Free Markets, Free People

Obligatory Haiti Post

I’m not being dismissive when I use that title, it’s just that QandO isn’t a “breaking news” blog, nor are disasters – and that’s what has happened in Haiti – our normal cup of tea.

That said, the tragedy is heartbreaking and, if your moved to do so, please contribute to the relief effort. A word of advice – give only to those organizations you recognize as reputable. As with any disaster, the unscrupulous and despicable will attempt to cash in on the generosity of those who genuinely want to help.

As for some of the side-show going on – was it really necessary for Pat Robertson to claim that Haiti’s problems stem from a “pact with the devil” and tout it as a “true story” when it is, at best, an unproven rumor? And even if it was true, it happened 200 plus years ago – who cares? There is a much more rational explanation to be had – like upwards of 70 different dictators exploiting the people of that nation over those 200 years. That may sound like the result of a pact with the devil, but it is, instead, an unfortunate result of colonialism and slavery creating the conditions in which such authoritarian exploitation was possible.

Haiti is and has been a basket case for quite some time. However, that’s not the immediate concern. Thousands have been killed and millions are suffering. It was an earthquake, not God or the devil’s revenge. Help if you can, it is the humane thing to do.

~McQ

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15 Responses to Obligatory Haiti Post

  • “an unfortunate result of colonialism and slavery creating the conditions…”

    You are starting to sund like Erb. Among other things, Haiti has been free of both longer than the rest of Latin America, therefore the rest of Latin America should be in worse shape. That excuse wears a little thin after two centuries. 

    • Free? 70 dictators in 200 years? You and I have different definitions of “free” apparently.

      • You’re just sore that the last one got put back into power by Clinton…  :)

      • ” Haiti has been free of both …”

        Free of both colonialism and slavery. They have been free to do as they wish with themselves. Those 70 dictators were not inflicted on them by the French or anyone else.

        • That really doesn’t matter – they were inadequately prepared to keep their freedom because of their former condition and the abrupt ending of the colonialism. Those are simply the facts of history. The 70 dictator were simply people who filled the power vacuum and certainly not unexpected in such a situation.

          • So how does one ‘prepare’ a society for freedom, i.e. to govern themselves in a  democratic manner? Who ‘prepared’   England?  Athens? The Roman Republic? Is this the famous White Man’s Burden?

          • See India and any of a number of colonial “empires” which were eventually turned over to those colonized. It’s certainly not a panacea, but it seems to have fared better as a model than rebellious slaves with absolutely no experience in self-governance taking over a country.

    • In this case the fact that they threw off colonialism so early is really what hurt them.  The Slaves who revolted in Haiti were very very backward, with hardly any who could read or write.  They were many of them fresh from Africa and remembered all of the blood feuds so there was never even any chance of them creating a harmonious society.
      In the case of later Latin revolutions, the poor people at least had a working society to build upon.
      Haitians are just about the unluckiest, most pathetic peoples in all of history.

      • Precisely Kyle8. Had they gone through the transition from slavery and colonialism to an independent nation, there wouldn’t have been a huge power vacuum that was filled by strongman (dictator) after strongman. There was no indigenous population trained to govern by a colonial regime slowly withdrawing. It went from slavery and war to “you’re on your own”. Didn’t (and hasn’t) worked out to well for them.

  • As for some of the side-show going on – was it really necessary for Pat Robertson to claim that Haiti’s problems stem from a “pact with the devil” and tout it as a “true story” when it is, at best, an unproven rumor? And even if it was true, it happened 200 plus years ago – who cares?

    If there really was a deal with the devil, they need to beat up whoever penned the deal, because when you consider how much of a sh*t-hole that country was before the quake, you have to wonder “If that’s what the place looks like after selling their soul, what kind of fresh Hell would it have been if they hadn’t”?
     
    Let us be honest – the place wasn’t exactly Shangri-la…

  • The International Red Cross is probably a good bet if you’re contributing to the relief effort.

    But let’s otherwise lay blame for this catastrophe where it belongs: It’s George Bush’s fault.

    • catholic relief services is a good one.

    • I may go with them after all, but Red Cross is one of those places that will take ‘ear marked’ donations but ultimately use it how they see fit elsewhere.
       
      United Way is institutionalized that way by running a general fund so when you earmark for one purpose, they may increase earmarked funding for that purpose by X but then they decrease its general funding by X, so the net effect is that X goes where the bureaucrats want it to go.
       
      Red Cross may not be bad that way but they overworked 9/11 to collect funds to the point they didn’t want to use the money on 9/11 victims and started sticking the money in their general funding.

  • I’m not being dismissive when I use that title, it’s just that QandO isn’t a “breaking news” blog, nor are disasters – and that’s what has happened in Haiti – our normal cup of tea.

    I don’t think the entire world has to come to screeching halt whenever there’s tragedy somewhere.  Life has to go on somewhere, and things need to get done or there wouldn’t be a rest of the world able to help them.
     
    Although this may not be what prompted this post, I’ve seen the ” you don’t care enough” message tossed around.
     
    I think it comes from two places.
     
    One is the high standard applied to the US during the Bush Presidency.  The drama in Katrina and the Tsunami in Asia.  People are expecting the same level of intensity when that intensity partly came from the desire to make Bush look bad.
     
    The other place is that they are preying on people’s sense of compassion and guilt to create the mindset there is an obligation to the world.  People should help if they can, but they are not obligated to help at least on a country level.  Maybe they have an obligation human to human not as part of world political theatre.