Doc Flanders

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The most evil Belgian of them all

Samizdata's Brian Micklethwait comments on Russell Roberts interviewing Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on "The logic of political survival".

I had always assumed that Belgium's late nineteenth century and hence subsequent twentieth century prosperity was based on this African plunder and slaughter, but, says Bruce Bueno, not so. King Leopold II personally became obscenely wealthy as a result of his African depradations. But Belgium as a whole got rich, on an economic scale far more massive than mere African plunder could possibly explain, because it came to be very well governed, by King Leopold II. In particular, it switched to free trade. King Leopold II reigned from 1865 to his death in 1909. He had, in Belgium, quite a lot of power, but wished he had a lot more. He bitterly resented the constraints he faced. But, these constraints were a fact of life which he had to live with, and he did what he had to do to keep himself firmly in command of what power he had, which was to govern Belgium really quite well. Simply, too many Belgians influenced the decision about whether he should remain King for him to be able to bribe them all in the African manner.

Which nicely makes Bruno Bueno's point. Leopold II, pursuer of ultimate and permanent power whenever and wherever he could find it, was able to let rip in Africa, but not in Belgium. Her was a civilised Belgian ruler not because he liked his fellow Belgians and welcomed their massed and massive influence over him. He hated it. He just did, in Belgium, what he had to do. The environment made the difference.

Countries are governed the way they are, not because the politicians in some countries are intrinsically more greedy and corrupt than they are in other countries, or for that matter because people in different countries differ in their willingness to accept tyranny, but because different countries differ in the constraints they place upon rulers.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Beer

Inbev, a force for good or evil?

Thanks in large part to Hadian's efforts ... Hoegaarden ... quickly became one of Pennsylvania's best-selling imports, and Hadian's business, Shangy's in Emmaus, is now one of the top two specialty beer wholesalers in the nation, touting more than 3,000 domestic and imported brands.

But Hadian and his parents, Javad and Mansooreh, are in the fight of their lives.

A federal lawsuit Shangy's filed last week claims the world's largest beer distributor, InBev USA, has failed to honor a 1998 agreement ensuring Shangy's would be the sole wholesaler of Hoegaarden and other InBev products in a 17-county region that includes the Lehigh Valley, the Poconos and Philadelphia.


(hattip: realbeer.com)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Lion's Den

LVB has a report on the Pro-Israel demonstration yesterday in Brussels

The demonstration was very peaceful and quiet, with official speeches by the Israeli ambassador and by Henri Gutman from the committee of Jewish organisations. Israeli and Belgian flags were waved, as well as a flag of the Dutch chapter of "Christians for Israel". The only slogan seen: "Hezbollah is a threat to peace". What an understatement.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Watchmen

Michael examines the "commie TV network" VRT, Flanders' own PBS.

Josh Trevino calls for "moral sanity":
It is a curious war indeed in which one side may assiduously seek atrocity and thereby achieve perceived moral superiority over its foe.


Meanwhile, south of the border, the usual suspects are blamed in a "La Libre Belgique" op-ed:
It is Zionism that leads to war - C'est le sionisme qui mène à la guerre

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Introduction

Doc Flanders, a man in need of a shirt.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hiya


First post!