Kipling: And Current Events

English: Three-quarter length portrait of Rudy...

English: Three-quarter length portrait of Rudyard Kipling, photographic postcard, by Bourne & Shepherd. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Take up the White Man’s burden
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper–
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Have done with childish days–
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!


Rudyard Kipling wrote this poem in 1899 to welcome the United States to the ranks of the imperialist powers after we defeated the Spanish and took over the Philippines. All my life I have been told that it is racist and terribly politically incorrect. Politically incorrect it is, to me that is a feature because if it was politically correct it would be a lie but, racist maybe we should talk about because, like so many things, I think we need to reevaluate..


In the ancient world there were empires. They ranged from the Egypt of the Pharaohs, to the Sassanids, the Babylonians, the Chinese, the Persians, and the rest. Then came the Greeks and the Phoenicians. All were based in the last analysis on slavery, and on serfdom, you were what you were born to be.


Then came Rome. It was a little different because no matter who or what you were it was barely possible to rise to become a citizen. Remember how we learned that the proudest boast of the ancient world was Civis Romanus Sum? One of the ways to get that citizenship was 20 years enlistment in the Army, which also kept you fed, paid (sometimes in salt which it is said, which was worth it’s weight in gold) and if you lived paid you a pension as well. Best deal there was in the ancient world. In the middle of this, in the middle east, Christ was born, lived, was crucified, and resurrected. Within just a few years of that event Rome received its first check from the Germanic barbarians. “The Way” spread widely from Spain to China and the Arctic to below the equator.


Right about the time that Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire, Mohammed was born and while Christianity has always looked to the betterment of men here and in the next life, Islam has always been about conquest and enslavement. Thus was set up the conflict that would occupy the next fifteen centuries. Islam spread rapidly over the middle east, Africa, southern and southwestern Asia, and hit its high water marks in Southern France and at the Gates of Vienna. And then it subsided as western Civilization rose.


First the Italian and Spanish navigators trained by Prince Henry of Portugal (who was John of Gaunt’s grandson) decided to find a way around Islam to carry on the spice trade with India and China, only to find a new continent blocking them. At the same time the English were picking up the quest started centuries earlier by the Vikings and starting to break out of Europe, hoping to find the Northwest passage to Asia but like the Iberians finding their way blocked and founding colonies as well. Thus was set up the climatic battle between Spain and England, in truth it mostly had other more overt causes but the real results happened in the new world.


After the Armada, Spain found itself hemmed in to the north in the New World by the English colonies in North America. And then, in the worst possible development for Spain those colonies won their independence and turned into an assertive and brash new republic, inspiring most of New Spain to follow suit. Thus ended The Spanish Empire as a real empire, remnants like Cuba and the Philippine would live on until 1898 but the real empire ended as South America broke away with democratic ideal but insufficient education to make it work very well.


And so those remnants fell into the lap of the United States in 1898 and Rudyard Kipling sent his greeting to us as we joined the club. And ever since it’s been considered racist. But is it?


Because the sketchiest overview of world history shows something very odd. When the Europeans and the North Americans descended from them, and more specifically the Northern Europeans, especially the English, and the Americans take charge, human life gets better for everyone, people eat better, live longer, have more personal freedom and nearly any other measure you would care to use. If you would have an extreme report, study the lives of women. But study any group you like, where the British and Americans are, life is better by any objective measure. And never forget either, that chattel slavery in the west ended only because of the Anglo-Americans, In the Middle east and Africa it has never ended. Kipling nailed the cause, our people have been willing to


Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.


And our pay has been to be insulted and swindled, tortured and murdered. And finally it seems as if our people have had enough. For the first time since the Armada in 1588 neither the British nor the Americans are leading the free world. In truth, no one is because who else is there? And what is happening in the world that we have abandoned?


You know as well as I. Moslems are killing everyone in sight except those they wish to keep for slaves. North Korea and soon Iran will be threatening with (and likely using) nuclear weapons, if they manage to detonate an EMP weapon, the civilized west will regress a 100 years in an instant without a population that has the skills to survive in that much harsher environment.


And this is what our Progressive politicians with their anti-western/anti-colonialist rhetoric have been promoting for the last century. Anybody who read history could see what they were promoting, but our people have become lazy, and didn’t want to look, they wanted an easy life, where they could sell a little freedom for a lot of security. They shall (as always) have neither. For if you sow the wind; ye shall reap the whirlwind.


But, what of the future? Well, who knows, until early 2017 the United States has a President who doesn’t believe in the mission, and so is unlikely to pick up the mantle he threw away in disgust, is there anyone else? China is still an autocratic empire, which is what Russia aspires to. Europe is bled out from the civil wars of the twentieth century and slowly dying, and Canada and Australia have never learned how to lead. These are the developed countries that have some sort of vision of themselves and the world.


The mideast continues to be the cockpit of the various flavors of Islam battling amongst themselves for control but willing enough to unite to oppose anybody else. Anybody who expects anything like humane leadership from these satrapies is most likely delusional, and Africa is what Africa has always been, except for a brief period in the nineteenth century, a dog’s breakfast of dueling tribes and chieftains.


May God Help Us All


About Neo
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

2 Responses to Kipling: And Current Events

  1. Pingback: Kipling: And Current Events « The Constitution Club

  2. Pingback: Poetry Month – Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din” | Romancing the Bee

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