Sunday, December 02, 2007

"Inspector Clay's dead -- murdered -- and no one is responsible"

Austin Bay writes about the man-made catastrophe in Zimbabwe at the Strategy Page. Zimbabwe is a perfect example of one of those tragedies that "just happen". Every bad thing in Chile might be the fault of capitalism; every misdeed in 1950s Cuba can be laid at the feet of US imperialism; and hurricanes in America are provably caused by Halliburton. But in socialist wrecks -- and every single socialist country on earth is a wreck without exception -- things "just happen".

Occasionally some noises are made about how Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il and even Fidel Castro have "betrayed the revolution". They made some deviationist, commandist or personalist error -- leftist literature is full of istic errors -- and ruined what was otherwise destined to become paradise on earth. Nobody ever argues that the revolution itself has been at fault; and that far from having "betrayed the revolution" these men have actually fulfilled its purposes. So things "just happen"; the horrors that have descended on Zimbabwe, North Korea and Cuba are likened to natural disasters in the way Hurricane Katrina never could have become. It becomes the "humanitarian duty" of the world, most particularly the US taxpayer, to bail them out. Any suggestion to let socialism lie in its own bed is met with indignation at the vileness of "using food as a weapon".

Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry. Or if you prefer another movie, like Plan 9 From Outer Space, we can rewrite a classic line and say with absolute conviction that "Inspector Clay's dead -- murdered -- and no one is responsible."


Blogger F said...

In 1970 I was assigned to Malawi, a small country north of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). My second daughter would have been born in Rhodesia (because the medical facilities in Malawi were considered insufficient) had she not arrived very fast and two months early. Rhodesia was branded by the international press as a pariah (along with South Africa) but was, in fact, a very comfortable one, both for the ruling elites and the poor workers who stayed in the country and found plenty of work there. Malawi men, on the other hand, went in large numbers to South Africa to work in the mines, as did men from other countries in southern Africa.

Now Zimbabwe is impoverished, people are fleeing as fast as they can, and the future is bleak beyond belief unless one happens to be in the very small ruling elite. But it is no longer a pariah state, if you listen to the usual opinion-molders, and news from Zimbabwe barely makes it into the US press.

I would be hard pressed to say there is a conspiracy of silence on the part of the press, but I will say that the press ignores material that would in other circumstances be newsworthy. And when they do so people suffer horribly. The deep cleaning of publicity's bright light does not take place with Zimbabwe (or Cuba, or Venezuela, etc., etc.) and it is easy to believe in press complicity, but the truth is probably that it's not as much fun for journalists to gore Mugabe as it is to gore Bush. Pity, really, for the poor Zimbabweans who can't find work or food at home and are being chased back across the border when they try to enter a neighboring country. (Where are the journalists who write tongue-clucking pieces about Latinos being denied their basic rights when they're deported from the US?)

This, though, is journalism's double standard: several mistreated prisoners in Arizona will trump a hundred thousand refugees fleeing Zimbabwe. I couldn't be a journalist and live with that equation. F

12/02/2007 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

A recent report in the Economist reported unemployment in Zimbabwe at 85% with an annual inflation rate of 2000%.

To make matters worse, Zimbabwe's dictator just announced he would nationalise the last remaining profitable industry in the country, it's platinum mines.

Timesonline reports:
President Mugabe unleashed a devastating new blow to Zimbabwe’s mortally wounded economy yesterday, announcing a new law giving the state a controlling stake in mines operating in the country.

Under the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, the Government can take over 51 per cent of companies mining strategic fuels and minerals, taking 25 per cent without paying.

The balance of 26 per cent it needs for a majority shareholding will be paid for, it said. However, the Bill brazenly asserts that payment will come from dividends earned from the state’s shares in the companies it takes without having to pay. It gives the state seven years in which to do it.

To see the future of Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, look to Zimbabwe.

12/02/2007 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I was stranded for a while in Jo-burg around '80, where everyman had a gun strapped to his ankle or hip. It was peaceful, to the extent that a homeowner could bring out his elephant gun to shoot burglars the next block over.

Jo-burg was like any Western city, safe, open, just armed. Compare then to now, murder-capital of the world. Lacking the brutal heel of democratic and capitalist values, society always goes to hell when we lose fealty to one another, and things go back to the times before we all just learned to get along.

Like what has happened to the recently prosperous but now distressed South African colonies and their experiments with democracy.

What went wrong?

We don't have to feel guilty for asking.

12/02/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger cubanbob said...

Socialism does not work and can never be made to work. The revolution cannot be betrayed since it can never work. But criminals and fools keep trying. Believers believe no matter what their lying eyes tell them to the contrary.
Zimbabwe will soon be back to a 18th century economy. South Africans should remember the old adage "there is no civilization north of the Limpopo."

12/02/2007 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Africa is about to get a good dose of old-fashioned colonialism. But not from Europe.

"The head of China's Export-Import Bank, Li Ruogu, recently suggested just how important Africa could be for ordinary Chinese people.

In a speech in Chongqing, an administrative region with a large rural population, he urged Chinese farmers to move to Africa.

"Chongqing has a relatively strong agricultural base. Africa has many countries with plenty of land, but food output that is not up to expectations," he said, according to a local media report.

"There's no harm in allowing [Chinese] farmers to leave the country to become farm owners [in Africa]," he added."


I think Mr. Mugabe's day's are numbered and so likely are most African leaders.

China has "officially" 18 million "bare branches" i.e. men who will never marry due to selective sex abortions (not enough women). Very likely the number is around 100 million or so. Rule of thumb I've heard is multiply any official bad news by five.

All those young men need something to do, somewhere out of the country.

Unlike the Philippines and other weak nations, China has a strong and growing stronger military. Like the Southern Filibusters who ran afoul of Santa Anna in Texas, China's men exported to Africa are guaranteed to be treated like the Filipino or local Indian merchants. BUT ... unlike them they have a strong protector and rabid nationalism looking to prove themselves and a beatable enemy. Moreover if the Chinese men are mistreated or massacred in the usual African way, Chinese men will simply COME HOME. That's the last thing China can afford. A lot of exiles who made and lost money suddenly showing up at home. With nothing to do. A visible failure of China and it's leaders for everyone to see.

No. Someone like Mugabe (it might even be him, he's very stupid) will invite the Chinese to send farmers to solve their agricultural problem. Then resort to the usual thuggery to extract even more money out of them plus the usual idiotic African abuse that seems built into most African societies. But instead of the usual supine post-Colonial reaction and easy targets of Filipino or Thai or whatever exports, find themselves with an Angry China demanding surrender. A Mugabe hung upside down in the square ala Il Duce by Angry PLA Members discovering their countrymen's abuse (certain to happen).

Then, continent wide anti-Chinese riots and abuses, again Africans pretty much guaranteeing a continent wide Chinese intervention. To preserve the Continent for Chinese resource exploitation of which the most paramount is finding something for all those young men to do. Far from home.

Africans of course almost always choose the most stupid and violent option available that will make their position worse but allow them to engage in hyper-macho posturing. Engaging in pointless and stupid fights over meager resources when cooperation would give better returns for less risk. But less "Big Man" ism which is the point.

Even the most stupid Caudillo understands there are lines that must not be crossed if he wishes to avoid inviting foreign powers to seize his country. Even Chavez probably understands that despite his flirtation with Ahmadinejad.

Africans seem determined to be weak and divided and fractious. Then invite the Chinese, or be so weak as to be unable to un-invite the Chinese and make it stick (which requires a modern military). Africans seem to think that a bit of tribal terror will deter hardened Chinese peasants or Politburo members like they are wealthy Euro NGOs.
A man like Mugabe is probably the stupidest leader in Africa, which is saying much. A broke, starving nation only invites foreign powers to grab up parts of it. At least Lee Kwan Yew kept the stealing down so his nation stayed intact. How can Mugabe keep the Chinese out of Zimbabwe, simply taking what they want? Even, throwing him out? What, a strongly worded letter from Thabo Mbeki?

I believe we will see a great deal of Colonialism. Africa's day of independence are likely over, for most of it. Too weak to keep China out and unlikely to get America to defend it. Africans are likely to pay the price (as the Celts have) for being disunited and engaging in Big Man-ism. And perhaps also for being stupid.

12/03/2007 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

When the curtain runs down upon history's accounting of various governmental systems, it is socialism—be it communism, social democracy, stateism or what have you—that will rank as the pre-eminent cause of mass slaughter, ecological catastrophe and economic disaster in the more familiar forms of famine, deprivation and genocide. No other competing system—not even Nazism—will manage to hold a candle against socialism’s inhumane and filthy charnel house. Only theocratic Islam promises anything remotely approaching such a level of depravity and callous disregard for human life.

PS: Excellent post, Whiskey_199.

12/03/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Zenster, Nazism was an abbreviation for the German National Socialist Worker's Party. And they were serious about the Socialist part. So even Nazi crimes can be laid at Socialism's door, for they are one and the same.

12/03/2007 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

So even Nazi crimes can be laid at Socialism's door, for they are one and the same.

I realize that, it's just that the Nazis merit special recognition as progenitors of the political mass-murder machine. There are also the glaring similarities between Nazism and Islam that demand close examination as well. It is why I gave them particular mention.

Still, thank you for maintaining intellectual honesty, pangloss. It certainly is a major nail in socialism's coffin.

12/03/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I would be hard pressed to say there is a conspiracy of silence on the part of the press, but I will say that the press ignores material that would in other circumstances be newsworthy.

Personally, I have been ignoring Zimbabwe because I see it as a first-rate example of karmic retribution. They had a successful farming program with farms owned and run by white farmers consistently producing enough crops not only to feed the country but to export.

Then Mugabe came into power and violently turned those farmers out of their farms. Took away privately-owned property and gave it to his cronies, black "soldiers" of some phantom army to reward them for equally phantom valor.

Same sort of crooked stupid thugs as we've been fighting in Iraq the last few years. You just *know* that when Mugabe started "redistributing the wealth" there were not ten civilians in the whole country who would have stood up for the white farmers and said, "Wait, this is not right."

So the ignorant, uneducated black "soldiers" got their rich farm land, killed off several/many farmers in the process, and sat back waiting for the profits to start rolling in.

But to their amazement, corn refused to grow even when threatened with a gun or flame thrower. And year after year, more farmers were driven off their own land and away from their very successful farms, and murderous "soldiers" took over those farms and tried to grow corn with a gun instead of a plow.

If there was ever a country and a people as good as the Palestinians at digging their own grave it has got to be Zimbabwe. I am alright with watching the Palestinians starve to death because I firmly believe they are all accessories to decades of terrorism, and explosive murder and they have earned the lifestyle they are now having to live.

Equally, I tend to believe that *all* Zimbabweans were complicit with Mugabe's initial shennigans - certainly no Zimbabwe police ever investigated any white farmer murders - and hope that the freed-up wealth would somehow roll to them, too.

We're supposed to look at starving civilians and babies now and forget that ten or 15 years ago when they were fat and happy, what and who made them fat and happy. And what did those now-starving creatures *do*, each and every one, to the farmers among them who had a different skin color, so that why should I now care if their greed from then has caught up with them now.

12/04/2007 02:50:00 PM  

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