Wednesday, December 31, 2008

MY SECOND RESPONSE TO THE RESPONSE OF THIS LETTER: basically the recipient just saw western education as brain-washing and narrow

I wrote back:

Dude, thanks for taking the time to respond to my concerns.  It is not easy to do, with someone you care about, and who is a great friend, but that is precisely why I wrote you.  A couple quick points to your points.  

1.  I agree that western educated people, The West, whatever you want to call it, is bias.  But it's the only system, that I know of, that has institutional mechanisms, to foster the accountability and transparency you talk of.  It has the possibility to correct itself, though not perfect, it is at least trying to check power.  All significant changes, 40 hour work week, end of slavery, environmental movements, have all been a result of popular struggle and these mechanisms within these countries.  There is at play, constantly, a dynamic interplay between people and their respective governments in the West.  This does not exist in other countries that have no checks on their power.    

I have seen far to many people say, including the Chinese, that the US does what it convenient to it, and then preaches to others, especially when it comes to human rights.  But the West did not change magically, they change because the people within these countries are powerful and influence their government to change.  The change is a result of massive struggle; the civil war in America, two World Wars in Europe, the French revolution, and on and on.  

Is there no difference between Russia, China, Iran, the gulf states with  Europe, US, Latin America, India?    

I agree, on an international scale, there will be little difference.  Because there is no world government, or police, much of international affairs boils down to Realism.  Power is more naked, but on internal levels, the civilization and the quality of life provided by the West is without precedent in human history.  That is why the WTO was created and the UN, to buffer the Realism that takes place when there is no authority.  In their own ways, it makes states accountable on a global scale.  I think you confuse the International effects of the West, and see that as an indictment of everything they are about.  But it's more a failing of the world system.  Don't extrapolate the realism demanded by the international sphere, into seeing all countries as the same, and it all being about power. 

2.  The next thing is your distrust of "rational" thinking based on data and studies.  Of course they can be flawed.  But the logical conclusion of your statement becomes anti-research, anti-science.  The best way is still to cite sources and then challenge those sources.  That takes effort, and investigation, but if we don't commit ourselves to this process, than we can never be sure of the truth.  How to you convince anyone then?  It will all boil down to he said, she said, I heard, and I saw, but that is just your subjective experience.  I am repeating myself, again, but it bears repeating because the scientific method is the BASIS of the Enlightenment and is what took us from Darkness to Light.  It separated the Church from the State and was what was used to challenge traditional hierarchies.  If you give up on this, then you are take a huge step back.    

3.  I think if you come out of this focusing on the skills and contacts you can get from this experience. it'll be worth it.  Focus on the writing, and focus on getting to know interesting people.  You will, with your alumni network, eventually, be able to recruit top talent to your organization, and get a sense of where they come, and what they study.  There is an aspect of bullshit to what you study in Graduate School, but its so much more than just the studies.  You understand a bit more the complexities of making decisions.  It is hard to rule the world.  So much of the "failings" that hurt you, are a result of the difficulty of running a fair and just world.  Free trade economics was to counteract the corrupt government monopolies that slowed down the 70s.  Ideologies and theories innovate and then they stagnate, and then new ideas are needed.  Free trade and liberalization has done loads for the world, but then it over-shot, and now new thinking is needed.  And that is what is being done.  It is easy to be critical, but much harder to innovate.    

Enjoy your remaining time at University and study your ass off.  You will have the rest of your life for work and screaming at your peons on your mobile, at all hours of the day.  And, please, sleep around and make some white girls happy with your brown love.

Will be in touch with everything else.  Be positive and don't let the white man get you down.    

Much Love,


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