THEORY AND PRACTICE: In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they aren't. Courtney has a post up about the miserable situation that Mugabe has brought about in Zimbabwe, but I'd like to focus on her closing question. She excerpts some quotes from a Zimbabwean 22 year old who admits "he burned houses, watched while children were raped, and shot a white farmer. But he says it was the alcohol and drugs, not him, that did these things." Courtney then asks what should be done with these people?
Hey, that's easy! Straight to the electric chair. Or, if electricity is scarce in Zimbabwe, just apply a bullet to the head. If one supports the death penalty (as I do) then there can be no more clear situation in which to apply it. He confessed to murder, rape, arson, &c.
Of course, that's not a realistic solution considering the vast number of armed youths who would then be subject to execution. There's an implementation problem, unfortunately. Realistically, the region is totally screwed for a couple of generations. That's the difference between theory and practice. Proper application of moral theory could turn Zimbabwe around quite quickly, but actually finding all these murderers and executing them is a rather difficult proposition. The country will be forced to reach some moral compromise and endure the continued existence of these cancers on their society.
Sigh... not that it will matter once SARS makes its way to Africa and hooks up with HIV. Again, in theory there is a lot that could be done to help the continent of Africa, but in practice it's all impossible.