Review of “Bitter Harvest” by Ian Smith

Ian Smith was right.

Regardless of everything else that’s been said about him, enough time has passed for us to know one thing about him without question . . . Ian Smith was right – in the end, his refusal to pretend he wasn’t is what did him in. Certain types of truth are incompatible with modern society. The result is that Smith is now studiously ignored, and when he is discussed, his views are wildly misrepresented (by his friends and enemies).

Why 20th Century Sub-Saharan Africa?

I know basically nothing about the history of colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa (Rhodesia was gone by the time I was born). Good information is difficult to come by. Why not just do the polite thing, and ignore it like everybody else?

It’s an important topic because the mainstream narrative is so obviously false. As Moldbug put it:

Here, for example, is a Times story on the fight against malaria. Often, as with politicians, journalists speak the truth in a fit of absent-mindedness, when their real concern is something else.

If you read the story, you might notice the same astounding graf that I did:

And the world changed. Before the 1960s, colonial governments and companies fought malaria because their officials often lived in remote outposts like Nigeria’s hill stations and Vietnam’s Marble Mountains. Independence movements led to freedom, but also often to civil war, poverty, corrupt government and the collapse of medical care.

Let’s focus on that last sentence. Independence movements led to freedom, but also often to civil war, poverty, corrupt government and the collapse of medical care.

I often find it useful to imagine that I’m an alien from the planet Jupiter. If I read this sentence, I would ask: what is this word freedom? What, exactly, does this writer mean by freedom? Especially in the context of civil war, poverty, and corrupt government?

What we see here is that independence movements – which the writer clearly believes are a good thing – led to some very concrete and very, very awful results, in addition to this curious abstraction – freedom. Clearly, whatever freedom means in this particular context, it’s such a great positive that even when you add it to civil war, poverty, corrupt government and the collapse of medical care, the result still exceeds zero.

Isn’t that strange? Might we not be tempted to revisit this particular piece of arithmetic? But we can’t – because if we postulate that colonial governments and companies (whatever these were), with their absence of freedom, were somehow preferable to independence movements, which created this same freedom (the words freedom and independence appear to be synonyms in this context), we are off the progressive reservation.

In fact, not only are we off the progressive reservation, we’re off the conservative reservation. No one believes this. You will not find anyone on Fox News or townhall.com or any but the fringiest of fringe publications claiming that colonialism, with its intrinsic absence of freedom and its strangely effective malaria control (note how the writer implies, without actually saying, that this was only delivered for the selfish purposes of the evil colonial overlords), was in any way superior to postcolonialism, with its freedom, its malaria, its civil war, etc.

“Free” Rhodesia, is of course, Zimbabwe. At this point, even the most brazen defender of “independence movements” prefers to ignore Zimbabwe.

Strangely effective malaria control, etc.

It’s fashionable to claim that, “with the exception of Hong Kong, no massive economic modernization has ever happened in a colony.” Let’s take a moment to summarize the economic (and political) history of Rhodesia and see if a “massive economic modernization” happened, shall we?

Rhodesia was founded by contract to Cecil Rhodes. It was set up differently than other colonies in that empire was essentially subcontracted to a company (for some reason this approach brings to mind Botswana, but I digress). As such, the colony was never governed by the British government.

At the relevant point (before independence), blacks outnumbered whites 20 to 1. However it’s worth noting that the black population went from 300,000 to 4-5 million after the scourge of colonization. Before colonization, these blacks plowed their fields (to the extent they farmed) with wooden tools, were polygamous, had more children that died than survived, and constantly died in wars and famines.

Southern Rhodesia (Rhodesia/Zimbabwe) was part of a federation that included Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi). Southern Rhodesia had been repeatedly promised that it could have independence. It never took it, until it was too late. By the time it wanted it, it was no longer fit for independence in the eyes of the British, despite the fact that by any measure it was more stable and capable of functioning than any other African country that had been granted independence. Indeed, blacks in Souther Rhodesia had higher standards of living than those in the British governed colonies nearby. Rhodesia’s problem was that it was run nearly exclusively by whites. It didn’t matter that it was well run.

Ian Smith’s father moved to Rhodesia in early part of the 20th Century. His father’s brother moved to the US and eventually settled in San Diego. Before they left England, the brothers agreed that they would both moved to which ever place was better. After exchanging letters, they couldn’t agree which place was better. Living in southern California in the middle of the 20th Century was perhaps the best that the world has yet to offer. The fact that Rhodesia, in Smith’s father’s mind, could compete says something.

In Smith’s words:

It is difficult for people who have never lived in this part of the world to appreciate that sub-Saharan Africa is different. It was the last part of the world to come into contact with European civilization, and when the pioneers [i.e. colonizers] arrived in this country the local people had no written language, no form of currency, no schools or hospital, and lived in makeshift houses with grass roofs. The wheel had not even evolved, nor had the plough. The change which has taken place is absolutely phenomenal, and is a tribute to what the white inhabitants did over a period of ninety years.

During these ninety years, the population gained access to modern medical care, exported food and developed lots of industry. In addition, “pro rata [in 1965] Rhodesia had the lowest crime rate in the world.” It also had a small police force on a per capita basis in comparison with other countries. It had a sound currency, low unemployment and a non-corrupt civil service.

Combine all that with the huge explosion in the population (thanks to the medical care) and the starting point (no wheel 90 years before) and if that result isn’t a major economic modernization, I don’t know what is.

Alas, it took much less time to destroy everything in the name of freedom.

Yes, but they were racist

All polite-thinking readers who’ve revived from their fainting spells after reading the last few paragraphs will, of course, be complaining that Rhodesia was racist. The implication, apparently, being that economic modernization doesn’t matter if there’s racism.

What did the white Rhodesian (and many black Rhodesians) actually believe about race?

It’s interesting to contrast Rhodesia “racism” with South African racism. It’s perhaps an over-simplification to say that South African racism is the racism of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and white nationalism, while Rhodesian racism is the racism of disparate impact, race-based quotas, and a well-governed diverse society, but I think that’s the best way to summarize the difference in a sentence.

The South Africans were essentially white nationalists in a mostly black country. Blacks were denied certain rights that were only granted to whites. The history of apartheid is well known.

The Rhodesian approach was different. Many rights, in Rhodesia, were based on objective factors, such as land ownership and incomes taxes paid. Blacks and whites were entitled to the same rights as long as they met the criteria. Different constitutions gave blacks a different amount of seats in the legislature, but all moved toward black majority rule. As blacks progressed in Rhodesia, white Rhodesians knew that eventually their country would be run by blacks. They believed that this process should be a gradual, not immediate one. This belief was their sin.

Smith notes that there were more black millionaires in Rhodesia than white millionaires. However, as a proportion of the population, there were fewer.

Outside of those who benefit from the who, whom aspects of the disparate impact view of racism, virtually no common sensical person views disparate impact as racism. Moreover, it’s certainly an entirely different animal than the South African/apartheid/white nationalist sort of racism. It’s interesting then that “freeing” Rhodesia became a priority for the international community over ending apartheid in South Africa. It’s almost as if a well-functioning African country was a threat to something. Anyway . . .

To put it bluntly, the white Rhodesian believed (according to Smith) that a black African who emerged from the jungle a couple decades ago without having invented the wheel, learned to read or write, or learned to govern anything beyond the immediate wants of his own (small) tribe was not quite ready to vote in elections choosing the leader of a large, artificial territory. Polite opinion disagreed. Results would seem to indicate that polite opinion was wrong.

In Rhodesia, blacks were eligible to vote and under the 1961 Constitution. There was no racial qualification for “A” voting roll and blacks could vote on the “B” roll. The objective qualifications for the A roll had a – shall we say – disparate impact.

Even Wikipedia grudgingly admits that, “The concept of eventual parity of parliamentary representation between the races was also adopted [in the UDI constitution of 1969].” Note that, under the revised constitution, income taxes paid became a driver of representation (did someone say disparate impact again?).

The white Rhodesians believed that whites could live in the same country with blacks, but that a certain amount of separation was inevitable and (in this case) necessary given cultural differences.

Smith believed firmly that most blacks in Rhodesia needed “time to adapt to the rapidly changing world that was surrounding them.” He also worried that if there was full democracy, bad things would happen to minority tribes. Polite opinion apparently saw all blacks as blacks, with disastrous results that Smith predicted.

It’s a bit difficult not to get mad. The white Rhodesian was accused of racism, cruelty to blacks, and inhumanity. In his place, his accusers selected Robert Mugabe. How broken must a worldview be to believe this change to be an upgrade? This criminal, this murderer, this third-rate asshole wouldn’t govern his own personal life is their patron saint of independence and freedom. The results . . .

A civilized, peaceful, happy first-world country turned into a modern hell. Inflation ran rampant in a country that was previously admirably fiscally responsible. Starvation was commonplace in a country that once exported tons of food. Violence was a perpetual fact of life in a country that previously was quite safe by non-African standards. (Black) People were fighting merely to survive where once they had been learning, receiving modern medical treatment, getting educations, and actually progressing. Tribal genocide broke out.

Look upon your progress and despair.

Smith’s story

We have no chance of winning, but
We’re not at least afraid to try.
Our saint is Julian the Apostate,
Our modal prince is Castlereagh,
Our favorite statesman died today.

Ian Smith’s story really begins in World War II. He fought for the British Empire, flying planes against the Germans. He was shot down, escaped and made it to London.

He returned to Rhodesia and eventually become Prime Minister at an interesting time in African history. Countries were becoming “independent.”

The post-independence period in all the sub-Saharan countries followed a strangely predictable pattern. Smith called it the “one man, one vote, one time” pattern. In addition to the rise of (generally Communist) dictators for life, the independence movements were also characterized by the rape and slaughter of any remaining white Africans (although it’s supposedly important to protect minorities, protecting whites in Africa is apparently affirmatively bad), massive reductions in economic output and the general decay or outright disappearance of any semblance of civilization. Nevertheless, the Americans and the British (and, of course, the Russians – purely coincidentally, I’m sure) continued to push for independence.

“Freedom” came to Ghana (1957), Nigeria (1960), Congo (1960), Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar (later part of Tanzania), with largely predictable results.

The writing was on the wall for Rhodesia by the early ’60s. They met to draft a new Constitution in hopes the British would grant them independence. Obviously, given the success of other independence movements, the ruling elite (mostly white) were reluctant to follow the fully-democratic route. In drafting the constitution, the leaders met with and obtained approval from over 600 tribal chiefs.

The history of the various constitutions and negotiations is too long (and frankly too depressing) to repeat. Read it, if you can stomach it.

The British perpetually pushed for full elections. The Rhodesians would have elections and consultations with tribal leaders. Always, the elections were considered unrepresentative by the British. Mugabe would convince his supporters to boycott, for example, and the British would be up in arms. Always, the constitutions stated explicitly that the political system was dedicated to “unimpeded progress to majority rule.” It was never enough. Full elections were nearly impossible anyway, in a country that had never taken a census, in which most citizens had no birth certificates, and most citizens were illiterate.

The British essentially outsourced their foreign policy in Africa to the OAU. That organization became a collective of third-rate communist dictators. A fun group to bargain with.

The international community exerted increasing pressure on Rhodesia. The UN labelled Smith a threat to world peace – apparently not wishing to plunge his country into chaos and destruction is a threat to world peace. The UN blockaded the country, even though they simultaneously didn’t recognize its independence. The UN thereby (according to its own logic) blockaded part of the United Kingdom.

Early on, the blockade was largely ineffective. In fact, it gave a boost to agricultural production (at this point Rhodesia actually started exporting food) and industry. However, the blockade put Rhodesia at the mercy of South Africa and Portugal (via it’s colonies, particularly Mozambique).

In a few years, the Portuguese government was overthrown. Portugal soon abandoned its colonies and “free” Mozambique declared war on Rhodesia (ah, freedom).

At this point, Rhodesia was entirely reliant on South Africa for things like access to the sea and bullets. Smith viewed apartheid as “unprincipled and totally indefensible” and an entirely untenable long-term solution.

At this point, South Africa basically threw Rhodesia under the bus, in hopes that doing so would appease the international community. If white South Africans weren’t getting it so badly, you’d almost think they deserved what they were getting for their treatment of Rhodesia.

One can’t help but wonder if South Africa and the international community had their own reasons to focus first on Rhodesia. Was the acceptance of ultimate black rule and the fact that blacks and whites had many equal rights too threatening to South Africa? Was the fact that Rhodesia was so successful too threatening to the international community? For whatever reason, Rhodesia had to be dealt with.

(Smith blames the Communists. Indeed, de-colonization resulted in communist governments in most of Africa. If you read this blog regularly, you may not be surprised that US and British foreign policies were entirely dedicated to gaining additional African territory for communists. Smith, however, was unable to believe that the US and Britain were promoting communist interests. If communists were trying to take over all of Africa (and ultimately the resource rich South Africa), taking Rhodesia first would be a necessary step. This, like much of post-war US and British foreign policy is probably just a coincidence though. It’s worth noting that when Smith visited the US or Britain and spoke to politicians, the politicians were always shocked by Smith’s arguments. Apparently the State Department and Foreign Office were passing communist propaganda on Rhodesia through to politicians. Another coincidence, I’m sure.)

As the situation became more dire, whites started leaving Rhodesia in larger numbers (economic output began declining accordingly). Smith stayed.

A group of black leaders emerged. Generally the leaders were generally tribal leaders (full democracy in these countries at these times just meant putting the largest tribe in control of the country). Leaders at the time include Nkomo, Sithole, Mugabe, and Muzorewa. The latter was the first Prime Minister after Smith, but wasn’t ruthless enough (and hostile enough to whites, one suspects) to keep Mugabe out.

Fully free elections (to the surprise of the British apparently, but not anyone who was actually paying attention) turned out to be competitions to see who could terrorize the largest number of citizens. The prize, under this enlightened method for choosing a leader, would obviously eventually be Mugabe’s.

Smith stayed in Rhodesia until he was stripped of his citizenship, at which point he left for South Africa. He died in 2007. The Zimbabwean “government” seized his land in 2012.

Good government in Africa

Common opinion on African government seems to be that wealthy nations should continually send support to African governments as they go through cyclical bouts of failure. You’re always supposed to express hope and send money, while knowing (and not saying) that Africa is hopeless.

However, much like good government in a diverse society is not hopeless, Rhodesia proves that a sub-Saharan can have a government that provides first world quality services, safety, stability, and fiscal independence and responsibility. The common lesson is that “pure democracy” doesn’t work in certain settings.

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58 Responses to Review of “Bitter Harvest” by Ian Smith

  1. rightsaidfred says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read something so true yet so far away from what a proper citizen is supposed to think.

    • Absolutely right. Nothing has shocked and disgusted me as much as finding out the truth about Rhodesia. It’s a scandal. Forget about race, HBD, etc. Simply let an uncommitted progressive know the truth about Rhodesia and everything else becomes palatable as the truth is 100% is your favor and he has no clue about it.

  2. dearieme says:

    I was a country boy so that I’d never met a non-white before I went to university in the ’60s. There I made a great friend who was Rhodesian. He was very clever, very amiable and rather a good-looking boy. By race he was Indian. He’d gone to school with white boys (Rhodesia didn’t do Apartheid) though they tended not to invite him home for tea until he’d shown himself to be a fine cricketer.

    His English was perfect, of course, marked only by its slightly antique Rhodesian slang. Once you’d known him for a few minutes you just didn’t notice that he wasn’t white – it seemed entirely irrelevant. When we graduated he didn’t go home: the long-term prospects for Indians in Rhodesia, his family had decided, didn’t look good. Similarly the only white Rhodesian I knew didn’t go home either: the writing was on the wall.

  3. josh says:

    Have you seen Mugabe and the White African? A documentary available on Netflix. Not great, but it has pictures to update your mental image.

  4. asdf says:

    Are you becoming a Pagan now? You just can’t resist your SWPL genes.

  5. PA says:

    There does seem to be a macro-pattern with the “Cathedral” sponsoring a bestialization of the African, be it via welfare and cultural policies within the Unites States or destruction of paternalistic structures in Africa.

    To what end?

    • Anonymous Rice Alum #4 says:

      To what end? More jobs for the Cathedral’s white drones–Teach for America and KIPP teachers, low-level bureaucrats at NGOs and Foggy Bottom, more adjunct faculty in the humanities and “social” “sciences.” There’s some buy-in for Red Government whites as well: more police and prison guards, and more peacekeeping gigs for the Pentagon.

    • Steve Johnson says:

      Two more reasons:

      No competition for the role of patron from businessmen (in the US) or the wrong kind of whites generally (everywhere). If some other patron does a better job with his clients that is the harshest possible indictment of a Cathedral that is based on the claim of being and doing good. This is why the memory of Rhodesia has to be purged.

      Chaos is good for business (in the US) – this is a well known point. The wrong kind of people are required by law to deal with Africans. The worse Africans behave the better this is for the Cathedral because they arrange for the enemies of the Cathedral to be around

  6. I’m not clear on how “disparate impact” racism and “white nationalist” racism are different. One leads directly to the other, as far as I can see. As a working class white person I don’t see what non-whites can do for me that I need or would benefit from, apart from a small possible benefit from comparative advantage. And yet that doesn’t even exist in a meaningful way. We need non-whites to do jobs that whites won’t do like being hotel maids? In Canada the hotel maids are white. There is comparative advantage in having a white woman do more cognitively demanding work while a non-white woman cleans hotel rooms? It is more pleasant and safe to have a white person close to your own person and effects. (I’m talking about non-white maids stealing stuff,)

    Rhodesia’s policies were excruciatingly reasonable, not to mention decent and well-intentioned. And yet they were trashed even before South Africa’s. Rational policy is impossible in a “democratic” political environment, and even in a monarchical or monopolar political environment white nationalism or white separatism (or call it what you will) is the best thing for non-elite whites.

    • Foseti says:

      Big difference between disparate impact racism and white nationalism.

      I generally believe that any objective measure of ability will yield results that have a disparate impact across racial groups. I think this can be dealt with and a stable society can be achieved (see, e.g. Singapore or Rhodesia).

      Other people (white nationalists) go further and believe that races must be separated. I don’t necessarily agree.

      Modern progressives don’t really differentiate between disparate impact racism and Jim Crow style racism. Thus, the only way not to be racist, is to favor explicit preferences for designated racial groups, as objective measures will yield “racist” results.

      • PA says:

        Other people (white nationalists) go further and believe that races must be separated.

        ALL whites behave as white nationalists in that they wish to separate from blacks. Those who can afford to and limit their exposure to an innocuous quality/quantity of said blacks, do. Those who can’t, don’t and as a result live very stressful and debased lives.

        Having a de jure separaion of races (except fr innocuous qualities/quantities) would be a more honest arrangement, if nothing else.

      • Foseti says:

        That’s fine. I’m just don’t believe that a stable society requires homogeneity.

      • anonymous says:

        That’s fine. I’m just don’t believe that a stable society requires homogeneity.

        Not required, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier.

      • Foseti says:

        I also don’t disagree with this point. Nevertheless, the diverse society ship – so to speak – has sailed.

      • I believe this is an important distinction (or non-distinction) but rather than dispute it here I will write something about it on my own blog.

      • Foseti says:

        Good. I’ve been thinking about writing something about the difference between some reactionaries who believe a multi-racial society is possible if we stop pretending that everyone is the same (and make other adjustments, see Singapore or Rhodesia or other historical societies) and white nationalists. I’m in the former camp.

      • asdf says:

        Foseti,

        Why?

        Singapore is not a likely outcome for America for obvious reasons. And Rhodesia failed. Aren’t you just saying this because it makes you feel good rather then because you think it will actually work.

        If you had been following Moldbug’s post you’d know that there were objections to letting the Goth’s take over the Roman army, but they were brushed aside in the favor of the “multicultural” empire. This shit ends the same way every damn time its tried.

        “who believe a multi-racial society is possible if we stop pretending that everyone is the same (and make other adjustments, see Singapore or Rhodesia or other historical societies)”

        Is like saying, “communism would work if only X, Y, and Z were true.” Well they aren’t. The data just doesn’t back it up. Either accept that reality or perish.

        I get were your coming from. I like having high IQ friends of other races. However, that is a sacrifice we will have to make for the good of the country.

      • Foseti says:

        Rhodesia didn’t “fail.” It was killed. There’s a big difference between suicide and murder.

        Other multicultural societies have worked. Even in the US, black dysfunction seems to increase as progressivism becomes more powerful. There are periods in US history in which certain black populations had low rates of crime and low rates of out-of-wedlock births, for example. Of course, successfully governing a multiracial society requires understanding and dealing with the problems of multiculturalism (not pretending they don’t exist or playing them up to increase your power).

      • asdf says:

        Foseti,

        “Of course, successfully governing a multiracial society requires understanding and dealing with the problems of multiculturalism (not pretending they don’t exist or playing them up to increase your power).”

        That’s a great hypothetical, but its just not reality. People do pretend they don’t exist. People do use racial divisions to gain power. There are reasons why this happens again and again and again throughout history. It’s not mass idiocy or ignorance. Its just the unfortunate facts of human nature.

        “Even in the US, black dysfunction seems to increase as progressivism becomes more powerful.”

        Except progressivism feeds of multiculturalism in a feedback loop. You can’t be pro multi cultural and not see how that almost always strengthens progressivism.

        “Other multicultural societies have worked.”

        Like? I mean this seriously. Most societies throughout history have been monoethnic with clear hierarchies. Modern day Asia is very racist and exclusionary, as it has been throughout history. Singapore works because its lead by the greatest dictator of our generation whose unabashedly racist and rules over a tiny city state.

        Show me a culture that was multicultural and lasted (one culture conquering and enslaving the others isn’t multicultural).

        America was a place where only land owning white men could vote. It’s diversity was mainly among different kinds of white European christian immigrants. The American golden age of the ’50s and ’60s took place during immigration controls and one of the lowest ratio of immigrants in America’s history.

        For a curmudgeonly reactionary you sure get all hope and change over multiculturalism. What are the facts of history? What would logic and data say? They say that diversity kills.

      • Foseti says:

        Read some of my reviews of first hand history (travelogues are the best). Multiracial societies have worked in the US (I’ve got several post-reconstruction reviews from the South), Africa (Rhodesia – even the old South Africa works much better than the new one), Asia (Singapore), Europe (I’m sure I’ve got one on the Balkans under monarchy).

        I’m not sure what you’re arguing, as I agree with most your points. Diversity makes societies more unstable all else equal. Certain populations are not conducive to civilization. Democracy plus diversity is a terrible idea. Stability in multiracial societies will be difficult and will require us to do lots of things we don’t want to do. Etc. Agreed on all points.

        My point is *only *that stability and diversity are not necessarily incompatible. I don’t need a huge list to prove that point, I only need one example (if you grant that I’m right about Singapore, for example, the argument is over).

      • Foseti says:

        I forgot the most obvious example . . . Moldbug recommended Froude and his thoughts on the West Indies are also worthwhile: https://foseti.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/review-of-the-english-in-the-west-indies-by-james-a-froude/

      • asdf says:

        “I don’t need a huge list to prove that point, I only need one example (if you grant that I’m right about Singapore, for example, the argument is over).”

        That makes no sense. You go with what the data says is probably the best idea. If it’s probably a bad idea then why are we looking for exceptions? Why are we twisting ourselves in knots? Just don’t do it. It’s not as complicated as you think. When I was in Japan this wasn’t some sort of controversial viewpoint. Do what’s obvious.

        People advocate multiculturalism here because its what your supposed to. Even you’ve adopted that view. If there were nothing to gain from it then people would take the straight forward and obvious approach the Japanese and most Asians have.

        “Multiracial societies have worked in the US (I’ve got several post-reconstruction reviews from the South), Africa (Rhodesia – even the old South Africa works much better than the new one), Asia (Singapore), Europe (I’m sure I’ve got one on the Balkans under monarchy).”

        So your examples are all regimes that no longer exist and were destroyed by their diversity. Even Singapore is trending that way, let’s see how they do once the legacy of one great man is gone.

        BTW, here is supposedly multi racial Singapore:

        74.1% Chinese
        13.4% Malay
        9.2% Indian
        3.3% Other

        With lower #s historically. Trying to find IQ for the two biggest groups I came across this:

        Singapore Chinese = 108
        Singapore Malays = 92
        I’m betting Singapore Indians are at least as high as the Malays.

        So how exactly is this an example of multicultural paradise? It’s a majority Chinese country with a racist Chinese dictator whose minorities are nowhere near as bad as blacks or Hispanics in America. How is this suppose to be a good example?

      • Foseti says:

        I’m not advocating.

        I’m only saying that it’s not impossible for a diverse society to have a stable government. It’s an* incredibly simple* point – and everything you’re saying at this point is irrelevant in terms of demonstrating that I’m wrong (again, I disagree with virtually none of what you say).

        I can’t help but thinking that you’re being intentionally obtuse at this point, since your comments are generally of high quality.

        The only point you make that’s wrong is that the regimes I cite were “destroyed by their diversity.” That’s false. The North invaded the South. The international community invaded Rhodesia. Puritanism invaded British colonies. Again, there is a difference between suicide and murder.

      • asdf says:

        “I’m only saying that it’s not impossible for a diverse society to have a stable government.”

        Then your point is so simple its irrelevant. Almost everything is possible. If its highly unlikely its still bad public policy.

        “The North invaded the South. The international community invaded Rhodesia. Puritanism invaded British colonies. Again, there is a difference between suicide and murder.”

        A regime that can’t defend itself from within or without isn’t a very stable regime. A society divided among itself can’t defend from outside interference. The interlopers will always find a 5th column.

        Japan was conquered by the Cathedral too. We dropped two atom bombs on them and occupied their country for many years. Yet they still recovered and resisted. Even losing the war can’t keep Japan down, because they keep their eye on the cultural prize.

  7. anonymous says:

    Great post. I would love to read this book, but I’m afraid it would be too depressing.

    ” Mugabe would convince his supporters to boycott”

    A strategy which would be adopted decades later by Mitt Romney.

    “At this point, South Africa basically threw Rhodesia under the bus, in hopes that doing so would appease the international community.”

    Could have something to do with this too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boer_Wars . I’m not sure, I don’t actually know much about the conflicts, but I do know it was pretty brutal and I wouldn’t be surprised if bad feelings remained.

  8. The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

    Is there any clearer indication that the elites do not want the lumpen proletariat to realize that democracy is not the greatest thing ever invented?

  9. Handle says:

    Isn’t it interesting how Singapore never seems to inspire any durable vitriolic targeting by the Left. Maybe “teflon” has become an obsolete term, but here’s a country of over 5 million people, (just as big or bigger than Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Slovakia, Croatia, and Norway), which defies every liberal principle but can never really get anyone excitedly antagonistic for long.

    Yes, the Blue Government is always busily trying to topple existing Red Regimes in favor of Communists or Islamists, but there is some kind of weird flaw in the Cathedral Theory that lets Singapore stealthily fly under their radar.

    • Red says:

      Singapore is slowlly converting to progressism. The left bashes them from time to time, but in reality Asians are so status driven that their conversion to progressive world state is built in once they achieve enough success. That’s the reason they’re not worried about china or Korea either. One way or another Asians always bow before their betters is how they view things.

  10. namae nanka says:

    “destroyed by their diversity.” That’s false. The North invaded the South.

    consider mitchell heisman’s suicide note

  11. Commodore says:

    I think it’s pretty clear to any of those who can see that “independent” Africa is a failure on any sort of Utilitarian grounds. However, I’m not entirely convinced in general that Africans wouldn’t do it all again even knowing the consequences. It seems manifestly human to prefer being miserable and ruled by “One of us” to being better off but ruled by “Them”. Who are we to gainsay that?

    Plus, how else could I have ever become a trillionaire? Zimbabwe bank notes make for great gifts.

  12. SOBL1 says:

    If you’re looking for some interesting sub-saharan books, check out David Lamb’s “The Africans” (dated now due to publication year) and “Diamonds Gold and War” by Martin Meredith. Lamb’s book states some 2010 unmentionable items but is really dated due to the pre-HIV publish date and his views on Rhodesia/South Africa. Lamb’s observations even on mundane family life are great. Meredith’s book was one of the more enjoyable historical reads I have ever read. I’m kicking myself for not writing a review of it to have handy for linking.

  13. Stretch says:

    One of my favorite games is “Bait the liberal.”
    I maintain colonialism was a net plus for the native populations. As proof I offer up “The Congo, The Sudan, The District.”
    That line is good for at least one spilled drink and two stokes.

  14. […] Read the memoirs of the greatest statesmen from the post-War era. You may be surprised at how stable and prosperous a diverse society can be. […]

  15. […] Foseti recently compared and contrasted the histories of Rhodesia and South Africa and their racial …, in his review of “Bitter Harvest” by Ian Smith, the last white leader of Rhodesia. […]

  16. RS' says:

    > I’ve been thinking about writing something about the difference between some reactionaries who believe a multi-racial society is possible if we stop pretending that everyone is the same (and make other adjustments, see Singapore or Rhodesia or other historical societies) and white nationalists. I’m in the former camp.

    I recognize the measured nature of your abstract position (and your realism on ‘ships having sailed’), but I question the salience of the abstractions. We are some writers who try to save and restore a concrete West, which we agree faces severe handicaps.

    For me White preservation is a goal per se. –But I also think some form of pro-White tribality or sentiment, inclusive of Jewry, not necessarily manifested as full Jim Crow, and conceivably not even successful at day’s end in ‘saving the White race’, is probably almost necessary to save the West. To be precise, I propose that such tribality so far decreases the odds of total destruction of the West, that it is more or less an imperative or desideratum from (my version of) your own outlook on life.

  17. […] Here’s an interesting response to my thoughts on Rhodesia. […]

  18. West_Coast says:

    “It’s interesting then that “freeing” Rhodesia became a priority for the international community over ending apartheid in South Africa. It’s almost as if a well-functioning African country was a threat to something.”

    It sure was a threat. The same way that the very successful, multicultural country of Israel is a threat to Islam 🙂

    “Rhodesia didn’t “fail.” It was killed. There’s a big difference between suicide and murder.”

    Bingo!

    Foseti, this essay of yours is the best and most readable summary of the fall of Rhodesia that I have ever read.

    Google and read about Botswana. That former British Colony just happens to be right next door to Rhodesia, I mean, Zimbabwe. It has always been over 99% black, and it has been ruled by blacks since it gained independence in 1965. It is one of black Africa’s very few success stories. A good place to start learning about it is here:

    http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-journal/2003/11/cj23n2-6.pdf

    Botswana’s success proves that countries don’t need to be run by whites to be successful, but they do need leaders who realize that trying to make everybody “equal” is the best and quickest way to completely ruin a country’s economy.

    I sincerely hope that we here in the US of A will not let the Progressives turn America into the world’s next Zimbabwe.

  19. […] take his closing statement and examine it through the lens of my favorite example of reactionary […]

  20. […] as civilized as Lord Cromer’s or a “Zimbabwe” that’s as civilized as Ian Smith’s Rhodesia is incomprehensible to the modern mind. We can’t even get the citizens of Detroit some decent […]

  21. […] Oddly, these parts of the internet are generally fans of the rulers that have made multicultural societies work. […]

  22. […] Fair enough- if intelligence alone is an adequate measure. Foseti went into some detail on this in comparing and contrasting Rhodesia- which gave privileges to elite blacks- and South Africa, which segregated all […]

  23. […] about so many things a long time before anyone else was, and his will included a provision inviting Ian Smith to his funeral (much to the chagrin of the establishment at the time – which Churchill […]

  24. Kim Lepper says:

    HOW REFRESHING…Having moved to Rhodesia as a child in the early 70’s, and left the hellhole it became in the late 90’s, it is indeed refreshing to realise someone, anyone, has an inkling how distorted the worldview is to think Independence (sic) has been good….I could weep for those who cannot see beyond the black and the white of it! As I said to a wealthy British Landowner – bewailing the fact (?) that the land was stolen (harumph!) ‘imagine the Picts & Celts being around today and saying “Right that’s it – bugger off – THIS IS OURS NOW….Your £10 Million dream is now our economic reality; pack a bag – don’t take much – you won’t be coming back!” That is what happened to many after so-called Independence – so you have to choose; jewels or passport/family treasures or old love-letters, photos and your birth certificates.

    More ‘Essential Reading’ on Rhodesia is Viscount Down by Keith Nell – the story of the shooting down of 2 passenger airliners by Joshua Nkomo’s ZIPRA forces…and on life in Zimbabwe – 104 Horses by Amanda Retzlaff – the story of white farmers driven off the land by Mugabe’s thugs to “redress the historic land-ownership imbalance and give back land to Landless Blacks….” Less than 40% of these stolen farms made it to New Black Farmers – Mugabe has 40 farms – the rest are owned by Politicians, Judges, Generals, Police Chiefs, HIS FAMILY and various other cronies!

    As I said to the English famer – you seem to want to make this all about race – evil rapacious white versus poor sweet lovely black! The fact is – a small minority of mostly good and upstanding “whites” gave up power to an even smaller number of “black” thieves, murderers, rapists and other hooligans.But who actually is winning…the Conglomerates like Rio-Tinto, Anglo-American and Lonrho…and the Chinese and Russians!

  25. John R says:

    Prior to the British arrival, the invading Matabele (Zulu) had all but exterminated the indiginous Shona people. Under white rule, mortal sleeping sickness was eliminated and tribal warfare stopped. By 1980, the Shona rebounded and comprised most of the populace.

  26. […] writers have begun re-examining this tradition. Moldbug cites Carlyle. Foseti examines old Rhodesia.  Examining former colonies which learned the British tradition well is also useful. […]

  27. […] Rhodesia never adopted a system like apartheid, which has also been misunderstood.  Ian Smith himself, the former Royal Air Force pilot and WWII veteran turned Rhodesian Prime Minister, regarded it as a foolish and unworkable system.  The goals of South Africa and Rhodesia were also different: while South Africa’s apartheid system enamored for eventual independence for the various black ethnic homelands they had established, Rhodesia went about it a little different.  Foseti, who sadly no longer posts, explains this well: […]

  28. […] way of Isegoria, some real gems from Foseti about Ian Smith and his […]

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