Africans a-Liberate Zimbabwe, Yeah

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Zimbabwe voters went to the polls on Saturday. It's Tuesday, and there's still no winner. While opposition parties are racking up more seats and votes than any time since 2000, it's impossible not to conclude that Robert Mugabe's thugs are massaging the count. But so far, that's not enough.

Zimbabwe's ruling party today privately conceded that Robert Mugabe had lost the first round of the presidential election to the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

But Mugabe's Zanu-PF party said a second round would be needed as Tsvangirai had failed to clinch the necessary 51% of the vote to win outright, according to Reuters.

Even if you're rigging it, how can you win re-election in a country with 100,000 percent inflation and a 20 percent employment rate? Propaganda helps.

President Mugabe became the talk of the world and has been condemned for merely doing what is best for his people.

Tsvangirai globetrotted asking for sanctions and persuading the whole world to stop aid to Zimbabwe.

The economy was sabotaged, we have hit hard times, people are struggling to make ends meet, decent meals have disappeared from our tables and the future looks very uncertain.

Morgan Tsvangirai has been on cloud nine dreaming that the hardships will propel the electorate to turn to him as the Messiah.

We are not fools.

Damn, they're on to us! We must be making this up, too.

A senior diplomatic source who received accounts from two people privy to the JOC meeting said it discussed shutting down the count and Mugabe declaring himself re-elected or the army stepping in to declare martial law on the pretext of defending the country from instability caused by the opposition claiming victory.

"In the JOC meeting there were two options for Mugabe: to declare victory on Sunday or declare martial law," said the diplomat. "They did not consider conceding. We understand Mugabe nearly decided to declare victory. Cooler heads prevailed. It was decided to use the [election commission] process of drip, drip where you release results over a long period, giving the opposition gains at first but as time wears on Zanu-PF pulls ahead."

More reason on Zimbabwe here.

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  1. The economy was sabotaged, we have hit hard times, people are struggling to make ends meet, decent meals have disappeared from our tables and the future looks very uncertain.

    Four more years! Four more years!

  2. Morgan Tsvangirai has been on cloud nine dreaming that the hardships will propel the electorate to turn to him as the Messiah.

    YES WE CAN!

  3. It seems Africa cannot produce one stable,prosperous country.I have no idea why.All the basics are there.Natural resources,industrious people.I’m at a loss.

  4. My mom says there’s a lot of black people in Africa.

  5. Mugabe is Chavez with a head start.

    All the basics are there.Natural resources,industrious people.I’m at a loss.

    Rule of Law. You dont resources or industrious people if you have that. Well, they probably help.

  6. need

    The key word left out of my previous post.

  7. It seems Africa cannot produce one stable,prosperous country. I have no idea why.

    Tribalism? Endless retreads of failed socialist policies? Massive corruption? Tons of foreign aid that fuels said corruption? Trade protectionism in the US and Europe closing off markets?

    There are plenty of reasons.

  8. Don’t forget the Patrice Lumumba University Alumni Society.

  9. “Rule of law?”

    Yes, but why?

    Under the colonial project, the Europeans purposely uprooted the existing political and social structures in order to replace them with “superior, enlightened” European ones. They took care of the first part pretty well, but not so much with the second.

    Then, when they left, the structures they left behind were too 1) culturally foreign 2) illegitimate in the eyes of the public and, therefore, 3) too fragile to stand on their own.

    So those went, too, leaving strongmen as the remaining viable political system – strongmen who could harken back to the pre-colonial system, but who weren’t operating within the complicated, interdependent web of social, economic, religious, and political relationships that had grown up in Africa over millennia. Throw in some Soviet meddling, including the infection of the indepdendence ideology with revolutionary socialism, and the situation gets even worse. And then throw in an American response that made parts of the continent a Cold War battlefield, and here we are.

    You still see defenses of colonialism in organs like National Review. It’s funny, because they so often refer to the “wisdom of the ages” and the folly of utopians who arrogantly try to impose “scientific” models without adequate humility in the face of the society that has grown up organically. Yet, when they talk about imperialism, that all goes out the window, and they sound like Robert Moses, out to replace the “slums” with the Radiant City.

  10. Episiarch,you’d think just one country could over come the problems.

  11. joe – I SO want to disagree with you, because it’s fun. But your last explanation makes it difficult. So… in the interest of finding something we can disagree on, what would you recommend as a fix? Forget the fingerpointing and the past. Let’s say you were in charge of the world. What would you recommend to help Zimbabwe, and all of Africa, to share in the bounty that is available?

    CB

  12. Some of them have.

    It’s just that “small, poor country experiences peace and steady growth” doesn’t typically run on Page 1.

    “Country You’ve Never Heard Of Re-elects Prime Minister” vs. “Skinny White Woman Missing in Texas”

  13. Colonialism worked on the North American continent.

    That is the only defense of colonialism I would ever attempt to give. Actually, I guess I should change it to “English colonialism worked on the NA continent”.

    Hmmm, whats the difference between NA and Africa? It might be that colonialism works better if you make your best effort to make the indigenous people a minority.

  14. We just need to replace all those black people with white and yellow people, then the continent will run flawlessly.

  15. Cracker’s Boy,

    Jeez. I imagine it’s different for every country, maybe every region of every country.

    I don’t think formulating a grand strategy is the way to go here.

    Stable, competent governance and many, many small-scale projects carefully tailored to local conditions – wells, roads, schools, modern sewers, farming equipment…

    The only big ideas I feel comfortable supporting are 1) lotsa money for health clinics and 2) end agricultural subsidies in the developed world.

  16. robc,

    Colonialism worked on the North American continent.

    That’s because the Europeans didn’t just replace the governing structures, but the people as well.

  17. Hold it Joe,

    So you are going to tell me that pre-colonial Africa was any better than today? I know it feeds into your Western self loathing instincts to blame this all on the West, but that is not the case. First, you are correct in pointing out the evils of colonialism. Of course, those very same evils were present in a lot of places beyond Africa. No country in Africa was victimized by both the cold war and colonialism more than Korea, yet South Korea seems to do just fine. Most of SE Asia was also victimized by colonialism. You think the British and Belgium were bad in Africa, read about the Dutch and French in SE Asia sometime. What about Vietnam? They were colonized by the French, suffered through a 10,000 day civil war that was escalated by the US and USSR during the cold war, ended up being completely victimized by a “revolutionary socialist government” and yet today is better off than any country in sub-Saharan Africa. The whole “it is all colonialism and the cold war’s fault” just doesn’t cut it for Africa. Africa suffered no worse than many other parts of the world yet is worse off today than it was under colonialism. As bad as Rhodesia was, it still beats Zimbabwe under Mugabe.

  18. joe,

    …the Europeans purposely uprooted the existing political and social structures…

    That depended on the structure in question. Sometimes European powers (as colonizers have doen throughtout the ages) exaggerated the nature of particular structures.

    Anyway, as with any human society there were plenty of dysfunctional (or at least less than ideal) attributes to various African states prior to colonization.

    strongmen who could harken back to the pre-colonial system, but who weren’t operating within the complicated, interdependent web of social, economic, religious, and political relationships that had grown up in Africa over millennia.

    It should be noted that in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that at least in West Africa that generally the most successful states (at least from the standpoint of geographic expansion) were those which conquered and and as often as not enslaved their neighbors. Now a lot of this warfare was fueled by the export of slaves of course, and that’s where both European and the Middle Eastern slave trade plays its terrible part.

  19. joe,

    That’s because the Europeans didn’t just replace the governing structures, but the people as well.

    Didnt I say that? Oh wait, yes I did:

    “It might be that colonialism works better if you make your best effort to make the indigenous people a minority.”

  20. Colonialism worked on the North American continent.

    I would say it worked reasonably well in India and Hong Kong, as well. The transition from colonialism in India was pretty rough, and the Muslim bits aren’t doing so well, but India proper is not doing so bad these days.

    For that matter, there are a number of South American countries that are reasonably functional.

  21. BTW, this decade has so far been pretty good for Africa as a whole from the standpoint of economic growth.

  22. One other point about South America and colonialism. First, the Europeans did not replace the people in Central and South America. There were a lot of indigenous people left there even after disease and the like took its toll. The indigenous populations intermarried with the European colonial populations. The people were still there. As far as the governing entities, most of South America suffered through long brutal guerilla wars of independence with Spain that did untold damage to their social and political structures. One of the great breaks America got was that the British quit and went home and did not force the US to have a prolonged gorilla war for independence. South America is still paying the price for those wars today. But while South America is not the US or Europe, it is still a lot better than Africa even though it probably has just as much of an excuse to fail.

  23. You astound me, John. You can read all of that, and all you get out of it is “hate Whitey.”

    Moron.

  24. joe has a point about some small countries doing well, so I went down the list of GDP per capita to find the highest in Africa and see how they are doing politically and otherwise.

    Equitorial Guinea – $44,100 – “president” seized power in a coup in 1979. It doesnt sound like much of their recently discovered oil money actually gets down to the people. A problem nation with oil. Like the Middle East and Venezuela in 2018.

    Botswana – $14,700 – this is Africa’s success story. And they have lots of problems, with the 2nd highest AIDS rate in the world. They were a British colony, which while no means a guarantee, does seem to help things out.

    Gabon – $13,800 – two “presidents” since 1960. This quote says a lot: Despite political conditions, a small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous and stable African countries. They border Equitorial Guinea.

  25. Yeah Joe I write two paragraphs explaining why Asia and South America were just as much the victims of colonialism than Africa yet haven’t failed so spectacularly, and all you can do is call me names. If you have no cogent response to a point, why don’t you just admit as much and move on? Why do you have to revert to name calling?

  26. BTW, from the standpoint of natural resources, Africa as a whole is not that rich in many areas. The relatively poor soils on much of the continent is one example.

  27. Botswana?
    Gabon?

    Do either of these meet Michael Pack’s criteria?

  28. robc,

    We cross posted.

  29. Calidore,

    Sometimes European powers (as colonizers have doen throughtout the ages) exaggerated the nature of particular structures.

    Sure, but in such a case – the elevation of a particular local power over competing powers, where there had formerly been a balance of powers being a common example – the effect is still to replace what had previously existed with a very different political structure. It’s still a tearing down of the fabric of the indigineous society. It’s comparable to tearing up every plant in 20 acres of jungle except one species of fruit tree in order to create an orchard. The fact that it’s a local species of tree that grew on its own doesn’t change the fact that you’ve replaced a natural ecosystem with monoculture.

    Anyway, as with any human society there were plenty of dysfunctional (or at least less than ideal) attributes to various African states prior to colonization. Of course.

    The less I take from this is that, even in the face of a bad system, it’s not enough just to tear down. You need to build up, because you can most certainly make things worse.

  30. “I would say it worked reasonably well in India and Hong Kong, as well. The transition from colonialism in India was pretty rough, and the Muslim bits aren’t doing so well, but India proper is not doing so bad these days.”

    Even Pakistan is doing better than Zimbabwe. Pakistan has a very educated population and vibrant immigrant communities all over the West. Yes, the NW tribal areas are pretty isolated and crazy, but those areas were isolated and crazy long before the British got there. For not having any oil and being stuck with the disease of Islamic fundementalism, Pakistan is not doing that badly. It certainly does no worse than a lot of other Islamic countries.

  31. In the grand chessboard of foreign policy(shout out to Zbig), it is imperatvie above all else to maintain a balance of power between those who we could potentially find ourselves in competition with for resources. Thus, the crucial building block of a sucessful society is a well defined and enforced individual right to one’s property,most importantly including ones self and the product of ones labor. In order to keep any nation from rising up and becoming a threat to the established balanced of power it is good to just keep supporting leaders who believe in some variation of destroying property rights for the masses. They can sell their ideology under socialism or marxism or the third way….as long as they support ridiculous ideas they will get support from the UN and other international organizations and we will be succesful in keeping any new threats arising to challenge our power monopoly.

  32. Don’t care, John. Your bullshit about “self-loathing” makes it clear you’re incapable of seeing this as anything but a proxy for your domestic partisanship, so I’m going to deal with people who bring more to the table.

  33. Africa’s problems are complex, and many of them have nothing to do with colonialism. I note parenthetically that “many” doesn’t mean “all”.

    A good, if somewhat dated book on the subject is David Lamb’s The Africans.

    If an American–white or black–moves to an African nation and becomes a citizen, does that make him an American-African? Do they have such a thing?

  34. “The less I take from this is that, even in the face of a bad system, it’s not enough just to tear down. You need to build up, because you can most certainly make things worse.”

    At some point the people themselves have to do that. We can’t do it for them. South Korea is a great example of this. In 1953, the country had just been leveled by a war and was run by a two bit US backed right wing strong man. The Koreans got the blunt end of every ill possible in the 20th Century. Look at where they are today. I wish you were right. I wish the problem in Africa was just a product of history. If it were, you could fix it with the right aid. But it is a problem with the societies there. Sadly, there is no way to fix a society.

  35. Joe,

    You have no sense of humor. You cannot take any sort of sarcasm or humor. Get over yourself.

  36. At some point the people themselves have to do that. We can’t do it for them.

    Would have a been a nice insight to have in 2002.

    Or back during the colonial era, when so many “enlightened” westerners decided they were going to “fix” Africa.

  37. Henry Kissinger
    How I’m missing yer
    You’re the doctor of my dreams…

  38. Sure, John, I’m just the guy who started the thread with a joke.

    Knock knock

    Who’s there?

    YOU HATE WHITE PEOPLE!

    Whattsamatter, baby, can’t you take a joke?

    Gee, that IS funny.

  39. Pro,

    Some of them certainly do relate to colonialism. The problem is that the problems that do not relate to colonialism has prevented Africa from fixing the ones that do. At this point, the best thing the US could do would be to completely open our markets to African goods and stop handing out billions in aid to prop up corrupt governments and hope that the Africans can solve their own problems. I don’t see how our aid and meddling is doing anything but making Africa dependent and unable to deal with their own problems.

  40. Or back during the colonial era, when so many “enlightened” westerners decided they were going to “fix” Africa.

    Where were the African Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, George Washington, etc etc who were willing to overthrow a bunch of European masters and handle it themselves? Did Botswana get them all?

  41. Joe,

    I didn’t say you hated white people, I said you have Western Self Loathing and have a tendency to blame every problem on Europe and America, which you kind of do. But a lot of people do.

  42. John,
    Is there a country in South or Central America that isn’t a corrupt shithole? Even the ones that are majority Euro (such as Argentina) are bad. This is because the colonizers were lazy papist Spaniards, instead of industrious Brits.

  43. Anyway, here is hoping that things turn out well in Zimbabwe.

    Pro Libertate,

    In a number of ways I think that much of the problem is associated with the damage caused by the prevelance of slavery both domestically and as an export. For example, for several hundred years both bright minds and able bodies were stripped from Africa by slave exportation, which couldn’t have been terribly good for the development of the areas they were stripped from. Second, it more than likely created at least some internal dysfunctions which echoed into the future.

  44. Where were the African Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, George Washington, etc etc who were willing to overthrow a bunch of European masters and handle it themselves? Did Botswana get them all?

    Cotton fields in Georgia?

  45. NM,

    Cotton fields in Georgia?

    I considered that, but if so, Georgia would be a much better place.

  46. Piss off, John.

    Dude who put “joe” into the name field,

    Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, George Washington were all highly educated people from rich families – part of a cultural elite that was tied into the English elite. Our “revolution” consisted of a segment of British society striking out on its own. Whereas in Africa, that stratum of society were the “loyalists” who fought against indepdendence. Where was the African George Washington? Fighting on the side of the redcoats, he got run off when they lost. This is part of the consequence of the British “replacing the locals” with Europeans in North America, as opposed to how colonialism worked in Africa and South America.

    You think George Washington overthrew a “master?” Dude, George Washington WAS a master!

  47. “For example, for several hundred years both bright minds and able bodies were stripped from Africa by slave exportation, which couldn’t have been terribly good for the development of the areas they were stripped from. Second, it more than likely created at least some internal dysfunctions which echoed into the future.”

    I think there is some truth in that explanation especially when you consider the contributions that former slave populations have made to other countries.

    What is so frustraiting about Africa is that the rest of the world could actually do some good if they would just stop doing harm. Regardless of what your opinion of history is, Africa was the victim of colonialism and Europe does have some duty to try to help it and America ought to help as well since we benefited from slavery. Why can’t the world take this “white man’s burden” so to speak and instead of throwing money at the problem just make Africa into a world free trade zone? Make any product made in Africa free to enter any market in the world duty free. Do that and then get out of Africa’s internal politics and stop telling them not to use GM crops and DDT and let them do what they feel is best for their own people. That wouldn’t solve every problem but it would be a start.

  48. Our “revolution” consisted of a segment of British society striking out on its own.

    I should say, a VERTICAL segment, a slice that included people from every socio-economic strata of society, including the institutional elite in the colonies as an institution. There was little in the way of class war in the American revolution.

    Whereas in Africa, it was the bottom vs. the top.

  49. This is part of the consequence of the British “replacing the locals” with Europeans in North America, as opposed to how colonialism worked in Africa and South America.

    Like I said, we just need to replace all those black people with white and yellow people, then the continent will run flawlessly.

  50. Jeez Joe, good thing you are not defense about being accused of having Western self loathing or anything. Also, who cares the Washington was the master? Who ever said that only elite white guys are capable of running effective revolutions or starting good governments?

  51. Let us not forget that the British did a pretty good job of replacing the locals in Australia and New Zealand as well.

  52. Yes, imagine that, people don’t like it when you accuse them of racism as a debating tactic.

    Shocking.

  53. joe,

    Thomas Paine was not from a rich family. His father was a corset maker. I don’t think that Patrick Henry came from a particularly august background either.

  54. “Thomas Paine was not from a rich family. His father was a corset maker. I don’t think that Patrick Henry came from a particularly august background either.”

    But they were all British and considered themselves British citizens who were doing nothing more than demanding their rights as such. The American Revolution was viewed by those who created it as not a revolution but a restoration of their God given rights as British subjects that had been denied them. This is in sharp contrast to the French Revolution where the idea was not to restore an ideal but to throw the entire system out and replace it with a new one. That is one of the reasons why the American Revolution was so much more successful and less bloody than the French one.

  55. So back to the topic.

    Assuming that power is handed over, what does the new administration do to help heal Zimbabwe’s injuries?

  56. joe,

    That was me. Meant to type a response to you obviously.

    You think George Washington overthrew a “master?” Dude, George Washington WAS a master!

    You can be both. GW was a middlemaster.

    Americans had loyalists too. Africa had blacks that were part of the educated elite, Mugabe for one. Also, if the “African George Washington” was fighting against the revolution, maybe thats because, in this case, the colonial powers were the good guys. I know the Zimbabwe government post-colony and pre-Mugabe did a better job than Mugabe has done. Not that that is a tough standard.

    As an aside, Thomas Paine’s father was a corset maker in a small rural town. Not an elite. He went to school from about age 7-12, so I wouldnt necessarily call him well educated either. He also wasnt really much of a colonist, not arriving in PA until 1774.

  57. Calidore,

    They were not impoverished, illiterate farmers, or members of the urban poor, either.

    My point is that the leaership – and not just the top few guys, like in Vietnam or Haiti – were people whose background and status allowed them to have an understanding of politics and events beyond the provincial level. This was a big reason why our revolution did a good job avoiding the utopian trap.

  58. “Assuming that power is handed over, what does the new administration do to help heal Zimbabwe’s injuries?”

    He will never hand over power. Mugabe has long passed the point where his crimes are so great that he would never be allowed to live in peace if he left power. He leaves the Presidency in a box or at the end of a rope. That is why this is going to get worse before it gets better.

  59. Assuming that power is handed over, what does the new administration do to help heal Zimbabwe’s injuries?

    Nothing.

    First do no harm should be the cardinal rule of government, not just medicine.

  60. robc,

    You can be both. GW was a middlemaster.

    George Washington was the richest man in Virginia, maybe in the entire British North America. If he was “middlemaster,” so was every duke and earl in Blighty.

    Americans had loyalists too. Yes, they did, but this loyalist cadre did not command the loyalty of all, or even almost all, of the educated, professional classes.

    Africa had blacks that were part of the educated elite, Mugabe for one. Yes, but far fewer, which affected the character of the revolution. Idi Amin, for example, was a sergeant.

    maybe thats because, in this case, the colonial powers were the good guys. Good guys/bad guys is a juvenile, useless way to understand history. History and politics workthe same way for the people you sympathize with as for the people you don’t.

    As an aside, Thomas Paine’s father was a corset maker in a small rural town. Not an elite. He went to school from about age 7-12, so I wouldnt necessarily call him well educated either. He also wasnt really much of a colonist, not arriving in PA until 1774.

    He also didn’t play much of a role in designing or running the new Republican government.

    Africa had plenty of Thomas Paines. It was the Washingtons and Jeffersons it lacked.

  61. “Africa had blacks that were part of the educated elite, Mugabe for one. Yes, but far fewer, which affected the character of the revolution. Idi Amin, for example, was a sergeant.”

    Jefferson and Washington were products of the 17th Century enlightenment. Pol Pot, Amin, Ho, and the like were products of 20th Century Western nihilism and utopianism. All of the 20th Century revolutionaries were educated in the West and inculcated with all of the West’s sicknesses and immediately went back home to infect others. In that sense, maybe you are right Joe, maybe it is the West’s fault. Pol Pot didn’t come up year zero and the like living in the Cambodian jungle. He came up with it while being educated in France.

  62. robc,

    Assuming that power is handed over, what does the new administration do to help heal Zimbabwe’s injuries?

    Nothing.

    So your advice to the new adminstration would be to maintain Robert Mugabe’s policies?

    Really?

    Sorry, unless you are advocating they dissolve the government completely, nothing is not an option.

    The new government will have policies.
    Doing nothing means leaving things how they are.

    Doing something means changing things.
    That can include getting rid of policies that are harmful.

  63. joe,

    I must disagree with you. Our revolution worked because we were 80% of the way there. We had a significant middle class, established rule of law and property rights, a common language (for the most part), a more or less common culture and religion, etc. The moral and intellectual force of the Enlightenment was also a major part of our revolution–a unifying belief system that is absent today, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    While many of the principal Founders were well-heeled, they weren’t the only people driving the Revolution. The odd meme that travels about that our revolution was an elitist one is largely incorrect.

  64. And just to add some perspective on the impact of colonialism and its impact on various regions of the world.

    In 1900 we have this

    Percentage Controlled by colonial power
    Africa-90.4%
    Polynesia-98.9%
    Asia-56.5%
    Australia-100.0%
    Americas-27.2%

    So equating Africa with Asia is not really a fair comparison, imho.

  65. how is joe so f-ing annoying even when he’s right? he’s taught me new meaning about bleeding heart liberals.

  66. John,

    But they were all British and considered themselves British citizens who were doing nothing more than demanding their rights as such.

    The agendas varied quite a bit; which is why John Adams viewed Paine as far too radical. Indeed, I don’t think Paine viewed the matter as one of merely defending British rights. So there really wasn’t one singular viewpoint amongst the revolutionaries on the issue.

    As for comparing the French and American revolutions I don’t know if they are all that analagous.

  67. joe,

    If he was “middlemaster,” so was every duke and earl in Blighty.

    Nope, this was my point. No matter how rich he was, in British society he was below every dirt poor earl or lord. He may have been a high middlemaster, but without a title, that was all he was going to be.

    Yes, they did, but this loyalist cadre did not command the loyalty of all, or even almost all, of the educated, professional classes.

    And that is the question. What is the difference, why did the african professionals all support the loyalists? Maybe they foresaw what kind of government the revolutionaries were going to put in place?

    Africa had plenty of Thomas Paines.

    Got any links to the african “Common Sense”?

  68. NM,

    Okay, for a more serious answer, I propose they eliminate all laws except those against murder, theft and fraud. Implement a small sales tax to pay for the police and courts and issueing land deeds. Other than that, get the hell out of the peoples way and see what happens.

  69. Pro Libertate,

    Given the level of loyalist sympathy during the American Revolution one should first ask why there wasn’t much in the way of a civil war following on the heels of the war’s end.

  70. “The agendas varied quite a bit; which is why John Adams viewed Paine as far too radical. Indeed, I don’t think Paine viewed the matter as one of merely defending British rights.”

    Paine was much more of a radical and was much better liked in France and if I am not mistaken moved to revolutionary France later in life. The analogy between the American Revolution and the French one is that the French went one step further than the American one. They actually followed the advice of Paine and the radicals of the American Revolution and really did try to rebuild government from the ground up.

  71. Still can’t get beyond “Hate Whitey.” Poor John.

    Jefferson and Washington were products of the 17th Century enlightenment. So was Robbespierre. Fail.

  72. Neu – well, they could stop printing money like Milton Bradley. Weigel underestimated inflation a bit; the IMF says it’s actually 150,000%, about the same as Weimar Germany. But I don’t think Zimbabwe will be able to get hard currency exporting expressionist films and schnapps.

    Although it’s probably going to be politically unpopular, the MDC (if it gets the chance) will have to consider (at least a partial) reversal of the land seizures.

  73. “Given the level of loyalist sympathy during the American Revolution one should first ask why there wasn’t much in the way of a civil war following on the heels of the war’s end.”

    Because they were able to move to Canada. A huge number of loyalists left the US for Canada at the end of the war which effectively eliminated any danger of a civil war.

  74. Because they were able to move to Canada.

    and the Bahamas.

  75. Pro Libertate,

    Our revolution worked because we were 80% of the way there. We were 80% there because the relationship between the mother country and the residents of the colonies was quite different. The residents of the American colonies were, in the eyes of the Brits, no different than residents of England. As opposed to, say, Brazil, where most of the residents were slaves or poor natives, and viewed as quite unequal.

    And you are misstating my position if you describe it as “elitist.” As I said upthread, the educated leadership wasn’t just an elite fringe at the top. There were middle-class, educated people who were in a position to see beyond their own fields and work at all levels.

    I don’t think we’re in disagreement here.

  76. John,

    The vast majority of loyalists did not move to Canada. They stayed in the communities which they were born in.

  77. O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her–Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.

  78. “Jefferson and Washington were products of the 17th Century enlightenment. So was Robbespierre. Fail.”

    Robbespierrre was a thug and a lunatic. He hardly counts as an actual thinker. In many ways Marx was a product of the Enlightment as well. Was the French Revolution the product of the Enlightment? Yes, the Enlightenment taken to its logical extreme. Washington and Jefferson were in the end too conservative to go all the way in the way the French Revolution did. Indeed, they were called out as such by the French Revolutionaries themselves. But as bad the someone like Robbespierrre or Moreau was, they were amateurs compared to Mao and Pot and the Amin who were infected by post enlightment thinking.

  79. robc,

    No matter how rich he was, in British society he was below every dirt poor earl or lord. He may have been a high middlemaster, but without a title, that was all he was going to be.

    OK, but how is this relevant? My point was that Washington was a wealthy, educated person who’d already held a position of responsibility and had familiarity with governance.

    What is the difference, why did the african professionals all support the loyalists? Because it was in their interest to do so. The white elites in colonial Africa were kept in power by the colonial system, and the nationalist movements were also anti-plantation movements. In America, that wasn’t true – both the old government and the vision for the new were very protective of the established economic order.

    Got any links to the african “Common Sense”?

    I’m sure you can find the writings of African revolutionaries if you’re really interested.

  80. “If it hadn’t been for the more than 40,000 colonialists who moved north during and immediately after the war, much of the area from Ontario east might have fallen into the hands of the United States in the War of 1812. After all, about 80 percent of Canada’s population at the time of that war had been born in the United States. ”

    http://www.familytreemagazine.com/articles/aug03/loyal.html

    40,000 is a lot for the time. Also, it is safe to assume those were the most militant ones and the ones most likly to cause trouble.

  81. I become more and more convinced that natural resources are an impediment to the growth of third world economies. Because tapping that wealth is so relatively easy, it provides a situation where the guy with the guns can just come in and steal everything all at once. It also takes a lot less intelligence to continue to run.

    Countries like South Korea, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Taiwan, Costa Rica did not and do not really have much in the way of natural resources. They have become (relatively) wealthy by promoting policies that encourage wealth building. Or rather, by getting out of the way.

  82. John,

    BTW, if the vast majority of loyalists had left then the U.S. would have been dispossessed of approximately 1/3 of its population.

    Whatever else one might say about him, Robespierre was quite a bright and talented man.

  83. John,

    Also, it is safe to assume those were the most militant ones and the ones most likly to cause trouble.

    Or they were simply the ones with the most tenuous ties to the former colonies. There are a number of plausible explanations for their behavior.

  84. One other point I wanted to make was that having a great deal of wealth in natural resources makes it unnecessary for the strongarms to have any kind of developed economy.

  85. robc, Bakedpenguin,

    Those both sound like reasonable stances.

    I wonder about the implementation of land seizure reversals.

    The details of how to implement that kind of thing would be hard to work out. The government screwed somebody in the past, but now they have to screw someone in the present to unscrew the first screwee…

    I think they would be better off getting rid of policies that try to control who owns land, and let the market figure it out. If the rich successful farmer who had land seized want to return and buy back their land/lease from the new owners, let them. Creating a favorable environment for that to happen would seem, to me, to be the best policy.

  86. Robbespierrre was a thug and a lunatic. He hardly counts as an actual thinker.

    If there’s one thing you should have learned from the 20th century, John, it’s that “thug and lunatic” and “thinker” are not mutually-exclusive categories. Robbespierre, as a matter of fact, was one of the most respected attornies in France prior to the Revolution, and walked around with a copy of “The Rights of Man” under his arm.

    Washington and Jefferson were in the end too conservative to go all the way in the way the French Revolution did. And in the American revolution, people like Washington and Jefferson ended up the leaders and the founders of the government, while the racial utopianists were pushed aside and had little say about how the new government would form. As opposed to France, and to many post-colonial African states.

    Now, why was this? I suspect that it had to do with the class makeup of the societies and the revolutionary movements – as Pro Lib says, the fact that we were “80% there,” with our big middle class and much more widespread basic education.

  87. Calidore,

    According to Wikipedia 5% of the population left after the Revolution.

    For roughly five percent of the inhabitants of the United States, defeat was followed by exile. Approximately 100,000 United Empire Loyalists left the newly founded republic, most settling in the remaining British colonies in North America, such as the Province of Quebec (concentrating in the Eastern Townships), Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. The new colonies of Upper Canada (now Ontario) and New Brunswick were created by Britain for their benefit.[35]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Revolution

    That is a lot of people. If you consider that the young, able bodied and most militant were also be the most likly to leave, I think the migration greatly reduced the chances of an insurection.

  88. The African success stories are disproportionately in the tiny island nations: Mauritius, Seychelles…. even Cape Verde to some point.

  89. joe,

    In America, that wasn’t true – both the old government and the vision for the new were very protective of the established economic order.

    I agree with you here. And this may be the key point. There was nothing (well, not much, especially in the English colonies) wrong with the established economic order. Overthowing imperialists = good. Overthrowing a sensible economic system = bad. Without researching it, Im guessing the “revolutionaries” in Botswana kept the economic system basically intact. Which is why they have been growing for 40 years now.

  90. “Now, why was this? I suspect that it had to do with the class makeup of the societies and the revolutionary movements – as Pro Lib says, the fact that we were “80% there,” with our big middle class and much more widespread basic education.”

    I think it was that America was lucky in its revolutionaries. France had a big middle class to. As you point out Robbespierrre was an attorney and anything but poor. The leaders of the French Revolution were middle and upper class. They were, unlike Washington and Jefferson, utterly mad. The French Revolution is similiar to the Russian Revolution in that a small revolutionary van guard were able to take over and terrorize the country. Had Washington been a lunatic and felt the need, my guess is he could have done the same thing here.

  91. John Adams basically predicted the results of the French Revolution. What was it, that he saw, that led him to expect the bad result that would follow?

  92. robc,

    Botswana has a diamond industry and the government is a partner in that industry.

    Botswana’s impressive economic record has been built on the foundation of wisely using revenue generated from diamond mining to fuel economic development through prudent fiscal policies and a cautious foreign policy. Debswana, the only diamond mining company operating in Botswana, is 50% owned by the government and generates about half of all government revenues. In 2007, significant quantities of Uranium were discovered, and mining is projected to begin by 2010. Several international mining corporations have prospected in Botswana for diamonds, gold, uranium, copper, and even oil, many coming back with positive results.

    For some reason this reminds me of the NM pueblos that have used gambling revenues wisely.

    Not all of them do, but when the government has a stable source of income, uses that to improve the community infrastructure and encourage economic development and diversification, things go well.

  93. One difference, perhaps, between the French and American Revolutions was that we had a middle class revolution that resulted in the middle class remaining the middle class. France had a proletarian revolution run by a middle class that wanted to become the ruling class. A similar thing happened in Russia. In both of those cases, more ruthless personalities rose to the forefront and proved disastrous to their nations.

    Bonjour scum.

  94. I have to point out that Simon Bolivar was every bit as much a son of 17th century Enlightenment as the US revolutionaries. Simply getting lucky with the revolutionaries isn’t enough.

  95. Botswana has built electric fences to stem the thousands of Zimbabweans who flee to find work and escape political persecution

    [Insert witticism here]

  96. robc,

    I understand you. There is, of course, the little matter of slavery to complicate that narrative, but that’s why we ended up with a republic-with-some-slavery, as opposed to a clean republic. And why it caused so much trouble.

    John,

    I don’t think I can buy the theory that we had a run of luck that was so widespread and long-lasting. And while France had a small, urban middle class, it was vastly outnumbered by the peasantry and the urban proletariat. American society was quite different in its proportions. Not to mention, they actually has established, official classes, whereas our leaders even before the revolution were used to living in a society with much greater social equality. I don’t want to overstate this last point – I’m not making an absolute statement, just comparing it to Europe at the time.

  97. I agree with you Joe. The US was per capita the wealthiest place on earth in the 1700s. It also had by far and away the highest rate of land ownership. Further, the population was scattered over a huge eastern seaboard much larger than France. People would have never tolerated a Roppspierre here. The US is the beneficiary of some real happy accidents in that way.

  98. One other point about France. France was torn apart by the Reformation. American history classes tend not to teach much about the Reformation in France but it was long and bloody. The main areas of support for the Jacobites were the areas in the South that were predominately Hugonaut during the Reformation. Catherine Demedici succeeded in wiping out the Hugonauts but the bad blood over it remained. In some ways, you could read the French Revolution with its hatred of the crown and the church as just a continuation and Hugonaut payback for France’s religous wars of the 16th Century. The US had none of that dynamic going on.

  99. I don’t normally cast stones on typos in this forum (and think John raises a valid point), but the Huguenot misspelling raises an amusing thought. If Venezuela launches a man into space, will he be called a Hugonaut?

  100. I thought Hugonaut was a Black Sabbath song.

  101. I’m certainly not one to correct anyone’s typos, but:

    Jacobites were English Catholics who supported King James.

    Jacobins were French revolutionaries.

  102. That is what I get for not just saying Protestants.

  103. Jugonaut would be a good term of art for a drunken astronaut.

  104. I’m up for creating the world’s first Mugabenaut.

    I just don’t think we have the budget to bring him down, though.

    Kinshasha, we have a problem.

  105. Given the level of loyalist sympathy during the American Revolution one should first ask why there wasn’t much in the way of a civil war following on the heels of the war’s end.

    I wouldn’t underestimate simple exhaustion. The Revolutionary War wasn’t a quick coup, it was a long (8 years), drawn-out, bloody (by the standards of the day) affair.

    It effectively was a civil war, in some ways, as some areas of the country were predominantly loyalist (New York comes to mind), and loyalists fought on the British side (although not terribly hard, if memory serves).

  106. I just don’t think we have the budget to bring him down, though.

    As in Iraq, bringing down the thug is cheap and easy, as these things go. We could probably be in and out in a month, if all we carried about was putting him and his government in the dirt.

    Its building a functioning society that’s the hard part.

  107. I think joe was talking about launching Mugabe into space.

  108. Yup, sociopaths are over-represented in politics. The weird thing to me is how transparently shitty Mugabe is.

  109. Yeah, bring him down from orbit.

    But, yes, it’s much easier to tear down than to build.

    The Army kills people and breaks things. That’s what they’re for.

  110. “The Army kills people and breaks things. That’s what they’re for.”

    Very true. I would gladly volunteer for a mission to put Mugabe at the end of a rope, but who would replace him? Me? There was more than a little bit of Victorian do gooderism behind Colonialism. It wasn’t all greed. Some colonialists really beleived that they were bringing religion and civil society to the world. As we have since found out, life is not that simple. I don’t have a good sollution for Mugabe, only the people of Zimbabwe do.

  111. John,

    That is a lot of people.

    Sure it is; but it represents a minority of loyalists. In other words, the move to Canada and other locales in the British empire doesn’t seem to be a sufficient explanation for the lack of a civil war following the American Revolutionary war.

    Catherine Demedici succeeded in wiping out the Hugonauts but the bad blood over it remained.

    Actually she didn’t. French Protestants still exist today who can trace their ancestry to the Huguenots. Anyway, the “French Wars of Religion” were settled in part by Henri IV (namely via the Edict of Nantes) and in total by Louis XIII (by finally suppressing the remaining recalcitrant Protestant forces).

    _______________________________________

    It may be entirely inappropriate to view the French revolution through the lense of class, etc. Indeed, as many modern historians have done, it may be more appropriate to view it as Tocqueville did – as a mere continuation of certain themes and trends in French history, such as centralization of power.

  112. Some colonialists really beleived that they were bringing religion and civil society to the world. As we have since found out, life is not that simple. I don’t have a good sollution for Mugabe, only the people of Zimbabwe do.

    Too true, too true.

    We’re learning the lesson that Rumsfeld’s “Old Europe” learned a century ago.

  113. So long as we are dealing with typos, her name is Catherine de’ Medici.

    joe,

    They didn’t simply support James II, they supported all the Stuart claimants to the British throne. Furthermore, they weren’t necessarily Catholic or English (indeed, there were Irish, Scottish and Anglican and other Protestant Jacobites as well).

  114. It seems Africa cannot produce one stable,prosperous country.I have no idea why.All the basics are there.Natural resources,industrious people.I’m at a loss.

    Well, South Africa is doing pretty well, at least relatively speaking. Though I understand it is starting to slip too. Bad as colonialism was, replacing it with kleptocratic tribalist dictators hasn’t worked out so well.

  115. All of the 20th Century revolutionaries were educated in the West and inculcated with all of the West’s sicknesses and immediately went back home to infect others.

    This is not, strictly speaking, true.

    Some of the leaders who came to power in former French colonies in Africa had been to the Sorbonne, but a plurality of college-educated Africans in the late 1950’s in the English-speaking zone had attended US divinical colleges. Those were the only schools they could gain entry to.

    It seems like it would have been tough to pick up “20th century sicknesses of the West” at small US divinity schools in the 1950’s.

    I think that, rather than having some 20th century disease of the Last Man, these men had the age-old diseases of lust for power and for the unearned. They stepped into the vacuum of the collapse of the European power system following WWII and raped and abused their societies because the pool of talent was so thin that there was no one to stop them. There were probably fewer than 200 men in the Belgian Congo at the time of the handover of power who had college educations. Those men looked out over the landscape and saw a place they thought they could rule to their own benefit, and gave in to the temptation. No post-Enlightenment malaise required.

    Of course, these men only ruled for an afternoon, because once one man gives in to that temptation it becomes that much more likely that the next man in line will, too.

  116. To repeat, Africans can’t self-govern.

  117. They didn’t simply support James II, they supported all the Stuart claimants to the British throne.

    My favorite part about this episode is that it gives me the chance to pronounce “Stuart” as if it has only one syllable.

    STOORT! The House of STOORT!

  118. Good point, Fluffy.

    It is always a mistake to look at anti-colonialist movements that latch onto a trendy ideology and see the ideology as the driving force of the movement.

    As if people wouldn’t take up arms against a death-squad-backed, feudalist plantation system run by a foreign ethnic minority unless they’re well-versed in the intricacies of dialectical materialism.

  119. I used to subscribe to the “Africa is Oxford’s fault” theory too, joe, but it’s just not borne out by the facts on the ground.

    For example, the Portuguese colonies did not contain even a slight leaven of Africans educated overseas. There were virtually no opportunities for education for Africans in the Portuguese metropole or anywhere else. But Marxism-Leninism succeeded in seizing power in the former Portuguese colonies.

    We can’t blame those events on western professors because western professors never came within 3000 miles of the persons involved.

    Although I would say that it’s looking like at least one very poor former Portuguese colony, having suffered through Marxism, is now doing OK at establishing a multiparty democracy and functioning civil society. Mozambique is still very poor, but if they can just get some better luck with flooding for a few years their growth trajectory should help them out of the hole.

  120. Colonialism worked on the North American continent.

    Technically every person on the planet is descended in some way from a colonialist so you would have to say every success in the world is because of colonialism and every failure is caused by it.

    Choosing the failures or successes of European Colonialism of the last 400 years to emphasis and saying the results are some how different is living in a dillusion.

    Q joe.

  121. joe and John actually agreeing on some points in the above comments, occasionally using civil language is surprising to say the least. I’m half expecting that this will be revealed as some sort of complex April Fool’s joke.

    I’m not really intersted in rehashing the cause of Afric’s problems as they are varied and numerous. IMHO, requirements that must be met to raise the standard of living for the populace are –

    1) Rule of Law. In particular, property rights and free elections.
    2) Free market economies which allow the most productive folks to produce. The developed world can help by removing trade barriers (textiles, anyone?) and stop subsidizing agriculture.
    3) Education. Harvard of Angola is not necessary here. Africa needs untold thousands of P.S. 12s.

    Foreign investment will flow naturally after these occur. Hell, it’ll gush.
    Unfortunately, many African leaders are going to have to be disposed by revolutions. Equally sad is borders are going to be redrawn by force. The rest of the world should stay the fuck out of this. Meddling in Africa’s developement has brought disaster to Africans and shame to the meddlers. I expect it to get very ugly at times making keeping our mitts off difficult, but a look at the track record indicates that we (the “civilized” world) don’t know what the hell we’re doing.

  122. J Sub D,

    If you made AFrica one giant “Duty Free Zone” the investment would come. Western companies would flock there to get cheap labor. The problem is that doing that would displace a ton of African elites who happen to like the current system of institutionalized poverty for everyone but them. That combined with anti-globalization nonsense makes it impossible for it to actually occur.

  123. It seems Africa cannot produce one stable,prosperous country.I have no idea why.All the basics are there.Natural resources,industrious people.I’m at a loss.

    Tanzania would like to disagree.

  124. Paine was much more of a radical and was much better liked in France and if I am not mistaken moved to revolutionary France later in life.

    Paine wasn’t radical. Paine was the brains behind the entire revolution. The rest of the scared bastards just wanted to be real Brits.

  125. It’s a good thing America had martial law to help us through “Dewey Defeats Truman”, no?

  126. “Paine wasn’t radical. Paine was the brains behind the entire revolution. The rest of the scared bastards just wanted to be real Brits.”

    Considering that he didn’t write either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or the Federalist Papers for that matter, I have a hard time buying Paine as the “brains behind the revolution.” If there is anyone who was the “brains behind the revolution” besides the usual suspects, I would say Governor Morris who drafted most of what ended up being the Constitution.

  127. Considering that he didn’t write either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or the Federalist Papers for that matter, I have a hard time buying Paine as the “brains behind the revolution.” If there is anyone who was the “brains behind the revolution” besides the usual suspects, I would say Governor Morris who drafted most of what ended up being the Constitution.

    And yet none of them wanted to do anything of the sort until Paine came along…

    Paine was the Reggie Jackson of his time.

  128. If you made AFrica one giant “Duty Free Zone” the investment would come.

    Not until the endemic corruption is dealt with. People are going to be very reluctant to invest very much in a country without a stable government and property rights. The exception might be oil, which is worth enough to fund your own private military to protect your investments.

  129. Choosing the failures or successes of European Colonialism of the last 400 years to emphasis and saying the results are some how different is living in a dillusion.

    Q joe.

    Actually, Q joez Law.

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