Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com Africa's Top Liberal Commentary Site Mon, 22 Oct 2018 11:23:31 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://i2.wp.com/rationalstandard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cropped-RS-Logo.png?fit=32%2C32 Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com 32 32 94510741 Beware The Slope https://rationalstandard.com/beware-the-slope/ https://rationalstandard.com/beware-the-slope/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 11:23:31 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8193 “I think it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy and

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“I think it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

Barack Obama

This line of thinking is sadly prevalent in contemporary times where the validity of civil liberties is seen as being relative to the obscure methods that governments the world over feel the need to use in order to “protect” their citizens. Anybody who opposes Obama’s way of thinking is accused of being guilty of the slippery slope fallacy. But is the slippery slope really a fallacy at all?

Now, what’s important in discussions about the civil liberties of innocent individuals and how they are trampled in favour of the greater good by the state, is that we must not forego nuance in favour of making an ideological or ethical point. Yes, paternalistic governments have done things which proved to be a utilitarian good for society at large, however, they’ve also committed countless atrocities. And whether we’re referring to civil leaders such as Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, or communist dictators like Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, one thing stands out: all of them justify their respective policies with the same line of thinking, that is, it’s for the greater good.

In order not to make myself guilty of a false equivalency, I must point out that the policies of leaders who are polar opposites can indeed be distinguished from one another and categorised as effectively beneficial or effectively detrimental to society. I’m not disputing this. My aim is to remind people of the inherent dangers of allowing the government to take paternalistic control with the justification of the greater good.

The tragedy that occurred on 11 September 2001 and the political aftermath that followed is a clichéd but apt example of pragmatic security measures going too far. It perfectly illustrates the dangers of the slope. We all know how nearly 3,000 innocent people were massacred by Islamists (not to be conflated with Muslims) across the Eastern United States on that day. What a lot of people don’t know is how the subsequent domestic security measures implemented by the George W Bush administration and taken over (and even expanded on) by the Barack Obama administration took a metaphorical dump on civil liberties and by extension the presumption of innocence.

After 9/11, the Bush administration was obviously very concerned about the security threats posed to the US, and rightly so. It would’ve been asinine not to have been worried. Putting aside the fact that they invaded the wrong damn country in retribution for the attacks, the Bush administration put in place legislation which served to expand the US government’s powers of surveillance. Seem legit? Well, not exactly.

Twelve years after 9/11, an analyst contractor for the US government named Edward Joseph Snowden had to flee to Hong Kong in order to meet up with journalists from The Guardian to expose how the US government was illegally spying on its own citizens and, in the (undue) process, infringing on their right to privacy. Snowden revealed that Obama carried on with illegal surveillance programs like PRISM. Snowden is currently hiding in Russia from US authorities after Obama failed to pardon him (this is the ex-president who apparently had zero scandals). Obviously, the US government tried to circumvent the fact that their surveillance acts were illegal by creating the FISA courts; “secret” courts (their procedural activities were closed to the public) which gave authorities like the CIA and the NSA permission to spy on citizens. The concepts “secret” and “court” are not mutually inclusive, but who cares about principles anyway?

All this followed three years after former US Army soldier Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning leaked documents and footage via Wikileaks of atrocities committed by US military personnel abroad, including but not limited to crew members of an Apache helicopter massacring two Reuters journalists as well as Iraqi citizens and wounding two children.

Both Snowden and Manning were persecuted by their governments for rightfully exposing unjust infringements of civil liberty by the very institutions who were given a finger and grabbed the whole arm. Manning was imprisoned for seven years before Obama commuted her sentence in 2017. Granted, Obama let her off, but only after she was punished for doing the right thing.

What’s clear as daylight here is that the US government started out with the whole charade of “serving and protecting” and ended up harming the freedom of innocent citizens. A popular yet very nonsensical argument that flows from the Obama reasoning quoted at the beginning goes something along the lines of “only criminals need to worry about state spying”. What matters here are principles. The principles of living in a free society where you are free from unlawful search and seizure and where the presumption of innocence actually means something are principles worth fighting tooth and nail for. Arguing that innocent people needn’t be worried by the fact that their freedoms are being torn apart is tantamount to throwing slick down the slope. It is completely and utterly anathema to liberty.

Principles and due legal process matter. For everyone. Always.

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Why Socialism Fails and Only Exists As A Parasite on Capitalism https://rationalstandard.com/why-socialism-fails-exists-parasite-capitalism/ https://rationalstandard.com/why-socialism-fails-exists-parasite-capitalism/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 09:06:19 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8392 Despite its strong emotional appeal, there are two fundamental reasons why socialism cannot serve as a productive economic system. The

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Despite its strong emotional appeal, there are two fundamental reasons why socialism cannot serve as a productive economic system. The most important of these, as identified by Ludwig von Mises, is that it is effectively incapable of generating an economically efficient price mechanism. To understand why this failure precludes socialism from fulfilling many people’s dreams for it as a viable and ‘fairer’ alternative economic system to free market capitalism, one needs to appreciate fully the essential role that prices play in any economy. The second reason is that the incentives that exist in a market economy are not present in a command economy.

Prices

While human needs and demands are infinite, the resources available on Earth to satisfy these needs and demands are finite. This means that there is competition for these scarce resources and a cost is attached to obtaining them in terms of the effort, time, risk, and material expended in doing so. Having grown, made, or discovered something, people invariably need to exchange whatever this is for other goods or services or for money.

How, then, is an objective price to be established for the good or goods that they wish to dispose of, or for those that they wish to acquire? How are relative monetary prices that are readily acceptable to both buyer and seller, and so facilitate economic activity and thereby encourage it, to be established for every one of the millions of items and services that exist in any substantial economy, the relative quantities and qualities of which also keep changing from day to day?

In a free market, capitalist economic system where the means of production are in the hands of private individuals, the objective price of every good and service (including that of labour) is ‘discovered’ by means of the process of negotiation preceding the voluntary exchange of goods and services between free and private individuals, each responding to the market forces of supply and demand and frequently in competition with one another. All prices are determined, not just by what each individual is willing to accept for their good or service, but also by what the millions of individuals making up the community are able and willing to pay for it.

The free market process is itself the price discovery mechanism for all goods and services in a free-market, capitalist economy.

The competition generated in this process further tends to drive prices down and also to ensure the most efficient allocation of scarce resources, to the benefit of all members of the community. Free market exchange is how humans tend naturally to organise themselves economically when they are free and not subject to some authoritarian diktat.

In a socialist economic system, on the other hand, because all property and production is in the hands of the State rather than of private individuals, all prices have to be determined by the State in the absence of a people’s organically-functioning market. The State will be represented by a committee of bureaucratic ‘experts’ who will among themselves have to divine and set relative prices for each and every good and service in existence in society, of necessity changing relative prices as and when relative circumstances change.

Every time, however, that they set an inappropriate price for any good or service, which is likely to be constantly, this misinformation will ricochet through the economy, producing a host of unintended and costly consequences and further misallocating resources. Socialist economies consequently have frequently had to resort to copying prices from free market economies to compensate for the lack of their own efficient pricing-mechanism. We do not have to look further for an explanation of why the Soviet Union collapsed, or why communist China rejected socialism economically and turned to capitalism to drag its people out of poverty. Today the Chinese Communist Party employs free market capitalism for its economic functioning, and utilises the ideology of socialism politically in order to maintain autocratic control over the minds of the Chinese people.

Socialism is not a viable economic system, mostly because public ownership of the means of production precludes an effective method of price discovery. And without meaningful and rational relative prices, one simply cannot have an efficient and productive economy.

Incentives

The second fundamental reason that socialism is not a viable economic system, is because State ownership and management of the means of production takes production and the potential financial rewards of production out of the hands of private individuals. In doing so, it immediately reduces or eliminates many of the incentives that motivate individuals in society to strive beyond their immediate skills and knowledge, and to take the risks and make the extraordinary effort that is required to succeed beyond the norm in any field. And it is on the exceptional efforts of motivated and highly competent individuals, that society as a whole generally depends for the material discoveries and advances that humanity has benefited from.

In contrast, Soviet workers once joked – “they pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work”.

Socialism makes much of the idea of ‘fairness,’ and free market capitalism is widely condemned morally for the material inequality that it brings about. Inequality of wealth, however, is an absolutely necessary consequence of a highly competitive economic system based on private ownership. This inequality is, however, more than compensated for by the higher standard of living enjoyed by the poor in a capitalist society, than that of the poor in a ‘fairer’, egalitarian society. Significantly, it is the poor in egalitarian societies who seek to emigrate or escape to capitalist ones, and never vice versa.

There are numerous reasons why socialism fails as an economic system, but its total inability to create an efficient price mechanism is by far the most important of these.

Socialism survives among the democratic nations only as an ideological parasite on the underlying capitalist market economies. The entire wherewithal to pay for socialistic welfare benefits in every capitalist society, including Scandinavia, is derived solely from the working, capitalist market economies.

If the free market, capitalist economies were to disappear or wither significantly, as they are in fact doing slowly under the weight of ideological socialistic exactions and excessive bureaucratic regulation, socialism has absolutely nothing to contribute economically to the survival of nations.

Socialism is not an economic system after all, and its continued misperception as a viable economic alternative to capitalism is due only to the economic illiteracy of the general public.

It is, unfortunately, at the very best, a pernicious, quasi-religious political ideology masquerading as an economic system. Socialism projects itself as an economic system  in order to acquire the intellectual credibility and authority needed to gain political power in a secular era for the politicians who seek to exploit its emotional attractions to the public.

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Parliament May Soon Bar Us From Getting Firearm Licences For Self-Defence https://rationalstandard.com/parliament-may-soon-bar-us-from-getting-firearm-licences-for-self-defence/ https://rationalstandard.com/parliament-may-soon-bar-us-from-getting-firearm-licences-for-self-defence/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 16:33:31 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8475 Parliament may soon adopt a law barring South Africans from obtaining firearm licences for the purpose of self-defence. That is

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Parliament may soon adopt a law barring South Africans from obtaining firearm licences for the purpose of self-defence. That is if one considers a leaked copy of the Firearms Control Amendment Bill as the final intention of the African National Congress government. Understandably, this has caused trepidation among the upward of three million South Africans who legally own firearms.

A clause in the Bill proposes to insert a new section 11A  into the Firearms Control Act, which, in part, provides:

“(1) The Registrar may not issue a licence that authorises the possession of a firearm unless the Registrar is satisfied that the applicant has a valid reason for possessing the firearm.

(2) An applicant does not have a valid reason for possessing a firearm if the applicant intends to possess the firearm for any of the following reasons

(a) self-defence or the protection of any other person; or

(b) the protection of property, other than in circumstances constituting a valid reason as set out in this Chapter.

(3) Subsection (2) does not limit the reasons which the Registrar may be satisfied are not valid reasons for the purposes of justifying the possession of a firearm.” (my emphasis)

5.3 million people in South Africa currently possess firearms. Only about three million of those are legal licence-holders. If the Bill is enacted in its current form, it might make it impossible for South Africans who were granted licences for the reason of self-defence to renew those licences. Renewal on a periodic basis is required by law. New firearm owners will not be able to acquire licences at all, if for the purpose of self-defence.

The chairperson of Gun Owners South Africa, Paul Oxley said, “Once again [South African Police Service] leadership has proven that they are not serious about the lives of citizens in South Africa.” He elaborated:

“The major concern we have is the right to life of law-abiding citizens. Crime is escalating at an alarming rate, whereby the criminals perpetrating these crimes are becoming increasingly violent. Taking away a means to effectively defend oneself will see to an increase in violent crimes committed against all South Africans, this cannot be allowed to happen.

We urge all law-abiding legal gun owners of South Africa to write to the chairperson of the Police Portfolio Committee, Mr. Francois Beukman expressing your dissatisfaction at this preposterous and uncalled for attack on your right to life, and the ability to protect yourself against the crime infestation we all face on a daily basis. fbeukman@parliament.gov.za

Now is not a time to roll over, in feeding the crocodile hoping to save your life you will only be eaten last. It is time to stand up and fight for your rights, not sit back and accept this. We urge all gun owners to join us in this fight.”

South Africans labour under one of the most violent crime rates in the world. It is therefore unsurprising that millions of us have armed ourselves both legally and illegally. Unfortunately, unlike in the United States, South Africans have no constitutional right to bear firearms. It is a statutory right we enjoy by virtue of the current Firearms Control Act.

In September 2018, Business Tech reported on South Africa’s latest crime statistics. Last year, there were 20,000 recorded cases of murder, meaning 57 South Africans out of a population of just over 55 million were murdered every day. That is a rate of 35.7 people murdered per 100,000 population. That makes the whole of South Africa about as dangerous as the city of Detroit in the United States, which had a murder rate of 39.7 per 100,000 in 2017. There were 40,035 reported rapes in South Africa in the same year. That’s 112 rapes per day, or five rapes per hour.

This bill has not yet officially been made available to the public, thus much of its content may (and hopefully will) change.

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SA Needs a Moonshot… Difficult, But Possible https://rationalstandard.com/sa-needs-a-moonshot-difficult-but-possible/ https://rationalstandard.com/sa-needs-a-moonshot-difficult-but-possible/#respond Thu, 11 Oct 2018 09:15:02 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8463 Written by: Marius Roodt One of the greatest achievements by any country in human history was the American Apollo programme,

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Written by: Marius Roodt

One of the greatest achievements by any country in human history was the American Apollo programme, which culminated in the landing of a human being on Earth’s familiar satellite.

Outside of war, no country has contributed so much to a single goal – a huge undertaking that employed nearly half-a-million people at its peak, and cost more than US$100 billion (in 2016 dollars). At no time since the last Apollo mission nearly fifty years ago – in 1972 – have human beings left low-Earth orbit. It was a stupendous project.

It is thus no surprise that the term ‘moonshot’ (which originally referred to the goal of landing an astronaut on the Moon) is now synonymous with a huge undertaking, the success of which will have great significance.

South Africa experienced a political moonshot of its own in the celebrated transition to democracy in the 1990s. Today, we are in need of another.

In the 1980s, most people were predicting a bloody end for apartheid in South Africa. The country was in the grip of civil unrest and the army (when not patrolling the streets of townships) was involved in one of the many Cold War proxy conflicts in Angola and, what is today, Namibia. The government was intransigent in the face of the compelling necessity to engage organisations like the African National Congress (ANC) in negotiation, and attitudes on both sides of the conflict appeared to be hardening. Yet, in February 1990, FW de Klerk effectively initiated South Africa’s own moonshot by freeing Nelson Mandela and unbanning the ANC, among other key political groupings.

Like the American moonshot of the 1960s, the challenge of creating a democratic South Africa after the horrors of apartheid may have seemed an insurmountable challenge at first. But, like the Apollo programme, South Africa was successful. This was because, with some exceptions (including extremists on both sides of the political spectrum), most South Africans and their leaders were committed to the goal of a democratic post-apartheid South Africa.

There can be little doubt that the country needs another moonshot today, a goal which may seem out of reach, but could be achievable if we pulled together.

What we face is disheartening. Education, healthcare and the economy are beset with major problems. The numbers are frightening. Most government clinics and hospitals don’t meet national standards set by the Department of Health; a large proportion of our schools are dysfunctional; and, after a long decline, murder rates are on the increase. Unemployment is also high, with nearly 10 million South Africans without work. Put another way, South Africans account for about one percent of the world’s population, but three percent of all unemployed people across the globe. Poverty is also still high (primarily because of our high unemployment rate).

In addition, racial and divisive rhetoric is on the rise from influential politicians (despite evidence showing that we all get on pretty well with one another).

We are also now in a recession, and this will have serious implications for the things we are trying to fix. Low economic growth will squeeze the people and the companies who pay tax, the income that helps fund the government.

Yet, all is not lost. Just as the Americans undertook the herculean task of landing a man on the Moon in the 1960s, and South Africans succeeded in tackling the equally difficult mission of ending apartheid, there is no reason why we can’t turn things around once again.

In the period from 1994 to 2007, the country was improving on almost every measure, as a recent report from the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) shows. The country could reach those heights again, though to do so will mean confronting major challenges.

What would a new South African moonshot entail? It would require economic growth rates of five percent and higher – that will be the only way to reduce our high unemployment and poverty rates. At the same time, we need to ensure that the majority of South Africans have access to quality education and healthcare.

If we want to achieve much higher levels of economic growth we need to make South Africa an attractive investment destination. Despite what some in the chattering classes would have you believe, investment (whether local or foreign) is vital if we want to substantially reduce unemployment and poverty.

A first step towards achieving this will be to stop threatening people’s property rights. Nobody can deny that land reform is necessary in creating a prosperous South Africa, but taking away people’s property without paying for it will destroy any hope of creating a successful country.

In addition, to ensure that the majority of South Africans have access to quality education and healthcare, the government must stop viewing the private sector as an adversary, but rather as a partner. Ensuring everyone has a quality basic education could begin with giving parents a greater say in running schools, and incorporating interventions such as school vouchers and charter schools.

In healthcare, the government must abandon the planned National Health Insurance scheme, and look instead to expanding access to private healthcare. This can be done in a number ways, which, as the IRR has suggested, could include healthcare vouchers, allowing low-fee medical aids, and introducing mandatory medical aid for employed people (with employers contributing to the contributions of people on lower incomes).

Becoming a prosperous, safe country for all who live in it will be difficult, but it is possible. Like the American moonshot and our transition to a democracy, it will take the combined effort of all citizens and single-minded political leadership to reach these goals.

South Africa has confounded the naysayers before – and we can do it again.

* Marius Roodt is Head of Campaigns at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), a liberal think tank that promotes economic and political freedom. If you agree with what you have just read then click here or SMS your name to 32823 (SMSes cost R1, Ts and Cs apply).  

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South Africa’s White Lies, the Ctrl-Left and the Narrative: a Post-Post-Modern Perspective https://rationalstandard.com/south-africas-white-lies-the-ctrl-left-and-the-narrative-a-post-post-modern-perspective/ https://rationalstandard.com/south-africas-white-lies-the-ctrl-left-and-the-narrative-a-post-post-modern-perspective/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 13:31:46 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8449 Written by: Quentin Ferreira This piece is a response to the article: South Africa’s white right, the Alt-Right and the alternative The

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Written by: Quentin Ferreira

This piece is a response to the article: South Africa’s white right, the Alt-Right and the alternative

The quality of our thinking is reflected in the quality of our language.  Similarly, the degree to which our language is capable of accurately describing reality is illustrative of the clarity of our perspective on the world around us.  George Orwell lamented the fact that:

“If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.”

One may be forgiven for the assumption that these statements should be axiomatic, especially to those whose academic credentials imply that they are among those who know better. The lack of epistemological awareness displayed by Prof. Van der Westhuizen in her article titled “South Africa’s white right, the Alt-Right and the alternative” reflects a concerning trend in academia and our broader cultural discourse.  It is no wonder that the social sciences are suffering a crisis of reputability at the moment, a fact that was exposed most recently and ingeniously by a group of liberal academics from the US and UK.  The uncritical parroting of de rigueur phraseology, in which ideological adherence serves as a proxy for intellectual rigour is the subject of this piece.

When applied within the South African context, the academic prism of critical theory relies on certain tropes such as the “racist Afrikaner”, “unrepentant white” and “perpetually victimised African.”  Prof. Van der Westhuizen employs these tropes throughout her article, as evidenced by her profuse recourse to academic jargon such as “heteropatriarchy” and “whiteness,” as well as her use of poorly defined but politically potent labels such as “alt-right” and “populist” to describe AfriForum and other members of the greater Solidarity Movement.  Ostensibly, this type of discourse relies on the reader’s aversion to cultural and political forces which have been rightly maligned in our society due to their implication in human rights violations of the past.

Given that these theoretical representations of sociocultural reality have held historical water, the “critical” perspective on the status quo in South Africa resonates somewhat with the better angels of our nature, at least to the extent that we share a collective desire to live free from state oppression and interference in our social and economic lives. This is one of the foundational principles of classical liberalism, and it is also one of the reasons why people who oppose the underpinning ideologies of Apartheid tend to gravitate to such explanations of present day inequality.

Any rational person is able of comprehending the extent to which the Apartheid state contributed to the retardation of South Africa’s cultural and economic progress; Prof. Van der Westhuizen is thus partially correct in her assertion that there were certain social and political hierarchies that needed to be dismantled in order to further the noble goal of freedom for all.  What is missing from this analysis, however, is the glaringly obvious fact that the political status quo relies on the revolutionary notion of an “eternal Apartheid” in order to legitimise and further its increasingly totalitarian ends. In their reductionism, proponents of revolutionary ideology are unable to recognise the point at which their ideas have usurped hegemony.  Once this is accomplished, the mechanisms of the state, media and academia are used to control the way the public thinks about the past and the present. The theories underpinning Prof. Van der Westhuizen’s epistemology are the political status quo, masquerading as if they are not.

It is not surprising that AfriForum and Afrikaners draw the ire of many a journalist or academics trained in critical theory. At face value, they represent the “white patriarchy” and serve as an ideologically sanctioned representation of all of the ills besetting society.  In addition to providing a catch-all taxonomy, a surface appearance of intellectual legitimacy is maintained through the use of academic language.  In essence, a political perspective takes on the appearance of science which it maintains through the existing process of the academy.  Thus, the primary difference between this academic discourse and the hateful political rhetoric spewed by the ANC/EFF is that the former disguises itself as legitimate scholarship.

A theory about reality is taken to represent reality itself, and any attempt to falsify the underlying philosophical assumptions of the theory are summarily dismissed as “white privilege”, “heteronormacy” or “patriarchy.”  This theoretical perspective forms the basis of Prof. Van der Westhuizens article.  The methodological goal of critical analysis is to subject the world to an examination through a lens of Marxist, intersectional and feminist theory.  While on a superficial level these theories appear to address different concerns, they share common philosophical assumptions about hierarchy and power.  Most insidious among these is the assumption that all asymmetries in outcomes between groups are a result of oppression and exploitation, and that the mechanisms of the state should be used to “correct” these.  Taken together, the assumptions constitute the basis for what I am calling “The Narrative,” in which people who constitute the “oppressor” class come to represent the cause of all inequality.

The Narrative is one of the big lies at the heart of post-Apartheid South Africa, because it robs the citizenry of alternative dialectical frame in which the locus of control over their lives is internal as opposed to being located within the ever-widening mandates of the state.  The Narrative is also used to legitimise the ideology of “transformation,” in that it entrenches power within the same state which claims to represent the oppressed, whereas in fact it is and has been the primary oppressor in South Africa.

What baffles most about Prof. Van der Westhuizen’s article is that it seems to deal with the rise of a novel political consciousness as if it was simply a reconstitution of the vestigial far-right ideology she no doubt still sees lurking around every corner.  I submit that it is instead a reaction to the perceived failures of “liberal” thought which have legitimised the worst excesses of post-Apartheid South Africa, in where classically liberal principles have been sacrificed on the altar of “transformation.”  The ANC have used legitimate concerns about social justice and economic inequality to further their power over as many institutions and facets of the economy as possible.

It is telling that in contemporary political discourse, any ideas which serve to subvert state hegemony are immediately dismissed as “racist” or “alt-right”, whilst being legitimised in many cases through precisely the kind of academic discourse exemplified in Prof. Van der Westhuizen’s article.  An intellectually consistent view of the case of AfriForum and their supporters would contextualise their positions on property and minority rights within the post-Apartheid political context, wherein whites in general and Afrikaners in particular are scape-goated for the failures of what is now a borderline socialist government.  It is hardly surprising that the article in question affords no such context, given that when your tool is the hammer of critical theory, every problem is a white, male nail.

I am not a member of AfriForum, nor do I claim to have ultimate insight into the inner workings of the organisation.  However I have read and understood their mission statement, watched and listened to many interviews with their senior leadership, closely studied the parliamentary submission on property expropriation without compensation and followed the press reporting on the legal cases that they have thus far undertaken.  Furthermore, I have investigated the theoretical assumptions of “Alt-Right” ideology, which although poorly defined involve ideas of white-supremacy, anti-Semitism, Hyper-Nationalism and neo-fascist authoritarianism.  I recognise the way these ideas were used to devastating effect during Apartheid, as well as the fact that there are a small minority of South Africans who hold some or all of these ideas.  However, the characterisation of AfriForum, the Solidarity Movement and their hundreds of thousands of supporters as “white-right” or “Alt-Right” is frankly laughable.

Given the ANC’s overt anti-white agenda and stated goals of the creation of a socialist government, it is no wonder that a growing number of people from all races admire AfriForum’s unashamed commitment to the protection of minority rights, property rights, and free speech that cuts deeply into the heart of a tyrannical state.  When the citizenry at large feel vulnerable in the face of constant state predation, it is heartening to see a privately funded organisation challenging the state fearlessly, whilst also protecting the civil rights of black people who suffer equally under the current regime.  AfriForum are one of the few organisations who are aware that the real threat to prosperity and liberty is socialism, and it is clear that when the media and academia resort to unwarranted labels such as “Alt-Right” to describe those in opposition the status quo they are either misrepresenting or misunderstanding the problem, whilst legitimising the destructive ideology of “transformation.”

Nowhere was the discrepancy between reality and the Narrative more evident than during Ernst Roets’ submission during the parliamentary hearings on expropriation without compensation.  The attacks on Roets by members of parliament were strikingly similar to those levelled against AfriForum by Prof. Van der Westhuizen, albeit articulated in a less sophisticated manner.  Whilst Roets focussed on the ANC’s stated goals for a Nation Democratic Revolution and the historical revisionism underpinning the land question, the critiques leveled against him focused on his race and his ethnicity as opposed to the content of his submission.

These attacks rely on the association between Afrikaners and Apartheid, as well as conflating legitimate criticism of an inept and ideologically possessed government with schadenfreude at the fact that they have failed in their mandates.  Far from deriving pleasure from the fact that South Africa is becoming a failed state, organisations like AfriForum are putting their skin in the game and demonstrating that it is possible for people to cooperate in order to undermine the government’s agenda.  The government and its institutions have shown themselves to be incapable of adequately describing and tackling the very real problems facing South Africa precisely because they accept the same Marxist assumptions that also underpin critical theory, and academics like Prof. Van der Westhuizen serve as little more than the intellectual branch of the state.

In closing, I implore the reader to consider the fact that socio-economic disparities existed before Apartheid, were exacerbated during Apartheid and are maintained post-Apartheid.  The reasons for this are complex and cannot be adequately explained through a single, all-encompassing ideological perspective that masquerades as science.  Furthermore, the solutions that flow from this ideological perspective have brought nothing but death and destruction to the world.  As the Zen saying goes: “Do not confuse the moon with the finger pointing at the moon.” The media in general and Prof. Van der Westhuizen in particular, are wrong about the real threat to South Africa.  The “Alt-Right” is an irrelevant element on the fringes of society and politics, but serves as a convenient target for the ideological sleight-of-hand which relies on baseless assumptions about the “racist Afrikaner”, “unrepentant white” and “perpetually victimised African.”  If you disavow racism, statism and discredited theories that masquerade as concern for the poor, I urge you to take cognisance of the manner in which language is being used to manipulate your thinking, whilst leading you further down the road towards socialism.

* Quentin Ferreira is a qualified clinical psychologist.  Originally from Johannesburg, he now lives in exile in The Netherlands.  As a libertarian, Quentin hopes his writing will help defend liberty, justice & secularity.

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A House Divided: The Fragile Birth of the American Republic https://rationalstandard.com/a-house-divided-the-fragile-birth-of-the-american-republic/ https://rationalstandard.com/a-house-divided-the-fragile-birth-of-the-american-republic/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 11:02:04 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8147 Written by: Liam King This essay is largely inspired by the writings of Joseph J. Ellis in his book titled

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Written by: Liam King

This essay is largely inspired by the writings of Joseph J. Ellis in his book titled Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. It is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in early American history.

In the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election, there has been a generally-accepted idea in circulation that America has become divided along strict party lines, namely, Democrats versus Republicans. Whilst this division has certainly been amplified, it is by no means a recent phenomenon. With the exception of its first two presidents, one can argue that America has always been divided along party lines. To understand this claim, one must obtain an understanding of the birth of the American republic and the ideological clashes which surrounded that birth.

By the mid-to-late 1780s it was becoming apparent to many of the Founding Fathers that the Articles of Confederation (the first constitution of the United States) was unsuitable as a document through which the government could exercise its powers. Whilst the system of gridlock has always been central to the American political system (and was intended to be), the Articles of Confederation made this gridlock almost unbreakable.

For example, bills drafted by the Confederation Congress (the government established under the Articles) required the consent of nine out of the thirteen state legislatures in order to become law. With the interests and political leanings of the states being so different (especially between the northern and southern states), this made consensus and, therefore, any form of government action almost impossible.

A decision was consequently taken to create the Constitution of the United States, a document that would replace the Articles of Confederation and establish a new form of republican government. The creation of this document caused the first major division in the political class of the newly established republic. On the one side of the debate were the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison (although Madison is of particular interest, which will be addressed later). These three figures joined forces to pen the Federalist Papers, a collection of essays arguing for the ratification of the Constitution and increasing the powers of the central government.

On the other side of the debate were the anti-Federalists led by the likes of Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson. The anti-Federalists were strongly opposed to the creation of a stronger central government and therefore the ratification of the Constitution. They viewed increased central power as having the ability to destroy the republican form of government and give rise to a monarchy. Certainly, if one examines the writings of John Adams, it becomes evident why such fears existed amongst the anti-Federalists. Adams even proposed that the President should be addressed as “His Majesty” or “His Highness” by members of Congress.

Not only did these divergent groups disagree about the question of the Constitution, they had fundamentally different ideas about the meaning of the American Revolution itself (the spirit of ’76, so to speak) and the future of the infant American nation.

The Federalists viewed the revolution as an opportunity to unify the 13 states (former colonies) under a strong federal government, which would direct the economic growth of the nation into one of the world’s superpowers. Furthermore, the Federalists genuinely believed that without a strong central government, the fledgling American republic would not survive through its early fragility.

Conversely, the anti-Federalists viewed the revolution as one step in the longer journey towards ultimate self-government, with the eventual goal being the supreme autonomy of the individual over his own affairs. Any form of government (especially that which exercised centralised control) was a threat to this ideal. For them, the revolution was not merely a fight against taxation without representation, nor was it a fight against a king, it was a fight against the imposition of foreign government upon the American people. Following their logic, if it was inappropriate for rulers in London to make decisions affecting the citizens of the colonies, it was equally inappropriate for politicians in Philadelphia (Washington, D.C. only became the centre of government in 1790) to make decisions affecting the average Virginian.

This divergence first became notably evident with the outbreak of the French Revolution.

The Federalists, backed by President George Washington, believed that it was not in the American national interest to become involved in any European conflict an ocean away. They urged for foreign neutrality and a policy of non-interventionism.

The anti-Federalists, as wrapped up in the cause of liberty as they were, viewed this neutrality as a quasi-endorsement of the monarchy as it existed in France. They believed that America was honour-bound to aid the French in their struggle to establish a republican form of government (no matter how pear-shaped that republic became). Denis Diderot is credited with the following phrase: “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” This can be categorised as a summary of the anti-Federalist view on France. Monarchy, theocracy, and indeed every other form of government other than self-government was a violation of the spirit of ’76, no matter where it was found in the world.

The second area in which this divergence is evident was in the debate over assumption.

Assumption was an economic policy proposed by Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of the Treasury during the Washington administration) that would see all of the state debts assumed by the federal government and then funded through taxation. This was particularly unappealing to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which had already repaid all of its revolutionary war debts. In effect, assumption meant that the people of Virginia would have to pay for debts incurred by the other states.

One of the most ardent critics of assumption was none other than James Madison, the same Founder who had penned the Federalist Papers together with Hamilton and Jay. This may either be considered the ultimate political irony or the evolution of Madison’s character. Less than 3 years prior to the assumption debate, Madison was one of those Founders in favour of a stronger central government. Now, able to see the consequences of such a policy on his fellow Virginians, he became the leading opposition to the Federalists’ chief economic policy.

The only two presidents to really avoid the party wars were the first two: George Washington and John Adams. Washington’s status was simply God-like, and he had earned it. When the colonies searched for someone to lead the Continental Army, Washington answered, despite his personal dislike of the Yankees (northerners). He served in the Continental Congress (albeit for a brief period). He was unanimously elected as President of the Constitutional Convention. However, the pinnacle of his political life was without a doubt his two terms as President. When he announced his retirement, many people thought that the American republic itself was coming to an end, for Washington was America.

The only two significant stains on his presidency are Jay’s Treaty (although some would argue whether this even qualifies as a stain) and his suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion (which can be easily likened to the Boston Massacre committed by the British). Yet these two stains alone could hardly spoil the canvas that was (and is) Washington. His titan character made it easy for him to rise (and for the American people to elevate him) above politics.

Whilst Adams possessed noble intentions to do the same, to rise above political issues, his frankly-disastrous presidency made this a difficult task.

The lowest point of his presidency was most certainly the signing of the Sedition and Alien Acts, both of which had been passed by a Federalist-dominated Congress. The Sedition Act criminalised false statements criticising the federal government, metaphorically spitting in the face of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution (whose ratification the same Federalists had fought so hard for only a decade ago). In reality, this allowed the government to clamp down on anti-Federalist press with particular severity. The Alien Act allowed the federal government to imprison and deport non-citizens who the government deemed to be dangerous and was primarily aimed at foreign-born anti-Federalists.

These two acts caused such a political rift throughout the republic that Jefferson threatened rebellion against and secession from a nation of which he was the Vice President.

Adams’ presidency, despite his own good intentions, was so bad that it mobilised the anti-Federalists and thrust them into power in 1801. Since then, political division has been no stranger to the United States.

Whilst this division seems to have widened in the last few years, it is by no means a recent phenomenon. Indeed, one can argue that the political history of America is a history of political division, stretching as far back as the birth of the republic.

Liam King is a student of history and law at the University of Cape Town and Vice Chairperson of African Students for Liberty UCT.

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What is the Price of today’s Revolutionary Activism? https://rationalstandard.com/what-is-the-price-of-todays-revolutionary-activism/ https://rationalstandard.com/what-is-the-price-of-todays-revolutionary-activism/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 11:18:51 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8389 The short answer is billions of Rand on a national scale and a damaged system of tertiary education. But, in

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The short answer is billions of Rand on a national scale and a damaged system of tertiary education. But, in a  public intellectual article, Chumani Maxwele chooses to ask a different question: What is the Price of Revolutionary Activism for Student Activists?

The short answer to this is “amnesty”. Furthermore, Maxwele’s article begins with conflation at best and deliberate (inadvertent?) confusion and misinformation at worst. Recent actions initiated and promoted by Maxwele are neither revolutionary, nor do they constitute activism. Genuine South African revolutionaries (e.g. Oliver Tambo, Bram Fischer, Robert Sobukwe, Breyten Breytenbach, Nelson Mandela, Neville Alexander and Steve Biko): burned Pass Books; organized peaceful demonstrations; conspired to bring down internationally condemned laws and governments; conducted non-life-threatening sabotage; created internationally respected, but illegal, political structures; and initiated community programmes focussed on improving healthcare and education. For this they had to flee the country or be prepared to be jailed or even killed. The activities of genuine activists (Helen Suzman, Mamphela Ramphele, Geoff Budlender, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Beyers Naudé, Trevor Manuel and Cyril Ramaphosa) challenged authority aggressively, but more subtly.  They employed inspired, often politically motivated oratory/writing; unionization and community service to effect constructive political, environmental, economic, or social change without flagrant law-breaking, violence or destruction. They were harassed by Apartheid security personnel, risked banning and, fortunately, lived to contribute to the constructive transformation  of South Africa after the collapse of Apartheid.

The ‘activism’ of Maxwele, Mlandu, Hotz and other radical Fallists at the University of Cape Town (UCT) at best ‘challenges’ (not exposes) perceived/nuanced/invisible “institutional racism” at Africa’s still (but for how long?) top-ranked university. At worst, it comprises illegal actions ‘focussed’ generally (but not always) on ‘non-POC’, irrespective of their ‘racism’. They involve senseless massively costly, defacement of treasured national monuments (e.g. to war-dead) and destruction of key resources (e.g. educationally important rooms, books, buildings, busses and bakkies), and often inoffensive (e.g. flowers in a vases/jugs) artworks (some even created by POC). They defame, intimidate (even assault) peaceful and defenceless students, academics, officials (including the VC) and the Illegal invasion of residences, threatening legitimate residents (especially international) and staff and stealing food. Even womxn and POC are not spared. They helped to drive the POC Dean of Science to commit suicide and the POC Dean of Law to resign. In short, they caused UCT to cease the academic ‘activism’ that made her great.

Yet, as long as it was within his power, ex-VC Dr Max Price multiply pardoned these ‘activists’ and even praised their ‘activism’ as “outraged protest”. Fellow VC Prof. Jonathan Jansen portrays Price’s ‘management’ correctly as being clearly “played” by pseudo-activists within a highly publicized reconciliation process within which there was no intention of pursuing reconciliation to begin with.

The follow-on adjudicators of ‘activism’ at UCT (the Internal Reconciliation and Transformation Committee – IRTC) continue to employ social-restorative justification of additional, law-breaking ‘activities’. It continued issuing blanket amnesty to Maxwele et al., with no attempt to ‘restore’ relationships between activists and ‘recipients’ of ‘activism’. The Commissioners are “satisfied that the incidents were acts associated with their objective of raising awareness of the [students’] dissatisfaction … with the institutional culture at UCT which they perceived to be racist”. They conclude that the revolutionary activists have “fully paid their dues” because of their “pain and suffering”, and “the loss of academic years and opportunities through their expulsions, rustications and exclusions from the University, as well as the financial loss incurred”.

After all this amnesty, Maxwele complains that he and other “activists are [still] paying the price for fighting for free and decolonised Education (sic)”. This is because some activists (including him) have failed to escape criminal charges in magistrate courts and suspension, expulsion, rustication and interdiction within universities for blatant illegal ‘activities’ (e.g. hate speech, arson, physical assault). Now, Maxwele and the other ‘revolutionary activists’ are seeking ‘payback’ outside of respected courts and university tribunals from powerful politicians in government, including the Justice Minister Mike Masutha and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Let me say this to you Mr “Postgraduate (sic) student” Maxwele, now inexplicably accepted as an Honours student at UCT, despite taking nine years to earn a less-than-3rd-class, three-year B.A. degree. You are no Neville Alexander who, in a similar number of years at the UCT obtained a B.A. in German and History, Honours and M.A. in German language and, after winning an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship, gained his Ph.D. at University of Tübingen. In his final years at UCT, Alexander defended non-racialism and meritocracy-based education for liberation. Also, contrary to Maxwele’s words about him and Steve Biko, Alexander had not “recently been released from prion”. [A prion is a misfolded protein characteristic of fatal neurodegenerative diseases in animals and humans, or a small marine seabird.]

Moreover, you are no Steve Biko. Biko opposed violence as a means to ‘black’ liberation/ development. He was strongly/effectively involved with ‘black’ self/community-development projects nationally and supported many individuals in his Eastern Cape township, especially with regard to advancing their education. Maxwele and fellow ‘revolutionary activists’ effectively stopped education at UCT and are committed to its destructive “decolonization”.

Furthermore, you are no Frantz Fanon. Fanon was a wounded and decorated soldier during WWII, and a highly competent a medical doctor and psychiatrist as well as an internationally recognized revolutionary activist. Rather than being ‘tormented’ by statues of imperialists and nuanced/invisible racism at university, Fanon was subjected to the blatant, vicious racism that epitomized assimilation French coloniality. Subsequently, in war-torn Algeria, he experienced, if anything, more reprehensible overt racism and professional discrimination while he developed novel ways to deal with the psychopathology of racism in general and colonialism in particular. Regardless of one’s views on them, Fanon’s ideas were well-thought out and attempted to justify, even sanctify, violence by colonized ‘black’ people against the foreign colonizer as necessary for their mental health and political liberation.

Less than two months after his initial ‘activism’ (defacing Rhodes pseudo-iconic statue with human excrement) Maxwele challenged Price’s warning not reoffend. He  assaulted a defenceless ‘white’ female lecturer in the Mathematics Building, barraging her with hate speech, stating (witnessed by two others) inter alia:

  1. that she was “a white woman who takes all the rights of the black students”;
  2. “the statue fell; now it’s time for all whites to go”; and
  3. “We must not listen to whites, we do not need their apologies, they have to be removed from UCT and have to be killed.”

At the time, the “University considered Mr Maxwele’s alleged actions to be threatening and intimidating, and to have been unprovoked” and considered him to be a “potential risk to staff and students”. Nevertheless, in the intervening two years, this founding Fallist repeatedly (I hear at least eight times) evaded subjecting himself to a just, fair and reasonable disciplinary process within UCT.  Indeed, Maxwele accused the assaulted woman lecturer of racism, but offered no corroborating evidence or witnesses.  She was required by the UCT Executive (and willingly subjected herself) to undergo adjudication and was vindicated of these charges unconditionally.

Less than a year after the incident in the Maths Building, Maxwele allegedly assaulted another woman in Johannesburg, this time a POC, lesbian activist, known as “the Honourable Spigga” or “Thenjiwe Mswane”.  As recently as April 2018, a few days after his being granted amnesty by the IRTC, he made a mockery of a UCT graduation ceremony and berated the outgoing and incoming VCs, calling the former an “exploiter”.

Yet, Mr Maxwele claims that he and “others are moving towards unpacking the works that inspired Fanon himself”, and “are willing to pay the price for fighting for free and decolonised education in our life time”. As evidence of this, he offers some examples of ‘price-payers’, e.g. Comrade Khaya Celishe (in prison for torching of a police van). However, instead of having to ‘pay’ for his ‘activism/outraged protest’, Maxwele was ‘rewarded’ by Price with a dispensation to attend and disrupt his own graduation ceremony and, subsequently, by the Faculty of Humanities with an invitation to continue his activism as an ‘Honours’ student.

Maxwele now seeks ultimate political payment on a national level from Minister Masutha  and President Ramaphosa that will erase the balance of his past illegal activism.  How will they and UCT’s new VC deal with ‘revolutionary activism’ to come? Price is gone, but the entire UCT Community and South Africa still continue to pay its ongoing ‘price’.

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South Africans Must Save Themselves and Not Wait For Government https://rationalstandard.com/south-africans-must-save-themselves-and-not-wait-for-government/ https://rationalstandard.com/south-africans-must-save-themselves-and-not-wait-for-government/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 08:53:55 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8381 The biggest fund manager in the country, owned by government, wants to move money out of the country. The pace

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The biggest fund manager in the country, owned by government, wants to move money out of the country. The pace of land invasions has increased. Property prices are trending downwards, partly due to black people expecting to get expropriated land for free, while other buyers are not sure if it’s worth it if expropriation without compensation (EWC) happens.

After or concurrently with EWC, we’ll be debating nationalising the South African Reserve Bank (another ANC resolution from Nasrec). If you think the rand is in trouble now, wait a few months. Government borrowed R33 billion from the Chinese, rather than Eskom raising that from the bond market. Either Eskom got a better-than-market interest rate or the opposite; decide for yourself which is more likely.

Not to mention the fact that if the State-owned enterprises (SOEs) fail, the entire economy will tank on its own, without anything else happening. All your taxes now service debt, and we are perilously close to the point where government won’t be able to cover the interest through taxes. We have close to 40% unemployment. We are in a recession (and have been for a few years if you factor inflation into the calculation) and inflation is doing a number on us partly driven by public sector unions and their unholy relationship with government.

The government has effectively lost its ability to ensure the rule of law in significant parts of the country, FeesMustFall, Marikana and recently, xenophobic attacks in Gauteng, proved this.

The education system does not produce the skills needed by the economy, where anything of excellence is done by the private sector, which immediately becomes a target for doing anything well (like the National Health Insurance).

We are in trouble. We need to face this fact and stop thinking that the wasteful, incompetent and malicious government somehow has a master plan to save us. They do not. I know, because all of them have had more power than you or I for the past twenty-four years and have only used it to make our problems worse.

All your heroes in government are not worthy to shine your shoes. You are a much better human being than any of that disgusting lot.

The imminent debt crisis would be further off in time if your state capture hero Pravin Gordhan had not decided to take on more debt (which was a direct cause of the state capture phenomenon that he now speaks against) trying to “stimulate” the economy after the 2008 crisis.

President Cyril Ramaphosa negotiated a national minimum wage that will make it harder for young people to find work, which is the opposite of what we need right now. He is also the guy who negotiated the Constitution which had transformation at its core, and the 24 years of wasted resources trying to make the racial balance ‘just right’ in everything.

You are an adult, you are a thinker, stand up for yourself because there is absolutely nothing government can do for you. Seek ways to collaborate with other members of civil society. That’s our only reason to hope right now. We are not led, but we can lead ourselves.

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Survey reveals South Africans don’t support EWC https://rationalstandard.com/survey-reveals-south-africans-dont-support-ewc/ https://rationalstandard.com/survey-reveals-south-africans-dont-support-ewc/#respond Mon, 01 Oct 2018 11:22:58 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8411 In its quarterly market research survey, the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) released a poll on South African’s

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In its quarterly market research survey, the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) released a poll on South African’s views of expropriation without compensation (EWC). The topic has been dominating policy debates and media waves, with radical elements of the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)  calling for not only expropriating previously stolen land, but for complete state ownership of the country.

The way the debate has been presented by academics, the media and politicians makes it seem that the argument is truly divisive. A recent report by the IRR shows that conflict over EWC may be overblown by the media and select politicians.

The main findings of the report are:

27% of all voters have not heard of expropriation without compensation (EWC).

41% of all voters who have heard of EWC, “Somewhat” or “Strongly” oppose the policy.

30% of all voters who have heard of EWC, “Somewhat” or “Strongly” support the policy.

51% of all voters believe an alternative to EWC should be pursued, while 17% believe no land reform is necessary.

68% of all voters believe “Individuals should have the right to own land in their private capacity”.

31% of all voters believe “All land in South Africa should be owned by the government”.

However, support for EWC collapses when respondents are asked whether government should be able to take land they own themselves. 90% of all voters are “Somewhat” or “Strongly” opposed this.

The main report can be read here.

The report confirms a common suspicion that calls for EWC are just the uttering of an angry and vocal minority, given undue attention by a media looking for cheap views and political brownie-points. But there lies the problem. A minority political group is being allowed to dictate the South African discourse. Rather than discussing issues that South Africans truly care about, like jobs and crime, we are being forced to engage in a debate over property rights – something that all reasonable people agree on.

A lack of political education and foresight is very noticeable in the debate. While 31% of voters stated that they believe “All land in South Africa should be owned by the government”, 90% of voters opposed the government taking their own property. This belies some initial thoughtlessness among voters. A thoughtlessness that unfortunately underlies pretty much all socialists, who don’t realise that they would be some of the first to have their property taken from them and have themselves thrown in the gulag for un-stately behaviour.

The core of the support for EWC is based on ignorance. Ignorance of what South Africans really want and need. Ignorance of the ramifications. Ignorance of economics. Ignorance of history. And, fundamentally, ignorance of basic human decency. One can forgive the rural dweller who has been left behind due to the teachers’ unions and the ANC’s destroyed education system, but one cannot forgive the woke journalists, politicians, students and academics who continue to spout total EWC as godsend. It is a fanatacism that risks destroying this country, and at out current pace, it will destroy us sooner rather than later.

 

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Does smoking dagga turn you into a bigot? https://rationalstandard.com/dagga-smoking-bigot/ https://rationalstandard.com/dagga-smoking-bigot/#respond Fri, 28 Sep 2018 17:37:06 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=8421 Written by: Sara Gon Jeremy Acton is the leader of The Dagga Party of South Africa, which, together with a

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Written by: Sara Gon

Jeremy Acton is the leader of The Dagga Party of South Africa, which, together with a range of other parties, has just scored a memorable victory in the Constitutional Court. The Court ruled that the possession and consumption of dagga in one’s own home is legal.

The Institute of Race Relations hailed this decision. IRR spokesperson Kelebogile Leepile said this decision was an important step in affirming the rights of individuals to make decisions on issues that affect them and their lives. The Constitutional Court ruling on the use of cannabis is the thin edge of the liberty wedge, which makes South Africans freer.

‘People should be free to decide without interference from the state whether or not to use a substance such as cannabis in the privacy of their own home,’ the IRR said, ‘in the same way as they can choose whether or not to consume alcohol at home.’

Acton, it turns out, also holds the fairly common view that supports Palestinians and opposes Israel. Acton has the right to hold any views he likes.

His dislike of Israel, however, goes beyond the ‘normal’ to reveal a rabid hatred of Jews.

Acton’s Facebook page has many anti-Israel references, but his entry on 6 September 2018 was particularly illustrative. His expressions of hatred render neither him nor his party worthy of any further support.

He refers to a photograph purportedly showing a group of young Jews harassing an Arab woman. The woman has her back to the camera, so identification is not possible. It matters not whether the image is real or not, or whether it is true or not. What matters is what Acton says and how he says it:

‘This photo shows the arrogance of a religion that has moved from (unsubstantiated) belief into psychopathy, possibly a result of the ‘hive mind’ that happens when you put too many #Jews in one place.

Many Jews say that Zionism is not Judaism. I disagree. Zionism is the result of  Judaism, and all its fake claims (chosen by God is BS) and without Judaism there would be no Zionism. This makes EVERY Jew answerable for the Zionist Jews and their persecution complex-based psychopathic hate for goyim [non-Jews], because, to a certain extent, this attitude is in ALL OF YOU.

I do believe that people can change, and whole movements or religions can transform to the positive, but I also think that in Israel, the change is never going to happen from within, because they lost their own humanity in denying the humanity and rights of the indigenous people of Palestine. The Zionist Jews of Israel live by the gun so they shall probably have to receive the Justice that comes from the gun.”

A couple of issues are noteworthy. One is his statement: ‘Its fake claims (chosen by God is BS).’ Presumably Acton means ‘bullshit’. A popular theme of Christian and Muslim antisemites is the outrage they feel at the Jews purportedly having been God’s chosen people.

It’s a giveaway in the antisemitism stakes, because it ignores through convenience or ignorance the fact that Judaism was the first monotheistic religion. In that context, God is said to have chosen the Jews to spread the word of one god amongst pagan and idolatrous societies.

So the Old Testament claim of ‘chosenness’ cannot possibly have been made in relation to the other two monotheistic religions.

Acton’s antisemitism is confirmed in his garbled and incoherent claim that ‘EVERY Jew (is) answerable for the Zionist Jews and their persecution-based psychopathic hate for goyim, because to a certain extent, this attitude is in ALL OF YOU’.

Acton is at least honest when he sees every Jew as being responsible for the existence of Zionists and, by extension, Israelis.

It can be no consolation for any Jewish supporter of the Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions campaign who is an anti-Zionist to be hated by a fellow BDS/anti-Zionist believer.

Acton’s tone has the frothing quality of the sort of rant associated with the Nazis.

Finally, according to Acton, people, movements and religions can change for the better – but not the Zionist Jews. That is exactly the sort of prognosis that was peddled by Adolf Hitler to justify the Nazi corollary of having ultimately to exterminate the whole race.

Creating a political party around one single issue is parochial and offers nothing to addressing the complexities of the social and political issues that really besiege the people of South Africa. Acton doubtless gained a major victory in the dagga ruling, but now is perhaps the time for him to leave the political arena since his hatred and his venomous views threaten to overshadow the achievement of his ConCourt win.

Recent polling by the IRR on the issues that concern South Africans most show that the one thing that matters most to South Africans, after unemployment, is drugs and drug addiction. Acton’s victory may not be met with quite the enthusiasm a new individual freedom should be.

Sara Gon is a Policy Fellow at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), a think tank that promotes political and economic freedom. If you agree with what you have just read then click here or SMS your name to 32823.

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