The West Doesn’t Owe the World

The Quote Below: More Misinformation from the Media

“There is a lot of debate these days about whether the United States owes its African-American citizens reparations for slavery. It does. But there is a far bigger bill that the United States and Europe have run up: what they owe to other countries for their colonial adventures, for the wars they imposed on them, for the inequality they have built into the world order. . . .

“The creditor countries aren’t seriously suggesting that the West send sacks of gold bullion every year to India or Nigeria. Their people are asking for fairness: for the borders of the rich countries to be opened to goods and people. . . , they are asking for immigration as reparations.

“Today, a quarter of a billion people are migrants. They are moving because the rich countries have stolen the future of the poor countries. . . . Before you ask them to respect our borders, ask yourself: Has the West ever respected anyone’s borders? . . . Immigration quotas should be based on how much the host country has ruined other countries. Britain should have quotas for Indians and Nigerians; France for Malians and Tunisians; Belgium for very large numbers of Congolese.

“Some 12 million Africans were enslaved and carried across the Atlantic by European powers. Should not 12 million people from Africa be allowed to live in the countries enriched by the toil of their ancestors?” – Why Should Immigrants ‘Respect Our Borders’? The West Never Respected Theirs, Suketu Mehta, The New York Times, 6/10/19  [Link]

Fact Check of Quote: Expressions of racial animus are generally frowned on these day—and that is good. Unfortunately, there is one exception. As expressed in this article, it holds that peoples of European descent have a uniquely evil history of oppressing others, and that all other groups are rightly entitled to seek reparations from them—and other forms of comeuppance as well.

This article suggests that the only way for the West to atone fully for its sins is to lie down and be overwhelmed by the descendants of its alleged victims. The appeal is supposedly for justice, but it’s hard to miss the rather obvious malice.

The notion of a uniquely evil West is fake history and defamation. Certainly it is true that some (but not all) European countries engaged in colonialism and slave commerce. But those who obsess about these injustices ignore the far longer time that Europe itself was the victim of these activities. From about 700 to around 1700, Muslim powers in Western Asia and North Africa launched constant waves of aggression against Europe. Not respecting European borders, they colonized Spain, parts of Italy and all of Eastern Europe. They held these areas for hundreds of years, and enslaved millions of their inhabitants.

As late as the early 1800s, slave raiders from the coasts of North Africa were capturing and enslaving Europeans, perhaps more than a million beginning in the 1500s. This slave raiding was one reason that prompted France to take military action in North Africa and begin colonization there. It is most ironic that some of the Muslims claiming the right to enter Europe because of European injustices are themselves descendants of Muslim colonizers and slavers.

European involvement in the Atlantic slave trade was indeed a lamentable chapter in European history. But honest history revels that Africans were just as much involved in that evil traffic, as it was they who enslaved their fellow Africans and sold them to the Europeans. Allowing mass immigration from Africa could reward the descendants of those slave dealers.

One point the anti-European narrative always omits is that Europeans repented of their involvement in slavery and subsequently did more than any other people to eradicate human bondage. Quite often other peoples gave up slavery only because Europeans forced them to end it. For centuries the Western nations have led the way in advancing the ideals of human freedom.

Without a doubt European colonization in some instances was brutal and oppressive. At the same time, in some instances, it also conferred great benefits on the colonized peoples. One example in Africa was the eradication of the slavery. Colonial governments established rule of law, built infrastructure, developed resources, and established public health and sanitation. Often these improvements remained after independence.

The United States in particular has little reason to feel guilty about colonialism. This country only held one major overseas colony, the Philippines, to which we voluntarily granted independence after World War II. Thereafter, the U.S. took the lead in urging European countries to follow our example and free their colonies.

The idea that past colonialism justifies mass immigration today fails by way of comparison. European colonialists in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, areas now sending immigrants to Europe, did not inundate their colonies with European people. The demographic make-up of those places remained pretty much the same. But immigration to Europe now threatens to replace or substantially replace the indigenous populations. As an example, less than half the population of London is ethnic English.

The Western world did not build its power and prosperity through exploitation, but through inventive genius. And this genius has greatly benefitted the rest of the world as well. To cite one example, in the early 1960s it appeared that India and other developing countries were on the brink of a major famine. That didn’t happen, however, thanks largely to the work of an American agronomist named Norman Borlaug. His research launched the Green Revolution, which vastly increased crop yields. His work spared as many as a billion people in the developing world from starvation.

The West has much to offer the world, but mass immigration threatens to overwhelm the Western counties and thus render them unable to help anyone. The claim that the West must commit demographic suicide to atone for past sins has nothing to do with fair play. It’s a dishonest claim—and judging from the tone and tenor of its advocates—one motivated by envy, vengeance, and spite.

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