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Friday, 27 April 2012

Xenophobia: Backward Thinking

This day and age, we can't afford this.

Throughout history, there have been periods of of cultural xenophobia.  This has almost always led to stagnation or being conquered.

Nazi Germany is a prime example example of the latter, as is early 19th century Japan.

In Germany's case, virtually everything non Aryan was seen as inferior.  So much so that campaigns of extermination were begun.  The war they started to "prove that truth" backfired horribly and resulted in the complete conquest of Germany by foreign powers.  Powers that proved that mixed race societies have the moral high ground and will to prove it.

Japan in 19th century- before Matthew Perry sent the mission to open the country- the island nation had more or less sealed itself from the world, trading only to select traders in restricted ports.  This came at cost.  By 1854, when Matthew Perry's flotilla sailed into Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay now), belching smoke and stacked with cannon- of a type never before seen- the Japanese were forced to consider an awful truth..  The world had left them behind.  They were no longer in a position to even defend themselves as their technology simply was obsolete.  The rush to modernize Japan began, and by 1905, their fleet and technology was comparable to any European power.  50 years to catch up, but somehow, they did it.

On the flipside, countries that have opened their borders to trade, either through conquering or aggressive trading have enjoyed enormous success.

Holland in the 17th century was the richest country in Europe.  They had an unrestricted trade policy that saw their influence spread across the globe, India, America, Indonesia, Africa, South America, even Australia was once called New Holland.  This tiny nation went on to fight three separate wars with Britain, including raiding London, before the population difference finally showed itself.

For about 200 years, Britain, largely through trade with her colonies, became the ascendent nation.

Trade brings wealth.  The USA grew that way, despite two world wars, into a very successful economy- but it has taken China 60 years to modernize, and now they, with an economy based on trade, are number one.

With instant communication, free flow of information, and access to it essential for a nation to remain sovereign in today's world, there is no place for Xenophobia.  Globalization on this basis is inevitable, and likely necessary in the evolution of human politics.  Especially if we are to expand our horizon and look to the stars.

I just hope they don't stamp out individual rights in the process.  There is a very real danger of this happening.


  1. Wonderful post, and I completely agree there is no place for xenophobia in today's society. Of course, there never really was a place for it, despite past attempts.

    1. Narrow thinking leaves some convinced its a viable solution. But I don't think they see the whole picture.

    2. Unfortunately xenophobia does occur all around the world, even in first world countries. There is no reason for this small minded and twisted thinking that corrupts the field of vision and comprehension of reality.

  2. Nice post. Third time I've seen this word, which before today, I'd never heard of it.

    Happy A to Z-ing!

    1. Yeah, sorry Jenn, I saw at least one other person use it, but since I had already posted mine, I wasn't going back to change it.

  3. Great post...I like what you did with Xenophobia -- using the term as a springboard to address how it applies to Cultural ignorance and economics, topics that are bigger than a simple description of the word.


    Blog: The Madlab Post
    @MadlabPost on Twitter

  4. Thank you Nicole! Writing like that made the AtoZ that much easier.

  5. Xenophobia outdated? Tell that to the Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans.

    Those guys really do pride themselves homogeneity, and looking down on other people, especially the Indians, blacks and other Asians who visit or work in their countries.

    The crazy thing is: they love to put blue contacts in and dye their hair blonde or brown.

    If East Asia is truly going to take first place in the world's economic and cultural powerhouses, then we should truly be mourning for the rest of the world, simply because ideas like "xenophobia", "racism", "discrimination" etc. are considered GOOD things over there..

    1. They can still afford to see it that way. Most of those countries are over populated- they don't need immigration to float their population. The developed world has had a slow nirthrate for decades, some countries can't maintain their population without immigration. China's birth rate has dropped through legislative means, but as its wealth grows, it is certain that its need to for legislative control will diminish.

      I liken their policies to European, American and Canadian policies f over a century ago. In Japan, the Gai Jin stigma is no where what it once was, even 30 years ago. Their lessonwith trade came in the 1850s, with the Japanese economy still in some degree of collapse from events of nearly 20 years ago, they may well be learning that same lesson in economics and immigration.

      China, too, will learn. I'm surprised that knowledge in S. Korea wasn't learned when the yanks came to their rescue 60 years ago. They will. Time and experience are hard lesson teachers.