Sunday, October 19, 2008

Zimbabwe: The true face of the State

An article in the news today details violent suppression of protests in Zimbabwe. With hyper-inflation (11,000,000%!), Zimbabwe's corrupt government gives us a look behind the curtain at the true nature of any state.

When Mugabe came to power, he used the crimes of the British (esp. the much-celebrated criminal, Cecil Rhodes) to justify confiscation of the farms of whites. In principle, retaking stolen property is not wrong. But the State has no interest in justice and a state actor never intends to seize property to do justice.

Mugabe has distributed the seized land to his cronies - friends and family - to solidify his power base. In the process, the agricultural industry of Zimbabwe has been decimated and its population hurled into 85% unemployment with disastrous hyper-inflation. This is the true face of the state. Our government is only better as a matter of degree, but its actions in running up public debt, inflating the currency and redistributing wealth from the poor to rich cronies for political ends are no different in kind than Mugabe's.

My concern is that as our Rehoboamic government intends to burden us with ever greater debt, inflation and (inevitably) taxation, we may be moving towards such scenes of violent suppression of popular protests. Certainly, with the PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act and the rest of the Orwellian legislation passed since 9/11, the President has all the formal authority needed for it. Zimbabweans are protesting in the streets because, ultimately, their government has laid waste to their country and left them impoverished and starving. To maintain its grip on power, our government will do no less and it is far better equipped than Mugabe to retain power.

It's time we start to rein in the beast before it's too late.

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