The liberal ideology of decolonization is actually a threat to human knowledge and flourishing, when taken to its fullest extent. A young woman at the University of Cape Town in South Africa recently demonstrated why, in her public rejection of science in favor of magic. No, I am not making this up.
“Science as a whole is a product of Western modernity and the whole thing should be scratched off,” the student declared Wednesday, to nervous laughter. She actually called for her fellows to “restart science from an African perspective, from our perspective.” How do you “restart science from an African perspective”? By practicing “black magic.”
“For instance, I have a question for all the science people: There’s a place in KZN called Umhlab-uyalingana, and they believe that through the magic — the black magic, they call it black magic, they call it witchcraft — that you are able to send a lightening to attack someone,” the woman explained. Then she challenged the scientifically minded in the room: “Can you explain that scientifically, because it’s something that happens!”
A naive man in the audience could not restrain himself, and burst out saying, “It’s not true!” Apparently he was still laboring under the notion that such “decolonizers” are aiming for truth, as opposed to power and control over the narrative.
The woman’s question was rhetorical — she didn’t actually want to be challenged by a “scientific” person, you see — and the man got a very long (and rather unnecessary) earful from a moderator. In true social justice warrior fashion, this moderator felt it necessary to explain that the interruptor was “disrespecting the sacredness of this space,” that his comments were trying to “collapse this space and make it antagonizing.” She forced him to apologize (which he did three times) and agree to “abide by the rules of this space.”
After this not-so-brief interlude, the anti-science woman explained why she found western methods of thought so oppressive. “It is saying that it was Newton and only Newton who knew or saw of an apple falling and then out of nowhere decided that gravity existed and created an equation, and that is it!” She complained that “whether people knew Newton or not, or whether whatever happens in western Africa, northern Africa, the thing is the only way to explain gravity is through Newton.”
She emphatically rejected science because “Western knowledge is totalizing.” In other words, when a European discovered a natural law that applies throughout the Earth, that itself was an act of colonization, because it assumed that natural laws operate the same everywhere, not just in Europe.
So, this student is rejecting science and the theory of gravity merely because it was a European who discovered it. Instead, she prefers what she admits to be “black magic” or “witchcraft” merely because it is African.
Next Page: How much science must we reject to “decolonize” knowledge? Does Obama believe this?
“We are going to decolonize by having knowledge that is produced by us, that speaks to us, and that is able to accommodate to knowledge from our perspective,” the student declared triumphantly. “So if you’re saying that you disagree with her approach it means that you are vested in the western and Eurocentric way of understanding which means you yourself still need to go back internally.”
Scarily, she added: “Decolonize your mind.”
Overlooking the tremendous advances in science and technology which came from Western knowledge, she declared, “Western knowledge is very pathetic to say the least.”
“Decolonizing the science would mean doing away with it entirely and starting all over again,” she frankly admitted.
It is unclear what she means by “starting all over again,” since there are many arguable origins of science. Does she want to return to the Greek philosophy which formed the bedrock ideas questioning the nature of reality, or the medieval Christian ideas which identified God as the creator of the universe and man in His image and therefore able to understand how the universe works, or the heliocentric revolution which rejected the idea that the sun revolves around the Earth?
Just how much of the knowledge — hard won through centuries of questions, arguments, and experiments — should be entirely jettisoned merely due to the fact these scientists lived in Europe as opposed to Africa?
The idea of decolonization — rejecting negative influences from the over-emphasized legacy of European colonialism — is not in itself bad, but it should not throw out the baby with the soiled bathwater. Europeans did abuse their power in other countries, but their ideas ushered in a kind of human flourishing unimaginable to previous generations. Cars, planes, computers, the Internet — all of this and more came from Western knowledge.
But here’s the key — just because these things were developed from ideas discovered in Europe and North America does not mean their benefits are limited to Europeans or Westerners. If science is true, the technology which it enables should work for all people, and if Western ideas are true, they should be accessible by and helpful to all people. Indeed, this turns out to be the case, and Western ideas and technology have made the entire world a better place, spreading a new kind of flourishing.
Yes, this woman is only a student in South Africa, but decolonization is a liberal ideology spreading across the world. Dinesh D’Souza convincingly argued that decolonization forms the bedrock of Barack Obama’s view of the world, and that explains why the current president seems to favor a less aggressive, more apologetic America.
Barack Obama himself will not likely reject science in favor of magic any time soon, but if D’Souza is correct about Obama’s worldview, this is a logical position for him to take. Just because it’s logical doesn’t make it any less insane.
Watch the terrifying video on the next page.