Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler
(Former Senior Advisor to President Reagan)
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Accra, Ghana. When the early European explorers sailed down the west coast of Africa and established trading posts, they named sections of the coast according to what was there they could most profitably trade.
There was the Pepper Coast (present day Liberia), for the abundance of melegueta peppers, a valuable spice; the Ivory Coast (still called that today) for elephant tusks; the Slave Coast (present day Togo and Benin, where the brutal Dahomey kingdom sold slaves to the Portuguese to be shipped off to Brazil.
The most prized region they called the Gold Coast - and not just for all the gold there, but for the fertility of the soil and prosperity of its peoples. It was a golden land, over which the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, and British tussled, with the Brits ending up on top and declaring it a Crown Colony in 1874.
The British were determined to make the Gold Coast a tropical Africa success story, and they succeeded. New crops, such as coffee and cacao (cocoa, the source of chocolate) exploded in production. By the 1920s, the Gold Coast was the largest cacao/cocoa producer in the world. Added to this were huge exports of coffee, timber, and gold, lots of gold.
The Brits poured much of this back into their prize colony with a network of roads and railroads, hospitals and medical services, and especially education resulting in the best educated indigenous population in Africa. By the early 1950s, the Gold Coast had been the world's leading cocoa producer for decades and was an unparalleled colonial success story, peaceful, stable, and prosperous.
The British governor, Sir Charles Arden-Clarke, had groomed a distinguished group of lawyers and businessmen led by Dr. Joseph Danquah to steadily assume more autonomy and self-government. Dr. Danquah, who held a doctorate in history from the University of London, proposed changing the colonial name of the Gold Coast to Ghana, after a West African kingdom of centuries before.
In 1947, Dr. Danquah and his group formed a political party with Arden-Clarke's blessing and decided to hire a full-time community organizer/political activist, offering the job to a 38 year-old penniless professional student about whom they knew nothing. His name was Kwame Nkrumah.
It was a fatal mistake. Nkrumah was a messianic narcissist with a gift for charismatic rabble-rousing oratory. He quickly broke with Danquah and formed his own party. His campaign rallies turned into riots as Nkrumah demanded complete independence for Ghana immediately. Arden-Clarke threw him in prison for sedition which only increased his popularity.
As the protests grew demanding his release, instead of realizing the danger and taking him on a one-way boat ride way out into the ocean - the "no person, no problem" solution - Arden-Clarke capitulated, released Nkrumah from prison and designated him Prime Minister of the colony. That was in March of 1952.
British capitulation to Nkrumah continued, culminating in granting Ghana full independence (the first African colony to gain it) in March of 1957. At that moment, Ghana was the richest tropical country in the world, with huge foreign currency reserves from massive sales of cocoa, coffee, gold, timber, and bauxite. The Brits had provided the new nation with an efficient civil service, an impartial judiciary, a fair electoral system with competent elected politicians, and a prosperous middle class.
Nkrumah was wildly popular, promising hope and change that would solve everyone's grievances. And not just in Ghana, where people believed he had supernatural powers, a new Moses, a messiah who would fulfill Africa's destiny. The world press fawned on him just as obsequiously, starting with a Time Magazine cover story in 1953.
Independence celebrations were euphoric, with high-level delegations from 56 countries. Queen Elizabeth sent the Duchess of Kent, President Eisenhower sent Vice-President Richard Nixon, Mao Tse-tung sent a 4-star general, Khrushchev sent a Kremlin minister, journalists from all over the globe flocked to Accra to report that Africa's future was dawning with Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's Man of Destiny.
Nkrumah's true identity was plain for anyone to see - a charismatic charlatan, an intellectual lightweight, a self-proclaimed Marxist who hated capitalism, a self-worshipping narcissist of the highest order, and a black racist who hated whites and the West. To the surprise of no one with unblinkered vision, but to the shocked surprise and denial of every fawning liberal on the planet, he proceeded to run Ghana straight into the ground.
As he built a personality cult around him -- Ghana's soldiers, e.g., marched to the cadence "Nkrumah can do no wrong, Nkrumah can do no wrong" - Ghana's fabulous economy collapsed and sunk into a morass of corruption. He ruled by decree, ignoring laws passed by parliament. He demanded total sycophancy from the press, tolerating no criticism whatever. His cronies became immensely rich, his opponents ended up in prison. Dr. Danquah died in solitary confinement where he was denied medical treatment in 1965.
Government debt soared into space, cocoa production imploded, taxes and inflation crushed the middle class, there were widespread food shortages. As the catastrophe deepened, so did Nkrumah's messianism as he accepted no responsibility whatsoever, blaming "imperialists and neocolonialists" for everything wrong even as Western governments poured in aid money by the tens of millions, all of which was squandered. By the end of 1965, Ghana was bankrupt.
Of course by now you have drawn the parallel between Nkrumah and Zero. We have an African "Big Man" as President of the United States.
So this is not about Big Men. It is about what made the emergence of such charismatic charlatans possible in the first place.
It is no accident that the Big Men who ruled Africa's newly-independent former colonies with such flamboyant tyranny were Black African. If they had been of any other ethnicity, the Western world would have treated them far differently, and far less deferentially.
Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker that says:
If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you weren't a racist, you'll have to vote for someone else in 2012 to prove you aren't an idiot
The only - sole, solitary, there-is-no-possible-other - reason anyone paid any attention to Zero's ludicrous presidential aspirations in 2008 was because of his racial identity. A white politician with his record of total non-experience and non-accomplishment would have been laughably ignored. Liberal racist guilt-mongering created this nightmare of the African Big Man Presidency cursing our country today.
That white liberal guilt is responsible for Zero is fairly well-recognized among those who are intellectually honest. What is little understood, however, is that it is also responsible for what inevitably happens as a consequence of African Big Man government: the Africanization of that government.
Rule by executive decree. A Big Man personality cult with worshipful followers and lapdog press. Persecution of critics and opponents. Potemkin democracy with rigged elections and massive voter fraud. Crony capitalism on steroids. The path to wealth not through private entrepreneurship, but political entrepreneurship.
In 1965, a prominent Third World economist, Arthur Lewis, in a study of one-party African Big Man states, wrote that:
"Political activity is seen by ambitious Africans as the most direct way of securing wealth and social standing. Political office carries power, prestige, and money. The power is incredible. Most West African Ministers consider themselves above the law and are treated as such by the police. Decision-making is arbitrary... The prestige is also incredible. Men who claim to be democrats in fact behave like emperors, and generally demand to be treated like Egyptian Pharaohs... And the money is also incredible. There are huge salaries and expense accounts, plus vast pickings in bribes, state contracts, diversion of public funds to private uses, and commissions of various sorts. To be a Minister is to have a lifetime's chance to make a fortune."
This is called "the platinum life" in West Africa. In East Africa, those who enjoy it are called the WaBenzi. ‘Wa' means ‘tribe' - the tribe of the Benz. It does not matter how you got it however honestly or dishonestly, all that matters is that if you drive a Mercedes-Benz, you are one of the elite, you are WaBenzi.
To Africanize a government, economy, and society is to totally corrupt it. There is no longer a distinction between making an honest living and a dishonest one, between becoming wealthy through hard work or through graft and thievery. Those who come out on top are not the brightest and most competent, it is those with government pull, the shysters, hustlers, and con-men charlatans.
That's what happened to one African country after another, because of the white guilt felt by their colonial administrators. And that's what is happening to America today at the hands of Zero, the Democrat Party, and the white-guilt liberal media-academia complex.
How do we get out of this? Ironically, like Ghana did.
Well, not like the process began. While Nkrumah was in Beijing visiting his Chicom buddy Mao Tse-tung, a group of army officers seized power. (He ended up living in exile in neighboring Guinea-Conakry, dying there of skin cancer in 1972.) They in turn were overthrown by another cabal of army officers in 1972. In 1979, they were overthrown by a third military coup, this time by a group of junior officers led by 32 year-old Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings.
He started off badly. Ghana's economy was still a mess, and he made it much worse with the advice of his pals Fidel Castro and Muammar Ghaddafi. By 1983, he figured things out and was following Ronald Reagan's advice to go free market.
The more he got the government out of the economy, the better life in Ghana got. 60,000 public employees were let go. "The zest and zeal of private ownership is the route to sustained economic growth," he declared. Inflation plunged and the GDP started growing at 6% per year.
Yet Rawlings still ran Ghana as a Big Man one-party state. He lifted the ban, allowing other parties in 1992, ran for president in 1993 and was elected in a process international observers pronounced "peaceful, free, and transparent." Reelected in 1996, he stepped down after two terms, with his vice-president John Atta Mills running in 2000. But Atta Mills was defeated by the opposition party leader John Kufuor, with a fully peaceful transfer of power - a rare event in Africa.
Kufuor was reelected in 2004, but Atta Mills defeated him in 2008, with a second peaceful transfer of power. Jerry Rawlings, after seizing power, rescuing Ghana's economy, and firmly establishing real democracy in Ghana, remains retired from Ghana politics.
Today, Ghana's economy is flourishing, with a GDP growth that clocked in at 13.6% in 2011. Public debt is 5% of GDP. It is one of the largest cocoa and gold producers in the world. The race is on for oil off Ghana's coast, with a number of US oilcos like Hess and Anadarko heavily investing to extract an estimated 2 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. No wonder the London Financial Times calls Ghana "Africa's success story."
What we need is to recreate an American success story - which requires the De-Africanization of our government. The first step, of course, is for a substantial majority of voters to throw America's Big Man out of the White House in November. It will not be easy, for Big Men cling to power at all costs. There will be voter fraud, aided and abetted by Eric Holder's Injustice Department, on the most massive scale our country has ever seen.
Zero's defeat, though, is only the first step. The next, and harder one, is to derail the Government Gravy Train, ending, e.g., all forms of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and public union freeloading. Even harder will be the abandonment of white guilt, looking upon it as a form of racism, for it treats blacks as victimized children who have to be taken care of, rather than regular grown-up adults responsible for themselves.
Rectifying the gargantuan damage perpetrated by Zero upon America will take years. It took Ghana over 30 years just to start repairing the damage of Nkrumah. It shouldn't take anywhere near that long for us, but there's no overnight quick fix.
Americans have allowed their government to become Africanized. They need to understand how and why they allowed this. Ghana De-Africanized itself. So can America - once a majority of Americans reject racial politics, guilt-mongering, and envy-pandering, to embrace personal responsibility and honest work as they once did. Let the De-Africanization of America begin!
Monday, April 2, 2012
The Africanization of America
Posted by Editor at 5:17 PM