This week Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper and French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Haiti to pledge, together, more than half a billion dollars in aid for the earthquake devastated Caribbean nation. Will this money make much of a difference in the lives of desperately impoverished Haitians? Will Haiti’s future get better due to the outpouring of help from Canada, the U.S., France, and other concerned nations?
NOT LIKELY according to one knowledgeable “free market do-gooder” who visits the various hell-holes on this planet. Doug Casey of the Casey Research financial newsletter believes that it doesn’t matter how much aid you shovel down Haiti’s bottomless pit, the long-term outlook for average Haitians will remain grim. Oh yes, today’s flow of aid will alleviate temporarily some suffering. A band-aid, a bottle of water, or a gangrenous leg cut off today is better than no help at all. But Casey predicts that utterly ruthless Haitian officials will siphon off into their secret bank accounts most of our well-intentioned donations.
For most of its tragic history Haiti has been run as a kleptocracy—where the power of the state has proven the most efficient means of stealing from the people. According to Casey, the very idea of putting the Haitian government in charge of rebuilding the place is “insane.” Casey must find some dark ironic humour in the news that Canada’s government proposes to rebuild a “banana republic without bananas” headquarters complex while France’s government offers to give the kleptocrats $40 million to help support their budget (lifestyle). After all, we’re talking about strengthening the power and position of a circle of bureaucrats who have reduced their fellow countrymen to utter poverty by corruption and oppression in order to selfishly enrich themselves. If you want to read Doug Casey’s full interview about the reasons behind Haiti’s poverty, then go to Conversations with Casey at http://www.caseyresearch.com/displayCwc.php?id=38.
Sadly, the problems in Haiti are nothing new in human experience. The issue of poor and/or corrupt human governance has long brought difficulties on everyday people. The Scriptures have something important to say that applies specifically to Haiti’s situation!
When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it—But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out. The wicked who oppress the poor are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest. If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity; if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail (Proverbs 28:2-4 The Message translation).
Of course, considering the current financial situation and political challenges facing the Western democratic governments right now, what are the real qualities of leadership that are needed for public service in not only Haiti, but also Canada, the U.S., and France?
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain’ (2 Samuel 23:3-4 NKJV).
The ideal of good government carried out to benefit the governed as expressed above is entirely possible. Men can govern correctly—but it does take a knowledge of the moral logic of this universe and the personal commitment and discipline to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. In the 21st Century when we think of King David of ancient Israel we tend to think of his personal bravery fighting the giant Goliath (whose name, by the way, was recently found etched on a potsherd discovered in an official archaeological dig) or perhaps his affair with Bathsheba. But for his contemporaries, what really made an impression on them was how David organized and ran his government and its legal system:
David ruled over the whole nation of Israel. He did what was fair and right for all of his people (1 Chronicles 18:14 New International Reader’s Version).
If we all had rulers who really cared for us, who were incorruptible, and who always acted in the public’s interest, who were motivated to ensure justice and fairness for all, then how our world and personal lives would be different today. Only when such fair and right-doing people finally occupy positions of leadership in Haiti will it have a real hope instead of today’s faint-hope that somehow a few of the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid will actually end up being spent to help them.