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By Luc Loranhe (2005)
Look what the US and Canada are doing in the Third World. Around the globe, they are siphoning off the best and the brightest.
The best and the brightest in almost any academic subject (except, maybe sociology… as these may be leftists) and in almost every country (maybe not so much any more from Islamic countries) are happily invited to emigrate to the US and Canada. Just apply at the nearest US or Canadian embassy and prove your brains.
But not only are the brightest siphoned off around the world: those who have a talent for making money also can easily become residents in the US and Canada. Now, that talent, you prove not with textbooks but with checkbooks. Offer to invest between half a million dollar and two million dollar in either the US or Canada, and your residence permit is issued on the fast track.
Rich countries woo highly skilled migrants
Sure, young scientific and technical talents have a great incentive to migrate to North America. Better salaries. And businessmen who made a lot of money in the Third World consider it social climbing to migrate to North America.
But how can Third World countries stop, or even revert, the brain and capital drain?
Not by calling on the patriotism of those who have a choice between staying and leaving.
To stop the brain and capital drain, und to possibly even revert it (enticing the talented and the rich to relocate to a Third World country), a strong incentive is needed.
Not higher salaries and more luxuries. In this respect, the Third World cannot compete with North America or Europe. But who needs riches and luxury when personal relationships are romantic and satisfying?
The US is hypocritical, prudish, and bigot. Even though the US likes to think of itself as the “Land of the Free”, on a very practical scale, it restricts the personal, and sexual, freedom of many of its inhabitants to a larger extent than do or did many Third World countries. Religious fundamentalism in North America has long achieved a high degree of psychological self-castration among North Americans. And those who do not accept de-sexualisation have long been looking at other countries as alternatives.
Before the governments of Third World countries came under the influence of US moral imperialism (practiced by the NGOs of Christian missionaries and feminazis), there were fewer sexual restrictions in most non-Islamic Third World countries than in North America or Europe. Actually, many Third World governments didn't concern themselves with regulating the sexual conduct of the people they ruled.
A higher degree of sexual freedom is the one advantage that many Third World countries have had until not so long ago, or still have. Preserving, or restoring, this edge can cause a pronounced migratory trend.
I do want to cite Thailand and Indonesian Bali as examples. There has long been a trend for Western men to settle in Thailand, and to bring in much of their wealth, simply because of the sexual lifestyle Thailand allowed.
Likewise, Bali has been a relocation destination for Westerners (men and women; many artists) long before mass tourism arrived.
I do not mean that every Third World countries should copy Thailand. And I do not claim that the Thai governments over the past decades always did the right thing. Actually, most of the time, they didn't do anything. Sexuality just wasn't regulated, neither by the government, nor by religions. And the result has been that quite possibly, no other country has as free a sexual order as Thailand traditionally has. And mind you: I am not talking prostitution.
Until now, many Thai couples do not register a marriage. To register marriages was uncommon until a few years ago. There is no requirement to register marriages, and such “marriages” are dissolved just by separating. Even official marriages and official divorces until now just are a matter of a few minutes at the Amphoe (District) office. A registered marriage can just be deregistered by any party to it. No court ruling is needed. And there is no discrimination whatsoever against men and women who do not stay in a sexual relationship.
Thailand is one of the least racist societies I know. Though many young Thai women prefer Thai men, Thais who enter sexual relationships with foreigners are not stigmatized at all. It is, therefore, no surprise that so many Westerners have settled in Thailand. And they have contributed substantially to Thailand's economic development.
Thailand doesn't have a brain drain problem, and not even a capital drain problem. Few Thais think that it would be better to live in another country. And many, indeed many, foreigners think that it is better to live in Thailand than their home country. Sexual freedom is the most important aspect.
Not that Western cultural imperialism wouldn't have made inroads. Thailand has never aggressively defended its high degree of personal and sexual freedom as being philosophically and politically correct. And during periods of democracy, Thailand has even been accommodating to Western anti-sexual campaigners.
I have pointed out in several articles that democracy, especially direct US-style democracy, as well as the so-called “freedom of the press”, almost always is counterproductive to personal and sexual freedom.
Authoritarian rule quite possibly is in a better position to preserve the sexual freedom of a country's citizens than is democratic rule.
One reason is that authoritarian rulers seldom concern themselves with the sexual lifestyle of a country's population. Another reason lies in the fact that authoritarian rulers, whether of an elitist party or a military junta, de-emotionalize a society by keeping the media under control.
Authoritarian governments also have a track record of providing much better public security than democratic governments. And a safe environment is conducive to sexual freedom (the less safe a society, the more will people encapsulate themselves in long-term monogamous relationships, even if this means sexual dissatidsfaction).
My assumptions, though they make theoretical sense, are not only theoretical. I lived in the Philippines before and after Marcos, and in Indonesia before and after Suharto. Anti-sexual legislation, and sexual repression, always came after the fall of the dictatorships, when democracy was established. And I know the same of Iran, even though I did not experience personally the fall of the Shah and the democracy of Khomeini.
Yes, other personal freedoms are restricted in dictatorships. But other freedoms are not as important as sexual freedom.
Even though Thailand is, at the time of this writing, de facto under military rule, and even though the military coup, by many indications, has done Thailand good, the world public opinion doesn't see military governments as legitimate.
This is unfortunate because a country's military can have the same effect as a strong constitution: guard a society against the bad government that often results when a majority of uneducated people vote a populist but bad government into power. In Algeria, the military has protected civil liberties from Islamic democracy, and in Turkey, the military has repeatedly rescued the country from internal chaos.
The ultimate legitimacy of a government is not that it has been publicly elected. The ultimate legitimacy is whether or not it provides good government: whether it can make a society safe; whether it can provide a framework for sufficient prosperity, and, if necessary, economic development; whether it protects the minds of the people from religious lunatics; whether it can keep down ethnic violence and racial turmoil, both easily exploited by democratic politicians; whether it wants to grant a country's people personal freedom, including sexual freedom; and yes, whether it can create conditions that stop, or revert, the brain drain of which so many Third World countries suffer.
All of this does not depend on how a country's government came to power, whether through a democratic election or through a coup d'état. Rather, it depends on the leadership qualities, and the dedication, of those in power.
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Copyright Luc Loranhe