RE: Can you live forever? Esquire article

Billy Brown (
Wed, 12 May 1999 15:58:52 -0500

Brian D Williams wrote:
> from: "Billy Brown" <>
> >I would say that is up to the South Americans, the Africans, and
> >the Asians. In purely practical terms, the only thing we could do
> >about it is conquer them and force them to do things our way -
> >something I doubt any of us would support..
> This sounds like the world famous brand of American ethnocentrism
> talking. Travel more, the world is a much more sophisticated place
> then we normally think here in the U.S. I'm not throwing stones, I
> see this lacking in myself as well.

Actually, it is just the opposite. It is a recognition of the fact that people in the rest of the world have their own cultures, philosophies and opinions about how things should be done. They aren't going to turn their lives upside down just because the American government (or the Europeans, or the UN) wants them to.

If you believe, for example, that the destruction of the Brazilian rain forest is evil and stupid, it does no good to rail against it to an audience of Americans. There is precious little we can do about it without resorting to a massive application of force. The people you need to convince live in Brazil, and that is where you need to concentrate your efforts.

You should also recognize that the situation calls for more than just proselytizing. Most of the environmental degradation in the Third World is not caused by evil western corporations trying to get rich on the backs of the poor. Instead, it is caused by huge numbers of impoverished people trying to survive as best they can. Telling them to stop will do no good - they aren't going to let their children go hungry to preserve a few more acres of forest. What you need to do is give them an alternative way of providing for themselves that doesn't destroy the land.

Of course, trying to actually do something effective about the situation leads to a whole nest of practical problems, but that is a different issue.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I