I read a 'Life article' on Haiti, and a corresponding thread on Fark. The story was as dispiriting as you might expect, but it's some of the thread comments that really caught my eye.
"You can't bring civilization, clean water, and western capitalism for 6 billion people. There have always been inequalities, and if you want to trade spaces with a stricken Haitian well, throw your hat into the rink. If not? Then quitcher biatchin.
/This is the system we grew up with, and the system you vote for. Don't like it? Want to be a bleeding heart? Fine, donate your mini fortune to buy cases of water for Haiti."
<span style="font-weight:bold;">Our how about they primarily have themselves to blame. Their government is corrupt beyond belief. Their economy is constantly undermined by back room deals, payoffs, and embezzlement. Instead of controlling the money in their own country, and investing it in things like infrastructure and health care, the money just ends up in the hands of criminals.
So, why am I supposed to give a rats ass about them? Because they're human?
Poor black people who breed for more than they can ever possibly feed and adequately house even in the best of times, for them. Even with all the help they get it's still no where enough to help their misery.
Sorry bad shiat happened to them.
What struck me here was not so much the callousness of these statements as the fact these statements are obviously meant to be conscious displays of callousness, callousness as a defensive weapon. And what were these Fark posters defending themselves from? Was anyone else on the thread openly denouncing the greed and materialism of the Yankees, the West, the White Man?
No, as you can see for yourself, http://www.fark.com/cgi/comments.pl?IDLink=5768850&startid=64939534; the 'let them eat dirt' posters were only reacting to statements of sorrow and dismay at what the people of Haiti were suffering through. They assumed out of hand that any suggestion that it was wrong for third-world people to suffer this way was necessarily to claim that our own prosperity is wrong, and so they responded with defensive aggression.
This sensitivity is very common among small-fish citizens of big-fish nations. It may seem easy to accept being born into a rich and powerful society as just good luck, but it's actually very hard, not in spite of our material comforts but because of them. One who has been born here into the modern United States, on gone on to invest in our institutions and make his life here; house car job and the rest, needs to believe that his relative fortune is cosmically deserved, and cannot accept that he could have just as easily (more easily in fact) been born into a place where the precise level of talent and intelligence he has now would leave him starved naked and dead.