Liberal Deception - DA Style

2013-11-28 06:30

The eagle of liberty that once soared over South African politics has been replaced with a flightless bird scratching with other fowls in the ground cover.  In the sad company of coercive bottom feeders such as the ANC, trade union movement and tripartite alliance, the DA has become a race-driven party, an also ran in South Africa’s sordid political milieu.

 The Democratic Alliance has now clarified its position in relation to ANC inspired distortions of the economy by supporting anti free market principles in all but the fine print. Having considered its position at a recent party indaba it declared its hand by publicly answering a string of questions in relation to black advancement, BEE, and Employment Equity all in the affirmative.

It interrogated (and answered) itself in this way -

> Does the DA support black advancement? and answered   YES

> Does the DA believe that race matters for redress?  and answered    YES

> Does the DA support Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment?  and answered  YES

> Does the DA support Employment Equity/Affirmative Action?   and answered YES

Now, had the DA been a liberal party of higher principle with a long term view on what is best for all South Africans it might have answered these questions differently.

My own suggestions would have been:

> Does the DA support black advancement?       and answered YES

> Does the DA believe that race matters for redress?      and answered    IRRELAVENT

> Does the DA support Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment? and answered NO

> Does the DA support Employment Equity/Affirmative Action?  and answered NO

My reasons are clear.

Firstly, black advancement (point 1) is of overriding importance and the only issue needing to be resolved is – so how can it be achieved?

The other points - 2, 3, and 4 – all fall at various points on the spectrum of political spin and do grave collateral harm since they are coercive and political in nature, subvert the national economy and do a great deal more harm than good.

Let us look at them in turn.

Point 2 – “Does the DA believe that race matters for redress?” is political waffle because it is non-actionable and irrelevant in a non racial society such as the one the DA (and even, once upon a time, the ANC!) used to promote.

On the other hand, individual sovereignty that transcends race and colour is all important and would yield far better results notwithstanding that both major political parties have elected to eschew the very principle on which our constitution rests.

Point 3 – support for BEE - can fall anywhere on the spin spectrum from meaningless to coercive, for who defines empowerment? And what does the term really mean?

It is essentially indefinable other than from a predetermined point of view. “Empowerment” as enunciated in South African political circles, for example fails to empower in any way, but redistributes from those who are economically productive and create value, to those who are politically favoured and create none.

It is an instrument of patronage, with high potential voter appeal because nobody understands what it really is or does. It is a ruse.

Indeed, the term “empowerment” – as misleading as it is - has become an ANC brand with far reaching negative real consequences, but high in populist “pull”. Thus the DA is paying royalties without even realizing it, genuflecting to the ANC’s spin in the process.

In the meanwhile, the true consequences of “BEE” have become plain for all to see; cronyism; economic inequality, corruption, economic distortion, sluggish growth and unemployment.

“Broad Based” empowerment (BBEEE) is a somewhat lame and doomed attempt to spread the benefits of confiscation more thinly and to more recipients but is coercive and inherently damaging because it compromises standards rather than optimizing efficiencies; it is inflationary because it pushes up costs; and it penalizes enterprise as it slows down growth by institutionalizing inefficiency.

It represents an uncompetitive and toxic economic model since racial demographics are such that “BBEEE” defies simple mathematical logic. Trading skin colour for merit is like trading water for fuel in a petrol engine; it might fill the space, but it wrecks the engine.

The notion is racist and its effects inefficient – representing a complete anathema to DA historical values. Good education – and nothing beside - is the fountainhead of true empowerment. There are no short cuts.

Point 4, which covers “employment equity and affirmative action” similarly institutionalises inefficiency and race as societal precepts.

Case studies examining the results of affirmative action confirm that its effects range from somewhat harmful to deeply toxic – but are never positive. Some examples -

Tens of thousands have died in India – the oldest theatre of affirmative action in the world, harking back to pre-independence in 1947 – as a result of ethnic divisions promoted by affirmative action legislation; in Nigeria the Biafran crisis, costing a million civilian lives, resulted from similar racial gerrymandering in pursuit of demographic proportionality; and in Malaysia the secession of Singapore resulted from human engineering ignited by envy of the Chinese population. In no nation in which it has been tried has there been any evidence of the population at large benefitting from affirmative action. Invariably a tiny proportion of the racially favoured group benefits as a result of political patronage – which is precisely what we see in South Africa.

In any event, the uniquely South African notion of affirmative action - seeking to benefit a majority of the population at the expense of a minority (unlike in any other instance, where the protection of minorities is sought) verges on the absurd, since it constitutes another mathematical anathema. To assume that – say - 90% of the population could benefit at the expense of 10% invites the destruction of a productive minority with unique skills and productive talents from which others stand to benefit in the long run by osmosis.

An intelligent administration would promote and cultivate such a minority – not seek to dilute, diminish and erode its influence.

We can scarcely but conclude that liberal principles have been wiped off the face of South African politics and that human engineering and the coercive state will have the final say for the foreseeable future.

Economic hardship, the distortion and impairment of private business and burgeoning unemployment remain foregone conclusions until fiscal collapse necessitates drastic – and conceivably external – action.

Once that point is reached the DA may regret that it has succumbed to the easy route of consorting with political ne’r-do-wells and adopting their unsustainable ideologies for the sake of a few thousand votes. Because apart from holding to principle, it is always a good idea to watch the company you keep.


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