Collectivism: The last refuge of the scoundrel

Too Right!

A regular column by John Black

Prostitutes wait for business outside a brothel in Phnom Penh. AFP

Many moons ago, before hair loss, divorce and cheap scotch had reduced me to my current pitiful state, I did my O.E on the cheap, backpacking around South East Asia. In Cambodia, between manning the girly bars at night and frequenting the (perfectly legal?honestly, mum) marijuana pizza joints in the day, I somehow found myself in a ?Cultural village?.

It was a curious place.

A museum of sorts with grand waxwork dioramas telling, in exquisite detail and in vivid colour, the story of that benighted nation. The scenes tended to the gory and the palette to a Santa suit shade of red, for the years when the khymer Rouge really got going. The last but one display summarised post Pol Pot Cambodia ? a U.N ?blue hat? with his arms around a Cambodian ?lady of easy virtue?.

According to W.H.O estimates, in 1991 there were 6000 prostitutes in the country. In 1992 a year after U.N peacekeepers arrived, there were well over 20,000. The legacy of the U.N in Cambodia can be measured by the number of H.I.V infections. In 1995, three years after the arrival of their U.N saviours there were between 50,000 ? 90,000 people with H.I.V.

I skipped the girly bars after that.

The Rwandan genocide, the Iraq oil for food scandal, the massacre of Bosnians at Srebrenica, sex abuse in the Congo; the list of U.N missteps is a long one.

In fact, the evidence suggests that humanity acting in concert through the U.N creates no more good than humanity pursuing its own varied interests, through nation states.

And yet when two leaders addressed that august body last week, the one that lauded collective action was lionized by the media and the one critiquing it was condemned.

President Trump may have got more laughs than a stand-up comic with his opening chest-beating about the U.S economy (well, he?s not wrong, is he?) but his speech made a clear and cogent point.

?America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.? So sayeth the Don.

Cindy, on the other hand, had a different take: ??the need for collective action?has never been clearer? she claimed before going on to plagiarize my new entrance teacher Mrs Benning, by rambling on about the need for ?kindness?. I?m sure the Iranian delegation was fumbling for their pencils and asking if that was with one ?S? or two.

?Photo: Otago Daily Times

Let?s look at the U.N versus the U.S record on two issues close to Cindy?s bleeding heart.

1: Climate change.

In the 2017 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, U.S carbon emissions declined by 758 million metric tonnes from 2005, a fall of 12.4%, the largest of any country. By comparison, China?s grew by 3 billion metric tonnes. The reason? Big government bans such as Cindy placed on our own oil and gas industry?

No. Precisely the opposite ? the private enterprise led ?fracking revolution? that began in 2005 making natural gas much more economically attractive than mining coal.

The U.N has advised developing countries not to start fracking.

Fracking ridiculous.

2: Women?s rights.

Much play was made by our obsequious media of Cindy?s exhortation that ?Me-too must become We-too?

The evil old U.S going it alone with its old-timey addiction to patriotism birthed the Me-too movement which despite its excesses has taken down some serious creeps.

The U.N has the Human Rights Council. If a camel is a horse designed by committee, the Human Rights Council is a committee designed by people who ride them. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar hold prominent membership. These idiots who wouldn?t know a? human right? if their third wife risked a beating by slapping them with it, use the council to lambast the state of Israel, once hilariously, on their ?poor treatment of women?.

George Orwell, a man who knew a bit about the dangers of collectivism wrote an infamous essay ?Notes on Nationalism? where he made the distinction between nationalism and patriotism. Patriotism he defended as ?devotion to a particular place or way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people?, Nationalism he condemned as ?inseparable from the desire for power?. He defined nationalism as not just limited to countries but extending to ideologies such as Communism and Pacifism.

Our P.M, an erstwhile president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, in her uncritical devotion to collectivist power may well be a truer nationalist than the Don himself.