Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Real Problem in Darfur Is Moral

The attempt to attribute the causes of violence in Darfur to climate change in Stephan Faris' Atlantic Monthly article, The Real Roots of Darfur, is only useful by way of providing some context for a much larger problem. The real problem in Darfur and in much of Africa is two-fold and can also be applied by extension to much of the developing world. At present the West does not have a comprehensive vision for the industrialization and moral education of third world populations let alone itself. Without both industrialization and moral education, the third world is easily held hostage to a Darwinian dog-eat-dog survival of the fittest ethos. Education is held up as a kind of catch-all solution for the amelioration of many social issues but education without moral education, as in providing intellectual tools for making good decisions regarding human appetites, leaves human beings at the mercy of human nature. The notion that "nature is something that we must rise above," in the famous words of Katherine Hepburn to Humphrey Bogart in the movie, The African Queen is sorely lacking in the current humanistic vision of a sexually unrestricted and technically educated population that kills its young and prioritizes the ghastly linear economics of scarcity, all the while bowing down to the great "one size fits all" cause of everything: global warming.

Clearly, capitalism provides a whole series of hit or miss opportunities within the developing world but for truly hopeless situations like Darfur, a different vision is called for. At present the West is bedeviled by the degradation of industrialization that has come about due to the environmental movement, which despite its good intentions, has made industrialization a dirty word. Most environmentalists live in highly industrialized countries and reap the benefits of a civilization that they collectively admonish. Perhaps it is time for a green vision of industrialization that is not tied to the retrograde moral ideas of communism, population reduction and the decoupling of moral cause and effect within social systems but rather based on new business dynamics related to population growth, moral social values, industrialization and common sense ecological values. One wonders what such a vision might look like.

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