Somalia’s Problem: Too Much Government?

Big government supporters have been quick to point to Somalia as what happens when government is relinquished and the free market is allowed to run wild. Well as it turns out, these big government supporters are not paying attention to history (surprise, surprise). Go here to read Jesse Walker’s article for Reason Magazine discussing the bloody history of Somalia. The article is a series of questions he answers dealing first with the pirates of Somalia, and then the history involved with how the piracy came to be such a large problem. As the article explains:

Let me get this straight. To combat communism in east Africa, the United States propped up a Marxist dictator. After sending troops to battle the warlords, it intervened again to assist the warlords. It did this about-face to stanch the growth of Islamism, but the effect was to put an Islamist group in charge of the country. And after Washington backed an invasion and occupation of the nation to end the Islamic Courts Union’s control, the result was a government run by a former commander of the Islamic Courts Union?

You can see why I’m skeptical about a war on the pirates. It’ll probably end with Obama dedicating a 60-foot statue of Blackbeard in the middle of Mogadishu.

So how do we fix the problems on the mainland, if we don’t invade and don’t send aid?

We butt out. If we can’t solve Somalia’s problems, we can at least refrain from making them worse. The closest the country has had to a period of optimism and growth came when the international community—with the ignoble exceptions of the fish thieves and waste dumpers—largely left the place to its own devices.

It is not lack of government that causes these type of massive humanitarian disasters. As the 20th century shows, with over 100 million murders to their names, big governments are a plague on society. They always seem to promise safety and comfort, but bring pain, death, and suffering.

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