Letters to the Editor

U.S. blessings

August 11, 2011


To the editor:

Monday’s 10 o’clock television news told us how blessed we are here in this country and here in this city.

TV network news showed people from Somalia carrying their children for hundreds of miles across an African desert to seek food and water at overcrowded Kenyan refugee camps.

TV local news showed people from Lawrence lining up in their automobiles to pick up free food and supplies at a local food bank.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

I've read more than once that famines are actually a political problem. You might note that every single famine in the last 100 years or more has been in a country with serious political problems.

Somalia's government is in chaos, so it's not at all surprising that they are having a famine there. Other countries in Africa, as well as North Korea, are in the same situation.

But at some point, we simply will not be able to remedy the situation without a real cure. The real cure is stable governments. Are we going to keep on propping up poor governments by running in and giving away free food to countries that have plenty of resources to take care of their own problems, if only they had stable governments?

But you are certainly correct when you pointed out that we are very blessed to be citizens of the United States, because we live in a country with a very stable government. So, we don't have problems with famines here.

True, there have been rough times, that was discussed recently on this forum regarding the difficulties that many faced during the Great Depression, but famine? No, it did not reach that level.

You might consider 'Time' magazine to be a reliable source. 'The Real Causes of Famine', by Jeffrey Sachs, was an article that ran in the Monday, Oct. 26, 1998 issue.

Here's a clip from it:

"Sen's Law: shortfalls in food supply do not cause widespread deaths in a democracy because vote-seeking politicians will undertake relief efforts; but even modest food shortfalls can create deadly famines in authoritarian societies."

If you want to read the whole article: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,989405,00.html

Jimo 6 years, 6 months ago

As I've pointed out before, Somalia is a perfect example of Tea Party Heaven.

No real government. No taxes. No pesky regulations. Religious fanatics running amok. Pirates preying on the innocent.

Indeed, as we all learned on South Park, Somalia--much like the Tea Party--is quite attractive to overweight, immature, spoiled, outspoken, lazy, foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, racist, sexist, anti-semitic, sociopathic, narcissistic, and ill-tempered third-graders.


P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 6 months ago

The same could be applied to your own post, just substitute blue for fire-engine red.

Jimo 6 years, 6 months ago

I must be the reddest blue dot on the map - me .... and Reagan!

BlackVelvet 6 years, 6 months ago

"Indeed, as we all learned on South Park, Somalia--much like the Tea Party--is quite attractive to overweight, immature, spoiled, outspoken, lazy, foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, racist, sexist, anti-semitic, sociopathic, narcissistic, and ill-tempered third-graders. "

ya mean Liberals?

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

"Indeed, as we all learned on South Park...."

Now we know this individual's source of "learning " for his inane comments.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 6 months ago

Forty years and change ago, when I was in high school, my senior year I took a mandatory core course called "American Government". It was actually part of the state core curriculum required to graduate and is now, oddly, no longer required. I remember the inrstructor standing in front of the blackboard and drawing a line with arrows at either end. Teaching straight from the state's own course syllabus, he explained what the terms "left" and "right" meant in refernce to politics and government. One of the things he explained was that, oddly, taken to it's most extreme, both directions end in the same place; chaos. Neither extreme, taken to it's bitter end, can actually support a government. Thus, we saw the Soviet Union fall. Thus we see Somalia. Was my teacher wrong? Was his syllabus wrong? I don't think so. As to the LTE writer, I'm trying to figure out his point for the letter. Is it the comparison of starving Somalian refugees traveling a hundred miles for food, while people here lined up "in automobiles" for food? Is he accusing the people who lined up for that food here with being fat and lazy? Is he pointing out that we, who live here, are blessed with a stable government willing to feed it's poor and hungry? I'm an Irish American. In 1845, when the first potato crop failed in Ireland, private relief agencies in the US sent food to Ireland. It ended up rotting on the docks in Dublin and Belfast because the British government refused to release it. That action cost over one million native Irish their lives. It also caused some tensions between the British and American governments. (Remember, the War of 1812 wasn't that long ago at that time.) Because, you see, Ireland was producing food; in massive amounts, no less. It was producing it for export to England. Thanks to that action, Ireland lost; between death, immigration to escape the "Great Hunger" and forced transportation to Australia for the theft of food, over a quarter of it's native population. Many, many times "famine" is produced, not by the lack of food, but by a government (or in Somalia's case, the lack thereof) unwilling to feed it's own hungry, despite the fact that food is available. Does the LTE writer think that we "shouldn't* feed our own? Does he want it to get to the point that refugees from Kansas travel to Missouri, on foot, just to get food? Why is the fact that they "have automobiles" (perhaps provided by a church, friend, family member or other social agency) to pick up that food significant? Would the LTE writer care to expound and explain?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

So what's your point? If these "governments" would somehow disappear, would everything be all better?

Regardless, your dream of no government would almost certainly turn out more like Somalia than the model of capitalist perfection you dream of. But the Kochs of the world would have their gated communities, and do just fine. Have you applied to be one of their palace guards yet?

devobrun 6 years, 6 months ago

Everything would be better if the governments could disappear. Not would, but could. The work of the people is not to petition governmrnt to fix their problems....the work is to make each and every individual better so that government can be diminished.

Government exists when individuals cannot, or will not, do for themselves. Somalies live in abject poverty because they are Somalies. They have a social system and a culture that isn't viable. A major source of income to their country is piracy. Now there's a good way to show young people how to behave. When aid comes into the country....it is stolen. The place is broken. We can't fix it. Somalies die.

It's like the police say when you go past a terrible car wreck: "Move along folks, move along, there's nothing you can do here. Let the officers clean up."

devobrun 6 years, 6 months ago

Or Somalia was never very good. And the evil finally drove out the government. Thus, they had a bad ethos, barely contained by authorities and when the power in the government faded, evil won.

Whether it is lack of government or lack of morality is a different perspective. I look at the situation not as a lack of top-down authoritarian imposition of rules and regulations. I see it as a bad cultural ethos. They have two choices for change. Either they find a new society, based on trust, respect, diligence, love and good character, or they submit to a warlord who has reason to keep a few folks alive to serve him.

When a culture is rotten, the only effective government is authoritarian. Government of the people is government of thieves scoundrels, and thugs because that's who the people are.
Here in America we have more and more government because business is filled with scoundrels. And we have a populace filled with moochers, drug addicts, lazy bums. Our government passes more laws, takes over more responsibility for people's lives and is going broke because our society is dwindling. Arguing about left and right is a distraction. Both sides fail to acknowlege their own iniquities. Neither dems nor repubs seem to have the solution, so they find pretty people to prance on stage and pose, and pontificate. They have no new ideas and don't faithfully implement the laws that we have.

Government is surprisingly useless (except for the despots) when the culture is broken. In short you get the government that you deserve.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Why, yes, distilling centuries of history, including relatively recent external meddling such as colonization and proxy warfare, and just labeling a culture "no good" is the most rational explanation possible. (sarcasm)

devobrun 6 years, 6 months ago

Centuries of history is centuries of Islam. Mogadishu is known as the city of Islam.

Islam has hardly grown in the centuries since it was founded. Especially in the region of the horn of Africa. It is a religion that insists on a teaching from the Prophet and , while subject to interpretation, isn't subject to modification. It is dogmatic and not interested in change.

Yes bozo, I will say that Somalia and Eritrea are backward societies that live the traditional government of Islam. Authoritarianism, or chaos. Institutions like education, police, fire, merchants, all come and go at the whim of the current ruler. Or when there is no ruler, there is chaos.

Interference by western forces is just another chapter in the authoritarian society that has ruled the countries of Islam. British, Turks, Sultans, whatever. Individuals have never been valued in Islam. They were born to be serfs. It goes back long before Europe got there.

I am unashamed to question diversity. Not all societies are equal. Some work better than others. Generally, those societies that adapt do better. Islam and especially countries such as Somalia are not about adaptation. There are still pirates there, bozo.

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