From the Badger Herald archives

The Ku Klux Klan is an inferior breed, as far as I’m concerned. Nevertheless, they raised a germ of a good point recently when they protested the impending takeover of Rhodesia by the native black hordes.

For the only way Black Africa has been able to reach the twentieth century, in terms of cultural development, has been through the efforts of White Europeans who once administered that sprawling, jungle-choked continent. Without them what few vestiges of advanced civilization there are simply would not exist.

No one can say Africa’s relationship with Western society has been an entirely happy one. But neither can one say black Africans have been made worse off for the contacts, unless one has a romantic attachment to drum-beating primitivism or yearns for the stone-age days.

For blacks to claim that the colonial relationship was a one-way street, favoring Europe exclusively, is idle nonsense. In fact, the question arises whether their African empires cost Europeans more than values received. Certainly the troops and colonial government expenses did not always justify the holding of a myriad of hot and dirty jungle kingdoms.

Except for the big money-gainers like India, European powers often paid out more than they took in. They hold to obscure patches on maps for on silly, sentimental, chauvinistic reasons. (Kaiser Billy had to have his imperial baubles, too.)

Marxists assert that global colonialism rescued capitalism from an imminent Collapse. Crap. The system would have puttered along without these backwashes, although access to their resources may have advanced general prosperity in degree.

But so what? Does a mountain of copper “belong” to a pack of half-dressed savages whose only reaction to a steam turbine might have been to worship it as some sort of wondrous god.

As Africans watched whites mine the resources of their continent, (which had a relative value of $24-worth of beads to their own culture), they reaped whatever incidental gains fell to them in the process.

Europeans took on the task of erecting industry, taming the land, and educating a segment of the native populace to help run things. Whatever leadership, law, and organization exist in these lands is very much the legacy of the white imperialists.

Of course, whites could and did prove to be just as barbaric as the people they subdued. Many incidents of plunder and massacre took place-factors which arise when any superior culture meets a significantly backwards one.

Nevertheless, black Africans are better off for the colonial experience, rought though it may have been at times. Relatively benign European administrators substituted for and supressed the cruel savaged and tribalistic in-fighting that held down continent for centuries.

Which brings us to southern Africa. For chauvinistic black chieftains to beat their ideological drums for “majority rule” is really somewhat ludicrous, when much of the rest of Africa is run by despotic black oligarchies less benign than the white regimes they seek to evict.

The questions remains, can black Africans at this time rule themselves? Can they efficiently run a modern political-economic system without white assistance and oversight? The answers are probably not.

But this is not to say they should be barred from trying. For it is an unavoidable fact of political life that an overwhelming majority cannot be held down to kept in childlike subservience for too long. Not when they are as proud and as numerous as the African blacks.

For better or worse Africa is theirs. They have been given the tools (and weapons) with which to control their own destiny. It is for them to find their own way toward modernity, which they will one day reach.

The Euro-African experience has worked to the advantage of both cultures. Yet the largest gain has clearly been to the native cultures. That fact is, however, injurious to their pride, and it is this pride which compels them to seek exclusive control over their own continent.

This event can hardly be forestalled much longer, despite the admitted superiority and relative beneficence of the minority white regimes. Nor, on reflection, should it be.