16 Oct 2020

BMS ep. 154: Review of “The Hunt” and “The Purge” from An-Cap Perspective

Bob Murphy Show, private law 14 Comments

Audio here.

14 Responses to “BMS ep. 154: Review of “The Hunt” and “The Purge” from An-Cap Perspective”

  1. random person says:

    re: about 28 minutes in when you make fun of pro-lockdown Democrats who aren’t terribly concerned about people who have starved in Africa because of the lockdowns.

    I agree, it’s ridiculous that they still portray themselves as the anti-racist party in the United States, but many of them apparently aren’t bothered by the horrific effects of their lockdown policies.

  2. Harold says:

    Policies by Democrats in the USA presumably have a lower effect on Africa than policies in Africa.

    • random person says:

      That might be true if Africa were truly independent of the United States and other (culturally) European powers, but it isn’t.

      The Congo, for example, has never recovered from the Belgian and American intervention in the area. (And the British company Lever Brothers got involved too.)

      From about 1885 to 1908, King Leopold II of Belgium treated the country as his personal property, and his rule and its immediate aftermath is estimated to have reduce the population by about half, from around 20 million to about 10 million, because of his brutality in forcing people to gather ivory and rubber (through intermediaries, of course, just as Hitler killed people via intermediaries). The population reduction would have been from a combination of direct killings by Leopold’s armed forces, starvation and disease as people had less time to farm (and hunt, etc) as they either tried to gather the ivory and rubber demanded by Leopold’s agents or else had to abandon their farmlands to flee, and also reduced birth because it’s hard to run away from murderous “tax” collectors while carrying a baby. (I simplify, of course, but the general idea was that there was forced labor of genocidal proportions.) Further details are available in “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild. Another source of interest, written during the time period, is Red Rubber by Edmund Dene Morel.

      From about 1908-1960, the Congo was ruled by Belgium. Forced labor continued but gradually became less brutal over time (possibly because the colonizers realized they would run out of people to subject to forced labor if they continued killing so many of them). One of the excuses for forced labor used during this time period was the “head tax”, whereby Congolese were required to pay taxes in Belgian currency, and, since they often didn’t actually have Belgian currency, were forced to go and earn some, which resulted in much death and brutality (though this gradually decreased over time). Although the colony was Belgian, at least one company which made extensive use of Congolese forced labor, Lever Brothers, was British in origin. Further details are available in books by Jules Marchal, two of which were translated into English: “Forced labor in the Gold and Copper Mines: A History of Congo Under Belgian Rule, 1910 – 1945”, and “Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts”. (The latter is only an abridged translation.) Other sources of interest include “Colonialism in the Congo Basin: 1880-1940” by Samuel H. Nelson and “The colonial disease: A social history of sleeping sickness in northern Zaire, 1900-194″0 by Maryinez Lyons. (Zaire is another name for the Congo; specifically, the Congo was renamed Zaire by Mobutu, later in Congo’s History, and the author uses the name retroactively even though righting about the historical Congo.) Also, “Rural Society and Cotton
      in Colonial Zaire” by Osumaka Likaka and the fourth chapter of “‘So Clean’: Lord Leverhulme, Soap, and Civilization” by Brian Lewis. In “Uranium : war, energy, and the rock that shaped the world”, Tom Zoellner briefly mentions that most of the uranium in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki came from forced labor in the Belgian Congo. I remember one book a looked at, probably not one of the ones I just listed, mentioned that the head tax continued right up to 1960, which means that even if the brutality had been greatly reduced by then, forced labor would have continued in least some form right to the official end of Belgian rule, even if it became less obvious over time. Even in 1960, the head tax was only briefly interrupted, if I recall correctly, as the Congo was not allowed to truly keep its independence for long. Although I don’t think it was the original source I looked at, the U.S. Army Area Handbook for the Republic of the Congo confirms head taxation still being a thing up until 1960, and even provides a table showing how much revenue came from various types of taxes, including head taxes, in 1957-1959. One major deficiency of the U.S. Army Area Handbook, however, is that it fails to acknowledge many of the differences between Belgian policy as written in law and Belgian policy as actually practiced (which was often more brutal than what was written into the law).

      Upon independence, Lumumba gave a passionate speech, in which he decried the forced labor and other abuses by the Belgians, greatly offending the Belgian king. Less than a year after independence, Lumumba, arguably the Congo’s first and only democratically elected leader, at least since Belgian colonization, was assassinated. A Belgian gave the the execution order, but the assassination would probably not have been possible without the CIA removing him from power first. For further details see “The Assassination of Lumumba” by Ludo de Witte. Other sources of interest include “Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone” by Lawrence Devlin, the CIA chief of station during the time period. (Devlin’s account of course gives his perspective, which is flawed at times, but helps explain his motives.) There’s also a congressional inquiry somewhere, in which Lawrence Devlin testified under a pseudonym.

      After Lumumba’s assassination, Mobutu rose to power after some years of fighting, with significant assistance from the CIA. With the CIA help, he held power as a dictator for about 30 years, during the entire time prefer to rely on American support rather than building a genuine base of support from the Congolese people. For further details see “America’s Tyrant: The CIA and Mobutu of Zaire: How the United States Put Mobutu in Power, Protected Him from His Enemies, Helped Him Become One of the Richest Men in the World, and Lived to Regret it” by Sean Kelly. Also of interest is “In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo” by Michela Wrong.

      Corruption was rampant under Mobutu, which ultimately lead to his downfall and still causes problems to this day. It’s hard to summarize here, but to try, at least: there was a genocide in neighboring Rwanda. Refugees fled across the border, but while some of them were civilian refugees, others were genocidaires. In theory, as a precaution against allowing armed genocidaires into the country, refugees were supposed to be disarmed upon entering the Congo. In actual practice, the border guards were so corrupt that they just sold the weapons back to the genocidaires. To quote, Jason Stearns

      “Whereas the price of food had peaked, the value of weapons and ammunition had plummeted because of their abundance. At the border crossing, within sight of French troops, the fleeing Rwandan soldiers were supposed to give their weapons over to Mobutu’s presidential guard. Machine guns and rocket launchers piled up. Behind the customs offices, however, an arms market had spontaneously sprung up, where ex-FAR officers negotiated to buy back their arms. An AK-47 went for $40 to $50, a Russian-made rocket launcher for just under $100. Other weapons were never handed over to the Zairians. Rwarakabije saw tons of ammunition smuggled through in trucks, hidden under bags of rice and maize. “We gave the border guards some money to look the other way. All they wanted was money.”

      Aid organizations were completely incompetent and made no attempt to separate the civilians from the genocidaires, and the genocidaires were more or less allowed to take over the refugee camps. Many Congolese didn’t like hosting the refugees, and the Rwandans didn’t want them back, considering many of them were refugees. The people in charge of Rwanda probably would’ve preferred if the United States had stepped in to do something about the genocidaires, hold trials or move them somewhere away from Rwanda’s border or something, but since the US didn’t do anything particularly helpful, the Rwandan government decided to do something themselves – invade the Congo to kill the refugees. However, they decided for political reasons, it would be better to throw their support behind a local rebel and use supporting the local rebellion to make their invasion not look so much like an invasion. And so, they threw their support behind Kabila, a Congolese rebel, overthrew Mobutu, and in the process, slaughtered the Rwandan refugees. And for some reason, Uganda helped Rwanda with this. Kabila turned out not to be a particularly great leader, and wound up being overthrown and replaced by his son, another Kabila. Relations between the Rwanda and Uganda broke down and they started fighting each other – on Congolese soil. Things splintered into a bunch of militia groups fighting each other, often killing and/or raping the locals, and/or subjecting them to forced labor. A lot of raw materials for modern electronics now comes from forced labor in the Congo. For further details see “Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa” by Jason Stearns. Also of interest are chapters 2 and 3 of “Blood and Earth” by Kevin Bales and “All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo” by Brian Mealer.

      All that provides an example of how Africa continues to be influenced by culturally European powers. It’s a fair guess that a lot of African countries were acting under European influence when they enacted lockdowns. (European including American, in the sense of culturally European – not necessarily continental European.)

      • random person says:

        Review of King Leopold’s Ghost by Michiko Kakutani to help give you the general idea of the book.


      • random person says:

        Red Rubber by Edmund Dene Morel is available from archive.org.


      • Harold says:

        I do not claim that Africa is not influenced by USA policies, but it more influenced by African policies. The lockdowns in Africa that caused Africans most harm were the ones imposed in Africa, not in the USA. Many were quite draconian. It seems unreasonable to blame US Democrats for policies enacted in Africa.

        Africa has lower fatality rate. This is in part due the demographics. A good visualization can be had here.

        This shows the population pyramid of the population of USA broken down by age. Select Africa from the drop down and compare. It is quite striking.

        There was also a claim that Neanderthal genes make Covid-19 worse. Africans generally do not have Neanderthal genes, because they are descendants of the original population in Africa from which we are all descended. Only those that left Africa have picked up Neanderthal genes. This is much more speculative than the population distribution.

        The Great Barrington Declaration is interesting. It has been dismissed by some as “bad science”, but is not science at all. It is politics. The problem is that it does not suggest what should be done to protect the vulnerable. It would be very easy to end up with a policy that failed to protect them whilst allowing unchecked spread. If there was a policy suggestion where billions of dollars could be spent on real policies to protect the elderly and vulnerable, it may gain more traction and be less harmful overall. As it is, we would be likely to abandon control measures and fail to implement protection measures.

        • random person says:

          “Do coronavirus lockdowns in Africa make sense?”


          The article details how many lockdowns in Africa have been enforced by police brutality, how many Africans have to work or starve and this makes it perfectly rational for them to resist lockdowns, etc. Much of it can be corroborated in greater detail by other articles on the internet.

          So, if the lockdowns are not the will of most of the African people, as many Africans a) have very strong motive to resist lockdowns, namely, they don’t want to starve, b) have in fact been observed resisting lockdowns, and c) have been repressed by police brutality, then whose will are the lockdowns in Africa?

          Police brutality against the people is often a marker of foreign intervention. Not always, of course, it could be other things, but it’s not as if these lockdowns benefit African dictators and other political leaders in any obvious way, and we know that culturally European powers have a long history of meddling in African affairs. So, who are the dictators and other political leaders imposing the lockdowns answering to, if not the African people?

      • Harold says:

        Scanning a few countries in the population pyramid shows some interesting things. China has a bulge in the 50’s, possibly a result of the one child policy? Cambodia has a distinct narrowing at 40-44, presumably due to the Pol Pot regime and war.

        Cuba has a bulge at 40-50 also, and a narrowing for younger ages. Italy is decidedly top heavy, contributing to their severe Covid problems.

  3. guest says:

    With regard to “The Hunt”.

    I wanted to see if the Left attempt to justify it’s positions in a movie that was predicated on the idea that “deplorables” need to be hunted down.

    (I’ll probably end up watching the Commie version of Superman – “Red Son” – for the same reason; not that Red Son would necessarily portray hunting Right-wingers.)

    But yeah, as you say, Right-wingers may not like some of the content, but they will not make it to the end of the movie believing they have wasted their time.

    Actually, I think that “The Hunt” was kind of made for Right-wing people who generally have a thick skin – those who will at least listen to another point of view.

    The payoff is pretty good with the analysis of Animal Farm. (I remember reading part of it at one time, but I don’t think I finished it. I should probably do that.)

    Fun fact, George Orwell, apparently, was actually a hard-core socialist. Found that out on one of Tom Woods’ shows.

    • random person says:

      George Orwell was for democratic socialism, but against totalitarianism, and a passionate critic of Stalin.


      To help shed some light on this, it is helpful to consider the Pechuro conspiracy. As described by Adam Hochschild in “The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin”:

      In the long years when Stalin murdered, by the millions, members of alleged conspiracies against him, almost all of them imaginary, Pechuro’s group was a real conspiracy. And it was in the heart of the empire, in Moscow. Most extraordinary of all, its six members were all teenagers. At the time of their arrest, the youngest was sixteen, the oldest nineteen.

      Three were shot.

      Two died in labor camps or afterward.

      Susanna Pechuro is the only one left alive.

      One morning I knock on the door of an apartment more than an hour away from the center of Moscow by bus and subway. The woman who opens it is stocky, robust, about sixty years old. She walks with a slight limp. Her face is the picture of warmth, vitality, and luminous intelligence.

      Pechuro’s children are grown, she explains, but she likes to be around young people. So she rents out rooms in her apartment to students and young friends. In the living room Pechuro introduces one of her tenants, a woman named Lena. Her arm is in a sling—she hurt it yesterday in a karate class. She is lying on a couch, reading, covered with a blanket; Pechuro has obviously been taking care of her.

      Before we sit down, I ask Pechuro about some framed photographs on a bookshelf.

      She picks one up. “Here’s a picture of the boys, my friends, who were with me in this organization. And who were executed. These three boys.” We take seats at a table, and I ask her to start at the beginning.

      “Most of us were high school or college students—first year at [Moscow State] University or at one of the institutes. What had brought us together? When we’d been younger, we’d all belonged to the literary club at the House of Pioneers. There we’d become friends. There we’d begun to think for the first time, and to discuss with each other what we were thinking about. We trusted each other completely. And in that we were right.

      “We were forbidden to read our poems out loud unless they were checked by the director. We got indignant. There was a girl in our group who read aloud a mournful poem, about a girl who feels sad at a party because her boyfriend is dancing with another girl. She was told that this kind of mood wasn’t worthy of a Soviet youth. She wasn’t allowed to read this poem aloud. This was the last straw, and we announced that we weren’t going to go to the club any longer, we were going to study by ourselves.

      “In a civilized society, what we accomplished would be regarded as a trifle. What did we manage to do? Practically nothing. We issued two leaflets. We developed a program. The program said that in Russia we did not have a dictatorship of the proletariat—instead, we had a Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator. The program said that there were two imperialist systems that had divided the world into spheres of influence. That there was serfdom—although it was called collective farming. That all the officially proclaimed principles were being carried out in reverse. And that all this should be fought against.”

      And so, a group of teenagers who lived in Stalin’s Russia and studied Marx concluded that they were not living in a “dictatorship of the proletariat”, but in fact by a Bonapartist regime headed by a dictator, and what the Russian officials called “collective farming” was really just a euphemism for serfdom.

      When the Stalinist officials were hypocrites who carried out their officially proclaimed principles “in reverse”, is it really such a wonder that George Orwell could be a socialist and still fervently oppose Stalin?

    • random person says:

      Apologies, the part of Hochschild’s text that mentions that the conspirators studied Marx came a bit after the part I quoted above.

      Here’s the part which discusses their studying, including of Marx.

      The informal leader of the little group was a boy named Boris Slutsky, whose father had been killed in the war. “From the books left by his father, we figured out that probably he was a Trotskyist, who totally by chance had escaped being arrested. In one volume by Lenin, we found Lenin’s will.” The will warned Party members against Stalin. Although it had been distributed to some officials after Lenin died in 1924, Stalin had done his best to seize and destroy all copies of the will as he gained power over the next few years. The bookshelves of Slutsky’s dead father also contained poetry by various banned writers, and this work, too, influenced the group of teenagers.

      “This boy lived alone, because his mother had remarried and he refused to live with his stepfather. He had a room that no adult visited. There we gathered, there we talked, there we typed. We studied Marxism. Boris Slutsky was well read, bright and educated, in a way kids at his age usually are not. He explained that unless we had knowledge, we had no right to make judgments. We had assignments to read an article or a book, make a synopsis, and then we came together and talked, bringing our synopses.

      • Harold says:

        Have you read his first published book, “Down and Out in Paris and London”?

        He says of the plongeurs (washing up staff) “[A] plongeur is one of the slaves of the modern world. Not that there is any need to whine over him, for he is better off than many manual workers, but still, he is no freer than if he were bought and sold. “

      • Harold says:

        I just posted a comment about Orwell which included the word s****s. It is awaiting moderation.

  4. random person says:

    I’ve been trying to think of how to reply to the stuff about defense agencies, but I’m not entirely clear whether historical examples related to mercenaries or militias would be more related to what you are thinking of. At first, I was thinking “mercenaries”, but then you mentioned something maybe people wouldn’t sign up to work for “defense agencies” that actively enabled violent crime, which got me thinking “militia”… but perhaps you can clarify.

    Would historical examples of mercenaries (people who are there to make their fortune) or historical examples of militias (people rising up to defend their homevillage / hometown / whatever) be closer to what you are thinking of?

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