Thursday, April 16, 2015

Scope Creep


Tell me, spyglass, what do you see?
I see tiny dutchmen waving at me.
I can almost hear them across the water:
"Children! Primitives!" they bark.
"You're doing it all wrong!"
They never fear to visit
Any indignity upon us, their hosts,
Yet they are so concerned
That all must be done correctly.
And all the power of the glass
Won't reveal what's inside their ships.
It must be so precious to hide it that way.
When the wind comes around,
It smells like death to us.
With their big noses,
How can they ignore the stench?

Dutch and Chinese traders were allowed into Japan, but only under strict rules. Rengaku, or "the Dutch effect," refers to the relatively fast way Japan was able to "catch up" with technology and even overcome the west after years of isolation. The theory is that some technology from the Dutch sort of leaked through and developed despite the obstacles. It's always funny to see the world as others see it, to paraphrase Burns. I don't know if there's a word for Rengaku in reverse, but there certainly ought to be.

I am a supporter of reparations, but I don't believe most programs of reparation are of sufficient scope and vision. It is not only American fortunes that were made on the trade of people as slaves, but European ones as well.

Image: Wiki Commons and it ain't sayin

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