|African scientists, engineers and heart surgeons?|
I was reading Ferguson's work on Europe called Civilization: The West and the Rest with a great deal of interest. Why was the West better than the rest, why had it triumphed in the competition between the civilizations around the world? He has a number of answers: the geography of Europe, "Judeo-Christian" concepts of free will, property ownership.
All true of course, but I sensed something was missing. Humm, what could it be?
It took a while, but I found the answer on page 176 of the hardcover edition. After noting all the European scientists who had found cures or causes of a wide range of African diseases, he had this warning:
Lurking within the real science was a pseudo-science, which asserted that mankind was not a single more or less homogeneous species but was subdivided and ranked from an Aryan 'master race' down to a black race unworthy of the designation homo sapiens.Pseudo-science? The races are all the same? I wondered if that were so, why hadn't Africans discovered the causes of the diseases which were plaguing the continent? Why hadn't African missionaries and explorers headed off into the wilds of Europe? Why hadn't African countries established trading ports in Europe as European countries had in Africa, India and China?
It was a puzzlement. But I continued on to page 177 and read what he had to say about Charles Darwin's half-cousin Francis Galton, who began thinking of how science might improve humans, a concept he called 'eugenics;' the use of selective breeding to improve the gene pool. This was hardly a huge stretch as exactly the same concept is used in improving the breed of horses, cattle, pigs, wheat, fruit trees and pumpkins. Still it comes as a shock to Niall.
The crucial point to note is that a hundred years ago work like Galton's was at the cutting edge of science. Racism was not some backward-looking reactionary ideology; the scientifically uneducated embraced it as enthusiastically as people today accept the theory of man-made global warming. It was only the second half of the 20th Century that eugenics and the related concept of 'racial hygiene' were finally discredited with the realization that genetic differences between the races are relatively small, and the variations within races quite large.What a mouthful! What a concept! Niall is suggesting first that the differences between races is minor and secondly that you can't average them and compare the averages. And yet, he's just done so! He's admitted Africa is a "dark continent" that has so little electricity, you can see how backward it is from space. He's told us European science was key to eradicating African diseases, and yet he suggests that "differences between the races are relatively small" in a book about why Europeans succeeded where other big, rich civilizations — like the Chinese — did not.
|Ferguson with his wife Ayaan Hirsi Ali|
What he has overlooked is that the European race was far more successful than the Chinese, African, Asian or South American peoples. Why is this? I would argue that Europeans had exactly the right genetic combination of intelligence and aggression to master races without it. Africans had a surplus of aggression and the Chinese of intelligence, but neither were successful imperialists, and neither could withstand the advance of Western Civilization once it really caught fire.
If the difference in genetics was so small, as Ferguson would have us believe, why was the difference in outcomes so large? Indeed, since eugenics is nothing more than breeding in other mammals, a scientific process which has been proven over millennia, how can he dismiss it and still be scientific.
Well, of course, he can't.
This is what you get when modern historians steeped in political correctness set themselves to analyze cultural differences without observing the racial differences that caused them in the first place.
Have another look at the photo at the top of the post. Yes, those are Africans trying to escape the squalor of Africa by moving to Europe. They won't though. You can't escape yourself, no matter how far you travel, or how dangerous the journey. When you get there, you're still who you were in the first place.
In this case, you're still back in Africa.
One can only hope a new crop of historians will take a truly scientific look at why Europe succeeded; one that is unafraid of putting science ahead of politics.