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Author Topic: King Leopolds Ghost
Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 10:51
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I wonder if Zaire (as it was called then) was any better under Mobutu than it was under Leopold. Julius Limbani forever! And I guess Mad Mike Hoare aka Allen Faulkner as well.

Of course, in the end the wealth of the Congo came from minerals, mostly from the Katanga. Rubber production today is modest, only the fourth most important cash crop (and the leading exports are copper and oil). Cacao is one of those cash crops, which is no doubt why Cadbury was interested.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 11:19
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According to the book (in short…in summation), Mobuto used the Congo exactly as Leopold did. They sold everything to the highest bidder and enriched themselves. There’s a hilarious story of the Congolese Consul to Japan who sold the Congo consulate property (it being in a particularly expensive area of Japan) to some developers and pocketed the money himself. Whether the Mobuto regime was less physically brutal, I don’t know.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 12:34
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If Leopold actually engaged in massive genocide, Mobutu probably wasn't as bad. Otherwise . . . On the other hand, when has the Congo ever had decent leadership? Few African countries do -- though very few are as bad as Mobutu was. (The most obvious exception to that is Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and it took a while for him to become a monster.)

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 15:05
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I don’t know how many Congolese the Mobutu regime murdered or maimed. Googling shows little. It seems to be unknown. Wars added to the toll as well.

This book was certainly readable and fairly well put together. But I think it missed telling more of a compelling story. Part of that, the author admits, is the sheer lack of information from those natives who lived in the Congo. It’s hard to tell their personal story if their history has all but been rubbed out.

But there is very little trying to get into the mind of Leopold. The author notes that there is nothing in his pampered, easy life to suggest he would ever be another Hitler or Stalin.

I think it helps to understand (something the author’s book was weak on) that back then people looked at Africans with as much disdain as the Left does on unborn babies. (The same attitude seems to occur between and betwixt many African tribes as well.) They simply don’t count and one can do what they want with them, whatever is convenient.

And people easily go along with this. People can easily adjust their “normal” to some very pernicious things. That’s why I say, Be cautious how far up Trump’s rear end anyone places his or her nose. If Trump is the new normal then god help us all. But he pre-dates a normal that was even worse.

I would recommend this book to history enthusiasts. It certainly includes a fair amount of history regarding subsidiary things. But do not read this if you wish to maintain a cheery disposition toward human nature. That’s not gonna happen.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 15:13
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I would recommend this book to history enthusiasts. It certainly includes a fair amount of history regarding subsidiary things. But do not read this if you wish to maintain a cheery disposition toward human nature. That’s not gonna happen.

If one is a history enthusiast, any cheery disposition toward human nature which one might have had, has likely departed long ago.

Timothy-
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Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 16:26
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I wasn't even a teen when I read such lengthy books as Kidnap by George Waller (about the Lindbergh kidnapping) and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. Of course, I was already a very morbid individual, fascinated by venomous snakes, deadly diseases, tortures, and other such delights. And plays such as Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, and The Crucible reminded me how inhumane people could be.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 18:58
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If one is a history enthusiast, any cheery disposition toward human nature which one might have had, has likely departed long ago.

I suspect you are right, Mr. Kung. One of the tricks, which I have by no means mastered, is to hold to some type of larger vision (faith, if you will) and not give in to nihilism. The pearls not stomped on by the swine are all the more precious for having been saved and cherished. There are rotten things in this world which, if only by contrast, makes the good things all the more valuable.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 19:10
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Reading history puts a good and needed perspective on our own lives and culture, Timothy. It’s not perfect but no one (yet) is taking our family members hostage so that we must go out and (perhaps) gather 100 lbs. of trash off the beach every day or else be subject to a good whipping or losing one’s hand.

On second thought, maybe not everyone should read a book such as this. I think the evil Leftists would see it as a recipe book. Don’t want to give them any ideas.

The line between civilization and insanity is a thin one. It is first and foremost about obeying the Golden Rule. When that goes out the window, all hell literally breaks loose.

Perhaps Leopold would have made a little less money, but supposing he played fairly with the natives and leased their land, paid them fairly, and incentivized with payola, instead of the lash, for what he wanted done. Why not? Isn’t this then a typical free market win-win situation?

The Europeans would blow themselves up twice in the years to come because they just couldn’t help themselves. A third time is coming as well.

Timothy-
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Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 16, 2018, 19:32
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Unfortunately, the left has already picked up all the vicious ideas they need from their guide book, 1984. They could also study the tortures of the Inquisitions (though they weren't used as much as people think) if that occurred to them. (Look up squassation sometime. It was as nasty as the Fire Witch. The mild form, which was bad enough, was known as strappado.)

I don't see the Europeans blowing themselves up again. The Muslim invaders are another matter.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: King Leopolds Ghost
on: July 17, 2018, 09:36
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One of the shortcomings of the book is that I don’t think the author gave us much of a profile of Leopold. Perhaps there was no more to him than his love of young women and forever building and remodeling his palaces. He hated his daughters to the extent that he went out of his way to disinherit them and keep them at a distance. They were not even allowed to visit him on his deathbed. One of his daughters was undeniably crazy but the other one was fairly normal. Why the distancing? From reading this book, I still don’t know

Why Leopold’s extreme avarice? From reading this book, I have no idea. But then maybe nobody knows. It seems that European royalty is probably inbred to the point of being crazy. Leopold, suffering from colony envy, wanted his little country to have one too, must like the major players. But it wasn’t his country he cared about. He had the idea of willing the Congo to his country, but the Congo was all about him.

Why such deep inhumanity to man, to men who had did nothing to him personally? I can only call it the moral rot of human nature, particularly as exists in Europe’s leaders and royalty. But then doesn’t one have to already be fundamentally arrogant to be “royalty”? We might laugh at such conceits as an American, although that is how we now treat many celebrities.

There’s a good (and short) section on some of Morel’s warnings about the coming Great War. Apparently a lot of people saw it coming and were very enthusiastic that it was going to happen. You didn’t have to be a traitor or Commie peacenik to be against it. Morel was against it. And he saw the coming madness and it was a madness. To some extent, Leopold in the Congo was a symptom of that madness.

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