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2023-03-04 at 16:37 #395980Nat QuinnKeymaster
Ivo Vegter recently wrote an article, Racist, Apartheid apologists not welcome among liberals. Although not the main gist of the article, the comments to the article revolved substantially around whether South Africans were better off under apartheid or post-apartheid South Africa. As in many discussions today, the comments revolved around apartheid South Africa being racist.
This seems to me to be mistaking symptom for cause. The National Party’s political success was based on a simple formula. Disenfranchise the black man, limit his mobility, and you will protect the Afrikaner blue-collar work force from black competition. If you succeed at this, you will receive the blue-collar worker’s vote. There were other aspects to it, but this was the formula that kept the National Party in power for decades. If you doubt this, consider whether you think the Afrikaner voted for the National Party because it was racist or because it protected the Afrikaner jobs and privilege? It was essentially a socialist system where the Afrikaner benefited, the English benefited slightly less to the detriment of the blacks, and naturally, the National Party politicians benefited the most.
This is always the way of Socialism, it is the taking from one group and giving to another, by force: a rather illiberal practice. In apartheid South Africa it was taking from the blacks and giving to the Afrikaner, in post-apartheid South Africa it is taking from the whites and giving to the blacks. In many socialist countries it is more simply taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor.
Correlated with the economy
Frans Cronje often points out that the poll approval ratings of the ANC government are tightly correlated with the economy. If the economy does well, so does the ANC. In other words, the thought process is fairly straightforward: if your life is improving, you are happy, and want the status quo to continue. The same goes for socialism, once you start it, it is like a slippery slope, you cannot stop. If you start reducing the benefits of one portion of the population, you are going to lose their votes.
At national elections, voters are routinely reminded of the benefits that they receive and told that the opposition may take them away. The temptation is always present to increase the benefits. Socialism is essentially the bribing of one portion of the population for their votes. The decision as to who to vote for is no longer about what is good for the country, it is about what is good for me. The socialist politician has managed to divide the population and set people against each other. It is the old strategy of divide and rule, and the populace now sees the election process as a win-lose proposition rather than win-win.
It is a slippery slope, because as Margaret Thatcher cleverly noted, eventually socialists run out of other people’s money. History shows this to be true. Politicians will promise the earth in order to be re-elected and eventually they cannot fulfil those promises and the system collapses. There are a multitude of examples in recent history from Venezuela, USSR, Pakistan at present, and even apartheid South Africa.
Lost the war
Many people like to think that the apartheid government lost the war. The evidence suggests otherwise, the kill ratio in the Angolan war was impressive. Even Koevoet in South West Africa had a kill ratio of 25:1. In modern warfare this is practically unheard-of. And Koevoet was essentially in a defensive position, waiting for insurgents. The downfall of the National Party government was that socialism had taken its toll. During the period when South Africa was seen to be fighting communism the US had lent money to South Africa. When communism fell, South Africa was transformed from heroes fighting for the free world to racist pariahs. Chase Manhattan Bank called in their loan and South Africa was effectively bankrupt.
South Africa has swapped one socialist system for another, but the outcome will be the same – collapse. When we compare the two socialist systems, it is clear that the Afrikaner politicians did produce good schools for the Afrikaner children and the politicians sent their children to these public schools. The same was true of hospitals and other government services. One cannot say the same thing about ANC socialism. Public schools, for example, are a mess, and the politicians certainly do not send their children to them. Jacob Zuma even went as far as to denigrate the “clever blacks” when president.
When the final collapse of apartheid socialism arrived, the Afrikaner politicians certainly looked after themselves but they also negotiated the transformation rather than destroying everything for the Afrikaner by actually going bankrupt. The above comparison tells me that South Africa may not be so lucky this time around.
It is tempting to compare the average quality of life of a person living under socialism today in Europe, for example, to life prior to socialism, and to conclude that it is immeasurably better today. This is true, but the experiment is not over. One has to include the data points after the collapse. Present-day Venezuela is an example. Post the collapse of the USSR is another example and Putin has called the collapse one of the greatest human tragedies. Not only did the security previously provided by the state disappear, but Russians literally found themselves living outside of Russia. This is what happens when the state takes on responsibilities that in the long run are unsustainable.
Socialism is an evil because it encourages people to act out their envy. As Mpiyakhe Dhlamini recently put it, the “peddlers of envy” wave the wealth of one in the face of another and use words such as equality and fairness. We should certainly all be born with equal rights but we certainly do not have equal ability. What socialism tries to do is force equal outcomes for every a life, a ridiculous thought with disastrous consequences. That envy is evil has long been known. Even the tenth commandment instructs “You shall not covet (desire) your neighbour’s house.” This old rule for society is up there with “You shall not kill.”
Just as during apartheid, socialism was the cause and racism was a symptom, so it is with the ANC government. Socialism is a cancer that, once started, will always consume the host.
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