We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I attended an AF retirement ceremony today, and the honoree made two final points:
"Be relevant"--matter to your work, your family, your church, your friends, your community.
He also said: "Don't believe your own hype"
Be real...remember that you're good, but not that good.
Jeff Sachs didn't have a mentor who could set him straight.
(and why in the world would "mobile-phone service" be useful to a starving, desolate people? So they can watch Lady Gaga on MTV?)
Over the last 60 years or so there have been tens of thousands of individuals and groups that have tried to 'save" one country or another or one group of people or another. Some have had some initial success and some failed right out of the starting gate. But in general what they have succeeded in doing is more like how Obama tried to fix our economy and less like a real solution. Most well known examples begin with pictures of starving children and mothers which pull at our heart strings. Followed by pictures of thousands of people rounded up into tent camps on barren deserts eating rice (or something) barely existing. Soon this particular group is no longer news worthy and we assume some measure of success but what really happens is that the death rate for children is massively reduced and the country experiences a sudden population growth. This is followed by a civil war where those recently rescued boy children are now old enough to be given guns and go to villages to kill and rape those recently rescued girl children. We get to see some of this on TV too but rarely if ever does the commentator explain to us that "we" created this problem with our poorly thought out altruism. Other times the end result is less violent but no less deadly when as a result of meddling in some 3rd world desert country we inadvertently push the population to double or quadruple what the land can support and now instead of a million suffering children in desperate need of food we have 8 million children who must be feed and provided for from cradle to grave. It is almost like putting rabbits in a large fenced area and feeding them all they can eat then suddenly discovering one day that you have a million rabbits you can't feed and they are over flowing their environment. Most of Africa has had terrible periods in their history from a humanitarian point of view and a lot of African nations/regions have had some fairly benign to moderately progressive periods. The successes have largely taken place without outside meddling while a lot of the failures can be directly connected to "do gooders" sticking their noses into something they know nothing about.
"In Scott’s account, high modernism inflicted its greatest damage in vast utopian campaigns like Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward, the collectivization of farms in the Soviet Union, and compulsory villagization in Tanzania and Ethiopia. In each of these cases, schemes promising massive progress were forced on people by an authoritarian state that was willing and able to use 'the full weight of its coercive power' to bring its designs into being."