What is the real problem with blacks all over the world? Is it that all blacks are simply stupid (the low IQ argument advocated by Jan Lamprecht)? The answer is far more complex. I shall spare the reader a detailed discussion of the rise of civilization and ethnology, but dispel the myth of genetic IQ and the “natural” inferiority of blacks. Mr. Lamprecht seems to believe Africa was a blank slate without any buildings (beyond mud huts) let alone, cities prior to the arrival of Europeans.
The truth of the matter is that Africans (throughout the continent) had achieved high levels of civilization. Both the Nubians and Ethiopians were contemporaries of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Nubians even conquered Egypt and spread their empire as far as modern day Lebanon. The Ethiopians too had an advanced civilization that controlled broad sweeps of the Arabian Peninsula down to modern day Yemen. Both the Nubians and Ethiopians had civilizations equal to Egypt (which Europeans claim as their own). They began before Greco-Roman civilization and out lasted both. In fact, so long was Ethiopia’s dominance over the Arab peninsula, that when Muhammad had to flee Mecca for preaching against polytheism, he didn’t go to the Byzantine Empire or Persia, he went to Ethiopia. Along the East coast of Africa, there were also the Swahili trading states which equaled the medieval European city. Mombassa, Mogadishu, Beira, Zanzibar, Maputo, and Mzizima (now Dar es Salaam) were all major trading centers attracting merchants from as far away as modern day India, China, Sri Lanka, and Persia.
Many people claim that these cities were founded by Arabs, but evidence does not support that. The first Europeans to arrive on the east coast of Africa, encountered Black African rulers; as confirmed by writings of the Arabs. Even when these areas were “conquered” by the Arabs, these Arabs were none other than black Africans who had adopted Islam, Arabic, and Muslim culture.
As much as these cities adopted many inventions developed by their trading partners, they also had inventions. No one denigrates the achievements of commmerce in medieval Europe despite the fact that the bedrock of those achievements were “arabic” numerals and double entry book keeping, both developed by the Indians.
On the west coast of Africa we find other great civilizations much acclaimed in their day. Mali, Ashanti, Songhai, and Ghana were all great trading empires whose wealth is documented in many stories. These empires knew the value of free trade (sadly many Africans have forgotten what their ancestors knew). When Mansa Musa I made a trip to Mecca in the 14th Centruy, he spent gold so lavishly that it took ten years for gold to recover its value in Cairo. The Mali empire was also home to the University of Sankore, a famed center of learning. In Mali, the buying and selling of books was more profitable than the selling of gold or slaves. The works of scholars at the University of Sankore were known as far as Europe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many Europeans died in expeditions attempting to reach the university.
Great Zimbabwe was not built by Indians as some may think. It is true that some artifacts of Indian nature were discovered here, but that is attributed to the fact that it was a trading state with its main port at Beira. Beira is 1,000 miles inland hardly a place for a foreign colony. All these societies show that Africans have potential within themselves. To create great civilizations one might notice that most of them were along the coast. This is because most Africans (until recently) lived along the coast, the major rivers or the great lakes.
As for Mr. Lamprecht’s assertion that the European barbarians of Roman times were more advanced than black Africans, nothing could be further from the truth. How can anyone compare the mudhuts of the Germanic tribes to the marvels of Nubia? It is sad that there is no place in Africa today that can compare to that grand civilization in terms of status to their contemporaries. It is clear from Mr. Lamprecht’s article that the whole world thinks of blacks as a race of fools devoid of culture, history, and incapable of erudition or accomplishment.
The Asians offer a prime example of how to combat being stripped of accomplishment and designated naturally inferior. Contrary to the impression given by Mr. Lamprecht, there was little to distinguish Asia from Africa 50 years ago. Both regions had suffered the effects of colonialism and were considered poor and backward. However, there was conscious effort in many Asian countries to become developed. They radically transformed their societies. Anything which was an obstacle to development was obliterated. Opposition to development was suppressed. They turned their national passions towards a single goal: national economic development. They did not let themselves become trapped in western political ideology. There was no struggle between workers and management or peasants and the elites. They were cohesive in their move towards economic development and anyone who tried to introduce western political ideology was quickly smacked down. The Asian took the hard and bitter steps to develop their nations and catch-up with the West (and in many ways surpass them). They worked 16 hours a day with mandatory overtime, saved the majority of their money, shunned the welfare system, and aggressively acquired the technology to become developed nations. Japan is the epitome of this. Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan was 400 years behind the West. But the Japanese saw the need for radical change to confront the threat of the West. They completely reorganized their society, and sent teams abroad to learn western technology, business methods, and sciences. They fanatically dedicated themselves to development until they were on near equal terms with the West in 1905.
This is the story time and again with many Asian nations, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. They all became developed and destroyed the myth of European superiority. By their success in the marketplace and increase in standard of living, they forced the world to respect them. 50 years ago, one could not name a single modern invention by an Asian; let alone any great Asian corporations or financial institutions. Yet today Asians account for 544 of the world’s largest corporations compared to Europe’s 527. Even 30 years ago, as the Asians were starting their transformation, they were seen as makers of cheap crap whose only ability was to copy European innovations. Today, the most advanced technology in many fields is coming from Asia. No one in the US would dare buy an American car, everyone wants a Toyota. They were able to achieve such success because they all had a driving passion to show the whole world that they were as good as anyone else. To this day, workers at the Hyundai engineering plant in South Korea start their day by lining up and shouting, “We are Koreans, let’s show the world what Koreans can do”. They were so successful that the West finally took notice of their past great achievements and by the 1980s; whites acknowledged that Asians were naturally superior in Maths and Science (they did not invent most of those advanced fields and 50 years ago the statement would be seen as ridicule). Their success was not a factor of “natural” IQs, but rather of the policies and institutions they adopted.
The problem with black Africans is that they have no fanatical drive to develop the continent. African leaders have destroyed economies by actively discouraging foreign investment. African leaders adopt the political ideology of the west branding themselves such names as “socialists” that are completely alien to Africa. Economic development is not something that just happens; it is something that must be pursued with messianic zeal. If Africans ever hope to become developed, it must be placed as the top priority. It cannot be second to anything. Black Africa is not a part of western civilization. It must throw away the ideology of the West. Governance using western institutions of democracy and an activist state has produced failures. There is need to struggle and create new institutions that suit the needs of African development. Economic development is about abandoning dead culture and gods. One cannot argue that the Asian nations were in a better economic position at the start of their independence, in fact in 1962 Ghana and South Korea had the same GDP per Capita yet today Ghana’s GDP per Capita is only $2,300.00 PPP USD compared to South Korea’s $19,200.00 PPP USD.
The prosperity of a people is not due to such an abstract concept as I.Q., but rather by the policies and institutions enacted. If we take that line of reasoning, then we should assume that the people of the black nation of Bahamas are superior to the white nation of Belarus because their GDP per Capita are $17,700.00 PPP USD and $6,800.00 PPP USD respectively. While African leaders are busy “eating the national cake” and raping their nations of wealth to place in Swiss bank accounts, Africa’s talented are degraded and flee in droves.
It should be clear that, Africans have the potential to develop a great society; after all there are some 10 million African professionals abroad with 40,000 more leaving Africa every year. In America, the average African (born and raised in Africa) professional has an income of $125,000.00 a year as opposed to $65,000.00 for native born white professionals. Despite the “natural” inferiority of blacks, the British National Health Service is in the habit of recruiting entire graduating medical school classes from African universities. These Africans are able to succeed, because the West has functioning institutions (at least for now).
As for the collectivist nature of African society, I must say I value individualism, but it is of little importance. Anyone who has been to Asia can testify to the extreme pressure of conformity (much more than in any African society) placed upon the individual. The important thing is to what is your society forcing you to conform.
Africans must have the shear force of will to reorganize their societies and move towards the path of economic development. We all know the things necessary for economic development; free trade, free markets, high savings rates, low taxes, zero social welfare, and sound money. However, we cannot discount the power of ideology. Africans must be instilled with a burning passion for economic development, and it must be the single focus of the society. Africans must have a fanatical drive to do the best and be the best. They must pain to rise above the rest. Without the ideology, no matter how great the institutions (one questions if a nation could create the institution without the ideology to drive them) economic development will only be mediocre.
African leaders have failed to create the passion, ideology, and drive towards economic development. Africans will never be able to stand with dignity in the world until they have achieved economic development on the same level as the West. If anyone wonders why economic success, wealth, higher living standards, and African owned mega-corporations will ameliorate Africa for the indignities Africans have suffered in the past, the answer is simple, “because living well is the best revenge!”
What have we been doing for the last 50 years to challenge this view? Nothing! We have not only acquiesced to this view, but also lived up to it.