This past ‘Mandela Day’ in South Africa, a radical left-wing acolyte of populist politician, Julius Malema, dumped a whole bunch of dead rats at the feet of the Mandela statue in Sandton. (Those of you who applauded the guys throwing their own shit around in Cape Town should have seen this coming.)
The implication is fairly clear. Mandela ratted out black people by reconciling with whites. Therefore our problems can be blamed on him. We could be living in a socialist utopia if it were not for Madiba going soft while in jail.
There’s no point to even debating the merits of such an argument, as many South Africans attempted to do with the Cecil Rhodes statue. Once people are throwing rats and feces around, debate has left the building. Nobody ten years ago would ever have dreamt of seeing a young black political activist put rats at the feet of Mandela. But there is simply no end to the process of playing the victim. That is why I think we all need to be brave enough to speak up now before the problem gets worse.
I know what I am supposed to think.
Obama had class. Trump is a fascist nut. Brexit was stupid. And Merkel is a homophobe for being personally opposed to gay marriage. But sue me – because I don’t agree with any of these statements.
I guess I have always had a predilection for thinking about things myself. And to my surprise, I find myself swimming against the current on all of these issues. I liked Obama when he was elected – but, wow, so much hype, so little substance. I think if I were British I would also not want Belgians running my day-to-day life. And I personally don’t find anything offensive about liberal heroine, Angela Merkel, saying that she believes in the traditional view of marriage.
Not many people know what the word ‘radical’ really means.
When politicians speak about radical economic transformation (or RET for short), they generally mean, depending on their point of view, violent, militant, extreme, or just plain awesome economic transformation. But what does the word truly mean?
Radical comes from the same word as ‘radish’ – the Latin word ‘radix’, which means ‘root’.
Therefore, radical economic transformation should really mean transformation that gets to the root of our problems. And that would therefore imply a kind of shared agreement about what the root of our problems is.
Of course, the proponents of RET have a simple answer for this – colonialism, which to them was the political expression of the evils of capitalism. And so the solution is obvious. End capitalism. Nationalise banks, mines, land. Let the government run it for the good of the people.
In order to understand the South Africa of today, and still live with hope, we must understand at least some of the past – its history and its great literature and ideals…
In the fifth century, Rome was sacked by pagan Goths.
This left the Christian world in deep shock. After having been mercilessly persecuted by the Empire in the early days, by some mystical fashion, the Emperor Constantine had been converted in a dream and had legalised the Christian religion. And there was an end to the constant bloodshed.
Despite the attempt of Julian the Apostate Emperor to re-paganise Rome, the march of Christianity continued, and Rome became the centre of the Church – the place of Peter and Paul’s martyrdom, and thus the home of their successors, the Popes.
But then it fell apart. Constantine moved the Empire to the East – to Byzantium which became Constantinople, and is now Istanbul in Turkey. Rome’s power weakened, and eventually it was conquered and the old Empire of the West fell.
Identity politics and outrage culture are poisoning our country.
Everybody laughs when Robert Mugabe blames his country’s woes on Britain and imperialism. That should scare the hell out of South Africans busy fuming at Helen Zille’s innocuous tweeting.
Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, recently travelled to Singapore and was perhaps a little bit over-eager to share the obvious lessons you can draw from one the great post-colonial success stories.
Singapore is a tiny little island country with no natural resources that after decades of colonisation and brutal World War II occupation resisted the surging Communism of the region to become a safe, rich, and stable first world country.
My generation will have to decide what a country is for…
Recently a group of students at the Berkeley division of the University of California started rioting in protest against a public speech on campus due to be given by pro-Trump journalist, the provocative and very strange Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News.
He was unable to give his speech and now much controversy ensues about the ideal of free speech at academic institutions.
And if anybody had any further doubts about his appeal, despite him winning the election fairly comfortably, all you had to do was look on Facebook after his victory.
While scrolling through all the angst, one quickly realises that all the mourning of liberals was a big part of the motivation for Rust Belt Americans to vote Trump – they wanted to annoy the social justice warriors; they wanted to poke their fingers in the eyes of the elite – just as middle England flouted the expertise of London and Brussels when they took Britain out of the EU.
Think about how moribund our basic education system is. Think about how many government school teachers never rock up to work. Think about poverty. Crime. Unemployment. Slums. Access to water. Our high abortion rates. Corruption.
I promise you varsity tuition costs are not the moral challenge of our time.
In the generally radical Freedom Charter, nowhere does it say university education should be free. If it didn’t occur to Communists sympathetic to Lenin and Stalin to ask for that, maybe the radicals burning universities down need to re-think their positions.