The Tragedy of Zimbabwe

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Long surviving on a subsistence diet of prison rations, the people of Zimbabwe are not simply, as I previously blogged here, chronically short of clean water, but of bread too. BBC News reports:

Zimbabwe has only two weeks of wheat supply left, while citizens are faced with soaring bread prices, Zimbabwe's main milling organisation has said.

The cost of bread has risen by 30%, pushing Zimbabwe's inflation rate to more than 600%.

Zimbabwe has been in economic decline since President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms in 2000.  

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the situation is becoming unbearable.

"It's terrible right now because of shortages," Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of two factions of the MDC. "Fuel is not available, commodities are unaffordable, unemployment 80%, inflation above 600%. It's a travesty of justice that the country has been so run down by Robert Mugabe's regime."

Over at The American, Roger Bate, Richard Tren and Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube provide some terrifying background and observe the scandalous complicity "of almost all African governments in enabling the murderous regime of President Robert Mugabe to sustain its legitimacy":

Overall life expectancy in Zimbabwe has fallen to about 30 years per person. Between 1999 and 2005-06, adult mortality increased by 40 percent among women and by 20 percent among men. This means that over one-third of Zimbabwean children are orphans. Even those with parents cannot depend on them for food and shelter, as 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. All Zimbabweans face severe government repression. It is no wonder that around a quarter of the population, mostly the young and able, have fled the country. 

Whole piece.

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  1. So, has Sean Penn booked his plane ticket, yet?

  2. My neighbors are from Zimbabwe. They tell me that the reason Mugabe has so much public support, and the reason other African countries have backed him up, is that when he first came to power, he didn’t do this type of thing.

    The expropriation of white-owned plantations was a popular policy among many of the independence movements of Mugabe’s era, but not his. My neighbors tell me that he actually stood out among many such leaders for his moderation and adherence to sane social and economic policies.

    Then, according to them, his wife died. Apparently, she kept him in line, kept him from going off the deep end. They trace the problems back to her death.

    I don’t think the man’s right in the head. He’s either gotten senile, or he was always mentally ill and was able to keep it under control while his wife was alive.

    That’s the problem with Presidents-for-life. Even the good ones won’t stay that way.

  3. Theres also a East/West German and North/South Korea comparison in here.

    Botswana, a neighbor of Zimbabwe, has done very, very well since independence. Probably the best country by far to live in in sub-Sahara Africa. They also have low taxes, practice free trade, and strongly support foreign investment. Its not a coincidence they have succeeded where the “African socialism” of other nations has failed.

  4. It is a tragedy, but we really do need to make the people face up the fact that they are responsible for the state that their country is in. The sentiment to liberate them might be tempting, but Africa in general has for too long been responsible for most of the problems that afflict it. The fact is, Zimbabwe is never going to learn why Mugabe was such a bad leader until it has to pay in blood, as a country, for his stupid policies. People are frequently stupid like that.

    The fact is, Zimbabweans, not Western imperialists, brought him to power, and there hasn’t been a serious attempt to assassinate Mugabe. The best thing the United States could do would be to cut foreign aid, and unconditionally deny immigration and refugee visas to Zimbabweans. That would force their people to actually address their mess.

    Third world poverty is not hard to figure out. It is caused by a combination of government corruption and cultures that don’t want to change. Just look at our relationship with Mexico. If the United States instituted true free trade, but had strict immigration restrictions on Mexico, Mexico would be forced to undergo the constitutional adjustments to make their system work for more than their elite. The reason that Mexico is still so badly off is because we give their people the ability to easily come here and work. If we took that away from Mexico, Mexico would be forced to address its own problems.

    The kindest thing the first world nations can do to these countries is to hold out our hands and say, “sorry, we’ll trade with you, but we’ll be damned if we’ll be used as a dumping ground for every Tom, Dick and Harry who can’t make it in your country.”

  5. Yes, clearly the best way to inculcate appreciation of western values is by keeping refugees out and denying people the chance to immigrate, experience a different system, and then tell their friends back home while sending (voluntary) assistance to their families. That sort of information flow would just ruin any chance of a liberal society emerging.

  6. Mike T-

    Those immigrants often send back remittences, which provides capital for the folks back to invest in the economy.

    Mexico’s economy is growing, and they’ve had pro-market people in power for a while there. Its just that the United States is so much wealthier that it will always be a magnet until Mexico becomes a developed country.

    And FWIW European immigration to the United States didn’t stop countries like Ireland, Sweden, and Italy from reforming and developing. All of them were poor, autocratic hellholes at the time they sent immigrants here.

  7. Oh, hell, never mind. It’s not worth it. Those who hate the idea of foreigners coming here won’t change their minds.

  8. If only Mugabe was a crazy dictator in charge an oil rich country possibly harboring weapons of mass destruction. Then the US would show him!

  9. MikeT: Well, I’m glad to know you hate Africans and want them to stay poor. Speaking of which, is this your bed sheet and flammable cross?

  10. Those who hate the idea of foreigners coming here won’t change their minds.

    Yeahm that whole “Give us your poor…” shit is so obsolete. Let’s take up a collection to remodel the lady to better reflect our newfound wisdom.

  11. joe,

    The “death of the wife” idea is also supported by wikipedia (hah!) referencing The Economist.

    Not sure how much affect it had though, using freedom house numbers:

    1980 (came to power): 3,4
    1992 (death of wife): 5,4
    2006 : 7,6

    There may be some truth to it. He was going the wrong way, but it accelerated after her death.

  12. The best thing the United States could do would be to cut foreign aid, and unconditionally deny immigration and refugee visas to Zimbabweans.

    uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    no.

  13. What can we do???

  14. “African socialism”

    The philosophy formerly known as tribalism, equally as successful.

  15. All you idiots are just as ignoarant as your prezzo whodoesn’t even know the world map. Obviously, the majority of you are either oblivios to the facts that led Mugabe to react the way he did or you’re just plain racists.

    To take you back, white settlers forcibly moved the natives of Zimbabwe to semi & arid regions while they occupied vast tracts of land. In the process, the blackman was left with no arable land to farm on & to make ends meet, they had to work for the white man, who had expropriated their land while at the same time being charged taxes for living in the arid areas. Furthermore, a lot of cattle were expropriated in the process & the livelihoods of natives were pushed some years back. As a result a war was fought against the white settlers, leading to the independence in 1980.

    At the Lancaster agreement, demands were made about land, but because of negotiations, of which America was a part of, the Africans were tricked into accepting a compromise agreement. Wht do I say tricked? Because the conditions were not in favour of Africans but meant to protect white settlers’ interests. Africans were told not to reposses land until after 1990 ie 10 years after independence and the process was to be financed by UK. To me this was wrong because the white settlers stole the land and should have compensated instead of the other way round. Anyhow, when 1990 came, Zimbabwe was starting an Economic Structural Adjustment Programme funded by IMF, hence the Brits said that it was unwise to for Zimbabwe to start land redistribution but to wait till after completing the first phase of the programme. Zimbabwe waited and in 1995 they got in touch with he Brits & that was after the first phase had ben done. John Major sent an audit mission to Zimbabwe to carry out an assessment of the number of farms ear marked for acquisition. Towards the end of 1996 they finished their audit. Before the financing of farm acquisitions began, some significant circumstances changed. In 1997, John Major lost to Labour.

    The Zimbabwe government contacted the new UK governement for them to carry on with he programme which had been agreed at Lancaster, but they refused, stating that they did bit accept colonial responsibility. This is what infuriated Mugabe & led him to seize the farms.

    Blame him or whatever, I personally don’t like him, but Britain didn’t play fair. They are guilty of turning Mugabe into the monster by denying him the funding for acquiring the farms. The funding was reportedly to be around ?600million at the time.

  16. You know, just sitting here looking at my map, I think we could beat Zimbabwe pretty easily. Why not! Let’s doooooo it!

  17. LEVISON HWAIRE-

    Do you think its a good idea to turn over farms to people who know nothing about farming (i.e. Mugabwe’s political cronies, the so-called “war veterans”)?

    Land-redistribution schemes never work very well.

  18. “The best thing the United States could do would be to cut foreign aid, and unconditionally deny immigration and refugee visas to Zimbabweans.”

    Let me try:

    The best thing the United States could do would be to:

    1. Cut foreign aid,
    2. Treat immigrants from Zimbabwe the same as those from other countries (e.g. Canada, UK)
    3. End subsidies for domestic agriculture (sugar, cotton, corn, etc…) and eliminate import tariffs.

    Anyone else want to give it a go?

  19. Yeahm that whole “Give us your poor…” shit is so obsolete. Let’s take up a collection to remodel the lady to better reflect our newfound wisdom.

    We could replace the “huddled masses” plaque with one that just says “NINE ELEVEN NINE ELEVEN NINE ELEVEN” over and over again. That’ll show them furriners.

  20. All you idiots are just as ignoarant as your prezzo whodoesn’t even know the world map. Obviously, the majority of you are either oblivios to the facts that led Mugabe to react the way he did or you’re just plain racists.

    Oh, and thanks for the LOLZ MERICANS R TEH STUPIDZ. That makes me feel so warm and fuzzy towards Europeans.

  21. Levison,

    The British have a saying: “The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.”

    Here in America, we have a similar saying: “How’s that working out for ya?”

    You make a good case about the morality of seizing white-owned plantations and distributing them to…well, let’s not go there right now. Let’s just say you make a good moral case for the redistribution of that farmland, and for the Brits’ responsibility in the matter.

    So…how’s that working out for ya?

  22. Quick hint, Levison: If you want people to listen to you, don’t begin by calling them idiots. I stoppped reading your lengthy post after the first sentence, and imagine most other readers did as well.

  23. Ceaser

    I never exonerated Mugabe for his wrong doing, but pointed at the cirumstances which led to him reacting the way he did. Mugabe turned the country issue into a one for him to gain personal advantage from. If he had received the money who knows……things could have happened differently.

    FYI….Zimbabwe was very stable leading to 1990 & was investing heavily in Capital goods & infrastructure. Even though Botswana is touted as a good country, they don’t have as many scools as Zimbabwe & the majority of their students study in Zimbabwe. I want to give Mugabe the benefit of doubt & assume that if he had been given the money, he would have invested it wisely.

  24. Assume what you say is true (that Botswanas study in Zimbabwe), I wonder where Zimbabweans go to work?

  25. Ceasar

    They work all over, cause they receive the best education in Southern Africa. Whats that got to do with anything?

  26. They work all over, cause they receive the best education in Southern Africa. Whats that got to do with anything?

    Well, it has to do with the fact that thanks to the socialist and inflationary policies of Mugabwe they can’t find a job in their home country.

    Because you know, according to his ideology starting a business and making a profit is “exploitive” or some such nonsense.

    Man, you remind me of people who say Cuba is a great place because it has a 98% literacy rate.

  27. It occurs to me that I’m not entirely an open-border guy. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Canada became uninhabitable for some reason. So all thirty million Canadians decided to move south a few miles. Should that be okay, even in Libertopia? What if India decided to relocate to Kansas?

    Obviously–obvious to me, anyway–some limits should be imposed on immigration. What if the Taliban all wanted to move to Boston?

    Levison Hwaire,

    The problem goes back to the authoritarian methods used. When a government loses legitimacy, rule of law, accountability, respect for property rights, etc., things are not going to work very well. It’s a historical inevitability. Of course, the real bane of most Africans’ existence is the systemic corruption that infects most of the continent. Whoever we’d like to blame for these things, they are real problems that must be overcome.

  28. Blame him or whatever, I personally don’t like him, but Britain didn’t play fair. They are guilty of turning Mugabe into the monster by denying him the funding for acquiring the farms. The funding was reportedly to be around ?600million at the time.

    Nutty logic. The problem isn’t that the owners didn’t get paid. The problem is that the owners were also workers (managing the farms) and that critical labor has been lost.

  29. The inflationary process was triggered by the land issue & I’ve mentioned to you the circumstances that led to that happening. Before 1990, all was ok & because the Brits refused to fund the land redistribution, Mugabe took the wrong turn & threw the country into chaos. If UK didn’t want Mugabe to be such an issue, they should have given him the money they promised to Zimbabwe.

  30. I realize it’s not a popular position here, but as preiously stated, and as history has shown time and time again, blacks can’t govern.

  31. Levison-

    Why didn’t Mugabwe just say, “I’m not going to confiscate their land, that would show disrespect for private property and the rule of law. Therefore, until I have money from some source to offer to buy it from them, they keep it”.

    Skip I’d really love for you to explain Botswana.

  32. Max

    Obviously you don’t know what you’re blabbering about. Engage your brains, read again and understand. In case I didn’t make myself clear, I am saying that land was grabbed & ended up in the wrong hands because Britain refused to fund a systematic redistribution.

  33. Ceasar

    Pay for stolen land……what sort of logic is that?

  34. “Yeahm that whole “Give us your poor…” shit is so obsolete. Let’s take up a collection to remodel the lady to better reflect our newfound wisdom.”

    I seem to recall the inscription at the bottom of the statue was a French sentiment…

  35. Are the people alive today the ones who actually stole it? I doubt it.

    I guess the Powhatan should be able to reclaim my house, though, using your logic.

    Or for you (something a little closer to home) I guess the Irish Catholics should be able to confiscate the property of all protestants since the English and Scottish settlers basically stole their land, too.

  36. Quick hint, Levison: If you want people to listen to you, don’t begin by calling them idiots. I stoppped reading your lengthy post after the first sentence, and imagine most other readers did as well.

    Yep, good point Number 6 – after the third word for me. It is a pretty good rule of thumb that anyone who starts off his first post calling everyone an idiot is not worth reading or taking seriously.

  37. Levison – if you want to go down that road, you’ll just spiral into oblivion. Should every conquering power pay for what it took? Should we pay Spain for the Philippines? The Amerinds for their land? At what point do you just say “ok, this sucks, but I have to deal with it the way that it is” ?

  38. Raise your hand if you think Levison’s IP address ends with .gov.zw.

  39. “What if the Taliban all wanted to move to Boston?”

    I thought they had.

  40. 1. Cut foreign aid,
    2. Treat immigrants from Zimbabwe the same as those from other countries (e.g. Canada, UK)
    3. End subsidies for domestic agriculture (sugar, cotton, corn, etc…) and eliminate import tariffs.

    Especially textiles.

  41. Look……..there were no promised concessions to the numerous examples you quote. In Zimbabwe’s case, there was a promised undertaking from Britain to fund the redistribution and this is what makes the case for compensation very compelling.

    I’m no gvt official of any kind, like I said before, I don’t like Mugabe for my own reasons. Here I’m just saying the facts & please don’t divert from the pertinent issue, only because you want to accusse me of things that exist in your imagination.

  42. Skip = F. Le Mur?

    Clearly F. Le Mur and Grand Chalupa had some kind of bioengineered offspring.

  43. things that exist in your imagination.

    unicorns exist in my imagination.

    sighs

  44. “Engage your brains, read again and understand”

    If only we were smarter, we would ALL agree with you – obviously.

  45. They promised it, they took back the promise. So like I said, Mugabwe should have just forgotten about land “reform” instead of seizing private property and then giving it to people who had no idea how to farm.

    Anyway, Zimbabwe government could have done something insane like, oh, grow the economy for their people so they would become wealthier, and be able to afford any farms they wanted to buy if they chose to go into agriculture.

    But I’m just a stupid American, what would I know?

  46. Clearly F. Le Mur and Grand Chalupa had some kind of bioengineered offspring.

    That sounds like a plot for some kind of horror film.

  47. Levison – you want to bet I couldn’t find all the legal treaties we reneged on with the Native Americans?

    Look, man, I get it, you’re trying to add some context. Kudos. But get it right: just because someone reneged on a promise does not mean you get to go all apeshit and start seizing land. The legal government at the time (Britain) gave that land to whomever it was. Sometimes you have to suck up and deal and stop blaming others. People like you are giving a land-seizing thug excuses for their behavior. He’s not a child.

  48. I realize it’s not a popular position here, but as preiously stated, and as history has shown time and time again, blacks can’t govern.

    No moron, it’s that blacks can’t play quarterback.

    Let’s see if we can gan trade Skip for a couple of Zimbabweans.

  49. In case I didn’t make myself clear, I am saying that land was grabbed & ended up in the wrong hands because Britain refused to fund a systematic redistribution.

    The owners were the ones running the farms. That is why the redistribution caused such problems, not because the owners weren’t compensated.

    If the whites take 600 million pounds from Britain and leave the country, or if they get nothing and leave the country, what difference does it make to Zimbabwe? In both cases you lose the expertise of the white farmers.

    And this was wholly intentional. Mugabe wanted to get rid of the whites, because they were supporting the political opposition.

  50. If the West is going to get blamed for everything no matter what we do, we might as well go back to imperialism and colonialism–yeah, all that shit. Or maybe people should start looking for solutions at home. Everyone wants to blame present problems on wrongs done in the past. At some point, they’ll realize that positive change will not be accomplished that way and will work out a real solution. Then nuke the people they hate. Oh, well.

    On the other hand, it is entirely appropriate for me to want my ancestorial lands restored to me! Free Scotland!

  51. No moron, it’s that blacks can’t play quarterback.

    I thought it was speed metal.

  52. No moron, it’s that blacks can’t play quarterback as pure pocket passers.

    Brought to you by the Foundation for Precision in Stereotypes.

  53. Everyone wants to blame present problems on wrongs done in the past. At some point, they’ll realize that positive change will not be accomplished that way and will work out a real solution.

    I was bored last week, so I started looking up nations per capita GDP over time. Y’all should check out S. Korea. A-friggin-mazing.

    Of course, with all their oil and mineral wealth, it was easy, but still… 😉

    I’ll check out Zimbabwe later today. I expect depressing numbers.

  54. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Canada became uninhabitable for some reason. So all thirty million Canadians decided to move south a few miles. Should that be okay, even in Libertopia? What if India decided to relocate to Kansas?

    Obviously–obvious to me, anyway–some limits should be imposed on immigration. What if the Taliban all wanted to move to Boston?

    Come on ProL, that is, at best, a pretty specious argument. What if California became uninhabitable for some reason and all 38 million decided to move to Oregon? How have we survived so long in Oregon with no limits on the ability of Californians to move here? What if all three-million Mississippians decided living in the poorest state wasn’t for them, packed up, and headed for Greenwich? Does Connecticut need to limit immigration from the poorest states? It’s a hell of a lot easier to get from Clarksdale to New Canaan than from Mumbai to Topeka so why worry about one and not the other?

  55. Of course, with all their oil and mineral wealth, it was easy, but still… 😉

    Yeah, and they certainly had no opression at the hands of imperialist/colonialist masters! (sarcasm)

  56. Another tragedy is South Africa’s and the UN’s refusal to recognise those fleeing Mugabe’s train wreck as asylum seekers. Apparently a life expectancy of 30 years, oncoming starvation and political oppression doesn’t qualify one as an asylum seeker, it merely gets you to the level of economic migrant. Now, if they were the grand children of Palestinian Arabs, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

  57. Folks, pro-Mugabe trolls like Levison Hwaire (if that is his name) frequently turn up on the mostly British media sites that cover Zimbabwe in detail. I suspect they’re mostly agents of Mugabe, assigned to spread disinformation, though I have no conclusive proof of this.

    Either way, you’re better off ignoring him. And MikeT.

    Mr. Moynihan: The supposed link to the American article goes to the BBC. Any chance we could have the link to the American?

    PS Bob’s your uncle:

    http://members.lycos.co.uk/canaansbanana/

  58. Uh oh. Improper application of the term “troll.”

    I’d keep an eye on your taint.

  59. Michael – you linked to the wrong article. The one you linked to is from last year. Currently, Zimbabwe’s inflation is over 6500%. The food shortage situation does still apply.

  60. Folks, pro-Mugabe trolls like Levison Hwaire (if that is his name) frequently turn up on the mostly British media sites that cover Zimbabwe in detail. I suspect they’re mostly agents of Mugabe, assigned to spread disinformation, though I have no conclusive proof of this.

    So there are government-sponsered trolls now?

    Well, this at least confirms that private trolls are more effective than government-run trolls.

  61. Maybe the URKOBOLD can start shilling for socialized trolling.

  62. Of course, with all their oil and mineral wealth, it was easy, but still… 😉

    Yeah, and they certainly had no opression at the hands of imperialist/colonialist masters! (sarcasm)

    Not to mention centuries of peace!

  63. So there are government-sponsered trolls now?

    If there are government agents assigned to re-write embarrassing wiki entries, it’s no surprise.

    Well, this at least confirms that private trolls are more effective than government-run trolls.

    Hadn’t thought of that. XD You could say the same about government-run wiki censorship.

  64. For those who think Mugabe wasn’t always a tyrant, go learn something here:http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/commentary/la-op-kirchick30sep30,0,4088929.story?coll=la-sunday-commentary

    Cesar,
    I don’t know about Sweden but my experience of Ireland (where I live) and Italy (where I’ve spent a lot of time) tells me emigration was economically and socially devastating. Ireland still hasn’t recovered its pre-Famine population. The country was on its knees for decades until EU membership and US corporate investment turned things around. Even so, the 1980s saw practically a whole generation of college-educated people leave. As for Italy, have you been to the Mezzogiorno? See any young people?

  65. Here is (I believe) the article Michael Moynihan wanted to link to. It has the exact same picture as the one from a year ago.

    No moron, it’s that blacks can’t play quarterback.
    I thought it was speed metal.

    Well, these guys could if they wanted to. But you’ve probably never heard of them, joe. Their first couple albums were good.

    Levison – the reason Britain suspended payments was that Mugabe had his hand in the till. As far as the land expropriation goes, even if you agree with it, the way it was done was certain to cause massive disruption. Mugabe is responsible for this. Without the income from the export crops, there was no tax base for Zimbabwe, so the government started printing money. So, yes, the land expropriation was and is responsible for the inflation in Zimbabwe, but it still falls directly at the feet of Mugabe.

    Even if you still agree with the expropriation of farmers on the basis that their land was stolen from them, there is no “once owned” rationale for the expropriation of companies.

  66. Thank you, Sean.

    We’ve now learned that an “assistant editor at the New Republic” feels differently than my neighbors, who lived in Zimbabwe, under Mugabe, most of their lives.

  67. BakedPenguin,

    I saw Bad Brains when they were called “Leonard and the Nice Chaps,” playing in a Band Aid box for a superball and half a package of shaved ham, in 1457.

    Also, my weed is so much better than yours. It’s red. No, blue. No…it’s yellow. My weed is so good it’s yellow, and I saw Bad Brains play in a Band Aid box during the Counter-Reformation.

    *pffffffffffttttttt*

    😉

  68. Sean Healy –

    “The country was on its knees for decades until EU membership and US corporate investment turned things around…”

    Two important factors indeed but let’s not forget FF’s low corporate tax rates and an eager to work population. Which is still hungry and rated one of the most productive and contented in the world. Let’s not sell ourselves short here.

  69. Sean, I know that Ireland’s population was completely decimated. Still, would it have been better for Ireland if all the Irish that immigrated to the United States stayed? Due to the famine they would have likely starved like all the others.

    As for Italy, yes I realize southern Italy is backwards but I’m going to take a wild guess that its better off now than it was in the early 1900s. Are you suggesting things would have improved more had the Italians not moved to the USA, Argentina, and Brazil?

    I like to bring up Sweden (and Norway) because a lot of people use them as the poster child for stable developed nations, but don’t realize that they were the equivalent of third world nations until early in this century. They even had famines up until the 1920s!

    Regardless all said countries are now first world democracies, even after they had massive immigration to the western hemisphere. It puts a hole in the logic that if people move, somehow that will prevent reform in their home countries.

  70. Specious? I’m rarely specious in my arguments. Perhaps irrelevant or tangential, but not specious. My point was that it’s all well and good to talk about wide-open borders, but even proponents of relatively open borders probably draw the line somewhere. Drawing the line and moving it all the way to giant walls on the border are not, of course, the same thing. I’m definitely okay with mostly open borders. And I oppose travel restrictions, too, while we’re at it. If I want a Communist mojito, then, by golly, I should be able to get one.

    My understanding is that the Urkobold is strictly a private-sector troller. The ?r-Troll lacks patience with red tape.

  71. I saw Bad Brains play in a Band Aid box during the Counter-Reformation.

    Yeah, I remember that show. I still have the t-shirt.

    *turns dismissively, looks at bar*

  72. *Shit! Now that chick with the pixie cut is going to let BakedPenguin put his hand under her sweater and not me.*

  73. There’s Living Colour. They were black and metalish. Don’t know how well they could throw, though.

  74. joe knows the cool 80s bands, despite being from boston, “which is not much of a college town”

  75. Specious? I’m rarely specious in my arguments.

    Well, I didn’t say you were regularly specious, but this time you were – in that your point might sound reasonable on first reading it lacked any real merit as an argument for any limit on the free movement of people.

    My point was that it’s all well and good to talk about wide-open borders, but even proponents of relatively open borders probably draw the line somewhere.

    But why?? I still fail to see how your argument leads to that conclusion. I for one am an open-borders proponent and I don’t think we have to draw the line anywhere.

  76. Brian,

    I understand your point, but I don’t agree. No limits at all? So if 100 million people want to relocate to the United States, that’s okay? Let’s think about that for a minute. Given our system of government, we’re likely going to adopt whatever politics and culture come with that mass migration. So Libertopia might get zapped, even if we had it.

    That’s an incredibly unlikely scenario, of course, but what if some horribly nasty, extremely communicable disease hit Mexico? Would we allow victims of the disease to cross the border if we couldn’t prevent or limit the spread of the disease? Especially in large numbers?

    I know these types of arguments can be abused and stretched to limit any immigration, but that’s certainly not what I want to do. Nor do I think they apply to having things like free trade or generally open borders. Even post-9/11, I’ve opposed the increased limits on cross-border traffic as pointless and as generally anathema to a free society.

  77. So if 100 million people want to relocate to the United States, that’s okay?

    If they want to – yes. How exactly would they go about doing so? Again, what if another hurricane hits and all three-million people in Mississippi want to go to Greenwich? Why don’t we need a limit there too?

    First, there is the extraordinary improbability of your argument. You’re making up the most extreme case imaginable and saying that proves the point for some limit. Well, if so, it also proves the point for the Mississippi case as well. Further, the “extrememe case” argument is what many authoritarians use to support “War-on-Terror” laws and the need for greater police powers – why are you more skeptical of that type of argument in that case, yet willing to use the same in the immigration case?

    Though, I do note that you’re not really arguing for any strict limits and are certainly pro-freedom overall as you note. I suppose, if you think we only need some really high limits in case the most unlikely situation happens this isn’t much to argue over either. Like any emergency situation I would think we could come up with a policy to deal with the specifics of that case at the time and it isn’t really necessary to worry about or implement general rules based on such unlikely events.

    But more important to me is the implied notion that a free movement of people means that everyone could somehow just show up tomorrow. That is just a fallacy fanned by those who fear immigration. The reality is that people move when they can find another person willing to sell or rent them a place and/or find another person willing to hire them, etc. That is why everyone doesn’t move to Greenwich and that is why even if we opened the borders we would not have 100’s of millions of people moving in, regardless of events in other parts of the world.

  78. Pro Libertate: in Libertopia, people could decide whether to let immigrants pass through their property or not.

    They could all relocate to the huge percentage of the US that’s owned by the Feds, anyways.

  79. Also, I doubt that Levison Hwaire’s IP address ends in .gov.zw because IP addresses don’t have letters.

  80. The fact is, Zimbabweans, not Western imperialists, brought him to power

    I guess you overlooked how the West’s economic sanctions, its condonation of the ZAMU-ZAPU “war of national liberation,” and its refusal to accept even the Internal Settlement that brought Abel Muzorewa to power and created “Zimbabwe Rhodesia” ended up forcing Mugabe down Rhodesia’s throat.

  81. Seamus,

    In the 25+ years, Mugabe has been raping Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans could have created/found an alternative–No need to patronize Zimbabweans, they’re as good as you.

  82. Having been a manager on one of those Rhodesian farms in 1973, this Yank can report that there is a lot of misinformation being bandied about in these comments.

    First, when Cecil Rhodes led the wagon train north from South Africa into the land that is now known as Zimbabwe, there was no indigenous population. There were a couple of nomadic tribes (Shona and Metabele – longtime adversaries) that roamed all over the southern tip of Africa and stopped there during the rainy season for a couple of months once every two years. The white settlers didn’t take anything away from anyone; they did offer the nomads jobs and the opportunity to settle in one place, because they were going to irrigate the arid land, finally making year round life there possible.

    The 3500-hectare farm I worked on was typical. The (white) farmer’s great-great grandfather had cleared the land. His grandfather, father, he, and his sons were all born on the farm. To suggest that he was not an African, and not the rightful owner of the property, is ridiculous. It is tantamount to suggesting that nobody of European descent has the right to own a farm in Kansas, and we should all move back to Europe and give America back to the natives, to atone for the sins of our ancestors for daring to put a fence around a chunk of empty land and go to work farming it.

    The war that culminated in the formation of the country of Zimbabwe was not a popular revolution to overthrow a “white supremacist” government. It was a Chinese communist inspired, financed, and trained terrorist campaign run out of neighboring Zambia. Mugabe was the terrorist leader, and was guilty of unspeakable atrocities. He was universally hated by the local black population, and the largest contingent of Rhodesians fighting against him was the RAR (Rhodesian African Rifles), a proud and capable, all black military outfit that had already distinguished itself assisting the British in putting down the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya.

    Rhodesia was no longer a British colony at the time. In 1966, when England had tried to turn the colony over to a few black politicians, the Rhodesians were having none of the British guilt trip. They did the same thing we had done in 1776. They called it UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence), threw the British colonial government out, and started running the country with their own parliament, which had always included black politicians. It was this action that caused the United Nations to declare them an “illegal” country and imposed sanctions on them.

    Rhodesia was the breadbasket of Africa, a predominantly agricultural country that exported food all over Africa. They had a serious immigration problem, because Africans from all over were moving there in droves, even during the war. Simply put, it offered the best place in Africa for a black person to thrive. There was universal education, healthcare, and employment regardless of what tribe to which one belonged. For those unfamiliar with tribalism, you haven’t experienced true racism until you have seen tribalism in action.

    Africans don’t care what color people are, they are all black, it is the tribe you belong to that matters. In every ex-colony in Africa, it was always one man, one vote, one time. Then, whichever tribe won never relinquished power again. If you happen to belong to the ruling tribe, life may be tolerable; but if not, you have no opportunity to succeed. You can’t get a government job, often are not permitted to own land, etc. The beauty of living in Rhodesia was that the white men didn’t care to which tribe one belonged. If folks had a desire to work, they were paid, their children educated, their medical needs taken care of, and their families fed. The whites never had to enslave anyone, from the beginning right up until the end, Africans were clamoring to get there for the improved living conditions offered.

    It is tragic what has happened to a once beautiful thriving country. The consequences of ignorant do-gooders from Europe and America meddling in the affairs of a peaceful African country thirty years ago may not have been intended, but they were as predictable as the sunrise. It takes more than the keys to the farmhouse to run a farm, or the keys to the utility company to keep electricity flowing to irrigation pumps, or the keys to the statehouse to keep a civilization functioning. -Dave

  83. “Those immigrants often send back remittences, which provides capital for the folks back to invest in the economy.

    Mexico’s economy is growing, and they’ve had pro-market people in power for a while there. Its just that the United States is so much wealthier that it will always be a magnet until Mexico becomes a developed country.”

    Yes, and this comparison is valid because Zimbabwe, just like Mexico, is a free, liberal society with a capitalist economy that encourages investment.
    The analogy to Mexico is so mind-bendingly idiotic, it is hard to believe it was not meant to be some sort of sick parody.

    Comparisons to Cuba are much more apt. Remittances from Cuban emigres have helped prop up a brutal regime for years, and have been the primary influx of cash since the fall of the Soviet Union.

  84. “So, has Sean Penn booked his plane ticket, yet?”

    I wonder how close to this kind of ruin Venezuala has to come before Hugo Chavez is no longer feted by well-heeled liberals and defended by useful idiots in this country. Evidently the reed-thin evidence that the United States provided support for the coup attempt and Chavez’s virulent hatred of the current administration provide enough cover for deranged Bush-haters in this country to continue issuing sickening apologia to a dictatorial thug.

    If not for the oil wealth of that country, they would probably be much closer to the hell that is Zimbabwe than they thankfully are now. But even with its vast oil resources, Chavez is leading them down the road of financial ruin.

  85. “My neighbors are from Zimbabwe. They tell me that the reason Mugabe has so much public support, and the reason other African countries have backed him up, is that when he first came to power, he didn’t do this type of thing.”

    Sure thing joe. Evidently these “friends” are your only neighbors that are not Venezualans telling you how much the common man in that country loves Chavez.

  86. Joe, I have to disagree about Mugabe always being “sane”. He has always been a marxist and tyrant. Only a few years into power his troops massacred tens of thousands of Matabele who were generally not ZANU PF supporters. Jamie Kurchik writes in the LA Times recently:

    “Mugabe was clear about his preference for authoritarian rule. Years before taking office, asked what sort of political future he envisioned for Zimbabwe, Mugabe expressed his belief that “the multiparty system . . . is a luxury” and that if Zimbabweans did not like Marxism, “then we will have to re-educate them.” ”

    Mugabe may have appeared ‘sane’ and kept things on an even keel as long as donors were pumping money in and he was secure in being re-elected. As soon as the population grew fed up with his rule, the mask came off.

  87. thoreau:
    Skip = F. Le Mur?
    Nope.

    And if you disagree with Skip’s assertion, why don’t you just come out and say so, and provide some evidence to back up your claim?

    Oh, wait a minute, I know why…because you’re not really making a factual claim of any sort, but you’d like to show everyone that your PC little heart is in the right place. Knowing that gives me the warm fuzzies all over.

    Skip I’d really love for you to explain Botswana.

    As above, I’m not Skip, but I’ll answer anyway.
    Botswana gets economic aid, has 44 infant deaths/1,000 live births, 24% (or 40%) unemployment, 51 year average lifespan, $11K GDP/cap.
    Sounds like the explanation is diamond mines.

  88. The report you refer to is nearly 2 years old. Inflation in Zimbabwe is estimated at at least 7,000%, and possibly 11,000% at present, and the US ambassador to Zimbabwe forecasts a figure of 1.5 million percent by year end. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/zimbabwe/article/0,,2108511,00.html for a report that is “only” 4 months old. And there is indeed another flour shortage materialising as we speak.

  89. If not being a racial collectivist makes one PC, then I’m PC.

  90. Chavez is a thug,

    Evidently the reed-thin evidence that the United States provided support for the coup attempt…

    FYI, this is how people know they can safely ignore whatever you have to say on the subject.

  91. Rich,

    I’m just reporting what locals tell me – and these are not Mugabe supporters, but people who left, and are quite upset about what is going on there now.

  92. Next time we talk, I’ll ask them about the Matabele.

  93. joe, I can just imagine if you or I moved out of country and proceeded to let everyone in the new land know where exactly George Bush went wrong. I might argue he had the right stated goals of limited govt, no nation building, etc, but screwed up execution of those ideas or simply lost sight of those ideas. You would likely argue he never had the right idea in the first place. Yet, to inhabitants of our new country, we would might be considered very credible (especially me).

  94. They are getting what they deserve for their brutal ethnic cleansing of the white population. NO SYMPATHY.

  95. I have to agree with Ron`s comment above, this is a “brutal ethnic cleansing of the white population”. The Zimbabwe people went along with this “ethnic cleansing” and deserve everything they get. The west must stop all Aid to this country, we can not be feeding this bunch of racists. Lets get out of Africa and let them sort out their own problems.

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