Thursday, January 15, 2009
Let’s all pray for people of Zimbabwe
If you had the time and money, you could be in the middle of hell on earth within a day. You could be walking through the slums of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, where the Chigudi family watched five young children die one after the other from cholera.
According to a report in the New York Times, the children were laughing and chasing each other through sewage-clogged streets. By midnight, they began to vomit. By dawn, they were dead.
Their father, who returned home just hours after the last of his children died, got his first inkling of unspeakable calamity when his youngest ones weren’t there to clamber all over him as he walked in the door. “I will never get my children back,” he said.
Twenty-eight years after the end of white-dominated rule, the people of Zimbabwe are suffering more than ever before. Racial equality doesn’t mean much when famine and disease are knocking at your door. Not to mention torture at the hands of Mugabe’s henchmen if you dare to protest.
We should all pray for the people of Zimbabwe. There but for the grace of God go we. Without political and economic freedom, protected by free elections, individual liberty, fair laws and an impartial judiciary, a nation can tumble from prosperity to ruin in less than a generation.
In 1980, Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. Colonialism and apartheid, however morally reprehensible, had brought a measure of material wealth to the land.
The Rhodesian whites in power, facing economic sanctions from the United Nations, predicted an economic collapse if they were removed from power. They were right.
It didn’t have to be this way. When Mugabe and his soldiers took power in 1980, they promised reconciliation and compromise. Instead, the successful white farmers were killed and driven from the land. The new landowners didn’t know how to farm. Crops failed. A complete brain drain ensued, as Mugabe implemented a centralized, totalitarian, socialist dictatorship.
Now the country has been set back 100 years. Only 10 percent of the people are employed. Famine and disease are killing thousands. There is no currency. Anybody who criticizes the government is beaten or killed. It is hell on earth.
Let us pray that Zimbabwe’s neighbor to the south, South Africa, can learn from Zimbabwe’s disastrous fate, as they face a similar transition from white to black rule.
The United States, too, can learn from the melancholy depravity of Zimbabwe. First, we see what happens when government tries to run the economy.
Centralized planning does not work. The information flow is too limited. Only through the billions of individual free transactions of a free market, can resources be allocated with efficiency.
Centralized planning didn’t work in Russia, China or Zimbabwe. It won’t work in the U.S. with healthcare, banking or automobile construction.
Individual liberty must be constitutionally protected and supreme to all other laws. Once you allow government to trample individual rights, despotism follows and all fails. Individual liberty must be supreme and take precedence over majority rule. Tyranny of the majority is tyranny nonetheless.
We must have a stable, fair system of laws and an impartial judiciary. If the judges are corrupt, then chaos ensues. Free elections are impossible if the judiciary is corrupt.
Here in Mississippi, we have seen this peril up close. Many judges and attorneys have proven to be corrupted by power and money. We must be absolutely vigilant in cleaning up this mess. Our very existence depends on it.
Economic and racial equality are desirable goals, but overall prosperity cannot be ignored. There will always be disparity of outcomes because people are not equal in ability. Taking resources from the competent and placing them in the hands of the less competent, has an economic cost which reverberates throughout society.
Right now, America is furious at its business leaders for our economic troubles. The business cycle is part of life. Firing all the CEOs and losing their accumulated knowledge will only compound the problem.
Religion is fundamental to prosperity. America is the most religious and most prosperous of all developed nations. This is not a coincidence. Without concern and love for others, society cannot progress.
In Zimbabwe, we have a pathetic, power-hungry Mugabe having destroyed a nation that could have been a beacon of racial reconciliation. We have little children dying in the night. We have hell on earth.
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