The past two weeks have offered Americans a sad and frankly scary window into the leftist hive mind in our country. At a time when the US Constitution is under sustained and withering attack from both major political parties and our military remains mired in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, where many of our troops are manifestly clueless or unhinged, the most prominent, widely supported and energized activist campaign at the moment appears to be the amateurish, ill-informed, and possibly financially motivated campaign to bring to justice a has-been warrior who currently commands a force of approximately 200 in one of the most remote and lawless parts of Africa.

For those of you who live under rocks, I refer to Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Kony and the LRA are vicious and have committed heinous war crimes, but these points are immaterial. That may sound like a callous statement, but it isn’t. In point of fact, Kony has been banished from his home country of Uganda, his forces all but eliminated and driven into parts of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan where the national governments exercise little de facto sovereignty. These places are practically beyond the writ of the law. Some of them have been so for decades, if not longer. Kony’s forces remain a scourge in these places, but unfortunately, neutralizing them and reestablishing (or perhaps more accurately, establishing for the first time) functioning civil rule will require profound structural reforms that have so far proven impossible to implement in those places.

And again, the LRA has recently been estimated to number 200. By all appearances it has shriveled into a tiny force dispersed over a fairly large area. The best things to do in this case are to upgrade communications in these remote areas so that villagers can quickly contact the police and for the villagers to arm themselves against the thugs. If the military, police and the villagers themselves give some thought to the matter, they can come up with effective ways to deter the LRA.

Pathetically, it’s unclear that the Kony 2012 activists are even concerned about deterring Kony and the LRA. They’re obviously unconcerned about deterring other, more serious threats to civil order in Africa (al Shabab comes immediately to mind; the boys are back in town, indeed). What the Kony 2012 movement aims to do is to have Joseph Kony arrested on an international warrant for war crimes. The goal isn’t to protect people from his predation, but to avenge them after they have already been raped, beaten, impressed into military service, tortured or killed. The only way to do this is apparently to retrieve Kony from one of several jungles where military and police resources have always been stretched extremely thin.

This would be an extremely stupid misallocation of capital, materiel and personnel. Not that the Stop Kony activists have given it any thought. These Westerners are ill-informed enough to claim that Kony is hiding out in Uganda, while in point of fact the LRA has been completely defeated in Uganda and driven into neighboring countries, most likely along with Kony. If Kony is still in Uganda, he is as much of a threat to his country as Saddam Hussein was to Iraq from his unlined hole in the ground.

The Stop Kony movement is all heart, no head. Its leaders have manipulated the public with heartrending stories of children impressed into military service and brutally hazed by a militia of psychopaths, even though these stories are old news, the militia in question has been very nearly destroyed as a fighting force, and there are much more serious, current threats in the region. The reactions elicited are every bit as irrational and misguided as the craziest sort of pro-life raving about babies in the womb. Both movements clearly have an amazing inability to prioritize, to conduct basic moral triage in order to determine how scarce human energy can be best used to make the world a better place. Both movements are also great platforms for unhinged or unscrupulous pitchmen to solicit funds.

Let’s keep in mind that the current US presidential administration has openly assassinated an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, without trial or even indictment, and that there has been almost no dissent from Congress or the press and little from the public. The state of civic literacy and engagement in the United States is extremely decrepit. Americans have been intellectually neutered by our political parties, both of which have metastasized and become scourges to the body politic. Hence there is almost no bipartisan coalition to preserve and defend the Constitution.

But Kony, now there’s a scourge on which we can all agree. Because we’d rather remove the speck from our neighbor’s eye than the plank from our own. If our “neighbor” lives halfway around the world and has much darker skin than our own, all the better. The White Man’s Burden lives.

Pity the children. They’re the ones who must inherit the civic decay that we leave behind.

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