Forget about morality, my China

2011-10-10 08:06

The waves of moral indignation that swept through South Africa's righteous wing over the Dalai Lama's visa last week made me wonder whether morality is actually worth fighting for.

After all, it's becoming a rare ingredient in most walks of life these days.

I can't think of a single government that shows any visible commitment to morality as most of them, ours included, put staying in power or getting to power, on the top of their party political agendas.

Governments today have to be completely obsessed with economics to survive and this inevitably means kicking moral convictions into touch. They're all doing it. South Africa denies the Dalai Lama a visa so as not to upset their biggest trading partner, China.

And every single one of those self-proclaimed guardians of democracy - the USA, UK, Europe and others might well cock a snoot at China by allowing the Dalia Lama to visit but at the same time they completely ignore China's horrendous human rights record by falling over themselves to do business with this emerging but morally questionable giant.

Sure, right now the USA is facing up to a trade war with China but that doesn't make them any more moral than the rest. The USA, like all the other major powers has pushed morality onto the sidelines in the their quest for oil, increased trade and waging war just to keep the armaments industry ticking over and which in turn keeps political parties in power.

But, it's not only governments. Business the world over is completely lacking in moral fibre and really only puts on a philanthropic face when they can get some PR mileage.

There is no doubt that sidelining morality has become a way of life in almost every country in the world.

It's everyone for himself these days. Screw the taxman if you can. Break the rules of road if you can. Fleece the consumer if you can. Get one up on your neighbour if you can. And who really cares about the Dalai Lama or Archbishop Tutu's birthday party because we need China's business more than we need pretty much anything else.

So, you have by now probably come to the conclusion that I am advocating that in the national interest, employment opportunities and the general economic stability of the country, we should stop getting so precious about morality and just accept that it's all just pie in the sky idealism. Perhaps you have concluded that I am arguing in favour of just accepting that the world isn't perfect and we might as well consign morality to the garbage heap for all the good it does us.

Well actually, all I am trying to do is demonstrate just how easy it is to push morality aside. How easy it is convince ourselves that morality isn't that important in the greater scheme of things.

The reality, however, is that for human beings, morality is pretty much like essential vitamins, irons, fatty acids, food, water, love and myriad other things that sustain human life.

So, the question one needs to ask is can you be immoral and happy?

Rich? Yes. Powerful? yes. But happy?  I doubt it.

Morality might have become outdated but I reckon its worth fighting for. Fighting long and fighting hard.

One has to believe that doing the right thing is not going to be detrimental. As Richard Branson said in a radio interview this week when he was commenting on the Dalai Lama visa issue - South Africa will have lost the respect of China for kow-towing to their policy with regard to the Dalai Lama. Makes you think, doesn't it?

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  • BigMoose - 2011-10-10 08:34

    The current leadership in SA has the backbone of a jellyfish.

      kumoriza - 2011-10-12 13:43

      Why are you insulting the jellyfish like that? :p

  • Tereblanche - 2011-10-10 08:57

    Show me any man living or dead whop has never sold his/ her soul for money, ask even King David. Only Jeses Christ managed to beat this question. Even Tutu himselves is sponsored by companies that chose money over moral issues.

      sabc10 - 2011-10-10 10:43

      I would agree.In China leaders have had the same to say about "morality". Its also odd to me why the reverend DL is not also critical of other nations.He seems to be very silent in this regard.

      zaatheist - 2011-10-11 04:48

      The trouble is that Jeebus did not exist either. Of course, if you have evidence, other than than the bobble, that he did then I would be interested to know.

  • NewNews - 2011-10-10 10:00

    Almost stopped reading the article there, thought you had given up, and just accepted money as all that matters in life. Luckily stayed with it. I dont think its a case of 'either or' though...Economic progress doesnt necessarily entail quality of life. High rise after highrise doesnt make for a pretty view for many. Nor wallmart after wallmart. GDP may have been America's reference point of success until now, but there are signs of discontent. Perhaps GNH as an alternative, or something else?

  • Maskitla - 2011-10-10 10:00

    Dear Chris and the readers, has anyone of you asked the Arch - what he stood to lose when the Dalai Lama did not attend his party...or even better what he stood to gain if he did attend? I think the Arch suffers from SIS - Self Importance Syndrome. It seems very much that he thinks he is better than others in the face of GOD. He seems to thinks his prayers are better than those of ordinary South Africans who pray for the continued existence of the ANC government. I am very disappointed in him - particularly as a graduate of UWC being capped by him...He has really lost it this time. It also does seem like he thinks he is entitled to be consulted on everything the government does...He must understand that he is just an ordinary citizen and his hatred of President Zuma is simply influencing his judgement on government. I am sure you will recall what President Mugabe called him..."evil little bishop" - does this surprise you? Well I am not!

      Adrian - 2011-10-10 10:15

      What a biased and unintelligent view. No use even entering into a debate with Maskitla - we're not even on the same page. He quotes Mugabe of all people in support of his immature and pathetic judgement. Mugabe, for God's sake?!

      Antwahn - 2011-10-10 10:42

      FYI Maskitla, scandalous retard -this article is about "morality" (Look it up @ wiki) A monster like Mugabe, who gave the direct order to murder many thousands, cannot be mentioned in the context of "morality" -only perhaps to illustrate the antithesis thereof.

      fireman - 2011-10-10 12:42

      Maskitla....There is an old saying, remember it well...... "It is better to remain silent an appear a fool rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt"

      mtzulu1 - 2011-10-10 15:29

      Well said Maskitla, editing will spoil it. that old Pupet must just learn shut his old mouth. who is to tell the Government how to run the country, he is bitter over tribal issues, he is a disgrace in the ministry he claims to represent. Go hang old man

  • capetownphotographer - 2011-10-10 10:05

    Talk no cook rice. Justice is coming #OccupySouthAfrica

  • v kayzen - 2011-10-10 10:15

    Maskitla.....guess SA's government are the smartest people in the room. Why did democratic countries entertain and provide safe haven for the apartheid victims??? While many south African citizens were oppressed. And including a comment by Mugabe, tahrs shameful. Maybe consider relocating there is a great idea for you!

  • Bernoo - 2011-10-10 10:22

    My view point is if you are China's ally, then their enemy is your enemy. If you don't want to be associated with them, then dont. The current government had decided to be partners with China and I think morally they were obliged to not grant the visa.

      fireman - 2011-10-10 12:56

      I suppose it depends on the image that the RSA wants to present to the world. The rest of the world supported South Africa through the dark years of apatheid. A little over a decade later RSA have forgotten human rights and support the country with the worst human rights record in the world. The only reason for this is due to the fact that the Chinese know how easy it is to bribe black Africans. Selling their souls for a handful of Yuan, makes me want to spew......

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-10-10 18:47

      South Africa has become the WHORE of the Chinese... what has MORALS GOT TO DO WITH IT?????? It is plain WHORING! You pay... you get SERVICED!!!!

  • Antwahn - 2011-10-10 10:51

    The problem with a decline in morality is that it's infectious. I myself have become a lot less moral the last 5 years; living in a land whose leadership completely oblivious of the concept. But yeah, you are right of course, I know it's worth fighting for. But it would be swimming upstream....

      sabc10 - 2011-10-10 11:52


      sabc10 - 2011-10-11 10:33

      how about starting by telling the 15million plus apple users they have blood on their hands.?

      sabc10 - 2011-10-11 12:25


  • mac-sdi - 2011-10-10 10:53

    All i want is a government that takes a stand on issues. If our government said we dont want the Dalai Lama here for trade related reasons, i would be appalled, by i would accept their reasoning. These guys are now trying to spin the issue. Tutu asked them to still grant the visa and our deputy president said he doent deal with issuing visas (even though he said there was no reason why they would not allow the man into our country)

  • Rodge the Dodge - 2011-10-10 11:00

    Brilliantly put.

  • trevb - 2011-10-10 11:09

    All that Evil needs is for good people to stand back and do nothing ! Morality is definately worth fighting for although its becoming a harder and harder battle to win ! all i can say is lets try and win it

  • Chabi - 2011-10-10 11:19

    Economic treaties have nothing to do with morality, now Mr. Moerdyk you go ahead and say it: "Morality in this respect is a pie in the sky"...denying a man a visa, if this is what it was is nothing compared to lining up your troops against a people of another country in pursuit of oil and theafter hanging the captured leader of that country in public and laying sprawled his dead children on the streets... its even worse in other cases where European countries have tighter security on the info Laws... now let us have peace with ourselves: we have prisoners who cannot attend the burial of their loved one's thereby mocking rehabilitation efforts with this visa stories as well.if Tutu wanted the Lama so much he could have told his event management to set this party up in Tibet where they would have had a swell day playing bowling.

  • louis.cheyne1 - 2011-10-10 12:53

    We should press polititions to answer for this decision, they are afterall responsible to us citizens. We cannot allow this sort of thing to continue happening, decency is worth working for.

  • Hanghim - 2011-10-10 15:00

    Dalai Lama is nothing more than a character erected by the West to defame China back in the days. What have the man ever accomplished? All he has been doing is sowing hostility to other countries toward China, creating distrust between people. Sure, some may argue that he is doing so is to liberate Tibet but liberating from what? Tibet was part of China since 700 AD and up to 1900 Chinese Civil war. If China has to give back Tibet, then Russia should give back St.Petersburg as both regions are conquered then. Further more, when the communist party settled the invasion of Japan and Civil War, they visited Tibet. They found that the Tibetan royalties(Yes, Lama included) were practising Serfdom(Slave farmers). The decision to abloish such system might contribute to the reason why the elite and the powerful in Tibet starting to organise and swaying people against China. The West media's report has been very one sided regarding this matter. Ask yourself, if Cape Town start protesting for independent, would the leader of such protest be a criminal or a saviour?

      Fred Basset - 2011-10-10 16:20

      Love your question, dude. I was about to support your ideas until you asked that question, and that made it all clear to me. In it, you liken Cape Town to Tibet, insinuating that the rest of SA is like Red China. So of course the leader of such a protest will be a saviour. If you want to know what it is like to live under an opressive regime like China, go live in Zim for a couple of years and see if that changes your mind.

      Hanghim - 2011-10-10 20:08

      I came from China, Fred. I frequently visit China too. I have family members(lots) who I communicate with currently live in China The Western media, such as CNN, has been painting China as an oppressive regime and I would like to call it bullshi since China entered the turn of the century. Sure, China's political play field is strictly out of bound and would bring forth dire consquences. However, on the ground level, people's ways of living are remained hugely unhindered. You don't have police randomly harassing people on the street, you have no food restrictions...etc. I don't see opppression at all, save for the political side of life. Of course, unless you start a huge rally or organise an extensive political network, you are rather free to discuss your political view in public places. See, your comment confirms mine too, you have never visited China, the media led you to believe people are hugely oppress in China just like Zim. You should visit China and talk to the people, it will change your mind a lot.

      Fred Basset - 2011-10-11 10:32

      Thanks for the honest reply, Hanghim. You are correct, I have no first hand knowledge of China or their policies on the ground. However, and correct me if I am wrong, I firmly believe that the reason people's way of life is "hugely unhindered" is because the populace is submissive (probably after seeing what happens if you take a stance contrary to the leadership). You could liken it to the general behaviour of black South Africans during apartheid - they were a quiet, peacful unassuming bunch for the large part. If you have seen photage of the beatings they suffered if they stood up to the police, you would understand why they (mostly) accepted their lot in life and just tried to avoid upsetting the leadership of the time. It was only a small minority that had the balls to stand up for their rights, and many of them suffered and died for their choice. Just like the handful of Chinese nationals that dare to fight for freedom.

      Hanghim - 2011-10-11 15:38

      Ai, Fred, sorry, I feel I was coming across a bit harsh. Chinese people are more resilient than you would have thought, most of our dynasties were toppled by internal uprising through out history. The truth is, we have a batch of good leaders at the moment which allows the country to grow, low unemployment rates, steady government. Dalai Lama is 20 years late! Do you know that, these Lama monks believe in Living God?

  • Cliff - 2011-10-11 07:43

    Amen to that Chris!!!!!!!!

  • Lanfear - 2011-10-11 10:04

    It is a fallacy to argue that morality has recently declined. That there used to be some unimaginable moral standard that the modern world has lost. That is not even a fallacy, it is utter BS. Are you truly trying to say that the British empire, Apartheid government, Napolean, Caesar, Augustus, Han dynasty, the "old" democratic governments of the last century, all those were more moral than we are today? Really? Because that Mr Moerdyk is what you are implying, i.e. that humanity is on some slippery moral slope. It is simply not true you know. We are in general, actually MORE moral than humanity used to be throughout most of history. The human rights we harp on about today, didn't even exist a 100 years ago. Countries have ALWAYS protected their interests, its nothing new. We are just more aware of it on a world-wide scale today, with the technology that grants us international news, internet, social media, etc. China's human rights record and oppression of the previous century is well known. And hardly exists anymore. "Hanghim" made very valid comments. China does have the right idea in many ways. Human rights and freedom to an extent, tempered with "in the best interst of all" and they do take the long-term view. Restricting people to one child, harsh sentences for corrupt officials, etc. is a better long-term strategy that will eventually benefit all. Humanity in general are "human righting" and "politically correcting" ourselves into very deep shyte.

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