Sunday, April 10, 2011 33 Comments

Ivory Coast: are they going to come and kill my cat?

Or, Ivory Coast: Fresh Victory for International Law. Or Ivory Coast: Responsibility to Protect. Or even Ivory Coast: The Africa of Paris.

As you can see, I just can't resist this material. But the latest, via (but not from) the Guardian, really stands on its own. It's a montage without a mount, the perfect Hollywood trailer for our cute young century. And an epitaph, even, for the last:
A 26-year-old German, who did not wish to be named, told how she and her daughter were rescued from a furious crowd by the French army. "We spent two days locked in our home," she said. "We were on the internet all the time and calling everyone we could think of for help. There were big explosions outside and we didn't sleep for those two nights.

"A mob of a thousand people came storming down the street. They were all over the place, smashing boxes, breaking into shops and looting. Everyone was going nuts. One was carrying a tray of drinks; someone would grab a drink and run off in another direction.

"They set fire to the Honda garage and we could see flames seven metres high. There was a sugar factory that was completely destroyed. They stole all the sugar first; it should have taken them two days to take it all but they did it in three hours.

"We had no idea who was actually who or what the hell was going on. There were people with filthy hair – I don't know if they were prisoners who escaped. We were scared of stray bullets.

"My daughter is seven and was born here. At first she didn't understand what was going on. After a while she started asking, 'Are they going to come and kill my cat?'"
Does this need a montage? I don't know. It might. It might just stand on its own. But terhaps, since these people were on the Internets anyway, they could have gained perspective on the ineluctable humanitarian necessity of the Ouattara-Gbagbo war by a quick glance at La Wik:
The responsibility to protect (RtoP or R2P) is a norm or set of principles based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege, but a responsibility. RtoP focuses on preventing and halting four crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.

The responsibility to protect can be thought of as having three parts. A State has a responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing (mass atrocities).

If the State is unable to protect its population on its own, the international community has a responsibility to assist the state by building its capacity. This can mean building early-warning capabilities, mediating conflicts between political parties, strengthening the security sector, mobilizing standby forces, and many other actions.

If a State is manifestly failing to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures are not working, the international community has the responsibility to intervene at first diplomatically, then more coercively, and as a last resort, with military force.
Gbagbo's, you see, is the stronger party. In one form or another, it has always ruled since the French. But demographics have changed, so Gbagbo loses in the census - excuse me, the election. Hence the international community must step in to protect the weak from the strong, Outtara from Gbagbo, Muslim from Christian, the backward north from the elevated south. Thus, despite its tremendous respect for the principle of sovereignty, etc, etc.

Couldn't the little girl, or at least her mother, understand this simple humanitarian principle? Language is no excuse. The same edifying material is available in Deutsch, where it sounds even better: Verantwortung zum Schutz. Next time you see a mob of a thousand people storming down the street, you have probably been Verantwortung-zum-Schutzed. Hide your wife, hide your daughter, hide the cat.

Alas, there is no word in either language for what you're supposed to do when the "international community" fails to protect you. Especially when it fails to protect you from the weak - who are too weak to resist heavy weapons, that's true. But not too weak to scare your daughter.

So our subjects, locked in a closet with their laptops, might have found better consolation in Vanity Fair's April photo spread, Faces of the Facebook Revolution:
In essence, they had set up a small, Utopian city, where they were interacting with each other in this leaderless, self-organized system. It wasn’t just a protest. It was a model for how they wanted Egypt to be. It was a chaotic but somehow working system. I truly had this feeling of being surrounded by people drawn together by the strong ideals that they wanted to achieve. The atmosphere was extremely charged and fast-paced, changing minute by minute.

The concept of being self-organized and leaderless made the revolution a success. That was the aspect that fascinated me most. These anonymous people in the photographs—they are the ones who are so important. I may never see them again. I may never know who they were. But they’re the ones who made the revolution happen. I could have picked virtually anyone out of the square and each one of them would have been incredibly and equally as important.
Of course, while everyone is incredibly and equally as important, not everyone is equally photogenic. But Vanity Fair can find them. And so all the young, handsome and fashionable doctors and screenwriters in Cairo came together to be photographed. At negligible expense, with no big fuss at all.

This will get them laid continuously for the next five years, and in any case they weren't doing anything else - having lost all genuine political relevance immediately after their "victory." No word on whether Vanity Fair plans a sequel: "Faces of The Forces Nouvelles."

In the same issue we see two violent screeds against the "top 1%." Indeed there has never been a time in history when the top 0.01%, who of course constitute the world real or purported of Vanity Fair, have not despised the top 1%. Wanted to conjure up an army of cannibals, in fact, to slaughter them and eat their cats. (FDR, for instance, was a "traitor to his class" in exactly this sense. In fact he was fiercely loyal to his class: the socialite class.)

But the only difficulty with this pleasant fantasy of rabble-scourging is that the cannibal army, once conjured, cannot really tell the difference between James Wolcott, Donald Trump, you and me. Also, just because a civil war was conjured by Vanity Fair, does not mean Vanity Fair can un-conjure it. Welcome to the 21st century! Please hide the cat.

33 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrary to Moldbugs 'do-nothingism', the only positive I see out of this is the ability to start killing off members of the socialite class under the guise of revolution.

April 10, 2011 at 1:25 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

Good, MM.

Damned good.

April 10, 2011 at 4:16 AM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

"the cannibal army, once conjured, cannot really tell the difference between James Wolcott, Donald Trump, you and me"

An Al Jazeera columnist, while enumerating groups supported over the years by Gaddafi, mentions "the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, better known for its brutal savagery – chopping off noses, fingers and hands of supporters and opponents alike" [my emphasis].

April 10, 2011 at 4:21 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I didn't see a link for the excerpts. Googling turned up this.

I for one am glad the Ivory Coast is being used as a reductio against the "responsibility to protect" justification for Libya. Hard as it can be to believe, there must still be an ounce of prudence left in the U.S (France is another story) foreign policy establishment which recognizes that of course we shouldn't jump willy-nilly into sub-saharan Africa! It's isn't near the middle east or anything important!

For those looking for laughs, Voice of Detroit is angry that white people claim the city has high crime.

April 10, 2011 at 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a moment there I thought that story was about some tourists stuck in New Orleans a few years back...

- LeGree

April 10, 2011 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For TGGP and others here, found a recent book by Oxford press pertaining to one of Moldbug's arguments (tying in religious pluralism and democracy). The book is Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism By Thomas Banchoff.

April 11, 2011 at 4:30 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

The report of cannibalism in the Ivory Coast brings to memory an extraordinary report I read 20 or perhaps more years ago. It concerned a candidate for the parliament of that country who, upon returning to his district to campaign for re-election, was slaughtered and eaten by his constituents. How I wish I had saved that news clipping! I could not help thinking, then or now, of Evelyn Waugh's "Black Mischief," or Russell Kirk's "A Creature of the Twilight," and being reminded of how life imitates art.

I remember the controversy that followed Sen. Allen Ellender's 1962 trip to Africa, when he made the statement that he opposed independence for African countries because he did not believe they were competent to govern themselves. At the time he was derided as an old Southern racist and segregationist, which he no doubt was - but history has proved him right nonetheless. Five decades later, who could credibly argue that he was not?

April 12, 2011 at 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ivory Coast: The Coastening

April 12, 2011 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

The War Nerd has apparently been putting up a new post every day for 24 days now. Including a number on the Ivory Coast and Libya.

April 13, 2011 at 11:01 PM  
Anonymous josh said...

Moldbuggery: The Movie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT3s_rEVIr8

April 15, 2011 at 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, better known for its brutal savagery – chopping off noses, fingers and hands of supporters and opponents alike"

Heh, the Cannibal Army in Gaza recently executed a "pro-Palestinian" Italian.

April 16, 2011 at 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, better known for its brutal savagery – chopping off noses, fingers and hands of supporters and opponents alike"

Heh, the Cannibal Army in Gaza recently executed a "pro-Palestinian" Italian.

April 16, 2011 at 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: that doco.

I often thought of putting Moldbug's ideas either into an infographic or short documentary.

April 17, 2011 at 1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tggp, thanks for the tip on the warnerd.

You guys should read a commentator over there called doug. Just found him arguing with the leftist nutjobs over there. Some tidbits from 'doug':

"The pathetic pathos of the international community. Always support the weak against the strong. The petty, vicious and cruel against the strong, noble, natural leaders. Had it not been for the intervention of the French Gbabgdo’s tribe would have ruled Ivory Coast for the next thousand years.

Say what you will about colonialism, but at least you knew that the guys winning had to have an advantage in organization, technology or economics. If the wars were bloody at least you knew they had a long-term positive effect in letting the best and brightest civilizations expand control. Darwinism on a society-wide level.

Western foreign policy is now run like inverse darwinism. Like selectively breeding for the weakest, sickest runts in the liter. Always pick the losers and bomb, sanction and/or aid the better tribe out of power, in the process turning the country into even more of a shithole.

Favor Hutus over Tutsis, Albanians over Serbs, Palestinians over Israelis, Outtara over Gbago, Libyan rebels over Qaddafi, Egyptian Islamists over Mubbarak, Mugabe over Rhodesia, the Ayatollah over the Shah, Castro over Batista, Mobutu over Belgium, Gandhi over Britain, Mao over Chiang Kai Shek, etc.

Just like a population being selectively bred dysgenically will eventually collapse as the laws of nature take over and wipe out the abominations for an utter lack of fitness, so too can this insanity only last for so long. Once outside forces wipe out any semblance of orderly power in a nation the end-game is Somalia. A chaotic, teeming, mess with so little control or government that any chance of controlling it short of outright re-conquest and colonialism is impossible.

Eventually these failed states will overrun the West with refugees, criminals and terrorists until they collapse. Then the game is over. Already Libya, a mere 400 miles from the EU, will be pretty damn close to Somalia if the rebels win. Even Cairo, once the most Bohemian Arab city in the world, is on a fast descent into Mogadishu."

April 17, 2011 at 2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more doug:


I’m not saying Gbagbo is an Elizabeth or a Frederick the Great or even a Charlamagne for that matter. But this is Africa in 2011, there’s not exactly a big pool of noble leaders to draw from. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. And as a statesman Outtara makes Gbabgo look like Thomas Jefferson. It’s like if you gave me a squad of kids from fat camp I’m not going to be able to give you an NBA basketball team. But that doesn’t mean you should stuff your roster full of the 400 lbs. kids, rather than the 300 lbs. kids.

At one point Africa was full of noble, natural leaders. They just happened to have a different skin color than the majority of the population. Then the West in its deeply dysfunctional, self-loathing decided this was one of the world’s greatest evils. They withdrew their position and handed over the African nations to the most trouble-making criminal thugs, aka the national revolutionaries. These men had no business or qualifications to run a government other than being ruthless criminal gang leaders, who’s gangs just happened to spit out (leftist) political slogans. (And yes, this applies most of all to that thug Mandela).

There are many many men in Africa who are qualified to run a proper government, but the dysfunctional foreign policy of the West and the international community has pushed the entire politics of the region to the polar opposite of these men. Gbabgo is no prize, but he’s a hell of a lot better than Outtara. Plus throwing out Gbagbo and replacing Outtara with him sends a message to every other politically ambitious African that the road to power isn’t developing strong societies, militaries and economies, it’s presiding over loser tribes with ultra-high birthrates and licking the boots of the “international community.”

Also the process of democracy has absolutely zero to do with being a noble leader. Democracy is most frequently the route of the weak and decadent, those who would rely on the power of the mob and chaos for the throne. The true king knows that he need not bow before the mob like some pathetic groveler. He is a lion among men, his power comes from his prowess, competence, intelligence, strength and confidence. He does not even care what the crowds say, he makes the right decisions and he does not worry because his grip on power is as firm as a snake handler wielding a dangerous beast.

Democracy does not favor such men. Rather it plays to the sniveling bureaucrats, the lying corrupt sociopaths, the crowd-pleasing demagogues, the paranoid delusional egomaniacs and cult-leaders.

April 17, 2011 at 2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and last bit of doug:

@14

Revolutions and civil wars are bloody, destructive messes that almost always completely consume and destroy their civilization. If the destruction and violent overthrow of governments is virtually always a bad thing, then the corollary of that is that governments that last a very long time with high stability must be good things. The quintessential example are empires that last a thousand years.

If you’re trying to imply that this has something to do with Nazism I would suggest that you learn how to logically distinguish rhetoric from action. Hitler’s regime lasted less than two decades and imploded Germany. The Nazis were little more than populist little faggots. All of Germany’s success in this period came from its brilliant industrialists and military generals who were about as far away from the working class core of the Nazis as possible.

Like I said above populists are disgusting scum who are unfit to lead, regardless of whether they are left-wing or right-wing. The true noble king does not need to preen in front of adoring crowds just to boost his self-esteem like that S&M looking art school spastic weirdo Hitler. Germany had been one of the most stable, prosperous and successful counties in Europe for hundreds of years until the Anglicans had jammed their diseased system of liberal democracy down their throat post WWI.

The House of Hohenzollern is far closer to my ideal of noble strong leaders than Hitler. Even the lowest of that house, Wilhelm II, would easily be an improvement on nearly any government of any country in 2011.

April 17, 2011 at 2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another doug comment (btw, this is from day 22, moldbug's blog doesn't enable me to post links):

Time for some basic history, well supported by the facts, that the current history academy in Western universes tends to, uhm, glance over let’s say. Mainly because there aren’t too many professors at Harvard who are sympathetic to McCarthy, the fact that he was completely right about basically everything he asserted get brushed under the rug.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Hands#The_men_who_.22lost.22_China
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Revolution#Shah_and_the_United_States

The reality is that US foreign policy going all the way back to the Russian Revolution has been unashamedly pro-Communist, pro-Islamist and anti-colonialist (especially in State and its forerunners, which have always had the final say). Why because communists and islamists are absolute losers who cause chaos and destruction, and can barely run anything. In contrast colonialists ran shining examples of governments and their departure from the world state spelled utter chaos in the places they abandoned. More chaos less order and more violence means ever higher budgets for State and its allies.

April 17, 2011 at 2:29 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I'm going to try linking a Doug comment. Link.

April 17, 2011 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

Doug is a shame to the ideas he espouses. Not for his bad grammar, even. It is the logic that is bad.

Does he realise that no strong leader loses? Ouattara won over Gbagbo because he is (now) the stronger leader. These silly, blind idealisms that relate the strength of a leader to anything other than being on the throne are the political equivalent of not using the Gold Standard (or similar). Ouattara is a stronger leader than Gbagbo, because these days being strong in Françafrique is not defined by any weird ideals Doug may have, but rather by promising the French certain things.

I assume that he realises that these Lefties would not be successful in enforcing their way—in installing these “weak, pathetic losers” as leaders—if they were not the stronger party. The weak, pathetic party does not enforce things. This means also that, unlike what he thinks, the “strong, noble, natural leaders” can be bad, even according to him; stoicism notwithstanding. This makes foolish his incessant whining for the strong leaders to take the throne is potentially a call for the mass murderers to take the throne. Then again, we know this already: Colonial history.

Africa had strong, natural, noble leaders before Western Colonisation. Or is Doug one of those who think that Somalian anarchy could have happened in the pre-colonial Ogaden?
Even today, Africa has many strong, noble leaders (unless you read Western propaganda). Museveni, Ghaddafi, Mswati, the Bongo dynasty, the Kabila dynasty, et cetera.

The Whites who once ruled in Africa were weak; that is why they are not there. They were replaced, as weak leaders always are, by stronger leaders. No amount of whining changes that.
As for the beady-eyed, peurile idealisms in sentences like “The true king knows that he need not bow before the mob like some pathetic groveler. He is a lion among men, his power comes from his prowess, competence, intelligence, strength and confidence. He does not even care what the crowds say, he makes the right decisions and he does not worry because his grip on power is as firm as a snake handler wielding a dangerous beast.” are almost too cute for me to attack. I bet Doug has never run a family.

April 18, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A priceless quote, from BBC:

Others, like the former director general at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs, Alon Liel, worry about the rise of extremists in Syria, if Mr Assad goes.

"If there is a change, I think it will be in the direction that we don't like," he said.

"I don't see the possibility of the human rights activists taking over. It is only one segment of the rebels - there are Kurds, there are Islamists and the tribes and there are human rights Facebook activists. I don't think the Facebook guys will take over in Syria."

April 18, 2011 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Syria's "Facebook guys" have of course been funded by the State department for years.

April 18, 2011 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

The 27th comrade offers us a synthesis that is novel for this blog: the principle of might makes right, extended even to encompass the leftism which is normally equated with anarchy and antinomianism in Casa del Moldbug.

No doubt this could be dismissed as a cunningly evil Zizekian inversion, etc. But maybe we should just get to know this new guy. Here's someone who met him.

April 18, 2011 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

@Mitchell;

I'm not new here. I've been reading since 2006, but only very rarely commenting. (The comments are rare because when I disagree with MM and a comment is called-for, I disagree too much to settle matters in a comment box.) In this case, I read the comments because the post was about Africa, which is rarely given such a spot. The comments generally did not disappoint (see Michael's comment, for example, of agreeing with someone that Africa cannot govern itself; as though there was no government there before the Whites; in short: Africa cannot govern enough like a White man, so it cannot govern). Except Doug's posted comments, which were general enough to have a dismissal that would fit in one comment; so I wrote it.

April 18, 2011 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 18, 2011 at 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

27th Comrade: I never said there was no government in Africa before whites. I have after all read Burton's account of his mission to Gelele, king of Dahomey, and his accounts of the annual festivals of human sacrifice that took place under that monarch's aegis. There was certainly government in Africa before the whites; the governments of the coastal tribes, for example, organized the trade in slaves with Europeans in a highly sophisticated manner.

Africans are capable of tyrannous or despotic government, of the sort that Burton discovered in Dahomey. That is not the sort of self-government to which Sen. Ellender referred. With the departure of whites, Africa has reverted to the kind of government it had before whites, the kind of which it is capable, the kind in which candidates for parliament are cooked by their constituents.

Imagine the Gallup organization's poll questions in such populations: do you prefer your politicians sautéed, braised, or spit-roasted? with demi-glace? medium rare or well-done? Should one serve red wine with socialists, white with Christian democrats? What must be done to get rid of the gamey taste? Must one use the larding needle, or can one rely upon natural marbling to assure sufficient tenderness?

April 19, 2011 at 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

27th Comrade: I never said there was no government in Africa before whites. I have after all read Burton's account of his mission to Gelele, king of Dahomey, and his accounts of the annual festivals of human sacrifice that took place under that monarch's aegis. There was certainly government in Africa before the whites; the governments of the coastal tribes, for example, organized the trade in slaves with Europeans in a highly sophisticated manner.

Africans are capable of tyrannous or despotic government, of the sort that Burton discovered in Dahomey. That is not the sort of self-government to which Sen. Ellender referred. With the departure of whites, Africa has reverted to the kind of government it had before whites, the kind of which it is capable, the kind in which candidates for parliament are cooked by their constituents.

Imagine the Gallup organization's poll questions in such populations: do you prefer your politicians sautéed, braised, or spit-roasted? with demi-glace? medium rare or well-done? Should one serve red wine with socialists, white with Christian democrats? What do you do to get rid of the gamey taste? Must one use the larding needle, or can one rely upon natural marbling to assure sufficient tenderness?

April 19, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

@Michael: There is also HM Stanley's reports on Eastern Africa.

Sorry for the misrepresentation. I guess I should have summarised your point better as: there is a report of political cannibals in Africa; therefore cannibalism is the African political norm.

The difference between the political cannibals that Europe once had and the ones Europe now has is that the earlier ones were not resistant to the enlightening effect of Hebrews 9. I think Africa is not yet that desperate.

April 19, 2011 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger What is he talking about? said...

I am new to the blogthingy ma jig that this is, I just created my own blog after reading this post I like what you've got to say, it's both entertaining and informative.

I am an "american revolutionary" Bringing a voice, a voice to bring out the skeletons of the closet into the light. A voice to say that I hate government more than any one else. We can be capable of ruling ourselves.

I don't really talk about what's going on in the world, enough people already are doing that job, what I talk about is how the world affects me and maybe even how it affects you, I share with any one that wants to know, My travels by freight train, hitch hiking my run ins with the long dick of the law and how much I hate others attempts at authority over me.
my general nomadacies I'm am shamelessly self promoting my blog because I've got things to say yo.

April 20, 2011 at 1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I call bullshit on you not being new here 27th comrade, I just googled your name. You are an African. Moldbug has had multiple posts on Africa with similar commentary in the comments region with shitty opinions. And yet I am not to find one comment by you apart from here, and no mention of Moldbug at all on your blogs.

April 22, 2011 at 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops, I didn't see Mitchell's link that shows that same thing.

Also adding to the case that you are new here: you are a prolific blog commentator. Yet not comments here apart from this one.

April 22, 2011 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

@Anonymous: O ye of little faith.

The blogs I comment on are very particular (theology, sometimes French, and local to where I be at). I also comment a lot on software-related blogs under my real name. I generally do not comment on non-software American blogs, except about three (of those, all but one do theology or philosophy). I had been following this thread before I commented, thinking I'd not comment: then came the Doug stuff, and I did.

Also, on MM's posts, I commented a lot more during the Patchwork series (and I believe I was commenting here, not elsewhere). Also back in 2007 he had a few technical articles which I commented on. Plus, I congratulate him on the kids every time it is appropriate or expected. You can find me in his comments multiple times within the last year. Have some faith and some Google.

April 22, 2011 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

And speaking of European cannibals, here is a Daily Mail article entitled “British Royalty Dined on Human Flesh”.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389142/British-royalty-dined-human-flesh-dont-worry-300-years-ago.html

May 22, 2011 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

And speaking of European cannibals, there is a Daily Mail article today entitled “British Royalty Dined on Human Flesh”.

May 22, 2011 at 11:07 PM  

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