An article published in the London Times some years ago noted that “South Africa is the only country in the world where affirmative action is in the favour of the majority who has complete political control,” a sentiment that all too accurately captures the country’s preposterous state of play, yet the policy continues.
Proponents of affirmative action would argue that the minority status of whites within the South African context is irrelevant as this population group has held dominant sway over, and harshly discriminated against, the black majority, including so-called Africans, coloureds, and Indians, for decades, or centuries, and that therefore this state-enforced mechanism is necessary to redress egregious historical injustice.
This vaguely plausible rationale is, as will hopefully become clear, woefully insufficient in justifying the continued implementation of an irredeemably flawed system. Affirmative action in South Africa, applying as it does in all employment contexts, whether in the public or private sector, and even in the selection of national sporting teams, incidentally among its most ludicrous applications, is at once both a ubiquitously entrenched phenomenon and one that receives almost no substantive scrutiny among political or media elites.
It has become, in fact, such an accepted part of South African life that it is almost akin to the air we breathe, everywhere and yet something we hardly notice. There are, however, many good reasons why this blatant form of social engineering must be immediately ended, and three main arguments will be marshalled to support this contention.
The primary reason for the complete cessation of all forms of affirmative action in any employment context, or indeed anywhere else in South African society, is appropriately enough to be found at the level of its underlying premise. To gain greater clarity as to the intrinsically problematic nature of affirmative action policies in the “new” South Africa, referring back to the older Apartheid-era proves instructive.
If the central evil of Apartheid could be neatly summed up, and which very logically gave rise to that vile system’s myriad ills, it was the belief that a certain race group should be given preferential treatment throughout every area of social life at the expense of all the others. This justified and inspired all the discrimination, violence, and wide-scale oppression attendant to the Apartheid system.
Now, what is affirmative action in the modern South African context other than the preferential treatment of one race group, or more appropriately several such groups newly classified as “previously disadvantage,” over another, in this case a minority deemed collectively responsible for all Apartheid’s crimes, even young white South Africans who never once voted to keep the National Party in power?
This straightforward observation points to an uncomfortable, but thoroughly undeniable, ideological affinity, if not isomorphism, between the central premise undergirding affirmative action and the overarching conceptual base structure upon which the Apartheid system was predicated. Affirmative action is thus simply, and inescapably, a racist policy, and we should no longer be afraid to say so. Those who deny this very elementary reality will have to attempt to explain why one form of blatant racism is acceptable, while another is not.
The second reason why affirmative action, or racist preferentialism as it should more accurately be called, should cease to exist in South Africa is because it represents a socially divisive policy that creates a sense that economic success is a zero-sum game wherein if one group loses, the other one necessarily gains. That is to say, if whites are denied privileges or the prospect of economic success, blacks will automatically be the beneficiaries. To say that this approach is not exactly conducive to promoting social harmony and racial tolerance in a society already so riven by deep racial and economic divisions is to put it mildly indeed.
The third main reason why affirmative action should be totally abolished in South Africa takes its cue from the Times article quoted above. That the ANC government has long ago decided not only not to protect South Africa’s white minority, but to instead consistently demonise them, is in itself highly immoral and potentially lays the foundation for catastrophic crimes against humanity in the future.
Setting such increasingly realistic worries aside, precisely because whites are a minority in South Africa, representing less than ten percent of the population, affirmative action is thoroughly impractical. Imagine, if you will, a scenario in which all white wealth was expropriated and distributed to the black majority.
Or, to be even more fanciful, try to envision all whites magically vanishing into thin air and leaving all their assets behind for the use of the “previously disadvantaged” majority. Even if large houses were utilised by more blacks than is in many instances the case with white families, it is perfectly safe to surmise that under either scenario there would still be millions of black people without decent housing and infrastructure, not to mention jobs as merely taking someone else’s property, as the ANC is threatening to do with expropriation without compensation, is never the same thing as providing them with meaningful employment.
So even if a far more extensive form of affirmative action was instituted, entailing denying all white people any form of employment, while simultaneously confiscating all their property and other assets, would only make a minimal dent in South Africa’s immense poverty rate and vast inequality. How then, one might ask, does the ANC expect to eradicate wide-ranging poverty affecting tens of millions through this policy?
That the ANC sees the need to continue instituting affirmative action, despite the blatant failure to achieve the policy’s ostensible aims, is addressed in the same Times article quoted above as it goes on to aver that the “fact that the political majority requires affirmative action to protect them against a 9% minority group is testament to a complete failure on their part to build their own wealth making structures, such that their only solution is to take it from others.”This summary of the ANC’s rank incompetence and real kleptocratic agenda could hardly be bettered.
Although even discussing the drawbacks and flaws of affirmative action as currently implemented in South Africa is highly controversial, and studiously avoided in just about all public spheres, let alone calling for its complete abolishment, the time has come to not merely have the conversation, but to cease and desist with this manifestly misguided policy.
As argued in the foregoing paragraphs, the arguments for dismantling affirmative action, which are by no means the only ones to be mounted against it, include its intrinsically racist premise, the inevitable social divisions arising out of such explicitly race-based hiring practices, and the fact that even in the best case scenario (for certain demographics, that is) the ills purportedly sought to be remedied will only be slightly ameliorated at best.
Affirmative action therefore demonstrably fails the test of morality and practicality, leaving absolutely nothing to recommend it. This essay has not even delved into other negative aspects of this wantonly wrong-headed policy, such as encouraging and inculcating unhealthy dependency and perpetual victimhood among South African’s majority, the baleful way collectivist group identity is vaunted at the expense of promoting individual achievement and liberty, and implicitly ignoring the role cultural and genetic endowments play in success across a host of fields, instead promoting the politically correct fantasy that all discrepancies in economic, intellectual, educational, and sporting prowess are purely attributable to historical disadvantage.
Instead of racist social engineering and sowing hateful divisiveness, the ANC should instead pursue positive sum economic growth and a truly bold vision that all South Africans could get behind. Of course, the ANC will never even consider changing its current course, dedicated as this glorified criminal enterprise is to power and self-aggrandisement at the expense of the nation, with racist social engineering policies being the preferred method to achieve this end, and which keep South Africans fighting each other rather than focusing on how this country is being destroyed by the thugs in charge.
We now know the real face and intentions of a political party that once paid lip service to racial tolerance and harmony, but no longer even pretends to hide their open contempt for whites, private property, and freedom of expression. It is also high time to forcefully dispel the abjectly preposterous fiction that it is possible, or makes the faintest sense, to profess dedication to a non-racial South Africa while simultaneously imposing policies of the most avowedly discriminatory nature.