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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

No Liberty without Justice

When G.W. Bush gave his second inaugural address, he chose the topic to be the Justice and Freedom conferred by the Constitution, and the lack thereof in other places:

"America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies. Yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators. They are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty."

The problem with Justice requiring Freedom, is that very often Freedom requires Justice too. How do you get to one without the other? Chicken and eggs.

So the short answer to Bret, who asks me "Is Liberty Erupting in Brazil?", is no, it is not, for we have no Justice.



When we last touched the subject here (see also the comments section), Brazil was rocked by the actions of a single judge (Sergio Moro) who started with a case of money laundering in a gas station a few miles from my home (rendering the name of the scandal: Car Wash operation), and end up with multi-billion corruption charges related to PETROBRAS (the Brazilian petroleum company) and our biggest Construction companies, siphoning off money to many politicians and parties.

Afterward, the President back then, Ms. Roussef, was impeached, and the Workers Party (PT) has been in free fall since the 2016 elections. The Vice-President, Michel Temer, did a U-turn on the leftist platform he was elected on, and a naive free-market-oriented external observer may well believe we are now in the right path: an addendum to the Constitution now forbids the growth of spending to exceed inflation rate for the next 20 years; several public programs have been reduced in size and scope (like public health system and public education); the pension system is being reformed as I type; and labor laws are being completely reviewed, with major protests from trade unions. 

Looks like the dream package for liberal reformers, so how come Liberty is not arriving?

The thing is, Brazil is not for amateurs. We have a long tradition of, as we say down here, doing things "para gringo ver" (to show up for foreigners). After all, our Elites were established by a foreign power (Portugal), and since then their business has been to show what they were asked to show - not necessarily doing it. It follows that we got our Independence blood free in the 1800's, but never our Liberty.


Mr. Temer's party (PMDB) has been in power - by giving their political force and support in Congress - since our redemocratization, in 1985, and many of its members were in power before that, during the Military Dictatorship (1964-1985), and yet even before that. It is an Establishment party. And the Establishment never gave us Liberty - why would it do that now?

I once pointed out to Bret that, though Mr. Moro was brave, the end game of his anti-corruption crusade would be our higher court, the analogue of SCOTUS, where eleven judges are appointed to by Presidents for life. Hey, what could go wrong?

I can't openly comment on the judges of this court - after all, this is not a free country - but let me say that it may have (very few) honest members (to the very limited extent of my knowledge -- legal disclaimer: for all purposes, I hereby declare I do not mean any of our judges could possibly be dishonest). Teori Zavascki, the judge assigned to oversee the Car Wash cases that touched politicians with special immunity from lower courts (which are all under present mandates), is one of those honest judges, in my limited opinion. Or he was.

Odebrecht - the biggest of the Brazilian contractors, a multi-billion company with international operations (did you notice they reformed the Miami airport, Erp?) - had its CEO (Mr. Marcelo Odebrecht) under "provisional" arrest since 2015, implicated in the Car Wash operation. It's been calculated they paid away more than one billion dollars in kickbacks throughout the last decade, for every political party and sub-relevant politician down here. In order to negotiate less prison time and fewer fines, he and dozens of executives at Odebrecht have agreed to a guilty plea, detailing all their corruption scheme and beneficiaries. Their confession was being hailed as the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) over our political system.

On January 19, the week right before Judge Zavascki was to validate that mighty bomb, an accident happened. He took a private airplane with a rich friend, to visit the friend's beach mansion at Rio de Janeiro's coast, with a highly experienced pilot (who used to teach younger ones how to fly under coastal conditions) in a Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90 aircraft (that's for Skipper) - and, for apparently no reason known, the pilot (or the plane) failed 2 miles before the landing field, while on descent under light rain.

Accidents. They happen, sometimes more often than others. Since the Car Wash operation started, 5 high profile people with possible connections to it (as bribers or bribed) died flying private airplanes. A number of other people committed suicides, under not very clear conditions, to say the least. 

But I digress. Our Supreme Court could not stay with only 10 judges, even more so when they have such a high profile case to judge. So our President, Mr. Temer, got to place a judge by his finger there now. Mr. de Moraes, his Minister of Justice (since the impeachment a few months back) was the man. I can not comment much about him - after all, this is not a free country - but there is good evidence he, among other iffy stuff, had in his CV a few millions earned from dubious companies, and was the lawyer for one of Brazil's most dangerous mafias (the PCC). You guys get Gorsuch, we got Mr. de Moraes. He is now appointed by the President to be one of the judges who will decide on the future of the same President, and his own pals back in his days of politics.

Though Judge Zavascki's death delayed the Odebrecht MOAB for a few months - buying time for President Temer to pass his reforms, and to appoint other judges to other positions where they will lead cases that hang on Mr. Temer's head - that bomb finally came through.

As per Odebrecht's own account (and of his father, the previous CEO), they have been bribing and buying our political system for 30 years. Our 5 last Presidents - which are all since we got elections back - are implicated. As is our President now, which personally coordinated at least two meetings where he asked for Odebrecht's money (of course, in exchange for overpriced public contracts, so in the end *our* money) totalling many dozens of millions.

To be precise, Odebrecht also points his finger to 415 politicians, among them 8 present ministers, 13 governors, 36 senators (24 present ones), many dozens of congressmen (of which 39 are today in Congress, including its higher chairs). Though the Worker's Party, which had the Presidency for the last 13 years, had all its main heads involved, they are easily outnumbered by PMDB and PSDB - the main parties that granted Roussef's impeachment last year, and make up the present Government by Mr. Temer.

What's more, another legal case - aimed to cancel the election of Ms. Roussef and Mr. Temer in 2014, due to the illegal money by Odebrecht and other constructors - under our higher courts has been further stalled since Mr. Temer got the chair. He also got to indicate other judges for this court in the last few months, and though Odebrecht's bomb clearly spell out the illegal money they gave for that election, there is no sign the case will be judged anytime soon.


Though I could go on for a long while, I hope I already gave a hint of why I believe we have no Justice. And will have no Liberty, anytime soon.

But surely the economic gains by those reforms will be a step up, won't it?

I don't know. I can point out a number of holes in each of those reforms, all giving more power to our corrupt political/judiciary system, while taking away resources - some of which were well employed, notwithstanding our many problems - from the public system serving the poorest.

Will they lead to growth only for the upper class, as happened in the 70's, when our economy had two digits growth but the largest formation of favelas ever seen?

Anyway, I much doubt the very same people who made fortunes of our statism and cronyism, will be the ones to lead us, finally, to Liberty.

131 comments:

erp said...

Bravo Clovis -- what a tour de force!

After reading it three times, I have a slight glimmer of the extent of the problem, but even from that glimmer it seems clear that you are correct and the only way to solve it from the grassroots (bottom up). Reforms enacted by the perps is just window dressing.

BTW - what's the reference to the Miami airport???? I've never even been there, nor do I know anything about nor have any interest in construction companies foreign or domestic.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Last time I've been to Florida - and visited you - Miami airport was under construction work. The contractor was Odebrecht - I saw their signs and got curious.

Clovis e Adri said...

Well, I missed explaining why Odebrecht's presence in the USA has any relevance. The text was already too big.

Odebrecht is listed in the USA stocks and needs to comply with many American laws. They are being sued in the USA for their corrupt practices down here. The teeth of US justice (and Swiss too, where they have used their banking accounts to operate their schemes) was a big reason they surrendered to a plea deal.

I also believe that many of their operations was caught under American intelligence surveilance, and that a good part of the Car Wash operation owns a share of their effectiveness to American help, though much of it is hidden from public view.

Hey Skipper said...

From the OP:

The problem with Justice requiring Freedom, is that very often Freedom requires Justice too. How do you get to one without the other? Chicken and eggs.

That's a true riddle. For those of us lucky enough to live in places with decent amounts of Justice and Freedom, it took hundreds of years to get here.

Bret said...

I've read the post a couple of times now, and it leaves me with more questions than answers.

I get that corruption is a major problem at the top levels of government.

But what's it like for the typical person?

For example, let's say you wanted to open a small cafe. Is there also a great deal of corruption at that level? Are property rights secure enough that you have collateral and can secure loans? Is the police force too corrupt to protect the business? Are the protection rackets overwhelming?

I see that the Brazilian government spends less than 20% of GDP, including corruption. For comparison, US governments (at all levels) spend double that and in absolute terms about 10 times as much per person as Brazil. Our government isn't more corrupt than average, just very inefficient. Yet because we have reasonable property rights and at least some economic freedom left (though dwindling every decade), the inefficiency and corruption in the government doesn't necessarily prevent us from creating wealth.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
But what's it like for the typical person?
---
It can be hellish.

I once mentioned here I wanted to build a house. It is not in Brasilia, but in a small county nearby. It took me one year and three months to get my project approved. The engineer in charge of approving it in the town hall office wanted something. Unfortunately, I am not the kind who pays. So the project was going nowhere.

The corruption in that county is at every level - I tried to contact the Director of the Department of Construction of the prefecture. He was the son of the Mayor, no less. After he got involved, the only difference is the price for getting it approved was now to be higher.

Well, I finally got it approved last month. But only because the mayor of the city changed (there were local elections last year), and there are other people in charge now.

---
For example, let's say you wanted to open a small cafe. Is there also a great deal of corruption at that level?
---
Sure there is.

In most big cities, you can easily take one year to get all the permits necessary for opening that little cafe, supposing you are trying hard - and that's only due to the standard usual bureaucracy, not taking in account the possibility of someone deliberately freezing the process in order to extract something from you. And that often happens too.

Or you can pay your way through the corrupt system and get it much faster.

And of course, things get more complicated, expensive and slower the more complex is the business you want to open up.

So in the end of the day, it is almost impossible to be a successful businessman in Brazil without practicing many, many acts of corruption trhoughout your life. It ends up being part of the 'culture' both for the private and public sectors.


---
Are property rights secure enough that you have collateral and can secure loans?
---
Yes, they are.

But those loans run at the highest interests of the planet, though at least that's a problem of another nature.



---
Is the police force too corrupt to protect the business?
---
Depends much of the place. There are cities, or sections inside very big cities, where that happens.

A problem of a related nature is that, even when the police is not too corrupt, they can be so far outnumbered by criminals (and/or by their own inefficiency, or the lack of public funds, etc) that, in the end of the day, you are by yourself anyway.


---
Are the protection rackets overwhelming?
---
They mostly happen only in the worst situations - very poor neighborhoods and favelas.

Bret said...

Clovis,

Thanks for the detailed response. It seems like a short summary is that corruption is pervasive everywhere and at all levels in Brazil.

Bummer! My interpretation of history is that as things continue to exist, corruption only ever increases and that's further exacerbated by the entity growing larger.

But good luck to you and Brazil!

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] Bummer! My interpretation of history is that as things continue to exist, corruption only ever increases and that's further exacerbated by the entity growing larger.

Or not.

I tried to find something to substantiate my following subjective comments -- I'm not trying to pull a Harry here -- but I couldn't find anything within a few minutes of searching.

In Western Europe, corruption seems correlated with climate. Northern Europeans are less corrupt than southern Europeans.

Globally, Anglosphere countries seem much less corrupt than neighboring, non-Anglosphere countries. (See, in particular, North America vs. the rest of the Americas).

Some things that don't show up as corruption really should. On the face of it, Japan is spit-polish clean. However, it's economy is so rigged that the very nature of the country is corrupt. Legal, but corrupt, nonetheless.

Clovis, your post is endlessly depressing. Brazil is similar to Sicily (or when the Northeast US was mobbed up). Parasites dwelling in filth of their own creation, creating a situation impossible to escape.

erp said...

Skipper, IMO the reason northern Europe isn't as corrupt as southern Europe is the Protestant work ethic cum fire and brimstone vs Catholicism cum absolution and heavenly rewards combined along the Mediterranean coast -- Spain and Sicily, especially -- with Islamic influences from North Africa.

Hey Skipper said...

erp:

I get that, but Germany is very Catholic, but not corrupt. Anglicism is Catholicism once removed, but England isn't corrupt.

It is no more than a wild guess, but it might be that living in environments that are too permissive allows greater parasitism (after all, that is exactly what corruption is) to exist. Parasites can be more invasive in tropical and subtropical environments without killing the host.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Clovis, your post is endlessly depressing.
---

You tell me. Imagine if you had to live with that.

Or in a less depressing note, Sicily (i.e. Italy), for all its problems, is rated as a first world country. So there may be hope for us too.


---
Parasites can be more invasive in tropical and subtropical environments without killing the host.
---
That's as good an explanation as any other, since it is noticeable the scarcity of sucessfull countries in hotter places.



As for your theory on religion, Erp, I would not only add the counter-examples Skipper cited, but the fact that, though Brazil may be considered a religious country by many standards, it really isn't.

Maybe the Protestant countries did better because they believed far more in the "absolution and heavenly rewards" than people in Catholic countries, particularly in Brazil.

We are a land of sin, Erp. The culture may've been labeled Catholic, but the afluence of sex and the other six capital vices (and fatherless children, with the societal problems that entails) has been always far more relevant than prayers and saints.

erp said...

Skipper,

Early Times: Necessity being the mother invention, cold climates where survival was difficult must have led to cooperation rather than corruption. Those who didn't pull their weight, didn't survive.

Cold weather also inspired people to invent things to make survival easier, while in warm climates, living was/is already easy.

So far, I agree with you, but if survival was already not that burdensome in the south, why would corruption develop there instead of where taking advantage of weakest members of the clan would have been a real plus?

Percentage of Catholics: Germany 31.79%; Great Britain 8.51%. While in early times, both countries were Catholic, they both were also the birthplaces of anti-Catholicism.

erp said...

I guess I need to work on my expository skills. I didn't say one area was more religious than another, only that religious practices changed radically after Martin Luther denounced the church and the Protestant Reformation began in the early 16th century.

No longer did the church through its hierarchy of local priests through the Pope dictate every aspect of people's lives -- kinda like socialism, dontcha know -- which is why I could never understand why the Soviets went out of their way close the churches.

Protestants ran their own churches and their pastors worked for them. They didn't give up the bible or the other precepts of Christianity, but since they were no longer under the thrall of the Catholic clergy, they were free to interpret Christianity as they saw fit, so as time went by, splinter groups formed and are still forming.

Clovis, neither sin, nor sex is at issue here and I'm guessing that last line should have had a s/off at the end.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Early Times: Necessity being the mother invention, cold climates where survival was difficult must have led to cooperation rather than corruption.
---
From where it follows that Russia must be one of the least corrupt countries on Earth.

I guess we need to be cautious of our need for simple answers.


---
I guess I need to work on my expository skills.
---
Blogs are a limited medium, so it may be not your fault. But let me tell you what I understand from you saying something like:

"IMO the reason northern Europe isn't as corrupt as southern Europe is the Protestant work ethic cum fire and brimstone vs Catholicism cum absolution and heavenly rewards"

It looks like you see the people in those Catholic countries as naive fools meekly accepting their place under a religious hierarchy and not minding the present troubles, because they will be rewarded in heaven.

That's not my experience from living in the largest Catholic country in the world. And maybe things were different in the far past, but I doubt people were always naive fools with respect to religion. Even in the times when the Church Authority couldn't be questioned, I can see a lot of people with their doubts in their minds about all the canon and traditions. (Likewise, in a side commentary, people who believe Islamic terrorists do their things in exchange for those 72 virgins in paradise greatly misunderstand human nature)


So I don't buy anymore this Weberian idea that religion made the difference between Catholic/Southern Europe and Protestant/Northern Europe. I believe the causation is reversed. It is the particular culture of those places that selected the religion they followed. Maybe such aspects of those cultures were thereafter reinforced by their religion, since society and culture works in non-linear ways, but I think there is an excessive emphasis in religion -- nowadays, religion is mostly a secondary matter in the Western, so how can you explain the continued difference?


Harry Eagar said...

'For those of us lucky enough to live in places with decent amounts of Justice and Freedom, it took hundreds of years to get here.'

Not there yet in the part I come from

erp said...

Clovis, by early times, I meant pre-historic.

Even in historical times, people didn't have the luxury of choosing which religion they wanted until very recently. Those who doubted, didn't voice those doubts. In fact, Martin Luther and Henry VIII were a phenoms because they actually did voice their doubts.

Catholic countries weren't tolerant and people were meek -- couldn't read or write, were serfs and the property of the prince ... had absolutely no rights, etc.

That's why in England a bunch of people who wanted to live their own way, got on a tiny boat and sailed off to where the maps said: HERE BE DRAGONS." Pretty gutsy I'd say.

I've been writing rather clearly for a long time. My remark was facetious. Why civilization began in China and northern Europe is probably a matter of many things coming together. Why it didn't happen in on the steppes of Russia -- I don't know. Perhaps they didn't learn to cooperate, :-( but by modern times after the dark ages, the differences among people were very pronounced and like it or not, those differences made a huge difference in their respective countries that continue until the present day.

All of LA is the victim of the Jesuits. That's a fact.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

What you ignore is that, even when people were (or still are) meek, it is not because they necessarily believe in heavenly rewards. Many are only trying to not be crushed by whoever is the tyrant above.

erp said...

Clovis, that goes without saying. Meekness was the approved state.

Harry Eagar said...

I don't agree that northern European countries are uncorrupt. Or the U.S.

Think Warren Hastings.

Corruption has a style. In the U.S., the courts were completely corrupt in the South; while in other pats the corruption was corporate; or if you want to see rampant corruption in real time, tune in to a cable teevee religious program.
Or consider yesterday's vote for the directors of Wells Fargo bank.



Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Or in a less depressing note, Sicily (i.e. Italy), for all its problems, is rated as a first world country. So there may be hope for us too.

I haven't been to southern Italy or Sicily, but I know people have spent significant amounts of time in both places. Northern Italy and southern Italy might as well be two different countries — one in Europe, and the other much closer to south America.

It isn't impossible to root out corruption. Certainly, in the northeast US, the mob is a shadow of its former self. But that took decades, and happened within a culture relatively intolerant of corruption.

Your situation is depressing to think about.

[erp:] No longer did the church through its hierarchy of local priests through the Pope dictate every aspect of people's lives …

Interesting comparison: Ireland v. England. Granted, England's treatment of Ireland was never great, and sometime abominable. But it is hard to avoid concluding the pervasive Catholicism in Ireland has contributed to it being much less developed than England.

[Clovis:] From where it follows that Russia must be one of the least corrupt countries on Earth.

I guess we need to be cautious of our need for simple answers.


Absolutely. However, in my defense, I think a climate that is challenging, but not rigorous, requires different ways of living that are less conducive to corruption. Doesn't mean it won't exist, or that communism — all pervasive in its moral depravity — didn't cause corruption that wouldn't have existed otherwise had Russia evolved without that cancer.

It looks like you see the people in those Catholic countries as naive fools meekly accepting their place under a religious hierarchy and not minding the present troubles, because they will be rewarded in heaven.

There is a distinct difference between New World countries with a Catholic heritage and those with a Protestant heritage. There certainly is a striking difference between British ex-colonies and ex-colonies of other European countries. Given a choice between Singapore or Hong Kong vs. the surrounding parts of Asia, I'd pick either of the former in a heart beat.

Spain, solely due to its overweening Catholicism, practically crushed individuality, and explicitly excluded publications deemed hertical, anti-clerical, or lascivious. The final Index Librorum Prohibitorum was published in 1948. That left a mark in strongly Catholic countries that simply didn't exist in Protestant countries.

And Protestant countries became less intolerant more quickly than Catholic ones.


[Harry:] I don't agree that northern European countries are uncorrupt. Or the U.S.

Strawman much? If you relied upon direct quotes, you wouldn't so often give the appearance of being unable to follow the conversation.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, I gave an example. Similar ones should, thus prompted, come up with others.

Lockheed, Boeing, PNB Paribas, Wells Fargo, Countrywide. I could go on and on.

It would be had to claim that western societies were intolerant of those corruptions.

erp said...

Sicily's history was far different from northern Europe and the Russian Orthodox church was, if anything, more aligned with the aristocracy and more doctrinaire with the peasants than the Catholic church, so, Clovis, I'm not sure what your point is above?

I saw an interesting article about a train from China to the UK and there is apparently also one from Madrid to China. Thinking about this rail line, it seems to me another example of the difference between a creative mindset (China) and one that is stuck in an authoritarian mindset (Russia).

The Russians have obsessed over access to the sea when they could have built rail lines to the east and west and traded that way instead they limited it to Siberia -- land bridges and/or undersea tunnels could have brought goods and people to North America. Countless things could have been done with cooperation among countries.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I wonder what your point is.

Are you implying that regions touched by Muslims many centuries ago must be somehow inferior now due to some memory effect, DNA, or what?

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] It would be hard to claim that western societies were intolerant of those corruptions.

Behold the power of the direct quote. Who here made that claim?

erp said...

Clovis, I am referring to this comment: From where it follows that Russia must be one of the least corrupt countries on Earth.

And my point about Sicily is just what I said. Its history is far different than northern Europe. I neither said nor implied any inferiority after all my children are 1/4th Sicilian and they are as near to perfection as anything on earth.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,


Well, sure Sicily's history is different than northern Europe's. Geography matters. But then I would expect you were trying to make some further point.


You point out Muslim influence in Iberia and Sicily as if that was somehow unique. It isn't. The region has been disputed by people from Middle-East/North African heritage far before.

In what is now Tunisia, there was the great Carthage, a Phoenician province - meaning Semite people, the forefathers of present day Arabs and Jews - who first conquered the south of Spain, and parts of Sicily, almost one thousand years before Mohammed set foot on Earth.

In 218 BC, their greatest general, Hannibal, was invading Spain with an army near the size of the main armies the Romans were able to mount by then. He did the unbelievable feat of not only bringing 37 war elephants with him, but crossing both the Pyrenees and Italian Alps with those beasts too. It brought pure terror to the Roman soldiers fighting against him, for most of them never thought of fighting elephants on their own land.

But I digress. The point being, there was some degree of mixing (both DNA and culture) between all those populations of south Europe/Middle-East/North-Africa for some time, way before Islam.

erp said...

Clovis, I am somewhat of a history buff and a student of this area especially where my parents came from and where my husband's parents came from and am well aware of its history. My response was to Skipper's comment that Sicily is so different from northern Italy and I posited a reason for that difference.

Stop being so touchy. Things are what they are and whatever your ancestry, it's as good as anybody else's.

When our newest grandchild was born, her mother wanted a DNA report from all her grandparents, so we had one done. This little sweetheart sure has grab bag of genes to draw upon and it coalesced into an adorable little girl.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Touchy? Not at all. I just don't like arguments made by half, and yours is not even at that level yet. If you want to explain Sicily by its previous history, you need to step up your game.

erp said...

I'm not arguing or explaining Sicily. I am saying Sicily's history is different from the rest of Italy and northern Europe by virtue of its geography. The same can be said of every other part of the earth.

Sorry, but I can't figure out why this is a problem?

Harry Eagar said...

'But it is hard to avoid concluding the pervasive Catholicism in Ireland has contributed to it being much less developed than England.'

It is even harder to think of a colony that is as developed as its imperial master.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] It is even harder to think of a colony that is as developed as its imperial master.

Wow, that could be the most transparently stupid thing I've read today. No, this year. No, since this time last year. Certainly not the stupidest thing ever. Certainly. Maybe certainly?

[Harry:] It would be hard to claim that western societies were intolerant of those corruptions.

[Hey Skipper:] Behold the power of the direct quote. Who here made that claim?


Waiting ...

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[Harry:] It is even harder to think of a colony that is as developed as its imperial master.

[Skipper] Wow, that could be the most transparently stupid thing I've read today.
---

If so, I am sure you can come up with counter-examples. Will you?

Hey Skipper said...

The stupidity isn't about counterexamples, it is about a faux-profound statement of the blindingly obvious.

A la: It is even harder to think of a circle that isn't round.

Well, duh; certain areas became colonies for a reason: they weren't nearly as developed as their colonial masters.

erp said...

... Skipper, that's an easy one: circle of friends, sewing circle, circle of influence ...

The harder thing is for Harry or apparently even Clovis, to define what they mean by "developed" or the dozens or other words and terms we've asked them to define in the past.

Clovis e Adri said...

You asking for clarity of arguments, Erp? That's rich.


As it happens, Skipper, I don't think Ireland being under English dominion had much to do with religion either, so you may want to revisit your argument after reading a bit of history...

erp said...

England didn't dominate Ireland because of their differences in religion; the Irish accepted the domination meekly because of their religion ... and before you say, how could a bunch of Irish farmers fight off the might of British Empire, may I remind you that we did just that and beat them soundly as well as the other major powers of time, the French and the Spanish.

I just clarified my argument, but because you don't want to believe it to be true, you don't accept it and bring up minor side issues.

Your belief that what you think of as "history" is an immutable* law of nature doesn't change the fact that history is just the prevailing group think of the time.

*I learned from my physicist son when he was about 12 years old that even the old saying that things can't be in two places at the same time isn't true.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

And what religion made the Irish meek, the Catholic or Celtic one? You may want to check when and how they even got to be Catholics.

And please ask Skipper, our military trained friend, if Britain losing against the revolting American colony may have had something to do with geography too.

erp said...

Apparently the Catholics won out over the pagans in Ireland as they did all over Europe.

Geography had nothing to do with our victory over the ruling powers. Had that been true, how would you explain how the Empire(s) so easily conquered most of Africa, a lot of Asia, not to mention Polynesia and the French and Spanish had so little trouble maintaining power in Canada and L.A. until very recent times and then mostly with help from us.

Time to stop looking for answers in books written by progs and their predecessors all of whom are looking to demean the U.S. and start using your own head.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

The trouble with using your own head alone is lack of input and facts. You dearly suffer that problem.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "if so, I am sure you can come up with counter-examples. Will you?"

The United States? It seems to me we're at least as developed as our British colonial master, wouldn't you agree? :-)

But, I have to agree with Skipper that almost by definition, a colony has to start out less developed or it wouldn't be a colony.

erp said...

At some point after you've taken in the input and facts, you must decode them yourself. As you think you have done this, please point out where I've gone amiss.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

No way, at the time of independence the US was well behind in development than Britain. The problem, for the British, is that it was already developed enough, and was too far and too big, to rebel successfully.

Contrary to the colonies Erp cited above, the US inherited much of the cultural and technological advancements from the British, the greatest Empire the world knew then, which fast forwarded your independence too.

It also helped that, also contrary to many of the other colonies, the immigrants to the US went for the new world with all they've got: family, God and a wish to start anew. They were not mostly criminals exchanging their penalties for naval service.

And finally, Skipper's point is disingenuous. Harry was not rearmking on the obvious (like Erp on Sicily), but driving home the point that religion (the explain-all magic wand Skipper and Erp were using) sometimes is a minor point compared to other determinant factors.

erp said...

Bret, you're correct if you are referring to less developed areas being conquered by more developed ones as in the modern colonial period, but the reverse was also true, as the great civilizations of the past like Rome, which could never have been conquered by outside forces, weakened and destroyed itself allowing the barbarians to storm the gates and put out the lights for a very long time.

This is our trajectory I'm afraid.

erp said...

... other determinant factors. like?????

BTW - Australia, which isn't doing TOO badly was made up of just those bad boys you mention, mostly criminals exchanging their penalties for a sea voyage to Oz.

BTWII - For the 3rd time, I said Sicily had a far different history from northern Italy. I never said the Catholic church played a part in this difference.

The major difference as you correctly pointed out, it was their geography and the influences of the sea-faring ancients and the Moors.

These facts are not, to my knowledge, in dispute anywhere??? Why do you discount them and why have you yet again insisted on attributing remarks to me that I never have said, nor do I believe to be true.

Bret said...

Clovis,

I do agree with you that Skipper may be overemphasizing religion.

I think that Harry has ingrained in me a permanent context that he believes that every colony is permanently damaged and can never amount to anything and never benefit from those who colonize that I believe my response is justified. Also, as erp points out, Australia (and Canada!) are in some sense still colonies of Britain (parts of the commonwealth) and they are as developed at the present moment as Britain.

erp said...

Clovis, You brought up geography as a factor, not I.

BTWIII - And please ask Skipper, our military trained friend, if Britain losing against the revolting American colony may have had something to do with geography too.

BTW IV - you again, used the word, "inherited" in the context, something handed down to the colonists. They inherited nothing. They took with them their heritage and built on it with their bare hands and what they could take with them on the three month journey on a little boat, ten or twelve of which could fit on Geffen's yacht that our former people's president, vacayed on.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
BTW - Australia, which isn't doing TOO badly was made up of just those bad boys you mention, mostly criminals exchanging their penalties for a sea voyage to Oz.
---
It took some time compared to the US, didn't it?



Bret,

Both Canada and Australia are largely dominated by imported people, who drove out the indigenous one with little mixing. They are like the US in this sense. So the 'modern' culture suplanted the local one, taking those countries to a fast track on development.

Following from above comes a secondary, but important and often ignored, effect which is the extent members of the society saw themselves as equals in order to build and share prosperity together.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
BTW IV - you again, used the word, "inherited" in the context, something handed down to the colonists.
---
It is very hard to *not hand down* the surrounding culture to every young person who grows up under such.

Or do you claim every British who first emigrated to the USA grew up in a cave?

erp said...

Clovis, That's true. Australia didn't have the long colonial period to overcome, so they moved ahead much more quickly. Canada had to contend with France and England, so had a different experience than we.

I don't know what you are saying in second paragraph above? Which members of what society saw themselves as equals?

erp said...

... read what you are criticizing: Here's what I said,

you again, used the word, "inherited" in the context, something handed down to the colonists. They inherited nothing. They took with them their heritage and built on it with their bare hands and what they could take with them on the three month journey on a little boat, ten or twelve of which could fit on Geffen's yacht that our former people's president, vacayed on.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

It must be my poor English, but here we go. You write:

"They inherited nothing" and right after you join with "They took with them their heritage".

Don't you see any contradiction at that?

erp said...

The two words are not used interchangeably. Heritage is part of what you are. What you inherited is something given to you that you may or may not have wanted.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] .. Skipper, that's an easy one: circle of friends, sewing circle, circle of influence ...

Reminding me once again why argument from analogy is almost always a mistake.

[Clovis:] As it happens, Skipper, I don't think Ireland being under English dominion had much to do with religion either, so you may want to revisit your argument after reading a bit of history...

That you don't think it did isn't conclusive proof it didn't. Although, to be completely fair to you, religion isn't rarely a single-factor explanation; particularly where it correlated with climate, which itself seems correlated with development, it is nearly impossible to tell one from the other.

With respect to Ireland, I agree, religion doesn't explain much, but I'm not familiar enough with Ireland's history to hazard any real guesses.

However, there are things that might need some explaining. Back in the day, if you were to be colonized, would you rather it be the British, Spanish, or Belgians doing the colonizing? Which ties in to Harry's statement of the obvious, differently phrased: of all the ex-colonies, which are most developed? Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and, at one time, Rhodesia.

All ex-British. Why?

[erp:] Geography had nothing to do with our victory over the ruling powers. Had that been true, how would you explain how the Empire(s) so easily conquered …

Oh, I think it did; just not as a first order effect.

The collapse of the western Roman empire left a horde of warrior kings living in a challenging, but not prohibitive environment that had moderate geographical barriers, a wealth of navigable rivers, and a competing island nation just off the coast.

There was no such thing as a long standing unitary kingdom like China. Winter is nature's great insecticide, and is almost entirely absent from Africa. Africa has virtually no navigable rivers. The Americas were sparsely populated — middling estimates (which are nearly pure guesswork) are around 7 million in all of North America.

All of these contingencies led to Europeans being technologically leagues ahead of the rest of the world; particularly the Americas. It was the almost-industrial age colliding with the stone age, helped along by Old World diseases against which the New World had no immunity.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Both Canada and Australia are largely dominated by imported people, who drove out the indigenous one with little mixing. They are like the US in this sense. So the 'modern' culture supplanted the local one, taking those countries to a fast track on development.

The term you might be looking for is "de novo": Latin for "from the beginning".

IMHO, you are right. The Americas, never thickly populated, were essentially wiped out by colonization. There was no history to contend with, no entrenched powers, and after a hundred or so years, hardly any natives, either.

[Bret:] I do agree with you that Skipper may be overemphasizing religion.

There is a distinct difference between ex-colonies of Spain and Portugal, vs. those of Britain.

And there is at least as much difference between the Christian West and the Islamic world.

Why?

[Clovis:] And please ask Skipper, our military trained friend, if Britain losing against the revolting American colony may have had something to do with geography too.

Amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics. Britain had an extremely long, and slow, supply line. The Americans were as well developed technologically, but had, due to a smaller population, a smaller economy. However, shorter supply lines helped even the difference.

Last, and by far from the least, do not forget the French.

Harry Eagar said...

'Last, and by far from the least, do not forget the French.'

Well, yes, Villeneuve beat the Royal Navy which caused the British army to surrender. It wasn't the colonists who beat the Royal Navy, although the Royal Navy had already failed to close all the American ports. In the 1770s, the naval forces weren't big enough to do that.

erp, again, shows she knows nothing about the history of her country.

If Skipper had bothered to learn some Irish history before opining, he would have known about the genocide, ruthless exploitation,legal disabilities etc.

Or, as a colleague (as fervent an anglophile as Skipper) told me after he and his wife took a vacation in Ireland:

"It is such a beautiful country, there are castles everywhere."

Just so

erp said...

Harry, to paraphrase Lizzie, "let me count the non-sequiturs."

Hey Skipper said...

erp: ✅

erp said...

Skipper,we gotta go easy on Harry. It must be hard to have all one's pet prejudices be proven wrong, wrong, wrong and d*mn wrong. Wouldn't it be a "kick in the head" if Trump gets all our former enemies to unite in keeping the peace, instead of competing to be king of the hill -- and a less loony lefty than the rest and a distaff one at that becomes the leading lady of la Belle! I still doubt it, but perhaps even the French "guacherie" will draw a line at voting for the boy toy candidate and stay home.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "There is a distinct difference between ex-colonies of Spain and Portugal, vs. those of Britain. "

1. I didn't say religion had NOTHING to do with it, I said I think you're overemphasizing the role of religion.

2. If religion was NOT involved, do you think the specified ex-colonies would be exactly the same, or might other cultural features of both the colonized and the colonists made differences?

3. Could it be that culture shaped religion and not the other way around (or some of both)? Causation? Correlation? How do you know which?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
There is a distinct difference between ex-colonies of Spain and Portugal, vs. those of Britain.

And there is at least as much difference between the Christian West and the Islamic world.

Why?
---
Maybe because there was already distinct differences between Britain and Spain/Portugal to begin with?

That such differences predate Britain becoming Protestant should give you warning about placing too much emphasis on religion here.

England gave birth to the industrial revolution, and that industriousness was sure inherited (yes, take it Erp) by the Americans. Meanwhile, Spain and Portugal were too happy about the extraction economies they implanted in their piece of the New World. I think those facts alone are far more important than the religious differences.

Erp also ascribes far too much importance for the Jesuits. They played a large role in the conversion of indigenous people, but had far less influence over the Portuguese local admnistrations. Sometimes Jesuit priests would be killed together with tribes they were working at, for protesting their slavery or something alike - how so influent they must have been to be treated like that, right?


And then, there is Mother Nature. I dearly invite any of our regulars here to a tour over Brazil, with a stop at the two main kind of forests we have, the Amazon covering 1/3 of territory) and the Atlantic Forest (which covered most of the other 2/3, but today is reduced to less than 10%). It is no excuse for our underdevelopment, but you will personally *feel* how difficult a industrial societyhappening under such conditions 400 years ago, eve if the English were our Masters then. (BTW, they at some point somehow were, for Portugal became almost their vassal, and Brazil by extension too).

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] 2. If religion was NOT involved, do you think the specified ex-colonies would be exactly the same, or might other cultural features of both the colonized and the colonists made differences?

Since I am foolish enough to think that until not all that long ago, almost everyone took religion very seriously, then separating religion from civilization is tantamount to separating fish from water.

Then you and I are left with the problem of correlation. If religion is perfectly correlated with culture, then each explains the other perfectly; for explanatory purposes, they are impossible to separate. Either alone is just as explanatory as both together.

Since there is no possible way to make that distinction -- and even if you could, the sample size would be far too small to provide any confidence in the results -- then pretty much all we can do is surmise about what the patterns might mean.

(I agree erp is giving the Jesuits way too much power.)

There were, indeed, distinct differences between the Hibernian peninsula and Britain. But you cannot ignore the effect Catholicism had, particularly in reaction to Islam. And while not ignoring Catholicism, you cannot ignore the Index Prohibitorum. There is no way to practically eliminate the Enlightenment from Spain without that leaving a mark.


And then, there is Mother Nature. I dearly invite any of our regulars here to a tour over Brazil ...

I didn't mean to give the impression I had. David Landes's Wealth and Poverty of Nations gives many reasons why some countries became rich, and others didn't.

Why some countries were able to industrialize and others weren't has been the subject of much heated debate over the decades; climate, natural resources, and geography have all been put forward as explanations--and are all brushed aside by Landes in favor of his own controversial theory: that the ability to effect an industrial revolution is dependent on certain cultural traits, without which industrialization is impossible to sustain. Landes contrasts the characteristics of successfully industrialized nations--work, thrift, honesty, patience, and tenacity--with those of nonindustrial countries, arguing that until these values are internalized by all nations, the gulf between the rich and poor will continue to grow.

Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs and Steel puts much more weight on environmental factors.

I have read the first, and found it very persuasive. I haven't read the second, because I found Diamond's Collapse so ideologically slanted I couldn't see the sense of reading another of his books.

Back to environment. One of the things that struck me about my Africa trip was how utterly hostile the environment is to civilization: no navigable rivers, no natural barriers, elephants crushing anything more than a dozen feet tall (really -- it is amazing to see how stunted, scrawny, and short trees are; no way wood will be available as a structural material); tsetse flies; malaria ...


Bret said...

Hey Skipper: "Since I am foolish enough to think that until not all that long ago, almost everyone took religion very seriously, then separating religion from civilization is tantamount to separating fish from water."

Well, at least you admit to being foolish. :-)

For example, you foolishly thought that Clovis wrote the sentence that provoked your above sentence, whereas it was moi, and as much as it's tempting to just let Clovis respond for me, I won't do that to him. :-)

It's not inherently foolish to think that folks took religion seriously, but I think the religion/civilization/fish/water thing is kinda far off. A swordfish and a rainbow trout both live in water, but they are much different fish and can't live in each other's environment.

Hey Skipper: "If religion is perfectly correlated with culture..."

Perfectly correlated? Perfectly? Really? Every catholic grouping has the exact same culture? Definitely news to me!

But in any case, I still don't see the evidence of religion doin' the causin' even if it were perfectly correlated with culture.

Note that I readily agree I can't "prove" my belief that you're overemphasizing the causin' part. But your talkin' about correlatin' isn't helping convince me. So "surmise" away about what the "patterns might mean." I'm doin' that too, and my sumisin' leads me to a different emphasis.

Harry Eagar said...

'And then, there is Mother Nature.'

Well, we ran that experiment when the Protestant Dutch took over northeast Brazil. They were not more successful than the Catholic Portuguese.

erp said...

We?

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

Sorry but don't think that one is significant. The Portuguese expelled the Dutch too soon.

Though we know what the African countries under Dutch dominance turned out. That experiment is way more relevant.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


----
There were, indeed, distinct differences between the Hibernian peninsula and Britain. But you cannot ignore the effect Catholicism had, particularly in reaction to Islam. And while not ignoring Catholicism, you cannot ignore the Index Prohibitorum. There is no way to practically eliminate the Enlightenment from Spain without that leaving a mark.
----

Well, Skipper, Britain and Hiberia were populated for many thousands of years before Catholicism was a thing. You are the one who needs to explain why, after Britain opted out of Catholicism (to embrace an almost identical religion), the next 3 hundred years of that religious difference should weight so much more than the previous thousand years of experience.


As for the Enlightenment, Spain may have missed that boat (and only partially, for they were not living in a vacuum), but it fully embarked on its spin offs, such as Positivism, since they carried on the technical advancements of science without much of the anti-clerical stuff of the original 'Enlighted' scholars.



---
Back to environment. One of the things that struck me about my Africa trip was how utterly hostile the environment is to civilization: no navigable rivers,[...]
---
Robert Fogel, an American economist, found a very interesting result in the 60's. He showed that, if you deleted all US railroads in the XIX century, America's GDP would hardly notice: it would lose the equivalent of 2 weeks of a whole year.

Inspired by such results, a little known American economist, Nathaniel Leff, tried to apply the same analysis to Brazil. He was the first to indicate that, contrary to the usual models which would ascribe our underdevelopment to mostly social stuff (a bit like Mr. Landes), what really mattered were the density of interaction between the economies within the country -- without relevant navigable rivers in much of ther elevant parts of the country, the transport was done by mules and horses, and it was expensive and very slow.

After railroads were introduced in 1850, Mr. Leff noticed, Brazilian GDP soared. The economic integration it allowed dwarfed anything the country ever saw before.


Saying it like that, it kind of looks obvious now, but most people don't realize such facts when making their hypotheses about why countries are they way they are. Hence Erp's Jesuits, or Catholicism, take a size they never really had.


erp said...

Oddly enough, we have a number of physicians in our little area of Florida who have emigrated from Nigeria. One of whom we know pretty well. Their take on British colonialism is a little different from Clovis and Harry's. I guess they "inherited" the protestant work ethic second hand that's why they are so successful here. Another plus for me is their accents (and their manners) are almost as charming as the West Indian lilt. Hard to believe it's English.

It's also hard to believe the teachers' unions in the U.S. claim that black children can't learn to speak English correctly or learn English grammar because it's too hard for them and want to bring back Eubonics.

So much stupidity, it's hard too keep track of it without a score card. s/off

Harry Eagar said...

And in the Indies, the Dutch expelled the Portuguese. I suggest that national characteristics are not particularly determinative.

Curious about the railroads. There's a study (read in the Journal of Economic History 40 years ago; I forget who wrote it) that concluded that when the US built railroads, and Mexico continued to use mules, there was no difference in transportation costs.

Bret said...

Harry wrote: "...railroads ... mules, there was no difference in transportation costs."

Could be, but isn't that immaterial?

It's cheaper for the vast majority of people (in the United States) to walk to work, but hardly anyone does. They all choose a more expensive version of transportation.

Remarkable, huh? :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
Curious about the railroads. There's a study (read in the Journal of Economic History 40 years ago; I forget who wrote it) that concluded that when the US built railroads, and Mexico continued to use mules, there was no difference in transportation costs.
---

Just to make clear the point made by Fogel: railroads made no big difference for the US economy in XIX cent. because its business network was already well connected by rivers, at a similar efficiency and price.

I guess you need to take that argument with care, paying attention to its comparative aspect at that specific time. I guess that, in the long run, railroads must have made a difference by connecting other places inside the US not previously connected by navigable river, and Fogel's result ends up also indicating that such places were not economically relevant at that point in time.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Their take on British colonialism is a little different from Clovis and Harry's.
---
Would you mind sharing what's their take?

erp said...

Their take is it was a plus for them 100 years later. Not all the former African colonies were as lucky to have been part of the British Empire.

erp said...

Don't know about the railroads in Mexico, but the railroads in the U.S. never showed what their full potential could have been because a scarce 25 years after the last spike was nailed into the Union Pacific rail bed, the unions held their first strike.

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Double comment strikes again and above should read: "scant 25 years ..."

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Their take is it was a plus for them 100 years later. Not all the former African colonies were as lucky to have been part of the British Empire.
---

I see, and to prove their points, they migrated to America.

Harry Eagar said...

Lucky Uganda, lucky Kenya, lucky Rhodesia, Lucky Orange Free State.

erp, do you really know nothing at all about other countries or do you just make it up on the spur of te moment?

Clovis, I was reading Fogel long ago, He was controversial, especially on the economics of slavery. I found him generally unpersuasive.

One reason to choose rail over mule, even if there was no immediate economic gain (markets can mislead), is that rail inspired or demanded innovation, while there has been little innovation in mule transport.

Rail traffic quickly grew to volumes that would have required a nearly infinite number of mules.

And, whatever Fogel thought, it is certain that, once slavery was ended, the areawith the least rail was the poorest in the nation.

erp said...

No Clovis, they came here to find freedom and opportunity just like the rest of us.

Harry, comparing mules to railroads is ludicrous and those states were lucky compared to the violence, poverty and despotism of the commie post-colonialism they've enjoyed since.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

So you are in favor of taking Africa back to colonialism?

Bret said...

Clovis asked (not me but I'll snarkily answer anyway): "So you are in favor of taking Africa back to colonialism?"

Oh sure, right. And South America too!!!

NOT!

One reason the African colonies were allowed independence was that they were worth more as puppet regimes in the cold war. Unfortunately, turning them into puppet regimes destroyed them and I'm not sure they'll ever recover. Also, I don't think the main colonial powers (the US wasn't one of them) are up to the task even if someone thought it was a good idea (I personally guess that it's a very bad idea, but I don't really know).

Harry Eagar said...

The English invented the concentration camp in one of their African colonies. The Nazis thought it was a swell idea.

It wasn't after independence that the English colonies in Africa became hellholes. it was before.

Of course, you have to know some history to realize that. That leaves erp out

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Though you may be kidding, I guess Erp does think colonialism is a good idea. As I said before here, her worldview is all about "Liberty for me, but not for thee".

I don't see why you think the African states got in their mess because they were puppets in the cold war. They were puppets for centuries before that too, why to single out the particular period of the 50's to 90's?

Nathan Nunn, an economist from Harvard and NBER, wrote this interesting paper in 2008 where he shows that slave trade keeps, up to this day, a correlation with low GDP:

"Can part of Africa’s current underdevelopment be explained by its slave trades? To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and histori- cal documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number of slaves exported from each country during Africa’s slave trades. I find a robust negative relationship between the number of slaves exported from a country and current economic performance. To better understand if the relationship is causal, I examine the historical evidence on selection into the slave trades and use in- strumental variables. Together the evidence suggests that the slave trades had an adverse effect on economic development."


I see a pattern here being thread by you, Skipper and Erp: you guys tend to single out some particular event or characteristic in the history of peoples/countries, without ever giving yourself the trouble to explain why those events are particularly more important than hundreds of other events in their histories.

Reminds me of that one about the drunk who only looks for his lost keys below the lamp post.

erp said...

Bret, nicely said.

Harry, African "independence" is a matter of semantics, not government. When the commies took over, they fomented even worse tribal warfare than in pre-colonial days. Without foreign aid, they'd be back to hunter/gatherer days. Your inchoate rage and your childlike faith in obscure "thinkers" who feed that rage colors everything for you.

I know a very lot about history. It's my take on it that differs from the received wisdom of left and that upsets your mythology.

I notice you don't bemoan the takeover of Africa by Islam? Do you think that was a benefit to the native populations? Perhaps you should read up on it, especially the part about how slavery came to the our southern states.

For whatever reason you choose, climate, geography, religion, an errant genius gene a tiny area of the earth gave birth to the modern world after the fall of Rome and the turbulence of the dark ages and then sent their smartest and bravest sons and daughters out into the world to spread their knowledge, some of whom became our FF's.

I thank my own father for making sure I am one of them.

erp said...

Clovis, your comment is absurd. Liberty for me, but not for thee. Please point out anything I said to even hints at such a thing. As I said above, The African countries question were hardly "free" after the Brits retreated.

IMO colonialism was better than what came after it.

You are catching Harry's knee-jerk non sequitur reactions. Probably because there are no logical arguments. Slavery as a function of the GNP of African nations -- abject lunacy only an academic at Harvard could conjure up.

Arab slave traders paid individual tribal leaders for supplying their fellow Africans for the slave markets. I suggest you use your own head and not read nonsense.

Harry Eagar said...

Not all the local slavers were Muslim, though many were. And the society As Clovis says, erp cherrypicks. I will bet a large amount of money that the Nigerian emigres were not from Biafra.

A great number of the 'smartest and bravest' sent out from Europe were psychopathic killers. In Africa, since we are talking about Afria, the smart, brave Dutxch decided that the men and women living in southern Africawere not huan and ate them, same as antelopes.

It is also history that the society that sent out the smart and brave was based on slavery

erp said...

Clovis,

I said: IMO Africans who were in the Brit areas were better off during the colonial period than after -- and didn't say, nor do I think all the African colonies were that lucky nor that colonialism should be reinstated although we are certainly sending tons of money and aid most of which goes to the strong men and the people are still as bad off or worse off than ever.

How do you propose to solve this problem and don't bring the Anglosphere or Europe into the equation?

Harry, a couple of other corrections and clarifications:

1. The Bravest and smartest who came here weren't sent out, they came on their own from all over the world often going through a lot of trouble to get here.

2. Biafra horror-story is post-colonial?

3. What "society" based on slavery sent out whom to where ????

4. Link to Dutch cannibalism please. Comrade Google came up empty.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "They were puppets for centuries before that too, why to single out the particular period of the 50's to 90's?"

You're right. I think I'm just gonna admit I don't know what I'm talking about on this particular subject and retract my comment. I guess I was just sorta kinda thinking that if they were given independence and the right sort of support instead of what happened, they might have been a lot better off.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, yes, Bret, if the decolonized states had been supported as liberal democracies they might have done better. But because of the insane anticommunism of the colonial powers and America, who got supported were fascists, strongmen and various kinds of despots.

Not many Americans, I bet, can say who Khadafi replaced, for example.

erp said...

Harry, more non-sequiturs.

What does this mean? ...if the decolonized states had been supported as liberal democracies they might have done better.

You never answer the obvious questions asked, but I'll try again.

Which liberal democracies weren't supported by whom?


What does the name of the of the sheik, king, pasha whom Khadafi "replaced" << love it, replaced -- murder, assassination, etc. only applies when people you like are offed>> have to do with the colonial period in Africa?

... and the cold war has been over for almost 40 years and yet there are more and worse "fascists, strongmen and various kinds of despots" than ever before.

Why is that do you think? Is the CIA still "replacing" the good guys?

Harry Eagar said...

'Which liberal democracies weren't supported by whom?'

The most notorious examples were Iran, Guatemala and Chile, in each of which a democratically-elected government was destroyed by the United States.

The king of Libya -- his name was Idris, you never heard of him -- was fervently supported by the United Sates because he allowed us to keep a big airbase there. (The base, of course, was useless.)

Idris was the chosen ruler to follow the colonial government. He was your typical local despot, did nothing for his people (as the colonial government had not). Did not bother to solve the easily solvable central problem of Libya.

Imagine what might have happened had the United States encouraged a popular government in Libya after 1944. Or anywhere else.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
How do you propose to solve this problem [Africa woes] and don't bring the Anglosphere or Europe into the equation?
---

You know, Erp, it is tough to get your worldview, it refuses to follow much of a coherent pattern. Of course, you are a woman, so I am the dumb one to expect otherwise.

You spend great energy fighting off every idea of dependence implied by socialist/progressive policies. To you, everyone should be ubermenschen tackling the world by themselves, never expecting help from govt or from their 'superiors'. A black person in a troubled life in Chicago should be ashamed of his dependence on government to feed his kids.

Yet, a black person in the middle of Africa should be ever counting with the mighty hand of the 'Anglosphere or Europe' to get over poverty.

Go figure.

erp said...

Harry, by popular government, you mean socialist government and as it happens, not only did I know the name, but so did Comrade Google.

Clovis, Misogyny? Really? I guess I should be glad you didn't bring in senility.

My world view is a straight line.

The government put that black kid in Chicago in public housing, took away his parents, his extended family and his community and made sure his schools were hell holes. You know little about the country before the sainted martyr's offing turned everything on its head and the commies took over.

Black people in Africa should take their lives in their own hands and make of it what they can.

Harry Eagar said...

By popular government I mean elected by a majority. The United States has supported every kind of dictator in the name of anticommunism.

We have committed genocide, destroyed cultures, opposed democracy wherever it tried to live.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Black people in Africa should take their lives in their own hands and make of it what they can.
---

Good, I like we we can finally agree upon something. I hope you understand that means they should be governing themselves, as opposed to going back to Brit dominion...

erp said...

I never said I thought they should go back to Brit dominion. I never even said I thought colonialism was a good thing. Please read the stuff before you disagree with it.

I SAID (SEVERAL TIMES) THAT AFRICANS WERE BETTER OFF UNDER BRIT COLONIALISM THAN WHAT CAME AFTER IT.

erp said...
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Harry Eagar said...

None of them thinks so. Perhaps they know more about it than erp does. No reason for them to pine for the genocide in Kenya or the robbery in Uganda

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] None of them thinks so. Perhaps they know more about it than erp does.

erp is making a different claim than you are.

It is entirely possible that, say, Rhodesia was materially better off under British colonial rule than Zimbabwe is under Mugabe. Just as they very well have been better off in many other ways, despite pervasive white rule.

So the question you are presuming the answer to, is that no Zimbabwians who were alive then think things are better now.

erp is making a material claim that has a lot going for it; you are claiming to know what Zimbabwians are thinking.

Having been there recently, and having had a tour guide for three weeks who was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, I can tell you, having only his extensive descriptions on how life in Zimbabwe has changed during his life (he is 49 now), that you are wrong.

I think he knows more than you do.

erp said...

Skipper,

Our physician friend here is from Nigeria and is roughly the same age upper 40ish as your guide. I'd love to be a fly on the wall while Harry educated him on why he's wrong about the post-colonial times. He's a big boy too -- that and the British accent with a touch of Africa and his natural sense of presence would be quite a spectacle.

I'd like to see his reaction when Harry calls him a racist who doesn't even know the history of his own country!

:-)

Harry Eagar said...

As usual, as in Skipper's remarks about Venezuela, your ignorance is showing.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] As usual, as in Skipper's remarks about Venezuela ...

Harry, you really do need to read newspapers more often: How Venezuela Stumbled to the Brink of Collapse.

Also, you are in absolutely no position to deride her first hand experience.

Harry Eagar said...

'I SAID (SEVERAL TIMES) THAT AFRICANS WERE BETTER OFF UNDER BRIT COLONIALISM THAN WHAT CAME AFTER IT.'

I head you. You are incorrect.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, as you failed to notice, there are many dimensions in which people may be better or worse off.

Surely you remember the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle, where progressives, you included, decided Phil Robertson's head needed to be on a plate for suggesting Blacks were better off under Jim Crow than now.

Clearly he meant in certain dimensions of better off: family stability, crime, out-of-wedlock births, etc. Just as clearly, in terms of being equal before the law, political rights, systemic discrimination, they were far worse.

So it is possible for both things to be true at the same time. In some ways, they were better off; in others, much worse off.

As I mentioned above, I spent a lot of time hearing from a Zimbabwean just how bad -- as in very much worse -- things have become under Mugabe. I'm sure I can get his contact information, in case you would like to tell him how incorrect he is.

He has absolutely no desire to live under Rhodesia's apartheid conditions, but if you were to tell him that a great many things weren't better when the Brits were running the place, he would laugh your face off.

I have no idea why gaining Zimbabweans gaining their autonomy led to many things getting so much worse; that could be the subject for a post on its own.

But insisting otherwise is an epic case of denial.

erp said...

In Harry's case as with most progs, it's a case of whether the narrative aka fascism/socialism is better off or not. Individual people's lives don't matter.

A perfect example is slavery in the U.S. Arab slavers and black Africans who facilitated the chain of events that brought captured blacks to the south are held blameless -- only the white plantation owners are held as evil and even those of us whose own ancestors were held in slavery far longer than those in the U.S. are held to be guilty in perpetuity for those evils which over 150 years ago our countrymen laid down their lives to banish from the land.

I've always believed blacks were better off under Jim Crow, not because Jim Crow wasn't << bad >>, only that it was far << less bad >> than what it replaced -- now anarchy rules in the inner cities, families and communities are non-existent and the teachers' unions are blathering that English grammar and simple arithmetic are too hard for black kids, so it's not the teachers' fault that in some schools, not a single student gets a passing grade on standardized tests, so maybe they need to rethink ebonics and probably counting on your fingers.

There is nothing wrong with the kids. It's the spoils system and those who defend and extend it that need to be replaced.

erp said...

... Oh -- and Clovis, before you go there, I do not support restoring Jim Crow laws, only pulling the plug on prog policies that are destroying us.

Harry Eagar said...

erp doesn't know anything about America, nor Nigeria nor any other part of Africa. The Catholic church has a term for people like her: invincibly ignorant.

Ditto Skipper in his defense of Robertson. You might learn something about being blsck in America if you dealt with black people.

erp said...

Black people, like all the rest of us, are individuals with whom we interact in different ways. Some are friends or neighbors, others not -- you know, normal people. They are not a voting block. Harry, you are so consumed with race and the Catholic Church you can't see the real world around you.

Quoting the church -- that made my day. Thanks.��

Clovis e Adri said...

I guess I am happy you guys are still commenting in this post.

But today had some developments that may lead me to delete it. I am holding my finger and thinking about it, while I see the army trucks passing through my window...

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I am holding my finger and thinking about it, while I see the army trucks passing through my window...

a) For the love of God, I hope not.

b) Please don't delete this; really.

[Harry:] erp doesn't know anything about America ...

Be careful about that spittle, Harry, you could ruin your computer.

Far more seriously, have you provided a substantive comment on this thread? There is a word for people like you, too, but I won't type it.

Ditto Skipper in his defense of Robertson ...

Harry, in that thread you proved yourself completely incapable of comprehending his point, and in the process made yourself a complete fool with what could be an internet record for laughably false pronunciamentos in the process. Would you like me to provide quotes?

You might learn something about being blsck in America if you dealt with black people.

Says the guy living in a state with 3.0% African Americans.

erp said...

Clovis, stay safe. Our prayers are with you.

Skipper, why do you think Harry thinks black people need to be "dealt" with? In American slang, people who need to be dealt with are problems, e.g., the people next door who never take in their trash cans or the people down the block who drive too fast and scare the cats or progs who can't stop meddling and making trouble for We, the People -- all of us! ;-]

Harry, please educate me that I may start on the road of recovery from ignorance.

Here's a fun fact: more blacks are killed by other other blacks (and getting away with it) in Chicago in one year than were lynched by the KKK in all of recorded history.

Here's another: middle class citizens of enhanced melanin don't like what your cohort has done in the plantations anymore than us paler types. If you "dealt" with any regular tax paying blacks, instead of pontificating in print about the sins of whites against them, you'd learn that -- and fast.

BTW - I'm still chuckling about being "invincibly ignorant"!

Bret said...

Clovis, if you'll potentially be safer with this post deleted, then delete away. It's backed up with comments so far (encrypted, of course), so it can always be resurrected later.

My thoughts are with you. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] Clovis, if you'll potentially be safer with this post deleted ...

Sometimes I am such a knucklehead; when I urged Clovis to keep it, I didn't even think about that aspect.

Clovis, humble apologies.

Clovis e Adri said...

After much criticism, the Presidental Decree invoking the Armed Forces to patrol the streets has been revoked a few hours ago, so for now I will keep this post online.

Nothing is more dangerous than a powerful mafia with their backs against the wall, so I judge we are in critical times.

If you read the news, they may tell you the unions protesting at Congress turned into a violent riot and were out of control. That's only half of the truth.

Our mafias down here, travested into political parties, have themselves many unions in their pockets. The particular union that turned the protest into a violent one, trashing buildings and throwing fireworks, is the very same one that was all along giving support to the political group of this President. Actually, that union boss is implicated in the Car Wash scandal too and under investigation.

Last week, we learned that our President was caught on taped conversations negotiating bribes to shut up imprisoned politicians, and to buy judges and solicitors, among other not so Republican stuff. Now the pressure is high to throw him out of office, and I fear he will answer in kind.

There is a good chance that, like any good mafia, they resorted to the old tactic: you call to that corrupt union boss you bought, and ask them a favor of sowing a good bit of chaos so you can bring in martial law.

Not so different from a Star Wars (sequel 1-3) script.

Fortunately, the rest of the society didn't buy it. The number of protesters was actually small, compared to previous ones, and no one believes the police was really overwhelmed.

But you can't blame them for trying, can you?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "After much criticism, the Presidental Decree invoking the Armed Forces to patrol the streets has been revoked..."

Excellent news!

When I read a statement like the above I assume the "criticism" that counted came from the military? After all, if the armed forces had decided to align with the president, all the criticism in the world probably wouldn't've mattered, right?

Harry Eagar said...

Clovis, calling in the army was a probe. If it touched too tender a nerve today and the probe had to be withdrawn, there will be another attempt soon enough.

We see it in the USA almost every day.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] We see it in the USA almost every day.

Prove it.

erp said...

The military is barred by law from acting within our boundaries. That's what the national guard is for and they can only be called out by individual governors.

See how smart our FF's were -- they could almost be our FM's.

Harry Eagar said...

erp demonstrates, as she does almost daily, that she knows nothing about America.

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0925.html

erp said...

... but what happened after he did that?

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] erp demonstrates, as she does almost daily, that she knows nothing about America.

And you demonstrate, as always, that you are a fool, and that erp's understanding of America is far closer to reality than yours.

To wit: The Posse Comitatus Act. There are extremely strict limitations on the use of federal military forces further than 25 miles inside the national borders.

In other words, she is right, and you are wrong. Very wrong.

BTW, I'm eager to hear how calling in the army is something we see hear in the US as a probe almost every day.

I'd hate to think you were wasting our time making stuff up.


Harry Eagar said...

Skipper constantly demands that I provide links. I almost always ignore him because when
i do provide a link, he pretends it does not show what it shows.

As here.

'... but what happened after he did that?'

White racist voters made Faubus governor for life.

erp said...

Harry, if I didn't know better, I'd think you are making a funny.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Skipper constantly demands that I provide links. I almost always ignore him because when
i do provide a link, he pretends it does not show what it shows.


Harry, your links are almost never on topic, you always force the reader to trudge through the whole thing to find out what you are referring to, and very frequently show the opposite of what you assert.

The Robertson thread is a feast of examples. Would you like me to provide links?

White racist voters made Faubus governor for life.

Which has what to do with anything today?

Harry Eagar said...

'Which has what to do with anything today?'

I was answering erp's question. I doubt she expected that answer. Relevance to today? see what the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said.

Hey Skipper said...

Relevance to today? see what the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said.

I did. One of the most -- no check that -- the most laughably stupid decisions I have ever read. Why don't you link to it, pull the relevant quotes, and describe for us how they pertain to the Constitution and law.

I'll bet you can't.

erp said...

Speaking of the courts, apparently our resident historian thinks Faubus serving 12 years as governor of Arkansas was more significant than one of the most important court decisions in our history

... and that folks is the prog worldview in a nutshell. Racism uber alles, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Harry Eagar said...

You see -- or rather you don;t see -- that that link of mine, your question and my response makes nonsense of your often-stated claim that the race situation in the United States was getting better all on its own.

Obviously it wasn't, and as the 4th Circuit observed, things haven't changed materially in the Republican Party.

erp said...

Harry, cause and effect isn't your strong suit. The reason things happened they way they did was part of things happening on their own because had people not been ready, things wouldn't have happened the way they did. I was there Harry. People were outraged by seeing that little girl surrounded by soldiers to keep her safe. The rabble rousers stirred up fears and fomented the anger, but the minority who were in the streets are what got on TV and the headlines, exactly the same tactics at work now.

They didn't need to destroy thousands of people's lives with inhuman projects and forced busing and etc. This subject is infuriating. Smug elites have just about destroyed the best the earth has produced because they're mad at grandpa or their mother didn't love them or some other psycho-babble.

Hey Skipper said...

You see -- or rather you don't see -- that that link of mine, your question and my response makes nonsense of your often-stated claim that the race situation in the United States was getting better all on its own.

Harry, how does that link demonstrate that the race situation wasn't getting better on its own? Maybe logic isn't your strong suit, but a snapshot cannot possibly demonstrate your claim.

This, BTW, is a perfect example of why your links are so often worthless. It is illogical, then begs the question as to how race relations have gotten better in the 50 years since, and, oh by the way, is completely unreadable, save for the headline.

... as the 4th Circuit observed, things haven't changed materially in the Republican Party.

The 4th circuit observed that things haven't changed materially in the Republican Party?

I'm calling shenanigans. I'll bet the 4th circuit, as stupid as it is, made absolutely no observations about the Republican party.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, here is proof that among progressives, the race situation is getting worse, and that things haven't changed materially in the Democratic party.

erp said...

Hey guys, please forgive my rant. I am sorry for it and also sorry I read Harry's last comment just before going to bed because I was in such a rage I couldn't sleep all night thinking about how Harry et al. have taken our country and by extension the rest of the world down into the rabbit hole of lefty craziness.

Our country has become balkanized in ways even the real Balkans would find offensive -- cultural appropriation, segregated graduations and at Harvard no less, Yale giving leadersip awards to the nutcases who objected violently to a discussion on Halloween costumes, all out war on whites a nonsense term, not synonymous with the causasian race, but a euphemism for conservatives of all skin colors. Arabs and East Indians are have been designated as "brown" and pasty white Senator Warren a designated red, as needed for the narrative.

I hope those world leaders at the conferences in Europe who were smirking at Trump understand that this time round, the Yanks won't coming and the winners will be far worse in ways than even Hitler never thought of. Too bad only the little people will suffer because the elites will collaborate and make accommodations with their conquerors as they have always done.

Have a nice Memorial Day weekend.