By Mwesige Joram*
In February 2018, I joined a libertarian think tank called Action for Liberty and Economic Development. With limited free market knowledge I had an opportunity to read The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible that gave me insight and knowledge about free markets. My recollection of the book is of an interesting reflection on the current state of governance, freedom, and the way of life of my own country, with slight differences in how my government achieves the same results in the situations I read about. The first and biggest idea I learned is that our lives are conditioned by men under a system of slavery that is designed to subdue and use us, use our labor to improve their quality of life while we work hard and sweat away. I obtained experience through Jonathan as he embarks on a new adventure; almost as if on my own adventure I had the desire to discover and experience first-hand my own government’s interworking.
The author, almost as if first-hand, predicts the way Africa would be governed and how it will influence the human way of life. Uganda is one country where each individual’s lifestyle is determined by those in government; every attempt to live one’s life is made dependent on this government. The book details how the government is standing in our way; it determines how we live, what we eat, what we do, and how we do it. The system is designed to keep power for those in power and anyone who would go against this agenda is treated as troublemakers. New social platforms such as Face book, which promotes social interaction and discussion, became a threat to the dictator and those in government. In response in 2019, the Uganda government introduced taxes on social media to maintain influence on the country’s social media.
Like many socialist countries, Uganda has introduced much anti-trade legislation that do not promote trade with other countries such as a 60% import tax. These laws work against the natural order found in a free society, and most people don’t like them. Some people resist such regulations and orders; this has resulted in the arrest of many citizens. All these limit economic freedom and prosperity.
Jonathan encounters a system of selfish greedy men, a system that was meant to feed those in political office using impunity; those who were meant to challenge it would face arrests. This situation is currently happening in Uganda. Those who try to correct government errors and practice sound constitutional principles are sent to prison. Governments try to promote a dumb population that can’t think and reason. They want a gullible citizen who is ready to vote and who is also foolish enough not to question the power of authority.
We need to promote and discover ideas that will allow men to live their own lives without being exploited by their government.
I am happy that this book and other free market books have guided us with the free market ideas that are guiding us in our daily work in pursuit of promoting a free society. It is also great to note that the voices spreading libertarianism and free market ideas are rapidly increasing in Uganda and Africa, the numbers of libertarian leaders, individuals and think tanks or organisations are germinating. Some individuals are taking up political positions on libertarian philosophy and the message is being spread to the community. I definitely know, using literature like The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible will help societies to be free and to prosper!
Thank you Ken Schoolland for the donation of these books!
*Mwesige Joram – Administrative Officer: Action for Liberty and Economic Development