Liberalism’s Crisis of Racism


There is a reason why the rule of law creates peace: Situations in which there’s a dispute over some scarce resource are resolved peacefully through rational inquiry. Such a system can only work if individual property rights are fully protected by law. The individual is always the actor, the initiator, both of peace and conflict.

The individual owns scarce resources and can also make claims on other resources. The point of law is to adjudicate among competing claims, rationally allocating ownership to the resource in a manner that is consistent with the available evidence as to who has prior claim to the resource. Such claim being acquired peacefully in the most rationally peaceful way possible: Homesteading (seizing unowned property) or through contract (negotiate peaceful exchange of ownership).

In South Africa, today, we have allocation of resources on the basis of skin colour. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Individuals (usually connected because adhering to racial empowerment laws requires the approval of bureaucrats) are given a portion of South Africa’s capital stock, i.e., its productive property, for no reason other than the colour of their skin. This property is seized from its owners and given to people who did not lose it through theft, who did not homestead it, and who did not originally acquire it through contract.

This is the use of the state’s implied threat — arising from its monopoly on initiating force — to coerce individuals into giving up their property. It is immoral. It was wrong 72 years ago and it is wrong now. South Africa is the perfect example of race in public policy causing conflict. It has defined this country, impoverished our ideas and robbed us of our liberties. We have a group of people living as neighbours who could be doing great things together but they spend their time talking about the colour of their skins.

It is idiotic, but since our creativity is restricted to racial matters, our liberalism essentially boils down to non-racialism. This is a problem, because it focuses the mind only on race. We think in racial terms; we try to find ‘black liberals’ instead of liberals. We promote young black ‘liberals’ and tell our brilliant people that meritocracy doesn’t work. Yes, our non-racial liberalism is itself racist.

This explains why Helen Zille could cause a problem — recruiting leaders based on race and not merit — and then be recruited to solve the same problem while sacrificing the person she chose. South Africa’s liberals rode the race monster and they are now trying to cover up the crime, rather poorly and obviously. The Democratic Alliance (DA) deserves to never receive a single vote from anyone of us who are principled non-racialists.

The DA is, in fact, racist, but is blind to this fact. It is racist because it made appointments based on race exactly like the prescriptions of the Employment Equity Act want private companies to. It is impossible to be an affirmative action party and oppose affirmative action. I don’t particularly feel like defending the idiocy of the DA while simultaneously defending against serious attacks on individualism.

This is a serious blow. You can either try and defend the clear hypocrisy of appointing Zille to revive DA liberalism, or you will stand on principle even when it hurts — the only mark of any worth in distinguishing men of principle throughout history — or yield to the fear of losing the smidgen of power held by the DA and possibly lose the narrative for a generation. Do not fool yourselves: Liberals are losing the narrative battle badly. They are being labelled racist and they are acting racially.

  • To be this stupid would be a crime if some of us did not still believe in the rule of law. Here are examples of the DA’s compromising on race:
  • Appointing power-seekers like Herman Mashaba to run cities,
  • Appointing African National Congress members like Mmusi Maimane to lead the party,
  • Parachuting in Mamphele Ramphele as presidential candidate,
  • Appointing African nationalist Patricia De Lille to head arguably their most important city government,
  • Opportunistically putting up Joe Seremane as a presidential candidate on the assumption that Mbekiites would choose someone who as a liberal presumably disagrees with the ANC but on the basis of his race are willing to give him a go, and
  • Promoting Lindiwe Mazibuko because of her race, and saying this publicly.

Zille’s words at a Black Management Forum debate:

“I can tell you, if [Mazibuko] was white, no matter how brilliant she was, she would have not been the leader of the opposition when she was less than 31 [years old].”

Thus, the people who were used are rightly upset that they were used in this manner. They would have rationally assumed they were accepted for their illiberal views because they were promoted in spite of those views. This is basic stuff. This is Zille’s legacy and her return to DA leadership will deal a serious blow to any chance of recapturing the narrative.

It was pure navel-gazing. Liberals thought only of themselves and their shrinking circle, desperately clinging to power, doing everything except standing up for principle. It is difficult to conceal the disgust I have for this historic betrayal. South African liberalism had one distinguishing feature: Non-racialism. What is left after power was given by liberals, once again, to a racialist?

Zille’s non-apology is often cited by these people as if it means something. So she apologised when it was convenient for her and her ambitions. She changed her Twitter bio to say she is a classical liberal and all her past sins are forgiven. We are fickle and anyone paying attention will spot the ruse easily.

Zille simply did not have faith that a black leader could rise on merit in the DA. She therefore either thought DA members were racist or that black people could not be liberal. This is why liberals need to disown the DA.

Too many compromises have been made. The narrative is too important to lose now. Be brave and walk away from a multi-decade project, or face the future that comes.