Articles – Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com The Logical Alternative Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:29:15 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 https://i2.wp.com/rationalstandard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cropped-RS-Logo.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Articles – Rational Standard https://rationalstandard.com 32 32 94510741 The “White Privilege” Narrative Has No Legs To Stand On Anymore https://rationalstandard.com/white-privilege-no-legs-anymore/ https://rationalstandard.com/white-privilege-no-legs-anymore/#comments Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:19:03 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5667 Level-headed and politically-conscious individuals around the world of all races, but in South Africa in particular, should all be aware of the phenomenon of ‘white privilege’ by now. White South […]

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Level-headed and politically-conscious individuals around the world of all races, but in South Africa in particular, should all be aware of the phenomenon of ‘white privilege’ by now.

White South Africans, and to a considerable extent, black South Africans who disagree with the narrative, have been bombarded with accusations of white privilege, white monopoly capitalism, and white supremacy over the last decade. This has not come from ordinary South Africans, but from the intellectualist elite who walk the halls of South Africa’s universities and press media outlets.

With three recent events, however, I am convinced that reasonable people can finally put this nonsensical twaddle behind them and, with confidence, just roll their eyes when it is brought up again.

Before I get into those events, however, let me explain why the ‘white privilege’ argument is in itself problematic and void by default.

White privilege is a kafkatrap

According to feminist Wendy McElroy, accusations of ‘white privilege’ amount to a kafkatrap.

Kafkatrapping – named after Franz Kafka – occurs when someone is accused of some or other kind of bigotry, be it racism or sexism, to which they respond by, obviously, denying it. The denial in itself, however, is then construed as a confirmation of guilt. Writes McElroy, “You are now trapped in a circular and unfalsifiable argument; no one who is accused can be innocent because the structure of kafkatrapping precludes that possibility.”

By denying the guilt of white privilege, one is simply ‘showing’ how they are ‘blind’ to their own privilege. And privilege is never proven, mind you; the mere fact that one happens to be white is what gives them their privilege. Even if they are poor, they still benefit because, apparently, society is structured in such a way that whites can escape their poverty easier than those unfortunate enough not to be white.

An accusation of white privilege is inescapable. McElroy lists some of the things people usually say to deny their guilt, but all of those will be thrown back as a ‘confirmation’ of either bigotry or white privilege. So my advice: never deny white privilege. It is a concept that was specifically designed to entrap you. Engage your opponent on whatever else they are saying, but let the accusation of white privilege flow like water down your back.

Institute of Race Relations study

The first event which signaled the death of the white privilege narrative in South Africa was a study conducted by the SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) asking ordinary South Africans, broadly representative of our racial makeup, what they were concerned about in life. Predictably, the results indicated exactly what I wrote above: the obsession with race is the domain of South Africa’s intellectualist elite (and their Twitter handles), not the man on the street. Writes the IRR (2017):

“The views of the overwhelming majority of South Africans are very different from the damaging vitriol to be found on social media and that often seems to dominate the race debate. Contrary to what many commentators claim, the 2016 survey shows that some 72% of South Africans report no personal experience of racism in their daily lives. In addition, more than half of respondents (55%) believe race relations have improved since 1994, while a much smaller proportion (13%) think they have worsened. Few South Africans regard racism as a serious unresolved problem, with 3% of respondents identifying it in this way. An overwhelming majority (84%) agree that the different races need each other and that there should be full opportunities for people of all colours.”

The study goes on to show that ordinary South Africans simply want to get on with life. They are concerned about crime, joblessness, and a lack of service delivery by an inept government.

Accusations of white privilege and white supremacy do not come from a majority of South Africans, even though the intellectualists would have you believe that they speak on behalf of the repressed masses. In effect: nobody cares – ignore them.

White privilege is apparently circumstantial now!

According to the purveyors of the white privilege myth, white privilege follows one around and permeates everything one does. This, however, does not appear to be true anymore, which upsets the very foundation upon which the privilege narrative is built.

La Sha writes for HuffPost: 

“… another young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.”

This was written in response to the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of American Otto Warmbier in North Korea.

As an aside, Sha, for some bizarre reason, assumes Warmbier was justly found ‘guilty’. However, North Korea’s criminal justice system is nothing to admire.

There is no reason to think that just because Warmbier was found guilty by such a kangaroo court that he was, in fact, guilty. The North Korean court system does not adhere to any respectable standard of evidence, nor is it quite as independent from political interference as one would like it to be.

Otto Warmbier has since died as a result of injuries sustained while he was hosted by the North Korean justice system.

But back to white privilege.

According to Sha, white privilege is circumstantial – which is a reasonable thing to suppose. It did not follow Warmbier to North Korea, and, based on that principle, there might be circumstances in America and South Africa where white individuals similarly have their privilege ‘revoked’.

It is obvious that in some circumstances, white individuals tend to be treated better than others, but in other circumstances, black or colored individuals are treated better. South Africans of all races have experienced both of these phenomenons. But this is not saying much: it’s just life, which is dynamic. I am glad the social justice left is waking up to this reality.

It’s a public relations scheme to help government save face

The most important one for last.

It is now trite that ‘white monopoly capital’ in South Africa is not an actually-occurring phenomenon, but a concept dreamed up in the bullpen of the British public relations firm, Bell Pottinger. Bell Pottinger is closely associated with the controversial Gupta family, which has been accused of ‘capturing’ the South African state and high-level politicians.

I won’t blame the firm, however. They are doing what they are being paid to do, and that is to shift attention away from the political catastrophes orchestrated by South Africa’s political class.

According to BizNews:

“The strategy to highlight the beast of white monopoly capital in the media and at political rallies is designed to build animosity towards critics of President Jacob Zuma and his clique and shift blame for the country’s economic woes away from those in political control.”

It has also been theorized strongly on the Rational Standard that Andile Mngxitama, the intellectualist doyen of radical anti-‘whiteness’ and the founder of the political party Black First, Land First, is also on the Bell Pottinger payroll in their effort to divert attention away from government.

Mngxitama is also heavily involved with (and likely the founder of) the racist publication Black Opinion where much of the more radical white privilege and white supremacy accusations are thrown around.

These revelations about Bell Pottinger undermine the whole white privilege/monopoly capital/supremacy narrative.

Conclusion

Next time you hear someone invoke “white privilege!”, your most appropriate response would be a chuckle. In light of all the above, it should be clear that this narrative no longer holds any intellectual or practical legitimacy anywhere, but particularly in South Africa.

Martin is a co-founder and 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 and the Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian. Martin holds an LLB from the University of Pretoria. His articles represent his own views and beliefs, and not that of any of the aforementioned organizations.

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On Salvation, Colonisation and Machiavelli https://rationalstandard.com/salvation-colonisation-machiavelli/ https://rationalstandard.com/salvation-colonisation-machiavelli/#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:01:24 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5637 My first year of study at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1964 was as a part time Bachelor of Commerce student. One of our courses was English Literature (ordinary). […]

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My first year of study at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1964 was as a part time Bachelor of Commerce student. One of our courses was English Literature (ordinary). This was taught by Jonathan Paton (son of Alan) who did everything in his power to enthuse and inspire the tired students who had attended lectures starting at 7.30 am, spent a full day at work and then had to endure another one and a half hour lecture in the evening.

And, there were many in his class who were at varsity to get a useful degree, as an entree to a well paid job in commerce, rather than to spend time ‘philosophising’. I was one such student.

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill was one of our prescribed books. It clearly fell into that category of useless philosophy. Much more useful were the practical lectures on good report writing, minute taking, business letters, succinct language and linguistic logic.

One evening Paton was waxing forth on liberty and the universality of human rights. Given the increasingly charged political storms at that time, this subject matter was beyond mere intellectual nicety and philosophy. It was at the root of our political, social and, for us more importantly, economic and commercial futures. I do not remember what he said that prompted me to ask a question of him that evening, but I do recall the question as if I had asked it yesterday.

I first introduced the belief held by Christians that unless a person had “found Jesus and God” that person was destined to a life in purgatory. I criticised this belief on the basis that if an African in a remote village had never been visited by a missionary and, therefore, had not been introduced to Jesus (or the colonisers’ God) how could it be that he would literally be doomed to an eternal hell?

In the same vein, I questioned the right of Europeans to assume that ‘universal human rights’ as evolved in Europe, over centuries, should be imposed on African society.

Jonathan Paton stood silent for a few seconds, his face erupted red. He threw his notes into his briefcase and then rushed towards the door. “You are a Machiavellian atheist!” he shouted and slammed the door behind him.

The class erupted in applause, the only standing ovation I ever received.

This was not in celebration of some philosophical enlightenment, but rather that the lecture (only 10 minutes into it) was clearly cancelled. Pops Cafe and other attractions in Braamfontein beckoned. That they were standing as they cheered was just to get out, all the quicker.

I understood the term atheist but being ‘Machiavellian’ was a new and vaguely understood epithet.

A school friend was in residence, in his second year and studying Political Science. He was very kind (whenever my hunger demanded and my petty cash was low) he would smuggle me into the dining hall. I popped down campus and I told him what had happened. He laughed and handed me a copy of The Prince.

I devoured it with relish! It was, by far, a better meal than the res grub.

I abandoned the B.Com. at the end of that year and changed to a BA. I majored in Economics, Politics and Public Administration.

In the ensuing years the term ‘Machiavellian’ made more sense as my own foray into student politics and wider reading contextualised his ‘lessons’ for the Prince. But how could it be that I was described as Machiavellian (cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics) for asking a lecturer a simple question?

The truth is that I was an early victim of what is now termed political correctness. In the current, postmodern, chaotic, and yes, Machiavellian world, truth is what we want it to be and political correctness smothers rational discourse. We are inured to the harm it causes.

I never thanked Jonathan Paton for changing the direction of my education so profoundly and for the fun that altered journey provided me. And he never answered the question, maybe because there is no answer.

Now that decolonisation is a popular topic in the academe (and polity) we should ask that question again.

If a population does not want ‘human rights’ and the rule of law, who are we to foist that upon them under the guise of some ill founded missionary zeal and/or political salvation?

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Listen to the ANC Youth League at your own peril https://rationalstandard.com/listen-anc-youth-league-peril/ https://rationalstandard.com/listen-anc-youth-league-peril/#comments Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:01:34 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5661 It is said that leaders need to be measured on the premise of their vision, ability to create strong organisations, and their tenacity to nurture trust and understanding towards a […]

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It is said that leaders need to be measured on the premise of their vision, ability to create strong organisations, and their tenacity to nurture trust and understanding towards a shared understanding.

A writer, communications specialist and former Business Day editor Songezo Zibi makes a compelling contribution on the subject of leadership:

“… Leaders are supposed to represent what is good about any society and sometimes make  the difficult choices that set their communities on the right path, often at cost to themselves[…] we have deluded ourselves into believing that anyone who promises to help the poor is inherently fit to represent us.”

Zibi spoke like a clairvoyant, able to foresee that this moment will unfold right before our eyes.

Today bruised and battered, the ANC Youth League in its quest to reclaim populism and toxic masculinities has been imbued by the Guptas’ British PR consultants’ use of ‘radical economic transformation’ and ‘white monopoly capital’.

Their chords, like an old cassette, have come to be like confused treble clefs and crochets in a musical show. In its recent media statement the League hastened an uncompromising commitment as a requirement for radical economic transformation.  Perhaps misinformed, the League insisted on the following:

1. Build a State Bank to finance industrial and agrarian reform among others

The Youth League and its penchant for amnesia pay no attention to the fact that government remains the largest financial service provide in the country.

There exists the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the Post Bank’s 1,400 branches, and the Land Bank. In addition to this, other business assistance institutions such as the National Empowerment Fund and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency were conceived to help fund black business start-ups.

As to why another State Bank is needed is mind-boggling.

If financial institutions decide not spearhead a person’s business plan, in the League’s opinion, a new bank must therefore emerge. This is a thumb-sucking conjecture masquerading as an amelioration for ‘…our people’. Indeed, if a bank decides to not fund a person’s business plan, the solution should be to craft a better business plan.

If the Youth League cared about transforming the lives of our people it would insist on the government to fast-track infrastructure development, which would in turn grow the economy. It would also call for the removal of regulations that stifle competition and entrepreneurship and keep the one-third of the labour force unemployed or too discouraged to seek work.

In their discussion document released in 2011, the Youth League conceded the following:

“The State capacity [sic] to manage enterprises is doubted due to sheer criminality, mismanagement and patronage, which characterised the most of these entities and very weak accountability systems.”

Why then, today, should we trust the ANCYL that it will be different this time?

2. Expropriation of land without compensation

There have been calls by many civil society groups for the unused land that remains in state ownership today to be given to previously disadvantaged individuals and families. But there seem to be no political will.

Perhaps if the Youth League was committed to radical economic transformation, it would prompt government to give the land it already owns to disenfranchised communities under the system of private ownership. This can also be achieved through the awarding of title deeds.

This would take many out of the crevasses of poverty. Heed no advice because the ‘clever blacks’ are unpatriotic South Africans. This is indicative of a leadership with no clear vision but empty rhetoric and racial demagoguery.

3. Free and quality education

In keeping with the rhetoric, in March 2017, the Youth League emphasised that all public universities should be controlled by the State (News24, 2017).

This means that universities will fail to adhere to the constitutional principle of academic freedom, as the State will intervene in the space. This is also evident in the Higher Education Bill that was adopted in 2016 which vested too much power on the Minister of Higher Education.

In addition to this, the League does not make clear in its statement how they believe free education should be funded. Let me also remind the League that the ANC voted against the R2,2 billion proposal made to Parliament to ensure poor students receive funding. How else do they believe this should be implemented remains a mystery.

Conclusion

While the Youth League continues to dupe the public by dishing out its quixotic economic promises, we should take them with a pinch of salt. The primary goal that should occupy South Africa’s agenda must be to build a stronger, inclusive and resilient economy for young people in particular.

We must imagine ourselves beyond the factional ties and parochial interests of those who want to help themselves.

Now that would be true radical economic transformation!

Kamogelo Mangena is a socio-political activist. A commentator on public policy, politics, gender and sexualities, he holds a qualification in public policy as well as gender studies. He is a graduate of numerous leadership programmes including the Programme for Young Politicians in Africa (PYPA). He currently studies political economy.

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Is emotion-based wisdom ‘wise’? https://rationalstandard.com/emotion-based-wisdom/ https://rationalstandard.com/emotion-based-wisdom/#comments Sun, 18 Jun 2017 22:01:51 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5603 This is a commentary on a piece: “What is wisdom, and is it unwise to pursue it?” authored by Thaddeus Metz, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa’s […]

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This is a commentary on a piece: “What is wisdom, and is it unwise to pursue it?” authored by Thaddeus Metz, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg, South Africa’s “model” university.

Of course, the question: “What is wisdom?” is unanswerable in a short public intellectual piece.

Nevertheless, the author initially offers an ‘incomplete’ definition:

Wisdom is an understanding of what is important, where this understanding informs a (wise) person’s thought and action undertaken with a strategic awareness of limits and potential obstacles.

Here is my (and just about every dictionary’s) definition:

Wisdom is a result of a never-ending process that requires the ability to think, judge and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.  It is a virtue allowing an individual to act with high authority, responsibility and accountability under any given circumstance with the goal to limit error or wrongdoing in any given action.

The author is spot on when he implies: What is present in wisdom is absent in folly.

Zille’s and Trump’s tweets are excellent examples of non-wisdom. Hers stem from emotion – but I wish she would learn.  His are also emotional, but have the profoundly disturbing additional factors of ignorance and bigotry. As cartoon character Andy Capp once said: “Naughty we can reform. Stupid is forever”.

What greatly disturbs me is the author’s portrayal of expanded wisdom as having a significant emotional component.  This sort of individual or group ‘wisdom’ can be used to ‘justify’ what are normally considered to be unacceptable actions.

Emotions are real phenomena, but are relatively brief conscious experiences characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of short-term pleasure or displeasure. In stark contrast, rational wisdom emerges from thoughts that are considered and based on contextualized experiences developed over time into discussable ideas and potentially implementable behaviours that become culturally and legally acceptable norms. Rational wisdom is thus a much deeper thing. Based on this clear dichotomy (at least in humans), I take the position that emotion should take a strongly subordinate position in discussions of wisdom and in its social relevance.

Otherwise (and I say this ‘flippantly’), the famous punchline of comedian Flip Wilson comes into play:

“The devil made me do it!”

In my (and I guess the author’s) own little world, the university, I am literally frightened by what some students and colleagues increasingly say and do. This is most evident during the few and fewer discussions (debates?) on campus about policies relating to concepts such as ‘race’, practices such as ‘racism’ and policies such as ad hominem promotion and ‘decolonization’.

For example, in my ‘world’ (the University of Cape Town), during a serious engagement between two senior academics relating to the appointment of individuals who could determine UCT’s future, discussion collapsed when the speaker was interrupted in mid-sentence because he mispronounced his interlocuter’s surname. Then, after apologizing for this, the ‘perpetrator’ said (or clearly implied) that the ‘victim’s’ people frequently mispronounced his name. Also, in a debate about the merits of quantitatively-scored criteria (teaching, research, university service, professional service to discipline-based societies, community outreach, research rating by the South African National Research Foundation, h-index, etc.), one ‘emotional’ professorial panellist said that he is opposed to any such scheme since he can ‘smell’ someone appointable to full professor. Finally, when a member of the university community unapologetically breaks the law when she/he feels ‘pained’ by the mere existence of some item, is that criminal act ‘socially’ justified based on ‘emotional wisdom’?

I maintain that undisputed lawbreaking behaviour such as this is reified when emotions receive unwarranted recognition.

Taking such ‘wisdom’ further, must an individual (or a prescribed group) accused of inadvertent, ‘suffocating’, ‘invisible violence’ –  alleged to be a closeted continuation of unsubstantiated overt personal or institutional violence in the past – acquire ‘wisdom’ by deeming him/herself guilty by pronouncement and therefore unworthy of consideration?

The primary result of this massive infusion of ‘emotional wisdom’ into UCT has been a balkanization of its community into an untrusting, amorphous ‘federation’ of:

  1. hyper-emotional, self-proclaimed-unworthy, politicized, racialized. lawbreaking fallists bent on receiving amnesty derived from the ‘spirit of expansive, indigenous/religious restorative justice’ and UCT’s deconstructive (and ‘if necessary’ destructive), still-to-be-defined ‘decolonialization’;
  2. an illegitimately-elected, racialized, politicized “interim” Students Representative Council and a guilt-ridden Executive, Council and Alumni Association bent on helping group 1 to achieve its ‘goals’;
  3. a Senate of ‘wise guys/gals’ who assemble on occasion to endorse ‘done deals’ made between groups 1 and 2; and
  4. a terrified and/or apathetic vast, ‘silenced’ majority of kids and junior staff who just want the academic freedom to learn, teach and research as they see fit in peace.

Should one seek only ‘unemotional’ wisdom?

The author’s apparent conclusion [due to the limited “space”] is no. This is because “not just acquiring knowledge of what is important and choosing well in the light of it, but also exhibiting certain [unspecified] emotions” may be preferable because “It’s starting to appear to be unwise to try to become wise, given how difficult it would be to achieve”.

I close by answering the author’s final questions.

Does that make any sense? Is wisdom such that it can be unwise to pursue it?

No.

According to my definition, life is virtually the endless pursuit and application of wisdom.  According to the author’s potential definition, pursuit of emotional wisdom is dangerous at best and suicidal at worst.

Professor Tim Crowe is a descendant of oppressed Irish freedom-fighters from the United States working class. He is a first generation university graduate, non-settler immigrant alumnus, Elected Fellow and emeritus (40 years’ service) professor at the University of Cape Town. He is a Ph.D.-educated expert on evolutionary biology (covering everything from ‘race’ to deeply rooted evolutionary trees) and conservation biology (especially regarding sustainable and economically viable use of wildlife). He has published nearly 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers/books and is regarded as the world’s leading authority on game birds (chickens, turkeys, guinea fowls, etc.). About 70 of his graduated students have published their research and established themselves in their own right, including four professors.

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Our individuality comes before our blackness https://rationalstandard.com/individuality-before-blackness/ https://rationalstandard.com/individuality-before-blackness/#comments Wed, 14 Jun 2017 08:10:44 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5640 The worst mistake you can make is thinking that because you are black, and black people are in the overwhelming majority, then democracy will always align to your interests. Firstly, […]

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The worst mistake you can make is thinking that because you are black, and black people are in the overwhelming majority, then democracy will always align to your interests.

Firstly, as individuals, we don’t all have the same interests. It’s not just a matter of seizing stuff from white people; by seizing “the stuff”, a lot of black people will lose jobs and business deals as well, due to the interconnected and cooperative nature of economics. That’s partly why the ANC is so angry at the black middle class. Moreover, by setting the precedent that things can be seized by government for political reasons, there is nothing protecting black South Africans down the line from the same treatment.

Secondly, because of the above, there is no “black agenda”. We don’t all agree on what needs to be done.

For instance, there are bullies saying they have all the answers and we need to listen to them, or else (I’m looking at you, Mzwandile Masina, Andile Mngxitama and Jacob Zuma).

There are those like members of COSATU who want to protect their own interests even at the expense of the unemployed.

There are those who are advocating for a state-led capitalist model of development.

There are those who just want to continue getting BEE deals no matter what.

There are those (like me) who believe that the free market, property rights and minimal government involvement is what is needed.

And there are those who want government regulations to continue serving the interests of big business (because they are a part of it) at the expense of small business and workers.

There are even those who believe we need the pre-colonial model of government revived, with traditional leaders playing a central role.

Thirdly, in the absence of a “black agenda”, it is time to recognise that black people are individuals. Apartheid and colonialism may have tried to group us and oppress us collectively, and that required unity to destroy that oppressor; but apart from that common interest we have differing and sometimes divergent interests.

Yes, poverty might be an approximate unifier (because it affects us disproportionately; but not all black people are poor and we don’t all agree on how to solve the problem) and it is unacceptable that the colour of poverty should be black. That is why I believe we should be asking ourselves what the best way of solving the problem of poverty is, and going with that solution instead of race mobilisation for solutions that have failed all around the world.

The way forward? Accept individuality and propose solutions that don’t assume that black unity can be achieved or is even desirable. We are not mindless robots by virtue of our skin colour – you have your own view about what should be done and I have mine – let’s respect our respective intelligences and engage in earnest debate without resorting to emotional race blackmail.

My agenda? I want to sell something to you and everyone else; I’m just trying to set the stage so my trade with you can go as smoothly as possible, for me and for you, because your benefit is my benefit as well. Black or white, it is not a zero-sum game; we can all win.

Everyone has an agenda that ultimately serves their own individual interest. Maybe try and pick allies on the basis of a shared agenda rather than something as arbitrary as skin colour.

Mpiyakhe Dhlamini is a contributor to the Rational Standard, an Anarcho-Capitalist, formerly a libertarian, formerly a socialist. He runs his own web development business, where he’s a full-time freelancer. Mpiyakhe posts about liberty on Facebook as a way of avoiding the frequent bugs in his code.

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The EFF is hypocritical in its handling of racial debates https://rationalstandard.com/eff-hypocritical-handling-racial-debates/ https://rationalstandard.com/eff-hypocritical-handling-racial-debates/#comments Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:09:02 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5619 What do the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African National Congress (ANC) have in common? The fact that the leaders of both have been found to be in violation […]

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What do the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African National Congress (ANC) have in common? The fact that the leaders of both have been found to be in violation of the Constitution? Or both pontificate about the Freedom Charter (which interestingly was drafted by the white elite); or that both are adept populists, race-baiting demagogues sprinkled with grains of misogyny and entitlement? You will receive no prize for guessing that the one thread that unites these two political parties is — without equivocation — hypocrisy.

Among the sanctimonious voices in the Helen Zille colonialism tweet debacle is the EFF. The party is engaged in labelling Zille, and ultimately the Democratic Alliance (DA), as supporters of colonialism. To quote the EFF’s National Spokesperson:

This is what Helen Zille truly is, a cold hearted racist who believes that colonialism, which was crime against the humanity of black people is not a bad thing.” (Sowetan Live)

Of course, with the advantage of hindsight, one comes to see the distortion that arises from what Zille had uncovered as the valuable aspects of the “colonial heritage” in Singapore. The EFF in simply engaged in political point-scoring, despite Zille’s clarification that her tweet is not a justification for colonialism (for what reason she would want to do this is unknown), akin to the ‘public manipulation’ George Orwell warns about.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the EFF has exacerbated pressure on the DA, calling on the party to remove Zille from her position as Premier of the Western Cape, citing that the EFF cannot be associated with a party that believed in ‘white supremacy’. If that was not enough, Malema went ahead to say:

They [DA] want Jacob  Zuma removed, but they cannot apply the same rules to their own. They must remove her as premier-[the] same thing we demand from ANC, we must also demand from each other. We will stop voting for the DA and at those municipalities, we will not vote for anyone… Zille is prepared to collapse these things because of her ego.”

Malema conveniently compares the ANC to the DA, and Zuma to Zille. However, such a comparison is skewed and highlights Malema’s false analysis.

In the Western Cape, where Helen Zille is a premier, the province recently received a 100% clean audit for the 2015/16 financial year, four times in a row. 9 out of 10 of the best-run municipalities are DA-run, and the DA-led Western Cape has efficient service delivery. Where the DA governs, there is strong investor attraction and the lowest unemployment levels, all of which are an antithesis to the ANC-run municipalities.  

But, deliberately or inadvertently, Malema gives no credit to this and falsely equates the DA to the ANC whose leader has been found to have broken his oath of office repeatedly. The DA – Zille, too – has not been complicit in the ransacking of the public purse. Incredulously as he performs this, Malema believes defending an argument is the same as having an ego. Malema is no stranger to defensive arguments. Would it be wrong for the public to accuse him of being egoistic?  

Below is a list of quotes from Julius Malema, whose racial slurs did not catalyse outrage. In addition to this dissonance, Julius Malema, an adherent to multiple racial slurs and offensive language, was never stripped of his parliamentary responsibilities nor has he apologised for his views.

It is the author’s contention that the quotes below might not all be racist when assessed through an objective lens, but could most certainly be deemed as such should someone of a different hue express them. The hypocrisy is enough to give me goosebumps.

www.economicfreedomfighters.org / Thapelo Lekgowa

We are not calling for the slaughter of white people, at least for now… The rightful owners of the land are black people. No white person is a rightful owner of the land here in SA and the whole of the African continent.”

Malema was addressing supporters outside the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court in KwaZulu-Natal where he faced charges of inciting people to occupy privately-owned land. It is Malema’s insistence that no white person rightfully owns the land.

She is a tea girl of the madam, and her role must remain there in the kitchen for making the tea for the madam. Because that’s what she chose for herself. So I am not going to be debating with servants for the madam.”

He refused to participate in a televised debate with the then-DA MP and spokesperson, Lindiwe Mazibuko, who he is attacking in the above quote. Although Malema’s attack is inappropriate and akin to a political boxing game, these utterings reflect his gender beliefs; that a woman’s role is confined to the kitchen.

In attacking Helen Zille indirectly, Malema said of her:

Have you ever seen an ugly woman in a blue dress dancing like a monkey because she is looking for votes?”

Malema said this at the time when he was the ANC Youth League leader. The simile used was also employed by Penny Sparrow in 2016 when she likened black people to monkeys, to which she was subsequently fined R150,000 and lost her job.

South African discourse has become appalling, to say the least.

Certain arguments, which are posited in an attempt to draw out a discussion are mudded and squashed. Selective remembrance and racial chauvinism are at their peak. This stifles debate, demonises race, hardens racial barriers and greatly hampers intelligent discussions on carving a better society. The most virulent criticism is reserved for even black people who dare divert from the script: ‘apologist’, ‘house negro’, ‘sellout’, ‘defender-of-white-supremacy’ are among but the few nouns reserved for such black interlocutors.

We are in deep trouble.

Kamogelo Mangena is a socio-political activist. A commentator on public policy, politics, gender and sexualities, he holds a qualification in public policy as well as gender studies. He is a graduate of numerous leadership programmes including the Programme for Young Politicians in Africa (PYPA). He currently studies political economy.

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Reply to Prof Crowe’s Criticism of the Roots of Racism https://rationalstandard.com/reply-prof-crowes-criticism-roots-racism/ https://rationalstandard.com/reply-prof-crowes-criticism-roots-racism/#comments Sun, 11 Jun 2017 22:01:48 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5541 Prof Tim Crowe was clearly deeply upset and morally offended by my interpretation of the origin and nature of ‘racism’. I am sorry to have so disturbed him, but the […]

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Prof Tim Crowe was clearly deeply upset and morally offended by my interpretation of the origin and nature of ‘racism’. I am sorry to have so disturbed him, but the highly emotional nature of his response suggests that it was caused, not by an objective and calm assessment of the facts (or non-facts) provided in my essays, but by self-inflicted outrage.

The opinions expressed in the essays were based upon a long lifetime’s personal experience of how individual people on four continents appeared to respond personally to ‘racial’ differences in others. In this, the distinction between the moralistic way that people frequently claimed to feel about those of other races, and how they actually tended to respond to them in reality, was noted.

As a result of this experience, and other observations, I duly concluded that everybody was, to at least some degree or other, prejudiced against those who were culturally different to themselves. This does not mean that I believe every prejudice to necessarily be a violent or hateful one; rather, that we humans are simply not inclined to view those who are significantly different to ourselves in a favourable light.

I further concluded that if everybody was indeed prejudiced, there was likely to be a good biological reason for this. This prejudice, as I noted in the essay, was not simply against a person’s ‘race’, as popularly defined, but applied across a range of observable cultural differences. While suggesting that in the historical past ‘racism’ had served a protective and positive biological function, I certainly did not indicate that I thought it did so in today’s circumstances. On the contrary, I explained why it was now socially so divisive.

Prof Crowe has clearly and even eagerly jumped to the entirely false conclusion that I think racism is a good thing today. This is astonishing, particularly given the contents of the second essay, and I do not think that he is merely virtue signalling. His moral fervour, however, has possibly led him astray, and I will return to this.

The assertion that everybody is racist to some degree or other was one of the two arguments absolutely fundamental to my hypothesis. If it is not essentially true, then my hypothesis fails. Prof Crowe, however, did not deny its truth, as contentious an assertion and as central to my argument as it is.

If I am correct, then social science really has to explain in rational terms just why it is that every human being, or, pedantically, every normal human being, possesses this particular behavioural predisposition. If every human being is predisposed to be suspicious or averse to those of a different culture or race, clearly it cannot be a moral crime or aberration. A moral crime or aberration is, by definition, something done by particular individuals, that their society as a whole does not naturally do.

If, on the other hand, I am incorrect in my admittedly very wide and general assertion, then my argument fails, but for it to be incorrect it would have to be true that Prof Crowe (and others) did in fact regard people belonging to cultural groups and ‘races’ significantly different to their own, in exactly the same way and in all respects as they regard people of their own cultural group.

I am unable to disprove that Prof Crowe is personally totally free of any prejudicial feelings of any sort against those who are culturally different to himself in any significant way, as he so strongly implies is the case, but nor, frankly, does my life’s experience suggest that it is very likely.

Obviously, I cannot prove that ‘everybody’ possesses prejudicial feelings in respect of those of different culture and race, any more than Prof Crowe can prove that he is morally pure in this regard. As both of us have offered our arguments to the public, however, it is best left to you, the reader, to decide who is most likely to be correct.

You also do not really know what all others feel, but with regard to your own prejudices, or lack thereof, you have full knowledge. If, in all honesty and frankness, you examine your feelings with regard to people who are significantly different to you culturally and racially, do you find that you regard them in exactly the same favourable light that you tend to regard those culturally close to you, or do you not?

If you discover that you are totally without any prejudice, then you have very good reason to support Prof Crowe, Aristotle, Jesus, and Mother Theresa, as he indicates. If, however, you find that you do not feel about those who are significantly different culturally to you, in exactly the same way that you feel about your own people, then you must join the legion of the morally damned identified by Prof Crowe.

The second argument fundamental to my hypothesis was that throughout the whole of human history, right up to the 1950s, racism was the social norm in all societies on Earth, and everybody was expected to be racist in their attitude to outsiders. The very brief current period of anti-racism is a far greater historical anomaly than racism itself, and there probably was a good reason for this.

Once again, Prof Crowe did not dispute this observation; in fact, he agreed with it.

He explains it, however, as due to a lack of humanism in all our ancestors, who did not apparently enjoy the moral enlightenment that we benefit from today. I’m not sure that this spiritual explanation of a historical fact explains it better than my suggestion that racism was socially approved of for so long simply because it had served a biologically positive function over that period, even if it no longer does so under today’s different social circumstances, which have turned it into a decidedly negative social factor.

The emotional and dogmatic nature of Prof Crowe’s attack indicates that he is upset not so much by the factual validity or otherwise of what I wrote, but by the immoral nature of what he thinks I meant. In the first of the two essays, I refer to the unfortunate and pious moralising of ‘racism’ that prevents a proper understanding of what ‘racism’ is, and therefore of a solution to the problem. Prof Crowe’s criticism is an example of exactly this. Instead of trying to understand what I was saying rationally, he no sooner read the essays than he was out on the dusty road throwing stones at what he regarded as a passing sinner.

If ‘racism’ is regarded simply as a moral crime or aberration, then it is self-evidently held to be caused by a moral deficiency in all those identified as ‘racist’. This deficiency must be punished and the ‘racists’ made to publicly recant. Obsessed with punishment, this Old Testament attitude and procedure gives no serious thought to understanding and so resolving the socially destructive predisposition. So, naturally, it continues.

If, on the other hand, ‘racism’ is rationally considered to be an inherent (or maybe acquired) social predisposition that in the past served a positive biological function, but has now, because of changed historical circumstances, become a strongly negative factor, the problem can at least start to be analysed, addressed, and resolved in rational rather than apoplectic, moralistic ways.

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Intellectual dishonesty in Max du Preez’s open letter to Helen Zille https://rationalstandard.com/intellectual-dishonesty-max-du-preezs-open-letter-helen-zille/ https://rationalstandard.com/intellectual-dishonesty-max-du-preezs-open-letter-helen-zille/#comments Thu, 08 Jun 2017 20:15:00 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5600 Max du Preez recently wrote an open letter to Helen Zille regarding the tweets she made acknowledging colonialism has not had strictly bad consequences, and which landed her in trouble […]

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Max du Preez recently wrote an open letter to Helen Zille regarding the tweets she made acknowledging colonialism has not had strictly bad consequences, and which landed her in trouble with the Democratic Alliance. His letter, titled “Dear Helen, please call it off”, however, has some significant instances of intellectual dishonesty. I will only speak to some of those instances here, and recommend you read Gwen Ngwenya’s brilliant analysis of Du Preez’s letter as well.

“The fact that you felt you had to make this obvious point on Twitter suggests that you meant something else, something more.”

Du Preez is not putting words in Zille’s mouth – he’s putting thoughts in her head. While most reasonable individuals agree on the “obvious point” that colonialism did not one-dimensionally yield a negative legacy for South Africa, the outrage to Zille’s tweet suggests that there is a notable segment of the population who disagree. Du Preez himself writes that it should have been clear to Zille that the tweet would be offensive. Why he decides to imply racism or some other kind of silly bigotry here is unclear, and unethical.

“Instead of quickly stating that your first tweet was a mistake and you were sorry about it when you saw the initial reactions…”

He does not mention against which standard the ‘mistake-worthiness’ of Zille’s tweet is being measured. Does Du Preez mean to say that when someone is insulted (“the initial reactions”), an apology should, by default, be extended? I struggle to believe that someone as intelligent as Du Preez would endorse such a dangerous level of relativism. I have, in the past, felt insulted by Du Preez’ articles, after all, and I know of others who found them equally offensive. Would it be reasonable for us to expect an apology from Du Preez? Zille’s public figure status, mind you, does not change the principle at play here. The truth is not only true if it is said by someone with a low profile.

“You have single-handedly made sure that the party you helped build [could not appeal to more South Africans opposing the ANC].”

Du Preez uses the word “single-handedly” incorrectly here. It takes, at least, two to tango. Maimane is not at all innocent in this saga, as he played the principal role in making a national controversy out of what can at most be described as a silly tweet on a silly platform which does not allow more than 140 characters.

“Mmusi Maimane should have been [standing against corruption by the ANC]. Instead your conduct undermined him…”

Surely, Du Preez cannot be endorsing what seems to be despot-level personality politics?

Are individual Democratic Alliance members – and the premier of a province – not at liberty to have their own political profiles, styles, and opinions? Is the DA this centralized that the pettiest and most innocent remark by a DA-affiliate can now be construed as “undermining” the party leader and thus be actionable?

Does Du Preez imply that the DA is such an immature party that it cannot afford to allow members their own identities? If this is true, the DA does not offer an alternative to the ANC.

This would be extremely worrying, but Du Preez says it, like much of the rest of the letter, without further ado. He appears to be riding the wave of anti-Zille sentiment rather than trying to construct considered arguments against the many imperfections that comprehend Helen Zille. He can do better – this is just petty.

Martin is a co-founder and 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 and the Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian. Martin holds an LLB from the University of Pretoria. His articles represent his own views and beliefs, and not that of any of the aforementioned organizations.

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No, Gigaba, state intervention won’t spur growth https://rationalstandard.com/gigaba-state-intervention-wont-growth/ https://rationalstandard.com/gigaba-state-intervention-wont-growth/#comments Wed, 07 Jun 2017 16:25:40 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5579 This article is in response to a report by EWN on finance minister Gigaba’s odd decision to begin ‘direct’ state intervention in the economy. I will be responding to each […]

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This article is in response to a report by EWN on finance minister Gigaba’s odd decision to begin ‘direct’ state intervention in the economy.

I will be responding to each claim and statement blow by blow, in a manner similar to some of my other articles. In essence, this article will establish that Gigaba’s plans claims and plans are, by and large, fallacious and dangerous.

“Asian economies which grew strongly after the second World War exposed the myth that governments are only incidental to economic development.”

I have a bit of a vendetta against the Asian model of development.

It is often, ironically, spouted as proof that state-led economies are effective. For those unaware with the Asian model, in short, it is a model where the state works with large corporations to keep labour cheap and encourage mass manufacturing for trade. Many socialists advocate the model, revealing that they either don’t understand the model, or socialism.

In most of the Asian model countries, workers were severely exploited. Unions were banned. The government actively enforced low wages to discourage turnover. Work was not incentivised as a means for personal prosperity, but for the betterment of the state.

The Asian model did experience great economic growth, but for whose benefit? The citizens of the Asian model economies are overworked, underpaid, depressed and, compared to their Western counterparts, unsuccessful.

SEE ALSO: African Tigers: A Reasonable Reason to Hope, And Reason Towards Reason by Paul Hjul

There is only one observed path to development that has brought not only economic growth, but prosperity for the individual, and that is the American and English model of free markets.

If you are interested in my rant against the Asian model, I went into more detail attacking one such country in my essay: How the state’s role in Japan’s development is overstated.

“South Africa’s government has decided to intervene directly in the economy because experience shows that otherwise market failures will be an impediment to growth.”

They’re only deciding to intervene directly, now? What have they been doing up to this point? Oh dear…

The South African government has not been shy to intervene in the economy, distorting the market and pillaging private wealth. Rather than market failure being an impediment to growth, Gigaba should purchase a mirror and see how his precious government has been the primary destroyer and impeder of growth in this country.

Regulations, taxes and an inability to do the basic task of keeping us safe from crime is the cause of our slow growth – not so-called “market failure”.

“Government is the only agent that has a vested interest in ensuring there are vast, affordable and accessible networks for electricity, railways, roads and communications that won’t just help the economy – but also ensure transformation.”

There’s this system called ‘capitalism’ where people who need something pay providers for that thing. Electricity, railways, roads and communications are all such things.

All of these things are already under state control. It seems Gigaba has very little understanding of this country, or he just likes stating redundancies. They are already intervening directly by exercising a monopoly on electricity, railways, roads and controlling much of the communications sector.

As we know from experience, they aren’t doing a good job running any of these. If anything, it seems the government may not have a vested interest at all. They know they can keep pillaging taxpayer’s money, regardless of whether they deliver. On the other hand, private providers only get paid if they work and work well.

So no, Mr Gigaba. Wrong again. If anything, the government is the only disinterested party, as shown from experience.

“South Africa needs massive industrialisation in the secondary sectors to create jobs and wealth on a sustainable basis in pursuit of radical economic transformation and inclusive growth.”

Do we need jobs and wealth? Well, duh. Gigaba understands basic needs, and then he goes and destroys all that by actually admitting that he hates the poor, jobs and every honest South African by spouting more political claptrap such as “radical economic transformation”. We have an idea of what that means, and it is not a good idea.

“Gigaba also says cities are the engines of the economy.”

Cities are places where people live. People are the engines of the economy. Yes, cities are conducive for growth. Well done. The problem is that an unsustainable amount of people are flocking to the cities because they know this already. It is all well and good to state that cities aid the economy, but not substantive.

What is implied is that the city-centres need to be planned as economic zones. If they meant special economic zones in the vein of Hong Kong, then I would be excited, but I doubt Gigaba would gain some economic acumen now.

Rather, Gigaba seeks to push more and more people into the already overcrowded cities rather than address the poverty rampant in the poorer provinces.

“South Africa’s cities have been allowed to develop for too long on a system where people have a 40-square meter house, 40 kilometres from work and have to spend 40% of their income on commuting.”

Commuting wouldn’t be a problem if the ANC actively sought to undo the true aspects of Apartheid and abolish the tribal trust lands. These cesspools do nothing but hold back development of the home areas of many South Africans, forcing them into the cities where they have to live in squalor.

The Apartheid regime encouraged the impoverishment of the homelands to encourage migrant labour. The ANC should be trying to go against this and establish a firm economic foundation in areas like the Transkei to encourage business opportunities at home. This will solve the commuting problem, bring families back together, ease the strain on the overcrowded cities and raise the prosperity of South Africans in general.

All this, if people like Gigaba abandoned their destructive ideologies, abolished the homelands and, for good measure, introduced special economic zones in highly populated but economically destitute areas like the Transkei.

Nicholas is a co-founder and Marketing and Technical Director at the Rational Standard. He is a Council Member of the Institute for Race Relations as well as the Regional Coordinator for African Students For Liberty. Nicholas has written two science fiction novels. He is currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town.

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Maimane’s new direction for the Democratic Alliance https://rationalstandard.com/maimanes-new-direction-democratic-alliance/ https://rationalstandard.com/maimanes-new-direction-democratic-alliance/#comments Wed, 07 Jun 2017 11:19:23 +0000 https://rationalstandard.com/?p=5595 The current crisis in the Democratic Alliance (DA) over the tweets former leader Helen Zille made about colonialism looks more like a script from a cheap Chinese movie of yore. In […]

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The current crisis in the Democratic Alliance (DA) over the tweets former leader Helen Zille made about colonialism looks more like a script from a cheap Chinese movie of yore. In those movies the protégé would be taken by a master to be trained in the basics of karate and would, towards the end of the film, be the one to beat the master at his game.

We all know that Mmusi Maimane is the protégé of Helen Zille, who took him under her wing after he lost the race to be Mayor of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality to Parks Tau (who in turn lost to Herman Mashaba in 2016) in the 2011 local government elections.

Maimane was still new to the party but he showed tremendous potential as a possible future leader for a party which had a dearth of credible black leaders.

It was Zille’s aim (whether it was overtly or covertly stated is another matter) to change the image of the party as a whites-only party catering for English-speaking South Africans to a party that represents all South Africans. The brief dalliance (which sadly failed) with the former founder and leader of Agang SA, Dr Mamphele Ramphele, attests to that.

In ascending to the leadership of the party, the then-young Maimane was to a certain extent proof that Zille’s project was bearing fruit, notwithstanding the fact that the protégé was still relatively new to the party.

Credit: Destiny Man

The discipline of sociology teaches that there are intended and unintended consequences for any action taken. It might never have occurred to Zille that Maimane would upset the apple cart (i.e. changing the DA as it was and is). Maimane seems to be determined to not just be a black face in a predominantly white liberal party, but to turn the DA into a credible and viable alternative to the ruling African National Congress. It seems that his intention is to ensure that the party gets into power in 2019 as the ruling party seems to be on the verge of losing its majority.

His reaction to the Zille Twitter saga confirms my assertion. He was quick (though subsequently exposed as having erred on the technicalities of the party’s constitution) to announce that the DA had ‘suspended’ Helen Zille.

The Zille saga has two possibilities: the first being that it will either make or break Maimane and the second being that it may have deleterious consequences for the party. If Zille is to be suspended, Maimane would have stamped his authority and proven to all and sundry that he is not tied by the apron strings of his erstwhile mentor, and set the party on a new direction.

The DA is in the centre of the SA political spectrum and on occasions it looks as if it is on the right of centre. Maimane may take it to left of centre and in the process bring in more of the black vote.

Still, if Zille goes (which is not beyond the realm of possibility) it may create tensions within the party from her supporters and this may in the long run cause a split.

For the sake of the party, which has consistently projected itself as a paragon of virtue, Maimane needs to stamp his authority and bite the bullet.

Author: Lolonga Tali lives King Williamstown and occasionally contributes to the Daily Dispatch. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education (English & History), a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism (Rhodes University) and a Master of Philosophy in South African Politics & Political Economy (NMMU). He works at the Amathole Museum in King Williamstown.

Non-permanent writers and guests can submit their articles to us and we’ll publish them. If a writer proves their writing skill, they may be invited to come on as a permanent writer.

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