A law against racism will be undemocratic

2017-01-01 13:45

Almost exactly a year ago an economist and bank executive named Chris Hart made the following statement – “More than 25 years after Apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities.”

Astonishingly, his utterances now contribute to a justification (along with things said by other whites) for a new law to ostensibly ban “racist” speech and to "target racism".

Anyone with a vestige of intelligence would recognise that nothing he said in this quote is remotely racist; and the same might very well apply to others deemed to have erred.

The victims Hart referred to do exist – in the form of the poor; those who protest routinely at their plight (poor service delivery, corrupt officialdom, etc.) resulting from state ineptitude, and the results of unemployment generated by the economic policies of the ANC and its ideological partners.

Yet not only the victims but the organisations responsible for these dysfunctions are predominantly black.

So where is the (white) racism that proposed legislation is meant to shield us all from?

Hart’s statement is one of fact and is neither racist nor intimidating of blacks, unless they are seeking confrontation (very likely), or a pretext for making trouble or muzzling white public discourse. The fact that the Standard Bank threw Hart under the proverbial bus to curry favour with such elements is to the organisation’s obvious discredit and testament to its lack of principles. Indeed it closely parallels the pitiful capitulation of Max Price at the University of Cape Town during the student unrest of 2015 and 2016. Both are equally devoid of leadership and principle.

The second part of Hart's statement is also true but - unlike the first - focuses on the reality of black racism. His suggestion that minorities are the target of hatred is borne out by the hate speech of high profile politicians and civil servants - from the likes of Julius Malema through to Hlaudi Moetsoeneng.

The former is on record as saying that his party (the EFF) is not calling for the slaughter of whites yet - a statement against which government has failed to take any action.

The latter, former CEO of the SABC and a proven charlatan and wrecking ball of public office rounded on the previous public protector, Thuli Madonsela for “not going after any whites”. Whites should be pleased with that – but alas, it has the reverse effect on the pro legislation and get-em-at-all-costs constituency.

The Big Issue is of course – A denial of truth and the futile urge to legislate outcomes

The fact that speaking truth to incompetence, corruption, racist paranoia, ignorance and palpable stupidity provokes the likely passing of restrictive laws and the surveillance of what people think, throws the time honoured principles of democracy and freedom of speech into turmoil. It makes our national trajectory negative and dangerous.

We need more people like Chris Hart – and principled organisations or bodies they represent (not the likes of the Standard Bank!) to front up and call those incapable of rational thought to shed their ignorance and seek the light of reason.

Our democracy demands no less.

Laws aimed at preserving ignorance and promoting vacuous clap trap should have no place in civilised society.

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