Colonialism in Africa : Is the Pope speaking through his knees, yet again?

“Does a 'new colonialism' blight Africa? [bbc]

Pope Benedict has warned a new form of colonialism is affecting Africa. Is he right?

Speaking at the opening of a synod of African bishops the Pope said political colonialism was over but claimed the developed world exports materialism or "toxic spiritual rubbish" to the continent.

My first impression, upon reading this pearl of wisdom courtesy of the pew was, ‘hmmm a case of tightening the leash on rabidity as opposed to putting it down.’

Now before the congregation of Catholics take up arms against the infidel that is ed, let me say that the most I can be accused of is in my being a heretic as I’m, officially, one of your number…and used to be an alter boy even. That said, let’s get back to the issue at hand…so that we might maintain at least a semblance of a grasp of ‘the kingdom’.(ref. The Gospel according2 Matthew, 4:17)

Firstly, ed would like to say that the above statement by the Pope is what I would deem to be a ‘modernist’ one. That is, a perspective borne of the belief that we have arrived at the shores of milk and honey and all we need to do is to make the best of whatever we find there – which is intrinsically a wholly Confucian/Legalist view of things. Modernists focus on making the best of a bad situation as opposed to getting rid of the latter. Through whatever degree of success they meet with the system is sanctified.

So given the Pope’s thoughts on this ‘new colonialism’, some would say that it is little more than bourgeois socialist sermonising, or a Confucian Catholic attempt to push forth a belief and behavioural system amenable to the regulation of the Mephistophelean propensities brought to life by the overarching system.

To his statement, ed would say, ‘Political colonialism’ is not ‘over’ sir, it has simply been 'successful'.  Colonialism isn't over.  It's just been franchised to the natives.  'Progress' and 'Order', and the promotion, observance and practice of just about all virtues becomes little more than an effort to put a leash of civility on those reflexes given life by the system and for the system - or what the Confucians would say, 'regulating the self' so that one might make the best out of the status quo.  

The class-based system; the reduction of the individual to a worker and consumer; the self-absorption that is induced by the alienation that comes with a competitive and mutual- antagonism based economy; the fragmentation of humanity via nations, corporations, departments, and workstations that amplifies the effect of the preceding; the shallowness that comes with thus-induced self-absorption; and the validation of juvenile instincts as the young are turned into a market for the generation of profit; are all part and parcel of the effects of the success of political colonialism. More accurately, political colonialism effected whilst in the embrace of the capitalist ethos and Confucian ethic. (The Confucian/Legalist ethic, as opposed to the Protestant Ethic that contributed to the advance of the capitalist ethos in the west is a Protestantism rendered atheistic. Whilst it took time before the Protestant Ethic was ‘secularised’, the Confucian/Legalist ethic did not require a God to validate their perspective. They simply turned wo/man into a God in a class-based scheme of things.)

So, like all good little modernists, the Pope, in the above statement, exhibits the inability to connect the dots between the system and its effects, but rather demonises the individual’s propensities as opposed to the system that conceives it in a wholly un-immaculate process.

So the synod of African bishops are meeting to address the issues of social injustices and wars in Africa, which the Pope calls, ‘the spiritual lung’ of the world. But not addressing the perspectival and behavioural corollaries of an overarching system turns this into nothing more than an effort to get Africa to regulate its breath in non overtly destructive ways so that it might be in 'civilised' rhythm with a heart whose locality has been contracted to include none other than the self.  In this, as I’ve been inclined to say before, the Church becomes nothing more than a consort and consul of the system it is interned within.  Hence, whilst I have no problem with spending time on an appropriately oriented pew, I have to wonder at the locality of the alter that fronts the pope’s knee warmers.