Japanese Don’t Loot
|More news stories on Japan|
Jared Taylor, Special to AR News, March 14, 2011
The media are cautiously beginning to note that the earthquake/tsunami in Japan has not resulted in a single reported case of looting or even disorderly behavior. Dazed residents have gone back to smashed houses to salvage what they can, but no one worries about thieves. Thousands of homeless line up quietly and politely as they wait for emergency food and water.
The contrast with what happened after the Haiti earthquake last January or Hurricane Katrina in 2005 could not be more stark. In both cases, there was an almost immediate descent into savagery, with police officers joining in the looting. In New Orleans, evacuation centers became nightmares of violence and lawlessness, and the National Guard had to carry weapons on relief missions. In Haiti, tent cities for the quake victims became scenes of mass rape.
The next news story for today quotes two American “experts” on why the Japanese are so well behaved. Gregory Pflugfelder of Columbia University says it is because, unlike Americans, Japanese are not individualistic and care about the group. Merry White of Boston University says Americans loot and riot because of frustration over “alienation and class gaps.”
Wrong. Incapable, as usual, of considering race, they cannot see that the greatest advantage the Japanese have is that they are not black. It is impossible—and I mean impossible—to imagine any black population anywhere in the world behaving like the Japanese.
It is not just blacks. What if a catastrophe struck in Mexico or Indonesia or India or Egypt or Colombia? There would be widespread looting. Native relief agencies would make huge profits selling donated supplies rather than giving them away. Americans or Europeans who showed up with trucks of food would be mobbed. Human vileness would make the calamity vastly worse for the survivors.
Prof. White says the real question is why Americans loot, not why the Japanese don’t. Wrong again. Virtually all people loot if the forces of order are knocked out, and it has nothing to do with “individualism” or “alienation and class gaps.” That is their nature.
The “experts” are also wrong to talk about “Americans” as if there were only one kind. Everyone knows that if the lights go out there will be trouble in Detroit but not in Portland, and everyone knows why: Detroit is black and Portland is white. There would be trouble in Los Angeles, too. After the verdict in the Rodney King beating case, just as many Hispanics as blacks rioted.
Would an all-white population behave exactly like the Japanese? There might be a bit of looting and profiteering, but not much. Most whites would help their neighbors, stand in line, wait their turn. And they would probably deal harshly with looters.
Before they accepted millions of non-white immigrants, Northern Europeans would have behaved much like the Japanese. Swedes, Scots, Dutchmen, Germans, Danes—wherever they are still undiluted by immigrants they can be counted on to show courage, restraint, and dignity.
But again, these peoples are exceptions. They are exceptions for reasons that are largely genetic but also cultural. Whites and north Asians have high average IQs, but also what could be called an “average personality” that is less psychopathic, more disciplined, more public spirited. We see this in every aspect of the societies they build, not just in how they respond to tragedy. Their societies have little crime, illegitimacy, littering, or graffiti. They have high levels of public order, trust, and courtesy.
Only a few populations are capable of building such societies, and they are vastly superior to all others. That, of course, is why so many people from failed societies want to immigrate, but when they come in sufficient numbers they destroy what they came to find.
Things would have been far different in Japan if the country had admitted large numbers of, say, Malays or Pakistanis. So far, Japan has wisely limited Third-World immigration, and can face a catastrophe with the conviction that all Japanese are united both in suffering and in the struggle to rebuild. Japan is far better prepared to face calamity than America or Europe because Japan has had the wisdom to remain Japanese.
Japanese stand in line in front of a convenience store.
(Posted on March 14, 2011)
CNN, March 12, 2011
The layer of human turmoil—looting and scuffles for food or services—that often comes in the wake of disaster seems noticeably absent in Japan.
“Looting simply does not take place in Japan. I’m not even sure if there’s a word for it that is as clear in its implications as when we hear ‘looting,’” said Gregory Pflugfelder, director of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University.
To Merry White, an anthropology professor at Boston University who studies Japanese culture , the real question is why looting and disorder exist in American society. She attributes it largely to social alienation and class gaps.
“There IS some alienation and indeed some class gaps in Japan too but violence, and taking what belongs to others, are simply not culturally approved or supported,” White said in an e-mail.
The orderly lines that formed when the subway reopened around midnight also made an impression on Pflugfelder.
“Such social order and discipline are so enforced in ordinary times that I think it’s very easy for Japanese to kind of continue in the manner that they’re accustomed to, even under an emergency.”
The communitarian spirit at the foundation of Japanese culture seems to function even more efficiently under the stress of disaster, he said.
The natural American inclination is to operate independently.
“So you do everything you can to protect your own interests with the understanding that, in a rather free-market way, everybody else is going to do the same. And that order will come out of this sort of invisible hand.
“And Japanese don’t function that way. Order is seen as coming from the group and from the community as a sort of evening out of various individual needs.”