When even the police are starving, you realize that the country has serious problems.

A truly sad story about conditions in Zimbabwe. There is something particularly sad about people forced to eat their own protected wildlife. Of course, no one can blame them. No one could blame them if they ate all the elephants. 

Remember when Mugabe was the darling of the Left? Remember how they all supported his redistribution of land as post-colonial justice?

I think I’ll go find a random leftist and punch him.

23 thoughts on “When even the police are starving, you realize that the country has serious problems.”

  1. I’m a bit incredulous that the author of the article is mourns giraffes and worries about elephants, but keeps things simply factual when describing starving people. That’s some misplaced compassion.

  2. Thank the good lord that we have no such problems in our own country, where at least one zoo I know says it may have to close down because of the economy. Anyone want to buy a lion or elephant?

  3. “I think I’ll go find a random leftist and punch him.”

    Shannon, I sincerely hope you don’t mean that. First of all, the “Left” is not one monolithic entity. That random leftist may or may not even know who Mugabe is.

    Even if he did, collective responsibility is just plain wrong – we don’t hold random GOP supporters responsible for civilian massacres carried out by Columbian death squads just because Reagan provided misguided support for the Columbian Army.

    Finally, that kind of violent rhetoric is exactly the thing you’d probably deplore if it came out of the mouth of a “Leftist” – and for good reason.

    I’ve seen you be thoughtful and intelligent before. If even the thoughtful right is going to go all violent/paranoid/Black Helicopterish because Obama won the election, this country is going to be divided for a long time.

  4. Dove,

    It’s not to unusual to see people more upset about the deaths of animals than the deaths of humans. In movies, you can do horrible things to human characters, even children, in service to the plot but its still taboo to show an animal getting hurt. I think we have some sense that animals are innocent bystanders in human affairs.

    But you have a point. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the knowledge that the elephants are getting eaten spurs more people in the west to take action than stories of starving children does. Perhaps the reported counted on that.

  5. Fred Lapidies,

    Thank the good lord that we have no such problems in our own country, where at least one zoo I know says it may have to close down because of the economy.

    Thanks for putting things in perspective. You’re right, zoos with financial problems are the same scale of problem as starving people roaming the country side devouring their wild life.

    Hey, everybody, I’ve got an idea! Let’s stop talking about people starving in Africa as a consequence of the decisions of people like Fred and instead talk about something Fred dislikes because Fred is to poor to start his own blog to talk about the subjects he wants to.

    Yes, Fred, regale of us of horrific tales of budget cuts and shrinking tax bases! It will give us something to think about as we dig these mass graves.

  6. The saddest part of the story is that it might not have happened. I reviewed a very interesting book on Mugabe last year. The review is here and it is apparent that everybody made terrible mistakes. Mugabe began as a man who wanted help but the sudden British abandonment left him with little help. When Lord Soames, the last colonial governor, died, Mugabe and his wife appeared at his funeral uninvited. It is a real tragedy. That is not an excuse for his tyranny but it is so typical of the story of post-colonial Africa

  7. SeanF,

    Your right. The thing we should be concentrating on here is my threat to punch somebody. It was a horrible, horrible thing for me to do. The great cosmic harm caused by me frogging someone on the arm while screaming, “this is for the elephants of Zimbabwe you bastard!” is what we really need to talk about.

    Even if he did, collective responsibility is just plain wrong…

    Unless, its the collective responsibility of white people, westerners, the upper economic class, a profession such as bankers, people who work or invest in corporations, Religious people, straight people, men, Republicans, libertarians/classical-liberals, non-leftist in general, and so on and so on…. If we can’t blame people as a group and can’t treat people different as a group then we’d end up with a polity of individuals. What kind of anarchy would that be?

    … we don’t hold random GOP supporters responsible for civilian massacres carried out by Columbian death squads just because Reagan provided misguided support for the Columbian Army.

    You know what? We should. Everyone should get one solid punch in the shoulder for every million people that their political cohorts in the world has killed in the last century. So, non-leftist get punched for all the rightwing murders in the Cold war that totaled up to what, several hundred thousand? Leftist can get punched for Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot, Kim il Sung, the Ethiopian Derg, the Sandinestias, Castro, Arafat, Hamas, Mugabe etc. Then we can add in all the people who died of poverty caused idiotic socialism even in stable places like India.

    Who do think is going to have the biggest bruise? I know, the evil rightwing people will. Because of all the horror and death rained down on the people this century, the biggest perpetrators have been, anti-communist, American allies, freemarket advocates etc. Don’t get me started how many people multinational corporations have starved to death in Russia, China, Indochina, Africa, Latin America etc. It’s those damn ideas of rule of law, private property, limited government etc that mows people down like stalks of wheat! Why look what good work Chavas is doing in Venezuela! Sean Pean is even making a movie about it!

    But I think you missed the real reason why it so, so wrong of me to threaten to punch leftist: Leftist are never morally wrong! Leftist always mean well so they don’t really ever do anything morally wrong that a lesser being like myself can hold them accountable for. It’s okay for them to prance around in Che shirts because they admire Che the fabricated propaganda ideal not the real Che with the bloody hands. It’s wrong of me to criticize them because in the end all that matters in intentions and dreams, not actual actions and outcomes.

    Leftist are morally perfected human beings. They only want what’s best for everybody. When they support someone like Mugabe while calling his opponents racist imperialist who deserve the campaign of terror waged against them from 1960-1980, they do so out of only the best intentions. How were leftist to know how Mugabe would turn out as he did just because because so many non-leftist warned that he would? Why should a morally pure leftist listen to the warnings of those who act purely from the base motives of greed and racism?

    Even when leftist make the same mistakes over and over again their pure hearts protect them from blame. It’s wrong of me to grow angry watching the same train wrecks happen over and over again while leftist act surprised every single time. It’s really, really, really, really wrong of me to suggest that maybe, just maybe, leftist sometimes, very rarely, almost not worth mentioning, make decisions based on selfish egotistical reasons and that is why they keep pushing policies that to greedy, racist, uneducated, unenlightened neanderthals like myself believe kill innocent people by the train load.

    Sorry, SeanF but I guess you’ll just have to accept I’m a bad person. I have a deep seated need to inflict physical injury on those whose dance from mass grave to mass grave while congratulating themselves on their moral superiority. Don’t blame yourself. You’ve tried to educate me, get me to see the errors of my ways. You’ve tried to teach me how to be a perfected human being who only acts out a pure, unselfish desire to help others but I guess I just don’t have your level of intellect to grasp such rarified ideas.

    But at least you’ve brought me back to earth. I’ve calmed down. I won’t hit some leftist. I’ll just sit there calmly while they lecture me about how people starving in africa is not because of the result of local despots but rather the result of my personal material lifestyle choices or the actions of evil corporations.

    I’ll be good. I promise.

  8. Mike K,

    Mugabe began as a man who wanted help but the sudden British abandonment left him with little help.

    I know, sad isn’t? Clearly, if the British had just given him a little hand up his Soviet backed Marxist ideology probably would have worked. If the British just hadn’t been such bastards then all communist inspired ideas combined with ethnic political power bases would have made it possible to ethnically cleanse out the all the countries white technical talent without causing any economic dislocations. The Brits should hang their head in shame. If only, they’d left someone there for poor little Mugabe to talk to!

    Yes, we all know the rule. At some juncture in history, there is always some action that someone in the democratic west could have easily taken that would have prevented or massively negated every single negative event that has ever happened anywhere in modern times. Every single political disaster could have been headed off if only somebody, somewhere in a western liberal democracy had not been such a prick!

    It’s all our damn fault because ultimately, we control every sparrow that falls. Nothing happens in the world unless we somehow, at sometime, set it in motion. Nobody anywhere in the world ever takes any action except as a reaction to something we did. Specifically, no human being ever thought of exploiting their neighbor until some greedy, racist Western showed up and goaded them into it!

    The great tragedy of course is that there are always people in the free west, the leftist who always know what to do today in order to head off future tragedy. They’ve always been proven right in retrospect at every juncture of history. Right now, today, we’re taking some action that 30 years from now wise, world weary leftist will be shaking their heads and saying, “The saddest part of the story is that it might not have happened. If only we had done ‘x’ instead of ‘y'” this tragedy would have never come about.” If we listened to the leftist and did everything they say, then starting from today, no negative event would ever happen in human affairs again!

  9. Zimbabwe is no longer a name of a country. It is a one word definition for a failed economic and political system.

    If one were to google the term “Animal Farm,” it would say “see Zimbabwe.”

    Danny L. McDaniel
    Lafayette, Indiana

  10. Shannon, I think his history is one of ineptitude rather than Marxist “success.” He asked for help and if he had had such help, he might have been less of a disaster. Certainly, Africa is the story of the failure of Marxist economics if Russia isn’t enough. Yeltsin’s comment on communism was “It should have been tried in a smaller country” but we see that even that wasn’t enough to get a decent result. Mugabe goes beyond that in terms of horror. Maybe you are saying that the author was not providing an accurate picture of Mugabe and that is certainly a possibility.

    I still believe that Mugabe was asking for help but you may have more information about him. I’m not aware of Idi Amin, for example, asking for help from former colonial masters.

    By the way, I’m hardly a leftist. How did your wife’s father like the book ?

  11. Shannon, you are too compasionate re: seanf. My target would not be on the shoulder, I can assure you.

  12. Shannon,

    I don’t think you’re a bad person. Just angry as that cri de coeur clearly showed.

    One of the things I’ve always liked about you is that while I’m used to conservatives calling me uncomplimentary names when I post on conservative sites, I rarely meet one who can actually marshall facts and a reasoned argument. I suppose we all lose our cool sometimes and have different triggers.

    I make no claim to superiority. I just think it’s very difficult to judge the character of a person based on political outlook. It takes truly knowing someone – how they live their lives and treat other people, not what they post on blogs or pretend to think about themselves – to make that determination.

    That’s why I don’t really enjoy the partisan ranting about crazy wingnuts and spacy moonbats. Ultimately, regardless of political persuasion, I think making yourself feel superior by raving about the alleged flaws of others is like peeing in your pants. It may give you a nice warm feeling but you haven’t accomplished anything.

  13. SeanF, you’re a liberal down to the core of your warm little heart. But that’s not what I like about you so much as your willingness to invade the territory of the enemy and do combat. You’ve got cojones, man, and that’s not really what one expects of a liberal.

    It would be nice if we could all get along and stop feeling passionately about things. But we’re human, Sean, even us wingnuts. If you prick us, we bleed.

    Anyhow, it’s pretty boring to define the worthiness of discourse according to how tolerant and non-judgmental and colorless it is. It’s about intelligence – rational argument, knowledge of facts, yes, but also wit and lively language. Dr. Johnson wasn’t given to tentative opinions or overly great concern for the feelings of his interlocutors. He was prone to physical demonstrations of his argument – “I knocked the fellow down for his impertinence”. What’s wrong with that – in the universe of anyone but a liberal?

  14. Ah, dear Shannon, that response to SeanF was a bullseye.

    Even better, and entirely predictable, he didn’t get any of it at all, just responded with some treacle showing what a truly kind, compassionate person he is, even if you are hysterical with anger, he forgives you.

    I gave up arguing with collectivists ages ago. The chasm between the real world, piled high with the corpses slaughtered by their ideas in practice, and the alternate universe they inhabit, filled with goodness, truthiness, and compassion, is just too wide.

    I have rarely seen a better example of the gap between “what is said, and what is done”.

  15. As I lived in South Africa for over seventeen years, right next door to the once-beautiful and bountiful country named Rhodesia, I think that I am qualified to comment on anything which is posted, on the fate which has befallen that country, now re-named as Zimbabwe.

    Shannon’s comment about violence on a random leftist is both completely understandable and justified.

    It was the Left which pushed the nations of the world into an absurd boycott of Rhodesia, it was the Left which supported the violence from the Communist terror gangs against the Rhodesian Government, it was the Left which supported the so-called Liberation movements who then clamoured for the cash, and the weaponry which they then used to terrorise the population of that now prostrate country into an acceptance of the new God; that which was named Black-Majority rule. And now just look at what they have done with that fabulous gift!

    I have posted many times on the appalling tragedy of Zimbabwe, both on my own blogsite as well as on others, and all one hears is the same lament, “It’s all the Fault of the former Colonial Masters, Great Britain; or even better, It’ll all be okay when the new Government gets settled!”

    Well, my friends, now you see the reality, are you truly happy with what you have achieved?

  16. So, MIke Cunningham, you think it was always hopeless with Mugabe ? I was impressed with that book and his history, among many items, his insistence that his government officials wear western dress and such small things as attending Soames’ funeral in spite of not being invited. Everyone knows the disasters in Africa were propelled by the left’s insistence on anti-colonialism but I was also very impressed with Anthony Daniels’ experience as a doctor while it was still Rhodesia. This always impressed me as a problem.

    The young black doctors who earned the same salary as we whites could not achieve the same standard of living for a very simple reason: they had an immense number of social obligations to fulfill. They were expected to provide for an ever expanding circle of family members (some of whom may have invested in their education) and people from their village, tribe, and province. An income that allowed a white to live like a lord because of a lack of such obligations scarcely raised a black above the level of his family. Mere equality of salary, therefore, was quite insufficient to procure for them the standard of living that they saw the whites had and that it was only human nature for them to desire—and believe themselves entitled to, on account of the superior talent that had allowed them to raise themselves above their fellows. In fact, a salary a thousand times as great would hardly have been sufficient to procure it: for their social obligations increased pari passu with their incomes.

    I’m certainly not holding out my opinion as factual but am interested in your thoughts.

  17. SeanF,

    …while I’m used to conservatives calling me uncomplimentary names when I post on conservative sites, I rarely meet one who can actually marshall facts and a reasoned argument.

    I know, it’s just terrible isn’t it? If you disagree with conservatives they go right for the ad hominem attacks casually accusing people who disagree with them of being racist, sexist, fill-in-the-blank-ist. They claim that anyone who disagrees with their social policies wants poor people to starve to death in the streets. They say non-conservatives don’t care if people go without medical care. They accuse you of destroying the entire planetary ecosystem just for the sake of short term profit. They say your foreign policy views arise from nothing but a desire to exploit the planets poor and defenseless. If your in the military, they accuse you of war crimes at the drop of a hat based on the filmiest evidence. Oh, and don’t get me started on the profanity!

    I make no claim to superiority.

    I know you don’t. That would be ignoble of you.

    No, your just an ordinary person with certain, shall we say, gifts? Your just an ordinary person but free of the moral stains that infect the rest of us. I mean, you’re not racist, you’re not sexist, your not greedy. If you made hundreds of millions of dollars you’d give almost all of it to charity. Your gifts give you the intellectual horsepower to understand how to micro-manage the entire national financial system, give you the ability to evaluate the science of climatology and predict how to manage the entire planetary economy to ensure that future generations have a functioning ecosystem. You understand how to replace the entire existing energy grid with untested technologies. You understand how to create a politically managed health care system that will provide high quality, low cost medical care for 300 million people without suppressing medical innovation…

    …and of course, so many other things in scientific, technological, economic social and cultural matters that I can’t list them all.

    I could go on but I don’t want to make you blush. But, really there is no need for false modesty. I mean, is there really any area of human endeavor you don’t feel qualified to pass judgement on? After all, you and your fellow gifted people select the politicians who select the technocrats who will manage all the things that you know need to be politically managed. You will evaluate whether those people are doing a good job or not and to do that you have to have a rather detailed understanding of how all this stuff works.

    It would be insane to try and centrally manage any system for which you don’t have a detailed understanding so I know you understand all this stuff.

    By comparison, I understand only a fairly limited range of technical issues which have specialized in over the last two decades. Beyond that, I understand very little. Unlike, you, I could not just walk in and tell how to best optimize a financial system, an energy grid, a health care system etc. At best, all I can do is figure out a way to wreck the system by jamming a wrench into at some point. I am force to laboriously experiment through many failures to figure out the least little improvement.

    Don’t get me started about my inability to deal with violent dangerous people from criminals to dictators. I am forced to just threaten to shoot them but you have an amazing ability to alter their behavior just by talking to them!

    I lay awake nights cursing the fates that made me born without your gifts. I really wish I understood everything as clearly as you do. Really, you shouldn’t be so modest.

    In fact, why don’t you and a bunch of your equally gifted fellow thinkers join together to run everything? That would make things better for everyone.

  18. The facts are relatively clear: what was once a breadbasket, an exporter of food, is now not only an importer of food but a place where people starve – and when the police starve, well, that means the food is not there to be gotten.

    There is a wonderful line in Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited” where good-time Charlie, remembering the boom years, says he now knows what “to dissipate” means – to turn something into nothing. This has always seemed to me infinitely sad – but when applied to a place like Zimbabwe instead of the expatriates of the boom years, tragic.

    It is Shannon and not the left who begins with facts. The left turns the argument to one about Shannon’s intemperance. Well, he does sometimes go off the handle, but I would think, given his sympathy for the people of a country destroyed, that an empathic person would understand both his passion and the cause of his passion. It is hard to be temperant about such a tragedy.

  19. shannon,

    you make a lot of assumptions about me, how I think, my morality, skillsets, intelligence, and how I construct the world. all because, in your eyes, I am a “leftist.”

    as it happens, these assumptions are wrong. they *could* have been right, at least some of them, but they’re not. that’s what happens when you generalize to an individual person based on the very limited knowledge conveyed by one piece of information such as political outlook – or religion, ethnicity or gender for that matter. and that’s my point.

    i think i’m going to stop posting on chicagoboyz. I doubt I will be much missed, but I am sad. I thought it was possible to have a conversation with the other side, but it appears to be more difficult than I had initially thought.

    also, other than you and one or two others – to be fair, you mostly responded logically and not emotionally most of the time – I’ve been singularly unimpressed with the conservatives I have interacted with. the responses are usually name-calling, don’t make much logical or rational sense, and rarely ‘t appear to have any thought put into them. I don’t learn anything new from reading them; they tell me more about their authors than anything else.

    I’ve usually been able to blow holes in them rather easily, at least to my satisfaction. you were the only person who actually caused me to alter my views: I don’t think GSE’s caused the crisie but I do now believe that gov’t has more to answer for than I did before. Excepting that, US conservative “thought” right now seems to consist mostly of misguided ideology and a refusal to deal with reality. Shall we say, a far cry from Burke or Oakeshotte.

    On the whole this experience has mostly served to confirm my existing biases regarding conservatives (re: reason, intelligence, anger, rush to judgment, partisanship, fox news media-cycle fed etc), which is not the result I was hoping for. the idea behind my experiment was this: since we all see the world through our individual filters – ideology, unique experience, race etc. – we see it as we are, not as it actually is. I thought trying out filters radically different from mine would help me get a better sense of objective reality. as it turns out, I think I understand conservatives more, but I find it difficult to get useful information mostly because their filters appear even more problematic than my own; I’m even less inclined to trust them.

    I was angry throughout the Bush administration; my experience is that anger was counterproductive in the long run. for liberal me, it was better to be the change I wanted to see – less angry, less paranoid, less reifying my prejudices, more optimistic, more civil.

    good luck,


  20. Hey, if you are going to introduce an irrelevant topic (to say nothing of lying about it), at least learn how to spell the country. It is Colombia, not Columbia. Although, who knows, you may have been talking about those pesky death squads in the District of Columbia.

  21. SeanF,

    Zen masters have been known to physically strike their students in sanzen in an attempt to jolt them out of their habitual ways of looking at things. — One Arrow, One Life, The ultimate study of kyudo (the art of traditional Japanese archery) and its relation to the ideals and practice of Zen Buddhism.

  22. And you have the arrogance to think you are a master and that SeanF is your student?
    And the arrogance to believe you are above being habitual and unoriginal in your thinking?
    A bit of distortion on your part and foolishness too. Once you cool your head, re-read the posts and maybe you’ll find true enlightenment.

    [CORRECTION from Jonathan: I previously noted that this comment came from SeanF’s IP address. Since then SeanF has emailed to inform me that his girlfriend posted the comment. I am glad that this is what happened and apologize to SeanF for suggesting that he was engaging in sock-puppetry.]

  23. MessOfLove,

    And you have the arrogance to think you are a master and that SeanF is your student?

    We all are at different times the master and the student. Everyone learns from everyone else (or should.) There is no such thing as an overall superior human being. I thought that given SeanF’s lack of humor regarding the parent post that he needed a slap upside the head by seeing his own views reflected back on him. His anger did not surprise me. Leftist always become angry when you don’t grant them supposition of intellect and morality they believe due to them by natural right.

    SeanF lacks self awareness. He has not reflected upon the great scope of knowledge he must believe he possess in order to logically advocate the political control of all the systems he wants under political control. Leftist is based on the assumption of vast knowledge both on the part of certain individuals and on the part of humanity as a whole. Cultivating this assumption of knowledge is very important in leftist’s subculture. It forms the basis of their identity and sense of self worth. Challenging that assumption makes them very angry because it chips away at the foundations of their ego.

    SeanF grew angry because of the funhouse mirror image of himself I showed him. I adopted the persona of the person he imagines me to truly be and then sent his unstated assumptions back at him.

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