Zimbabwe: Hope for All Liberals

by

Remember Zimbabwe? A socialist leader gets elected, confiscates all the land from the wealthy white folks and hands it over to the poor black folks. Then he raises taxes to almost 100% on the wealthy, starts writing checks to the poor, and wonders why inflation skyrockets while tax revenue drops to almost nothing.

In order to control inflation, he resorts to price fixing. And the economy suffers even more.

Zimbabwe is a perfect example of socialism implemented all the way. It should be a shining example of why you can’t take from the rich and give to the poor and get anything but misery as a result.

But it gets better! See, since socialism and communism are never popular, they have to be kept in power with fists, clubs, and guns. There was an election, an election which the current president of Zimbabwe clearly lost. Rather than step aside and let the new government in, he is keeping the election results hidden so no one can know who really won. Meanwhile, his thugs are beating up the opposition. (link)

This is where socialism gets you, folks. This is what the future of America looks like if we elect socialist democrats.

Oh, and by the way, if it were a corporation beating up her opponents, the government could easily step in and throw those responsible in jail or seize the corporation’s assets.

When it’s the government doing the beatings, you have no recourse except armed rebellion. Only one problem: You gave all your guns to the government, and so now you have no recourse except to smile so they can knock out all your teeth. Here’s why Tiananmen Square and the Myanmar uprising and every rebellion that didn’t involve people who were heavily armed ended up dead.

This is why us 2nd Amendment folks will never give up our guns, even if the feds try to come and get them.

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7 Responses to “Zimbabwe: Hope for All Liberals”

  1. bma Says:

    Why don’t we discuss the military dictatorships in South America and Indonesia in the 1960s and 1970s for good measure? Friedman, the Chicago School, and other free market disciples had their hands all over that one, and people died as a result of this forced readjustment to a brutal capitalist system.

  2. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Sure, let’s compare Zimbabwe to Chile. That’s what you were thinking of, right?

    Would you rather live in Chile of the 80’s or Zimbabwe of today?

    Discuss.

  3. bma Says:

    Let’s see… death squads, disappearances, domestic terrorism… all propped up by foreign corporations suddenly enjoying a “free market system”.

    Yes! Let’s talk about Chile.

    And I’m not arguing that Zimbabwe is a grand example of a benevolent system, but one cannot blind to its history, either. It broke away from Great Britain to preserve the white supremacist, apartheid land ownership system from colonial times, a land allocation system which still persists to some extent today. The current government is corrupt and it stifles dissent, but the previous government under Ian Smith wasn’t that much better.

    And besides… what would you do if you were in the position of the majority? Simply throw up your hands, respect the property rights of a minority of people that stole land from your ancestors, and work as indentured servants?

  4. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Go ahead and speak ill of Chile. Bring it on. I’m going to show that it wasn’t the corporations or the free trade or the free market economics that killed and kidnapped and murdered people. In fact, I can show that the people were better off with free market economics and a bad dictator, than they would have been without free market economics and a bad dictator.

    The question in Chile, the moral question Milton Friedman had to face, wasn’t, “Shall we abuse the rights of the people in a quest to destroy communism?” That question had already been answered, answered by the only person capable of giving an answer.

    The question Milton Friedman was asked was, “What economic model is the most advantageous to all people?”

    As far as Zimbabwe, if I lived in a country where I was in the majority, and the majority were indentured servants who had little chance of upward mobility, I wouldn’t violate my conscience and steal their property or abuse them in any way. That’s the Christian in me talking. I would do my best to work hard and get ahead in whatever moral and just and legal manner I can, speaking good about those who say bad things about me, turning the other cheek, loving those who hate me, etc… Whatever success I found I would share, telling those around me how to get ahead, how to make their own way in life, and providing whatever support I can. I would denounce evil in all its forms, asking for the government to punish those who abuse life, liberty, and property. I would champion the poor and repressed and the widows, but I wouldn’t do so at the cost of the rich and oppressor except to punish them justly for their crimes according to the law.

    Or I would leave for the US.

    I wouldn’t start a campaign to move the country back to the stone age by destroying whatever little progress had already been made and destroying the hard work of the generations before.

  5. bma Says:

    Go ahead and speak ill of Chile. Bring it on.

    Really? Hmmm… which would you like to defend first? The economic chaos leading up to the coup caused by economic pressure from the World Bank, the IMF, and the United States? The military taking power by force, supported by the U.S. Government, based on trumped-up charges against the Allende administration? The consistent record of human rights violations? The thousands of political opponents that were “disappeared”? The massive and catastrophic cuts in social spending? The lack of elections for 17 years?

    I’m very eager to hear you spin this. Will it be that it was a victory for democracy over Communism? A defense of property rights? Or do you feel as if this was nipping a leftist dictator in the bud (in favor of a rightist one…)?

    I’m going to show that it wasn’t the corporations or the free trade or the free market economics that killed and kidnapped and murdered people. In fact, I can show that the people were better off with free market economics and a bad dictator, than they would have been without free market economics and a bad dictator.

    Brilliant! The champion of self-determination and individualistic freedom throws his lot in with a repressive military dictator. Funny how the people in situations like this don’t seem to be able to rise up to throw out the government when the military has all of the tanks and suspends all of the rights of citizens.

    The question in Chile, the moral question Milton Friedman had to face, wasn’t, “Shall we abuse the rights of the people in a quest to destroy communism?” That question had already been answered, answered by the only person capable of giving an answer.

    Of course, Friedman’s students were actively advising the military junta before, during and after the coup, and he himself decided to work with a military government eager to suppress the rights of the people in favor of meoliberal economic development. It’s an amoral choice, especially when the power of the military was used to impose the “reforms” that Friedman proposed. In my mind, Friedman is to economics what Mengele is to medicine.

    The question Milton Friedman was asked was, “What economic model is the most advantageous to all people?”

    If by “all people”, you mean “rich people”… sure. Not to mention that multinational corporations made a killing.

    I wouldn’t start a campaign to move the country back to the stone age by destroying whatever little progress had already been made and destroying the hard work of the generations before.

    Again, the violence and chaos cannot be defended, but the current allocation of ownership rights cannot be defended either. How can you defend a situation that evolved out of the wholesale denial of property rights to an entire class of people for centuries?

  6. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    So you believe that Milton Friedman was telling Pinochet to abuse the rights of his people? Do you honestly believe that Milton Friedman is as cold-hearted and cruel as Pinochet?

    It’s quite apparent what was happening, at least to reasonable people.

    Pinochet decided that he had to use military and police force to keep communism at bay. That’s a decision he made. That’s a decision that he and his people supported. If the people had not supported it, the military junta wouldn’t have lasted long. The blood is on his hands and the hands of his supporters.

    It’s not unlike MacArthur and President Rhee of post-WWII South Korea using repressive military tactics against the communists within South Korea. Was it bloody and cruel, and did a lot of innocent people perhaps get caught up, captured, and killed? Absolutely. Was it necessary? That’s a moral dilemma.

    Now, put yourself in Milton Friedman’s shoes. You are the leading scientist, a persuasive voice, that has a unique understanding of the secret to wealth while the rest of the world is preaching the exact opposite. And history shows that wealth precedes freedom. That is, it takes a country with a strong upper and middle class to produce free democracies. When Pinochet approaches you and asks, “Can you advise how to structure the economy so as to build a free economy?” what would you answer?

    A) No, you are a brutal dictator and your people deserve all the economic distress that comes with what you are doing. I will not share the secrets of wealth that have made the US and UK and Japan and Germany and other economies leading powers in the world. I will not tell you how to setup an upper and middle class necessary to sustain a real democracy like the US where individual rights trump collective rights. You simply aren’t worthy.

    B) Even though I believe you are going about this in the wrong way, and you are a bloody and ruthless dictator, your people deserve to learn how to live their own lives and gain wealth so that they can one day build an economy capable of sustaining a government that is based on equal rights and mutual respect and tolerance and God-given liberties. So I will do what I can to help you understand what you can do to create economic freedom.

    I think the answer is fairly obvious. Since wealth precedes liberty, in order to bring liberty, you must first bring wealth.

    America is facing the same choice today with China. We do not accept, even a little, China’s repression of her own people and the peoples of Tibet and other areas. We do not respect her form of government. We see a future where war is not only possible, but perhaps likely. Yet we know that the only way war can be averted and the Chinese and Tibetan and other people freed is through economic prosperity. So we will trade as freely as China allows with China, since it will help the greatest number of people and provide the greatest hope for peace without war.

    Or would you rather sit in an ivory tower and condemn every evil little act and declare that they are unworthy of all the progress made in economics made over the past 300 years?

  7. bma Says:

    So you believe that Milton Friedman was telling Pinochet to abuse the rights of his people? Do you honestly believe that Milton Friedman is as cold-hearted and cruel as Pinochet?

    I believe that if you could deal with Pinochet, knowing full well what he was doing, then yes, you’re guilty. You’re coddling a dictator, and for someone who is quick to denounce the perceived crimes of Chavez, I find it incredibly hypocritical.

    It’s quite apparent what was happening, at least to reasonable people.

    And naturally, all of those people with relatives that were killed or “disappeared” are unreasonable. Silly them.

    Pinochet decided that he had to use military and police force to keep communism at bay. That’s a decision he made. That’s a decision that he and his people supported. If the people had not supported it, the military junta wouldn’t have lasted long. The blood is on his hands and the hands of his supporters.

    Hard for “the people” to argue when the military owns the tanks, declares martial law, and kills its opponents.

    And to assume that this was just all about communism is pretty short-sighted. This was a coup that was motivated more by economics than by ideology.

    It’s not unlike MacArthur and President Rhee of post-WWII South Korea using repressive military tactics against the communists within South Korea. Was it bloody and cruel, and did a lot of innocent people perhaps get caught up, captured, and killed? Absolutely. Was it necessary? That’s a moral dilemma.

    Wow. So you’re in support of brutal dictators, as long as they’re “fighting communists”? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Nice to see that you’re a proud defender of freedom. Trading liberty for security, are we?

    Now, put yourself in Milton Friedman’s shoes. You are the leading scientist, a persuasive voice, that has a unique understanding of the secret to wealth while the rest of the world is preaching the exact opposite.

    Friedman was a hack. He had a mechanistic, simplistic view of economics that does not bear out in the real world. The only reason why he had traction in political circles is because his neo-liberal economic message allows for the rich to get even richer at the expense of the poor. That’s it. Conservatives calling him an economic savior is just as wrong-headed as progressives completely idolizing Keynes.

    And history shows that wealth precedes freedom.

    Like in Saudi Arabia? Kuwait?

    That is, it takes a country with a strong upper and middle class to produce free democracies. When Pinochet approaches you and asks, “Can you advise how to structure the economy so as to build a free economy?” what would you answer?

    Hell no. Of course, was he actually asking about a “free economy”?

    A) No, you are a brutal dictator and your people deserve all the economic distress that comes with what you are doing. I will not share the secrets of wealth that have made the US and UK and Japan and Germany and other economies leading powers in the world. I will not tell you how to setup an upper and middle class necessary to sustain a real democracy like the US where individual rights trump collective rights. You simply aren’t worthy.

    If you assume that Pinochet’s goal was to build up Chile’s economy for the benefit of the people, I’m assuming that you’re completely unaware of who the real beneficiaries of his rule were. And let me give you a hint: the foreign bank accounts that received the proceeds from the transition to a “free market” were not opened by the poor of the country.

    I’m also amused that you think that Chile is a great example of the benefits of right-wing conservative economic policy, when the main center-left coalition has won every single election since the end of military rule in 1990, and the current President is a member of Allende’s Socialist Party.

    I think the answer is fairly obvious. Since wealth precedes liberty, in order to bring liberty, you must first bring wealth.

    So while you’re building the wealth of the upper classes, please feel free to trample over the rights of your opponents, and the poor. Collateral damage.

    America is facing the same choice today with China. We do not accept, even a little, China’s repression of her own people and the peoples of Tibet and other areas. We do not respect her form of government. We see a future where war is not only possible, but perhaps likely. Yet we know that the only way war can be averted and the Chinese and Tibetan and other people freed is through economic prosperity. So we will trade as freely as China allows with China, since it will help the greatest number of people and provide the greatest hope for peace without war.

    We will trade as freely as China allows because we no longer have economic leverage over China. And of *course* our government accepts government sanctioned repression (and, implicitly, so do we). We have little to gain economically and much to lose politically by encouraging democratic institutions in many different countries. This certainly makes our rhetoric about being the “defender of the free world” harder to swallow, though. Hard to seem like you’re spreading democracy when you’re supporting Mubarak, Musharraf, the royal families of the Middle East, etc.

    Or would you rather sit in an ivory tower and condemn every evil little act and declare that they are unworthy of all the progress made in economics made over the past 300 years?

    Again, the “progress” in economics that you speak of here is an illusion. However, to justify the evil acts of Pinochet on economic grounds is grossly unethical, regardless of whether one is in an ivory tower or not.

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