What to do about Africa?

Following my article a few days ago about Rhodesia and white supremacists, I received this e-mail from a reader.

Feel free to publish my comment, if you like — but please do not publish my name.

I think that it is clear from your writings that you oppose the Apartheid approach to the ordering of civil society in Sub-Saharan Africa.  I think that it is also clear that you acknowledge that current conditions in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (and, perhaps, to a somewhat lesser extent, in South Africa) are simply dreadful  —  for both whites and blacks.

What is not clear to me is how you would would recommend as an alternative.  How would you propose to organize and govern countries like Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and South Africa in light of the potent and undeniable realities of race, IQ, and culture (and their attendant, inescapable, behavioral consequences) that you addressed in your essay yesterday (“IQ, Countries, and Coping Skills”)?   What alternative can you identify to the widely discredited system of Apartheid that will not result in the appalling dysfunctionality and squalor that characterizes Sub-Saharan Africa today?

That’s the problem, right there.  I can’t recommend an alternative, because right now no alternative exists.  The realities I mentioned in “IQ, Countries and Coping Skills” are inexorable and unavoidable.  Go read that article for yourself, and look at the map of Africa with its appallingly low average IQ compared to the rest of the world.  That’s reality.  If we deny, or protest, or ignore that reality, we’re living in cloud cuckoo land.  That reality is also the reason why every single effort to “uplift” the people of Africa has, so far, failed miserably.

In his 2002 essay “Let Africa Sink“, fellow former South African Kim du Toit wrote:

Just go to the CIA World Fact Book, pick any of the African countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi etc.), and compare the statistics to any Western country (eg. Portugal, Italy, Spain, Ireland). The disparities are appalling — and it’s going to get worse, not better. It has certainly got worse since 1960, when most African countries achieved independence. We, and by this I mean the West, have tried many ways to help Africa. All such attempts have failed.

Charity is no answer. Money simply gets appropriated by the first, or second, or third person to touch it (17 countries saw a decline in real per capita GNP between 1970 and 1999, despite receiving well over $100 billion in World Bank assistance).

Food isn’t distributed. This happens either because there is no transportation infrastructure (bad), or the local leader deliberately withholds the supplies to starve people into submission (worse).

Materiel is broken, stolen or sold off for a fraction of its worth. The result of decades of “foreign aid” has resulted in a continental infrastructure which, if one excludes South Africa, couldn’t support Pittsburgh.

Add to this, as I mentioned above, the endless cycle of Nature’s little bag of tricks — persistent drought followed by violent flooding, a plethora of animals, reptiles and insects so dangerous that life is already cheap before Man starts playing his little reindeer games with his fellow Man. What you are left with is: catastrophe.

The inescapable conclusion is simply one of resignation. This goes against the grain of our humanity — we are accustomed to ridding the world of this or that problem (smallpox, polio, whatever), and accepting failure is anathema to us. But, to give a classic African scenario, a polio vaccine won’t work if the kids are prevented from getting the vaccine by a venal overlord, or a frightened chieftain, or a lack of roads, or by criminals who steal the vaccine and sell it to someone else. If a cure for AIDS was found tomorrow, and offered to every African nation free of charge, the growth of the disease would scarcely be checked, let alone reversed. Basically, you’d have to try to inoculate as many two-year old children as possible, and write off the two older generations.

So that leaves only one response, and it’s a brutal one: accept that we are powerless to change Africa, and leave them to sink or swim, by themselves.

. . .

The viciousness, the cruelty, the corruption, the duplicity, the savagery, and the incompetence is endemic to the entire continent, and is so much of an anathema to any right-thinking person that the civilized imagination simply stalls when faced with its ubiquity, and with the enormity of trying to fix it.

There’s much more at the link.  Go read it all.

I don’t agree with Mr. du Toit’s proposed solution, as those who’ve been reading this blog for a while will understand:  but I most certainly understand the anger, frustration and bitterness that caused him to come to that conclusion, because I’ve seen everything he did, and more.  It’s repeating itself all over again in the current Ebola crisis in Congo, about which I’ve written frequently in these pages.  African tribal culture is, very specifically, the reason why the disease has not yet been contained, and threatens to spread even further.  (Go read the last-linked article for yourself, if you haven’t already.  It’s true, every word.)

If you look at how Western civilization developed, it came about through the education of the people over centuries, building on a shared Christian faith rooted in antiquity, founded on classical Greek and Roman culture, and expressed in religious and national sentiments that (for all their shortcomings and defects) provided a framework for people to move through and beyond the Dark Ages to the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution (all of which produced our society today).  It took many centuries for all those influences to have their effect.  Africa has experienced none of them – no Renaissance, no Enlightenment, no Industrial Revolution.  It’s had elements of all of them grafted on from external sources, but has never developed them internally, challenging its people to rise above primitive superstition and tribalism to something better.

The colonial era, following the so-called “Scramble for Africa“, might have helped change that through education and economic development;  but those weren’t the motives for colonization.  Colonial powers wanted cheap resources to fuel their own economies, and markets for the goods those economies produced.  They saw colonies as something to exploit, not as a place to invest money or resources.  As a result, when African colonies became independent after World War II, most had few (if any) trained, qualified, experienced (and, above all, honest) leaders and administrators.  The veneer of colonial civilization was soon stripped away, and tribal culture returned with a vengeance.  (I note with interest current Chinese efforts to “colonize” Africa economically.  The only reason they’ve succeeded so far is that they import their own people to manage everything, and to perform all skilled functions.  They’re not investing in local education and training except to the unavoidable minimum extent, and they bribe local politicians to ensure that they can run their enterprises with a relatively free hand.  If they do it any other way, they’ll find out what every African learns, sooner or later . . . Africa wins again.  It will do so again, even over China, given time.)

The same goes for indoctrinating Africans with various and sundry philosophies, political perspectives, economic theories, and what have you.  I’ve seen the US Peace Corps at work in a number of African nations, and I remain profoundly unimpressed at their efforts.  (Ask Lawdog sometime about his experiences of what the Peace Corps did in Nigeria.  He can wax fairly profane about it.)  In the same way, I’ve seen the results of Communist propaganda and “education” in Africa (often courtesy of Patrice Lumumba University in the former USSR).  They’ve been disastrous for those countries run by graduates of the latter institution.  Karl Marx may have regarded European religion as the opiate of the masses, but he never encountered African tribal superstition!  It would have driven him stark staring bonkers.  No external philosophy of government has ever really succeeded in tribal Africa, and it won’t, unless and until the tribal mentality is overcome.

The one thing every old Africa hand has learned the hard way is that you can’t impose a solution to that continent’s problems from outside.  Only if it arises from the people themselves does it have any chance of success.  Tragically, the corrupt African powers that be know this . . . and so they ensure that anything that might develop into a threat to their hegemony is either co-opted, or nipped in the bud.  They have no hesitation in bribing, assaulting, exiling, jailing or killing anyone who might threaten their control.  That includes those of their people who are better educated, particularly those who’ve been “infected” with Western ideals through non-governmental organizations, and contact with aid workers and groups.  You can bet none of the people trained by Doctors Without Borders to deal with the Ebola outbreak in Congo will ever be allowed to occupy senior positions in the government health ministry . . . not unless they’ve been co-opted into the existing power structure, and given up any outlandish ideas about actually accomplishing something.

Tragically, that also means that any African who manages to get a halfway decent education and/or qualification immediately tries to leave for another continent, where he can make a better life for himself.  He knows damned well that if he tries to do so at home, he’ll be exploited to within an inch of his life by his tribal extended family, the powers that be (who want to tax him for all they can get), and the limitations of the society in which he’s forced to live.  Therefore, rather than help his own people, he helps himself by leaving.  I can’t blame him.  In his shoes, I would, too.

Therefore, I can’t propose any way to “organize and govern countries like Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and South Africa in light of the potent and undeniable realities of race, IQ, and culture (and their attendant, inescapable, behavioral consequences)”.  I can’t “identify [an alternative] to the widely discredited system of Apartheid that will not result in the appalling dysfunctionality and squalor that characterizes Sub-Saharan Africa today”.  There is no practical possibility whatsoever of doing so from within, because those solutions require education, the end of tribalism and superstition, and a willingness to work for the greater good of society – all of which are conspicuous by their absence in almost every part of Africa.  And, since there’s no internal structure to support such political solutions, they can’t be imposed from outside, either.  China is making them work economically only because it imports every skilled worker it needs from China to staff its African enterprises.  It could not succeed if it relied on local workers and administrators.

Africa is hamstrung.  It has no way forward unless and until it develops an educated people who understand that they have to move beyond the shackles of past superstition and tribalism if they’re to join the modern world.  Tragically, the powers that be in Africa have no intention whatsoever of allowing any such education to take place, because they know it would mean the end of their rule.  Africa is at an impasse, and I see no way forward at this time.  All I can suggest is that we try to support and defend any potential progress – and worthy individuals – we can identify there, try to protect them from the rapacity, greed and ruthlessness of local rulers, and see whether, in due course, the shoots of democracy and freedom will take root and grow in what has proved to be a Dark Continent indeed.



  1. I cannot lift a continent out of darkness.
    You cannot.

    America can not.

    America can't even lift Baltimore and St Louis out of ignorance and poverty ever since the Federal government got involved and created the "war on poverty " and Federal department of education.

    Leftist (mostly Democrat with complicit Republican help) policies are sinking the USA.

    Fix Africa? Not my job.

    Contain ebola? Un possible

  2. Let Africa, like Baltimore, Detroit, and Ferguson, burn.

    Don't conquer and administer. That can't work there.

    The best options for Africa are
    A) Ignore it
    B) Sell the natives small arms and liquor (but never, ever medicine)
    C) Conquer small areas, establish walled cities and eventually territories, and extract valuable resources without letting a single one of the natives inside the wire.

  3. Markshere – Containing ebola is simplicity itself. Quarantine the continent like Willy Wonka's factory. We have a navy and an air force for a reason. It's not like they can walk here.

  4. IF (huge if) somebody had the temperament of the Victorian British Raj, then recolonization of Africa might work, over a couple of centuries, for certain values of 'work'. What is wrong with Africa is stunningly similar to what is wrong with any place that has been seriously infected with the attitudes of the Progressive Left. For all their talk of equality and social justice, the Progressives are a would-be Aristocracy. They consider the common people to be peasants, little better than farm animals. They reward the ones that can parrot Progressive mantras, and do not EVER expect them to behave as anything other than half-tamed pets. Result? Detroit, Baltimore,…..and Africa.

  5. Ooo, to solve the problems in other countrues .. Dare to dream!
    But, in reality, we can't even properly house our own. Our educational system is bareley providing minimal educational needs. Our veterans and children are homeless as well as our mentally ill. We're rapidly legalizing marijuana so add a population walking around/driving stoned to our already really bad opioid crisis.
    We can't even help ourselves and those who try are ridiculed and punished.
    Help Africa? The US help Africa? Yes, they need medical assistance and food, but becoming like America may not be the answer.
    And, as I write this, I am saddened that I feel this way. Not ashamed to be an American but truly dissappointed in where we are now and where we are heading.

  6. China has the sheer numbers of people, the drive, the technology and the patience to overcome the present inhabitants on most of the continent.
    Come back in a hundred years and see how it looks then…

  7. I see a way forward for Africa. Much like Europe rising from the dark ages, the way that Notre Dame Cathedral was originally built. Not an American solution. Not a government solution. Not an imperial solution. A solution by the greatest enemy of the left.

    The Catholic Church. It is growing in (northern) Africa. The priests and bishops that I know of are not closely aligned with the "leaders" in Rome. It is privately funded. The African Catholics are richly militant- no affinity for so called "gay" rights, opposition to abortion and birth control, pro-family via lifetime marriages.

    And easily funded by people that care about Africans.


  8. I've asked libertardians why Africans have produced no industrial revolution or anything resembling a Western enlightenment period or any free market economic philosophy.

    These are the kind of people they think we would should have immigrate here to America.

    There are exceptions, but collectively speaking, Africans are stupid and their low IQ high time preference create a lot of their own problems. There are dumb people in other races, but not enough of them to make society dysfunctional -yet.

  9. milton f's comment re the Catholic Church, and Peter's final paragraph, support the hope that some black Lenin may some day be pitched into the wort. As to the notion that the Chinese will sinply re-populate the continent, never forget the origin of the Tar Baby meme.

  10. If the realities mentioned in this blog and others are correct, I fail to see any alternative to Kim Du Tois's suggestion with regards to Africa.

  11. What to do about Africa? It's too late to ignore it, as in the last two days 20 illegals from the Congo who have been detained due to suspected exposure to… Ebola.

    (Someone out there is purposely trying to bring Ebola to us. Hmmm… wonder who it is… hmmm….)

    As to the Militant Catholicism that exists in North Africa, one must remember that the Sihks started as a peace-based religion, until certain someones came along, surprisingly the same certain someones that are forcing Catholics in North Africa to be militant.

    Oh, well. Africa. It will be the death of civilization one way or another.

  12. Judging by what Peter said about education, it looks like a lot of Africa is currently set up to naturally select IQ downward. So what can be done if all the smartest folks are pushed out of the continent before they can have children?

    From things described there is no solution that doesn't involve a touch of cruelty. Either we quarantine the whole continent to leave the smart folks in and let natural selection pressure forge a stable civilization. Or someone goes in as a tyrant, and forcefully change the culture and population.

    I don't like it either but there is a question of how much the rest of the world enabling Africa's dysfunction. In the individual level we can always hope the missionaries work miracles.

  13. Peter,
    you decry the lack of what Western Civilization has accomplished, and ignore what is required to reach that level of accomplishment. The average IQ in Africa clearly shows that they will NEVER get to that point in development. NEVER. It's not possible. We can't really help them, as it's not possible for them to help themselves. Imposing a colonial system on them might be the kindest thing that could be done, but that won't happen, except by the Chinese to some extent, and that won't be beneficial to Africa, I expect.

    The biggest stumbling block, before the IQ situation, is their tribal systems. I'm wondering if that might be a genetic predisposition, as it is clearly visible in inner city blacks here in the US. The IQ situation is a devestating handicap for them, but adding tribal dynamics make it a showstopper.

    Quarantine might be needed, but with China in there, it won't happen, and I would expect them to pay a price for that. China already regrets their one-child policy. Ebola will end up devestating them, and us, as a result.

  14. Ever seen a house cat repair a broken clock? Me neither.

    What the cat does is at an exemplary level, however, is be a cat. A cat does a better job at being a cat than anything else in the world. Expecting it, or asking it, to be something other than a cat is a prescription for failure and frustration.

    There's a reason Western Civilization invented calculus, aircraft, high trust capitalist economies, penicillin, mass produced automobiles; the list is nearly endless. There's a reason why Africa did not invent those things. Wishing they had does not make it happen.

    Reality is an extremely difficult place to live; it's harsh, unforgiving, socially inconsiderate. No small wonder why humans, in large numbers sometimes, develop enough dislike of Reality to not just deny it but retreat from it.

    Western Civilization has enough manufacturing tolerance built into it in the form of economic and social surplus it that individuals, and groups of surprising size, can get away with denying Reality.

    That denial is possible only because the type of people who make up Western Civilization, especially those who spent a millenia designing and building it, had the capability to do so, and the compassion and empathy to allow the rest to enjoy those manufacturing tolerances even though they may have contributed less to creating them, and ignore the need to maintain them.

    Africa, unfortunately for Africa, has so few of those people – nearly none, in fact – that there has not been, nor will there ever be, an opportunity to emulate Western Civilization's successes.

    We don't have cats in our houses because of a desire to teach them clock repair, or how to write error-free software, but because we like cats, and no pet owner I know expects, or wants, their cat, or dog, parrot or goldfish, to be anything but what they are. That could be termed "understanding and embracing Reality."

    Why is it we can embrace Reality with Fluffy or Rover, but not Africa?

  15. So…you're saying Wakanda isn't real…?!?

    Compassion would be to observe the Prime Directive:
    Quarantine the continent completely, and deal with what's survived in a few centuries. It would also have the salutary benefit of letting the endangered species have a fighting chance.

    But if the resources are simply too precious, embrace full colonialism, except do it like was done on the American frontier:
    move the natives out, or eradicate them.
    They're the problem, not the solution.

    So either we pull out for 500 years, or bootstrap the 1% who can cope into the 21st century.

    Trying the middle ground of pleasing everyone as international busybodies is what's gotten us to where we are now, and it's multiplied the torture for them and us.

    And if you think dealing with 6th C. Muslims is bad, try dealing with 2000 B.C. tribes.

    KDT's essay nails it, and failure to recognize that reality won't win any prizes.

    Be happy he stopped short of Cpl. Hick's Solution.

    Bonus prize: ICE has apparently detained a batch of Congolese illegals attempting entry on the southern border, to see if they've brought us Ebola again.

    Good times.

  16. The Chinese have absolutely no intention of "colonizing" the African Continent. To them, the Continent is a source of minerals, oil and aphrodisiac animal parts, and the people there are just a nuisance to be treated as penal inmates. Yes, the Chinese will build power stations, roads, seaports, rail roads and airports — All for the exclusive use of the Chinese. They will not bring missionaries, build hospitals and schools. To them, raising the standards of living for the indigenous population is counter-productive. The Chinese have not lost the appetite for slavery, as have Western nations.

  17. Not too long ago, I listed to an interview with Neill Ellis in which he was posed the question, "do you think you will see a stable Africa in your lifetime" and he came to the same conclusion, and noted a lot of the same factors that you did in your article. The specific question starts around 8:45 in, but I recommend listening to the full interview as he is a very interesting individual.

    Link here: https://soundcloud.com/kommandoradio/neall-ellis-interview

  18. Theodore Dalrymple wrote, about his time in Rhodesia, that the black doctors he knew were just as good as the white doctors (Dalrymple is a physician who was working in a hospital) but that the black doctors were terribly handicapped by the obligation to provide for swarms of their relatives.

    Sub-Saharan Africa is like Afghanistan—it's basically insoluble. The "Democratic Republic of the Congo" (formerly Zaire) is bursting with resources, but between tribalism and mismanagement, those resources are not put to use.

  19. You can’t see the answer to the problem because you ARE the problem Pete. You get caught up and carried away with moralizing and virtue signalling and that in turn devolves into scolding and prattling. You wring your hands in the midst of this lethal idiocy and carnage and wail and sob “There’s nothing to be done!!!”

    Lemme help, Pastor. Do the body counts. Ignore the requirements of political correctness and your ego. Now: breathe. Are you calm?

    None of this was a problem when Whitey ran the show. In fact, he left policing of blacks to other blacks who made sure that black justice was simple swift, and utterly brutal. In those days we accepted the idea that blacks can’t govern themselves in a civilized fashion. Most blacks knew it too. That’s why black police were as harsh as they were with dissidents and rebels – they knew what would happen if guys like Nelson Mandela ever got the upper hand. That’s why a tiny handful of whites could rule a continent of blacks. Face the truth: a healthy life of servitude would be a dream come true for the vast majority of Africans today. But no matter. The Chinese will take care of this for us. And if the sanctimonious social justice warriors think The White Man’s Burden was tough on blacks, just you wait until the Yellow Man steps in to take over.

    Until we start acknowledging race reality this issue will only get worse and spread. All through history blacks were slaves, servants – or criminals. Any attempt to make Neolithic men into modern citizens is going to end in tears and blood.

  20. redneck, that wasn't an argument. The sum total of Peter's posts is basically, "white Supremacists" are right about everything, but don't listen to the people who are right, because it's mean.

  21. @Dark Enlightenment: Not at all. White supremacists are saying that race is everything – and they couldn't possibly be more wrong. The difference in DNA between white and black is so tiny as to be negligible. Genetically, all are equally capable. (This is also demonstrated by the number of top-quality individuals: all races are represented there.) It's not race so much as culture that is the problem.

    As for white "supremacy" . . . I somehow think that history demonstrates as much bias, intransigence, stupidity, ignorance and overweening arrogance among whites as it does among any and all other race(s). What's worse: the tribal-culture, illiterate, low-IQ black people the Belgians found in the Congo (to name but one example), or the white colonizers who saw nothing wrong in working millions of those black people to death, maiming and brutalizing them to maximize the economic rape of that country for the benefit of the megalomaniac King Leupold II?

  22. the genetic difference between a human and a rhino is relatively minor as well. The difference are vast however. There are occasional top quality individuals that are black, but they're rare, because to the innate characteristics of blacks towards stupidity and crime.
    Most "white supremacists" just want to be left alone and to not have the costs of diversity imposed on them. Whites in Africa are the only thing that makes life there at all possible at anything beyond a subsistence level. Whites built everything, blacks can't run things, CANNOT. it doesn't matter if it's genetic (most likely) or cultural (highly unlikely) regardless of if it's cultural or genetic, blacks are incapable of civilization at any scale anywhere in the world at the present time. Therefore jim crow or apartheid is the only way to avoid the crime, property destruction and general lowering of life that comes from the presence of blacks. Alternatively, we could just racially separate, but then all the blacks would die. You can moralize all you want, but the facts speak for themselves.

  23. But…but…but… Wakanda. If only the whites had never colonized Africa the Africans could have created Wakanda.

  24. One thing to remember about the coming ChiCom colonization of Africa.
    Yes, they're putting their own people in place to run things but, and it's a big one, they're also ruthless enough that any African that tries to pull any shit will soon find himself as an example to the other tribe members.

  25. "Genetically, all are equally capable."

    Peter, this is demonstrably untrue. Yes, there are the few who have a higher IQ, but they are very rare. That is true even here in the US, after many years of genetic mixing with other races to some extent, and the culture and schooling they live with.

    There is a caveat to referencing blacks in the US on this subject. The question is whether intelligence was deselected in the choosing of slaves for the North America and Carribean slave trade. I don't recall ever seeing anything historical on the subject, but this could have a bearing on it in either direction of IQ level.

  26. The world is way crueler than you know. Ringo nailed it in his zombie books although the first time I saw it it was the white plague by Frank Herbert. We've reached the point where a government or just about anybody can create a very specific plague and extenguish hundreds of millions of people. The African could literally vanish overnight. And so might any of us.

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