Many on here and on Facebook have messaged me about the Kony 2012 movie
. It's very well-made and definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it yet.
Kony is a terrible criminal, and I am very much for bringing him to justice. However, I do not
share the enthusiasm of the overwhelming majority about the movie and the proposals put forward by the makers. Here are ten criticisms I came up with, in no particular order.
1) If something is being hyped up all around you, this is a strong signal to think for yourself. Be especially suspicious when someone wants to use FORCE to do GOOD. Paradoxically, if you REALLY care - don't fall for appeal to emotion, as is being done here. Consider the implications and outcomes, rather than the motives. Don't let the public opinion shape yours, let the facts do so. Don't let one issue overshadow other issues which could be more important. Don't be afraid to disagree with the majority. Truth is not decided by majority vote. Stick up for the truth, even if its unpopular. That is the intellectually honest position.
I am, by no means, saying that this is a conspiracy of any kind. Neither am I saying that views held by the mainstream are a lie, like many conspiracy theorists hold.
2) What the film maker wants is illegal under US constitution. Men and women sign up to risk their life in the armed forces to defend the United States. Yes, I know that hardly anyone in Washington gives a fuck about the rule of law any more, but I still think this is worth mentioning. They don't sign up to be sent overseas to die on somebody's whim to protect people who are not US citizens. Policing the world is not their function. UN peacekeepers might be a better option (not one I would support either, but that's a different story). To use the US military for this, war should be declared through congress. This will never happen, since he is not a threat to the US.
Briefly, a valid alternative would be people volunteering to fight Kony (e.g. veterans) like they did in the Spanish civil war.
3) Focusing so much attention and resources on Kony could mean that many other problems, like hunger and infectious disease, which kill 1000 times more people will get less attention. Net result: MORE DEAD PEOPLE. Sure, and evil guy makes for a great story compared to a faceless disease.
Kony is also not in the same league as Hitler. To compare them is intellectually dishonest. He does not invade other countries, kill millions, or have aspirations for world domination. He's a monster, but on a much smaller scale.
Malaria kills 1M, AIDS 3M, hunger 5M (children only!) per year. If these problems receive even 1% less attention because of the shit storm around Kony, 100K people are dead. If instead of starting another war, the billions of dollars go towards making people self-reliant and disease prevention, many times more people could be saved.
4) The US is already broke and overextended badly around the world. The economy is in poor shape. Soldiers in the armed forces are scarred after a decade of wars in the middle east which have achieved little of substance, but dug a financial grave for the budget.
5) The whole action plan appears to go further towards making you feel good about yourself, rather than solving the problem in a meaningful way. Talk, share, donate, wear a plastic bracelet? Hire a mercenary, get a rifle and put your ass on the line - now we are talking. Caring enough to click "share" is not really caring at all. Caring enough to petition a politician eager to buy popularity by sending someone else's son to die in Africa fighting someone else's war is lack of integrity.
6) The movie practically says that Uganda (or any other countries) are worthless. Only Washington can solve the world's problems. Are you serious, Captain America? How condescending. Oh yeah, those Africans are useless. They can't do anything on their own. Let's re-colonize them :-\
Petition the president of Uganda to solve the problems of Uganda. He's been in power for 25 years. You think he's any good? I'll bet my ass that he's a corrupt bastard, and a big part of the problem in this whole situation. I'm sure this is not his number 1 priority.
7) The good old "teach a man to fish" vs. "give a man a fish". He doesn't even want to give them the fish himself. He wants to take your money via taxation (all of you Americans) and send your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, to die in Africa to give them the fish. I have always been on the teach a man to fish side. I.e. give the parents of these children AK-47's and let them defend their kids from abduction. $1M buys tens of thousands of AK-47's in Africa.
8) Invading Uganda in any way could be perceived as another resource grab. Whether true or not, this is not something that America needs right now. How about trying diplomacy?
9) Military actions have undesirable consequences. Just look at what happened in Afghanistan the other day - innocents get killed and it WILL fuel an insurgency. Picture US forces killing numerous child soldiers. The result is unpredictable, and could let the genie out of the bottle in a big way.
10) I saved the most principled opposition I have to the maker of the movie for last. When he described how their organization set up the radio alert system around the villages, I was practically applauding! How awesome, I fully support that type of action.
Now, all of a sudden instead of continuing to take the incentive and empowering the locals to deal with the problem, he does a 180 and comes begging for help from Big Brother. He DEFINITELY thinks that Big Brother in Washington can magically make all problems disappear - if only he is begged enough to do so.
I've got news for you pal. Big Brother has no magic powers. Using 100K troops and trillions of dollars, it took 10 years to get rid of one pathetic bearded cave-hiding nut job.
You are a grown up, not a child. Start acting like a grown up and solve problems on your own. Don't call for mommy when shit gets serious - or don't get involved in serious shit. Subjugating yourself to Big Brother is a sad departure from entrepreneurial ways which were used to help villagers with the early warning system.
Overall, I find a good part of the movie to be statist
propaganda with little connection to reality. The most important part of public policy are the outcomes
, not intentions. Unless the outcomes are carefully considered, disaster awaits. Obama already supports this initiative with of your brothers and sisters, and YOUR tax dollars.PS
The film maker is now famous. He'll write a book, appear on TV, and make millions. He feels really good about himself. Well done bro, you win at life - no matter what happens to Kony, the people who'll die form malaria, hunger, or AIDS.
11) As avfc4me
correctly points out, Invisible children has collected over $8M but spent only 37% of that money on actual charity work. I.e. this is not a good use of your charitable funds at all. Other charities spend upwards of 90% for the causes they advocate.