24 / CHRONICLESnThe Third World Revisitedn”Sixty thousand blacks are annually embarked fromnthe coast of Guinea, never to return to their nativencountry; but they are embarked in chains; and thisnconstant emigration which in the space of two centuriesnmight have furnished armies to overrun the globe,naccuses the guilt of Europe and the weakness ofnAfrica.”n—Edward GibbonnThe Tears of the White Man:nCompassion as Contempt by PascalnBruckner; translated with annintroduction by William R. Beer,nNew York and London: The FreenPress.nDispensations: The Future of SouthnAfrica as South Ahicans See It bynRichard John Neuhaus, GrandnRapids, MI: Eerdmans.nAmong the few writers who canncounter accusations of whitenman’s imperialism without empathizingnwith the spirit of Cecil Rhodes isnthe French novelist and journalist PascalnBruckner. He has identified faultynarguments about the Third World andnpresented them in a visionary andn'””•N^-^*^nby Ewa M. Thompsonniconoclastic essay.nIn the American context, Brucknerncould not be called either conservativenor liberal. He chastises all of us fornreadily accepting the terms of the discoursenhanded down to us by thosenwielding much power and litde authority.nIn the European context, henshows once again that when the chipsnare down, we can depend on thenFrench tradition of clarity and commonnsense to counter the monstrosihesnof thought and imagination begottennin the Dark Ages of Teutonic Romanhcism.nIt is not accidental that, asnTerry Eagleton recendy admitted innDiacritics, France is now the center ofnanti-Marxist reaction and not England,nGermany, or, in spite of itsntremendous resources of manpower,nthe United States.nBruckner sets out to dismantle anterm whose roots are Marxist, Romantic,nand (in a perverse sort of way)nChristian: the Third World. By implication,nthe notions of the First andnSecond Worlds are also questioned.nHe cuts across evidence in ways whichnplace his work somewhere on the bordernbetween academic scholarship andnjournalism, in an area where manyninfluential books have been born. InnDispensations, a panoramic series ofninterviews with prominent South Africans,nRichard Neuhaus provides casenmaterial for Bruckner’s arguments.nBruckner identifies several ways ofnfalsifying issues while tacitly assumingnthat the First Wodd-Third World distinctionnmakes sense. One consists inndeclaring readiness to be guided by thennonwhite man. In South Africa, thenformer Dutch-reformed cleric BeyersnEwa M. Thompson is professor ofnGerman and Russian at RicenUniversity.nnnNaude is now such a self-declarednpenitent who advocates “deliberatensubordination, our readiness to be reeducated;nwe have to learn to be learnersnunder black people.” For Bruckner,nthis equals perpetuating the old imperialnidea in reverse. While colonialismnset up the teacher and pupil relationshipnas absolute, third-worldism reversesnthis relationship but retains itsncomponent of uncritical submission.nAnother way to falsify issues is tonworship the nonwhite cultures as perfectnwhile reserving abuse for our own.nThey are supposed to be “natural,”ni.e., developed without attempts atnmanipulation of human relationshipsnfor sinister purposes. At the same time,nthey are declared to be so differentnfrom our own culture that they cannotnbe judged by our criteria of whatnmakes a good life: Liberty is not whatnpeople “over there” really need andnwant; a single killing by a white imperialistnis more important and odiousnthan the killings of thousands by blacknAfrican tyrants. Neither does corruptionnof monumental proportions, ofnwhich Neuhaus cites several examplesnamong the South African blacks,nevoke moral condemnation. Whilenworshiping at the altar of naturalness,nthe white man denies that liberty isnindivisible and that human life has thensame value everywhere.nDeclarations that nonwhite culturesnare spontaneous and perfect, whilencultures originating in Europe are corrupt,ncarry another falsification, saysnBruckner. They infantilize the nonwhitenman by denying him his share ofnhuman frailty as well as his right tonmake mistakes and take blame fornthem. Here contempt masquerades asnrespect. This, again, is an invertednimperialistic impulse: ignoring the factnthat nonwhites too are capable of barbarismnand inhumanity; that injusticenwas not born in feudal estates or innmodern cities.nThis infantilizing attitude exerts andestructive influence on individuals innpoor countries. They are encouragednto think of themselves as victims ofnWestern imperialism and wait for thenrich and guilty West to bail them out.nThey are urged to take dependence forngranted: a continuation of the old im-n