Saturday, March 6, 2010

Authoritarian Paternalism

The photo is a satellite picture of the island of Hispaniola; the red line divides the island into the Dominican Republic on the right and Haiti on the left.

My fellow Canadians are quite familiar with the Dominican as a sunny refuge in winter, and a source of some very good baseball players. Haiti is known for its poverty and its chief export to Canada, people. Over one hundred thousand Haitians live in Canada, mostly in Quebec. These are hard working proud people that have made substantial contributions to Canada including giving us our current Governor General.

I’ve avoided writing about Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake in January because I had little to add to what was then, and still is a desperate situation. Haiti is a basket case as far as governance, economics, rights, freedoms, justice, in fact by any measure one might choose. Of course the problem is that Haiti was a basket case before the earthquake, now, well it’s a head shaker. Before the earthquake there were thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGO's) pouring money into Haiti, now that number has increased and governments have joined the rescue. Will it save Haiti? I’m not optimistic. Today in the Globe and Mail my view is shared by Margaret Wente, have a look. Her view is that Haiti, if it is to be saved will be saved by its chief export to places like Canada, its people.


  1. To start, kick out the missionaries and offer free (yes, free!) birth control to any Haitian that wants it.

  2. There are many non-religious NGO's there and population control is not really the problem. But Haiti is the perfect place to start fresh - New Rules- (as Bill Maher says). How that happens is a "chicken & egg" problem - first you need a framework of order to protect individuals from force/fraud then....set up the rules. Who gets to do that and with what authority?


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