The following three statements are true:
- People prefer to have a job done by locals incompetently than by outsiders competently
- Economic growth and foreign-direct investment depend on competent basic services, such as security
- Intelligence, along with economic system, are the pest predictors for the social competence of a country
These three facts mean we only need to look at a table of comparative national intelligence. The results are unsurprising to those who know about the Afro-Islamic Gap: intelligence scores in Africa are two standard deviations below those in the west.
The Long War for Africa and Islam
Even assuming that nutritional and educational levels in sub-Saharan Africa could be brought up to Western standards immediately, there still would be a long lag until sub-Saharan intelligence reaches western levels and a difference may survive even then. It is reasonable to expect that social services, such as security, would be provided incompetently by the resulting local governments.
The obvious solution is to use military-industrial-complex-enabled uniformed service to help provide security, but the drawbacks of these are obvious. Adrian Martin of Politics and Soccer outlined just a few, in including “dependency, blowback, corruption, weaponization, and non-scalability.”
To summarize: the low national intelligence of sub-Saharan African nations implies that outside provides of social services will be needed, but history teaches us that outside providers of social services causes problems.
The way forward: Connecting sub-Saharan Africa to the global economy, providing a minimum level of civilization in order to end Africa’s export of disease and misery to the rest of the world, is not an easy task. Leaving the job to the locals is genocidally wrong-headed. The most likely future is a form of Asian resource imperialism supported by American force. The question then becomes how heavy the world’s footprint should be. Too light, and the 2nd half of the twentieth century just repeats,l over and over and over. Too heavy, and sub-Saharan Africa returns to colonialism.
In other words, “too light” and nothing changes, “too heavy” is better than now, and “just right” might actually shrink the gap!
The ex-Sherrif and the Cavalry
The best Western I have ever seen, Seven Men from Now could easily be set in contemporary Anbar Province, Iraq. A former sherrif hunts down the seven men who killed his wife in a hold-up amidst a backdrop of tribal unrest, federal patrols, and general lawlessness. A favorite of French existentialists (according to the commentary), Seven Men from Now throws you into action and doesn’t let up. Unimaginably good.
No one comes back from the KMT…
A wildly misnamed drama, Story of a Prostitute is a Japanese version of Catch 22 set in Manchuko. Actually the story about a philosophical ex-officer who is proudly Japanese but disenchanted with the war effort, the film follows him from being a disrespected personal assistant, to KMT captive, to finally increasingly lost in CYA over his would-be-court-martial. So much is right with the movie that with time it becomes increasingly easy to overlook the overacting of the title character.
Making it up as they go along
A sad parody of what it want was, Twin Peaks continues its march into oblivion with the fourh desk of season two. The Laura Palmer now solved and forgotten, elements and characters who once helped move the story forward now prance aimlessly to no purpose or effect. One wonders if the cast and crew was as uncomfortable with what the series had become as they filmed it as I am watching it.
Videos of Choice
Think of your favorite music video. Odds are it was directed by Spike Jonze. From the Christopher Walken epic “Weapon of Choice” to the 1970s send-up “Sabotage,” to “Praise You” (VH1’s Best Music Video Ever), each of these three-minute works deserves to be watched in full DVD quality. A pretty good 20 minute documentary about Houston bull riding teenages is also included, for reasons which are not entirely clear.
Who’s the best dancer?
Memento Mori (previously reviewed) without anything that made it special, Wishing Stairs revisits the theme of supernatural-revenge-at-a-girls-school but opts for Japanese-style New Wave Horror instead of the complicated psychological/romantic plot of the previous film. The director’s previous film was a better psychological horror, and both Ringu and Ju-On are better new wave horrors. Not terrible, but not particularly worth watching.