Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com The Logical Alternative Fri, 26 May 2017 23:41:06 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 https://i2.wp.com/rationalstandard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cropped-RS-Logo.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com 32 32 94510741 Technology is not enough to solve our education crisis https://rationalstandard.com/tech-not-enough-education/ https://rationalstandard.com/tech-not-enough-education/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 23:41:06 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5475 This article is a response to: To stay in the game universities need to work with tech companies The author starts off by linking “higher [traditional tertiary?] and professional education”. They are, […]

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This article is a response to: To stay in the game universities need to work with tech companies

The author starts off by linking “higher [traditional tertiary?] and professional education”. They are, in both theory and practice, profoundly different processes. Tertiary education is more than just more and more ‘basic’/’lower’ education. It is learning how to learn, rationally and critically challenging outdated paradigms and your fellow students and educators, and ultimately coming up with your own new and innovative paradigms. In South Africa – indeed, throughout most of the post-colonial developing world – tertiary education has collapsed (or is collapsing) for a range of reasons.

At the University of Cape Town (at which both Prof. Hall and I worked for decades as academics and academic administrators), one of the primary reasons for this collapse is the massive enrolment of nominally capable matriculants (in terms of their performance on national final school-leaving examinations), who are actually educationally ‘disabled’ by the tragically dysfunctional South African Basic Education System. This collapse began ‘quietly’ more than 30 years ago when UCT chose to develop “Academic Support “ to “bridge” the educational “gap” between rapidly growing numbers of ‘black’ matriculants admitted from schools run under the notorious Apartheid “Bantu Education System” and those from ‘white’ schools.

Sadly, because of widespread apathy and resistance from academics in Core Discipline Departments across faculties (including those in the then Faculty of Education) to take the lead in this pivotally critical educational task, it was necessary to start from ‘scratch’ and apply what might be retrospectively viewed as a “Heath Robinson” “quick fix”.  This involved the creation of the Academic Support Programme (ASP).

Since, in the 1980s, there were no ‘experts’ in rehabilitating educationally deliberately ‘emasculated’ kids, centralized UCT administrators with little (in some cases no) experience in basic or tertiary education led the ASP and hired ‘outsourced’ contract lecturers with some discipline-related academic qualifications to do the job. With some noteworthy exceptions (especially in the then Faculty of Engineering), ASP failed to produce acceptable numbers of competent ‘black’ graduates in three years. Rather than recognizing this mistake and taking action to force Education-oriented and other Core Departments to take up the responsibility for meaningful academic support, UCT increased the numbers of ASP academics, making some of them permanent staff within a now Academic Development Programme (ADP) owing fealty to Core HoDs and ADP co-ordinators. After several more years, when ADP continued failing to promote the delivery of acceptable numbers of competent graduates in regulation time, it was subsumed into an even more expensive faculty-like structure, the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED), with its own self-centred mission. This decision further marginalized ‘black’ ‘ASP’ students.

By now Prof. Hall and you readers may ask: “What the hell does this have to do with the merits of digitally-enabled learning” (DIL) and massive open online courses (MOOCs)?

My answer is that they are being unwisely mooted as a major way through “weathering” the challenge of Academic Support. Before I try to explain this arguably Luddite position, let me say that DIL, MOOCs, Wikipedia, Google and a host of other internet-related ways of acquiring open-sourced information are wonderful. Indeed, before I used the word “Luddite”, I ‘Googled’ it.

Sadly, even if well-designed (and language-massaged and regularly-updated) MOOCs are produced by Nobel laureates and the best and most innovate educators on Earth, it won’t even put a major dent in the educational chasm that exists between school and tertiary education in South Africa. Based on nearly 30 years of personal experience educating and working (and publishing) with ‘black’ students from all over Africa and from interacting with other successful educators who have done the same, nothing short of theistic intervention can replace one-on-one and/or small group, face-to-face interaction, mentoring and counselling to produce ‘black’, ‘white’, brown or ‘coloured’ leaders, especially academic leaders desperately needed to “bridge the gap”.

On its own, DIL can help already educated people become better or more broadly educated and may produce competent technologists and ‘normal’ professionals. It cannot and will not produce individualist, critical thinkers and innovative practitioners and leaders. It’s not “queasiness” that I harbour, but nauseation over the prospects of yet another ‘quick fixed’ Brave New World. “Know how [and] the money” are means, not ends, of/to acquiring meaningful education, ‘Higher’ or otherwise. UCT could spend R1.4 bn far better, e.g. to attract more and better ASP-sensitive educators and financially support more ASP kids comprehensively. Just imagine the primary effect of a DIL solution at UCT: earphone resplendent kids wandering around looking at their Smart Phones while academics sit in front of video cameras!

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“Don’t Look for Evidence of Wrongdoing” – HuffPost Does it Again! https://rationalstandard.com/dont-look-evidence-wrongdoing-huffpost/ https://rationalstandard.com/dont-look-evidence-wrongdoing-huffpost/#comments Fri, 26 May 2017 13:11:55 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5512 In the wake of HuffPost SA‘s company-shattering humiliation last month which forced its Editor in Chief to resign, the publication has shown that the apology it issued was as superficial as the […]

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In the wake of HuffPost SA‘s company-shattering humiliation last month which forced its Editor in Chief to resign, the publication has shown that the apology it issued was as superficial as the editorial policy the website operates according to.

In an article titled “9 Quick Steps To Becoming A Less Trashy Man“, HuffPost republished Lesedi Molefi’s scathing diatribe against those of us who happen to be men. Despite me l i t e r a l l y  s h a k i n g because Molefi assumed so many people’s gender identities, I felt it would be a shame for such demagoguery to go unnoticed.

Of course, there is nothing new in the article which we haven’t already seen on the likes of Everyday Feminism or The Daily Vox, but the interesting dimension to this story is how HuffPost still has not come to terms with the fact that it was the content, not the identity of the author, which made “Shelley Garland’s” disenfranchise-all-men article problematic. Indeed, the Press Ombud said as much, and HuffPost accepted his findings, even though we at the Rational Standard think it might send a chilling-effect throughout the media that ought to be free from regulatory interference. I won’t go into my trademarked line-by-line interrogation of Molefi’s article. Instead, I’d like to pick some of the gems which made me sincerely question HuffPost‘s sincerity, and I do so in no particular order.

(Aside: The Press Ombud is not a government functionary, but part of the voluntary self-regulatory association known as the Press Council. Our courts have, however, been known to take ‘judgments’ of voluntary sectoral associations into account when developing South African law.)

“Be yourself. Sorry to dig into the tired platitudes here. But don’t be a sack of sh*t packaged as a lollipop, be a sack of sh*t. Really. Be a trashy sack of ass.”

Well, if Molefi insists, sure!

“YOU need to stop killing our sisters. Yes, you without the criminal record. Yes, you who has never raised a hand at a woman. Gasp! Indignation! Outrage! Tsek.”

Wait, didn’t he just say we need to embrace our trashiness?

In this caption, Molefi uses a tried-and-tested argumentative tactic which reeks of intellectual dishonesty: He thinks preempting the “Gasp! Indignation! Outrage!” which is sure to follow his perverted kind of reasoning somehow invalidates the indignation and outrage. It does not, and it certainly does not make his ‘argument’ any more reasonable.

This is also another chapter in the story of the ‘social justice’ left completely and purposefully destroying the English language. Molefi uses the word “killing” – which means to make someone who is alive, dead – but then appears to imply that actual killing isn’t required for ‘this kind’ of killing. No, the ‘killing’ Molefi refers to here is not the very real, very oppressive injustices women in South Africa have to suffer through; i.e. being beaten, raped, and killed by a very violent criminal subsection of the male population. ‘Killing’ here simply, once again, is used as a substitute for ‘offending’.

“Now, when you check yourself, don’t look for evidence of wrongdoing. […] The first step is to acknowledge that you are complicit. If you don’t know ‘how’ you are guilty it doesn’t mean that you are not.”

Again; I thought Molefi wants us to embrace our trashiness?

Molefi rejects the building blocks of reality here: Reason and evidence.

Without ‘reason’ – which includes the ability to show a nexus between cause and effect – Molefi’s article may as well not have been written in the first place. For if ‘substantiation of assertion’ (argument) is fundamentally not required, why did Molefi write his long diatribe? Well, there could be three reasons for this.

Firstly, Molefi may not be smart enough to realize that this is what the logical fabric of his ‘argument’ is made of. I’ll let the reader decide on this after considering both my and Molefi’s arguments.

Secondly, Molefi may believe the case is closed, and no more evidence of the complicity of all men in the oppression of all women is required. This would be fair enough, of course, if such a process whereby evidence was led, tested, and accepted actually happened; but it did not. “We don’t need evidence!” has been the narrative of the social justice left for decades.

Thirdly, Molefi may have bought into the perverted Critical Theory notion that reason, evidence, and logic depend entirely on who is speaking at the time. This is probably the most likely explanation. Those who have been inspired by schools of thought related to Critical Theory often believe that there is no such thing as ‘objectivity’, and that ‘reason’ is a white male construct employed particularly in the marginalization of women and black individuals.

I have dealt with this elsewhere.

It suffices to say here that this is an untenable position wherein Critical Theory defeats itself, as that school of thought makes use of all the tools of reason, logic, and evidence in an attempt to argue in favor of itself.

“The point is that you mustn’t look for a discussion or a conversation. Nah. Internalise what you hear from women. […] Don’t assume there is any plausible reason why she shouldn’t be offended by what you have to say or do.”

Okay, I am assuming Molefi was lying when he said we need to embrace our trashiness.

I am actually quite glad Molefi mentioned ‘discussion’ and ‘conversation’. It finally appears like the social justice left is moving away from their fallacious calls for an ‘open and honest discussion’, which has never been open nor honest. Instead, it has always been a condescending lecture by BA- and MPhil-holding elites about how bad whites and men in general but white men in particular are.

Molefi, of course, defeats his own ‘argument’ by implying the woman in a man’s life will always, ab initio, be right. I sincerely hope a woman who didn’t drink the same Critical Theory poison he has, tells Molefi that his entire worldview is incorrect. Thankfully, he won’t be able to oppose her in an intellectually honest way.

“That’s what [sic] you need to alter your behaviour.”

Yeah… that thing about us having to embrace our trashiness was a lie.

HuffPost made all the mistakes it made in the Garland saga again, minus the red herring of the identity of the author. It received a submission or sought to republish an article which clearly includes some of the most faulty reasoning ever introduced into political and social discourse. In fact, the article rejects reasoning both explicitly and by its nature. In other words, HuffPost once again failed to fact-check, or, as we at the Rational Standard like to say, failed to apply a rational standard to its articles.

And, of course, HuffPost once again published an article rallying against a massive amount of people who share a particular group-characteristic unrelated to the choices any of them have made during their lives. By the dangerous and backwards standard set by South Africa’s proposed Hate Speech Bill, Molefi’s article is practically a case study of hate speech. If the law is applied with an even hand after the Bill becomes enforceable, Molefi would be liable for three years in a South African prison. But look at me digressing – showing concern for the well-being of my very confused opponent – the fact of the matter is that HuffPost has moved on from the Garland saga and continues to show its contempt for its level-headed readers.

Don’t allow yourselves to be fooled: The tension in South Africa between different races and different sexes is amplified tenfold by the reckless and incomprehensible conduct of our press media, and HuffPost‘s baiting in this case should be evidence enough.

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Blossoming non-racialism NOT rotten roots of racism https://rationalstandard.com/blossoming-non-racialism-not-rotten-roots-racism/ https://rationalstandard.com/blossoming-non-racialism-not-rotten-roots-racism/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 17:33:46 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5438 I disagree with virtually every statement in David Matthews’ Roots of Racism: parts 1 & 2. No, racism IS a moral crime perpetrated by individuals taught to hate and fear […]

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I disagree with virtually every statement in David Matthews’ Roots of Racism: parts 1 & 2.

No, racism IS a moral crime perpetrated by individuals taught to hate and fear by other individuals! This is elucidated unequivocally in the song “You’ve got to be taught” from the Rodgers & Hammerstein play/film ‘South Pacific’. The use of ‘race’ within humans has neither a biological nor ethnic/cultural basis. Babies are born innocent. There is nothing but myth and bigoted thinking that even suggests that racism, ethnic chauvinism and social ‘otherness’ are embodied in DNA.  Yes, from the very beginnings of modern humanity (and even among other Great Apes) there are various forms of ‘otherness’, but they are determined ecologically depending on the dispersion of close kin and relative abundance of limited sexual partners and other limited ‘resources’. Within the most genetically distinct Homo sapiens, the word San is Khoi for ‘foreigners’ and Khoikhoi is Khoi for ‘real people’. Xhosa is a San word for “angry people”. San also have no collective word for the >10 San ‘peoples’. But, this does not require, let alone justify, one ‘group’ of humans being or acting superior to another, let alone owning, exploiting, oppressing and systematically murdering them. No rational human being should be allowed to place a sign in his shop window: “No dogs, niggers or Irish”. Tutus are not “cockroaches”. A ‘kaffir’ is someone who does not share the beliefs of Moslems, not someone who can’t marry your sister. A ’cracker’ is something to eat, not a person with melanin-deficient skin.

Yes, some individuals are more intelligent than others and some harbour more anti-other-group feelings and these differences might be detectable using one test or another. But, this demonstrates within-population diversity, not group-relative superiority. Look at the de Klerk, Mbeki and Breytenbach brothers! Brothers fought against brothers during the US Civil War!

Racism is NOT the biggest problem in South Africa. This has been demonstrated decisively time-and-again by multiple surveys conducted by the internationally respected South African Institute of Race Relations. If an individual’s or institution’s racism can be demonstrated to legally adversely affect any aspect of another individual’s or group’s existence he/she/it can be held accountable for it. The best that the most virulent Fallists can say at the University of Cape Town [where I worked and developed socio-politically for 40+ years] is that racism is rife, but it is “invisible”.

‘Races’ do NOT cooperate willingly or unwillingly. Individuals who share the same academic or corporate views and respect the rule of law do. This happens every day throughout post-Apartheid South Africa. When they don’t and violate its laws, racists, regardless of their ‘race’, should be held accountable. It just requires the relevant elected and appointed officials to do their jobs.

Matthews’ mythical ‘races’ are NOT moving steadily apart. They are converging on a common goal communicated to the world more than two centuries ago in colonial America and Haiti: “the pursuit of life, liberty and the happiness.” Yes, racism in all its guises persists and cannot be eradicated unless “we come first to understand what racism actually is”: BOTH immoral and illegal discrimination based on arbitrarily perceived ‘otherness’.

Yes, ‘racism’ involves “a great deal more than mere physical appearance”.  It involves perpetrating acts of “prejudice against, or aversion to, not simply people’s racial appearance, but to all those things about them that are significantly different”. Matthews then lists some of these “things”, but fails to indicate when and how the ‘differences’ are “significant”, other than to say that humans “are naturally suspicious”. But, rather than admit that racists are “stupid or irrational”, he seeks solace in the ‘fact’ that “over the hundreds of thousands of years that our ancestors [who up to a few thousand years ago were ‘black’] lived an extremely hazardous existence in small, isolated communities” and “carry this inherent aversion deeply within ourselves, and will always do so”.

I and some other people (Aristotle, Jesus, Muhammad, George Washington, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi, Oskar Schindler, Martin Luther King, Mother (now Saint) Theresa, Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk and Helen Zille) think otherwise.

Unless one believes in the repeatedly refuted theory of ‘Group Selection’, ‘racism’ isn’t an isolated (indeed any kind of a) biological adaptation carried from anywhere or any time. Moreover, it is NOT “the reverse of positive cultural prejudice, or personal and social self-identification”. It is simply immoral and illegal discrimination against ‘others’ or, at best, discredited ‘pop sociobiology’ applied to arbitrarily identified ‘others’. There is nothing “logical” or “absolutely natural” about it that is “fundamental to human survival. It is a ‘trans-racial’ cultural cancer that must be eradicated.

‘Racism’ is not merely “social self-identification” which is bad enough. It is also relational exclusion, requiring the pseudo-identification of inevitably subordinate and, ultimately, exploited/oppressed/enslaved ‘others’.

Yes, “anti-racism is a very recent phenomenon”, a far, far too recent development in Humanism. Because something has been prevalent, even ”for the entire course of human history”, is at best an observation. It is most definitely not a justification of something to be recognized as asocial norm”. Yes, anti-racism can lead to “political conflict”. But, it’s a price that has to be paid for centuries of oppression. Trying to pass racism on as “an inherent biological adaptation” promoting “group loyalty and social cohesion” cannot and should never have been tolerated. Pronouncing that “everybody on Earth is ‘racist’ to at least some or other degree” serves only to promote the assertions of ‘black’ nationalist racists that ‘whiteness’ is an inherent evil.

NO, until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, human populations did NOT “tend to remain in one place and to be homogeneous.” With the possible exceptions of a handful of forensically diagnosable populations in Africa (e.g. the KhoiSan), people have moved and continue to move huge distances over remarkable short periods, populating and re-populating the Earth’s furthest corners. That’s why we’re all genetically highly similar (99.7%) ‘kissing cousins’; eminent African-American Harvard historian and ardent ‘genome-genealogist’ Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and an Irish-American police officer (who arrested him for trying to gain entry to his locked home) may be descendants of 4th Century Irish King, Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Now to part 2.

Sadly, Matthews is correct in identifying the promotion of a potentially devastating “widening … political divide between black and white in South Africa”. However he is incorrect in dating its inception to 1994. He also misses the point in attributing this to the ANC’s “Marxist and collectivist economic and social programme”. If anything, the communists have been marginalized within the Tripartite Alliance and the unionists have been betrayed by the kleptocratic elements within the still dominant pro-Zuma-toadies faction.

Yes, many individuals with Eurocentric upbringing fail “to fully understand and appreciate the worldview of the other[s]”.   Many Afrocentrists fail in the same way. There is also a deficiency in mutual respect. Dealing with these problems requires the unfettered interaction that characterized UCT during the Ramphele Reign.

Yes, (but not “for countless millennia”), “Homo sapiens developed [divergently] under radically different circumstances in Europe and Africa respectively”. This divergence also took place concurrently within both continents; compare southern Italians with Norwegians and pygmies with Masai and KhoiSan. But it is gratuitous to assert that “when Africa was colonised, the inhabitants were still in a relatively undeveloped state technologically and culturally in Western terms”.  ‘Undevelopedness’ is in the eye of the beholder. Colonialism did not “[interrupt] the natural course of cultural evolution [towards Eurocentrism?] on the continent”. To varying degrees, it forcibly re-directed it in ways that undermined, if not destroyed, working civilizations developed over millennia. The subordinated African societies did NOT “remain fixed in [their] relatively undeveloped state”. They continued to develop, sometimes assimilating Eurocentric cultural memes, but often finding their own new ways. ‘White superiority” was a superimposed artefact maintained by systematic socio-economic emasculation of the ‘nie-blanke’. Since many South African ‘others’ had five more decades of additional highly effective systematic emasculation, they still retain its lingering effects. But, to suggest that they are “infected with inferiority” totally misrepresents reality. Provided with genuine opportunities and being allowed to find their own individual pathways to success, all South African students and trainees are highly capable of success.

Yes, the “white delusion of inherent superiority” is as much a delusion as that of “inherent black inferiority”. What “is unnecessarily poisoning black/white political relations in South Africa today” is Machiavellian manipulation by political failures and demagogues clinging to or desperately attempting to acquire power.

In 1994, ‘whites’ did not “hand the ANC the keys to the state”. That was done by voters through a democratic ballot. Thereafter, for a decade or so, a broad spectrum of South Africans collaborated to redress past injustice and develop innovations to rebuild a non-racial nation.

Sadly, during the twilight of the Mbeki Regime, the momentum was lost and replaced by spiralling colour-blind kleptocracy. The death of Nelson Mandela seemed to spur the rainbow crooks onward.

The “current moral collapse” is not restricted to the ANC, any other political party or self-identified ‘race’. It is panmictic.  Thuggery, vulgarity and apathy are pervasive. Indeed, if this were not so, why did harbingers of hate dominate the slate of candidates of UCT’s Students Representative council and why did 80+% of the student population choose not to vote?

NO, the best way to “avoid ‘Zimbabwefication of South Africa” in NOT for “leaders of society … to get together”. It requires a grassroots effort at the ballot box and peaceful, but steadfast, civil protest. It got the Brits out of India.

The last thing that ‘whites’, ‘blacks’, ‘browns’ and ‘yellows’ should do is to abandon our individual “arrogance”. They must use it to salvage the non-racial society envisaged by Sobukwe, Jan Hofmeyr (the younger), Tambo, Slovo, Naude, van zyl Slabbert, Suzman, Mandela, and the beleaguered Zille.

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The General Motors disinvestment shows politicians that reality bites https://rationalstandard.com/general-motors-disinvestment-shows-politicians-reality-bites/ https://rationalstandard.com/general-motors-disinvestment-shows-politicians-reality-bites/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 17:57:32 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5484 The recent announcement by General Motors (GM) that it will disinvest from South Africa after 2017 should not come as a surprise to South Africans. As much as we might […]

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The recent announcement by General Motors (GM) that it will disinvest from South Africa after 2017 should not come as a surprise to South Africans.

As much as we might want to rant and rave against GM, as much as we condemn their actions and look for ways to force them to stay in the country, reality simply does not match up to our emotions. Perhaps if we evaluated the actions of companies with the standard of reason and reality, and not emotion, the move by GM would not have caused such outrage.

Isuzu Motors SA will take over GM’s Struandale vehicle assembly plant in Port Elizabeth, and manufacture its own vehicles. 1,500 of GM SA’s 1,800 employees work at the Struandale plant, and talks regarding potential job losses have begun.

If I desperately want to buy a Chevrolet vehicle I will have to buy it from overseas, as these will no longer be sold in SA after 2017. According to the Minister for Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, the move by GM is not a surprise because its sales have been declining for several years.

I agree with the Minister: the disinvestment by GM should not be a surprise.

Every move by our government has resulted in the move, and will cause more companies to leave our shores. The international market may be tough at present, GM may be downsizing, etc., however, instead of looking at the problems they have caused, government does what government does best: blame outside forces.

Our government has done nothing to lessen its grip on companies and the South African taxpayer. Instead of making it easier to grow a company in this country, the government increases regulations. Instead of cutting government spending, and in turn lessening the burden of taxes on all South Africans, the government increases its reach, with Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services II regulation and the upcoming sugar tax the prime examples. Instead of making it easier for companies to open and operate here, we make it more difficult for them. Increasing regulations and burdens on companies, not wanting to attract investment and in turn economic growth defies logic, but this is exactly what our government does.

We have a prevailing philosophy that companies, to be moral, must ‘give back’ to society for the money they have made, for the privilege of existing. We need to commit to a complete revision of this position. A company’s profits indicate that its services or goods are valued by society. It does not force consumers to buy its products; it has to appeal to them. It has to convince them to part with they money. Government operates with force – this is its only avenue.

Time after time after time, the failures of statism are blamed on the free market, even though we have one of the biggest governments, and most regulated economies, in the world. Minister Davies will not point to government regulations as the problem; GM will profusely apologise and say their move is not because of government behaviour. When government is as large as ours, companies must do their best to please politicians. The socialist philosophy followed by our government results in the expected actions by GM; the more government grows, the more companies will leave because the cost of operation will simply be too great.

Businesses have to make a profit – this is their very nature. When it becomes too expensive for them to operate, they will seek more amenable markets. Yaron Brook explains that, “Our unprecedented prosperity and standard of living exist not despite but because of these [business]men. To shackle and tether such individuals with government regulations and interventions — to treat them as potential or actual Al Capones — is both unjust and self-destructive.” It would do South Africans well to do all we can to keep companies here; if we follow the socialist path, reality will bite back accordingly.

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Decolonizing UCT: ‘trick or treat’ and ‘sticks and stones’ https://rationalstandard.com/decolonizing-university-cape-town-uct-trick-treat-sticks-stones/ https://rationalstandard.com/decolonizing-university-cape-town-uct-trick-treat-sticks-stones/#comments Sun, 21 May 2017 21:30:15 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5419 History For more than two years, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has lost direction and momentum in what used to be referred to as adaptive “transformation” of staff and […]

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History

For more than two years, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has lost direction and momentum in what used to be referred to as adaptive “transformation” of staff and student demographics, curricula sensu lato, racially offensive symbols, etc. Indeed, during this period, the “T-word” has been superseded by the variously defined ‘D-word’: “Decolonization”. Extreme critical, fallist decolonists favour ‘race’- and other ‘self-identification-based’ quotas concerning recruitment and advancement of students and staff, and academic ‘cleansing’ of the ideas of “dead white Eurocentric men”. The purpose of this piece is to discuss tactics fallists employ in achieving these goals at UCT: violent disruption of its functioning, suppression of free (especially academic) speech and character assassination.

Matters came to a head in 2016 at about the time of Halloween. Classes had been suspended for weeks. Libraries were locked. Academics hid in their offices within locked buildings or simply fled to their homes. This is because small numbers of individuals representing several factions of lawbreaking fallists controlled the campus, holding the UCT Executive (Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price, selected DVCs and an Executive Director) to ransom. Unlike the many justifiably aggrieved students and staff who peacefully expressed their “pain”, “suffocation”, overall neglect and, especially “silencing” by an uncaring Executive, masked fallist militants:

  1. bore stones, sticks, sjamboks and petrol bombs; and
  2. roamed the campus intimidating individuals (irrespective of gender or ‘race’), disrupting lectures, assaulting ‘adversaries’ and security personnel and burning artwork/buildings/vehicles.

While this was happening, the four-person Executive ‘negotiated’ with nine “progressive” individuals, mainly from one fallist faction – the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania, PASMA, a relatively poorly supported student group who feature strongly among the lawbreaking fallists. PASMA is an ideologically monolithic, revolutionary movement “guided by the philosophies of Pan Africanism and Marxism-Leninism whose goal is total liberation of all humanity through the working class revolution and establishment and construction of classless society”. It does not tolerate individualistic “opportunist elements”.

A “significant step”

A week after Halloween, the Executive and the fallists signed the November Agreement. VC Price heralded it as a “significant step in the right direction of addressing the underlying issues that have fuelled the protests for the last 18 months”.  The Agreement inter alia provided for potential conditional amnesty for lawbreaking fallists.  These included founder, faeces flinger, fallist and accused woman-assaulter Chumani Maxwele and a multi-arrested ‘Pasmanian’, Masixole Mlandu. More importantly, it set in motion the creation of a five-person Internal Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) that could make recommendations resulting in radical and fundamental ‘decolonization’ of the non-racial, academically free university dreamt of by VC TB Davie and implemented by his successors Stuart Saunders and Mamphele Ramphele, who remain conspicuously silent.

Dissent

Many disagreed with the ‘negotiation’ process in general and the Agreement in particular.

To get a clearer picture of how alumni felt about this Agreement, I proposed a motion calling for members of the UCT Convocation to be consulted anonymously (but allowed to self-identify) to express their confidence in this Executive action.  This was supported (in amended form) by former UCT Student Representative Council president Ms Gwen Ngwenya, who referred to the Agreement as a result of “negotiations for non-violence”.  At the Convocation AGM in December 2016, the motion was mispresented as a personal vote of no-confidence in Price by Adv Geoff Budlender, Chairperson of the UCT Council and selection committee that appointed Price as VC.

When Gwen and I attempted to speak to our motion, we were prevented from doing so by fallists (including Agreement-‘clemencied’ Maxwele) who had illegally invaded the meeting. They had been allowed (based on a motion by Budlender approved by Convocation President BCM-founder Barney Pityana) to remain if they ‘protested’ silently. In fact, they shouted us down, defaming me as: “Jim Crow, racist, apartheid activist, killer of black people”, ultimately causing the meeting to be abandoned.

Soon after the abandoned Convocation AGM, fallists focused their attentions on Gwen, describing her as a “sell-out”, “porch negro”, “house ni**er”, and accusing her of lying about her academic qualifications.

So, rather than protest peacefully and debate, fallists resort to lawbreaking intimidation, lies, defamation and hate speech.

Another critic of the Agreement, politics/sociology (and now member of the IRTC Steering Committee) Prof Jeremy Seekings, challenged Price’s assertion that the academic year was “completed”, pointing out that “many courses [were] not concluded and a few not taught at all”, and emphasised that the Agreement would result in a significant loss of teaching time in 2017.  Like Gwen, he also pointed out that fallist signatories of the Agreement “secured the prospect of indemnity for their own actions, reinforcing a culture of impunity and perhaps encouraging similar disruptions in 2017”. Third, he asserted that Price and the PASMA fallists “agreed a list of commissioners … giving PASMA an effective veto over who would conduct this [IRTC] review of UCT”. Price subsequently recanted this agreement at a meeting of Senate, but it was reaffirmed at the IRTC Steering Committee meeting held on 18 April 2017.

Seekings also highlighted the actions of multi-arrested (for contravening a High Court order, malicious damage to property, trespassing, and intimidation), Agreement signatory, ‘clemencied’, PASMA leader Masixole Mlandu who had been incarcerated Pollsmoor Prison. His release (opposed by the State) was effected, in part, when he presented a letter from VC Price “not opposing” this action.

So much for ‘decisive action’.

Soon after Mlandu’s release, this PASMA ‘Primate’ (in the religious sense) outlined his organization’s goals: “We will usher into this country an attitude of black rage, black liberation, an attitude that threatened the foundation of whiteness”, “Revolution is the answer to our problem. … We must live up to our historical task … to change society from bottom up with no compromise”.

So much for peace on campus.

More defamation

Seekings and other colleagues at UCT who have criticized fallist behaviour have also been accused of racism. For example, in an expurgated letter published in the Sunday Independent on 21 August 2016 and in a much longer, unexpurgated Facebook post on the same day, Maxwele revealed that UCT Prof Xolela Mangcu had branded Seekings as a “racist”. This culminated in formal “stage 3” grievance and counter-grievances being lodged within UCT.  The adjudicator nominated by Price was a Deputy Vice Chancellor, eminent professor of law and a “leading international legal researcher” (“A”–rated by South Africa’s National Research Foundation). In short, Mangcu’s racism-related allegations were found to be “defamatory and unsubstantiated” and he should “publicly retract” them. On 4 September 2016, the Sunday Independent published a subsequent letter from Elijah Moholola (officially representing UCT) that ends as follows:

“Fighting racism is a noble act. Accusing individuals blindly and publicly without evidence is not.”

Neither Maxwele nor Mangcu have retracted their accusations. While (and after) all of this public defamation occurred, UCT’s VC, Registrar, Executive Director of the Development and Alumni Department and President of Convocation took no action to stop its perpetrators.

Fallist institutional capture

In February 2017, at the reconstituted Convocation AGM2, President Pityana moved again that ineligible fallists might attend and make a formal address.  The fallist speaker was commerce student Simon Rakei. He was one of the invaders of AGM1 and threatened to “slap” University Librarian Emerita Joan Rapp after she criticized his vulgar behaviour. He ended AGM1 by literally running down the lecture theatre from benchtop to benchtop, further disrupting the meeting.

During his address to AGM2, Rakei greatly exceeded his allocated 5 minutes, dismissed the legitimacy of the ‘white’-dominated meeting, ‘hate-speeched’ me again as “Jim Crow” and threatened that there “would be consequences” if the current Students Representative Council were not disbanded.

When I attempted to clarify my motion, Rakei and other fallists heckled me, Pitanya cut me short, my motion was once again misrepresented (once again by a pro-fallist alumnus lawyer) and it was voted down.

Convocation AGM2 was culminated by the election Ms Lorna Houston to succeed eminent scholar, liberation activist, former VC and professor Barney Pityana as Convocation President.

Ms Houston is a pro-fallist, anti-‘white’, disgruntled former employee of UCT who maintains that it retains an apartheid culture characterized by “invisible racism” – “the past is still present”.  According to her:

  1. “The UCT system managed to “disappear” and exclude many capable black staff; and instead nurtured mainly capable white staff by providing support, mentoring and the transmission of social capital to negotiate the system”.
  2. “That even though there are no ‘criminal’ charges against the university, it is a party to the conflict. Its tardiness and benign view of tardiness on behalf of university staff who did not implement its ‘transformation policies’ for 23 years, caused untold harm which is routinely denied, but persist to this day.
  3. “This [‘tardiness’] contributed to slow but invisibilised escalation amongst black students and staff over time”.
  4. “It therefore follows that students with charges and/or other possible actions considered against them, should not be regarded as ‘offenders’ with the institution as their ‘victim’.”
  5. IRTC commissioners “should ideally actively and emphathetically ‘listen for’ clues in narratives about how MANIFESTATIONS of violence [by Fallists] fit with PATTERNS of invisibilised institutional racism as violence; how these patterns fit within the institutional culture that isolates and alienates othered groups.”

Fixing this system his requires a “de-centr[ing of] whiteness”.

She describes fallists as “the progressive flank [employing “youthful tactics”] to support all efforts that deal honestly and decisively with trans-historical causes”. They form “a radical flank who provide the doves with cover to negotiate a just settlement” using an “expansive view” of “trans-historical restorative justice”.

To date, neither Ms Houston nor any fallist or member of the newly formally recognized Black Academic Caucus have identified ‘disappeared black’ and/or ‘nurtured white’ staff or exposed (with substantive evidence) any member of the UCT Community or an institutional structure as racist.  Moreover, none of the abovementioned have provided definitions/explanations for/of “decolonization”, “invisible racism”, “expansive trans-historical restorative justice” or “progressive” anything.

Ms Houston is also a key member of the UCT Alumni Advisory Board and the Steering Committee of the IRTC.

If you wish to read more on my views, consult my blog site: timguineacrowe.blogspot.co.za

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A few democratic reforms South Africa could benefit from https://rationalstandard.com/democratic-reforms-south-africa-benefit/ https://rationalstandard.com/democratic-reforms-south-africa-benefit/#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 10:31:54 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5454 South Africa is a country with a very diverse base of political support. The National Assembly is currently elected by proportional representation and thirteen different political parties have at least […]

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South Africa is a country with a very diverse base of political support. The National Assembly is currently elected by proportional representation and thirteen different political parties have at least one seat in this 400-seat house of Parliament.

Proportional representation is undoubtedly the most democratic mechanism for electing a legislature. However, we should not fall into the trap of thinking that more direct democracy is necessarily better democracy, after all, some of the world’s worst dictators were democratically elected. Even today, we still see fringe and extremist parties get representation, such as Golden Dawn – basically a neo-nazi group from Greece – which get seats in the European Parliament.

Democracy has many dangerous flaws, but at the same time it can be used as a way of keeping the government in check and getting the populace involved in the political system. This can only happen, however, if certain tweaks are made. Here I suggest two electoral reforms which South Africa could greatly benefit from.

Presidential: Two-round presidential elections

France recently held their election for their president and demonstrated how effective having a two-round system can be. The system works as follows: Parties nominated a candidate for president and voters vote for their best choice on the ballot in the first round. If no candidate wins a clear majority, the top-two face off in a runoff elections and whoever wins that, wins the presidency.

This a good system for a few reasons: Firstly, with the prospect of a second-round runoff election, voters can feel safe knowing that their vote will not be subject to the ‘spoiler’ effect. Like many countries, France had two parties which have dominated their elections for years, but with a two-round system, there was no fear that by voting for a party other than those two they would be spoiling their vote somehow (as was the case in the United States in 2016). Thus, this year neither The Republicans candidate François Fillon or the Socialist Party’s Benoît Hamon made it past the first round. This meant that voters felt safe to vote for a non-dominant party in the first round and decide on the lesser-of-two-evils in the second round, if need be.

While the ANC has been winning majorities in South Africa’s elections since 1994, it would still be a good idea to have a two-round system in South Africa as the mere prospect of a second-round election can change the mindset of voters.

Parliamentary: First-past-the-post

Currently, our parliament is elected by proportional representation from a party list. This just means that the percentage of votes a party gets is roughly the same as the percentage of seats it gets in Parliament (while there some more complicated calculations here, it is basically as simply as that).

While proportional representation is certainly the most strictly-speaking ‘democratic’ system of electing a legislature, there are a number of problems associated with it. The first great tragedy is that voters do not vote for a person, but rather a party. A party represents a set of views or an ideology, but the individuals in that party should be able to fully exercise their judgement. The parliamentary caucuses in South Africa are notorious for voting blindly along party lines, usually because of harsh punishments imposed on members who vote against party lines. We might as well simply have the chief whips occupy all of their respective parties’ seats and have them vote on behalf of their party.

This has been particularly bad in the recent case of the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma in the wake of his controversial cabinet reshuffle. Opposition parties are currently in a legal battle at the Constitutional Court simply to have court order the motion to be voted by members in secret. The outcome of this case will be crucial as there have been many rumblings from the SACP and COSATU of unhappiness with the President’s firing of Pravin Gordhan.

One of the most crucial roles of the legislative branch of government is to hold the executive branch to account. This is to ensure that the President does not abuse his power and if he does, the legislature duly acts against him. Without this check on power, we are a country with an open door to executive tyranny.

As the situation is presently, South Africa has a dismal record. Considering, as an example, the United States’ treatment of their presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Jacob Zuma has been relatively untouched. The phrase “people have been shot for less” comes to mind when considering his sagas with Nkandla and the Guptas. Rational Standard contributors have written previously why Zuma himself is not the problem South Africa has, but it is nonetheless embarrassing that a liberal democracy such as ours cannot hold our executive to account as we should.

If we had a first-past-the-post system, partisanship would be far less of a factor as voters would now be voting for a person instead of a party. As an example, if a candidate is campaigning in a particular constituency, potential voters would be able to ask them if they would vote against party lines to hold their president to account and make their decision to vote accordingly. Likewise, should an elected MP break any of their individual campaign promises, constituents could simply vote them out in the next election.

In addition to this, the first-past-the-post system opens up the possibility of independent candidates to get elected to office. Independents can stand as people who voters will know do not have a partisan agenda and are not subject to the orders of a chief whip. It is yet another way in which citizens can run for office and truly vote their conscience in Parliament.

Our democracy is young, but sadly, we are beginning to see the flaws it has in enforcing it’s limitations on power, but with a few changes, this could be made to be far more effective.

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Liberty Needs To Reclaim Compassion https://rationalstandard.com/liberty-reclaim-compassion/ https://rationalstandard.com/liberty-reclaim-compassion/#comments Tue, 16 May 2017 22:20:10 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5448 During my years attending an all-boys school, many of my previous and currently-disproved political convictions were formed. As an adolescent, I watched the series The West Wing in awe of […]

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During my years attending an all-boys school, many of my previous and currently-disproved political convictions were formed. As an adolescent, I watched the series The West Wing in awe of the portrayed Democratic Party American president who, as I later realised quite ironically, was a fictional Nobel Prize for Economics laureate. Despite the fact that now, years and quite a few rewatches latter, I don’t agree with many of the portrayed policies of that award-winning series, I still look back on the series with fondness. It played a small, yet significant, part in forming my current political convictions. As one grows older your convictions, as well as opinions, are bound to be challenged and changed.

I have been fortunate enough to serve and partake in, and be involved with various student and youth organisations and structures. On the one end of the political spectrum, I have been part of progressive liberal leadership development programmes and right (excuse the pun) through to the other side I have served in classical liberal organisations. Although my various involvements may seem contradictory, I believe that there remains one common thread throughout all my engagements.

To advocate for free market principles and individual freedom does not seem to fit into the stereotypical idea of an involved and compassionate student. The perception exists that the only people who care about the poor and disenfranchised are the left or progressives. It, therefore, baffles many to see conservative or classical liberal youth being involved outside of their own communities and being involved in social upliftment, civic education and societal involvement. This view must, however, be corrected. The idea that social upliftment, civic education and societal involvement must happen through and by private citizens, fits squarely into right-leaning political and philosophical viewpoints; quite unlike most Marxist and progressive arguments that government should primarily play this role.

As an active campus student, many friends and colleagues respond with disbelief when I verbalise my political and economic opinions. Many often struggle to reconcile the idea that a free market exponent could come across as caring for the plight of those who struggle and those who are disadvantaged. This mistake is frequently made. It does not bode well with the contemporary political narrative that a person could care for the poor and disenfranchised while arguing for poverty-alleviating free market capitalist principles. In reaction to this, many political, as well as racial slurs, get hurled in our direction. Despite the obvious care for the poor, many then blindly and unthoughtfully attribute many other characteristics to you as a person, most of which are untrue. Just because I believe that the free market has the power to change our country and world, does not mean I deny many self-evident truths.

It would be ignorant and naive to deny that, historically speaking, the majority of our country’s people have been discriminated against and actively been oppressed. As a free market advocate, I do not deny this abhorrent tragedy of our history. I realise how easily I could have been in the position of the countless victims of our past, had it not been for things beyond my control such as melanin levels, or my gender. I acknowledge that I am privileged because of circumstances before and beyond my control. Like you and like everyone else, I had no control over where and to whom I was born.

Acknowledging this fact of history simply further motivates me to fight and seek freedom and liberty for all. Acknowledging the facts of our history does not entail supporting the view that, because of historical discrimination and disadvantage, I wish for the government to play the great role of equaliser. On the contrary, I would argue that a too powerful government is to blame for the current challenges and unfairness that we as a nation face.

As an example, I personally agree with the correctly-identified problem that many #FeesMustFall supporters fight for. It is an undeniable fact of our time that many students struggle financially at university. My critique of the #FeesMustFall, and the fallist movement in general, is not aimed at the merited, justified struggle that they believe they are fighting for affordable education. My critique of these movements takes aim squarely at their approach, philosophical background and the actions that necessarily flow from these. However, not supporting these movements does not boil down to not caring for students who struggle financially – just like not supporting a sports team coach’s tactics and decisions does not mean that you do not care for your team. On the contrary, your criticism is often because you want the best for your favourite team.

The difference is that, as a free market advocate, I believe that the surviving injustices of our past are best resolved by maximising individual freedom and opportunities – in society, in political debates, and in the market.

These same injustices were caused by a lack of individual freedom for all and by a lack of opportunities in the market. Oppression, by its very nature, always flows from an over-powerful, overbearing, liberty-destroying state. The solution to this, I believe, is the free market.

Nothing has done more to lift humanity out of poverty than the market economy. The apartheid state claimed the perverse power to dictate to us who can have ballots and what may be done with these ballots. How can a government today claim the perverse power to dictate to us who can have money and what may be done with it?

Examining human history over a time span of centuries and recent decades clearly illustrates the case that actual freedom, political, social and economic freedom, is the greatest liberator of the captured, feeder of the hungry and carer for the poor. The number of people in the world who live below the breadline has more than halved in the last twenty years due to the now-threatened increase in actual freedom.

This statement, however, does not fit the popular and dominant narrative. The previous paragraphs are sure to provoke reactions pointing to my privilege and oppressive capitalist opinions. But it is self-evident that accusations against me do not alter the facts on which I stand, nor the humanity on which I act. And this is a desperate concern in our time.

A person who holds different, perhaps unpopular views on how to solve poverty does not make them deplorable. It seems that what is, in fact, deplorable, are people who disregard diverse opinions about solutions because they do not fit their own personal worldview. This debate is a question about policy, not about the person.

As a lover of freedom, I have always felt comfortable in the company of all those who wish to make a difference in our country. I appreciate that thought goes into trying to solve problems. I appreciate the critique of my held political convictions just as much as I appreciate others being open to critique of theirs.

In the end, I, just like many of my red-bereted countrymen and women, wish to end the inhumane poverty in our country. We share this noble and vital ambition, yet our debates and discussions are polluted with needless hate and anger. Just because I do not agree with your means, does not mean that I do not agree with your ends.

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Creating ideas vs harnessing White Monopoly Capital https://rationalstandard.com/white-monopoly-capital-southall/ https://rationalstandard.com/white-monopoly-capital-southall/#comments Mon, 15 May 2017 08:30:53 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5436 University of Witwatersrand sociology Prof. Roger Southall begins his recent piece on “White Monopoly Capital” (WMC) stating that “many” want to unjustifiably marginalize a notion he maintains is politically “indisputably […]

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University of Witwatersrand sociology Prof. Roger Southall begins his recent piece on “White Monopoly Capital” (WMC) stating that “many” want to unjustifiably marginalize a notion he maintains is politically “indisputably good for the country’s politics”. He attributes the tactics of its critics to the actions of ardent anti-communists who employ ad hominem arguments, e.g. dismissing WMC advocates as “mischievous political manipulators”.

He neither identifies some of the “many” critics as astute politicians and internationally respected economists (academic and Real-World) nor addresses their reasoned criticisms.

Then he points out an obvious continuing inequity in South Africa: highly polarized, ‘racially’-linked distribution of wealth that persists despite the existence of a democratically-elected, politically monolithic, ‘black’ (actually ANC) controlled government for nearly a quarter-century. He then provides another obviosity: 91.5% of South Africa’s population is Verwoerdian ‘nie-blanke’.

Then he connects this information by concluding (without providing evidence) that this “continuing inequity” is caused by ‘blanke’ “domination” of “the most productive parts of the economy” and is “an affront to social justice”.

He makes no mention of the existence of competing ‘black’ and non-racial parties who could have governed differently from the ANC or ‘real’ justice accessible to all emanating from post-Apartheid laws and a judicial system emanating from arguably the world’s most non-racial and socially just Constitution.

He then links the “implementation” (widely condemned by ‘racially’ diverse people within and outside of all non-ANC political parties) of ‘micro-waved’ Black Economic Empowerment with “employment equity”.

Then he focuses on the ‘socially justifiable’ anger of “black people at the bottom of the heap” and the actions of questionable “politicians who, for reasons good and ill, are willing to exploit that anger and mobilise around it”.

Other than by voting out a government that fails to deliver, he provides no “good reasons” to exploit the “anger” of oppressed ‘black’ masses.

Next, he specifically criticizes the DA’s and ANC’s (now passed) call for addressing the “continuing inequity” through economic development as a “mantra that … will lift all boats”, but only after “the tide has long been out”. In short, economic development is “stuck in the mud” and “the rise of the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)” is “a major plus” that has “shake[n] the major parties out of their complacency by espousing a revolutionary assault upon WMC”. This is followed by a short history of the real WMC that existed during Apartheid and the inadequate efforts post-1994 that have failed to address the “continuing inequity”. This notwithstanding, he admits that “growth in black pension funds reflects the strong upward movement of black people into the higher ranks of the public service” and that “it makes far less sense to refer to [WMC], uncritically, as ‘white'”.

Nevertheless, he still asks:

“But, is the main issue here the racial patterns of ownership and control – or the growing power of financial institutions and their lack of accountability?”

Some ‘good news’

Fortunately for all South Africans, he dismisses calls for increased “nationalisation of WMC [a]s profoundly bad economics” and calls for “citizens” to “pose profound questions” and provide “innovative”, “inventive”, “de-racialised but democratised” solutions “to tackle the brutally unequal nature of its economy”.

Finally, he wisely concludes that this cannot be achieved simply by “overthrowing white monopoly capital”. It requires ‘careful thought’ that creates a viable replacement that actually stops the “continuing inequity”.

Sadly, other than “citizens”, the author provides no suggestions as to who (the EFF, his academically/ideologically suicidal Wits colleague Chris Malikane or inchoate Fallist students/academics?) can or should provide these solutions.

May I suggest to him that the people to do the job exist at South African research universities and NGOs and focus on economic theory that works in the real world.  However, this potential is rapidly being vaporized by unbridled ‘decolonization’ driven by Critical Race Theory.

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Nazi Matie Posters: Stop Playing Games https://rationalstandard.com/nazi-posters-stop-playing-games/ https://rationalstandard.com/nazi-posters-stop-playing-games/#comments Fri, 12 May 2017 08:20:42 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5429 South Africans of all political camps seem to have a tough time effectively communicating their ideas. This is to be expected in a political culture that values singing and dancing as […]

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South Africans of all political camps seem to have a tough time effectively communicating their ideas. This is to be expected in a political culture that values singing and dancing as a substitute for actual discussion. But it wasn’t the professional protesters who bungled up this time.

This week has seen the erection and subsequent condemnation of posters explicitly copying Nazi propaganda at Stellenbosch University.

The minimally adjusted posters called for readers to “fight for Stellenbosch” and mentioned such ludicrousness as “the Anglo-Afrikaner student” and “the New Right”.

As is customary in South Africa, a witch-hunt ensued and three suspects are being questioned. More on that later.

What immediately comes to mind with this entire debacle is not so much the genuine sense of worry that is rising from many around South Africa, and even the world, but rather anger that such idiots exist and thought this was a good idea.

While I do not wish to labour the point, I feel it is needed. What type of idiot puts up Nazi posters at a university, much less anywhere? Have these morons finally awoken from a pre-1940s slumber? Are they from an alternate reality where Nazism isn’t seen as widely distasteful and an all-round stupid system?

Unfortunately, I know the answer.

These idiots aren’t from another dimensions, or from any context that excuses this stupidity. They are a symptom of the ever-lasting edgy culture that deludes people into thinking that Nazism was a good idea because it isn’t mainstream. They are the beardless hipsters of political discourse. Contrarians for their own sake, with no real substance or sincere political agenda.

I cannot stress enough how stupid these posters were. In a climate of over-zealous racialism, even genuine neo-Nazis should have realised that this was a bad idea. The only rational actor that could have known this was a good idea would be a fallist or black racist who wanted to further stoke the flames of racial conflict to support their fallacious land theft agenda. A neo-Nazi should have realised that a race war will not end well, especially for them.

The True Intent?

But, as to be expected, this wasn’t some genuine neo-Nazi group erecting the 4th-Reich’s recruitment posters. The intent was much more symbolic, but not less ill-thought out. Dean Dart, not the erector of the posters, but a spokesperson for what he called “a social project,” had this to say:

“We were just hoping that people were going to arrive in protest and have a discussion about what is happening to the left.”

“We used extreme imagery because what has happened to the left is that they have become that which they despise. By not being allowed to speak, the crowd proved my point.” (MatieMedia)

Effectively, the escapade was aimed at opening the proverbial dialogue, and forcing leftists to interrogate their own intolerance and hypocrisy. By being condemned for posting up hate symbols, the perpetrators wanted to show the hypocrisy of the left-wing hegemon not simultaneously condemning calls for violence against whites.

But they failed.

How many times are we going to do this?

Even if this intention is sincere, it does not excuse it. Not because of the offensive nature of the posters, or the fact that they copied Nazi material (plagiarism is bad, kids), but that they should have known better. Too often, South African politics is based around vague symbolism, artsy statements and apparent clever hidden meanings. Very rarely do these ever succeed.

The left needs to introspect, but engaging them like this solves nothing. All it accomplishes is alienating third parties and driving them into the arms of the left.

Stop doing it! Stop trying to play clever mind-games. The left isn’t going to suddenly be tricked into having a brain just because you faced them with a Nazi poster. Pseudo-clever art and symbolism belongs in a modern art museum, not the political discourse.

What we need is to be explicit and honest. Business has realised this. You don’t force your market to think. You tell them what they need to know. Remove the steps to conversion. You don’t see a grocery store posting riddles and reverse psychology to get consumers through the entrance.

Politics shouldn’t be any different. The problem with the left is that they shut down discourse. The solution isn’t to troll them, or to attack the genuinely unproblematic views that they may hold – and it isn’t to use vague symbolism to spark introspection.

If the goal of this idiotic escapade was discourse, then the group should have attempted to start a genuine discourse. Find a lefty to argue with. Challenge them politely. Maintain etiquette. Be better than the enemy. This doesn’t mean steel-manning them (empowering their view), it just means ensuring an external aesthetic that makes you and your cause appealing to decent folk.

What this accomplished was demonising a cause and an entire institution. Nothing more. For the media doesn’t care about the symbolism of “Nazis” being shut down by the intolerant left. They’ve never cared, and they aren’t going to start now.

The Response

While the blame of this escapade is 99% on the shoulders of those who perpetrated it, I must add the 1984-feeling that I’m getting from a lot of the response.

It is the norm for speakers to be shut down on campuses. It is sad that it is the norm, but it is to be expected. My concern is with names. Throughout this debacle, each article was peppered with names of institutions that were very illustrative of the political state of the country.

The Equality Unit and the ‘transformation office’ are two poignant indicators of the pervasiveness of the left-wing hegemony. The Equality Unit stinks of a thought-police. The fact that is expends so much time and resources tracking down non-dangerous, at best, stupid, individuals, illustrates the concerns of an institution that is meant to be concerned with education.

The fact that there is a ‘transformation office’ is also troublesome, but to be expected. All it illustrates is the further legitimisation of a radical and dangerous ideology.

SEE ALSO: How ‘Transformation’ Is No Transformation At All by Martin van Staden

The Aftermath

It is clear by many articles that this event has only served to empower the vitriolic left. As to be expected by those with sense, the debacle did not instigate any sort of introspection of discourse. Rather, it has encouraged Africanist groups and pushed many moderates to truly believe that there is a white supremacist threat.

We need to stop playing games to start discourse. The battle of ideas is just that, a battle of ideas. Present your ideas – honestly! If the left doesn’t engage, find someone who does. Their loss. Go for moderates. Convert the reasonable majority. Don’t hang bloody Nazi posters!

If the goal is discourse, don’t play the modern art game. Compete in the arena. Spread your ideas. Live them. Be explicit. Otherwise, you get misunderstood, vilified as a Nazi (when you should be vilified as an idiot) and serve the enemy more than yourself.

Let this be a warning to the edgy among us. A 4th Reich is not thought provoking and dialogue isn’t started by risking a race war.

P.S. An advertising expert examined the poster and has condemned its use of a small font that doesn’t stand-out sufficiency from the dark background. In the future, please keep in mind good design-sense. And, you know, not hanging Nazi propaganda.

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UCT Students Finally Reject Fallism Decisively https://rationalstandard.com/uct-students-finally-reject-fallism-decisively/ https://rationalstandard.com/uct-students-finally-reject-fallism-decisively/#comments Wed, 10 May 2017 08:00:00 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5423 On 4 May 2017, UCT announced an uncharacteristically strong message from its 30000 students. They are sick and tired of ideology and politics on campus in general and intimidating, violent […]

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On 4 May 2017, UCT announced an uncharacteristically strong message from its 30000 students. They are sick and tired of ideology and politics on campus in general and intimidating, violent and destructive fallist tactics against the UCT Students Representative Council (SRC) in particular.

By refusing to participate in a sham election overwhelmingly dominated by apparatchik fallist candidates and/or actually voting against them, nearly 90% of the students eligible to vote rejected intimidation-based representation on the SRC. In fact, even in spite of this boycott, all of the independent, anti-intimidation candidates were elected, finishing 1, 2 and 4 respectively in the final tally. The number 1 ‘vote-getter’ made her open mind crystal clear in her ‘vision statement’: “You can’t change a regime on the basis of compassion. There’s got to be something harder. If you asked me a month ago who the SRC was and what they do, I wouldn’t have been able to answer you. For too long has the SRC been a group of students merely in theoretical existence, who represented a student opinion which had no accountability”.

The competing ‘theoretical existentialist’ candidates largely represent the Pan-Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters Students’ Command (EFFSC), both of whose “basic programme[s] [are] the complete overthrow of a neoliberal anti-black system and the realisation of students’ power”.

The top fallist candidate (500 votes behind the leader) was Masixole Mlandu, the multi-arrested (for contravening a high court order, malicious damage to property, trespassing, and intimidation), ‘Black’ nationalist, Agreement signatory, ‘clemencied’ PASMA leader who had to be released from incarceration in Pollsmoor Prison to ‘negotiate’ the infamous November Agreement. But, by illegally occupying the Bremner Building at the end of March 2017, he violated his ‘clemency’. He received less than 5% of the potential student votes, and is noted for stating: “We will usher into this country an attitude of black rage, black liberation, an attitude that threatened the foundation of whiteness,” and, “Revolution is the answer to our problem. … We must live up to our historical task … to change society from bottom up with no compromise.”

Another SRC ‘winner’ and ‘clemency’ violator was EFFSC candidate Sinawo Thambo.

Given the clemency violations of two of the ‘winners’, Mlandu’s disturbing personal position statement, and that a 25% voter turnout is necessary for a legitimate SRC election, let’s see if the ‘elected’ slate will be ratified by the Student Parliament, the relevant committee of the Department of Student Affairs and then by the UCT Council, so that a new SRC can be inducted. This may take a while, since the current SRC vacate office on 30 June 2017. Then, of course, there would need to be a governing coalition between the EFF and PASMA which has not been the case on other campuses.

Why only boycott?

But why did most students choose to boycott and not participate in the SRC election? Some might attribute this decision to students’ disgust with the publicized disgraceful rejection by the UCT Alumni Association (AA) of a motion calling for “support for the [outgoing] Student Representative Council (SRC), celebrating the positive impact that they have had during very difficult times”. Initially, a vote by hand supported the motion. But this decision was challenged by an impassioned plea from Ms Lorna Houston (President of the UCT Convocation and key ‘player’ in its Internal Reconciliation and Transformation Commission). In the end, despite a rational rebuttal to it by an alumnus, meeting chairperson Ms Dianna Yach overruled the vote and unilaterally decided on an anonymous vote by ballot, resulting in the motion’s rejection. VC Price was present but contributed nothing to the debate on this motion.

The “difficult times” mentioned in the motion relate to unrelenting intimidation during 2016 of the anti-fallist SRC by PASMA-affiliated fallists and Mlandu in particular. Because of this, some described the failure of the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) (which had been a dominant force in the SRC of recent years) to put up candidates as “gutless”. I countered this, arguing that students chose not to participate because of a collapse in their confidence in the endlessly-capitulating UCT Executive, academic staff and alumni.

The pro-fallist Cape Times described the election as a fallist “triumph”. Fallists comment inter alia that it was “an excellent outcome” and a result of voters’ “faith” in their ability “to fight for… marginalised peoples… involved in the struggles at the university” to “eliminate the monopoly held by the executive and the council of the university with regard to decision making”, thereby “strengthen[ing] gains already made.”

Should UCT’s Executive and Council once again capitulate to SRC fallists without a legitimate mandate, they will totally cede control to a visionless, violent and destructive minority bent on deconstructive “decolonization” of Africa’s finest university.

The students have spoken, but will the academics, alumni, executive and Council listen and act? Their silence is deafening.

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