What Avi said about the “Why don’t X produce Y” questions that clueless privileged people ask about the horribly disadvantaged. This is in context of Israel’s current enthusiastic killing of Palestinians, but with minor modifications, it applies to just about every sort of people who have a hard time producing the kinds of artists and intellectuals and so forth that we so admire:
I remember Dawkins and other atheists asking question once. Why does Israel produce so many people who are smart and productive while Palestinians do not.
And to that I have a simple answer.
There are no mathematics lessons in a fox hole.
Why is it that people who live in societies and bits of societies where they are largely (or completely) not forced to divert all of their physical and intellectual resources to mere survival so surprised that people not similarly advantaged can’t produce what the advantaged can produce? It’s like some jackass growing a garden in rich, rockless loam marveling that their neighbor can’t grow prize-winning zucchini on a cracked concrete slab.
That’s just the sad coda to a tragic post about a horrific situation. Read the whole thing. And then consider a donation to Médecins Sans Frontières. Facing inhumanity with humanity seems the only thing to do…
And yes, I know the United States not only supports Israel so that it can bomb children on beaches, but does quite a lot of bombing children on its own. And no, I don’t approve when we do it, either.