The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

The State of Rhodesia Should be Restored

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/11/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,504 times Debate No: 6474
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
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In this debate I will attempt to prove to the reader that the former state of Rhodesia should be restored.

Rhodesia was the former political state that existed in what is now Zimbabwe.

I will contend that Rhodesia should be restored because of the gross incompetence of the government to adequately provide for its citizens.

Contention I:
The government of Zimbabwe pursues a flawed economic policy that has set the nation in a downward spiral and resulted in uncontrolled inflation. Inflation is so high that the currency has been rendered nearly useless and citizens have been forced to find essential items from nearby countries.

The eviction of white farmers in a land distribution scheme has seen agriculture drop dramatically. Whereas before 2000 and the deal Zimbabwe was an exporter of corn, it is now an importer. Crop production has fallen more than 40%.

This is in stark contrast to the previous states economy. Blacks in Rhodesia were some of the richest and well-off in all of Africa. Now citizens struggle daily to provide for themselves.

Contention II:
There is also now a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe that has resulted in thousands of deaths from both cholera outbreaks and the result of there being no clean water. What little government attempts that have been made to correct this have proven ineffective or flawed.

The government due to its incompetence cannot provide clean water to most of its citizenry, nor does it provide essential services such as waste management. Private enterprise cannot step in to fill this gap because of the Socialist nature of the government.

In addition, more then 60% of Zimbabwe's wildlife population has been destroyed, and widespread deforestation is occurring. This harms the tourism industry and farming- making it even more difficult for Zimbabwe's economy to recover and aids the growing humanitarian crisis.

Contention III:
Zimbabwe's government is also ruled by a dictator, Robert Mugabe. Mr. Mugabe leads a ineffective Socialist government and cracks down on opposition.

The recent elections in 2008 were widely considered to be rigged and a "violent sham". Mugabe has no checks on his power and thus is a dictator.

All these are in contrast to the former government of Rhodesia. Despite its flaws, the UDI under Ian Smith ran a successful capitalist economy and democratic government. While human rights issues remained for the Black population, Mr. Smith's government was much more free and effective than the current Socialist government. Clearly, a restoration of the previous government would be a clear and needed improvement.



Even if we were convinced that present-day Zimbabwe is the worst state possible in every way, why would that suggest a return to apartheid Rhodesia, of all places? Why not "Democracy should be restored in Zimbabwe", or "Zimbabwe should be more like its neighbor South Africa", or even "Zimbabwe should return to the semi-democratic state directly preceding it, Zimbabwe Rhodesia"? Rhodesia's "flaws" happen to violate basic global principles of justice, and so there's no indication a return to apartheid would be met with a restoration of the rich trade responsible for Rhodesia's early success. There's every indication that a return to apartheid would see the same sanctions, divestment, civil war, and emigration responsible for Rhodesia's economic decline and eventual collapse, and Zimbabwe's inheritance of US$500m in debt, a weak agricultural sector, an uncompetitive industrial sector, and other problems.

Contention 1, in addition to forgetting that the downward spiral began on apartheid's watch, is also oblivious to external factors. Mugabe has no control, for example, over the "virtual parliament" so important to the third world. Rhodesia's early success was dependent on foreign investment, which exploitative apartheid made lucrative. Subsequent capital flight and divestment were expected results of political, hence economic, reform. The problem with concluding from this "economic, hence political, reforms should be reversed" is that such a conclusion fails the test of universality:
a)"Always reform." Result: Each country has a sensible, democratic economy; the virtual parliament, defeated, is completely impotent.
b)"Never reform." Result: Each country has an oppressive, apartheid economy; the virtual parliament, victorious, is all-powerful.
Economic democratization thus contributes to a positive feedback loop tending toward the global situation (a), while economic disenfranchisement contributes to the opposing positive feedback loop, which tends toward global situation (b). The more democratic economies are, the less of an incentive capital has to invest in non-democratic economies (their being fewer), hence making democratic economies more competitive, hence attracting even more capital, hence reducing the power of the virtual parliaments of non-democratic economies, hence encouraging further democratization…And so, particularly in a global situation closer to (b), it is entirely inappropriate to evaluate a particular state's economic system by the narrow consideration of its own success; the above model predicts that economic democratization will be, in the current global situation, bad for the national economy but good for the global economy. As the bad affects are concentrated and the good affects dispersed, the latter will not so easily be seen. And yet, there are clear examples, such as the importance of Venezuela to the economically isolated democracy (the U.S. state department admits the Communist Party would win by an overwhelming majority in a free and fair election) in Cuba. Even before the triumph of democracy in Venezuela, Cuba was doing very well by Latin American standards, but in neither case is it anything close to what we'd expect from global situation (a). On the other hand, capital divested from Zimbabwe has to find a home, and it will have one less apartheid state to choose from.

Contention 2 is mostly dealt with above, but I'd like to elaborate on an important point brian_eggleston made in the Comments. Mugabe's particular brand of "socialism", though socialistic in its negative aspects (abolition of permanent property, etc.), is abhorred by the entire socialist spectrum for its positive aspects. From a theoretical standpoint, Mugabe (to the extent that he has an ideology at all) can most closely be linked to "barracks communism", which Marx coined in reference to the sadistic wing of the Nihilist movement and which the Soviet Union later used in reference to certain Chinese policies it opposed (Mugabe's faction of the liberation movement was the one supported by the Chinese). Mugabe's initial election is easily understandable when one reflects that a major part of the barracks communist ideology is to be inexplicit or even deceptive about social vision. The population of Zimbabwe is well aware by now, so I doubt anything so reactionary as apartheid would be necessary to end Mugabism. Reinstitution of democracy would suffice, and is a more viable, more likely option than apartheid. Also, the Rhodesian government was actually quite socialistic itself. The problem was that it was a national socialism, and the particular nation was the invasive European minority.

Contention 3 is basically more of Contentions 1 and 2, but I should say that it's not at all clear that the Smith government was "much more free". Technical democracy with alleged intimidation, as under Mugabe, is not "much less free" than explicit relegation of the vast native population to a small fraction of the franchise, as under Smith. At no time in Rhodesia was there anything resembling "democracy", so there would at no time be any incentive to subvert it, would there?
Debate Round No. 1


I apologise profously for not posting an argument this round- unfortuantly I have time constraints then I did not have previously. I will respond to the arguments when I have found the time Once again I apologise and thank you for accepting this debate.


TombLikeBomb forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Guderian forfeited this round.


To summarize:

a) Most of the problems in Zimbabwe today have to do with the capital's "virtual parliament" which divests from any country that tries to curb exploitation.

b) What can be blamed on Mugabe should be blamed on Mugabe alone, not the entire black population.

c) The idea of colonists ruling over native people is reviled by basic human values, and would undoubtedly be met with the same reaction as last time.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TombLikeBomb 7 years ago
It's not even as bad as it ever was in Rhodesia! The sanctions and civil war period prior to the establishment of Zimbabwe Rhodesia was the worst in Zimbabwe's history, and was inevitable, as racial apartheid is not easily tolerated. To say "restore Rhodesia" is to come out in favor of an infinite cycle of violence and poverty. The Russians who preferred Stalin did so because Stalin was a Russian and Yeltsin was a Western puppet who ruined the economy. Ian Smith was not a Zimbabwean, and the economy was ruined by divestment.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 7 years ago
It would be fascinating to see what Zimbabweans thought of the idea.
After all, plenty (a majority?) of Russians said they'd gladly have Stalin back when the Russian economy went badly sour a decade or so ago.

Also, I've always had a problem with the recent white farmers being referred to as "colonists".
Almost without exception they have all been born there and so are just as native as anyone else.
In the past, their great-grandfathers may have just started farming land that used to be used by some locals for hunting, but this is true of every farm on Earth.

The country has gone from the breadbasket of Africa to the basket-case of Africa under Mugabe.
Would it be fair to say life is worse there now than it ever was in South Africa?
Posted by TombLikeBomb 7 years ago
Let me know when you want me to end the round.
Posted by TombLikeBomb 7 years ago
Rosa Luxemburg published "Marxism or Leninism" as soon as the Bolshevik Revolution. Left Marxists, democratic socialists, and anarchists have never accepted the Soviet model as legitimately socialism. Even Trotsky later described it as a "degenerated worker's state".
Posted by Guderian 7 years ago
Next you'll say the USSR wasn't an example of Communism/Socialism.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
Mugabe is supposedly a Marxist, but he's not. He's not even a Socialist because he doesn't care about the underprivileged - in fact he attacks them. I know people like to tar socialists with the Mugabe brush but all he's not a socialist - he's just a corrupt, egotistical dictator and they come in all political colours.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
Utilitarian analysis would seem to indicate that the restoration process may be worse than the current scenario...
Posted by Guderian 7 years ago
I am always looking to debate Socialists ;)
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
"divisive" and "undemocratic?"

What's wrong with that? :)
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
I'm tempted to take this one. Not because I disagree that Zimbabwe has gone from being the bread basket of Africa to the basket case of Africa, and that the blame for that must be left at Mugabe's door, but because to restore an elitist white government would be divisive and just as undemocratic as the last election which was rigged in favour of the MDC.
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Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by InquireTruth 7 years ago
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