‘White Privilege’ is a bad idea for everybody

Note: I wrote an article on white privilege in March 2018, and received a lot of vitriolic criticism from it. I had nice left-wing Christians telling me God would soon cut me down! Nevertheless, some of the criticism was valid in that it exposed some sloppy or incomplete writing – a perennial curse of blogging. So I have decided to update the piece, with additions and some further editing below.

Recently, I was told that as a white, straight, English-speaking, able-bodied, Christian man (it gets worse – I am Catholic to boot), my type has had its day, and now it is time to cede power to the ‘Other’. To our PC society, this may sound like a good plan, but in truth, it is a pre-cursor to social disaster.

The notion of white privilege is predicated on the idea that society is ultimately entirely about power, and class or demographic conflict, in which there can be only winners and losers. And that’s no way to build a society.

So let me be as clear as I can be – this type of identity politics will destroy our civilization. We need to cut it out before it’s too late.

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Willemse and Kolisi – A Tale of Two Springboks

The controversy and celebration of Willemse and Kolisi together tell the story of contemporary South Africa.

I have always been a fan of Siya Kolisi. I think he thoroughly deserves to be Bok captain. He is one of those players who finds extra gears wearing the green and gold.

I remember hearing Rassie Erasmus five years ago tell a group of coaches that Kolisi is one of the hardest and toughest men in the game.

He has risen from a tough life in the township of Zwide, via his schooling at Grey High, to carrying that old sacred mantle of South Africa – the Springbok captaincy… Continue reading

The Problem with Feminism

“We have to stop expecting to be offended…”

Recently, I have been listening to some talks by Cassie Jaye, a feminist documentary-maker who decided to expose the ‘darkness’ of the men’s rights movements in 2013.

After a few years, she ended up making the opposite movie to the one she intended. ‘Red Pill’ demonstrated the story rather of a feminist ending up agreeing with the objects of her attack. See the trailer here.

In this emotive TED talk, she describes how and why she no longer calls herself a feminist – yet neither is she a men’s rights activist. She’s chosen a different path. Continue reading

The Biggest Problem in South Africa

South Africa is a fatherless nation.

As we try to patch together our economy and infrastructure, there is a far more basic fabric that lies in both serious disrepair and unconscionable neglect – the fabric of fatherhood, evolved over millennia of culture and religion which binds men and their offspring together.

Say what you want about the concept of fatherhood, but there is simply no getting around the fact that everybody’s lives are much better when fathers take their duties seriously. Continue reading

Wrestling with the Ghost of your Father

Or – how to be the Lion King, the Top Gun, or the rightful ruler of Denmark.

The animated classic, The Lion King, the Reagan-era air force blockbuster, Top Gun, and the essential Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet, are all about the same thing: how do you make atonement for the absence of your father?

It’s a strange theme. Yet it is an idea so ubiquitous – from the Bible, to the Odyssey and the Aeneid, to the TV show Lost – that clearly it carries some residual vitality which requires our attention.

Why do so many of our most popular works of art have to do with losing one’s father and attempting thereafter to come to terms with his spirit?

Whenever something keeps coming up in story and myth, my literary instincts tell me that the idea is probably too primal or too close to our own experience to be expressed in any other way. So perhaps the best way of understanding this strange notion of wrestling with your father’s ghost is to look at the stories themselves. Continue reading

Five Books to Understand the Modern World Part Four: ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

We all live on the road between two cities – the city of God and the city of Man – between reality and a hopeful vision.

There’s a reason the Dark Knight trilogy is the only set of superhero films worth watching – they are more than comics on film – they contain and allude to a real literary mythology.

The best of them from a pure storytelling point of view, is the final film, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. What happens during times of revolution? How can true peace be achieved?

The answer is – by means of a hero.

And to tell the story, to recount a Gotham completely destroyed, the screenwriter Jonathan Nolan turned to the fourth book I think we need to read to understand the modern world, Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’: Continue reading

The Revelation of Black Panther

‘Black Panther’ and the strange reason why young people are literally burning western civilization down.

The Revelation of Black Panther

Have you heard of the film ‘Black Panther’?

It recently became the most successful movie ever in the US domestic market. Apparently it’s not bad – probably much better than other serious money-spinners like ‘Avatar’ and any Star Wars film.

I haven’t seen it. I haven’t watched a single Marvel superhero film. Not my thing. But what has fascinated me, is the political outpouring of love for the film. The fact that the film celebrates a black hero (with a militant, more real-life Black Panther-esque villain to oppose him) has made it what young people call ‘woke’ – which is just a trendy way of saying ‘politically correct’. Finally, black kids can have a real hero on the silver screen.

But what struck me in the midst of all the hype is the fact that by no stretch of the imagination is this the first major film with a black lead. And it is thus a real mystery why everybody is pretending that it is. Continue reading

Can the ANC put the land grab genie back in the bottle?

‘It is no exaggeration to say that on President Ramaphosa’s shoulders rests the future of the African continent.’ Lord David Owen, former UK Labour MP and Cabinet Minister, The Daily Maverick.

Maybe it was the sudden upturn of illegal land occupations. Or the continued revelations of the torture and violence perpetrated against farmers. Or the shock of the international press. Or meeting new Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and hearing about his plans to bring back white farmers to his country.

I suspect that it might have been seeing the DA, along with many of its newfound black allies, stand up to the nakedly racist and fascist rhetoric of Julius Malema, that maybe jolted Ramaphosa and the ANC leadership back to reality.

You cannot simply seize land in a fragile democracy and expect stability and order to remain. Continue reading

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