Trump’s electoral fiction floats free of verifiable reality. It is defended not so much by facts as by claims that someone else has made some claims. The sensibility is that something must be wrong because I feel it to be wrong, and I know others feel the same way. When political leaders such as Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan spoke like this, what they meant was: You believe my lies, which compels me to repeat them. Social media provides an infinity of apparent evidence for any conviction, especially one seemingly held by a president.
The suggestion that the chief value that Ramaphosa adds to Lonmin is connectedness to the government will deepen the impression that if you are black and want to make it in business, you had better be politically connected. That makes it a lot more difficult to encourage the rise of black people who have a talent for business rather than politics. Signalling that black people are assets to large companies only if they can open doors to the government also makes it much less likely that our politics will be about public service rather than greed. Much of today’s political jockeying is about access to resources. But, while much of the debate assumes that people are looking for public money through tenders and the like, often the motive is to access private wealth. If the message reaching ambitious black people is that private-sector opportunities are more likely if you are politically connected, it is not surprising that part of the political game becomes how to gain a position that will be attractive to companies. – Steven FriedmanBACK TO TOP