Ship of Fools Heading for Africa

True charity is an act of kindness that fills a need in the recipient and can motivate him to become independent and self-sufficient. If given freely from the heart, there cannot be any guarantee on what to expect in return from the person to whom this act was extended. It can, however, be reciprocal in that the act sows a seed in both parties that brings productivity and a desire to change one’s life for the better.

Charity can have many different forms. It can be an act that provides help to a fellow human being by giving time, food or material means for their needs. In our daily lives, this act is often spontaneous, unexpected, not planned and more than not a very private matter. It requires that we respond to a higher call in submitting to an urging that pays attention to the message that comes from deep within our heart. St. Augustine refers to this love or charity as the beauty of the soul.

It’s an act that responds to present tense needs as we encounter them in our lives for which our action can have a significant impact on others and on ourselves. It creates ripples in the sea of life that make our living experiences worthwhile and sweet. Sometimes there is no immediate gratification for both the giver and receiver, since love does not boast. It seeks to change the heart of men not by deeds alone, but also believing in principals that are not visible to the eye. It’s a process that establishes trust and cloaks us in the mantle of truth.

Hollywood and music stars have discovered that charity is big publicity and can draw lots of attention to their work and causes. Bob Geldof, successful musician and 1985 Live Aid organizer, is getting ready to kick off his second planned series of Live 8 concerts on July 2. Eight events are scheduled simultaneously around the world with big names in the music business such as U2, Coldplay, Elton John, REM and Green Day. His goal is to bring world attention to African poverty by canceling the poor nations’ debt. Organizers’ hopes are to have G8 countries increase financial aid (trade justice) for the world’s poorest people.

Even Bono of U2 was quoted in an AP report as having exclaimed that the focus over the past 20 years since Live Aid has changed. "It’s the journey from charity to justice," he said. These are big words that have the all too familiar ring of good intentions. The overall belief held by many people with good intentions for poorer countries is the idea of injustice being caused by wealthier nations during colonial times. However, evidence shows that most poverty in Africa and other poorer countries is created by Marxist ideology and oppressive actions of reigning governments. Among the African nations that currently suffer from poverty are countries like Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

Zimbabwe, a country with cotton and maize production and natural resources of coal has suffered greatly under President Robert Mugabe. He recently declared all farmlands to be nationalized, removing private property from its citizens for growing their crop. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced out of their home and the land bulldozed leaving behind a wasteland of starvation. Urban areas are no longer allowed to grow their own food forcing the prevention of illegal trade of desperate people. This recent tragedy reminds us of history that took place during Stalin’s reign in 1928—29, a period known as the collectivization. Nearly five million Soviet citizens were starved intentionally in the process in which the state forcefully removed the private ownership of the farmland.

This country has been on a steady decline since Mugabe came to power in 1980. The country’s unemployment rate was estimated at 70% in 2002 and is much higher today. The average life expectancy for both sexes reached an average age of 36 years in 2005; a large decline over the past 25 years in which AIDS has a significant impact. Over half of Zimbabwe’s population was in need of emergency food aid by 2005. Inflation was at 160% in 2004 and almost a fourth of its population has emigrated abroad to escape the harshness of life. Clearly, the plight of this country was brought on by the tyrannical reign of a Marxist psychopath.

Professor of Economics and a syndicated columnist, Mr. Walter E. Williams, quotes in one of his articles that his colleague, Mr. John Blundell, Director of the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, reports that Mugabe even had his cronies remove the labels from humanitarian shipments of food from the US and Europe. The labels were replaced with Mugabe’s, making himself appear as the caring dictator.

Ethiopia is another country that suffered in the hands of a military coup which deposed Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. A one-party hard-line Marxist-Leninist style was established after the coup, though the government was overtaken by the Ethiopian Revolutionary Democratic Front in 1991. The country continues to battle border wars that have virtually destroyed the Ethiopian economy. Its food production suffered due to recent droughts and bad cultivating practices; however, most of the land is owned by the government and leased to farmers. This in itself prevents enthusiasm in investing into a business when property cannot be owned. Half of the population is living under the poverty line. Although the country greatly depends on weather conditions to grow their crops, plenty of food supply can be established for drier seasons if surrounding nations would begin trading with each other rather than continue as their tribal foes.

Granted, Africa lacks many important factors that we take for granted in the West. As Professor Williams points out, it lacks the rule of law, private property rights, and independent judiciary and limited government. The visible evidence is in the poverty of the population and its continual warring of dictators, rebels and tyrants.

Africa is one of the richest continents with most of its treasures still unearthed. It holds natural resources of iron ore, copper, coal, uranium, tin, phosphate, diamonds and gold. It can produce cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa and fruit with plenty of livestock. The possibilities are unlimited. Only, little can be done when resources are controlled by oppressive governments with no intentions to promote the well-being of their people by allowing them to accumulate wealth through private ownership.

It must also be noted that countries such as India and China are working themselves out of their misery by adapting free market concepts that produce and export bringing much needed money to their once impoverished population. Countries with even less natural resources than Africa, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, were able to flourish through trade bringing prosperity to their nations.

Geldof, whose first Live Aid concerts were sparked by Ethiopia’s famine 20 years ago in which 20 million people lost their lives, is certain that his new awareness to the issue can solve the problem. Ethiopia still greatly depends on food aid and no long-term solutions have come about to end the misery in this country. None of the foreign aid supplied has helped solve Africa’s problem to this day.

Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs also has the answer to extreme poverty. In order to end poverty Mr. Sachs only needs rich countries to transfer $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years primarily to Africa. This will only require the committed contribution of .7% of every G8 nations’ GDP. A remarkable number when considering that Canada is the only country out of these eight nations that is without debt. Not only do these G8 nations have a low GDP growth production, they struggle and get drained enough from their own welfare system where little money is left to invest even into their own economy. With rising unemployment and bigger government control, they are faced with their own internal financial disasters.

Should the G8 nations accept the plea to aid Africa during their early July meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, citizens in all countries must pay additional taxes to offset the extra cost. Several EU countries already investigated where the extra taxes can be applied so their population can be forced into being "charitable" to the poor. One suggestion involves the implementation of a tax on air travel. Simply raising the financial aid for poorer nations and canceling their debt is suddenly solving a problem that generally starts in the actions of men. Sadly, it is the belief system of these men that is the beginning of their country’s demise. Showering them with generous contributions will not help their people or their country if their ideology and general understanding of civilization does not change.

Geldof has good intentions in raising awareness of poverty, but his focus is on the wrong issue. Re-distributing wealth to keep the balance is as unnatural as trying to stop the Sahara desert wind from blowing sand into sand dunes. It is not possible. His energy would be better served if he can bring awareness of the danger of big government, controlling trade (he supports fair trade) and the danger of socialism; a more democratic offspring of communism. These are all contributing factors to poverty and starvation.

All evidence in history shows what happens when governments take over every aspect of a person’s life. This includes decision-making as well as government propaganda in what to think and to belief. It results into warfare and hunger. The two World Wars and the fall of the former Soviet Union are only recent examples. Africa and its people have to become aware of their own misguided philosophies and beliefs in order to improve. Private financial aid is only a drop in the bucket compared to what a change of the heart and mind can do. It is only the adoption of a belief system that is based on principals of truth that can turn a nation and country around for the better; and a judicial system that honors it. The revitalization of Africa depends greatly on being permitted to adopt these principals that will give them the foundation to own, produce, and trade in order to diminish its struggle.

Geldof, Jeffrey Sachs and rulers of the G8 nations who want to buy into this "charitable" act of eliminating poverty belong into the ancient ship of fools; also known by the Latin word as "carrus navalis." The ancient Babylonians pulled a decorated ship on wheels to the god Marduk, a fertility god. The ritual was also known in Egypt and Greece to worship the goddess Isis. The practice survived and made it into the Carnival season in Europe, mainly Germany. The fools inside the carnival ship are to represent the vices of men by wearing donkey ears or hats similar to a rooster’s crest with small bells. A 1494 picture depicts the ship of fools floating down the Rhine River without oars and rudders.

The image is a perfect analogy of people with conceited ideas who truly believe they can save the world and forgive its own sins. The arrogance with which the issue is approached would make the ancient gods very happy. The faithful followers of Marduk pulled the ship with strings; a labor that confirmed that man was ruled under the burden of the gods that brought no freedom. The vices of men have always existed but played out under different scenarios throughout our long history. The false gods have learned to use them for their advantage. Each vice has strings attached to our actions that make us more dependent on the keeper of our lives — government, a self-created burden that becomes more powerful and wasteful the bigger it gets. Man continually entangles himself with the false security that big government seems to bring without recognizing how he constricts himself from moving forward. Geldof’s call to nations to aid the poor only supports the growth of bigger government. Professor Sachs is right behind him.

The irony of this charitable act of Live8 is the fact that the West is "forgiving" their debtors out of guilt for making money in the first place. This gesture pretends to be purely altruistic unless one takes a closer look at the results.  Where does this aid money come from? The states supporting it will only turn around and extort the promised money from its own citizens with additional taxes to purportedly absolve themselves from guilt.

It is the ancient whip of taxation that will cough up the money for the project. The recipient of this evil act of charity will probably use the "gift" and waste it on furthering their own unscrupulous intend to control the African people; squeezing every bit of wealth out of their own starving population. The cycle that is started will not end unless the enablers with good intention and the dependents had enough of each other.

Charity has always been and will always remain a private and individual act that cannot be legislated by governments. It has to be an individual choice based on free will and brings liberation to the oppressed that will not keep them down. Geldof and Company are only setting themselves up to bring more hardship and misery to Africa, because government money with no strings attached will not free them from their oppressive rulers. They will just endlessly drift on water without any direction or real goals for solutions in the ship of fools.