In 1920 all of Africa was under eight flags. It is now subject to no less than forty governments. French Indochina broke up into four states, British India into three or four. 6 In this respect decolonization was a recessive movement, in contradiction to a great many ideas and ideals professed by the American left. A great many other features of decolonization were also antiprogressive and recessive. Before we deal with the desirability of the Westernization inaugurated by the European powers, we have to ask the preliminary question whether the Afro-Asians wanted to be Westernized: a legitimate question because nations should decide whether they really like to be subjected to a specific evolutionary process.
Talking in Africa to evolues, highly critical of “colonialism,” I very often asked pointblank whether they would have considered it preferable if, 200 years ago, we Europeans had put a cordon sanitaire around Africa, leaving it to its own evolution unaided by the immense knowledge and experience we had acquired and accumulated-at great cost, at great pains, in the last three thousand years. A few extreme nationalists explained to me with profound conviction that, left to their own devices, they would have achieved the same inventions, the same improvements, the same advances, but the vast majority, less possessed by brazen optimism, were usually put on the spot. A few even admitted that in all likelihood they would not even exist, since the substantial decrease in mortality and the phenomenal increase in population were gifts of the medical services introduced by the Europeans. The unqualified “yes” to European civilization was, to be true, not always followed by the same enthusiastic assent for European culture. In most of the “emerging nations” the belief exists that one might opt for one and not the other, but this is true only to a very limited extent. One can, for instance, ride a bicycle half or three-quarters naked, one can read Plato (though not in Linguala!) and eat couscous, one can use the most modern automatic rifle and, at the same time, practice cannibalism which might be defined as “nutritional democracy.” There are, however, certain limits to these arbitrary selections from what, as Arthur Koestler pointed out, in reality are package deals.
Erik Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (1974)