Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Imperialism

First World Problems

Today I had an old thought, half-forgotten, about the popular first world problems internet meme. For those of you who are unfamiliar with “first world problems”, it is type of internet joke in which a problem or complaint is dismissed as trivial due to its exclusivity to people living in developed countries. It’s funny, but there’s something that has been eating at me about it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dead Baby Interventionism

Lately I’ve been noticing a new social networking trend–the tendency for people who are passionate about a given humanitarian crisis (examples include Syria, drones in Pakistan, Kony in the Congo–surprisingly, not Mali) to post pictures of various dead, injured, or disfigured babies or children who purportedly were killed, injured, or disfigured over the course of their respective conflicts. Accompanying the pictures is usually some caption designed to engender empathy (one such example I recall was “imagine if this were your child”). This strikes me as somewhat simplistic. Not much critical thought is being given to what the responsibilities of developed states are. Instead, the entire discussion is being reduced to “children are dying, this is bad, developed states can stop bad things, developed states should stop this”. So today I’d like to think about it a little bit deeper than that.

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How Big Government Discovered America

In the 15th century, when Christopher Columbus needed money to make his voyage to the Americas, he approached several heads of state. He came to the John II of Portugal, to the doges of Genoa and Venice, to Henry VIII in England, all of whom declined to fund his grandiose and zany project. Finally, he went to Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain. Their ministers, like the ministers in the previous nations, deemed the voyage impractical, too costly, too foolish. A bad investment. All the same, the Spanish monarchs decided to appoint Columbus Admiral of the Seas and dumped a pile of state investment upon him. And so, from the bosom of state largesse, the discovery of America began.

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The Culture Fetish

Many people on the left believe that all cultures are of equal value and that, above all other things, a people’s culture should be preserved and prevented from any kind of assimilation or westernisation. Today I would like to challenge this line of thinking–not, as is commonly done, with an appeal to western nationalism and decaying imperialist sentiment, but by accusing this line of thinking of being reactionary and logically unsuitable for the political left.

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