Nightcap

  1. VS Naipaul and the Third Worlders Fred Siegel, City Journal
  2. Book of Genesis: Islam versus Christianity Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution
  3. Brexit forever Helen Thompson, History Today
  4. What happened to the “Factory of West Africa”? Emiliano Travieso, Decompressing History

Nightcap

  1. Ethnicity and Philosophy Nick Nielsen, Grand Strategy Annex
  2. Revisiting the Dyson Sphere Caleb Scharf, Life, Unbounded
  3. Reading VS Naipaul Branko Milanovic, globalinequality
  4. Deep Learning and Abstract Orders Federico Sosa Valle, NOL

Nightcap

  1. A review of Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival Jeffrey Folks, Modern Age
  2. Christians in Egypt are under attack…again Farid Farid, the Atlantic
  3. Mormons fight to be called by their full name Bruce Clark, Erasmus
  4. A Kazakh scam (post-socialism) Robert Drury, London Review of Books

Nightcap

  1. The Tlatelolco massacre of 1968 Lorna Scott Fox, Times Literary Supplement
  2. Western Civilization “not welcome” in Australia Bella d’Abrera, Quillette
  3. Umber: The color of debauchery Kelly Grovier, BBC
  4. An interview with VS Naipaul Patrick Marnham, Literary Review

Naipaul (RIP) and the Left

The most interesting reflection on V.S. Naipaul, the Nobel Prize winner who died earlier this week, comes from Slate, a low-brow leftist publication that I sometimes peruse for book reviews. Naipaul, a Trinidadian, became loathed on the left for daring to say “what the whites want to say but dare not.”

The fact that Slate‘s author tries his hardest to piss on Naipaul’s grave is not what’s interesting about the piece, though. What’s interesting is what Naipaul’s wife, a Pakistani national and former journalist, has to say about Pakistan:

[…] she smiled and asked if I knew what Pakistan needed. I informed her that I did not. “A dictator,” she replied. At this her husband laughed.

“I think they have tried that,” I said, doing my best to stay stoic.

“No, no, a very brutal dictator,” she answered. I told her they had tried that, too. “No, no,” she answered again. Only when a real dictator came in and killed the religious people in the country, and enough of them that the streets would “run with blood,” could Pakistan be reborn. It was as if she was parodying a gross caricature of Naipaul’s worst views—and also misunderstanding his pessimism about the ability of colonial societies to reinvent themselves, even through violence—but he smiled with delight as she spoke.

“That’s so American of you,” she then blurted out, before I had said anything. My face, while she had been talking, must have taken on a look of shock or disgust. “You tell a nice young American boy like yourself that a country needs a brutal dictator and they get a moralistic or concerned look on their face, as if every country is ready for a democracy. They aren’t.”

Damn. This testy exchange highlights well what the developing world is facing, intellectually. Religious conservatives heavily populate developing countries. Liberals, on the left and on the right, in developing countries are miniscule in number, and most of them prefer, or were forced, to live in exile. Liberty is their highest priority, but the highest priority of Western elites, whose support developing world liberals’ desperately need, is democracy, which empowers a populace that cares not for freedom.

So what you get in the developing world is two kinds of autocracies: geopolitically important autocracies (like Pakistan), and geopolitically unimportant autocracies (think of sub-Saharan Africa).

That Naipaul and his wife had the balls to say this, for years, is a testament to the magnificence of human freedom; that Leftists have loathed Naipaul for years because he had pointed this out is a bitter reminder of why I left the Left in the first place.

By the way, here is Naipaul writing about the GOP for the New Yorker in 1984. And here is my actual favorite piece about Naipaul.