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4.0 out of 5 stars How The West Saw The Rest, 10 April 2010
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This review is from: The Lords of Human Kind: European attitudes to the outside world in the imperial age (Pelican) (Paperback)
V.G.Kiernan's 1969 publication "The Lords of Human Kind" was surely one of the first surveys of European attitudes to the non-European world. The book starts with an introduction that takes the reader from the dawn of recorded history to the point where the survey proper starts, roughly the period of the Napoleonic Wars. Separate sections cover the main geographic areas (1) India; (2) the rest of Asia; (3) the Islamic world; (4) the Far East; (5) Africa; (6) the South Seas; and (7) Latin America. The book concludes by re-capping the main points and identifying the main themes of more than a century of European perceptions of the world outside.

The book isn't overly structured beyond the geographic divisions; the content consists of a cornucopia of personal observations and anecdotes from a wide range of people from travellers, colonial officials, novelists, historians, politicians, businessmen and explorers. This is combined Kiernan's account of the history of the time and place, allowing the reader to put the perceptions into context.

Kiernan himself was a Marxist historian, who spent time teaching in India and Pakistan so would seem well qualified to carry out the survey without any chauvinism or partiality to the West. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Kiernan seems to view societies as grouped together, almost in different leagues. Feudal societies, where religion has an overtly public as well as private role, seem to be in the second division. Industrial and Capitalists societies appear to be in the first; having thrown off the blinkers of superstition they presumably await promotion to the premier league of Marxist utopias?

This Marxist condescension certainly irritated me, and on occasions can be quite crude, but it would be churlish to let it detract from the vast range of material Kiernan quotes from. On the plus side, some of his observations, and his nose for European hypocrisy, can be quite sharp and often amusing. Those quoted from give an endlessly fascinating insight into the European view of the non-European world straight from the horses mouth, and no doubt the endnotes could provide a fruitful source for further reading. An interesting read.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Apr 2010 23:11:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2010 22:51:29 BDT
When speaking from a 20/21'st Century viewpoint, many find it easy to ridicule the ideals of our Victorian forefathers. It should be remembered however, that in their time these deep rooted Bible based attitudes were far more firmly believed/accepted by the general population than liberal/socialism, racial equality etc..... are in today's world, because they had successfully underpinned a socially stable and vigorously expanding European World Order for centuries. Rather than from backwardness and bigotry, it was deep concern over the grave destablizing effects Darwinism/Marxism would inevitably have, which inspired the God-fearing Victorian political/religious leaders to reject these revolutionary 'new ideologies', which we today so happily accept as unchallengable orthodox truth.

Before you repeat the failings of past generations in supporting 'racial othodoxies' based upon science now known to be obsolete Mr Wood, I suggest you view Darwin's Dangerous Idea [DVD]. In particular Episode 2:- Born Equal? This excellent and highly informative programme is written and presented by Andrew Marr, a TV 'insider' whose egalitarian liberal/socialist credentials are impeccable. Co-produced by the Open University (itself a bastion of egalitarianist orthodoxy), the programme begins with a 15/20min ritual denounciation of Nazi eugenics; but then moves on to introduce a Nazi concentration camp survivor Rabbi Joseph Eckstein, who established 'Dor Yeshorim', a New York charity dedicated to the erradication of genetic diseases within the Jewish community". In less than thirty years, this sensitively run but highly efficent organisation has all but erradicated Tay Sachs desease, a ghastly genetic curse which had blighted Brooklin's Jewish community for generations.

Following this splendid example of how to use genetic research for the betterment of all, Andrew Marr then introduces Dr Bruce T Lahn; a geneticist who fled his Chinese homeland for America following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacres. On 16'th June 2006 Dr Lahn now of University of Chicago, like Darwin before him shocked the world; in announcing that he had discovered the gene varient's ASPM & MCPH 1, which bless their bearers with 'bigger and smarter brains'. A horrified commentator said of this momentous discovery that it's:- "the moment the anti-racists and egalitarians have been dreading!" Why? Because the MCPH 1 gene is now indisputably known to have originated in Europe 'only' some 225 generations (approx 6,000yrs) ago, and although now widespread amongst those of European descent, is far rarer in non-Europeans, being almost totally absent from the sub-Saharan African gene pool. Thus modern scientific research now incontrovertibly links intelligence levels to racial inheritance. You can obviously verify the scientific detail on numerous websites such as Wikipedia, which contain numerous articles including some by Bruce Lahn himself.

In the face of such facts Mr Wood, my question to you is simple; would you follow the Catholic Inquisition, Victorian Church and Nazi/Bolshevik precedents by ignoring and/or suppressing such politically volatile knowledge, thus attempting to prop up now scientifically obsolete theories of 'racial equality', or would you follow the guiding light of Rabbi Eckstein; accept the truth of racial difference/disadvantage but use this wisdom to aid/raise those presently afflicted?

To conclude, I should also like to point out the incredible 'coincidence' in the time scale of this genetic discovery. The traditional Biblical date of Adam's 'creation' is 6,000yrs ago; this gene first appears within European humanity 6,000yrs ago; while the original Sumerian legends say the God's first made 'thinking Man' at about that time, by implanting 'free-will/reason' within a more primitive but related species. Could it be that the message left us by our first ancestors was true all along, but became mythologized and missunderstood by their descendants as the millenia passed???

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2012 22:07:51 GMT
prakriti says:
Your comments have nothing to do with Mr Wood's review of this book. I therefore suggest you take your racial supremacy fantasies elsewhere, Mr Bradbury.
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