“And then they ate their pets.”

Belmont Club posts on Zimbabwe.

And so the toll that mounted to a hundred million victims in the twentieth century continues to climb in the twenty-first. And, in America, mid-west farmers are described as voting against their interests when they choose candidates who value limited government. The independence that land gives us, the productivity that comes when we till our own fields are lessons we forget over and over, but then are taught again by the harshest of experiences.

11 thoughts on ““And then they ate their pets.””

  1. Yes, the pets go first. What’s next? Well, in N Korea, Zim’s ally and security forces trainer, they’re eating their own children—a graphically literal comment on the nature of socialism, if there ever was one.

    However, all these extravagent inhumanities generally go unreported, or are minimally mentioned in a 2 inch footnote on page 19, by the MSM. If, by some bizarre twist, they became allies of the US, then the papers and TV would light up like pinball machines with expose’s and investigations, but for now, the deranged lunacies of these left over socialist nightmares go down the memory hole.

    If there are reports of injustice and massecres to be done, better to find something about, say, Ethiopia, who, for a short time at least, seemed to be acting as a US surrogate in Somalia.

    Guess whose alleged excesses were all over the front pages of my local rags this weekend? Times up.

  2. Its not just land, its the ability to control ones own economic destiny that ultimately counts.

    In a pre-industrial environment, land gives people independence by allowing them to survive without depending on the authorities. If a person can grow their own food and raw materials without having to seek permission then the most powerful lever the state can bring to bear disappears.

    All tyranny, regardless of whether we classify it as of the Left or of the Right, begin with economic control. Tyrannical governments control the economy before they control the press, the security forces, the military or the courts.

    In the contemporary developed world, land provides relatively little sustenance. We trade our skills for what we need. If we cannot our skills we starve. Yet, many people seem to see little threat in letting the state acquire more and more power in determining how we trade.

  3. “…determining how we trade.” And how much we can get paid. How about a “maximum wage law“, which is being proposed by some folks. And there is Sen. Rangel’s desire to massively raise taxes — on “the rich”, of course.

    The greatest failure of Pres. Bush was not Iraq, it was failing to control spending, and allowing a Republican Congress to spend money with both hands.

  4. Having lived and worked around Africa for many years in the 1980s-90s, this is both a tragic and fascinating regression taking place in Zimbabwe. Urban, modern economic sectors in Africa do not usually employ large proportions of the local population, being largely extractive and highly mechanized in nature. The modern economies are grafted onto societies in which the majority of the population lives in traditional, agricultural communities.

    But those Africans who have entered the modern economy maintain extended family structures, and mutual obligations among the members, in the rural areas. Those few who are able to secure formal, salaried employment are expected to support financially the family members residing in the countryside. The seeming lack of organized resistance in Zimbabwe may very well mean that the urban residents are simply returning to their families, and more technologically primitive, rural roots. The support mechanisms of this kind exist.

    Thus, rather than react as members of a modern, and dependent, population in the West would to anything like a society wide collapse such as Zimbabwe, the urban population in Zimbabwe is jettisoning their not deeply assimilated urban habits to return to the more real, traditional Africa in the countryside. Just a hypothesis. It will be interesting to follow the denouement of Mugabe’s policy of destruction. His regime may end with more of a whimper than a bang.

  5. JohnSal,

    Thus, rather than react as members of a modern, and dependent, population in the West would to anything like a society wide collapse such as Zimbabwe, the urban population in Zimbabwe is jettisoning their not deeply assimilated urban habits to return to the more real, traditional Africa in the countryside

    An interesting idea. That happened to some extent in America during the great depression. Young people who left the farm for the “big city” returned to the farm during the lean years. After all, a farm can always use more hands and farms of that era could usually feed themselves even if they couldn’t sell their crops for much.

    I think the problem with this idea in Zimbabwe is that traditional farming there is probably already stretched to the limit and many people have been driven from their lands for the crime of being politically unreliable.

  6. I suspect veryretired’s point was more subtle. For instance, here’s a paragraph from the first article you mentioned; it implies that the problem is not the grabbing of land from those who were farming it and ignoring the rule of law for a “higher good” but rather that the people at the top were just not as altruistic and moral as they should have been; if the right people had only implemented this policy:
    “Among many outside that circle, however, the growing conviction is that Zimbabwe’s descent is neither the result of paranoia nor the product of Mr. Mugabe’s longstanding belief in Marxist economic theory. Instead, they say, Zimbabwe is fast becoming a kleptocracy, and the government’s seemingly inexplicable policies are in fact preserving and expanding it.” Of course, this is true. But that those are results of policies in a pattern we’ve seen often is not assumed. We realize this is the inevitable outcome of certain political policies put in place by those with the universal nature of the human.

  7. I was at a party a few years ago, a birthday party for a friend who was associated at one time in his career with National Training and Information Center, which is community activists in the Saul Alinksy mode — a Chicago heritage we do not particularly celebrate around here. Anyway, it was a room full of genuine Leftist activists. The conversation turned to Zimbabwe. These people were very, very happy about Zimbabwe. Mugabe was destroying the last vestiges of “white power” in Zimbabwe, and this was cause for celebration. I gently suggested that the way it was being done was reducing the country to starvation. This got a very harsh response, “the pigs” had to be destroyed. It was a room full of leftists who were literally grinning at the prospect of “pigs” being killed by their African “victims”, and the actual consequences — starvation, tyranny — which were being inflicted on millions of Black Africans as a result were irrelevant. Whitey deserves to die, and that trumps all else.

    A fairly typical afternoon with a certain sort of Hyde Park social scene.

  8. Thank you, Ginny, but don’t try to tell my wife I’m subtle—she wouldn’t stop laughing for hours.

    Anyway, I readily admit I didn’t conduct a wide ranging media survey to gather data for a ten line blog comment. Even with the scores of articles cited, I wonder a couple of things—

    I remember the endless articles and investigations by outraged media types during the pre-Mugabe Rhodesian period, all agreeing that significant international action was necessary to resolve the rampant injustices of that system. I also remember the marches and protests against the earlier regime, and its counterpart in S Africa, that seemed a regular occurence on campuses and political venues around the country, reported approvingly by the same media.

    Where are the calls for serious action, i.e., boycotts or sanctions or more, now? And where, oh where, are the marches and candlelight vigils and all the other media events so prominent before the Mugabe era? I mean, all these concerned and idealistic types can’t all be marching and vigiling against Israel 7 days a week, can they?

    Of course the NYT has articles about Zim or N Korea, and so do the others, although I live in flyover country, so I am naturally bereft of regular exposure to such wisdom on a daily basis, but what do they recommend? While they are deploring, what do they actually want done?

    If it’s ever anything more than another useless UN resolution, or some hearty blustering by the State Dept., let me know.

    Besides, my scrapbooks are so filled with articles about Nicole and the men’s room at the Mpls airport, I can’t possibly find room for these scores of articles condemning leftist tyrants around the world. At least the ones whose countries aren’t starving because of recurring floods and other natural disasters, which everyone knows couldn’t be compunded by lunatic social and economic policies, must be shaking in their boots, knowing the NYT is unhappy with them.

    I’m surprised baby Kim hasn’t fled to where ever baby Kims flee to, after being spanked by a big thick newspaper like the Times. Mugabe too. I bet they’ll be on the run any day now, with all that liberal disapproval weighing on their minds and all. Yep, any day now.

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