South African Skeptics

The Elephant in the Room

Online brianvds

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Yesterday, I ran into an old acquaintance in the local mall. He tells me he is nowadays involved in farming, and so naturally, I wanted to know whether he doesn't have trouble with organized labour and government policy etc.

Nah, he said. They only employ Malawians. They have no trouble at all with them: they're well educated, intelligent, work hard and never complain. I asked him whether these were legal immigrants; he said no, not as far as he knows. He doesn't care; experience has taught him and all his neighbours that if you want any actual work done, you do not employ South Africans. His workers don't live on the farm itself, so if they ever get deported, he'll simply find new ones. There are plenty of people in this country who want to work. They just aren't South African, which gives a hollow ring to complaints that immigrants "steal jobs." They do jobs that South Africans refuse to do (and the list of jobs gets ever longer - South Africans increasingly refuse to do any work of any kind at all).

Another example of South Africa's current malaise: in my neighbourhood, there is a huge strike going on at the garbage collection company. Yup, in the middle of the worst unemployment crisis in the country's history, there are workers on strike.

The teachers' union doesn't want schools to reopen. Supposedly for safety's sake, but I get the distinct impression they actually just want to extend their current paid holiday indefinitely.

I think collapse has become pretty much inevitable now - the government's economic policy remains the same as it has been for years now: borrow money, steal as much of it as possible, and throw the remaining scraps to the voting cattle so they'll keep on voting "correctly." The people themselves are beginning to experience significant disappointment with the ANC, but instead of voting against the governing party, they now just stay away from the polls, refusing to vote for anyone else ("I don't vote DA because they're going to bring back apartheid."). And thus, the ANC will indeed govern until Jesus returns, with an ever-shrinking fraction of the actual support. That is one thing about democracy: if only three percent of voters vote, but they all vote ANC, then the ANC governs, even though it does not in fact have the support of the majority. But it seems South Africans do not understand democracy.

Well, they're about to get harsh lessons in it. I think it is now pretty much clear that the ANC cannot be reformed, whether Cyril wants to do so or not (and whether he actually really wants to is an open question). He has no further control; the party is rotten to the core, the kleptocracy out of control, and the only morally defensible thing any remaining decent ANC member can do is to resign party membership. There aren't really any other options left.

And thus, I think it is now only a question of time before the government defaults on its loans. Then there will be some sort of collapse, the exact form of which we can't really predict. It will not necessarily be a bad thing, painful as it will be in the short term.


Offline Rigil Kent

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But it seems South Africans do not understand democracy.
Evidently so. Democracy is wasted on South Africans, as is our material resources. And yes, we are pretty deep down the toilet.

Might as well get used to the idea of authoritarian capitalism in anticipation of our imminent sinicization.

 
You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold.


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But it seems South Africans do not understand democracy.
Evidently so. Democracy is wasted on South Africans, as is our material resources. And yes, we are pretty deep down the toilet.

Might as well get used to the idea of authoritarian capitalism in anticipation of our imminent sinicization.

 

I'm not sure the Chinese will touch us with a ten-foot pole. I wouldn't.

The best we can hope for is, within an election or two, an Italy-like situation: one ineffectual (and corrupt, but hopefully not quite as corrupt as the ANC) coalition government after the other. South Africans are going to have to learn what the rest of Africa eventually did: the government cannot help you. You help yourself or you stay behind. In Africa, too much government tends to be a vastly bigger problem than too little.

Lots of white South Africans seem to have learned the lesson in the 1990s, and while my white friends complain non-stop about the government, none of them complain about not having access to Covid funds or government contracts or that sort of thing. They have already realized long ago that you simply cannot rely on the government for anything at all, and thus, you should not get yourself in a position of dependence on government.

Large numbers of black South Africans, on the other hand, got themselves into positions of total helplessness and dependence on government handouts. That party, meager as it was, is going to end soon.


Offline BoogieMonster

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Quote from: David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?

What I mean to say is: You can't change a million minds if you don't start by changing one.

People in SA probably are not well educated and are perhaps not entirely in contact with the realities of the situation. Maybe a bit derelict in their social duties... But, they're still people who can be informed, convinced, and can change their minds. I just have a hard time imagining who the hell they should support. Perhaps they feel likewise. Given their popularity I have a hard time figuring the death of the ANC won't be an enormous boon for the EFF IF those derelict voters did pitch up at the polls. Be careful what you wish for?

Perhaps SA needs some more conservative leaning "color neutral" party. The DA comes with some baggage. The FF+ comes with a lot of baggage. It's part of why I got excited about the ZACP.... I secretly hope they get their act together and run again, but more effectively.

I do think youtuber "Big Daddy Liberty" is on to something: He's taken to the road recently to travel South Africa's more derelict areas and preach the gospel of family, personal responsibility, capitalism, freedom, etc... to the people who've probably never heard about these things. That's a start. It's more than most white people have ever attempted to do. He's not exactly my cup of tea, but he's not "for me"... if that makes sense.

"Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground, Silly monkeys, give them thumbs, they make a club and beat their brother down. How they survive, so misguided, is a mystery. Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here" - Tool


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People in SA probably are not well educated and are perhaps not entirely in contact with the realities of the situation. Maybe a bit derelict in their social duties... But, they're still people who can be informed, convinced, and can change their minds. I just have a hard time imagining who the hell they should support. Perhaps they feel likewise. Given their popularity I have a hard time figuring the death of the ANC won't be an enormous boon for the EFF IF those derelict voters did pitch up at the polls. Be careful what you wish for?

If collapse is inevitable, the EFF will hardly make it worse. What I fear is that SA will not learn until it has learned from harsh experience, just like most of the countries up north had to. They all tried exactly the same authoritarian Marxist experiment, over and over. It failed every single time. None of them learned from their neighbours, but after a few decades of devastation, they learned a great deal, and many of those countries are now fairly stable and have growing economies. It's beginning to look like we'ere going to have to go through the same process. 

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Perhaps SA needs some more conservative leaning "color neutral" party. The DA comes with some baggage. The FF+ comes with a lot of baggage. It's part of why I got excited about the ZACP.... I secretly hope they get their act together and run again, but more effectively.

I think they ran a pretty effective campaign for a small party with almost no funds, but they started way too late. If they run again, I'll probably vote for them again.
Max du Preez has long wished for a new party consisting of the more sane and competent factions of both DA and ANC. That might also work. But I fear much of the problem lies in our entire national culture, not just our political parties.

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I do think youtuber "Big Daddy Liberty" is on to something: He's taken to the road recently to travel South Africa's more derelict areas and preach the gospel of family, personal responsibility, capitalism, freedom, etc... to the people who've probably never heard about these things. That's a start. It's more than most white people have ever attempted to do. He's not exactly my cup of tea, but he's not "for me"... if that makes sense.

Well, good luck to him. :-)


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Nassim Taleb has some advice for those who keep on harping about colonialism; perhaps the same can be said about apartheid:



"...retrospective acrimony as an industry by itself..." I like that one. :-)



Offline Mefiante

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I don’t read the article as posing the question whether Cyril Ramaphosa will be out on his ear soon; instead, I think Grootes is deliberating about a change in how CR will govern going forward.  While a firmer handling of the reins of power may ultimately bring about his downfall in the ANC, the more immediate issue is whether his open letter to the ANC’s upper echelons marks a departure from his customary soft-pedalling, accommodationist style of not stirring up trouble within his party.

If my understanding is correct, I think CR will not sustain his sterner approach for very long before simply falling back into the old ways.  After all, the rot is deeper now than ever before and he stood idly by for years while the plundering, looting, and subversion of the state took place.  He had enough clout to see it all, to raise the alarm, and to take meaningful action, yet he did nothing other than mouth occasional placatory platitudes and remain silent for most of the rest of the time.  Furthermore, he’s been at the helm for near enough three years now and we haven’t seen any significant action being taken against anyone of stature.  NDPP head Shamila Batohi’s—a CR appointee, please note—handwringing pleadings about how eviscerated the NPA still is, is becoming tiresome and empty.  Action, not words.

I certainly hope I’ll be proved wrong on that score and that CR will actually maintain more fortified guts for the sake of SA, but I don’t think that’ll happen.  The state, including the judiciary, is too damaged for sudden bravery on the part of a few to make much difference.

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I think it is possible that CR is beginning to realize that his legacy, for all of history, is going to be one in which he stood at the head of a party corrupt to the core, and presided over fat cats quite literally stealing from the poor to enrich themselves. It's the kind of thing JZ was too stupid to care about; perhaps it is different with Ramaphosa. But I fear Mefiante is probably right: the entire party has become so rotten there is nothing more to do for any self-respecting member of it than to very publicly resign. I half hope Ramaphosa will do so, and then do a press conference in which he says, publicly and unambiguously, that he did so because his conscience would no longer allow him to stay on.

I won't be holding my breath. But I do think that in another election or two, the ANC might well lose its outright majority, and then we'll become the Italy of Africa, with a new, ineffectual (and probably corrupt) coalition government every year.


Offline Rigil Kent

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There is always room for more parties. Realising that the ANC is an irreparable mess, Cyril will spawn a new party which markets itself as exceedingly good and competent in every way that the ANC is not.

* wraps crystal ball in a red velvet cloth and returns it to its biscuit tin *
You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold.


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There is always room for more parties. Realising that the ANC is an irreparable mess, Cyril will spawn a new party which markets itself as exceedingly good and competent in every way that the ANC is not.

* wraps crystal ball in a red velvet cloth and returns it to its biscuit tin *

Max du Preez has often expressed a wish for the saner part of the ANC and DA breaking away from their parties and forming a new one. Perhaps this will happen.

I can envision far worse scenarios than a series of ineffectual coalition governments, mind you. South Africa is ethnically and politically so diverse that it is perhaps actually the only realistic option for the medium term - the ANC's huge support was perhaps somewhat artificial.

I have also become more supportive of the idea (the idea, not necessarily the parties themselves!) of small ethnic and specialist parties like the VF+, Inkatha and Reverend Meshoe's Christian party. It shouldn't be a problem as long as it doesn't spiral into open ethnic hatred, and there is much to be said for a party that is very homogeneous and can therefore focus all its efforts on one particular part of the population. Such a party tends to also be more resilient against corruption, because it tends to lose all its support virtually overnight, at the slightest sign of scandal or corruption.

Our obsession with "unity" is nonsense. There has never been unity in South Africa and there never will be, and that might actually be a good thing. The ANC, and even more so Zimbabwe, has shown us what comes of unity. So bring on the bazillions of small parties to add to the general clamor, and hopefully prevent one single bunch of corrupt, psychopathic fat cats taking total power.

I suppose the Purple Cow still has my vote, if they run in the coming election. They seem to be the closest thing we have to the RP - the Rational Party. :-)

Incidentally, based on how busy the local mall is, the economy seems to be slowly getting back on track. Well, at least the mostly white middle class economy. And it's true, isn't it? - South Africa increasingly has two different economies. There is the middle class economy, which is a more or less normal economy, functioning like modern economies everywhere do (albeit very heavily parasitized). Then there is the economy of the poor, which produces nothing but gets injections in the form of social grants. A good percentage of it consists of illegal immigrants too, but they don't stay in it long because they work themselves up and out of it to join the middle class economy.

The middle class economy is fairly diverse, and as such also fairly resilient against shocks. I suppose it is too early to tell whether it will survive the Covid shock, but thus far the signs are not too bad, and if it does it will give one some confidence that it can survive almost anything (except, presumably, a communist government).

I don't know what will happen to the poor economy, and to be honest, I care ever less and less. They now mostly have themselves to blame - they have to firstly vote their beloved ANC out of power, and then, once we no longer have a government with a choke hold on the economy, start doing what all those "job-stealing" immigrants are doing, and start to take care of themselves. If they don't or won't, well, then I suppose their social grant will have to do.


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And in the latest news:

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-08-26-sa-reserve-bank-must-be-nationalised-without-compensation-to-end-white-capital-domination-argues-floyd-shivambu/

Now here's a question: suppose the SARB is nationalized. By Mr. Shivambu's own argument, that will be the end of "white monopoly capital." But what will he say five years later, when the poor are still as poor as ever (or poorer) and the gap between rich and poor even greater? Will he admit that it was after all not white monopoly capital that was the problem, or will he simply shift the goal posts? I wait with bated breath... :-)


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This is perhaps just peripherally related to this thread, but I'm too lazy to start a new one.

In a recent discussion on Quora, the topic was tolerance, more specifically, western European tolerance. I posted a comment that in my experience, the Europeans are not quite as tolerant as they seem. The thing is, they live in pretty homogeneous societies, with the result that their tolerance has actually never been tested. Now that bazillions of unassimilable immigrants are streaming into their countries, they are getting decidedly nervous.

I eventually got a very irate comment from a Dutch lady, who told me in no uncertain terms that they are in fact very, very tolerant, and not a bunch of racists like us. They have no problem at all with immigrants. The immigrants must just integrate, then they are completely welcome.

Of course, it is not at all unreasonable to expect of immigrants to integrate, but it kind of made my point. She started singing a different and more muted tune when I informed her that here in South Africa, there simply is no such thing is one, single norm to which anyone, whether an immigrant or a local, can integrate. We are confronted every single day by difference, sometimes radical difference. It requires stores of tolerance from us that most Europeans cannot imagine.

And this too is something of an elephant in the room, because our current rulers are doing everything they can to ignore such differences in culture and pretend that we're all one big, happy family (apart from such pesky people as white monopoly capital, of course). Rainbow nation? Maybe, but in a rainbow the colours are separate. A rainbow does not consist of a muddy mix of all the colours.

I find myself ever more an enthusiastic supporter of the Orania project, even though I will probably not personally go live there. But I am beginning to see their point.


Offline BoogieMonster

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Having met people from various countries around the world I find much of this unsurprising.

Indian colleagues originally from the subcontinent report often being unable to drive to certain cities in India because locals will see their number plate and start throwing stones at them, or otherwise physically attack them, so they have to travel with caution.

Another person originally from Belgium reports that it's not unusual for people from different towns to have a deep disdain for each other, which in his words "runs as deep as Nazism...".

Having been to the US I found them surprisingly intolerant of, I have to qualify that I chuckle to say it, "wrong" language usage. To you and me this means speaking the queen's english instead of their bastardized version. Americans of all spheres will seriously take a time out to "educate" (condescend to) you if they think you're using the wrong word for something... even if you're using a more correct one than they are.

From this I learnt that our varied culture requires some level of interpretation based on context and wider appreciation of varied language, that they seem incapable of. Like, sometimes in SA someone can say something that's not in a language you understand... but you still "get" it and you don't stop the flow to try and understand/correct it. They just don't.

Thus, I have to sadly agree with your post. Tribalism exists everywhere, and unfortunately we try to structure society in a bit of naïveté of this fact.

I saw a documentary (I don't recall the name, I'll try to find it and edit maybe later here) by a person responsible for "diversity" in the City of London who after a number of years simply gave up on trying to integrate the city. He came to the conclusion that people of similar culture simply want to live together and there's nothing you can do to prevent it and still have them be free people. This was a controversial stance, to say the least, even though said person was black himself.

However, I would argue that one can still try to foster a meta-culture of tolerance and understanding. The problem being (tying in to your Orania comment...) that we create larger overarching societies with power concentrations and sadly the moment one group start seizing some of that power it seemingly immediately tries to exercise that power over whatever groups don't have it.  Abortion laws, Marriage rights, "Who needs to bake cake for whom", efforts to police language, thought, BBBEEEEE (EEEEEEE?), etc...

As it stands I think SA, on microcosm scale, actually has tons of understanding and mutual respect of different cultures if you ignore the news and focus on your daily interactions. Is it just me or are the people at home affairs, traffic dept, et al. growing more polite with time? I could swear some years ago you'd be lucky to get a scowl, but these days they seem positively happy to help. This may be forced customer service training at work? At informal gatherings I see nothing but a group of diverse people breaking bread and having a great time. It's not all doom and gloom out there. But as said the problem is at the top, where the power concentrates... things go out of whack. So maybe the solution could be more self determination. Yet somehow I doubt that too.

I have to wonder how far that kind of thing can go before neighboring factions start warring over resources again. Perhaps that's what we do, sub-(or not)consciously all the time.

"Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground, Silly monkeys, give them thumbs, they make a club and beat their brother down. How they survive, so misguided, is a mystery. Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here" - Tool