Our old friend

To make it perfectly clear: I am not a supporter of ZumaMustFall. I think South Africa’s problem is, firstly, that we collectively have a very dangerous idea about what the role of government in society should be, and, secondly, our Constitution invites the abuse of power. Jacob Zuma as an individual, despicable to be sure, is but a symptom of a much deeper problem.

Without further ado, allow me to clear up some of the confusion emanating from the social justice left. I will be using Abdulla’s article for reference.

“South Africans are donning black…”

Yes, black is an internationally-recognized color. And, like in countless other contexts, in this context, it does not refer to black people. Yes, yes, the social justice left believes even the color black has an inherent negative connotation to it, which apparently makes life more different for black individuals. This is, however, just another case of bored leftist academics who have nothing better to theorize about.

“[Evil whites and capitalists say] that now is a time for unity.”

The ‘now’ in that sentence is clearly supposed to be emphasized, implying that whites, bankers, and evil elements in the ANC only want unity in South Africa when their own narrow interests are threatened. This is left unproven and assumed.

I have not seen any indication from whites at large that they don’t desire unity. Of course, Abdulla and the left would say ‘real’ unity would mean a communist-style land regime and perfect equality of wealth on average between race groups, however, this is academic nonsense, once again. ‘Inequality’ is a fabricated ‘problem,’ and, even if it were an actual impediment to freedom and prosperity (which it has never been proven to be, by anyone), it has nothing to do with unity. An extremely rich and an extremely poor person can find themselves united by common interests. It is bizarre for Abdulla to insinuate otherwise.

“But for us, the time for unity has come and gone many times before.”

Here Abdulla implies that the social justice left extended its hand in good faith toward ‘the others’ (simply people who don’t agree with them, and groups they’ve deemed to be undesirable) for unity. Nothing of the sort has ever happened. The moderate left and moderate right in South Africa, however, did come together and unite. That event gave us a pretty-okay Constitution and averted civil war. Naturally, the social justice left has insane demands which it believes are perfectly reasonable. If that is their standard for ‘unity’ – mass starvation, censor boards, government control of all expression – then unity is not certainly not worth it.

“Where were the corporates who now so vocally back Save SA during Marikana, when our own were massacred by the state?”

The left created this problem, believe it or not.

Companies in South Africa are irrationally averse to confronting government on anything. There are two reasons for this:

  • Companies cannot afford to upset some or other regulator, lest they lose out on license renewals or other necessary cooperation from government
  • Companies cannot afford to look as if they oppose government’s Transformation agenda, lest they upset the bloodthirsty Twitter Police who will harass them for the rest of eternity

After Marikana, the government was united.

However, with Jacob Zuma, there is no united front in government. Various ministers, the Deputy President, and the senior alliance partners have called on the President to resign. The ANC’s integrity commission even recommended the resignation of the President. It stands to reason that anyone – companies included – would feel much more comfortable voicing their concern with government when the government itself is divided (and a divided government is a good government, by the way).

“Where were their voices calling for a minimum wage and free education?”

For such a prolific writer at a respected outlet, Abdulla makes this argumentative error quite easily.

When, exactly, did a minimum wage and free education become a fait accompli? Is it now scripture that everyone must agree on a minimum wage and free education, otherwise they are hateful greedy bigots?

There is a wealth of content on the Rational Standard showing, often in easy and sometimes in scholarly language why neither the minimum wage or ‘free’ education is ever a good idea. Any ‘corporate’ who supports either of these things should not occupy the position they do. People in business, more so than the rest of us, need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of economics.

“Why weren’t they rallying for a national shutdown when the banks were outed for colluding in ways that belittled the economy they’re now so desperate to protect?”

The banks are subject to the ordinary laws all citizens are subject to, as the Competition Commission inquiry proves. The President on the other hand, is not. For goodness sakes, he had charges withdrawn against him because the prosecutor was taking the political climate of the country into account. The man was also found to have misused taxpayers’ money for his personal palace in KwaZulu-Natal, only to receive a slap on the wrist. Any other private individual or company would have been charged with fraud or forced to pay a hefty fine from the money they make on the market. Any fine the President has to pay inevitably comes out of the pocket of taxpayers.

Besides, the banks colluded in one of the most regulated financial services industries in the world, which often wins international recognition for how well it functions. I would say this is pretty severe indictment of the effectiveness of stringent regulation – perhaps the free market can do better?

“Did white people take to the streets when Helen Zille asked us to see the silver lining in genocide and oppression?”

Abdulla commits another fallacy: the straw-man.

I’ve never been a big Zille fan – although I am becoming more of one every day she triggers the social justice left – but she did not ask anyone to see the “silver lining in genocide and oppression.” I won’t indulge this intellectual dishonesty with a proper response, so I invite Abdulla to actually prove what he’s saying here.

“Where was the petition calling for action against the inequality that falls on racial lines…?”

Inequality is a red herring. Do yourself a favor and watch this video – I know the social justice left won’t watch it, because of the speaker – it answers most of the confusion around inequality.

As an aside, Abdulla embeds a tweet from someone known as “Ms.SK”. The tweet reads:

“Whenever you see whites protesting you must know it has nothing to do with: Racism, Land, Inequality, White privilege”

Not one of those four items are on the top twenty list of most pressing concerns in South Africa. The Rational Standard has, as it happens, also dealt with each of those items in detail.

Unemployment, growth, violent crime, and corruption are considered more pressing issues in South Africa by all race groups. The ‘problems’ of racism, land, inequality, and white privilege exist, for the most part, only in the halls of universities and press media outlets.

Conclusion

Abdulla makes a multitude of statements without further ado, and like the rest of the social justice left, believes we should take him at his word. He has made no argument. He has only tried to appeal to emotion and feelings, which is what Critical Theory-cum-Saul Alinsky tells them to do as a matter of tact. No reasoning or argument required.

But I do hope this article provided you with some food for thought and responses to the social justice left in this regard. Just because you oppose Jacob Zuma does not mean you have to support nonsense like free education and the land hysteria emanating from race-pimps.

Martin is the Editor in Chief of the Rational Standard. He is the Legal Researcher at the Free Market Foundation, the Academic Programs Director for Southern Africa at Students For Liberty, as well as the Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian. Martin holds an LL.B from the University of Pretoria. His articles represent his own views and beliefs, and not that of any of the aforementioned organizations.