Max Beauvoir, RIP

The man who was arguably Haiti’s religious leader has passed away.  His story is fascinating:

Max Beauvoir was a middle-aged businessman with little interest in the occult. The son of a doctor and a scientist himself, he boasted degrees from schools in New York and Paris and a burgeoning career as a biochemist in the U.S. He was not the kind of man who went about seeking spiritual encounters.

So no one was more shocked than he was when his nonagenarian grandfather, lying on his deathbed in Haiti surrounded by more than a dozen descendants, lifted a single, unsteady finger and pointed it at Beauvoir.

”Grandfather turned to me and said, ‘You will carry on the tradition,’” Beauvoir recalled in 1983, 10 years after the moment that changed his life. “It was not the sort of thing you could refuse.”

“The tradition” was voodoo…

By the way, when people refer to “voodoo economics” it is a sign of how selective a lot of our political correctness still is.  Would anyone dream of criticizing a political candidate for his or her “[fill in the blank with some other historically persecuted religion] economics”?

And on the substance of the matter, voodoo is arguably less prone to “free lunch thinking” than say, many Protestant forms of Christianity.  It’s just an easier target because most people don’t know much about it and they see like-minded others taking a poke at it.  The believers and practitioners of the religion seem remarkably distant, but they are not.  They are real people, and they take their beliefs seriously.  Why should we turn the name of their religion into an insulting epithet?

It’s worth reflecting on this usage any time you wonder how some of the “other people out there” still can say racist things.

Comments

One of the best and most original observations I've read in a while. Shout it from the rooftops!

great post, reminds me that Democrats are people too

Well, if Voodoo is indeed chemically robbing people of free will, I think they deserve the epithet.

There is a strong tendency among the cognoscenti to demean other people's religions these days. Referring to God as a Sky Fairy for instance. Which is, surely, homophobic, but no matter. In the past people generally respected each other's mainstream religions, even if they did not share them. The Left is not as civilized or as caring as they would like to think.

Anyway, even if we accepted that all religions are absurd, there are variations in absurdity. Whatever else you can say about Judaism (and because of political correctness, people say very little indeed - when was the last time you saw a Rabbi guilty of child sexual abuse on TV?) it is the work of a lot of very intelligent men over 2,000 or so years. Even if they started with a fatuous basis for a religion, they have built something of it. The same with the Catholics. That deserves respect.

Voodoo? Not so much. Not the sort of religion you would go to for moral guidance on the rights and wrongs of transplanting organs from pigs to humans I guess. Apart from the chemical theft of identity, sort of like the college experience I guess, and the dolls thing, what else does it offer?

How about Mormonism? It was invented by a 19th century con artist who basically made up a fake translation of some Egyptian scrolls - among other things.

The Mormons are interesting because they are so determined to present themselves as mainstream White Protestants. A PR campaign that has lasted nearly 100 years. They have been assimilated into the great American White middle class. More or less. No more massacres of passing settlers for them. No more polygamy.

But yes, the origins are basically nuts. As with Islam. It would be nice if more Muslims took the Mormon route to middle class respectability. It is a lucky for everyone the Mormons did not try to behead everyone who mocked their underwear.

You can't blame present day believers for the origins of the religion they inherited. They got dealt the hand they got. You can blame them for what they do with it. The Mormons have sat down and decided they want to be boring. Good for them. They can believe what they like about their underwear and I am not going to mock them. Haitian believers in voodoo? Well they seem pretty happy cursing people they don't like and sacrificing chickens. That is fine with me too. But I am not going to respect that as if it was a major philosophical tradition and it is not racism to say so.

It's fairy as in Peter Pan. There is nothing sexual about the slur.

As a moderate, that's not the way I would read it. Ever since 9/11 we have had many arguments that the United States is a Christian country. Indeed antiterrorism is often framed as us, in that sense, versus them. The fact that I went to a Vietnamese Buddhist funeral yesterday, and Rosh Hashanah today, makes me feel like an outlier and not the typical narrowly focused American.

Heck, as example of this Christian nation business, how many presidential candidates asked for the hand of Kim Davis?

If transplanting organs from pigs to humans works, then why not? Unless you're a vegetarian who is concerned about animal welfare ... well, we already kill pigs for highly unnecessary reasons.

Whew, thanks Nathan, that's one less ethical conundrum for the rest of us to worry about!

Political correctness is strangely inconsistent a lot of the time.

Another strange one in my opinion is country names. There are people who make a big deal out of saying, e.g. "chee-lay" instead of "chilly" (Chile) or "Col-oh-mbia" instead of "Columbia" (Colombia) and so on, but I've never heard anybody propose changing what we call India, China, Japan, Korea, and many others to be closer to their autonyms (i.e. what the natives call the country in their own language).

It's almost like if the English name is way off, you get grandfathered in, but if you're kinda close, you have to go that extra mile and finish.

my favorite is the way POTUS says paak-e-staan

Yup. I used LatAm examples but you get a lot of that in the MidEast as well with "ee-ron," "ee-rock," etc. But everybody is ok with the totally wrong, ancient Greek-derived Egypt.

ee-ron used to be pur-zha, so give Egypt time and it will become mee-sir.

It's "ee-rock"? Really? I thought it's pronounced EYE-RACK.

It depends on how much they complain really. And sometimes to make a political point. So the UK insisted on Burma rather than Myanmar, as Myanmar was the name favoured by the Junta the democratic opposition who had won the annulled 1988 elections requested that Burma be used.

India has requested switches of city names, Calcutta to Kolkata for example, the English is fairly close to the Hindi while Kolkata is in Bengali the local language.

You can get a lot less exotic than the Asian countries. We call Deutschland Germany. We call München Munich. We spell Paris right but pronounce it wrong. We call Firenze Florence. We call Wien Vienna. We call Roma Rome.

Leghorn thankfully lost out. Its now Livorno.

I say, I say, boy, you are right!

You got me to look up ole Foghorn Claghorn. I'd always thought he was an actual Roosevelt-era Dixiecrat.

Very true, but I was specifically going for non-Western or "white" examples as they would never be the target of one of these movements.

And Roseeya Rusha. And Ookrayeena Yukraein.

And Krim Kraimeeya. And Chechna Chechneeya.

I have seen the reverse of this where a white bread student from Nevada corrected the back east professor who pronounced the state as it would be in Spanish.

Also, California's top most county is Del Norte, yes the e is silent!

Apparently, Kenya itself is undecided about their name. Some pronounce it keen-ya and others kenn-ya. Oddly, former head of state Jomo Kenyatta pronounced it keen-ya, despite his own name being pronounced the other way.

There was a humorous NY Times article awhile back about politicians trying to pander to those who favor each pronunciation of Missouri:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/us/politics/missouree-missouruh-to-be-politic-in-missouri-say-both.html?_r=0

I thought it was pronounced Missoura.

Roma, Par-ee, Espana, Deutschland.

So, where do French get off translating "The United States" into "Les Etats-Unis"? If we're supposed to say "ParEE" and "Frauuss," why shouldn't they say "The United States"?

By the way, when people refer to “voodoo economics” it is a sign of how selective a lot of our political correctness still is. Would anyone dream of criticizing a political candidate for his or her “[fill in the blank with some other historically persecuted religion] economics”?
--
The term 'voodoo economics' was coined by and economist named Paul MacAvoy to refer to nostrums composed by Arthur Laffer and propagated by people associated with Jack Kemp and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. It was popularized by the elder George Bush and by John Anderson in 1980 as a jab against Ronald Reagan. There's no reference to any actual Hatian cult in the term; it's a reference to popular imagery wherein the practitioner injures his object of revenge by creating a small effigy and sticking pins in it. You cannot actually injure anyone by sticking pins in an icon or effigy of them and it was the point of the term that you cannot actually accomplish what Laffer said you could through his means, nor was there any theory or observation available to convince one you could.

No one would 'dream' of 'criticising' a candidate for using such a modifier because the modifier would be nonsensical in popular understanding unless the modifier was 'Jew', so would not be used unless the candidate had been taking bong hits. Given that there are social Christian parties and Islamic parties abroad, it's not immediately clear that the modifier would be anything but descriptive in many cases.

Even if practitioners of voodoo have been persecuted outside the imagination the moderator, it would have no resonance with the audience because voodoo is local to Haiti (though there might be similar syncretistic cults in Brazil or other loci) and no one knows the history of it. It's inane to complain about variation in sensibilities on this point. Language is used socially.

"You cannot actually injure anyone by sticking pins in an icon or effigy of them"

I'm triggered.

Aha! Its working!

*sticks pin into Thomas doll even harder*

"How do you get rid of one of these things? Do you burn it?"

I think Tyler gets that, but he considers all the other religions equally valid or invalid as voodoo, so saying "voodoo economics" would be like saying "manna from heaven economics." Which wouldn't be at all offensive, but I think the point of this post is rather to say nobody who holds religious beliefs can criticize or pass value judgments on others' religious beliefs, which is of course only true if you adhere to the religion of atheism. In which case you routinely pass such judgment, but simply act as if you don't.

Atheism is not a religion. Similarly, a-tooth fairyism is not a believe.

It as an absence of belief, and has zero "religious" organization or systematized beliefs whatsoever.

Or to put it another way "I'm an atheist and I'm right!"

What I reject is lumping people together based on what they do NOT believe.

What's a non-communist? I dunno .. not very informative, all I know is that it's not a communist. What's a non-latino? I dunno ... not very informative, all I know is that it's not a latino. Etc. I could extend the list with increasingly absurd examples, but perhaps this is sufficient to make the point?

I do not identify as "atheist", but some "theists" will try to force me into this box. I reject the box, and rejecting the box has nothing to do with being right or wrong.

a-Muhhamidist (not Muslim)
a-Christian (not Christian)
a-Santa Clausian (don't believe in Santa)
a-vodouian (don't practice vodou)
a-soulist (don't believe in souls)
a-reincarnationist (don't believe in reincarnation)
a-theist (don't believe in whatever you consider to be "Gods")
a-tooth fairyist (don't believe in the tooth fairy)
a-Peter Panian (Peter Pan is just a story)
a-mermaidist (don't believe in mermaids)
etc.

It makes more sense to have labels that positively identify what people DO believe than using labels that identify people by what they do NOT believe.

Empiricist
Humanist
etc

These are words that mean something, although the meaning is obvious fluid for different people.

I would disagree, as atheism implies a specific philosophical worldview - reductionist materialism or some kind of offshoot. Atheists make very strong claims how the universe works in contrast to religious or spiritual point of views.

Agnosticism has the absence of belief because it is merely based on doubt.

The distinction is important. Atheists ignore lots of experiences simply because those experiences can't be true simply because of their worldview. They don't suspend judgment simply because independent confirmation is not possible, or hold that even though they don't find those experiences convincing, they acknowledge there is uncertainty. To give just two examples, there is an immense body of documented experiences of past life experiences in young children and near-death experiences that seems to indicate there is some kind of afterlife. While by no means conclusive, I think its reasonable for someone to keep an open mind. I have never seen an atheist even consider these experiences could have truly happened - there HAS to be an explanation that fits into the reductionist materialism paradigm. Issue closed, moved on.

If there is a style of atheism that does not involve reductionist materialism, or would allow atheists to be open minded about the possibilty that the above experiences may indicate something more, I haven't heard of it. I'd be interested in learning about it.

"atheism implies a specific philosophical worldview"

I think it's an entirely silly statement, but then you actually do a pretty good job of defending it. I bet you got good grades on your essays, even when your prof disagreed with you :)

The overwhelming majority of religious people I know dismiss past life experiences in the same way. Too many agnostics seem to make the existence of God a special case, and keep their mind much more open about that than about any other question.

Substitute any "-ism" or "-ianity" for atheism and the argument is the same.

Tyler's point was thought-provoking, as was this response.

So...Voodoo Social Policy might be where you see the usual "middle class people have college degrees, so let's give poor people college degrees and see if that helps them."

"You cannot actually injure anyone by sticking pins in an icon or effigy of them."
Some people believe it is possible, I know lots of them. Shouldn't we teach the controversy?

One thing's for sure. If practitioners of voodoo have worse socioeconomic outcomes, it is evidence of discrimination a priori.

Sticking pins in dolls is a medieval European belief. I do not think it is actually practiced that much by Voodo-adherents.

Yeah, take that Tyler!!

The micro-aggression culture is about transferring wealth and power to certain groups, and very few coastal progressives practice voodoo, so there is very little interest in directing money and power in that direction.

true, but pointing that out is a nano-aggression

It is time to start mainstreaming Voodoo.
As a first step, we should place the practitioners of Voodoo on the Protected Classes List.

Come to think of it, this would be a kind of Voodoo Progressivism.

"Why should we turn the name of their religion into an insulting epithet?" Elizabeth I tried to stop people doing that: in particular she frowned on the words "Papist" and "Protestant".

We mock voodoo because it's insane. We ought to similarly mock other nonsensical ideas. The Book of Mormon is a good example of this in practice.

Inflation, seigniorage, regulatory burden and uncertainty have nothing but positive net effects on the economy.

People don't agree on what is insane or not. Is belief on demonic possession any less insane than voodoo?

It's hard to criticize the Book of Mormon without also criticizing the entire Judeo-Christian tradition of revealed truth. In a nutshell, all Mormons are saying is: we know that God sometimes reveals himself, either directly or through his Son. (Mainstream Christians applaud.) And just as He did that in the Holy Land, He also did that here, in North America. (Mainstream Christians shout "boo" and throw shoes.)

Ricardo September 14, 2015 at 5:35 pm

It’s hard to criticize the Book of Mormon without also criticizing the entire Judeo-Christian tradition of revealed truth.

Well no. One of the reasons that Romney did not do better was supposedly because Evangelicals do not like his religion. Nor did Liberals. When Liberals mocked him for his magical underwear, Reform Jews did not leap to his defense. For the simple reason they did not see magical underwear as key to the Jewish tradition. And that liberal thing I suppose.

The Mormons reject the Trinity. That is a problem for the Christian tradition given the non-Trinitarian Churches are now insignificant. More significantly they embrace this odd idea of evolution where God used to be a man like the rest of us, and if we are well behaved Mormons we will get our own planets where we can be God too:

"As man now is, God once was:
As God now is, man may be."

That is hard to reconcile with anything in the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

it's all gibberish buddy, whether it's YHWH or papa legba or the tooth fairy. the second you start arguing whose gibberish is just an 'odd idea', you've lost any kind of logical underpinning.

I am not sure that is true. It is certainly not true from a sociological point of view. I doubt it is true from a philosophical point of view either. Whatever caused Saint Augustine to believe what he believed, what he believed requires some level of intellectual engagement and it is going to be a lot more complex than the level of intellectual engagement with Shirley Whatshername and her spirit medium channeling Krull the caveman.

No system of mathematics is or can be complete. Every single one of them rests on some number of untestable assumptions. But not every one of them is equal. Some rely on fewer assumptions. Some produce very interesting and productive worlds. Some are a waste of time. Why would it be any different with religions?

But your contribution isn't gibberish.

Saint Augustine was clearly a genius. But he spent most of his like trying to lend logical credence to things that can only be taken as a matter of faith.

What does it mean to say "Jesus is the Son of God"? For example. (I personally belief it was a conspiracy to get him killed. The emperor in Rome's second name was "Son of God", so in convincing Jesus to call himself "Son of God", "King of Jews" he would cluelessly self-incriminate himself as an usurper in front of Roman authorities.)

It was clearly NOT gibberish, but I think, unfortunately, his vast intellect was largely applied to proving things which are utterly unprovable.

Thankfully, since he was also engaged in his own present time, he also made a great number of useful and thoughtful observations which help us to understand what was going on in the world at that time, so he is still very useful to read from a historical perspective.
_______________________
Oh, and scripture is poetic. Far from gibberish (except perhaps for the Revelation). That you say so just means that you have no understanding of it.

Uh, it's really easy to criticize Mormonism because it's really easy to prove that Joseph Smith flat out fabricated most of the source material.
Except the parts that are actually plain of Judeo Christian.

Yet Mormon communities have way better than average social outcomes. If that's what you want, we should all be Mormons, whether Joseph Smith made it all up or not. Imagine if America's inner cities were swept by a wave of Mormon conversions. What would would due the result?

I think it's ok to criticize and perhaps even mock a religion's beliefs if they are oppressive or dysfunctional. And if you want to make the case that certain Vodou beliefs fall into that category, be my guest (and I think you can certainly make the case in dysfunctional Haiti). Religion is not off limits. The Enlightenment thinkers rightfully and beneficially criticized religion's role in society, and we should do so today.

What Tyler is critiquing, however, is entirely different. "Voodoo economics" or "that's just a bunch of Voodoo" are not humorous or constructive critiques of Vodou's religious beliefs and practices.They are dismissive epithets that assume Vodou's a priori inferiority.

Bill September 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm

They are dismissive epithets that assume Vodou’s a priori inferiority.

It is a good thing no one would ever refer to Jesuitical logic then isn't it? Or make a slighting reference to the Inquisition.

Voodoo is actually pretty a priori inferior. Not because the people who do it are Black or Haitian or Creole speaking. Nothing to do with race. But because the ends are generally puerile, the means generally disgusting and the justification childish. If anything, the fact that the Haitians do it gives it more credibility than it would have otherwise. Think how people would react if it turned out the Masons were engaging in competitive poisoning. Or the Daughters of the American Revolution were manufacturing love potions. Or if the Rotary Club were sacrificing animals. People are furious because Milton Friedman stepped foot in Chile. Think how they would react if the Chicago Economics Department endorsed Baby Doc and the Tonton Macute.

Instead, mainstream Christians have heartfelt conversations with their imaginary friend and expect these conversations to have meaningful outcomes in the real world. This doesn’t seem naturally superior to other kinds of magical thinking.

I think you're right on the money.

"We ought to similarly mock other nonsensical ideas."

Agreed. Since Christians no longer believe that unredeemed evil means an eternity of being tortured by demons they've transferred their Sunday worship to NFL football. Even though it's sacred and football stadiums have replaced cathedrals as centers of spirituality, people subconsciously realize that football actually isn't the true basis of humanity. Instead, they revere democracy, a truly nonsensical idea.

Dear Tyler, congratulations! I thought I could no longer be surprised by the extravagance of political correctness displayed by American professors, but you have proved me wrong.
By the way, could you please send me some nail clippings and hairs? I have a doll to your resemblance and I'd like to perform some empirical verifications on voodoo.

If he doesn't, that is as clear an infringement on your first amendment right of religion, as a failure of this government to pay for female contraceptives is an infringement on a woman's right to health care!

#Voodoolivesmatter

Sorry, nothing is going to stop me from making Scientology the butt of my jokes or pejoratives.

According to the dictionary there is a second meaning for voodoo:

chiefly US, disapproving : not at all sensible or achievable : extremely unrealistic

Yes and here are 4 definitions of black, courtesy of dictionary.com:

4. soiled or stained with dirt:
5. gloomy; pessimistic; dismal:
6. deliberately; harmful; inexcusable:
7. boding ill; sullen or hostile; threatening:

Wherever do definitions come from?!

Well I think you're right about voodoo but not about "black". Do you think "black days" or "black-hearted" came from experiences with black-skinned people?

So, "voodoo socialism"?

you really should be spelling it respectfully if you're going to make a silly post like this. the economics may or may not be 'voodoo'; the religion is 'vodou'. you of all people should know this.

"The spelling voodoo, once very common, is now generally avoided by Haitian practitioners and scholars when referring to the Haitian religion. This is both to avoid confusion with Louisiana Voodoo, a related but distinct set of religious practices, as well as to separate Haitian Vodou from the negative connotations and misconceptions the term "voodoo" has acquired in popular culture."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Vodou#Names_and_etymology

The term "Zen" is used as a popular descriptor for all kinds of things that aren't really related to Zen Buddhism. Usually the term has a pretty positive connotation though.

Motorcycle maintenance

The Hindu term "Avatar" has had profitable connotations.

From Wikipedia:

"There is a legend that Haitians were able to beat the French during the Haitian Revolution because their Vodou deities made them invincible. The US, seeing the tremendous potential Vodou had for rallying its followers and inciting them to action, feared the events at Bois-Caiman could spill over onto American soil. Fearing an uprising in opposition to the US occupation of Haiti, political and religious elites, along with Hollywood and the film industry, sought to trivialize the practice of Vodou."

Interesting. Suppression of Vodou has historically been practiced by the elites.

Papa Doc Duvalier, who was president of Haiti from 1957-1971 on a Black Power over the mulatto elites platform, encouraged the common folk to believe he was a powerful vodou doctor. From Wikipedia:

Duvalier fostered a personality cult around himself and claimed he was the physical embodiment of the island nation. He also started to revive the traditions of Vodou, later using them to consolidate his power with his claim of being a houngan, or Vodou priest, himself. In an effort to make himself even more imposing, Duvalier deliberately modeled his image on that of Baron Samedi. He often donned sunglasses to hide his eyes and talked with the strong nasal tone associated with the loa. The Duvalier regime propaganda even stated that "Papa Doc was one with the loas, Jesus Christ and God himself". The most celebrated image from the time shows a standing Jesus Christ with hand on a seated Papa Doc's shoulder with the caption, "I have chosen him".[28] There was even a Duvalierist variant of the Lord's Prayer.[36]

Duvalier also held in his closet the head of former opponent Blucher Philogenes, who tried to overthrow him in 1963. ...

While recovering, Duvalier left power in the hands of Clément Barbot, leader of the Tonton Macoutes. Upon his return Duvalier accused Barbot of trying to supplant him as president and had him imprisoned. In April 1963 Barbot was released and began plotting to remove Duvalier from office by kidnapping his children. The plot failed and Duvalier subsequently ordered a nationwide search for Barbot and his fellow conspirators (when during the search Duvalier was told that Barbot had transformed himself into a black dog, he ordered that all black dogs in Haiti be put to death). Barbot was captured and shot by the Tonton Macoutes in July 1963. In other incidents, Duvalier ordered the head of an executed rebel packed in ice and brought to him so he could commune with the dead man's spirit.[17] Peep holes were carved into the walls of the interrogation chambers, through which Duvalier personally observed Haitian detainees being tortured and submerged in baths of sulfuric acid; sometimes, he was directly in the room during the tortures.[18]

Voodoo Economics needs a soundtrack:

https://youtu.be/eyCEexG9xjw

Tyler,

You are violating appropriate manners by saying many Haitians believe in "voodoo." Today, you are supposed to say they believe in "vodou."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Vodou

It's fine, however, to scoff that straight cisgender white males believe in voodoo economics.

Steve

It's a shame he never used his influence to convince Haitians that the voodoo gods wanted working sewage treatment plants.

I am slowly reading (one page a day) this book:
The Religions Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) Hardcover – July 15, 2013 - by DK Publishing

It's a 'comic book' on religion (the entire series is like this, they have one on politics for example), with two pages per topic and lots of illustrations, graphics, break-out boxes.

I don't recall Voodoo is in the book, but you'd be surprised how many obscure religions (some extinct) there are. For example, "cargo cult" (also used as an epithet), and the "John Frum" variant.

OT- there were 64 posts prior to mine, 64 being the number of chess squares. I've used "John Frum" to impress the ladies here in the Third World. But it's "Joe From", as in "Hi, I'm Joe from America. How may I help you?"

I recall reading somewhere that the original zombies were essentially invented by Haitian slave-holders to scare Haitian slaves into obedience.
Basically the idea was that you couldn't escape, even in death, so you might as well resign yourself to being a good slave. Some people speculate that turning someone into a "zombie" basically was a way of punishing slaves who attempted to escape by giving them brain damage. The poison or whatever would make them appear to be dead for a while, and when they revived they would be more or less retarded - incapable of speaking or doing much other than medial labor. Thus the concept that they were undead slaves. This idea that even if you died your master would bring you back and make you his undead thrall was so horrifying that the slaves would be afraid to die even if they were being severely tortured and abused.

Through sufficient application of positive and negative reinforcement, basically psychological torture, you can brainwash a person to the point of basically being a zombie. Perhaps some of the darker practitioners of voodoo were centuries ahead of the CIA and its MKULTRA experiments - after all, what rights do slaves have?

Through sufficient application of positive and negative reinforcement, basically psychological torture, you can brainwash a person to the point of basically being a zombie.

In the movies.

You live in a beautiful world.

Why would you do that when you can just keep them on drugs all the time?
So much easier.

For those interested,

http://www.amazon.com/Divine-Horsemen-Living-Gods-Haiti/dp/0914232630

Jewish Economics - That's Mine
Protestant Economics - Pardon Me, I Think That's Mine
Catholic Economics - I Wish That Were Mine

i remember it was called something else in ancient india , could not remember ..

The main reason Haiti is the most awful place in the New World is because it's the most African place in the New World.

There has been a growing taboo against knowing much about African culture because such knowledge subverts the conventional wisdom that the problems of blacks around the world are all the fault of the straight white male.

The main reason Haiti is the most awful place in the New World is because it’s the most African place in the New World.

There are about a dozen other territories in the Caribbean who are nearly as African as Haiti. They are not awful places.

Haiti has been an independent country for much longer than these other territories. And Haiti massacred almost all its whites, which didn't exactly happen in, say, Barbados.

Haiti has been an independent country for much longer than these other territories.

So what?

And Haiti massacred almost all its whites, which didn’t exactly happen in, say, Barbados.

The white population of Barbados amounts to 3% of the total, not all of them affluent.

Not *blackest*, most *African*

I take it you're not familiar with what the Unz crew consider salient.

Not if you mean culturally as opposed to racially African. Haiti is very much a cultural orphan in the Caribbean. It does not belong to either the Spanish or Anglophone Caribbean world. The other islands heavily black in the Caribbean - Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas for example - are much more culturally British from their long period of British colonial rule and institutions. Governmental standards, norms of behavior, and civil institutions are all very different.

If we go back far enough, I really wonder even if Santo Domingo was as different from French Haiti as the Dominican Republic and Haiti are now.

Haiti certainly has many factors that explains the poor state they are now in. They got screwed on debt and other issues as a result of their rebellion against the French and being the only former slaves who emancipated themselves. However, it's also possible other cultures could have had the same challenges and nevertheless performed better so that by this same time, they'd have been in a better position than Haiti. It's certainly hard to imagine how they could have done worse.

are much more culturally British from their long period of British colonial rule and institutions. Governmental standards, norms of behavior, and civil institutions are all very different. -

You're speaking as if sociology was not reducible to anthropology and psychology (both of which are reducible to biology). Alt-right votaries (not Sailer, though) will generally let you have it with both barrels for your disregard of SCIENCE!

Probably has more to do with Duvalier.

Haiti's always been wretchedly governed. Duvalier was luridly awful in a way that had been atypical before, but the country was improverished as ever before, during, and after.

When I click on your link it redirects to this page, since you capitalize the s is unz.com/iSteve:

http://www.unz.com/isteve/isteve-announces-suspension-of-boycott/

what free lunch in protestantism

Maybe Tyler Cowen was been baiting the atheists to make adolescent fools of themselves in his comboxes.

"Atheist" is a box applied the wrong way around.

You try to apply a box, but the thing you are applying the box to is outside of the box.

Definition by contradiction is one of the most laborious ways to define things.

It's not an apple. It's not a tree. It's not a car. It's not a planet. It's not a book. It's not a galaxy (but it's in one). It's not an atom (but it's made of atoms). OMG. You're so stupid. I've already told you seven things that it's NOT and you don't even know what it IT yet.

Similarly with "atheists". Let these people define themselves by the things they believe, not by the things the don't believe.

Mail your complaint to Madelyn Murray O'Hair's successor or to Daniel Dennett. I'm sure they'll give it a careful hearing.

On Mormonism there's this interesting (though probably mistaken) book by Harold Bloom (a nicely reactionary literary critic):

"Bloom's attention is directed in particular toward the Mormons and the Southern Baptists, because he judges that their emphasis on the individual makes them the most American of the nation's religions. He is especially sympathetic toward Joseph Smith, whom he calls an "authentic religious genius," a person whose "religion-making imagination" is, in Bloom's opinion, unsurpassed in American history." Why? Because he invented (discovered?) virtually from scratch a religion as different from Christianity as Islam is.

http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/11/01/specials/bloom-religion.html - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20944.The_American_Religion?ac=1

The Mormons are successful business people. Also they have a great choir which is respected internationally. Have followers of voodoo produced anything of cultural significance?

Comments for this post are closed