Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Talking Sanity About International Aid

Almost two weeks ago, Kevin Myers, a columnist for the Irish newspaper, The Independent, penned an astonishing column calling for an end to Western economic aid to Ethiopia. Myers cut through the usual hand-wringing about the horrible conditions facing Ethiopians by pointing out two salient facts. First, that since the Western world rallied to fight the ravages of the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980's, the population of the country has almost tripled (for starving people, they seem to reproduce awfully quickly). And, second, that the Ethiopians themselves - through constant warfare and barbaric social practices - are responsible for the famine and extreme poverty that haunts their desolate nation. Western aid, Myers pointed out, actually makes it possible for the squabbling Ethiopians to continue the very behaviors that impoverish them, while setting themselves up for a real demographic disaster by producing a population far in excess of what they can sustain.

Worse, the malignant effect of well-intentioned Western aid, were not limited to the Ethiopian cesspool, but were metastasizing all over the African continent, producing a collection of dependent, barbarian kingdoms whose only industrial output is hungry children.

Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, Kalashnikov-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts.

Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world.

This dependency has not stimulated political prudence or commonsense. Indeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the next president of South Africa being a firm believer in the efficacy of a little tap water on the post-coital penis as a sure preventative against infection. Needless to say, poverty, hunger and societal meltdown have not prevented idiotic wars involving Tigre, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etcetera.

This, Myers foresees, can only lead, inevitably, to disaster in the long run - both for Africa and the West:

It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade. It is inspiring Bill Gates' programme to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating.

If his programme is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts. Oh good: then what? I know. Let them all come here. Yes, that's an idea.

Indeed, many Africans are already immigrating to the West. The larger their impoverished populations get, the greater the pressure there will be to flee the collapsing countries. And the leftists in the West will be only too happy to welcome millions of Africans to Western shores, hoping that they will finally extinguish the Western way of life for good.

Myers knew his opinions fell far outside the boundaries of permitted thought (especially in uber-politically correct Ireland), and predicted there would be a backlash against him.

It will win no friends, and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous, letter-writing wrathful, a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life with its sneers and its moral superiority. It will also probably enrage some of the finest men in Irish life, like John O'Shea, of Goal; and the Finucane brothers, men whom I admire enormously. So be it.

Naturally, he was correct. The usual suspects immediately descended on him and - as leftists always do - are trying to silence using the force of law. Denise Charlton of the Immigrant Council of Ireland filed a formal charge against Mr. Myers with the Irish police accusing him of inciting racial hatred with his column - an offense for which he could be imprisoned.

Fortunately, Mr. Myers has decided not to be intimidated. His column in the week's Independent returns to the Ethiopian aid argument and pulls few punches.

We did more in Ethiopia a quarter of a century ago than just rescue children from terrible death through starvation: we also saved an evil, misogynistic and dysfunctional social system. Presuming that half the existing population (say, 17 million) of the mid 1980s is now dead through non-famine causes, the total added population from that time is some 60 million, around half of them female.

Myers notes that he is partially to blame for what has happened, because as a journalist in Ethiopia in the past, he ignored what he saw in order to promote a version of reality that would placate his editors and readers:

I am not innocent in all this. The people of Ireland remained in ignorance of the reality of Africa because of cowardly journalists like me. When I went to Ethiopia just over 20 years ago, I saw many things I never reported -- such as the menacing effect of gangs of young men with Kalashnikovs everywhere, while women did all the work. In the very middle of starvation and death, men spent their time drinking the local hooch in the boonabate shebeens. Alongside the boonabates were shanty-brothels, to which drinkers would casually repair, to briefly relieve themselves in the scarred orifice of some wretched prostitute (whom God preserve and protect). I saw all this and did not report it, nor the anger of the Irish aid workers at the sexual incontinence and fecklessness of Ethiopian men. Why? Because I wanted to write much-acclaimed, tear-jerkingly purple prose about wide-eyed, fly-infested children -- not cold, unpopular and even "racist" accusations about African male culpability.

And there we hit the center of the argument. Had Myers voiced a negative opinion about a Western nation, run by white men, he wouldn't be under threat of imprisonment.

And the feminists of the west would never have allowed such unconditional aid to be given to such a wicked and brutal society if it had been run by white men.

But, instead, the state was run by black males, for whom a special race-and-gender dispensation apparently applies: thus the two most politically incorrect sins of our age -- sexism and racism -- by some mysterious moral process, akin to the mathematics of the double-negative, annul one another, and produce an unquestioned positive virtue, called Ethiopia.

The same double standard has been erected as law in many part of the Western world, and enforced as de facto editorial policy among many media outlets even in the U.S.: non-whites may not be criticized in any way, but especially when they really deserve it.

Unfortunately, Myers doesn't take the logical step and call for the end of economic aid to Ethiopia, which is again facing a crisis of famine. He knows that will lead to many deaths. But he also knows that sending more aid will only perpetuate the conditions and lead to a worse death toll later on. He is "lost in awe at the dreadful options open to us." But he shouldn't be. It is immoral to encourage dependancy. It is immoral to support barbarism. It is immoral to set up conditions that will lead to much worse conditions in the future. The only moral choice for the West is to stop funding Ethiopian bad behavior and leave the people of that bleak land - and all of Africa - to solve their problems on their own. That is the only policy that will benefit the people of Africa, and the people of the West.