An article series based on Dr E. Michael Jones’ keynote address in the UNIV local chapter 2021. The recording may be accessed here.
What is the difference between Germany and Tanzania? You might tell me: the former is a first-world country, the latter from the third-world. In which case I will make the question clearer: what is the difference between the diocese of Würzburg in Germany and the diocese of Embinga in Tanzania?
You may not know, but the difference is 1000 years of Christianity. The diocese of Würzburg was founded in 737. The diocese of Embinga was established in 1987.
Could those 1000 years difference perhaps help explain why Germany can manufacture a BMW, while Tanzania cannot? Or why Africa is poor while Europe is rich? Dr. Michael Jones says yes.
Polygamy and tractors
Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president is said to have asked his brother why he had so many wives. This brother happened to have seven wives; Nyerere was a Catholic and so had one wife. The answer was that he needed them to work on the farm. Nyerere’s sensible reply was, “buy a tractor”.
Polygamy, according to Michael Jones, was the biggest obstacle to Africa’s development in the 2oth century. Work on the farm depended on polygamy: it was women and the children who worked. The effect was Africa failed to organize labour optimally. How did Germany, or indeed the West, do it?
The answer is the Benedictine monks. With the fall of the Roman empire under Germanic barbaric troops, the Catholic Church’s response was the monasteries. These were the single civilizing force. Ora et labore, pray and work, was the motto of the Benedictines. They taught the Germanic peoples to how to work, and importantly how to pray as well. Here you have the reason why Germany has one of the most skilled labour forces in the world and why Germans are rich.
The Benedictines are the missing link!
“ But what is the missing link between polygamy and tractors?” Dr. Jones asks. He answers, “ Logos”. Simply put, logos in this sense refers to the order of the universe. If you know the order of things you will use them well, but if you don’t… The Benedictines taught the Germans the order of work and prayer.
But the effect the Benedictines had did not stop at good work. It went far beyond. Historians, truthful historians mark you, trace the birth of the European culture to the monks who joined the Order that great St. Benedict founded.
Back to the broken pump
In the 1960s, on a trip to New York to give a lecture at the United Nations headquarters, Julius Nyerere paid a visit to the headquarters of the Maryknoll missionaries. He said he needed them no longer. And that, if they wanted to keep preaching to the Tanzanian people, they had to agree to live under Ujamaa socialism. Which meant “practically that they would have to spend two hours each day foraging for firewood and then walking into a muddy puddle full of bilharzia to obtain water.”
The missionaries left. Would there be Europe had the Benedictines abandoned the Germanic nations 30 years after setting camp? This explains why Tanzania is poor, according to Dr. Michael Jones.
And that is also the reason why the pump has not been fixed since. The pump we happen to be speaking about was installed by one Maryknoll priest, Fr. Willie. Dr. Michael met this priest in the USA, he was 94 years then. Dr. Michael told him that the pump had installed was broken and left unfixed. Fr. Willie replied that if he were there, he would fix it.
When Nyerere told his brother to buy a tractor, he had logos. He got the order of things right. When he thought up Ujamaa socialism and implemented it, he divorced logos. He got things terribly wrong. If you do not believe this, consider that in East Africa, Tanzania lags behind. But not for too long. Courtesy of the late President Magufuli, the country may soon leapfrog even Kenya economically, if the bar is kept high.
Who knows may be the pump has been fixed already.