Saturday, 7 February 2009

OBAMA - AND THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN

The White Man’s Burden?

That was the slogan, and how weird was that? To say nothing of the
imperial, hubristic, thankless sordidness of it. Meanwhile, the white man’s
humiliations mounted. The loss of the American Presidency was a more or less a
foregone conclusion - given McCain’s fractious relationship with his own party.
McCain the renegade was barely tolerated.

So, it all adds up to one of those stellar moments when the political
planets were in exactly the right alignment for a really bright supernova. It
was the vision of Obama that appealed, as much as the man. He sniffed the air
and scented victory. It was a summons rather than an election. Equivocation,
finally, was over for the Afro-American, as the country's fate was bound over,
inexorably, to the "Black" Man who suddenly felt that he had a promising future,
not just an intolerable past. But above all, this was a battle of the New Age
against the old, to suit an era in which the white man’s hegemony has arguably
run its course. This was the political solar plexus. Circumstances, rather than
ideology, had propelled the freshman senator into becoming the first black
president of the United States - and thus, the repository of their hopes.
Deliverance is at hand, the civil-rights movement has reached its apogee and the
continent’s great profiteers and speculators are seen to stagger as the world's
tectonic plates shift beneath them.

The countdown to the future has begun.

The temptation to play with the idea of Armageddon and the presently
perceived economic threat from the newly gravitating Third World races might be
sacrilegious. But even if you feel that global warming is for wimps, you have to
accept the scientific evidence that the planet reacts to all types of stress,
whether ecological, demographic, energetic or nutritional. And even without
invoking the much maligned sense of entitlement of the Caucasian races as a
remarkable feat of historical unscrupulousness - and their past history, after
all, is part of the indictment against them - it is nevertheless the case that
they were the true upholders of the surpassing human values, of progress and
respect for the “Higher Man” and his institutions of science and technology, the
product of enlightenment and its intellectual tradition, the purveyors of a
finely-tuned hereditary sense of inquiry and method, to say nothing of the
pursuit of knowledge that has the potential to uncover fundamental properties of
our future universe.

Obama offers an alternative which turns the decline of the white man's
mandate into an instrument of future hope. If not the coup de grace, it
may certainly be the turning point in the fortunes of the industrial nations.
Some compared it to Nelson Mandela’s ascent in South Africa where, meanwhile,
for the unconquerable Master Race, there is no prospect but evacuation. Nor
should this be construed in any pejorative sense, but nothing I know about those
up-and-coming races suggests that scientific altruism or the quest for knowledge
could ever have been a motivating factor in their quest for the social
recognition of a variety of essential human requirements, or indeed, for a
humane and equitable freedom.

God knows, how weary we are of squalor, poverty and deprivation, but
any notion that such up-and-coming masses are in any sense concerned about the
welfare of the world, or the planet, or the future, is laughable. A deadly
conflict between two competing giants is already delineated. As Asia’s power
grows, that of the West diminishes. Frankly, I have to say I'm torn on this one
and not sure where lies the future direction of man’s ascendancy. The scientific
evolution and the Conquest of Space is neither an affair for sedentary Caucasian
nations nor for the newly developing Third World races. The unwashed multitudes
of the world are inevitably too concerned with survival to give much thought to
“higher” aims.

Nor is this all: the question now arises whether 'the first of the
human race' will prove to be the last, the Nemeses and destroyers of the world,
or whether they will actually begin to take their own future more seriously in
hand? The 'white man' of today must bear his burden. It may be necessary for him
to surrender the very way of life that the precursors of our own day found so
congenial, the very planet, perhaps, from which he commenced his assault on the
Planets which the rest of mankind may be too improvident, indifferent, hostile
or hungry to participate in.

Even so, and this is not perhaps the place to expound Darwinian
evolution, but its operative formula that evolution not infrequently proceeds
through the elimination of 'specialized types' and the survival of the simpler
and more adaptable forms of life, is really a good summary of the irreconcilable
antagonism of the principles upon which it is based. Much would depend, of
course, on the nature of the decline. On whether for instance it is caused, in
the language of the evolutionists, by 'a new vigorous society overrunning a
senile one,' or through 'the total collapse of the more advanced technological
societies, and a reversal of human life to the primitive subsistence level.' No
doubt the two are related. But with the latter in mind, it is not perhaps
unreasonable to say that a condition of their pre-eminence is that 'the first of
the human race' - and technically at least this may have been applicable -
establish new claims to immortality or else, whatever their other claims, make
room for supercession.

Dreamy

5 comments:

All Shook Up said...

Obama is Elvis in reverse - a black man who can sing like a white. I can't see him as a precursor to anything in the West unless (one might hope) black people begin to understand that if they want to succeed, they can as long as they do the successful things.

Oh yes... and worth remembering that for every Mandela, there's a dozen Mugabes.

mutleythedog said...

All that aside - he is kinda cute aint he? I would have voted for him on that ground alone...

I have some vodka and cherryade should you be interested in joining me in the hot tub a bit later...

Selena Dreamy said...

Let's take it slowly, Muts; I'll get back to you tomorrow...

Selena Dreamy said...

"for every Mandela, there's a dozen Mugabes".

Point taken!

But Obama, for better or for worse, is still just a symbol of the shape of things to come. Africa is returning to its roots. Asia has mutated into an economic monster-power. Astonishingly, while half the growth in the United States is Hispanic, only about 10% is white. The countries that make up today's European Union account for no more than 6% of the world's population and by 2050 - according to the United Nations forecast, it will just be 4%. Nevertheless, Britain will spend £ 825m over the next three years in aid to India, a nuclear armed power and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

So my point is not that I regard the population bomb as an explosive weapon - which I do - but as a revolutionary catalyst in the relations of the West to the rest of the world, that will one day disturb your sleep as well as mine...

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