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With all the talk on the blogosphere of late regarding overrated philosophers, I wanted to post a nice, terse, succinct quote from Sartre – who some (not Harman) are placing in the running for most overrated philosopher – regarding colonialism; just to remind people of the breadth of his work. It’s this type of work from Sartre that is often unnoticed, but that should be taken into consideration when deciphering his legacy as a philosopher. He was oh-so-much-more than “existence precedes essence” (although I happen to agree with him there as well):

Nothing demonstrates better the increasing rigour of the colonial system: you begin by occupying the country, then you take the land and exploit the former owners at starvation rates. Then, with mechanization, this cheap labour is still too expensive; you finish up taking from the natives their very right to work. All that is left for the [colonized] to do, in their own land, at a time of great prosperity, is to die of starvation.

This quote is taken from his little-known essay “Colonialism is a System.” Good stuff…

BTW, both Michael Burns and Levi concur regarding my sentiments about Sartre.

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