Hansie Cronje admitted only that he pretended to a match fixing syndicate member that he would be able to fix cricket match(s). At no stage did he actually fix any cricket match. Neither did he ever intend to do so. His intention was personal benefit at the expense of the crooks, not the game itself.
He was condemned, vilified, demonized and hounded as the scum of the earth. A truly wonderful man was persecuted, leaving this world prematurely as a broken man. Even after his untimely death some continued to vilify him, despite his incredible contribution to the game of cricket and to the stature of his country. Hansie Cronje did not cheat in the game of cricket. He committed fraud on crooks. We condemned and hounded him to his grave.
Cameron Van Der Burg did cheat. He cheated on the most prominent stage yet devised by mankind, the Olympics. He incorporated an illegal kick in going on to win the breast stroke final swimming event. Once he employed that kick it was no longer breast stroke. It was something else. It was cheating.
His action was no different to a golfer using an illegal club to win the British Open, or me claiming my PHd on plagiarised content, or an athlete using a banned substance. It is all cheating.
Doing it because others are also doing it is simply not an excuse, and never was. The fact that the IOC looks the other way simply implicates it in the cheating.
Despite this he remains affirmed, lauded and applauded for being, not only an international champion, but the darling of a whole country, South Africa. This is the same country whose populace hounded Cronje, who did not cheat, but admitted dishonesty, to an early death.
So what is the difference here? Why is Cameron Van Der Burg a saint and Hansie Cronje a scoundrel? It is nothing more than the fickleness of public opinion and the inherent hypocrisy of man. It abounds everywhere in huge abundance in what is known as the phenomena of "convenient untruths" and the suppression of "inconvenient truths".
Provided the dominant entity pushes us in a particular direction, we follow unthinkingly. Usually the dominant entity is a government. In this case it is the International Olympic Committee. Because it has decided to turn a blind eye, look the other way and make a mockery of the breast stroke event, we are content to follow suit.
In my post "Are you a sheep" I state that --
Human beings are "social animals". It is by bonding, cooperation and pulling together that we have achieved dominance over all other creatures on the planet. Psychologically we need to feel loved and accepted. We love the feeling of "belonging". To disagree with others is to risk rejection. To disagree with a dominant group is to invite being marginalized, even ostracized. So we are "hot wired" to have a "herd mentality".
In his classic work “Animal Farm”, George Orwell quite spectacularly portrayed how the views of a dominant group become the norm for the rest. Because the rest accept and propagate these views “unthinkingly”, he rightly portrayed them as sheep. Sheep do not think for themselves. They simply follow whoever is leading. They are concerned only to be part of the herd. They have a herd mentality. Just one sheep dog can drive a whole herd of a hundred sheep in whatever direction it chooses.
How right George Orwell was!! Really! We see this phenomenon repeat itself amongst humans with incredible regularity.
So, at a certain point, we are inclined to be sheep. No question whatsoever! We will unthinkingly follow the herd, disregarding principle and/or truth. It is why they all shouted out "crucify Him, crucify Him", 2012 years ago. It is why only a small handful of members,such as the Black Sash, of the dominant White group, opposed apartheid. It is why a tyrant, like Idi Amin, used to get a standing ovation from the Afro-Asian members at the United Nations, just months before he was deposed. It is why nobody will take issue with Affirmative Action and BEE in South Africa. even though these transformational models are immoral, racist and absurd, for being an exact reverse model of apartheid culture.
It is why Usain Bolt is being lauded as the greatest Olympian even though this accolade is deserved by David Rudisha, for actually breaking a World record, and Jessica Ennis and Ashton Eaton for beating the World's best in a compendium of athletic events.
The question that arises is this -- is this good for the World? Is the World a better place because wrong is conveniently tolerated? Is the fabric of society of better quality because we often choose to abandon principle out of an admixture of convenience and cowardice?
I think not. I think the World is in its much troubled state because of this culture of "convenience", of a "herd mentality", of too many of us being "sheep".
In my book I posted the following statement as the flypage. The book was published in October 2010. It was spectacularly vindicated by the end of that year when one ordinary man Mohammed Bouazizi said "enough is enough" and started the Arab Spring.
An ordinary life becomes extraordinary
when you seek truth
setting your face against deception and lies. Find it. Defend it.
Then your life will have meaning to others. It will make a difference; howsoever small.
And the world will change; for the better.
Yes we can.
When in doubt, just tell the truth. Oscar Wilde.