Maybe political parties should have to pass an IQ Test before registering for elections?

2014-02-25 10:19

Let us be clear on one thing. Ours is by any measure a low intelligence democracy with many warts and distortions - mainly self inflicted. So to improve the quality of government – whenever that might come about - is likely to be a long and arduous process requiring considerably more cognitive capacity than we have seen from the state in the past 20 years. And yet it could have been worse.

The manifesto of the EFFers makes me wonder whether a process for intelligence screening might not help because contrary to all the hype at the launch of the new South Africa in 1994, we started making a hash of things from the very beginning. Surely we should be trying to avoid the same mistakes?

For a start, the new blue print for global economics and free markets - implemented for the first time throughout most of the world in the late 1980’s (after stagflation, a lack of economic growth and soaring unemployment had taken their toll) passed the New South Africa by. Instead, we remained stuck in a socialist time warp.

The ANC, Cosatu, the Communist Party et al collectively ignored the newly learned lessons and would have picked up where Stalin, Castro and others had left off had they had half a choice. But they were inconveniently constrained by the realities of globalization, the necessity to relate to the outside world, and a warning issued by then president of the People’s Republic of China to Mandela that the communist economic system simply did not work (China had already started to turn its economy around from 1979).

Nonetheless, rather than adopt the model that the world had by then accepted, our politicians allowed trade unions extensive powers that stunted business activity; fostered a growing public sector to trump entrepreneurial development; adopted protectionism and patronage at the expense of work quality; ensured that race trumps merit in the workplace; regulated and codified at every opportunity and desecrated a potentially strong state education system.

In short we failed to launch a successful economy and develop human capital – which has resulted in a fragile and largely dysfunctional democracy. Almost all government initiatives have impeded economic progress on account of the ruling constituency’s well earned inferiority complex and an oft stated “need for redress”.

Of course, using numerical voter superiority in pursuit of control and sectional gain is nothing new - but it does carry long term costs and must lead to an ever worsening situation. The problem is that cognitive bottom feeders have reached precisely the wrong conclusions at every turn, bringing us to the point where the EFFers – misguided and cognitively inept as they are – stand a chance of becoming a viable and dangerous political option.

For Julius Malema’s brigade of new age economists has spelt out 27 problems and offered “solutions”. Some examples of these problems – taken largely verbatim from their manifesto:

• black people are still not free and are trapped in squalor, unsafe and unhealthy conditions

• the black majority is still trapped in landlessness, homelessness and hopelessness with young and old black workers are still subjected to slave wages and dangerous working conditions in the mines, farms, factories, retail stores, and other workplaces; domestic workers and farm workers still work under difficult conditions without basic workers' rights

• black people battle to survive financially, trapped by debt and often blacklisted by Credit bureaux

• black women still suffer triple oppression and exploitation on the basis of their gender, race and class

• black professionals in all spheres of work, the accountants, auditors, doctors, academics, lawyers, engineers, professionals in the ICT sector and many other professions are still subjected to racial discrimination and unequal treatment

• the police still kill people! They killed them in Marikana, Mothutlung, Ficksburg, Relela and all over South Africa ..and so on. Now that is a pretty dodgy report card after 20 years of liberation.

Drawing from this general picture, the EFF’s strategy has been defined as -

• Gaining control of the economy “in order to transform it to benefit all South Africans”;

• Committing to fight for minimum wages for all; and

• Following a “Marxist-Leninist Fanonian” economic model

Should you perchance be wondering how this will all be achieved, the EFFers have that covered too:

> Expropriate South Africa's land without compensation for equal redistribution and use

> Nationalise mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation.

> Build state and government capacity, which will lead to the abolition of tenders.

> Provide free quality education, healthcare, houses, and sanitation.

> Offer massive protection for industrial development to “create millions of sustainable jobs, including the introduction of minimum wages in order to close the wage gap between the rich and the poor, close the apartheid wage gap and promote rapid career paths for all people in the workplace”.

> Massively develop African economy and advocate a move from reconciliation to justice on the entire continent.

> Foster open, accountable, corrupt-free government and a society without fear of victimisation by state agencies.

And there we have it - simple isn't it?

In other words the national dialogue has sunk to a level where a laundry list of improbable objectives and dumb solutions is on the table – and is likely to attract sufficient votes to make the party the 3rd largest in the nation following the 2014 elections. (I almost hesitate to point out the obvious and suggest that the implementation of these policies would lead to inevitable famine and financial ruin).

Never mind. In socio economic studies published between 2006 and 2009 it was determined that nations characterized by successful and growing economies and viable democracies have a pervasively higher intelligence quotient than those that do not. The results were convincing enough for the authors to conclude that the peoples’ IQ is a more powerful determinant of both economic success (greater by far than mineral riches, agricultural and climatic advantage and similar windfall benefits) and democratic performance, than any other factors. Other studies at the time also revealed that cultural values promoting individualism, risk taking and secularism are far more conducive to economic success than those fostering statism, group driven values, religious adherence, regulation and central planning. This largely explains the success of the world’s lurch towards free markets during the globalization phase from 1990 on, during which between 700 million and a billion people emerged from poverty (as defined by the world bank). I have a strong sense that had the past 20 years seen good national education, the exercise of economic common sense and the application of business acumen in national policy, the EFFers would never have seen the light of day, which would have saved us the embarrassment of a political entity as vacuous and remote from reality as it clearly is. I do hope that the EFFers don't become the ANC's most notable and enduring legacy - because it certainly opened the door for them, then fed the flames that have sustained its growth through its own incompetence, corruption, economic stagnation and patronage. In short, ANC ineptitude created the Economic Freedom Fighters Party and continues to sustain it in the minds of cognitively challenged voters. Come to think of it, maybe the ANC should have been required to write the IQ test? References

[1] IQ and Global Inequality & IQ and the Wealth of Nations: Richard Lyn & Tatu Vanhanen, Washington Summit Publishers, 2006

[2] The Limits of Democratisation: Tatu Vanhanen, Washington Summit Publishers, 2009

[3] The Central Liberal Truth and Culture Matters: Lawrence E Harrison, Oxford University Press, 2006

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