Three Cheers For British Imperialism

More wise observations by Mark Steyn.

Excerpt from Hugh Hewitt radio program:

HH: …Very few people have traveled as far around the globe as Mark. Mark, have you ever seen anything remotely approaching this Haiti thing?

MS: No, because I think Haiti is, certainly in the Western Hemisphere, as near as you can get to an entirely non-functioning state. By the standards of the Caribbean, it’s a failure and a disaster before the earthquake strikes. If an earthquake had happened to strike the Bahamas, or even the Turks And Caicos, it would not have looked like this. And that’s why although earthquakes are indiscriminatory, and the earthquake certainly doesn’t have any preferences to whether Haiti or the Dominican Republic, is either side of the border line, the impact of the earthquake is certainly very different according to what side of the line you’re on.

HH: Mark Steyn, I know, I assume, and I think I’m right about this that you’ll agree with me in rejecting Pat Robertson’s analysis of why this happened. But why is it that Haiti is such a basket case?

MS: Well, for a start, it was a French colony rather than a British colony. I mean, we can make that comparison almost anywhere in the world. I’m a bit of an old school British imperialist, and I know obviously the majority of your listeners for very good historical reasons will have a different view on that, but generally, and it’s a good guide in the world, even in the worst parts of the world, that if you’re trying to do business, it’s easier to do business in Malaysia, say, than Indonesia. And if you’re trying to do business, obviously, you’re better off in Jamaica than Cuba, and you’re certainly better off in Jamaica than in Haiti. And I think what it is, is that no nation was ever really built there. It’s always very moving to me when you go to the British Caribbean, if you go to Barbados or the Bahamas, or wherever, and you go into those little parliaments, which are like little, mini Westminsters, you see the speaker with his wig, and the mace, and hansard, just like in London or Ottawa or Canberra, whatever one feels about imperialism, functioning societies were built there. There has never been a functioning civil society or public infrastructure in Haiti. And so when a natural phenomenon strikes, it’s devastating there, not just by comparison with an earthquake in California, but even by the standards of an earthquake in Iran, for example…

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