Dear Controversial South African,

As you may have noticed over the past few weeks, South Africa has been gripped by a massive outcry over online utterings deemed to be racist or otherwise insensitive. In some, limited cases, we agree that the outcry is in fact justified. There is no place in Western civilization for people who regard others as monkey-like based simply on the color of their skin, and there certainly is no place for people who call openly for genocide against an ethnic group. However, that justified outrage was concentrated to merely two instances; whereas the remaining bulk of the outcry was directed at persons who did not make racist comments, and, in some cases, whose comments were not even related to race.

This ‘open letter’ is directed at this latter group: the people, myself included, who say things that may go against the status quo narrative, but who mean no racial or collective offense by it. Indeed, as an individualist libertarian, a lot of the things I say, especially concerning welfare and free speech, are bound to be seen as ‘racist’ by unfortunate snowflakes who prefer reading struggle poetry and tear-jerking fictionalized accounts of real world events (I am looking at you, Antjie Krog), rather than material based in logic and reason.

Here’s a brief contextualization of the people I am referring to in this letter:

Chris Hart, as part of a broader argument numbering around 900 words on Twitter, said that South Africans have an unsustainable sense of entitlement, and are directing their state-bound resentment toward minority groups and the private sector. For this, he was suspended from work and branded a racist.

Carien du Plessis, a journalist, made a joking observation that a Rustenburg News Café was where ‘pantypreneurs’ and ‘tenderpreneurs’ chose to be, as part of the ANC’s birthday celebrations. The ANC said this was racist because ‘the majority’ of the ANC was black. For this, the ANC banned her from the event.

Gareth Cliff, a radio personality and outspoken proponent of free speech, simply said on Twitter that “people really don’t understand free speech at all.” He was branded a racist for only that comment. For this, he was fired from being on the Idols 2016 judgment panel.

Besides the fact that all three of them are accused of being racists, what do they have in common? No, it’s not that all three of them are white. No, it’s not that all three of them used social media. No, it’s not that all three of them have seen dangerous career consequences for their commentary. The thing that connects them is what I hope to address in this piece, and that thing is that all three of them apologized.

a14f81e6f27221f6f70e66f0d40a800dThe snowflake left, other than seeking a disastrous redistribution of wealth, is always on the prowl for something to take offense at. This is not me being ideologically biased. One of the central tenets of Critical Theory, the intellectual foundation of modern ‘social justice’ activism, is that every kind of conduct in any circumstance imaginable always relates in some way or another to the structural base of the society in question. In South Africa, this has already been declared by these activists to be ‘white supremacy.’ That is why something as simple as rolling up one’s window to hawkers at the traffic light, or smiling at a person deemed to be ‘oppressed’, can be seen as a kind of condescending racism/sexism/otherism.

There is no kind of apology that these people would accept. Once you are within their sights, you have to go down, and once you are down, someone else, perhaps your employer, will likely follow. Twentieth century racist ideologue Steve Biko wrote:

“White society collectively owes the blacks so huge a debt that no one member should automatically expect to escape from the blanket condemnation that needs must come from the black world.”

Seen against the backdrop of the Critical Theory tradition, it is quite clear what Biko meant with this. If you are part of white society, you cannot escape the wrath of the social justice activist, regardless of whether you apologize or even introspect. Now don’t mistake ‘white society’ for simply referring to white South Africans. Biko is known for his racism toward black South Africans who he deemed to not be ‘black enough’. In fact, he even wrote that they are not black at all, but rather ‘non-white’.

So black or white, colored or Indian, if you are a South African with something potentially controversial to say, then you should say it with the kind of conviction that will not result in a pathetic apology after they damned you to the chopping block. Once you have apologized, you have shown the social justice warrior weakness which they will exploit, not only against you, but against the broader society which does not believe in their authoritarian socialism.

Instead of apologizing, you can clarify your position if you believe you have been incorrectly interpreted. Don’t try to sneak an apology into the clarification. You can elaborate if you believe the audience doesn’t quite understand what you were saying, and misunderstood it. You can, and probably should reinforce your position by restating it and passionately declaring that you will stand by it. But do not ever apologize.

During the time in which you are being condemned for racism which you never exhibited, you will feel extremely isolated and exposed. The social justice activist will employ any kind of authoritarian tactic available to them to hurt you, and you should be ready for it. The best way to prepare yourself for this is to always try to be consistent, always play open-cards with your employer (tell them as soon as the job interview that you speak your mind on current affairs) and always, always know what you are talking about. Chris Hart knew what he was talking about, and Gareth Cliff most certainly knew what he was talking about. Their apologies were unnecessary and ultimately led to their defeat, and contributed to the defeat of free speech in South Africa.

keep-calmLike Hart, du Plessis, and Cliff were not alone; neither will you be. Remain calm during the condemnation, and do not make any ill-considered decisions. There are people out there who stand with you. If you have something especially controversial to say in favor of protecting free speech, platforms such as South African Libertarian will always be available to you. Other than us, many within South African civil society are die-hard opponents of the ‘social justice’ movement and its tyrannical undertones. If you can stop yourself from apologizing or accepting the premise of your enemy’s intellectually dishonest argument, you will become a shining example of the desperately needed counter-narrative in this country. Your resistance to the immature bullying that will crash down on your life will encourage others to speak out as well, and help turn the tables on these perpetual children.

Seeking the truth is no matter to apologize for. You will be hurting the quest for truth by doing so and by showing that all that was needed to hinder you was an accusation of some or other –ism. If you are a potentially controversial South African reading this, it is not too late to make a resolution for 2016, and indeed, for the rest of your life. Promise yourself as an individual that you will not utter the words “I am sorry” to anyone who seeks to bully you and your principled viewpoint into submission. If you are a racist South African reading this, then I also don’t want you to apologize. I want you to continue spreading your drivel so that we can identify you for the scum of the Earth that you are, and steer well clear of you. You are no better than the social justice activist. You are both collectivists who romanticize some or other groupthink tyranny: be it uBuntu or Apartheid.

Countless numbers have died and spent immeasurable intellectual energy in fighting for your freedom to speak and think and do. Forget about section 16 of the Constitution, which apparently secures your right to freely express yourself. Your freedom to speak is innately yours as an individual human being. The law did not give it to you, indeed, the law is supposed to protect it. You have it as a matter of fact, and it is certainly not debatable by politicians or the court of public opinion. Do not help liberty into the grave by allowing the enemy even such a small victory as beating you into apologizing.

Sincerely and For Liberty,

Martin

Martin is a final year law student at the University of Pretoria and the Academic Programs Director for Students For Liberty in Southern Africa (www.studentsforliberty.org/africa/). He is a co-founder and editor of the Rational Standard and the Editor-in-Chief of Being Libertarian (www.beinglibertarian.com).

You can find him on Facebook or contact him via email at [email protected]