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9982: Re:9969 Re:9892: Re:9889 Florestal replies to Poincy (fwd)

From: Jean-Marie Florestal <sonice1953@yahoo.com>

It is easy to fall prey of the fallacy of Poincy’s
arguments in the subject post and in previous ones
advocating dictatorial governments for Haiti. The
successive failures of efforts in Haiti to progress
economically and politically set that trap. But
Poincy’s arguments so far failed to pass any test that
would show consistently his solutions would solve the
economic and social problems of Haiti. Never mind that
they are social and cultural aspects of Haitian life
that Haitians would trade for no other in the world.
Some of the tests may be whether or not security will
always, in the case of Haiti, be conducive to economic
development. While he claims that creativity is
required for economic development, as far as I know,
it is not proven that by having security you will
automatically get creativity. Now, let’s take some of
his statements one at a time:      

Poincy wrote:
>I agree that one can't study or fight with an empty
>stomach. However, feeding one's stomach is the sole
>responsibility of the individual and not that of a
>government or a leader.

He’ll get no arguments from me on the first part. On
the second part, he is suggesting that we all have the
abilities, if not the same, to feed our stomach, and
is denying that when resources are limited, one with
multiple talents may take not only his share but also
those of the lesser talented, making it extremely
difficult for them to carry out their responsibility
of feeding themselves. To me, those are
rationalizations to justify a lack of compassion. In
Poincy’s Haitian society, the retarded, the sick, the
mentally incompetent, or even the children, just to
name a few, should not be assisted with feeding
themselves or obtaining basic life necessities. I am
not saying that the opposite is true. On that, I agree
with him that it is not the government's
responsibility. What I disagree with him is that
feeding one’s stomach is the responsibility of the
individual, only when that individual has the means to
do so. 

>Contrary to what you think,
>the "first and formost (sic) job" of a leader or
>is to ensure collective security and that of
>individuals as a result.

A good government has a responsibility to assist or be
a catalyst to the individual for reaching or pursuing
his goal of happiness. That catalyst is not foremost
security. It is also education, infrastructure,
freedom to choose, and freedom to be the best he can
be, among others. The Soviet Union thought it their
goals of ensuring collective security. I don’t think
the individual soviet thought he was secure in a
regime where he could be eliminated or sent to Siberia
just for trying to capitalize on his innate talents.

>A leader is there to finetune a system enabling
>individuals to pursue their private interests without
>harming each other. This is the mistake Ayitians are
>making by thinking that the government should be
>sole provider. 

You will get from me no arguments on the first part.
The second is blatantly wrong as it suggests that in
general Haitians don’t work for a living. I would
agree with you that Haitians place too much reliance
on the government to solve the country’s problems and
too little on them. This explains the wasted resources
on uninterrupted political discussions and the take no
prisoner’s attitudes in the political discourse. But
many hard working Haitians go to work daily the same
way it is done everywhere else in the world.

>If the Ayitian
>government is able to bring about political
>by neutralizing its opponents and by remaining for a
>good while in power, it can lay the groundwork
>conducive to fruitful private activities with little
>or no help from the outside world.

Francois Duvalier’s government accomplished all these
dictatorial goals. The only notable fruit of the
groundwork he laid down was for his permanence in
power and his son’s succession. During his reign, the
country started in a downward spiral that has not
stopped since. Every other parts of the country
regressed while Port-au-Prince became the premier
shantytown of the Caribbean. In fact the majority of
governments in Haiti, since Dessalines, have pursued
those dictatorial goals of political stability by
neutralizing its opponents. We all know what the
results are. 

There is nothing wrong with getting outside help. It
is how you get it and what you do with it. Before
becoming president, John Adams went as a beggar around
the world seeking outside help – Canada, France,
Netherlands, Russia, even Great Britain – with the
Netherlands opening the doors to outside help. We all
know what fruits it bore. Not even the political
instability of the Civil War was able to undo its
beneficial effects.

>Why do I believe so? The purpose of financial
>assistance is to give a little push to something that
>is already in the making. Financial assistance is
>meaningful when projects are a WORK IN PROGRESS. In
>the absence of such, billions of dollars are
>worthless. Ayiti has nothing in the making. Ayiti
>Itself is a "WORK IN REGRESS"

It can also be argued that the WORK IN REGRESS –
assuming economic decline here - is caused by
successive dictatorships and lack of democracy.

>All that is needed is production. To produce all that
>is needed is nature and labor. Ayiti has it all, but
>the people lacks creativity. 

Here again, as in many of Poincy’s arguments in this
post or in past ones, the problem is simple and so is
the solution. Competition between countries does not 
seem to be a factor. External forces don’t seem to
affect the conditions in the country and its
relatively short life span does not seem to influence
its prosperity. Many of the developed countries have
existed for thousands of years in a state that may
have been worst then what Haiti is now. Haiti is new
and still in a learning curve, and not until the 20th
century was denied the right of existence and had to
make do with illiterate slaves and their illiterate
descendants with no traditions of running a large
social group and no time to learn how to do it. The
industrial revolution is less than 300 years old. It
took thousand of years to the European and Asian
societies before they made it there. Haiti is less han
200 years old.   

>For a strong hand is needed to curb
>any resistance, provided the government has good

To me the idea of a benevolent dictatorship is an
oxymoron. The dictator’s interest of permanence in
power subordinates all other interests, including his
country’s. And, that is the greatest flaw of Poincy’s
repeated argument.  


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