Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Ian Smith, a retrospective appraisal

Ian Smith, the former prime minister of Rhodesia was a hate figure amongst British liberals in the sixties and seventies.. He lived long enough to witness the transformation of his country from the most prosperous, stable and law abiding country in Africa under his leadership, to the economically collapsed, corrupt, lawless, failed state of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Smith was demonised by the liberal establishment for his defiance of their subversive demands that he hand over power to a 'black majority' government controlled by hardline Marxists. British governments, both Labour and Tory collaborated in the destruction of Rhodesia. It should be remembered that it was the Thatcher government that handed Rhodesia to Mugabe, in the full knowledge that he had waged a terrorist guerrilla campaign against the country for nearly a decade, resulting in the destabilisation of the country.

It is a curious double standard amongst the left that black people who come to white countries bring 'enrichment' and 'diversity'. However, white people in black countries are branded as 'settlers', who oppress the natives with their cultural and economic imperialism. Nevertheless, it has to be recognised that white colonialism, as a concept, is one that now belongs to the past.

The benefits of white colonialism in Rhodesia were clearly visible. The huge increase in prosperity, agricultural efficiency, the provision of modern health and education systems and a developed transport system are all examples. However, the benefits were largely confined to the white community. The major downside of the colonial system was that black natives were treated as almost non-people in their own country, and the overwhelming majority were barred from applying for all but the most menial of jobs.

The whole ethos of colonialism was based on the once almost unquestioned assumption that whites comprised a civilised elite by virtue of their race, whilst the blacks were seen as near sub-human in comparison. The widely employed habit of calling all black men 'boy', regardless of age, was symptomatic of an unthinking contempt shown towards their fellow humans. For all his failings Mugabe did at least bring some self respect back to his people, albeit at a very high price economically.

Thinkers on the right believe that third world immigration is seriously destructive to the social cohesion and cultural identity of Britain. But to be consistent they cannot support white control of African counties since the effect there would be the destruction of their own indigenous culture and way of life. The intractable problem faced by black African countries is that they seem largely incapable of sustaining a modern developed economy, together with sound government free of corruption, under the rule of law, which European countries take for granted. So, unfortunately, we are likely to be on the receiving end of liberal hand wringing on the need to 'make poverty history' in Africa for the indefinite future.

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