The Terror of Zimbabwe
A solid documentary on the tragic Failed State of Zimbabwe and the responsibility for it that one man, Mugabe, bears. Watching this made me wonder if failed states were not the result of monsters, but that monsters were the result of failed states.
If Mugabe were assassinated, there is a strong chance that many innocent lives would be saved and huge number of people would suffer less. Unlike many leaders Mugabe does not have the resources to make himself safe, and a single Cruise Missile would perhaps have a chance of success. Yet this outcome is unlikely, leaders rarely get assassinated outside of war, by a foreign state. There are reasons for this: Zimbabwe has no strategic benefit to others – no oil, and it is ‘illegal’ under UN law to assassinate a leader of a foreign state etc. But what if these reasons were actually an inevitable result of the way that countries evolve collectively?
What if the institutions of states evolve over time so that they self calibrate towards the stability of rule rather than the well being of the largest number of people? The natural equilibrium of politics is such that decision paths that allow for attacking the head of an organization or society will be rarer than war which requires bottom up confrontation with lots of individuals when evaluating the chance of a net reduction in suffering.
In other words, like the Selfish Gene perhaps there is a Selfish Meme, a naturally selected macro organization where people are expendable if the rules and institutions and nationalistic ideas (extended-genotype?) that create countries (extended-phenotype) survive. Perhaps what looks like the result of corrupt humans in government, is in fact the nature of government itself.