November 27th, 2017

The sudden shock of liberty

Things are different in Zimbabwe—for now:

For 37 years, it was the official newspaper of Robert Mugabe. Then, this month, the staff of the Zimbabwe Herald got an impossible assignment: They would have to cover the downfall of their benefactor.

In the days after Mugabe was detained by the military, editors and reporters gathered in a wood-paneled newsroom in an old office building downtown, trying to figure out what to do…

Suddenly, a newsroom that had been the mouthpiece of the regime was without a censor.

“In the past we could never criticize the president,” said Felex Share, a political reporter, in the hours before Mugabe’s resignation. “Right now, we can touch anything.”

When I was in college, I had a boyfriend who lived in an apartment. He owned a cat. Now, I’m not really fond of cats, but I don’t wish them any harm, so one day we decided to give the cat a rare treat—we would take him outside.

This cat was an inside cat. I don’t think he had ever been outside, and he was already a couple of years old. In our naivete, we thought the cat would love it. But as we carried him out, he began to screech in a way I’d never heard a cat scream before—high-pitched sounds of utter panic. His face was scrunched up in fear, and he was shaking.

I can’t remember if we had a leash with us, or how we had intended to keep the cat in line if we put it down. But there was no need for that; this cat wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t going to leave my boyfriend’s arms, didn’t want to be put down on the ground, didn’t want to be there at all.

After a while, we took the cat back inside, and never tried the stunt again. Now that I’m older, I think there might have been a way to accustom him more slowly to the big wide world. But at the time, we just abandoned the endeavor. But the cat’s fear surprised and impressed me with how terrifying unaccustomed freedom can be.

Now, the staff at the Zimbabwe Herald are most definitely not cats. But they are people unused to being able to speak their minds and/or the truth without the fear of punishment. It must be disorienting and frightening to some of them to have had that threat removed, or seemingly removed, at least for the moment.

That feeling might be heightened by a self-selection process whereby the employees at the paper had to be people who were able to compromise themselves and be the mouthpieces of a tyrannical government. Maybe some of them were even True Believers (not uncommon even in this country); who knows?

I hope they manage the transition better than my boyfriend’s cat did. And I hope the iron hand of tyranny doesn’t clamp down on them again, as I fear it might.

18 Responses to “The sudden shock of liberty”

  1. j e Says:

    The situation could hardly be more bizarre, In addition to Mugabe’s having been granted immunity, the tyrant’s birthday has been declared a public holiday, and he and his ghastly wife will be paid millions in cash, not including his annual salary, which will continue to be paid.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I’ve only recently begun to accept that many people do not want liberty. They want the illusion of liberty. Real liberty requires the acceptance of risk and failure and it is that, of which they are terrified.

    Far better to be taken care of and told what to do, as long as it is done in such a way that it preserves the illusion of their having control of their lives.

    A perfect example is the EBT Card, which like the direct deposit of a paycheck, allows the welfare recipient to pretend to themselves that this is an entitlement, rather than charity. Which for the able bodied is undeserved and effectively, theft.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    The Grand Inquisitor agrees.

  4. parker Says:

    “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Zimbabwe doesn’t stop being a 3rd world dictatorship without much bloodshed. Same goes for Cuba, etc. And even then there is no guarantee.

    As GB notes, many people do not want the responsibility of liberty. All they want is lighter chains.

  5. Paul in Boston Says:

    GB, neo. This covered in the Bible in Exodus. The Israelites may have been freed from slavery in Egypt, but in their hearts they were still slaves and longed for the fleshpots of Egypt, free food. That is why they asked Aaron for the Golden Calf and why they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. The old generation that knew slavery had to die out before they could return to Canaan as free people.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    Yes that fits except… he posits that all of or at least the great majority of humanity is afraid of the inherent risk and possibility of failure. And more importantly, implies that to be humanity’s permanent nature. I think the Grand Inquisitor is partially right in the immediate term but utterly wrong as to humanity’s deepest nature. Maturity is the term that comes to mind. It takes a mature self-confidence to face failure, learn from it by acknowledging it while seeing it as a stepping stone to eventual success.

    The Grand Inquisitor’s assertion ignores the reality of humanity’s historical progress in ever greater mastery of its environment and civilizational achievements. Which despite dark ages and civilizational declines and collapses, evidences ever greater sophistication.

    I suspect that the human race is still growing into its maturity and I base that on the perception that a greater percentage of the population that is conservative today can articulate what they believe in and why they believe it, than could prior generations. That is obscured by the efforts of the left in the schools and media to indoctrinate the public into the false memes of the left.

    It’s my perception that much of the baby boomer generation’s revolt against the “Greatest generation’s” values was a reaction to their parent’s knee jerk response of “because I said so” to their children’s natural resistance. The majority of the greatest generation could not articulate why they believed as they did, it was assumed to be right because that is what they were taught to believe and they accepted it unthinkingly.

    Whereas, in reaction to the Left’s cultural inroads, today’s conservatives have had to give deep thought to why, when objective reality is the determinate factor, conservative principles are objectively superior.

  7. John Guilfoyle Says:

    Romans chapter 7 seems appropriate here.

  8. J.J. Says:

    Geoffrey B.: “It’s my perception that much of the baby boomer generation’s revolt against the “Greatest generation’s” values was a reaction to their parent’s knee jerk response of “because I said so” to their children’s natural resistance. The majority of the greatest generation could not articulate why they believed as they did, it was assumed to be right because that is what they were taught to believe and they accepted it unthinkingly.”

    That’s perceptive. Only a few people from my memory could enumerate why they believed what they did or exactly where their values came from. In fact, I was one of them. What woke me up was being protested and threatened by campus protestors of the Vietnam War. I could not fathom where they had gotten their, “Better red than dead,” slogan from. It set me to thinking and studying. After many years I sat down and wrote out what I believed and why. Reading it over occasionally helps keep my head straight.

    It amazes me that our nation has managed to continue to progress in spite of a widespread lack of knowledge about the Founders’ principles and the laws of economics. I fear it is all starting to crumble as we move further away from those principles. But as they say, “There’s a lot of ruin left in the country.” The decline will be slow until the left has seized all the levers of power as they did in Zimbabwe. Maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump has slowed the decline. We’ll see.

  9. TommyJay Says:

    For the last 10 years I’ve always carried 50 trillion dollars in my wallet; Zimbabwe dollars, that is. The defunct $50T note was purchased for $1 U.S.
    _____

    The cat story reminds me of our second German shepherd. He was about 6mo. old, and had been on a great many walks about town in into a few nice city parks. So the wife and I were eager to take him to a local ranch that had been converted into a moderately vast hiking park, complete with a valley floor, densely forested hiking trails and a very high ridgeline.

    We were so certain that he would be thrilled, yet he timidly followed our pant legs the entire trip. Timid, but not scared.

    It was the second trip to the ranch a few weeks later, where he was thrilled and ran all over the place.

  10. parker Says:

    J.J. & GB,

    I must be an idiot, I swallowed every idea/ philosophy of my “greatest generation” parents/elders. That is with one exception, namely I can not say with any certainity that I know who god is. I suspect I will be an agnostic until the last breath.

  11. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Until Zimbabwe gets into a personal national contract with a god (the good one), they won’t be able to lift themselves out of their current bad situation.

    Individuals can make a personal contract, what they call a covenant, but individuals can be easily killed or nullified by the State. Everyone in the State has to be part of the Covenant, or at least a super majority.

  12. Ymar Sakar Says:

    That is with one exception, namely I can not say with any certainity that I know who god is.

    The problem is bigger than people expected. It is first “which god”, then “who god is”.

    The first commandment of the secondary rewritten tablets (Moses broke the first tablets because Israel had broken the commandments before they even got the commandments written by a god in stone):

    You shall have no other gods before Me.
    You shall not make idols.
    You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

    If you interpret the first as talking about idols, then what is the second one doing there. Repeating himself like an idiot?

    You shall have no other “non existent imaginary entities” before me?

    The reason why some agnostics or atheists make fun of church religion dogma, is that it doesn’t follow its own logic.

    There has to be other gods to make the entire Hebrew and Old Testament and other ancient books make sense.

    “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
    “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

    The third one is kind of weird too, depending on how one interprets it. What does it even mean to take the name YHVH in vain? Perhaps it refers to people who say “Jesus said” and refer to a dead book written by dead people. How can people of the faith say “Jesus said” anything, when Jesus and YHVH or the Most High, is watching them type that? If you want to know what a god says, why don’t you ask them. Instead of relying on human written and corrupted English texts. The Apostles did not have a bible to thump nor were they quoting English scriptures at people for proof of anything.

    Yeshua is related to Yehoshua or YHVH/YHWH or Jahweh, transliterated with a J in the KJB as Jehovah and thus Jesus. The name of the Father is in the Son. Joshua=Yehoshua. The prophets and the sons of god often have the name of their god and superior in their own names. That is why in Hebrew they had specific terms to refer to gods and specific names to refer to the God of Abraham, the Most High, with lesser subordinate gods or el as being angels or sons of god/sons of the Most High. This pantheon and hierarchy is as easily defined as the US military ranking from E1 to E9: paygrades.

    The reason why English bibles replaced YHVH with L O R D, is due to a number of reasons.

    History has been distorted by humans. People can believe Islam distorted things due to a human origin, but concerning Western dogma and traditions it is much harder to entertain the thought. People fear that by entertaining the feasibility of a theory, they will be automatically converted, a heretic, and thus burned at the stake. The ancient epigenetic memories are still there for what happened to their ancestors in Europe under the Vatican and under Islamic slave raids. Epigenetic isn’t even a word spellcheck recognizes. Every 10 years, half of what the Doctor Classes believe is true, turns obsolete.

    Geoffrey B.: “It’s my perception that much of the baby boomer generation’s revolt against the “Greatest generation’s” values was a reaction to their parent’s knee jerk response of “because I said so” to their children’s natural resistance. The majority of the greatest generation could not articulate why they believed as they did, it was assumed to be right because that is what they were taught to believe and they accepted it unthinkingly.”

    That is mostly correct, although the sources I use are not common. The biggest point of divergence is that the Greatest Generation wanted to make things easier for their children. By making the trials of life easier, they took away exactly what promoted the virtues and values learned in war and in defending the country (FDR did not win the war, US people dying and fighting did plus their allies including what they called chin ching Chinese).

    So presumably they had to use their parental authority to convince their children. Which resulted in the Left slipping through the crack with 1960 “rebellion” stage. Half of the rebellion stage is wanting to be like your parents but no longer given anything to prove you are equal or better. “Rebellion” is just pent up stress and frustration. In the ancient traditions, sons followed after their fathers, as per Hebrew and OT history. But if a son is cut off from his inheritance, the inheritance of war, valor, bravery, manhood, then where is he going to go to get his identity and self respect? He has to go on a journey and learn from master gurus, being self exiled from his home village.

    The Leftists easily hijacked New Age gurus and other gurus, and told teenagers and young ones floating around without roots that “This is the Way to the Truth and Light, it will Set you Free”. It was mostly a deception op of course, but they didn’t have the internet to check back then.

    Part of the reason why gaming is so popular amongst certain demographics is because it is a way to compete and test yourself against the entire world, no matter what continent or language. It doesn’t matter if you are female or male, a son of Adam or a daughter of Eve. It doesn’t matter how tall you are, how ugly you are, what your frame is, what race you are, what your eye color and skin color is. Only your skill, as objectively tested and repeated across the world. League of Legends, Starcraft 1/2, and other “professional” E-sports as they call it now are such examples.

    Other than physical sports, contests, and Xtreme skill competitions, only war remains. In games, you can kill each other over and over, and still remain whole. In war, not so much. Yet their ancestors proved themselves in war, proved their mettle and citizenship to the whole country that way and got parades and public recognition as a result. At the end of almost every Call of Duty deathmatch or team deathmatch game, there is a list of how people ranked in terms of kill/death ratios, and so forth in objective points: public recognition.

    Young warriors thirst for skill tests and acknowledge of the worth of their skills. In a society that no longer has war or even militia sanctioned “justice” and violence, certain outlets are created. The Leftist alliance understood very well exactly how suppressed youth were in 1960. First, get the children, the rest of the political climate will change downstream as a result. The Left tried all kinds of active and passive mind control methods: Look up the kidnapping, brainwashing, and rape indoctrination of Patricia Hearst, the young heiress of a rich clan and business. It is very difficult to do that to everyone, but if you have DC, Hollywood, and “free love” sexual orgies… they will do the Work For You. It is “passive” income.

    Bet they don’t teach that in American indoctrination and “education” centers of public learning. The news media has to put up damage control stories about this before people will believe and talk about it. That’s how controlled Americans are under this slavery 3.0 system.

    Maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump has slowed the decline. We’ll see.

    Of course the US President has slowed the decline. If Hussein can accelerate it, by logic others can slow it down. Doesn’t mean the train now free falling into hell on Earth, is going to get reset back on track however.

  13. Ray Says:

    I am not optimistic. Mugabe killed off most of his political opponents so all you have left are people that went along with Mugabe. I always thought it was amusing that Pinochet in Chile killed 3-4 thousand people and people were outraged but Mugabe killed 30-40 thousand people and nobody cared.

  14. Yancey Ward Says:

    My parents owned a cat they raised from a kitten indoors. At about age 1 or so it started to try to dart out the front door whenever it was opened, but the instant it hit the yard, it would cower in place at the bottom of the steps. The way it looked upwards made me think the open sky was the real problem it was having. I have to believe small animals have an inborn fear of flying predators, and that was suddenly and shockingly activated in the indoor cats.

  15. n.n Says:

    Ironically, in progressive liberals’ great haste to defeat their competing interests, they opened abortion fields, recreated the trail of tears many times over (most recently under Obama), reinvigorated the global anti-native diversity (e.g. racist) movements, and left the remaining people to suffer and die in urban ghettos, but at least they were ruled by a left-wing man or woman of the correct diversity class.

  16. J.J. Says:

    Ray: “I always thought it was amusing that Pinochet in Chile killed 3-4 thousand people and people were outraged but Mugabe killed 30-40 thousand people and nobody cared.”

    Pinochet was right wing and killed Communists.

    Mugabe is Communist and killed anti-Communists. ‘

    Hence the double standard.

  17. AesopFan Says:

    Found a good article on Zimbabwe. To no one’s surprise, the UN and Jimmy Carter share some of the blame for Mugabe’s tyranny.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/zimbabwes-mugabe-is-gone-but-what-about-his-enablers/

    “Many commentators opining on developments in Zimbabwe have referred to the electoral victory of ZANU-PF in the February 1980 election, which paved the way for independence two months later and the beginning of Mugabe’s rule. Few seem to know much, if anything, about the election held just one year earlier in March 1979. In that contest, 64 percent of the black citizens of the then-Rhodesia voted, and two thirds of them chose Bishop Abel Muzorewa, a soft-spoken, United States-educated (he had won a scholarship to what is now Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri) United Methodist cleric, as prime minister. Whatever its merits or demerits, that internal settlement was set aside by the United Nations Security Council where U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador, Andrew Young, literally gushed with enthusiasm for Mugabe, whom he described to the Times of London in a 1978 interview as “so damned incorruptible” (a characterization he did not take back even when he revisited Zimbabwe four years ago). The Carter administration subsequently ignored reports from observers on the ground of massive voter intimidation, including one by future Undersecretary of State Richard T. McCormack, an expert on racial politics in Africa, who discovered at one encampment “a whole corral of young girls…who had been kidnapped by Mugabe’s guerrillas” and whose parents had been told they would be allowed to return home only if he won the vote.”

    If I thought that the people who criticize American intervention and call us evil had Carter in mind, I might agree with them, but they probably don’t.

  18. J.J. Says:

    Andrew Young was, and is, a believer in socialist/communist principles. He saw Mugabe through that lens. Carter, though somewhat less leftist than Young, has always demonstrated a soft spot when it came to leftists, especially non-white leftists. ZANU-PF has always been about two things – Zimbabwe for blacks only and government control of all enterprises – socialism/communism. When examined with any degree of honesty, Mugabe’s policies have always been openly Marxist and racist.

    Zimbabwe will continue to live off the charity of the UN and USAID. Life may improve somewhat for a time, but until they can throw off the yoke of socialism/communism, they are doomed to continue as a failed state. I wish it was different.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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