Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.
There are, broadly, two strains of liberalism in this country. The first is less a political philosophy than an exclusive club. It assumes that all wisdom was born in Europe and North America and that the truth is kept alive here by the mainly white suburban middle classes, who alone know what is best for the rest. It is far more interested in what political philosopher CB MacPherson called “possessive individualism” — the right of people of property to hold on to what they believe to be rightfully theirs — than in building a free and just society. This strain of liberalism is intolerant of all views but its own and its adherents, ironically, share many of the attitudes of Stalinist Marxists — only they know the truth and to disagree is not to hold a different opinion but to be plain wrong. Inevitably, its view is usually communicated in a sneer designed to show superiority and so it does more to antagonise than to persuade. This strain is destined, for obvious reasons, to wield little influence over our future — a prospect that perversely pleases those who espouse it as it confirms their belief that they are surrounded by Philistines. – Steven Friedman in Business DayBACK TO TOP