Sunday, May 15, 2011
By Daniel Greenfield
Two years ago the left launched a major assault on Haliburton over its mishandling of two sexual assault cases by or against its civilian contractors. Al Franken successfully introduced a bill to bar defense contracts from going to companies who behave likewise. Left wing media boasted that they were the defenders of rape victims, while Republicans support rape.
Now for the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, it's been revealed that over a 1,000 female volunteers have been raped in the last decade. Numbers that are positively 9/11 in scope. And that the idealistic Peace Corps leadership acted like the evil Haliburton leadership, blaming the victims and discouraging them from seeking legal action. There are no cries that Democrats support rape. No bills to defund the Corps, that awkward legacy of New Frontierism. This time it's Republicans like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen stepping up to demand accountability. And it's the Democrats who are standing in the way.
Similar parallel stories involve female activists who head to the Palestinian Authority to combat Zionism, and the assault on Lara Logan in the middle of what was billed as a democracy celebration. Each time the assault was minimized, until the woman in question decided to speak out.
It's an old story about the naivete of Western liberals who imagine that the Third World is somehow better than because it is less materialistic, finding themselves in cultures where the inequality of women is a given, meeting a man's eyes is considered a sexual invitation, and the only justice system that matters is kinship based. Crimes are acted on depending on family influence. And Westerners in Africa or the Middle East have no family there. Which means crimes against them can go unpunished if no pressure is applied.
The Peace Corps' coverup of over a 1,000 assaults is disturbing, but also ideologically necessary. Its function depends on its image. To admit that over a thousand of its idealistic volunteers get raped in the countries they are coming to help, might make Americans think that those countries aren't worth helping. That maybe they aren't noble souls who happen to lack proper irrigation and classrooms, but that they lack those things because there is nothing noble about their cultural backwardness.
Most liberals would concede that a European man ten centuries ago was not spiritually nobler than a man today, just because he was part of a less technologically advanced culture. But then why insist that the people of Benin or Bangladesh are better than us, because they lack fast food and GPS satellites. The Peace Corps was built on the moral and physical fetishization of the exotic. The orientalism of a liberalism that claims to be progressive, yet worships at the altar of reactionary cultures.
In his memoir, Obama described watching his mother get lost in a showing of Black Orpheus, and its fetishization of black people, and the accompanying realization that its effect on the sixteen year old Ann Dunham is what had brought her to the man who would become his father. "I suddenly realised that the depiction of the childlike blacks I was now seeing on the screen... was what my mother had carried with her to Hawaii all those years before, a reflection of the simple fantasies that had been forbidden to a white, middle-class girl from Kansas, the promise of another life: warm, sensual, exotic, different."
But Dunham didn't find a warm, exotic and sensual life with Barack Obama Sr, she found a serial philanderer, bigamist and alcoholic. And so many other girls who joined the Peace Corps hoping to find a meaningful life waiting for them, have discovered much worse. Liberalism fosters a discontent with civilization, but what is waiting outside civilization is far worse. The Corps knows its volunteers and plays on their dreams, while hiding the reality of what is awaiting them. It is a big world out there and most of it does not value tolerance or equality. Going out there is an adventure, but the further you travel from lands governed by Western values, the more dangerous it becomes.
Western liberal activists pay tribute to the spiritual power of the Third World, but when they discover the atrocities and abuses underneath try to bring it in line with Western values. Whether it's Western countries trying to bring democracy to the Muslim world or Kate Puzey, a Peace Corps volunteer, murdered after she got a Benin local dismissed for raping native schoolgirls in a country where sexual assault rates hover around the 50 percent mark, the pattern is the same as Westerners discover that there isn't a single abuser in the form of a dictator or a rapist, but that the problem is buried in the culture.
The unwillingness of liberal activists to honestly confront the cultural problems of the Third World leaves them with nothing but charity tourism, Microfinance, Peace Corps, One Laptop Per Child, Buy-a-Village-a-Goat, Change Advocacy Training and all the usual efforts of pouring money down a great big hole.
Sure you can buy a village its own goat, but it might be better to ask why the village is so short of goats. You can send Western volunteers to build classrooms, but is there really any part of the world where the locals aren't capable of constructing them? And you can send off American girls to try and empower women in a culture where they are a commodity and their murderers often go unpunished. A culture they can't even begin to relate to, because its assumptions about human worth and liberty are at odds with their own.
It's not about poverty, lack of resources or technology. If it were, then we would be sending volunteers to build classrooms for the Japanese. But the Asian countries dramatically bootstrapped themselves in a short time to become our technological and economic equals. Japan took off like a rocket despite its resource shortages and former isolationism. China is breathing down our necks, even though it had the same population growth issues that are used as an excuse for Third World debility, and was colonized, invaded and turned into a Communist dictatorship.
Liberal geopolitical narratives assign responsibility for Third World debility to external factors. A country isn't poor because of its culture, but because of colonialism, dictators supported by the West, labor exploitation by Western companies, World Bank debts, Global Warming and that all time champion excuse, because people living in First World societies "just don't care enough" to help them. While societies may fail on occasion for external reasons, they go on failing for internal ones.
A culture has to want to change. It has to reward achievement and transcend the wishful thinking that prevents so many societies from moving forward. Most of the places where the Peace Corps sends its volunteers don't want to change. They're happy the way they are. Oh they would like aid money, cars and Coca Cola. They'll listen to Hip Hop and wear Lakers jerseys. But they won't stop keeping most of their population illiterate, aborting baby girls or maintaining a pseudo-feudalism in which most of the important enterprises are in the hands of the ruling family and their friends.
The issues are not racial. They never were. Go back far enough and you'll find that our ancestors didn't behave much better. That our societies don't behave that way is a testament to their cultural vitality. The rights we enjoy today didn't spring to life overnight, they are the outgrowth of cultures which remained committed to self-improvement through self-examination. And who accordingly evolved beyond the rule of power and toward the rule of law.
Law is more than words in a book, it is the absolute application of principles to human affairs. Without the law of principles, there is only the law of power and no individual rights or freedoms. Which ends any prospect of equality. The treatment of foreigners in such a society depends on how much fear there is of their country and how much benefit is derived from their presence. That risk/reward formula is the closest thing to code protecting them. If the rulers and elders officially extend their protection, making it clear that a crime against volunteers or tourists is a crime against them, some degree of safety is assured. When government authority breaks down, as it did in the "democracy protests", the people act out their democratic wishes. Lara Logan was a victim of this brand of Arab Democracy.
Even when the authorities do protect foreigners, they are still considered inferiors, doubly so if they are women. Their attackers restrained not by any moral code, which rarely protects outsiders, but by practical considerations. Can they do this and get away with it. The foreigners don't live here. Their women are unchaperoned and friendly. Therefore they don't have any rights worth respecting. Horrible things happen and and Western diplomats help the native authorities cover them up, because no one wants an incident on their hands.
The real burden of guilt falls on the liberal fetishization of the exotic, their distaste for their own culture and their obsessive cultural exogamy. That is how we ended up with Obama. And it's also how we ended up with a selective multiculturalism that damns native cultures and promotes foreign ones.
The assaults experienced by Peace Corps volunteers are no longer limited to women who travel abroad. With aggressive Third World migration, the ratios are even worse in Europe. In Oslo a study showed that two of three rapists were non-Western immigrants. Malmo's huge immigrant population has turned it into one of the rape capitals of Europe. In Denmark, the number is closer to three out of four. In Sweden it hovers around 85 percent. And Third World immigration will bring those same statistics to America as well.
As bad as the 1,000 Peace Corps rapes are-- the number of such incidents at home committed by immigrants from non-law abiding cultures, including Islam, is certainly far worse. Numbers like these are a wake up call of the cost of liberal orientalism. The consequences of what happens when a dominant ideology turns its back its own culture and embraces barbaric cultures instead. Only by recognizing how far we have come, can we understand the need to protect ourselves from those still left behind in the dark ages.