Apparently, I am the neo-conservative par excellence, according to Nathan of the Sollicitudo Rei Socialis blog. Flattering, but inaccurate. I am conservative, no prefix.
The labelling comes because I thought the current Live 8-inspired push for debt forgiveness is misguided. But rather than address the substance of my objections, Nathan claims to be a mindreader and says that I’m opposed to the plan because it’s liberals pushing it. No, I’m opposed to it because it’s a bad idea, which I’ll admit isn’t surprising since it comes from liberals whose political philosophy is badly wanting when it comes to economics. That Pope Benedict sent a telegram of support for Live 8 surprises me not at all since it is well known that His Holiness has tended toward a European political viewpoint that tends toward what Americans call liberalism. That’s okay, since the Pope isn’t infallible on matters of economics or political ordering.
The Pope is right that Africans need to be relieved of the crushing burdens that keep them in poverty. But I would assert that first they need to get the bootheel of corrupt governments off their necks in order for debt forgiveness to do anything but enrich their oppressors.
Nathan also misreads what I wrote. He says I oppose debt forgiveness all together. I do not. I just think it needs to be done in right order. Reform first and forgiveness second. If aid and debt forgiveness are to be useful, then first we need to get the corruption out of the system. If my swimming pool has a leak, it does no long-term good to keep pumping water in until I’ve fixed it.
It’s also interesting that when I call for free trade and removal of protectionist trade policies that prevent Africans from selling their goods in Western nations on an equal footing with native producers, I’m wrong, but when he calls for reform of trade laws then it’s okay. Perhaps I’ve missed something.
Meanwhile, Christopher Blosser provides a much more reasoned and researched analysis, including several links to articles that provide more background on the problems of Africa and how Africans themselves see their situation and what the First World can do to help them. I must say that apparently they agree more with conservatives than liberals.