F. Roger Devlin, American Renaissance, May 31, 2013

Reissue of classic work on Haiti now available through AR.

H. Hesketh-Prichard, Where Black Rules White: A Journey Through and About Hayti, Wermod and Wermod Publishing Group, 2013, 223+lxviii pages, $34.95 (hardcover), with a new introduction and annotations by Alex Kurtagic

Victorian adventurer Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard’s account of his 1899 visit to Haiti was reviewedhere a year ago by Thomas Jackson, but we wish to call attention to this new deluxe reprint, which includes a 60-page introduction and 78 explanatory footnotes by AR contributor and 2012 conference speaker Alex Kurtagic.


Haiti began as the French colony of Saint-Domingue, “the Jewel of the Antilles,” exporting coffee, sugar, tobacco and indigo. By the 1780s, writes Mr. Kurtagic, 40 percent of all sugar and 60 percent of all coffee consumed in Europe came from Saint-Domingue, more than from all the British West Indian colonies combined. One small alluvial plain north of Port-au-Prince, 27 miles by 24 miles, was said to have the most fertile soil in the world, producing 20,000,000 francs in revenue (equal to about 90,000 ounces of gold) every year.

Yet the colony had one ominous weakness: an overwhelming dependence on African slave labor. During the later part of the 18th century, annual slave importation rose from 10 or 15 thousand to 40 thousand, with a total of some 1,000,000 brought in over the colony’s history. Mortality must have been high, however, for on the eve of the French Revolution, blacks numbered only about half a million. The remainder of the population consisted of some 25,000 free “coloreds” (mixed race) and between 28,000 and 39,000 whites. This meant life in the colony revolved around fear: the slaves’ fear of their masters and the masters’ fear of their slaves.


Slave rebellion of 1791.

When the revolution broke out in 1789, the slogan of liberty, equality and fraternity insinuated itself into the African mind. Mr. Kurtagic notes that this led to “uprisings, riots, slaughter and destruction. Blacks and Mulattoes targeted the Whites, committing acts of unspeakable cruelty not unlike what we have seen in Black-ruled Zimbabwe and South Africa.” The whole ghastly story, complete with the various forms of torture employed upon the helpless whites, is recounted by Lothrop Stoddard in The French Revolution in San Domingo (also available through AR).

Napoleon briefly regained control, but his announcement of the reintroduction of slavery provoked another revolt. The black leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti an independent republic in 1804, and between January and March of 1805 his government systematically exterminated all surviving whites.

Mural of Dessalines in Port-au-Prince.

Mural of Dessalines in Port-au-Prince.

Since that time, Haiti has been governed much like the modern West African nations from which its population was taken: repeated coups and attempted coups, with each succeeding government resembling the last in venality and indifference to the public good.

When Hesketh-Prichard visited in 1899, the ruins of French plantations were still visible, though they were rapidly being reclaimed by the jungle. Cap-Haitien, the onetime “little Paris  . . . the center of luxury and fashion,” lay in ruins. A small black-man’s city of ramshackle wooden huts lay amid the sprawling stone ruins like “a sparrow’s egg in an abandoned eagle’s nest.” The plain which had been so prodigiously fertile in the days of French rule now produced “not a red cent;” cultivation had been abandoned, and its black inhabitants were content to enjoy the mangoes that still grew from the now-wild vegetation.

Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard

Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard

The best Haitians were of the poorer classes, especially those in the rural districts. Hesketh-Prichard found them impeccably polite and generous with the pitifully little they had. But these simple, good-natured people bore the twin weight of degrading superstition and a parasitical official class.

Voodoo, the real religion of Haiti, was a combination of ecstatic dancing, animal- and occasional child-sacrifice, and the multifarious poisoning techniques of a class of voodoo priests known as “papalois.” Hesketh-Prichard’s one proposal for social reform was the physical elimination of this class.

Artistic rendering of Haitian voodoo ceremony.

Artistic rendering of Haitian voodoo ceremony.

The Haitian army had more officers than enlisted men. Hesketh-Prichard claimed with only slight exaggeration that every third person he met in the country was a general. In rural districts local authority was exercised by such generals. They were often unpaid by the government and had to get their living by preying upon the people under their authority. The highest ambition of the common man was to be appointed general—which rarely required having to rise through lower ranks.

Urban areas enjoyed the protection of a police force armed with iron-tipped clubs called “coco macaques.” These men received no salary, but got a small sum for each person they arrested. When hungry, they could be observed arresting passers-by to collect enough for a meal. Conditions in the prisons were horrifying, and the prisoners were not fed. Escape “seemed to be childishly easy,” but the men did not have the enterprise to attempt it.

Readers may consult Thomas Jackson’s review for a more detailed account of Hesketh-Prichard’s observations.

As Mr. Kurtagic writes in his introduction, Haiti has deteriorated since Hesketh-Prichard’s visit. The jungle has been nearly all cut down, causing the erosion of most of Haiti’s fertile soil. A large percentage of public services are provided only by international aid agencies. More than two-thirds of the labor force have no formal employment. At present, 9,000 UN troops are struggling for control against a variety of criminal gangs.

UN "peacekeepers" on patrol in Haiti in 2012.

UN “peacekeepers” on patrol in Haiti in 2012.

For me, the highlight of this new edition is the last section of the introduction, in which Mr. Kurtagic skewers the notion of “development.” As he observes, this idea derives from a specifically modern, Western ideology of progress, whose origins can be found in European thinkers such as Locke, Kant and Adam Ferguson. Development theorists believe that all countries are destined to become modern, secular, industrial, and democratic. Yet such an ideal presupposes a population that is, if not European, at least shares certain important traits with Europeans, such as intelligence, industriousness, conscientiousness, and impulse control.

West Africans, whether in West Africa or Haiti, want the comforts and conveniences of the Western economic model, but are not committed to the attitudes and behavior necessary to sustain that model. Attempts by the white man to impose “development” on such people are doomed, because they do not take into account the character of the local population.

Hesketh-Prichard is one of a long train of observers who have described West Africans as gregarious, boastful, lazy, excitable, aggressive, spontaneous, warm and relaxed. These qualities can be explained with reference to three largely heritable, essentially racial, traits: low intelligence, low conscientiousness, and high testosterone levels. Africans in their turn view whites as uptight (a term that originated among American blacks), shy, weak, cold, boring, narcissistically self-analytical, and obsessed with counting—also racial traits.

Therefore, it is normal for West Africans and Europeans to build very different kinds of societies. As for “aid” to countries like Haiti, as Mr. Kurtagic notes, “rather than persist in throwing ever more resources into a counter-productive effort to impose Westernization on non-Western peoples, Western intellectuals and politicians need to be thinking in terms of the de-Westernization of Europe’s former colonies; they need to accept that ‘development’ is not the solution, but the problem.”

Haitian flea market.

Haitian flea market.

Foreign aid creates unhealthy dependency and encourages reckless procreation that requires ever-higher levels of aid. Haitians would be better served by a simple economy based on herding, subsistence farming, and traditional arts and crafts. This would keep the population within sustainable bounds and, if Hesketh-Prichard’s observations of the rural poor are to be trusted, might even bring out the best in their African nature.



dogbone: This is what is in store for white North Americans and White Europeans


Spartacus: Stop sending them food,medicine, or any other kind of aid, and they’ll die off. It’s really that simple, no race war needed.

reply Big blue 11: The USA will just tax us more and send them more money, food stamps, and section 8 housing. Then we will die off, that is what is going on now.

reply AutomaticSlim: Yes! And that goes double for the blacks and mestizos here in the US. End all Great Society programs and unconstitutional laws passed since 1964.


Jefferson: The Blacks in the neighboring Dominican Republic on average have more Caucasian blood in them than the Blacks in Haiti, that would explain why the DR is slightly less poor than Haiti.

reply a multicultural individual:  Have you ever seen a respectable attempt to tease out any correlations between admixture and GDP (or any other measure of societal development)?

reply KevinPhillipsBong: Why would any “respectable” person endanger their career and social standing by undertaking such a thankless task?

reply a multicultural individual: I am dreaming of course. I wish more tenured realists would stand up.

reply Tamara Blitzer: China and India have a higher GDP than many white western nations. Are you indicating that they are thus genetically superior?

reply Bobbala: Insects are said to be extremely successful biologically. Do you want to be one?

reply a multicultural individual: No. I do not think that races are “superior” or “inferior” to each other. That is not how biology works. If athleticism is used as the gauge for “superior” then Blacks would be superior. If intelligence is being used as the gauge for “superior” then Ashkenazis and East Asians would be superior. The organisms are suited to the environment in which they evolved. Environmental displacement often produces difficulties for such organisms. Your question is very useful for revealing the inconsistent thinking in the minds of the, “Our group is #1 at everything” people.

reply Funruffian: As far as athletics I think you are making a broad and erroneous generalization. Blacks excel in sports that require foot speed and jumping. However, the best quarterbacks, pitchers, kickers and golfers were and are predominantly White. As far as intelligence is concerned, European Caucasians have produced the highest amount of geniuses per click than East Asians and Ashkenazis.

reply Kaboose Fmentalor: For Eastern European Jews, they have clearly produced more geniuses per capita than any other European sub group. They are the end result of a very conscious, deliberate breeding program that lasted well over fifteen hundred years. They did not make their most intelligent men and women cleibates, but married them to each other. Wealth was prized, agriculture despised, and they practiced on each other. When the restrictions against them were abolished, it was like putting Mohammed Ali in the ring ring with Lilian Gish. Those not good enough to win in Europe came to the US, and are now part of its ruling class.




pcmustgo: Black Rudeness, mean-spiritedness and nastiness alone is a serious issue… that alone makes them awful and unbearable to be around…

Ashkenazi intelligence admirable, black intelligence not so (but that is not and never has been the problem. It is their propensity for impulsive violence that has always been the issue).


Rooinek: Poor Blacks in Africa are polite and soft spoken. Especially the women who seem to do the bulk of the bread winning. It is the young men who have the means: well fed, part of a cohort of young black allies, access to weapons, that go bad fast – starting with loud talk and self-importance.

My abnormal psych prof observed that if you locked up all men between puberty and thirty you’d cut crime (he meant contact crime and burglary, not white collar crime) down to near zero. Honestly, if you locked up North American blacks and latinos you’d drop crime to 1950s levels.

In a way isn’t that what we are trying to do? Didn’t I read some years back that 70% of black men in the DC area between puberty and 40 were in the system: awaiting trial, in prison, or on parole.

If you could just eliminate the means: welfare. Once when families had a crisis they went to their church or a charity for food and clothes to bridge the gap until they had work again.


rooinek: I have a friend who grew up in the mid-west. When his parents farmhouse burnt-down a local volunteer committee found a place for his large family to live while the embers were still hot … and the next day started planning the new house that they built them, with volunteer labour.

That is a sort of old fashioned insurance policy. The neighbours would have done the same for anyone in their community who was not a free-rider.

Welfare is like throwing sugar on an agar plate of bacteria. It wasn’t meant to support three successive generations: I didn’t look up any statistics on that. I am describing a family that went to my high-school.







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