“But the fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we are not to know that he wants us to believe something he supposes to be false,” wrote the philosopher Harry Frankfurt.
“The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is
that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what
we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth
nor to conceal it. This does not mean that his speech is anarchically
impulsive, but that the motive guiding and controlling it is unconcerned with
how the things about which he speaks truly are.”
This is really deep!
Some of us live in a country, Zimbabwe, where the racist white colonial
regime deliberately kept the black majority poor economically and, worst of
all, intellectually starved. Nothing raised the whites’ fear and anger more
than a black person who showed any sign of thinking for him or herself. If you
are white you would automatically be appointed into a senior position supervising
the blacks, for example, regardless of whether any of the blacks was better
qualified and or has more experience.
As a black person one was call a “Boy” or “Girl” regardless how old one
happened to be. The names had nothing to do with one’s physical age but rather
everything to do with one’s mental age. Blacks, as the name suggested by their
name, never developed the mental capacity of an adult and so remained a minor.
Minors cannot be trusted to make important decision on their own because
they cannot be trusted to think through the consequences of such decision. Of
course, it was simply unthinkable to give blacks a vote!
In white ruled Rhodesia, Ian Smith instituted an education system geared to
produce “half-educated” blacks to meet the country’s growing demand for
semi-skilled and skilled labour. Half-educated in that one was expected to have
the book-knowledge to understand the instructions from the white-boss but was
frowned upon if you showed any initiative or questioned anything – anything to
show you are thinking!
However, it was in the control of the print and electronic media serving the
black population that the white colonial regime’s showed its satanic intention
to stifle debate and freedom of expression and thus deny the blacks the
opportunity to be truly enlightened and to think for themselves.
Sadly, after independence Mugabe inherited the white colonial regime’s oppressive
system lock, stock and barrel. Ever since Zimbabwe attained her independence in
1980 Zanu PF has always had a Ministry of Information who primary task was to
spoon feed the government controlled print and electronic media with what the
government want the people to know as contrast to what telling them the facts.
It is no exaggeration to say the Zimbabwean people are some of the
brainwashed people on earth.
It is easy to see why Zanu PF has gotten away with the lie that the country’s
economic mess was caused by sanctions imposed by the west. It was nonsense of
course given that the country has been losing as much as $15 billion, by Mugabe’s
own admission, through corruption. No country can sustain that level of wastage
and prosper much less a country like Zimbabwe whose GDP is $14 billion! The
people had no choice but to believe whatever the regime told them because they
were denied the opportunity of an alternative narrative.
A healthy and functioning democracy is only possible when you have an
electorate that is smart enough to know the facts; how else otherwise will they
tell the difference between a candidate who is telling what can be done from
the one promising them the moon on a silver platter but always deliver
In real advance democracy, the electorate must be even smarter to
distinguish Harry Frankfurt’s liar from the bullshitter. Tsvangirai and Mugabe
are neither liar nor bullshitter is the strict sense Frankfurt meant those
terms because, more often than not, the two gentlemen are themselves ignorant
of the facts. Tsvangirai has built his political career on promising to deliver
democratic change and yet he has never ever explained what democratic change he
would institute even in one area. He really has no idea. None!
Before Mugabe took over power from Ian Smith Zimbabwe was the bread basket
of the region; today the nation is failing to produce enough to feed its own
people. We live in the age where man’s ingenuity has turned deserts in blooming
orchards and yet we are starving in a country, which by all account, is the
Garden of Eden. There is the damning testimonial to Mugabe’s breath-taking incompetency
– which is worse than a hybrid liar and bullshitter!
Zimbabwe has blundered from pillar to post in a nose-dive to oblivion
largely because the majority of our people have been deliberately kept blind of
the truth, reality and the facts by a self-serving and oppressive ruling elite.
The bad situation was turned into a total disaster when pre-independence oppressive
ruling elite who had common sense was replaced by the corrupt and incompetent post-independence
Unless we learn to embrace knowledge and encourage the people to think for
themselves and not starve them of information and stifle open and meaningful debate
all dreams of Zimbabwe as a free, democratic and prosperous nation will remain
just that – a dream!