The South African state, in all its various guises and iterations has, throughout history, tried its utmost to suppress South Africans. From colonialism to Apartheid, to the current socialist government which continually infringes upon our individual rights. It is quintessentially South African to fight against overbearing authority, to take up arms, to strike back when we are threatened. We must not let that fighting spirit pass with a whimper. The election this year is a chance for us to send a ringing message to the government, and to the world: We will not be subjugated.
No decision in your life can be made devoid of context. While we can debate the ethics and merits of voting, while I love discussing whether political parties are ‘liberal enough’ or not, any principles I hold as an individual mean nothing to me if I do not apply them in the context of my life, and the country in which I find myself. My own life and happiness are my greatest values, and this is why I want to live in a free as possible country. This is why I will vote, because voting is a tool in my immediate control which I can use in an attempt to, at the very least, protect some of the freedoms I currently enjoy. Given the current state of the country, and given the context of my own values, I will be voting for the Capitalist Party (ZACP) nationally, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) provincially.
Our lives are supposed to be about so much more than just politics; than the constant, vile insults thrown around on social media to others because they are not part of the same tribe as us. It is tragic that we spend as much time as we do on politics, on worrying day after day what new tax is going to come our way, or by how much the petrol price will go up the next week, and the next. In whichever way we can, we must stop the continual growth of the state. The bigger the government, the more control it can extend over our lives, and with that, every decision we make on a daily basis.
Freedom does not guarantee progress or equality. Freedom is messy. But we must not fall for the illusion which statists try to sell us: That the more power we give government, the more secure we will be, the more cared for we will be. Freedom is the dignity agency, and responsibility to stand or fall on our own individual acts and decisions. The Constitution is not perfect. But then, I do not want a perfect society. I do not want utopia. I desire for myself as free a society as can be attained.
To those of you concerned with what may happen if someone you deem a communist, or fascist, or alt-right, were to come to power, use your vote to vote for any party which will limit the growth of the state. The smaller the state, the less it can bring to bear against anyone it deems an opponent. Do not make the mistake of voting for a pro-big government party, as tyranny comes when you least expect it, when you think your guy or girl or group will always have your best interests in mind. Do not think in terms of race groups, or classes, or foreigners and locals, as oppressors and the oppressed. Statism, and the continual growth in size and scope of the state, is the oppressor of the individual.
When you vote on Wednesday, 8 May, keep in mind all that was done to ensure all South Africans have the right to vote. Keep in mind Nelson Mandela, Hector Peterson, Helen Suzman, the Boers who fought against the British, the Zulu warriors who defended their homes, and writers such as Olive Schreiner, poets such as Ingrid Jonker, and countless others who gave everything and more in their different battles for freedom. We can get back to debating amongst ourselves on Thursday; butt for now, read party manifestos and listen to the parties’ speeches.
The standard by which you ought to decide for whom to vote? The protection and furthering of individual freedom.
This is not an appeal to authority, or to history. It is an appeal to an ideal; the ideal of individual freedom. South Africa is, in many ways, a miracle country. With our divided history, we are still here, not engulfed in civil war but trying to move forward in the various small ways each of us can manage. South Africa cannot have real diversity without freedom. We cannot have equality before the law without freedom. We cannot have economic growth without freedom. On Wednesday, vote against expropriation without compensation, National Health Insurance, the National Minimum Wage and all the countless barriers to employment, punitive, controlling sin taxes such as the sugar tax, and the Hate Speech Bill. Vote for the party you deem will best fight for your individual rights.
We need to look at other countries for inspiration in the fight for liberty; just look at our own history and you will find more than enough fuel for that fire.
‘Die kind wat dood geskiet is deur soldate by Nyanga,’ by Ingrid Jonker, read by Nelson Mandela during his first opening of Parliament
Die kind is nie dood nie
die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy moeder
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur van vryheid en heide
in die lokasies van die omsingelde hart
Die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy vader
in die optog van die generasies
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur
van geregtigheid en bloed
in die strate van sy gewapende trots
Die kind is nie dood nie
nòg by Langa nòg by Nyanga
nòg by Orlando nòg by Sharpville
nòg by die polisiestasie in Philippi
waar hy lê met ‘n koeël deur sy kop
Die kind is die skaduwee van die soldate
op wag met gewere sarasene en knuppels
die kind is teenwoordig by alle vergaderings en wetgewings
die kind loer deur die vensters van huise en in die harte van moeders
die kind wat net wou speel in die son by Nyanga is orals
die kind wat ‘n man geword het trek deur die ganse Afrika
die kind wat ‘n reus geword het reis deur die hele wereld
Sonder ‘n pas