Civilized, Barbarians, Savages (Part 1)
A civilizationor culture is defined as a set of customs, traditions, ethics, values,language, music, dance, gastronomy, clothing, religion, and social andpolitical organization of a people, ethnic group, tribe, or nation.
British scholars of the 19th century classified the peoples and races as Civilized, Barbarians and Savages, based on their respective “evolutions.” Such classification was based primarily on three factors:
Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution;
the Industrial Revolution in the beginning of industrial capitalism; and
the Reformation of the Catholic Church, the schism from which Protestantism arose.
False premises that led to false conclusions.
Such a classification made the field fertile for the appearance of a Capitalist/Protestant ethic, which would produce today’s capitalist system.
The Theory of Evolution (not a science, but a theory) postulates that only the most capable, among the various species of living organisms, survives and evolves. Darwin labeled his theory Survival of the Fittest. This competition for survival and evolution would be in genetic, biological, adaptive and/or mutative terms, in relation to the environment from which they would have evolved and where they would live. Human beings have been labeled Homo Sapiens, representatives of the supposedly most evolved species–the most apt. The civilized, barbaric and savages represented an attempt to hierarchize Homo Sapiens.
To speak of capitalist ethics is to incur a contradiction in terms as capitalism does not have an ethic, but a single overriding value: profits. On the other hand, a Protestant ethics is based on the Old Testament of the Bible and on the doctrine of Martin Luther that God, a supposedly elderly, male, white entity, distributes His blessings in the form of material wealth, power, good life to those most deserving and for whom He feels greater affection. The subtext is that the poor are poor because they are sinners. And Jesus, the messiah son of that God, was a white Jew. The pieces fit together historically.
- In the Civilized category would be the European, white and Christian colonial empires, with Anglo-Saxons being the civilized par excellence.
- Labeled as Barbarians would be Asians (yellow skinned, in their classification), nomadic peoples, Arabs and North Africans, Eskimos, all non-Christians (pagans), as well as all dark-skinned races that were not in the category of savages, such as the Indians (from India).
- Finally, the Savages would be the inhabitants of black Africa, the Indians of the American continent, the so-called primitives of the Pacific Islands: Aborigines, Maori, Polynesians, Melanesians, Micronesians, etc., and cannibals.
The only two other civilizations respected by this novel Western Civilization were the Greek and the Roman, their progenitors–not very civilized to be sure, built and sustained by wars, conquests and slavery.
There were also the Slaves, captured like animals from the Savage group, who in the 19th century came predominantly from the native peoples of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. Christians believed that these savages, like animals, did not have a soul. Hence the legality and morality of their objectification by Christians who sold them as merchandise. Arabs also exploited the slave trade, a major source of investment/profits.
A corollary of such doctrines and beliefs were attempts to ‘civilize’ barbarians and savages through Christian missions that would take European religious organizations to evangelize the African, American and Asian continents, as well as the Pacific Islands. Such missions gave rise to genocides and exterminations of nations and native peoples who refused to be ‘evangelized’ and ‘civilized’. Spain (Corona de Castilla) is an extreme example of this in South and Central America where its conquistadores decimated the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations among others. The religious missions exist and persist today, albeit in derisory numbers and without much influence and credibility.
From the First to the Third World
The 20th century witnessed a change in the English classification, with the advent of Communism in Eastern Europe. The conceptualization of the divisions was then redefined as First World, Second World and Third World.
- Within the First World, were grouped the most affluent capitalist societies that were economically, politically and/or militarily dominant, and whose citizens were Jewish-Christians of white color.
- As Second World, were labeled all those countries that adopted the Communist/Marxist-atheist ideology/economy.
- And the Third World was left with everybody else: poor, destitute, barbarians, savages, all people of color, etc.; the majority of earth’s population.
God remains a white entity who rewards material wealth, and civilized Anglo Saxons and Judeo-Christians remain His chosen people.
After WWII, the divisions were renamed by the International Monetary Fund as Developed, Developing and Underdeveloped countries (IMF country classification.pdf). These labels remain in effect with the prejudices intact in the world’s deep culture/structure.
In this new characterization, all non-economic considerations were then discarded. Japan and the Soviet Union, for example, were accepted into the exclusive Developed Club of the First Civilized World, although the Japanese were Eastern, non-Christian and non-white, and the Soviets were Communists and atheists.
The North American empire claimed world leadership from the British empire and the Capitalist/Protestant ethics, with Anglo-Saxons always at the helm, acquired an irresistible and unstoppable momentum, with science and technology, the planet’s riches and resources becoming servants of the lords of capital.
The outcome of WWII was the determining factor for the definitive establishment of the capitalist market economy globally. It overcame Socialism/Communism and today stands above all the governments of the planet whose armed forces, police, and intelligence services are manipulated and used against anyone and everything that dares to challenge the Free Market Capitalist Economy whose foundation are the banks, central banks, financial institutions, hedge funds, and so on. A Mafia–by definition–getting what they need/want through lethal force, sanctions, Machiavellic manipulations, bullying, threats, and so forth.
End Part 1
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.