverty in the USA. Western man no longer lives in caves or trees, terrorized by solar eclipses and at the mercy of an unforgiving environment. Why should these people? Why should humans live little better than animals in disease-infested jungles, or exposed on wind-swept plains?” I am struck, for example, by how much effort “pro-indigenous activists,” often themselves urban upper-class types or foreigners, expend on “land reform.” Instead of working to develop an economy where land ownership does not determine whether one lives or dies, the activists seek to chain the “indigenous” to, at best, a brutal life of scratching out a living on postage stamp-size lots of land. Often land reform involves “giving” the rural poor these plots but without the right to sell or to use them to secure loans from banks. The poverty and hopelessness increase

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