We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Nelson Mandela, RIP

“Mandela was a great man. The obvious reason was his courage and persistence in fighting against Apartheid. The somewhat less-obvious reason was his willingness to forgive. I’m assuming, of course, that the movie Invictus was relatively accurate in that respect. I remember sitting through the movie and being on the edge of tears for almost the whole movie, so moved was I by his willingness to forgive. A little bonus: His favorite poem, “Invictus,” has been my favorite poem since middle school. In some ways just as impressive, if not more so, was his willingness to learn at a relatively old age. He was a long-time socialist but, by the time he got out of prison, much of the world had learned that socialism didn’t work. He became persuaded of that and, although, as president of South Africa, he expanded the welfare state, he did not make a large move in the direction of socialism. His willingness to reject his wife Winnie’s violent ways was also impressive.”

David Henderson.

I am sure there will be lots of appraisals of his life in the days and years to come; I have seen a few, mostly respectful (and one or two that are less so). As far as I can tell, Henderson’s is about the most accurate I have seen so far, for it focuses on essentials. A great man indeed. May he rest in peace.

119 comments to Nelson Mandela, RIP

  • He was a marxist terrorist who, unlike Mugabe was locked up for the majority of his middle years. If he had been free, it is likely that he would have conducted a long campaign of violent struggle until killed or captured.

    By the time F. W. De Klerk took over from P. W. Botha in 1989 (after an acrimonious transition), the South African government were vainly wandering over the battlefield looking for someone to surrender to.

    The fact that they essentially handed power to Mandela was more luck and timing than anything else, added to the fact that he was the “least worst” of the ANC terrorists for them to share power with.

    During his time in office, he achieved little, but he also frustrated the will of those who wished to press home their victory by rubbing the whites noses in the dirt. However, now the old man is finally gone, it is likely that the same madness of land seizures that destroyed Zimbabwe (formerly the breadbasket of Africa), will also destroy South Africa.

    It’s very sad really, but South Africa was built upon the rotten foundations of a particularly virulent form of racist colonialism which could not be supported by the free world, but equally now that it is gone, the usual rampant kleptocracy familiar to much of Africa is in place in the form of Jacob Zuma.

    I can’t see any likelihood of change until the African people themselves put aside this self-destructive behaviour.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    John Galt, a lot of what you state is based on counter-factuals on what NM might have done had,for example, he not been locked up or whatever. For that matter, we don’t know what might have happened had the advocates of apartheid changed and reformed the system earlier than they did. What we do know is that, as Henderson said, NM used the opportunity given to him wisely. There is nothing pre-ordained in this world, such as whether South Africa goes down the route to perdition, or not. There is, for instance I have said on another thread, quite a large and growing middle/consumer class in Africa that has a lot to lose from the sort of corrupt crap that has been the fate of Africa for a long time. Your view is nothing more than a counsel of despair.

  • george

    John Galt – why do you state Mandela was a terrorist for fighting violent racist colonialism.

    are people not justified in fighting violent colonialism?

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    George, indeed.

    A point to bear in mind, for those who think of politics in some sort of crude left/right way, is that apartheid was introduced at the behest of white-run trade unions in the middle of the 20th century. It was not something sought by, say, entrepreneurs and small businesses, many of whom would have been happy to operate without these gross interferences with freedom of association and contract. No consistent advocate of laissez-faire capitalism can have any time for such restrictions.

    Of course, most trade unions today are not racially prejudiced, often doing good things to combat it at times, but it is worth noting that hasn’t always been the case, alas.

  • The point I am trying to make is that Nelson Mandela was leading an armed struggle when he was arrested, that his imprisonment led to his leadership of that armed struggle being impeded, but not stopped (e.g. his leadership of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the bombings, land mines, torture and executions undertaken by that organisation).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe#Bombings

    While he may have reformed while in prison, that only makes him a reformed terrorist / politician, it does not make him a secular saint as I’ve said at another place.

  • Good heroes are hard to find, and Mandela turned out to be a good one. Whatever fate awaits South Africa in the future, the fact remains that it’s immediate post-apartheid past could have been much worse, if not for him.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Five seconds of googling will reveal a video of Mandela from 1992 where he is singing the mk pledge to kill white people. He founded the terrorist wing of the ANC. His own autobiography states that he personally signed off on bombings that killed innocent people while he was in prison. His best student (his wife) was directly implicated in the endorsement of black on black murder. The government he founded replaced anti black discrimination with anti white discrimination.

    How is he a hero again?

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Oh yeah, and he was a communist who dreamed of making SA a satellite state of the USSR.

  • Let’s just remember some of the deaths on Nelson Mandela’s hands shall we?

    -Church Street West, Pretoria, on the 20 May 1983
    -Amanzimtoti Shopping complex KZN, 23 December 1985
    -Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court, 17 March 1988
    -Durban Pick ‘n Pay shopping complex, 1 September 1986
    -Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court, 20 May 1987
    -Roodepoort Standard Bank 3 June, 1988
    -…and many others…

  • Laird

    Both sides have valid points here. NM was a violent terrorist in his early years (and no, George, I do not condone terrorism as a tactic however just the cause) and his arrest and incarceration were more than justified. That said, he did seem to mellow and actually learn during his decades in captivity, and he emerged a far better man. In his 70s he gave up his violent Marxism and became a good man, holding together a country on the brink of collapsing into a never-ending series of violent reprisals. Better late than never, and in the end he did a lot of good. Whether it will endure is an open question, but for his time he was just what South Africa needed. He should mostly be remembered for that.

  • @Jaded:

    Indeed, this is the same guy who wrote out in long-hand a manuscript called “How to be a good communist”. Fortunately for posterity enough copies were made that the document couldn’t be hidden and Mandela has attempted to pass this off as “mere rhetoric” in his biography.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nelson-mandela/9731522/Nelson-Mandela-proven-to-be-a-member-of-the-Communist-Party-after-decades-of-denial.html

  • Chris Cooper

    I think we should celebrate Nelson Mandela. Think what South Africa might be like now if it had been a Winnie Mandela or a Robert Mugabe who had walked out through those prison gates in 1990. Nelson Mandela’s acts and gestures of conciliation, and what seems to have been a genuine lack of bitterness, and his pragmatism / opportunism – all have restrained South Africa’s slide down the grim slope that it seems to be on.

    Fingers crossed that the post-Mandela South Africa turns down the path of individualist, rationalist, secularist modernity and away from tribalism and authoritarianism.

  • Mike Borgelt

    We shall see. So far NM made the slope to hell a little less steep for the first part although he initially helped polish it. I hold no great hopes for SA.

  • George

    Laird – do you condone violence in any situation?

    What distinguishes a terrorist from a freedom fighter?

    Was the British State a terrorist for targeting German civilians in bombing campaigns during the 2nd World War?

    What action would the Bengalis have been justified in taking against the British when over a million of them starved to death as a result of British policy?

  • George

    Final question for Laird

    What action would the white farmers in South Africa be justified in taking assuming the government continues to do nothing to prevent their murder?

  • bloke in spain

    Anyone got the nerve to actually do a counterfactual on South Africa?
    Let’s say the liberal anti-apartheid movement up here in the north had had less influence & Pretoria had been left to get on with it.
    By the Repressive Regimes’ Club Rules the SA one was almost non-entrant. Their shootings, beatings & slinging the odd prisoner off of rooftops was a reaction to violence. Do you really think the Soviets or Mao would have been so easygoing in Russia, E. Europe or China? Remember Chechnya? Genocide’s an African thing. But in Central Africa, not the south. Where is the mileage for Pretoria to be any more repressive than the minimum it needs to be to preserve order. And an ANC without the moral, political & financial backing mightn’t have presented the threat to order it did.
    Without outside pressure, what’s to say the SA government wouldn’t have followed a path not so different from the one that replaced it. There were plenty of whites who favoured a more equal society. Both in SA & Rhodesia they may have got a more favourable hearing.
    From then on it’s simple economics. A stable Southern Africa would have presented a good investment opportunity. The off shoring of manufacturing that’s gone to developing countries in Asia could have gone south, instead. The cheap labour’s there & the educated white management. Employment means wealth spreads to the blacks with all the opportunities go with it. Increased education & healthcare. Growth of a black middle class. Political involvement of blacks in national government & a convergence of living standards would be an inevitable bi-product. There’s simply too much money to be made out of a more equal society to resist.
    So 2013 might have boom time for Southern Africa

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    George, I don’t know Laird’s answers to your questions but here are mine. All of them are incomplete and uncertain, but that is the way of the world.

    do you condone violence in any situation?
    Yes, I condone violence in certain situations.

    What distinguishes a terrorist from a freedom fighter?
    Availability of a way to redress injustice by peaceful means.

    Was the British State a terrorist for targeting German civilians in bombing campaigns during the 2nd World War?
    No. Britain was fighting the Nazis, an indescribably evil enemy who had happily used the same methods themselves. Also a bunch of practical considerations about then-available military technology. Also, it’s obvious to us now that the Allies were bound to win but it was not obvious then.

    What action would the Bengalis have been justified in taking against the British when over a million of them starved to death as a result of British policy?
    The action that the politically aware minority of Bengalis did take, namely peaceful resistance by civilised people against civilised people. Also (a) I’m extremely sceptical of that figure; (b) the British did want them to die.

    What action would the white farmers in South Africa be justified in taking assuming the government continues to do nothing to prevent their murder?
    What would you suggest, a campaign of assassination? How is that going do other than get them killed? I assure you, I have no lack of sympathy with their dreadful situation and the even worse situation of white farmers in Zimbabwe, but there is a reason why traditional criteria for a just war don’t begin and end with justification. There is also prudence and a reasonable prospect of winning.

    The quote about Mandela from David Henderson in the OP is a very fair summary. It’s hard for me to think myself into the position of a man who had the experiences he did, of growing up with his country ruled by alien masters, his own race corralled into small patches of the land that had once been theirs, of being soaked in an environment where all around him assumed that resistance to that oppression was inextricably linked to Marxism, of imprisonment for decades… but when I do try seriously to imagine it I can’t make myself imagine that I would have emerged with his willingness to accept his white countrymen as being his countrymen.

  • Laird

    George, my definition of “terrorism” is violence employed against noncombatant civilians in an attempt to force some political change, and I consider it unacceptable whatever the cause. However, in my book violence committed against a government (its property or personnel) is not terrorism, and I have no objection to it. White farmers in South Africa are entitled to take whatever actions are necessary against their aggressors to defend themselves. However, they have no right to do violence to those who are not threatening them in order to force some specific governmental action.

  • Also, it’s obvious to us now that the Allies were bound to win but it was not obvious then.

    An Allied victory was not by any means inevitable until the Germans failed to hold the Russian oilfields they had captured. Until that point the war was the German’s to lose… which thankfully they obligingly did.

  • I don’t hold out much hope for South Africa. To me, it’s gone from a place where poor blacks are trodden on by privileged whites to one where poor blacks are trodden on by privileged blacks. Still, from what I’m told it’s like living in Europe compared to Nigeria.

  • An Allied victory was not by any means inevitable until the Germans failed to hold the Russian oilfields they had captured. Until that point the war was the German’s to lose… which thankfully they obligingly did.

    Indeed. We should be thankful that Hitler was incompetent. Had he not been…

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Tim Newman,
    it’s gone from a place where poor blacks are trodden on by privileged whites to one where poor blacks are trodden on by privileged blacks.

    The one part I’d partly disagree with is “privileged whites”. Although whites-in-general were privileged relative to blacks, the most privileged whites didn’t need apartheid. If you haven’t already done so, follow the link quoted by Johnathan Pearce in the OP where it quotes the great Thomas Hazlett as saying,

    The now-defunct apartheid system of South Africa presented a fascinating instance of interest-group competition for political advantage. In light of the extreme human rights abuses stemming from apartheid, it is remarkable that so little attention has been paid to the economic foundations of that torturous social structure. The conventional view is that apartheid was devised by affluent whites to suppress poor blacks. In fact, the system sprang from class warfare and was largely the creation of white workers struggling against both the black majority and white capitalists.

  • Chip

    The belief that the British starved a million Indians to death is a tired trope.

    Mass famine was a regular and devastating event in India’s history. British policy, for a time, inadvertently contributed to it and the famine subsequently led to a parliamentary inquiry and efforts to address these periodic famines.

    They then decreased in frequency and severity because of British policy.

  • John B

    Princess Diana Mawkfest all over again! Imagined virtue, saintly life lived. I can’t bear it.

    No doubt praise and respect are due to someone with every reason to be bitter and vengeful, who ensured the transition from Black to White rule did not result in a Black on White bloodbath… but there was a Black on Black bloodbath, which gets ignored, and his ex-wife was implicated in some of that.

    However I cannot take seriously someone who extolls the virtue of Nelson Mandela based exclusively on a movie he saw and I just wonder how he can conclude that Mandela ‘fought’ apartheid from his gaol cell, isolated as the World and South Africa evolved, or what is courageous for being locked up for terrorism, a charge which was in fact correct not made up.

    His time as President was unremarkable which even he knew which is why he quit after three years.

    Of more significance, and the mark of a truly great leader, is what did he leave in his place?

    Presidents useless and bordering on insane, corrupt regime, horrendous crime rate, decaying economy.

  • Mr Ed

    There was a political ‘joke’ in the mid 1980s.

    As a by-product of its nuclear fission programme, the South African government happened to develop a machine that could predict the future in general terms. The machine was brought to P W Botha’s Cabinet, and they were told that it could answer 2 questions about the future before a ruinously expensive rebuild was required.

    The first question was put by the President, Mr Botha.

    ‘Will South Africa still be ruled by whites in 20 years time?’

    The machine whirred, spluttered and fizzed a bit before its printer put out a short tickertape on which was printed the answer:

    ‘Yes’.

    The jubilation in the room was massive, then, after much rather uncharacteristic jollity, the Cabinet drew lots on who would get the second question, and the technocratic Agriculture Minister won the draw, much to the others’ disgust, but at least, they agreed, his question would help them plan for the future and avoid too much jealousy from the rival ‘big-hitters’.

    ‘How much will a bushel of maize cost in 20 years time?’

    Again the machine whirred, spluttered and fizzed, and some smoke came out as the circuits grappled with the question, before printing out the answer:

    “200 Roubles”.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    “why do you state Mandela was a terrorist for fighting violent racist colonialism. are people not justified in fighting violent colonialism?”

    The original comment was too politically correct. It wasn’t true colonialism, white Africans were simply Africans after the first generation. True colonialism is where the colonialist rule from another country and choose not to call the new country their home. The second premise that is incorrect is that it was the white Africans who were practicing racism or genocide. In fact the white Aricans simply wanted to farm the land while the black Africans wanted to murder, rape and rob the wite Africans. Everything that followed was the white Africans trying to defend themselves from the black Africans. But in politically correct speech you cannot defend yourself from black people. You can defned yourself from other whites but if black people attack and rape and kill you then you are only allowed to succumb. Today in South Africa blacks kil 50 whites a day !! FIFTY WHITES A DAY!! Is this genocide? NO! It would only be genocide if whites were killing blacks. Today in South Africa blacks rape 200 whites a day! In the brief period of time since the end of apartheid the blacks have killed 10 times more whites then the entire number of homicides prior to the end of apartheid.
    Mandela was the Hitler of South Africa and the whites were the Jews.

  • George

    gonewiththewind – so the rule is you can invade a country take all the good land and your children are allowed to keep it?

  • Snag

    While it is highly commendable to retreat from a life of terrorism, it’s far better never to have been a terrorist in the first place.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    “Mandela was Hitler of South Africa”.

    Words fail me at such imbecility. The person who wrote that clearly is OK with Apartheid, it would seem.

    Someone has claimed a sort of “Diana” status is being granted to NM. Now there is an element of mawkishness in the media but nothing like as bad as with Di. He died at a grand old age so there wasn’t the shock factor and he had the substantial achievement of being the first post-apartheid presidency.

    Some people are making a lot of his early mistakes. Given the circumstances, who hasn’t? And he admitted he was no saint. But that isn’t enough for some here, it seems.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I should add that GoneWithTheWind clearly is a racist judging by his sweeping assertions about non-whites. The crime figures today are bad but I don’t trust the numbers given here. Sources please.

  • George

    i struggle to view mandella as a terrorist and think soldier a more correct description

    it would seem to me that people subjugated by armed force have a right to fight back

  • JohnW

    Nelson Mandela RIP?

    WTF!?

    I suppose it makes sense that a tribalist-commie nutjob and would-be-racist-killer like Mandela should be considered a hero of our times – though I’m still laughing at Mandela’s description of the SA rugby team as “too lily-white” for his liking – dunno why that quote of Mandela’s never made it into Invictus-the-movie.
    Still, it’s nice of him to leave behind the racist constitution, the unapologetic Marxism of his Cuba address, the adoration of genocidal armies – you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool Lucifer, if there is an afterlife that will be a lesson he is learning at first hand.

    Good riddance to the monster – I hope he burns in Hell.

  • Vinegar Joe

    The only differences between Gerry Adams and Nelson Mandela are the colors and the bodycounts.

  • Vinegar Joe

    @ George “i struggle to view mandella as a terrorist and think soldier a more correct description”

    I guess you were never in the military. I was a soldier and I never threw hand grenades into crowded churches.

  • George

    Vinegar Joe – soldiers have been killing civilians for as long as there have been soldiers don’t pretend there are clean wars

  • \JohnW

    The war between the individual and the collective is as old as mankind.

    Mandela was on the side of the collective – like our ruling class – that is why they love him.

    To hell with them both

  • George

    i don’t see a distinction between soldier and terrorist

    soldiers are terrorists

    a soldier will kill me for the state and a poxy salary, a terrorist will kill me for a cause

    i’m supposed to have a preference?

  • Jacob

    I would like to ask a factual question: is SA today better than Nigeria?

  • \JohnW

    A freedom fighter fights tyrants in order to establish freedom. A terrorist fights free men in order to establish tyranny.

    If you do not know the difference between freedom and tyranny then I cannot help you but Mandela was unquestionably on the side of ever-lasting tyranny – which makes him several degrees of magnitude more evil than any of his alleged enemies.

    If I were a white South African I would quit South Africa immediately.

  • \JohnW

    @Jacob

    I would like to ask a factual question: is SA today better than Nigeria?

    No because human beings do not live in atomised moments – we live in the future as much as the present and neither country has any future.

  • would like to ask a factual question: is SA today better than Nigeria?

    Manifestly better than Nigeria… but then Nigeria is the arsehole of the world

  • I would like to ask a factual question: is SA today better than Nigeria?

    Well, the black South African I met offered me his condolences when I told him I lived in Nigeria. And the people who I knew in Nigeria who visited South Africa said it was like being in Europe by comparison. Hell, even my colleagues from Congo and Angola thought Nigeria was a total shithole.

  • so the rule is you can invade a country take all the good land and your children are allowed to keep it?

    Given that your view is that soldiers and terrorists are the same, clearly you also don’t believe anyone should defend their land from invaders, as you need soldiers for that, so who cares?

    Oh yes, you are a Georgist so you don’t believe anyone can actually own land to begin with, they just hold it in fief from their State Overlord… so why would anyone want to defend it anyway eh?

  • Richard

    Hitchens makes a good point in the M.o.S this morning comparing the (only too predictable) reaction to Mandela’s death with the lack of coverage when Solzhenitsyn snuffed it. He’s like a rapier as always, making it quite obvious why so many with a vested interest in hypocrisy, cant and unadulterated tripe hate him so.

  • Vinegar Joe

    @george “soldiers have been killing civilians for as long as there have been soldiers don’t pretend there are clean wars”

    Utter tripe.

  • Vinegar Joe

    “In the darkest moments of our struggle, when our backs were to the wall, Muammar Gaddafi stood with us.” – Nelson Mandela

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umgMDJIpkn0

  • George

    Perry – clearly you don’t have an answer for my question

    “so the rule is you can invade a country take all the good land and your children are allowed to keep it?”

    which is why you are straw manning me.

    nowhere have I said people don’t have the right to own land or defend themselves.

    i have said I think it wrong that 0.3% of the population own 70% of the land in this country and that the acquisition of that land was by violence, murder and state backed theft.

  • JohnB

    Glad I kept out of this one.
    It is indeed amazing how pervasive, powerful and utterly effective propaganda is.

  • Jacob

    Continuing the comparison: ” is SA today better than Nigeria?”
    Next question is: Did Mandela contribute anything to SA being better than Nigeria? Or at least – to it’s avoiding a fast decline into Nigeria quality ? (It may still decline in the future, but we must judge by what is today, not what might happen in the future).

    Compare him to Mugabe – shouldn’t he get some credit for not being a Mugabe, who is much closer to a typical African leader ?

  • George

    agree John B and it’s worst among the middle class elderly, those most likely to vote

    many of them spend many hours each day being brainwashed by BBC news 24

  • Not a straw man at all, George. You are a Georgist, yes? If so, you believe in a neo-feudal state super owner of all land rather than private land ownership, and moreover you have stated that soldiers = terrorists, so how can you then claim you support collective defence if you don’t think there should be soldiers and why the hell would I care about defending my overlord’s rental land anyway if I am not allowed even the possibility of owning it?

    As for Mandela, I am largely indifferent to him. I do not think he was a ‘great man’ but I am glad the apartheid regime collapsed but I am not glad it was replaced by an ANC dominated regime. However I do credit Mandela with moving the ANC away from full fat non-diet socialism, so the man had his plusses and minuses. The best I can say about him is he was a moderating factor.

    But as you are Georgist, you are essentially a feudalist, so you want to replace an absurd state directed land use system that we have now and replace it with vastly worse state rental system that completely denies the very possibility of freehold ownership.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    JohnB, propaganda? Up to a point but can’t you or some of the others on this blog state the simple fact that apartheid was wrong and poisonous? I am appalled at some of the crap on this blog and comments likening NM to Hitler, etc.

    NM has some dodgy views as a young man and his support for violent overthrow if the system was wrong. But I know libertarians who have backed the idea of violence. NM clearly matured and changed. It is hardly “propaganda” to point that fact out. In fact, it is a lesson worth celebrating.

  • George

    Perry – I don’t see the distinction between terrorist soldier or freedom fighter it’s just a question of tactics.

    Those labelled terrorists lack the resources to confront the armies of the state in open battle so use the tactics they believe will be most effective in achieving their aims.

    Violence is violence, it is no better to be killed by men flying planes than it is to be killed by men in balaclavas.

    I don’t think you are justified in extrapolating from this argument that I view collective defence or all armed struggle as always illegitimate.

    I do believe most wars are fought to make rich men richer.

  • Perry – I don’t see the distinction between terrorist soldier or freedom fighter it’s just a question of tactics (…) Violence is violence, it is no better to be killed by men flying planes than it is to be killed by men in balaclavas.

    That is a bit like saying “I don’t see the difference between consensual sex and rape” or “I don’t see the difference between killing in self defence and killing someone for their wallet”

    I do believe most wars are fought to make rich men richer

    Well that is often true, I agree. And the more a state is run for its own institutional benefit, the more that is likely to be true.

    So as you feel that way, why exactly do you want the complete nationalisation of land to fund a rent collecting governmental class? You wish to disenfranchise owner occupiers and indeed dispossess them if they cannot pay rent on ‘their’ land and thereby enable vast corporate land holders who will then administer rental allotments… you want to place the state and its functionaries at the very core of ownership and vastly diminish severalty.

  • George

    perry – i think you are confusing who organises the violence with the legitimacy of the violence.

    they are different issues.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Jonathan, Mandela never renounced violence. You seem to have bought into the whole Mandela=Gandhi=Jesus=Martin Luther King thing, which is a media invention. Mandela was much more Malcolm X than he was MLK, even in old age. Look up the very first speech he made on release, it contains an open threat of violence if the ANC didn’t get its way.

    As far as I can tell the only credit Mandela is due is that he stopped the post apartheid era from being quite as bad as it could have been, which I suppose is worthy of kudos. Nonetheless, FW De Clerk was the one who actually ended apartheid, just as Gorbachev ended communism. He decided to surrender when he easily could have fought on.

    And yes, apartheid was wrong.

  • John W

    Mandela renounced violence?
    There are some seriously uninformed opinions being expressed on this blog – he absolutely adored the genocidal Cuban mercs who he praised consistently to the end of his life – nothing makes a lefty heart beat faster than a good atrocity or two – all in a good cause!

  • Mr Ed

    Since when did the supporters of the National Party renounce violence in the period 1948 to 1989? One bunch of totalitarian thugs who came up with Banning Orders, Petty Apartheid, Grand Apartheid and a host of repressive measures in an effort to retain power eventually threw in the towel and much to their surprise, the figurehead for their opponents did not launch into a bloody purge upon taking power, after a free election.

    Thereafter, the country has gone downhill somewhat faster than it was already progressing, but it was already a collectivist hellhole before the current bunch took power, it’s just that it had the semblance of a free economy and a robust rule of law before the transition, and both have been eroded.

    George:

    I do believe most wars are fought to make rich men richer.

    Well, WW2 for the UK was hardly a profitable exercise, it was simply the only way to prevent a dictatorial maniac from taking over Eurasia, and ultimately destroying civilisation. Was the RAF brutal in its bombing of Germany and Italy? Yes, but that was because they had little means of accurately bombing their ideal targets. If the Germans did not wish to undergo strategic bombing, they had 2 options: 1. Remove flak defences and allow the RAF to illuminate intended targets (or do so themselves) or 2. Surrender. Of course they would have done neither, but no one forced them to invade Poland, the Czech lands, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, North Africa, Yugoslavia, Greece, Luxembourg. The case of invading their Pacted co-belligerents is another matter.

  • JohnW

    Never mind 1948 – during WW2 my father spent some of his shore leave in Cape Town guarding the isolated home of a lone, white female schoolteacher.
    She spent her life teaching black kids to write while illiterate blacks spent their time figuring out how to rape and murder the ‘violent coloniser’ – but then gangs which claim rights over people are infinitely preferable to those which seek to maintain rights over property – “all property is theft” according to Proudhon and the Marxist exploitation theory of labour.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    George, Perry: the issue of “colonialism” here is surely besides the point. Regardless of whether whites settled what is now South Africa first, the point – as I made already – is that the apartheid system was one that was brought into being relatively recently (the late 40s), with white-run trade unions in the lead (and a very troublesome fact that is for some on the left to understand).

    JohnW – I would say that Mandela’s recononciliation-focussed approach after he was released from his 27-year term in jail ought to make it clear that while he had once said violence was something he had favoured, his approach had changed. And it is not as if the old, white-controlled South African state was a gentle creature with which negotiation and playing nice was going to work (think of the Sharpeville shootings of protesters in the early 1960s, etc.)

    And to say that a man who was prominent in pushing for the end of apartheid, a rotten, immoral system, should “rot in hell” as you and some others have said, does rather make me wonder about your moral compass.

    Jaded – you are of course entirely right to mention de Klerk, an essential figure and a far-sighted statesman. It takes two to tango, as they say. But I just don’t see that South Africa would have made the transition quite as did without Mandela’s call for reconciliation.

    South Africa has a legion of problems now, and the apartheid system left a long and damaging legacy. Which is all the more reason to condemn those who created it in the first place.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    “so the rule is you can invade a country take all the good land and your children are allowed to keep it?”

    They immigrated. I will concur that some see immigration as invasion. Where do you live? Undoubtedly you have immigrants to your country, are you bombing and killing them? If not then you are a hypocrite. The white South Africans were “Africans”. No more or less then the black Africans. What their parents did or didn’t do is not the responsibility of the children. In fact if we were to assign blame based on horrible acts it would be the black Africans and their “necklacing” and other terrorist acts that should be considered most horrible.
    As for “keeping the best land for themselves”. Really? All the rest of the land is shit except what the white Africans settled on?

  • JohnW

    @Jonathan I would say that Mandela’s recononciliation-focussed approach after he was released from his 27-year term in jail ought to make it clear that while he had once said violence was something he had favoured, his approach had changed.

    ‘Reconciliation’ to what?

    Mandela uses the word ‘reconciliation’ the same way that Hitler used the word ‘peace’ – ‘reconciled’ in Mandela’s terms means whites must be reconciled to being second-class citizens in their own country by virtue of the SA Constitution and neither they nor anyone else will have any rights.

    Replacing one ad hoc racist constitution for another ideologically racist yet ‘politically-correct’ constitution is hardly a cause for celebration.

    Mandela’s whole outlook is predicated on monstrous assumptions about economics, politics, ethics, epistemology and metaphysics; views which he has repeatedly made clear. His Cuba speech – which the BBC somehow ‘omitted’ to broadcast was typical, Marxist guff but that’s consigned to the memory-hole with all the rest.

    Forget the lessons of Nelson’s beloved Angola, or Biafra, or Gukurahundi or all the other fruits of black-rule – what event stands out as the archetype of political injustice in Africa? – why Sharpeville of course!

    And as the Sun sets on the abandoned farmlands of Rhodesia let us all bask in the glory of the great man who sorrowed the same seeds for yet another bitter harvest in SA.

    Apartheid [separateness] is not something I can agree with but a togetherness based on capitalists being “crushed and wiped out from the face of the earth” is no solution either.

  • Vinegar Joe

    @Johnathan Pearce “And to say that a man who was prominent in pushing for the end of apartheid, a rotten, immoral system, should “rot in hell” as you and some others have said, does rather make me wonder about your moral compass.”

    The South African apartheid government never built a wall or machine-gunned people trying to leave. Cubans are still dying, still being murdered while trying to escape Castro’s island paradise. “Moral compass” indeed.

    In his last open letter to Mandela in 2010, Castro called him an “old and revered friend.”

    “Our friend Cuba, who helped us train our people, who gave us resources that helped us so much in our struggle,” said the South African leader in his meeting with Castro in 1991.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=100470

  • Vinegar Joe

    Mandela noted that, just as today he received Clinton, he has welcomed Castro, Gadhafi and former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and will remain loyal to them.

    “We should not abandon those who helped us in the darkest hour of the history of this country,” Mandela said. “They gave us the resources for us to conduct the struggle (against apartheid) and to win.

    “Those South Africans who have berated me for being loyal to our friends, literally they can go and throw themselves into a pool,” he said.

  • Vinegar Joe

    Mandela will present Clinton with South Africa’s highest honor, the Order of Good Hope — the same tribute Mandela gave to Gadhafi.

    www2.fiu.edu/~fcf/mandelagaddafidel.html

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The South African apartheid government never built a wall or machine-gunned people trying to leave. Cubans are still dying, still being murdered while trying to escape Castro’s island paradise. “Moral compass” indeed.

    Vinegar Joe, so the fact that South Africa did not machine-gun people trying to get out of a country in which 80 per cent of the population were treated like dirt with full force of law somehow makes that okay? surely not.

    Of course as you point out, Mandela made some pretty dumb comments about other regimes. I am not contesting that. (And I haven’t.) But it seems a lot of people on this blog are trying to play down apartheid, or even make sort of excuses for it in a mealy-mouthed sort of way. That’s piss-poor.

    I am not even going to bother wasting bandwidth dealing with “GoneWithTheWind” (you just know he’s a fan of the American Confederacy). Pure, undiluted idiocy.

    JohnW:

    Mandela uses the word ‘reconciliation’ the same way that Hitler used the word ‘peace’ – ‘reconciled’ in Mandela’s terms means whites must be reconciled to being second-class citizens in their own country by virtue of the SA Constitution and neither they nor anyone else will have any rights.

    Really? Since when has it been said that whites are, say, banned from certain activities on account of their skin colour, as opposed to what happened under apartheid? I would guess that, in a country where black people are in the majority, that there may be some sort of quota system on similar lines to the affirmative action programmes that exist in the US. This is not easily defensible other than as some sort of corrective to the systematic discrmination that used to exist. Politically, it seems unlikely that a white person would be president again, or at least very soon. That tends to happen in a majoritarian political order, whether we like it or not.

    Some of you guys keep trying to compare NM with Hitler. Wow: if there has been a mass, state-directed extermination of an entire group of anyone who is not some “pure” stock then I must have missed it. (Acts of individual crime, no doubt serious, are not the same thing). No doubt “GoneWithTheWind” can entertain us on that one.

    It is quite some feat to liken a man who made much of forgiveness and reconciliation to someone who started a major global war, exterminated millions and caused untold suffering in the greatest conflagration in modern history. Utter, utter imbecility.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I think that is true enough Jonathan, but I will say that Mandela’s motives did not always seem so pure. DeKlerk argued for a federal presidency which rotated among the different racial groups of south Africa, intended to safeguard the rights of minorities. If he had gotten his way, a lot of the problems that now plague south Africa would never have happened. In a racially fractious nation this seems like a good idea.Mandela was insistent on “majority rule”, which given the makeup of south Africa was essentially demanding the WHOLE pie. When he got his way he started ordering land seizures from whites. Whites are third choice for any government job. For all his talk of reconciliation, he massively politically disenfranchised whites in south Africa and then proceeded to put the boot in. All of this was done in the clear understanding that if they resisted, MK would fire up its “armed struggle” once again.

    Reconciliation, for the most part, seems to be code for “we’re not actually going to annihilate you, so long as you cooperate”. Now for sure this makes Mandela better than Mugabe by miles, but it certainly doesn’t make him anything approaching a libertarian or even a true lover of freedom..

  • MolonLabe

    sorry If I do not join in the vomit inducing schmaltz over the death of a genocidal Marxist terrorist.

    Independence and self rule were simply Afrikaner attempts to avoid exactly what has occurred: political and economic dispossession followed by extermination. The legacy of Mandela is the slow genocide of the people who turned South Africa into a thriving capitalist First-World nation in the midst of a third world Continent.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    JV, it would have been good to have had more protections for minorities, absolutely. De Klerk deserves a full measure of praise for how he conducted himself. I am not sure about rotating presidency on a race basis, though, since it seems to play towards identity politics, the curse of our time.

    For a libertarian’s assessment of Mandela, warts and all, see this. It is written by a gay man who has spent a lot of time there, so he writes with experience.

  • Jake Haye

    I would guess that, in a country where black people are in the majority, that there may be some sort of quota system on similar lines to the affirmative action programmes that exist in the US.

    SA does indeed operate quota systems – ones that favour the black majority over the hated white minority. Most recently in sport.

  • bloke in spain

    A way up the thread, Jaded Voluntaryist closes a comment with:

    “And yes, apartheid was wrong.”

    Can’t argue with that. But it does beg the question; What would be right? What path should a post-colonial nation take when the vast majority of its people are poor, poorly educated & politically naive. One man one vote in most of Africa turned out to be one man, one vote, once. Asia’s fared a little better. India’s democratic & prosperous, if you overlook the war lead to partition & forget about the Pakistan parts. There’s some small Caribbean islands transitioned quite well. South & Central America are a century old work in progress.
    So, anyone fancy coming up with a “right” alternative takes post-colonial SA to full democratic prosperity? Current SA doesn’t really count, does it? It’s the inheritor of apartheid. The bad & the, dare we say, good?

    Suppose we could just blame colonialism & the Empire. But in the real world of the latter part of the second millennium, European colonisation of the less developed part of the world was the only game in town. Not being part of the British Empire means being part of a French, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian… Or anyone else, fancies planting a flag. There wasn’t much of a “not to be disturbed” option. And, historically, the list of nations haven’t been part of someone’s colonisation effort is a mighty short one. And treating indigenous populations unfavourably has been the rule rather than the exception. So we should work with what was.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Everything in my last post is in the Wikipedia article on South Africa, Alisa.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I’ll declare at this stage that I have been unable to find evidence for my earlier claim that Mandela personally authorised attacks on civilian targets. It seems to be a piece of misinformation that is floating around the web. The quote supposedly came from his autobiography, which I have in front of me now. No sign of such a claim, but if I find it, I’ll let you know.

    As to what Jonathan and others have been saying, I agree wholeheartedly that SA under Mandela was by far a better place than it was under, for example, Botha. But it could have been better still, a lot better.

    As to whether it is fair to condemn Mandela because of such hypotheticals, I’m not sure. I do know that I consider the Land Restitution Act of 1994 to be an act of state sponsored theft. It enabled those dispossessed by an earlier 1913 law to sue for the return of land or to claim compensation. The land by this stage had been out of the hands of the claimants for 81 years. I do not consider it fair to hold Afrikaners in 1994 culpable for things that happened in 1913. By that rationale, Native Americans should be allowed to sue pretty much all of the USA and Canada for the same reasons.

    But, being fair, this is the only major complaint I have against Mandela, other than his conduct relating to Winnie. And he was obviously operating under VERY difficult circumstances, so perhaps I should cut him some slack.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Question: Is there any black majority democratic nation that is stable and prosperous? So far I’m only aware of a few like Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic. And even their so-called prosperity pales in comparison with the East Asian tigers. So what is the difference between East Asia and Africa? East Asia was also colonised by the West too. But why did Eat Asia manage to recover and charge towards prosperity (with the notable exception of Nork)? Even Vietnam has largely recovered from its own ruinous war and has leapfrogged ahead.

    Is it racist to acknowledge that ethnic genetic differences lead to different overall cognitive abilities, which in turn play a huge part in development? If a given ethnic population just doesn’t have the cognitive ability, the long term orientation, and the restraint to act rationally, despite the presence of a few sterling exceptions, democracy for them is just a joke that leads to a tyranny of the majority. Perhaps an apartheid regime was indeed the best compromise for such a racially divided society. Would they even understand the purpose of a Constitution and the need to adhere to it?

    Black-dominated South Africa is going down the tubes, anybody with eyes can see it. Genocide Watch is keeping a close ward on how they are treating their minority whites, and it doesn’t look good. Any moment now, it could tip over to outright Zimbabwe style ethnic cleansing. Only a few black leaders are all that’s holding back the rest of their people. Even with that restraint, more than 70000 whites have been killed in South Africa since 1994. If they have been blacks and the killers white people, it would have been called genocide.
    http://www.genocidewatch.org/images/White_Genocide_TVA.pdf

    This is Mandela’s legacy. To be honest, I’m not impressed at all.

    On a related note, perhaps the least worst option is for the remaining whites to gather and carve out a new nation for themselves away from the blacks. I think, however, the blacks won’t be so stupid as to let the geese that lays the golden eggs escape their clutches so easily.

  • Vinegar Joe

    Such a sweet man.

    In April 2000, the political row over the IRA’s unwillingness to decommission its weapons was dominating the political news during that visit to Dublin; so much so that, before Mandela came to lunch, he had met the Sinn Fein leadership.

    “What advice, Mr Mandela, did you offer them,” asked the late Aengus Fanning, editor of the Sunday Independent, another guest at lunch.

    Fanning repeated the question more pointedly: “But what was your position, Mr Mandela, on decommissioning weapons? And what advice would you give Gerry Adams?” Mandela’s mood turned suddenly steely. He looked seriously and sternly at Fanning. “My position, my position… my position is that you don’t hand over your weapons until you get what you want… “

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/ed-curran/nelson-mandela-was-against-ira-decommissioning-29384673.html

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Mr. Ed, the Nazies started the war to enrich Germany, so the comment that wars are for riches would be a fair one. But it is not the only one. WW1 was started not for riches but for nationalism- the Austro-Hungarian Empire had too many unsatisfied nationalities within it.

  • bloke in spain

    @The Wobbly Guy
    I’d be fascinated to know where you got the idea the DR’s majority black. It’s certainly not a view you’d want to trail past any Dominicans. Far as they’re concerned Haiti, the other end of the island’s the black majority population & Dominican opinions on Haitians is not something you’d want white liberal ears to suffer.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    bloke in spain: I assumed using the one-drop rule, which is a stupid rule, admittedly. Various shades of mulatto then. Doesn’t negate my point any, right? ;)

  • Mr Ed

    Nick,

    The Nazis had a faulty economic theory, as free trade would have enriched Germany, not war and conquest.

    And Air Marshal Harris’ Bomber Command and the Eighth USAAF certainly showed that the economic practice of Nazi war lead to utter empoverishment for the perpetrators.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The Wobbly Guy: your points about the relative dearth of successful, black democracies/economies is based on a shaky and selective use of facts. For example, consider that some of the worst regimes in human recorded history (Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc) were perpetrated by white Caucasians/Asians often of extreme racialist prejudice. So their IQ scores were at the high end. Fat fucking good that did them. (The Japanese, to take another example, are not known for their enlightened views on these issues). But we don’t go around saying that “whites and Asians are innately vicious and barbaric” when those examples come to mind. We don’t say that the witch-burning manias of the 16th century, for example, prove that white people are innately barmy and prone to silliness.

    It is also worth pointing out that liberal democracies are notable for being the exception, not the rule, in human recorded history. Much of it has been about tribalism, war, serfdom, slavery and authortarianism, of various degrees. And much of this has little or nothing to do with race per se in any sort of causal sense. (Correlation is not the same as causation, which is such a basic point that I should not need to spell it out.) There is nothing to suggest that blacks are innately less able to handle concepts such as equality before the rule of law, etc, than whites or Asians. I’d say there is no real meaningful difference. The issue in my mind comes down to culture. Look at, say, a relatively successful post-colonial nation such as Barbados, which is black; on the other hand, you have the European-settled clusterfuck that is Argentina, which could have been as rich as Australia and Canada is now, but is now run and led by people with the outlook of spoiled teenagers.

    By all means point out the flaws in South Africa today, including whatever points you want to make about the less-than-perfect statecraft of Mr Mandela, not to mention the decidedly dodgy outfit that is the ANC. No debate there from me at all. But when I read comments about the paucity of black liberal democracies, and see you trot out the dubious stuff about lower cognitive abilities (based on the sort of dodgy stuff as exposed here), I am tempted to roll my eyes and call you on it.

    Anyway, unless I see any further reasons, I am done here.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Do we really want to go into a link fest debate about cognitive differences? Given the recent release of PISA scores? Really? :p

    Higher cognitive ability is but one condition for a successful society (Mao-era China being a prime example). I did not, by any means, suggest that it was the only one. So much for your strawman, Mr Pearce. Also, you did not manage to counter my assertion, instead bringing in a host of true, but irrelevant, facts.

    And that article you linked to was differences between South and Northern Italy. Uhm, yes, right. That proves that there are no significant genetic differences between blacks, east asians, and caucasians.

    *rolleyes*

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Wobbly, if you want to go into a link-fest to prove that darker skinned people are thick, do it somewhere else, and I should add, that the PISA scores don’t quite prove what you no doubt assume you think they do, otherwise, how come some of the lower scoring ones on the table here don’t necessarily come from Africa, and some come from Asia, the same gene pool that is often assumed to provide the sharpest.

    The strawman is yours. You chose to bring up the cognitive issue, so it is only fair for me to smack it down. Learn the rules: you raise an issue, expect it to be given due treatment. Why else did you want to mention it in the first place?

    Let’s remind ourselves of what you wrote: Is it racist to acknowledge that ethnic genetic differences lead to different overall cognitive abilities, which in turn play a huge part in development? If a given ethnic population just doesn’t have the cognitive ability, the long term orientation, and the restraint to act rationally, despite the presence of a few sterling exceptions, democracy for them is just a joke that leads to a tyranny of the majority. Perhaps an apartheid regime was indeed the best compromise for such a racially divided society. Would they even understand the purpose of a Constitution and the need to adhere to it?

    Apartheid as the “best compromise”? You trying for a job in comedy?

  • Jacob

    Mandela, who favored in 1990 nationalizing the main enterprises in SA changed his mind and embraced capitalism and free markets at Davos , in 1992.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    how come some of the lower scoring ones on the table here don’t necessarily come from Africa, and some come from Asia

    Comes from Asia? Or East Asia? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any sane, educated person has ever lumped Kyrgyzstan together with China and the other East Asian tigers in terms of ethnicity. Are you blind, or being intentionally obtuse? :p

    As for Africa or black nations, few of them participated in the study. I don’t blame them, they probably have other more important things to worry about than how they stack up against the rest of the world. I would note that the highest ranked black nation, so to speak, was Costa Rica. African Americans scored decently, even above Malaysia. But I think I can hear the Malaysian Chinese starting to complain about their useless bumiputra policies and their stupid Malay compatriots.

    So, you smacked down nothing, except to sputter and deny the evidence. Stable, successful democratic black states. Name them. Even in the US and UK, the black undertow is obvious. Detroit being the best example. Sure, it’s democratic. Successful? Lol.

    For any democracy to thrive and to avoid descending into socialism (voting themselves benefits from the public largess), the populace needs to have a certain level of cognitive potential, which is then honed by education (doesn’t matter as long as it is effective) for a thinking, rational electorate. There are probably a whole series of necessary conditions, none in themselves sufficient to yield a successful society. But I would place cognitive potential as an important factor.

    In fact, if we take the PISA scores as proxy indicators for cognitive ability (whether potential or enhanced/fulfilled by education), my points stand out even more strongly – Argentina is a basket case because for whatever reason, their cognitive ability is low, hence they are a clusterfuck. I suspect it has a lot to do with their education system, but who knows? I think they’re still better off than Detroit.

    Look at the US. Years of spending into education, into trying to narrow the cognitive gap between blacks and whites/asians. And yet, when it comes to the elections, they still vote +90% for Obama. If that is not failure, if that is not proof of their sheer inability to think long term, think rationally, or even think outside their own ethnocentric box, then what is? Even with the dismal failure of Obamacare, their support for him is still upwards of +80%. That is incredible.

    Rand Paul thinks he can turn things around by setting up ‘economic freedom zones’ in Detroit. I wish him luck. My heart hopes he will succeed. My head tells me he will not.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    TWG, oh, so even certain Asians are so thick that apartheid might be needed to pen their little dears away. Riiiight.

    I get it. You think large chunks of humanity just don’t make the grade. It is pretty clear what your mindset leads to.

    Jacob: absolutely.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Argentina was settled by Europeans, Wobbly. When did they become thick? Please explain that one.

  • George

    Jonathan Pearce – is it not possible to make your argument without implying other posters are nazis?

  • Mr Ed

    Jonathan points towards realities that call for an explanation. Ultimately, many factors come into play im dertermining if a country is prosperous and a decent place to live. The main one seems to me to be whether or not it is civilised, i.e. relations between inhabitants are in the main civil, and not based on force, fraud or fear, but peaceful exchange. Civilisation should not be conflated with technology, learning, architecture, wealth or fashion, it is a state of minds amongst those who matter in a given State, country or political unit.

    How to achieve and maintain civilisation is the great question facing humanity, virtually every political doctrine amounts to a repudiation of it, and if few even ask it, there will be trouble.

  • George, WG has been known for making racist statements here for years.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr. Ed nails it.

    Both the answer — that a prosperous, benevolent society is an effect of a civil society —

    And the questions it raises, which are, what goes into a society’s becoming civil, and how can it look after itself so as to remain so?

  • GC

    Mandela was a statist and a terrorist. That makes him my enemy. End of story. I’m not interested in the Nazi-with-a-puppy apologism.

    Mandela was a statist and a terrorist. That makes him my enemy. End of story.

    These “at least he didn’t behave like Robert Mugabe” and “at least he didn’t listen to his more violent wife” arguments are utterly bizarre. It’s rather like praising Angela Merkel for not invading Poland.

    Or giving Obama a Nobel prize for not being George Bush.

    Oh, wait -

  • James Waterton

    Really? The PISA scores? I mean, I know you got all excited because they told you what you want to hear, but what do you know about the test’s methodology? Oh for god’s sake. You are a fool if you place faith in such metrics. Go back to Gene Expression and revel in the security blanket of your purported superior maths skills or whatever it is helps you sleep at night.

    (Hint: why has “Shanghai China” come out number one all this time? I’ve actually taught students from Shanghai, and on average they’re not notably brighter than students from other developed parts of China. Who aren’t, on the whole, especially bright. Not dumb. But not the cyborg-take-over-the-world polymaths we are led to believe they are. Just like we were led to believe the Japanese were. And so on and so forth.

  • bloke in spain

    @The Wobbly Guy re: Dominica
    My deep apologies & my fault entirely. I’d completely forgotten the small island of that name whose ethnic mix is about as you suggested. Knowing so many from the DR tends to skew one’s assumptions. But I really wouldn’t suggest running the ‘one drop’ thing past any South/Central Americans you meet. The resident one here has assorted drops of all sorts of things running thru her veins & Hispanics have an entire zoology of pecking orders related to all the possible combinations with attached Spanish names. Any assumptions you make will be in error & very likely to annoy.

    It also illustrates the view of race matters, often expressed here, doesn’t travel much past the Anglo-Saxon diaspora & a few countries in W. Europe.

  • JohnW

    @Jonathan. As I have already said – ‘reconciliation’ means nothing when seen in its ideological context. It is mere doublespeak. The fact is this: Mandela was a convicted terrorist and life-long advocate of a thoroughly lethal ideology which you know to have caused destruction, poverty and death on an unprecedented scale.
    He never renounced his ideological affiliations – on the contrary, he went to great lengths to acknowledge his kinship with deceased political luminaries like Che, Lenin, Nasser, Mao, and living idols like Castro, Saddam, Arafat, Chavez, and Gaddafi.

    Who are the bad guys in the Mandela-Universe – why, the Americans, of course.

    His tenure as President was marked by routinely turning a blind-eye to such trifles as Mugabe’s excesses and those of his own party. Instead he reserved his criticism for anyone who openly questioned the probity of his cherished ANC including Bishop Tutu who he told, in effect, to shut up.
    He initiated a twin-forked attack on the basic laws of economics through openly racist Employment Equity and Black Economic Empowerment laws – resulting in a 40% fall in average incomes between 1995 and 2000, with little improvement since.

    Unemployment has risen dramatically – officially 25% it is probably nearer 40%; half of South Africans under 24 looking for work have none. Of those who have jobs, a third earn less than $2 a day. Indeed, that old leftist saw ‘equality’ has actually grown since apartheid, and the gap between rich and poor is now among the world’s largest. For men in the bottom 5 percent of the income distribution, total real income in 2000 was about half the level of 1995, according to the World Economic Forum. In education South Africa ranks 132nd out of 144 countries for its primary education and 143rd in science and maths. Even Nigeria fares better and according to some forecasts its ramshackle economy will soon overtake South Africa’s – quite an achievement since the lifting of world-wide sanctions.

    Add to this a thoroughly corrupt political machinery with entrenched kleptocrats on the one hand and legions of utterly dispossessed black youths spouting merciless war-songs and blood-curdlingly anti-white rhetoric on the other, and you have a catastrophe in the making.
    You seem to have skipped over WG’s reference to genocidewatch – I will not dwell on the subtle cultural legitimisation of violence by those who most earnestly talk of peace as it is too much of a cliche to merit description, but perhaps you consider the unprecedented murder rates of blacks and whites to be a temporary blip?

    For the record I do not question your moral compass nor do I think you are an imbecile – I am aware of the effects of propaganda at home and abroad but it is a simple economic fact that no amount of propaganda will ever transform into wisdom the reification of incompetence initiated by Mandela.

    He was a bad man who supported an evil ideology and his legacy will be that of Marxists everywhere, poverty, misery and death.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    TWG, JohnW, oh dearie me.

    The Wobbly Guy’s grasp of logic and evidence in trying to make his racial case for apartheid – which he openly defends here – is even more cretinous when I read it through the first time. Here is one of his comments that kicked this all off:

    “Is there any black majority democratic nation that is stable and prosperous? So far I’m only aware of a few like Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic.”

    (There is also Barbados, and despite some of its crime issues, Jamaica. Ghana is on the up and up, as is Tanzania and Mozambique.)

    Then he writes this:

    “Stable, successful democratic black states. Name them. Even in the US and UK, the black undertow is obvious. Detroit being the best example. Sure, it’s democratic. Successful? Lol.”

    So having pointed to several examples of successful, stable countries with a black majority, he then challenges me to name some, and then makes the “argument” that Detroit, that haven of post-industrial decline and socialist mismanagement, somehow proves that places containing lots of black people are terrible.

    George: I am not implying that everyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi. If I recall, the only people here who are using the “Hitler gambit” are those claiming that Nelson Mandela, the subject of this posting, was such. No, what I am saying is that when a fool like TWG uses – as James Waterton says – dubious arguments about variations in IQ scores to justify coercive, race-based laws (such as Apartheid, or suchlike), it is right and proper to give such arguments a hard kicking. I have actually been relatively polite. For what does TWG’s argument consist of: that black people and certain other racial groups are so stupid, so incapable of long-range thinking and reason, that they should be fenced off (literally) from more superior people as a “pragamatic” solution. And that is no different from bans on racial intermarriage, or allowing different races to adopt children, or enter business agreements, or interact in any other consenting way. People such as TWG support and encourage such attitudes, and they erect an entire intellectual edifice based on IQ scores.

    John W:
    “The fact is this: Mandela was a convicted terrorist and life-long advocate of a thoroughly lethal ideology which you know to have caused destruction, poverty and death on an unprecedented scale.”

    That for a few years – not “life-long” – NM was a communist is not contested by me. That as President he presided over what looks like a pretty mixed economy with a fairly large free market chunk in place is also pretty obvious. And he did change. Your claims about the impact of these laws on unemployment strike me as debatable. Of course things such as minimum wage laws raise unemployment by raising marginal costs, but the effect of the laws you cite don’t strike me as big enough to explain such a dramatic change by themselves – assuming your figures are accurate.

    What those who condemn NM and his support for violent overthrow of the apartheid regime have to confront is this: what chance was there that apartheid, given its nature and the vested interests involved, would have faded away peacefully, of its own accord, without any need for things such as sanctions, protests, etc? The apartheid system that obtained in the Old South of the US lasted for nearly a century, and did not vanish without a lot of ruckus. Funnily enough, some of those who are beating up on NM are as likely to make equally condemnatory points about Martin Luther King and his circle. And yet such critics seldom spell out how they should have done things differently. For instance, none of the other rival non-white groups jostling for power had anything like the ability to bring most of SA together as Mandela seemed able to do. And his rivals in the ANC were often far, far worse. He was even criticised by his own side for being too soft on whites, etc.

    “Reification” of incompetence? What are you on about here?

    And I cannot help but wonder when you make the point about murder rates as to what is being implied: are you suggesting that the removal of apartheid is to blame? If not – since I hope not – then what exactly could or should have been done differently that might have resulted in a more peaceful outcome? It might have been good had the old white rulers of the country had had the brains to dismantle apartheid and lay down the foundations of a vibrant capitalist economy far sooner, but the fact is, they didn’t. And you have the sort of attitudes of TheWobblyGuy to thank for that.

  • George

    He was a bad man who supported an evil ideology and his legacy will be that of Marxists everywhere, poverty, misery and death.

    But he was very charismatic, had a lovely speaking voice and an ability to make white liberals feel that by “supporting” Mandela they were somehow atoning for the sins of their race and class.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    George, hang on a minute, are you the same “George” who got upset about colonialism? Have you had a sort of 180% conversion or are you trying to be cute and are just trolling now? Maybe you are, in which case, be prepared to hit the exit, followed by a large bear.

    Mandela’s legacy is that of a man who helped end apartheid, I would argue. I doubt most people will talk about him as “the great African Marxist”.

    Read this for some perspective.

    As for his speaking voice, he actually had a difficult accent that I found quite hard to follow. I heard him speak in the UK once and did not understand a damn word he said.

  • George

    No not trolling and haven’t had a 180 degree conversion.

    meant to put first bit of my post in quotes as it was said by John W

    I think it’s silly to criticize Mandella for being involved in armed resistance. How many of us can say that if we had been a black south african during apartheid we wouldn’t have supported the armed resistance or if we were Palestinians we wouldn’t support violence against Israel.

    It is human nature to fight for your interests.

    At the same time I dislike the christ like personality worship of Mandela it reminds me of our media and political classes worship of Obama.

    Maybe his dialect was hard to understand but the tone of his voice was lovely, both gentle and strong.

  • JohnW, Wikipedia says that the Employment Equity and Black Economic Empowerment laws were implemented in 2007, which is long after Mandela stepped down from presidency. What am I missing?

    On armed resistance, my position is that it is wholly justified when it is directed at the agents of the oppressive entity, AKA The State. It is entirely reprehensible when directed at ordinary citizens, including SA blacks who happened to refuse to cooperate with the ANC (or, for that matter, Palestinians who happen to refuse to cooperate with Hamas/PA). Unfortunately Mandela failed to pass this litmus test.

  • George

    why does it have to be limited to the agents of the state Alisa,
    why are those who support the state not also legitimate targets?

  • bloke in spain

    @Johnathan Pearce
    Aren’t you simply basing all your assumptions on the outcomes you prefer?
    The IQ/race thing is actually an IQ/culture argument. But as culture & race have a tendency to be connected one serves much the same as the other. Often illustrated, in the breach, when races adopt different cultures*. The benchmark IQ is for a European type culture, so comparing IQs across cultures is always going to be fraught. What scores high for one culture doesn’t necessarily score high in another. But as the whole ‘economic & social development’ paradigm we’re currently working to is a European culture phenomenon, a European style culture to participate is the best fit. We could have a successful Inca economic & social development paradigm but we’d need an Inca culture to drive it.

    *Hispaniola would seem to be a good example. The island’s small enough, there’s no particular reason for anyone on it to be in any particular part, apart from choice. DR end has adopted Hispanic culture. Haiti end, post slavery African. DR’s economically developing. Haiti’s a shithole. Yes history has had a role, but not everything can be blamed on who planted which flag. The distance between the flags is a couple hundred miles. The distance between the cultures is more like 3000.

  • bloke in spain

    “why does it have to be limited to the agents of the state Alisa,
    why are those who support the state not also legitimate targets?”

    Probably because she subscribes to the notion the State is a separate thing from its people.
    In truth, the guard at the door of the despots palace, the guard at parliament’s door. They both have a Mum at home wash their socks. That the tyrant or the prime minister keep their positions is in the choice of the guards at the door & their Mums. Removing either’s as difficult or easy, depending on the Mums.

  • George, the tricky part in my view is defining ‘support’. It’s tricky, because one could settle on Bloke’s definition of the term – which if taken seriously, it seems to me, would justify blowing up the entire country to smithereens, and building a new one in its place. (If this sounds to you like a line from a certain anthem, you are not alone). Conversely, one could define ‘support’ as active participation in the actual mechanism of oppression – institutions such as secret police and similar come to mind, but the precise definition would greatly depend on the context of the actual situation on the ground. Personally, I prefer the latter, but YMMV. That, as far as moral justification is concerned. How likely is violent resistance to oppression to be practically constructive in the long term, even when morally justified, is a separate matter. Personally I tend to think very rarely indeed.

  • JohnW

    @Jonathan. This is the speech he gave in Cuba in 1991, within earshot of those incarcerated in Castro’s dungeons, legitimising the horrifying excesses of one of the worst regimes in human history – he never changed.

    The fact remains that as President he had the golden opportunity to establish a colour-blind constitution based on the ruling principle of justice but preferred, instead, to follow the colour-obsessed route, injecting a mare’s nest of race-laws to both the public and private sectors which, aside from its socio-economic insanity, means providing the ANC with an effective mechanism to line its pockets and establish an unassailable political hegemony with unprecedented powers of censure and patrimony all in the name of economic ‘equality’ – an abstraction which cannot ever be made concrete.

    If such ‘failures’ of commission do not merit admonition then I suspect his ‘failures’ of omission, turning a blind-eye to both domestic and international terror, are unlikely to merit reproof.

    Either way, the effects have been predictable with South Africa becoming the murder and rape capital of the world and with whites emigrating in droves – a million or more so far.

    That is Mandela’s legacy – ‘great man’ indeed.

    [Reification means turning an abstract idea like ‘incompetence’ into something tangible and material.]

  • JohnW

    @Alisa. That’s just the current incarnation of Saint Mandela’s Employment Equity Act of 1998. But don’t call it discrimination ‘oh dearie me’ no, to quote Jonathan.
    Stamped with holy sanctity of ‘the great man’ more of such philosophical nonsense will inevitably follow and don’t you dare offer any criticism – the man was a saint, I tell ya’!

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Bloke In Spain, IQ and culture might be connected, but as you said in a thoughtful post higher up here, there is not a direct, one-on-one causal connection, which seems to be TWG’s general stance. He seems to say: Group A has a few points less on some scale, hence it is significantly less likely to be able to do things like generate a benevolent culture, etc. When I gave the various examples of white caucasian/Asian basket cases and horror stories, he said nothing at all. And even he gave some examples of successful, relatively prosperous, black majority countries. Now, either he says these are freak exceptions (but then, what caused the exception) or he has to admit that his case is far less strong than it is. He raised the cognitive ability point in the first place and remember, he did so in the context of defending Apartheid as a supposedly “pragmatic” arrangement.

    JohnW: forgive my annoyance. My point is that simply trotting out that “Mandela was a Marxist and should burn in hell” is not, to put it gently, a very telling argument when trying to work out his achievement overall. And he wasn’t a saint, not by a mile. He said so himself. The fact that a lot of dodgy folk might want to make him one is not the same thing.

    Alisa is right to state the act came into force in 2007, about a decade after NM stood down. So he gets the blame for that? Seems unfair to me. That is a bit like blaming Reagan for Nixon taking the US off the gold standard.

  • bloke in spain

    @Johnathan Pearce
    I’d agree TWG hasn’t made a particularly good case. Academic studies are pretty good proof an academic’s made a living but rarely of much else. But looking at performance to date, you could hardly say sub-Saharan Africa’s topped the league for economic & social development since decolonisation. Scratching around for small Caribbean islands & Tanzania (!?) doesn’t really inspire. Agreed there’s European & Asian examples of calamity but most of them seem to arise through an excess of organisation not a lack. If you’re looking for enthusiastic total incompetence, sticking a pin in a map of the Dark Continent blindfold almost guarantees a prize.
    That’s the problem isn’t it? If you were looking for two nations headed towards prosperity in the post colonial era they were Rhodesia & SA. Now Zim, a place used to export food’s hungry. SA’s doing it’s level best to head in the same direction. mightn’t the clue be in who was running them then & who’s running them now?
    Now I’d have a stab in the dark & say African cultural tribalism isn’t great shakes when it comes to democracy. Rather than the best bloke qualified to run your country you get your uncle. For life. Or worse, you get someone else’s uncle & have to worry about your life.
    So let’s ask that question again. How do you take an African nation from colonial possession to democratic prosperity for the lowest bodycount?

  • Mr Ed

    Surely the best examples have been North and South Korea and then East and West Germany, to see how as near as dam-it the same populations with the same culture can produce radically different results under differing political and hence economic systems?

    And how is it that Italian speaking Swiss can produce prosperity, when a couple of generations passed ‘Italians’ in Argentina produce a basket case? It is the ideas in the heads of a population, and most of all in the rulers, the economic and legal heritage, and the attitudes that come therefrom that make the real difference.

  • JohnW

    @Jonathan. Marxism is deadly, it is anti-life, anti-volition, anti-mind, anti-identity. He created nothing himself except a bunch of lousy second-hander speeches justifying and legitimising tyranny. Your average white farmer did more for South Africa than he did and all the reward they got for their efforts was to be murdered in cold-blood while he turned a blind-eye.
    If the number of blacks leaving SA were of the same proportion as the number of whites fleeing for their lives everyone would denounce SA for ethnic cleansing.

    And the Employment Equity and Black Economic Empowerment laws are merely the new names for current race laws which derive most of their substance and all of their legitimacy from Mandela’s Employment Equity Act of 1998. He initiated the new racism into SA politics and judging by Mandela’s beatification the abiding lesson we should learn from that is anti-black racism = bad: anti-white-racism = good.

    Fine

    You may consider him a ‘great man’ as you wish.

    I, most assuredly, do not. But I have said enough on this matter.

  • Jacob

    Hey, folks, people are not Argentinians, Dominicans, Black or Whites.
    People are people, individuals.

    The whole debate of which ethnic group is cleverer is absurd, as it starts from the assumption that “ethnic group IQ” has some meaning. Groups have no IQ, people, individual people have.
    The moment you start debating which group is smarter you have accepted a-priori the racist and collectivist assumption that there is such a thing as group characteristics.

  • bloke in spain

    “Surely the best examples have been North and South Korea and then East and West Germany, to see how as near as dam-it the same populations with the same culture can produce radically different results under differing political and hence economic systems?”
    Leaving the Norks & their hereditary Kims aside, I seem to remember traveling around both Germanies in the 70s & noticing on the roads of one a rather large amount of drab green painted vehicles with cyrillic writing on them. There couldn’t possibly be the slightest connection between this & the difference with the other Germany, could there?

  • bloke in spain

    If not, the fact that you can change the actual nature of a people by imposing a political & economic system on them without their consent is a fairly resounding endorsement of apartheid SA.

  • Mr Ed

    B-i-s They were the means by which the system was imposed, and a veiled threat by which it was maintained. I remember seeing one of the types who occupied those vehicles on an railway station in transit to West Berlin, I recall half-expecting to see a forked tail poking out of his trousers, and glowing coals in his eye sockets (which I did not). However, they were generally kept away from the population for fear of ideological contamination.

  • bloke in spain

    Mr Ed
    Ones I saw made one painfully aware you were looking at some poor kid with shaving rash dragged away from a Siberian mining town & dumped on another planet. They were usually more scared than the Germans.

    But we do seem to have an endorsement of the apartheid system.

  • bloke in spain

    Just a thought. I drink with a Russian who was one of those kids sitting in a BMP on a German autobahn. Fed on a diet of The Great Patriotic War, he tells me was also expecting forked tails & glowing eyes.