Latest Entries »

[I’ve had a series of posts bubbling in my head for a while, and now seems like a good time to actually start the process of getting them out of my head.  I don’t know how long it will take to fully layout my thoughts, but as my ability to go months without posting is well-established, feel free to poke me from time to time and say “Where’s your next post, you slacker?!”.  But now to begin…]

Universal opinions are often mistaken for universal principles

– Seth Czerepak

You can’t change the fruit without changing the root.

– Stephen R Covey

I should start by describing what I mean by Paradigmatic Pluralism.  As I have mentioned before, a paradigm is the set of metaphysical assumptions we hold to as we receive stimuli from the outside world.  These assumptions are so fundamental that we can (and often do) go great stretches of our lives without even realising that we hold them.  For example, the very idea that there is an outside world is a metaphysical assumption, but when was the last time you questioned whether there indeed was an outside world?  Whenever you find yourself in a debate and you’re wondering how the person you are debating is so idiotic as to completely miss what you are saying, it is possibly because the paradigm that person has is so different that they think you are saying something quite different to what you think you are saying.

Pluralism is about having multiple things at the same time.  Multiculturalism, for example, is a form of pluralism, where multiple cultures inhabit the same space.

Putting the two words together denotes having multiple views of what is real.  In a ‘days gone by’ political context, this would be referred to as Religious Freedom, but I find that people are confused by the use of the word ‘Religious’ here.  This is not simply about who, what, how or even whether to worship.  This is about what we perceive to be reality itself and its meaning and how that relates to the structure of societies and governments.

Over the following posts I hope to explain how I think we have, as societies, destroyed the very ideals about pluralistic societies that we think we uphold, what we have determined to be universally true and the perils of the course on which such determinations take us.

Here’s a rough outline of where I’m planning to go with this, which will probably change as it goes on:

#1: Introduction & Overview (You are here!)
#2: Why Anarchism is False
#3: The Myth of Secular Neutrality
#4: The Modern State Religion
#5: The Wall of Separation
#6: Good Fences as a Federal Metaphor
#7: Summary & Conclusions

Soooo…..General Election tomorrow…

I spent today looking at manifestos. It hasn’t helped much – although I’m intrigued to know how the Tories got Nicole Kidman to pose for theirs (page 10 btw) – and neither does the knowledge that Alistair Burt has essentially already won this seat.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be down the polling station in the morning, but a spoiled ballot is still the most likely outcome.

I sometimes wonder if the only way to find a candidate I’d vote for is to become one.  That thought is still a long way off overcoming the primal sense of ickiness I have about election campaigning and the way politicians inevitably wind up speaking about things.

Anyhoo, what actually moved me to post tonight was a Facebook comment on the LVT group about this article:

It is also the case that a lot of the chronically homeless have substance abuse issues or mental health issues which may be improved by Housing First.

But interestingly, when there’s no free land, the general rate of wages is determined by a bit of a race to the bottom.

Consider the Irish potato famine. The Irish didn’t merely choose to eat only potatoes. They were economizing in order to keep their heads above water in lieu of rack-rents.

And the more they economized, the more average disposable income was available. So once the practice catches on the landlords immediately raise the rent in response because they can. Just like they have in Silicon Valley and Williston North Dakota and anywhere else when average disposable income rises.

Thus, wages are in large part determined by how uneconomical people are.

If all the drug addicts in the world stopped wasting their money on drugs, they’d soon have to waste it on rent.

So thank every person with wasteful spending habits for keeping your rent low.

Smokers, gamblers, etc. Here’s to you.

The ‘lowest that workers will accept’ part of Ricardo’s Law has always been the vaguest part of it to me, but the statement “wages are in large part determined by how uneconomical people are” triggered a bit of a lightbulb moment.

Turns out the 2nd Law of Temping* has greater application than I first realised.

Yes, Wages can sometimes be higher because labourers simply cannot conceive of being paid less.  If they ever do find a way to make pay stretch better, the efficiency gains wind up in Rent eventually.  The faux-libs would normally claim victory at this point “See!! It’s all voluntary!! Stop being a statist, you filthy statist!”  They miss the point.  This behaviour is in response to an inequity, not a cause of an inequality.

So we can add ‘self-reliance’ to the list of things that the Law of Rent corrupts….

*Fraggle’s 2nd Law of Temping reads: There is no reward for Efficiency.

If it should be … the will of God that I might live to behold that temple completed and finished from the foundation to the top stone, I will say, ‘O Lord, it is enough. Lord, let thy servant depart in peace.’

Joseph Smith

Today I was set-apart as a counsellor in the Bishopric of my church congregation, and thus also ordained a High Priest.  While this could rightly be considered a significant personal event, it’s not normally something I would specifically mention on here (let alone announce!), but I do so because it provides a bookend for what has been a remarkable chapter personally that has taken place over (exactly) the last 365 days.

Much that has transpired I will not relate (and I doubt I ever will), but there are some things that I’ve learned from the experience that I wish to share and hope that it may be of benefit to you, dear reader!

  • We are fundamentally broken

Part of the reason we are to forgive all of everything is because if we didn’t we would spend our whole lives being offended.  Look closely enough and you will find the faults of others that you seek.

Part of the reason we are counselled against pride is because we do not see ourselves clearly.  To do so would probably be the ultimate demoralisation.

If you find yourself disheartened at your personal struggles, take comfort that everyone else is struggling too, in ways that do not show.

  • There is a long list of people in my life that I have let down and there’s nothing I can do about it

Because I (along with the rest of you) am fundamentally broken, there is much in my life I have not done that I should have, and this will continue to be the case for a long, long time.  I apologise in advance.

We are going to let each other down.  We simply are, and we won’t be able fix it.  We may not even know we broke it.  But take heart…

  • Both of the above are OK….as long as….

The wonder of the atonement and power of Christ is that it and He takes the broken and the wounded and, by degrees, leads the soul bearing the corruption of this world through the water and the fire and makes them fit for the kingdom of heaven and thus eternal union.  And this can all happen without people seeing it, or acknowledging it.

One of my new favourite scriptures is Helaman 3:29-30:

29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—

30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.

  • Priesthood keys are real

For all the faults of the ones holding them (and I know plenty about *that*!), God established an order and when a thing requires the involvement of keys, trying to work around them or avoid them will. not. work.  Just so you know!

  • We wink at the commandments of God at our peril

So much that the Lord asks us to do requires faith, because the consequences are, at best, non-obvious and at worst firmly counter-intuitive under our paradigms, but the results of ignoring that guidance are and will be devastating.  The worst part is we will do our level best to pretend that it didn’t really happen, or it’s no big deal.  That will be a lie.

  • We will confess at judgement that the Lord is just

At the last day, when we stand before God, we will bring our excuses, our theories, our rationalisations, even our Strong Reasons(TM) against Him, and watch in horror as they crumble to dust before what really is.

Picking that sort of fight is a hiding to nothing.  And we get nothing out of it.

  • Jesus stands at the door and knocks……….and waits…………

“For all of this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still”

Wherever you think you are, whatever you think your faith is like, whatever you think you have done, whatever you think *others* have done, the Saviour calls to you.  While we need to open the door, He will be there when we do, even if no one else is.

 

A bit of a disjointed hotch-potch pot-pourri, to be sure, but I couldn’t let today go without saying it.

Time for a grand adventure, methinks.  Let’s see what the next 365 has in store…

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Carl Sagan

So for work-related reasons far too boring to mention, I’ve been thinking about databases.  You’re excited already, I can tell!

Anyway what started me off on this post was this suggestion from IndieWebCamp that you shouldn’t use databases for web application data storage, but rather use the native filesystem.  Now while IWC seems to be heavily focused on blogs and other small-scale social stuff as far as I can tell, I think there is a general principle waiting to be drawn forth, but I don’t think it’s what the author(s) here intend.

The page refers to this post bigging up 2d text arrays as a means of data storage and it’s at this point that I had a little realisation.  More specifically where it starts waxing lyrical about the wonders of such intuitive, user-friendly tools as grep and sed, and I started wondering if I was reading the musings of a masochist.

But yeah, my realisation.  Yes, databases are a nightmare, but they needn’t be, they’re just a tool being used at the wrong level.  When the people at IWC talk about human-readable data, they forget that as soon as you start talking about computing, there is no such thing.  You can’t take apart your hard drive and have a quick peek at your appointments for next week.  It’s all in code.  The reasons we think of some codings as being human-readable is because all the infrastructure to convert that code into a usable form (all the way from magnetic charges on a drive to ASCII) is standardised and ubiquitously transparent.  We don’t have to think about how it happens, it just does, and until we can do that with databases, they will always be black boxes full of hardship and corruption, and we will not gain the full benefits of their powers.

So how do we get databases to the level of transparent ubiquity that ASCII files enjoy?  Well, one part (standardisation) may yet prove itself beyond the wit (or more specifically, the pride) of man, but I have a suggestion to begin with.

Consider: Filesystems are data storage…..Databases are data storage…..Can I make it anymore obvious?…..oh….well….I guess I can…

No-one (well, nearly no-one) talks about filesystems anymore as rampaging beasts out to devour your precious data anymore, like they do databases.  Filesystems are reliable, because they’ve had to be – everything relies on them, including databases!  If databases want to go to the next level, they need to be the new filesystem.  And I mean that literally, make a kernel driver and run your OS from it!  Then, and only then, can databases take over the world.

If you are the person who found this blog using the search term ‘lord fragglegate’, I would LOVE to know what in the world you were actually searching for, and more importantly, did you find it?  I tried that search and got nothing meaningful…

I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

D&C 64:10

I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

D&C 38:27

Thinking about grievance got me thinking about forgiveness, and Zion, and then I saw this and I better understood something that’s been resting on me for a while.

More and more I find myself being drawn to the idea that what the Lord calls us to when we are invited to righteousness is not some abstract standard of behaviour, but rather a total unity; a kind of social intimacy that we can never truly grasp in our current state.  Our sins are what keep us from that union, again in ways we do not grasp, so much so that we scoff at the commandments intended to lead us there.

But other than our own sins, we can let other’s sins (and even things that are not sins) keep us from that union too.  We can harbour bitterness and resentment, and then when the time comes that all must be brought together, our pain will demand that we stay away.  Separate.  Alone, to some eternally damning degree.

We will need to lay all our burdens down if we are to enter that ultimate celestial union.  Even if, for now, we must keep some at arm’s length for our (or their) safety’s sake, we can still long for the day when all barriers can fall.  We can keep heaven in our heart.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows

In thinking of the possibilities of social organization, we are apt to assume that greed is the strongest of human motives, and that systems of administration can be safely based only upon the idea that the fear of punishment is necessary to keep men honest — that selfish interests are always stronger than general interests. Nothing could be further from the truth.

From whence springs this lust for gain, to gratify which men tread everything pure and noble under their feet; to which they sacrifice all the higher possibilities of life; which converts civility into a hollow pretense, patriotism into a sham, and religion into hypocrisy; which makes so much of civilized existence an Ishmaelitish warfare, of which the weapons are cunning and fraud?

Does it not spring from the existence of want? Carlyle somewhere says that poverty is the hell of which the modern Englishman is most afraid. And he is right.

Henry George

A few days ago, Matt Walsh made a post on religious freedom that got a lot of comment.  I found that post didn’t sit right with me, as much as I could agree with the basic idea.  Eventually I realised that my issue was that discussing this as a question of religious freedom was the wrong framing.  This isn’t about people having the right to act on their beliefs, but rather about being able to choose who they will and will not associate with.  Fortunately, Walsh himself drew this conclusion the day after.  This follow-up post is much better in terms of drawing out a basic principle, and has some very basic, but forgotten truths.  My favourite being:

Now, instead of making this an argument about “gay rights” or “religious freedom,” I think it’s time to shift the discussion towards the broader concept of property rights, freedom of association, and free speech. That conversation got bogged down by people attempting to determine whether or not the photographer, the baker, the t-shirt maker, and the florist were “homophobic” or “bigoted.” But that isn’t the question. I don’t think they are bigots, but it doesn’t matter. Bigotry is not illegal. Hatred is not illegal. Racism is not illegal. These are spiritual crimes — problems of the heart. The government is not omniscient. It cannot possibly legislate our thoughts and emotions.

We will never be free as long as it keeps trying.

Freedom of association is fundamental to any free society, but fundamental to that freedom is its corollary: the freedom of disassociation.  Without that then you do not have freedom of association, as you are forced to associate, in whatever capacity.  You can no longer meaningfully choose who to have as friends, or who you will buy from, if those choices are made for you.

When stated in these terms, the freedom of association is well understood and defended (for the most part), but strangely not so when spoken of in terms of who we buy from.  We have established a notion that only one side of a trade has the right to decide if they want to be party to a transaction or not.  Does that not strike you as odd?  Indeed, the great irony is that almost invariably those who complain about some trader claiming a right to disassociate will then call on others to exercise their right to disassociate.  On its own, that would be entirely legitimate, but when doing so as part of an effort to get government to force said trader to transact, it becomes rank hypocrisy.

…….and yet……..

….and yet it’s worth asking how such a state of affairs could come about.  How have we come to view such a one-sided application of free association as the epitome of justice?  So much so that almost no-one will dare suggest anything different, except quibbling about in which rare instances a business will be allowed to assert their own will, and then have the audacity to call this state of affairs the ‘equal protection of the law’?

Those of you who’ve read some of this blog before will know where I’m going with this.  Anti-liberty philosophies require more than just words and activism to gain the levers of power.  The main ingredient is greivance.  There has to be something that the people can no longer stand.  Something so rotten within society that they will listen to anybody who claims to have a fix, no matter how wrong they are.

Greivance is what empowers the enemies of liberty, and the socialist narrative of capitalist exploitation drives the notion that businesses should not have the right to disassociate through the greivances of workers stemming at least as far back as the Victorian Era.  There’s a reason that the lasting cultural memory of the Industrial Revolution can be summed up in the word ‘Dickens’.

But what if the narrative was wrong?  What if it wasn’t capital that was the source of inequity in British society?  What if it was something more fundamental?  So fundamental, in fact, that today is actually no different from before?

And that’s where the titular home-owner-ism comes in.  It is not capital (or even money) that is the root issue here, but land.  When land can be bought and sold in perpetuity, then those who don’t have any are at the mercy of those who do.  If you are at the mercy of landowners, then it matters on what grounds they can refuse you access.  If every coffee shop then you can always make your own coffee (or even your own coffee shop!), but if every landowner refuses to let you use their land, then you literally have nowhere to stand.

With a Land Value Tax/Citizen’s Income setup, there is always somewhere to go, even if literally everyone else refuses to have anything to do with you.  You are no longer at anyone else’s mercy.  You may not be able to be precisely where you want to be (who really can?), but you can always be, and that is where freedom lies.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still consequences to being socially shunned. It is a big deal – but anyone who has ever called for a boycott of anything for any reason has no cause to complain.  After all, what else is a boycott but social shunning?  And who doesn’t use social means to influence people’s behaviour?  Indeed, how would any society function if you couldn’t?

Honestly, though, I don’t expect hardcore professional victims to care about this.  They’re having their time in the sun, but anyone who wants true freedom needs to understand that unless everybody gets it, no-one will.  Greivance will see to that.

We have the economy we deserve

This reminded me of a conversation I had earlier in the year with a recently retired gentleman.  He was reflecting on his life and remarked that things had worked out financially for him, and that his house is now worth somewhat more than what he paid for it.  To which I, of course, had to ask the obvious question:

“But where did that increase come from?”

“(Laughing) Who cares?”

And he’s not wrong…

The young woman laments the whole campus landscape of alcohol-soaked hookup sex. “Women are encouraged to do it, which ignores all the risks for us,” she says. “You get embarrassed and ashamed, so you try to make light of it. Then women get violated and degraded, and they accept it. Who does this culture benefit? Alcohol predators. It doesn’t liberate anybody.”

Emily Yoffe

I would be my brother’s keeper;
I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart.

Lord, I Would Follow Thee (LDS Hymnal #220)

About once a month or so, I see an article/blog post like this one appear on my Facebook feed.  Every month the same argument is made, and each month it makes less sense to me.  As you can see, it’s now bothered me to the point where I blog about it.

First things first: I don’t like the phrase “Modest is hottest”.  Simply because I don’t like slogans in general.  They are far too reductive and people have a tendency to take a slogan and behave like it is self-evident truth in itself, when it is merely a mnemonic summary of a larger concept.  I understand why people use them, and can even accept that because I’m strange and most people aren’t like me that what I think isn’t actually relevant on this, but it doesn’t stop me being annoyed.

But that’s not what this post is about.  I want to talk about this strange backlash going on these days against the concept of modesty, more specifically the idea that part of modesty’s value (at least, the part of modesty that concerns dress) is that it reduces possible temptations for others (and this is typically referring to men).  Moore has written a fairly standard criticism of this for the most part, I think,  so it seems like a good post to examine.

Moore writes:

The second Article of Faith states, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins…” Constantly telling a girl that a man’s thoughts and actions are her responsibility is doctrinally incorrect.

Leaving aside the seamless shift from the earlier ‘occasionally hear[ing]’ to ‘constantly telling’, this subtly distorts the second article of faith, and obscures the scriptural fact that we do bear *a* (as distinct from *the*) responsibility towards others’ attitudes and actions.   Jacob, son of Lehi,  spoke of the duty he and his brother Joseph felt towards those for whom they had a stewardship to teach:

And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

Alma the Younger’s guilt during his incapacity was centred on the effects his words and actions had had on others to the point where he considered what he had done as tantamount to murder:

Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.

Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.

In an even more analogous case, Paul sought to avoid situations where his actions could be misinterpreted by those without sufficient gospel knowledge:

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

The concept of immodesty as temptation even pops up in General Conference from time to time, most explicitly in recent times by Elder Oaks, I believe.

The idea that the concept of interpersonal responsibility is undoctrinal is false.  Indeed, it is specifically refuted in scripture.  Yes, there are fundamental limits to that responsibility, but it exists nonetheless, and it stems out of the intention that we regard each other’s welfare as our own.

Moore continues:

It also translates closely to the idea that it is a woman’s responsibility to maintain the sexual standards of a relationship. Elder Jeffery R. Holland said, “I have heard all my life that it is the young woman who has to assume the responsibility for controlling the limits of intimacy in courtship because a young man cannot. What an unacceptable response to such a serious issue! What kind of man is he, what priesthood or power or strength or self-control does this man have that lets him develop in society, grow to the age of mature accountability, perhaps even pursue a university education and prepare to affect the future of colleagues and kingdoms and the course of the world, but yet does not have the mental capacity or the moral will to say, ‘I will not do that thing?’ No, this sorry drugstore psychology would have us say, ‘He just can’t help himself. His glands have complete control over his life–his mind, his will, his entire future.’… I refuse to buy some young man’s feigned innocence who wants to sin and call it psychology.”
[emphasis in Moore]

[First, an aside, the transcipt of this talk (which is definitely worth reading in full, btw) that Moore refers to has been edited (I think for reasons of translatability).  In the original talk, the sentence “What an unacceptable response…” above was actually “Nothing I have heard on this topic makes me want to throw up more than that!”, which is much more like Elder Holland language!!  Anyhoo…]

The irony here is that this passage actually makes my point for me.  What is it about male irresponsibility that disgusts Elder Holland so much?  That it means women end up taking on more responsibility, ie that male actions and attitudes makes the female’s life harder.  So Elder Holland chews the guys out.

Now consider how the address would have been different had the issue been that most women spent their life dressed for a slutwalk, while the men were showing excellent restraint.  Would he *really* have spent his time telling the men how they needed to keep on showing restraint and not said a word to the women?  The point is if we can reasonably adjust ourselves so as to be supportive of another’s efforts at righteousness, should we not do so?

As context for Elder Holland’s remarks, some Elder Christofferson:

There has long been a cultural double standard that expected women to be sexually circumspect while excusing male immorality. The unfairness of such a double standard is obvious, and it has been justifiably criticized and rejected. In that rejection, one would have hoped that men would rise to the higher, single standard, but just the opposite has occurred—women and girls are now encouraged to be as promiscuous as the double standard expected men to be*. Where once women’s higher standards demanded commitment and responsibility from men, we now have sexual relations without conscience, fatherless families, and growing poverty. Equal-opportunity promiscuity simply robs women of their moral influence and degrades all of society. In this hollow bargain, it is men who are “liberated” and women and children who suffer most.

*and this is something I’ve blogged on before.

It turns out though, that Moore does not, in fact, believe her own position:

I know in my own life, I have always been meticulously modest. However, I have constantly been at the receiving end of some of the most degrading comments. “Wow, you can tell you have a huge rack even in that sweatshirt!” and “You’re a solid 8, except for your boobs. They’re a 10,” probably come in as most memorable. I had FHE brothers admit to me that they assumed I was not a very good Mormon because of the way I’m built. As sweatshirt man pointed out, there is really only so much I can do, short of wearing a giant bag to hide the fact I look like a woman.

For a long time, when I would hear these things, my mind couldn’t but help think that it was somehow my fault. I clearly wasn’t a very good person, or else I wouldn’t be having men say things like this to me. My value as a daughter of God was being degraded, and instead of demanding to be treated like a human being, I shrunk back, thinking I had been the one in the wrong. [emphasis mine]

I get it.  Those guys were douches.  But the whole point of the post was that it should be irrelevant what other people are doing; we should be able to act and think rightly, regardless.  Why does Moore suddenly claim victim status, blaming the douches for her loss of self-worth?  Suck it up, kid.  After all, your feelings are not their responsibility…

This is what irks me the most about this concept.  If we really were completely self-contained agency modules, we could have just been plugged into our own personal (and personalised) instance of some kind of Matrix-style simulation and got things done.  Yet we are here with each other.  We are meant to be together.  What we do affects each other, and we are meant to care about that, because we are meant to be helping.

———–

PS – One final thought which, strictly speaking, isn’t on modesty but was actually what motivated me to post in the first place. Moore writes:

Someone once told me that when you are teaching women to change what they do to prevent being assaulted or raped, what you are actually doing is saying “Make sure he assaults someone else.” You are not fixing the real problem, which is the man’s problem.

I thought I had heard everything on this topic, but it turns out I was wrong, and it also turns that this is what makes me want to throw up most!  I’m astounded first at the utter naiveity of it, as if no-one had ever considered/tried telling rapists not to rape before, but what filled me with disdain most was the realisation that if ‘teaching women what they [can] do to prevent being assaulted or raped’ is equivalent to saying ‘make sure he assaults someone else’, then not teaching women would be equivalent to saying ‘You need to take one for the team’.

And if that doesn’t make you want to throw up, then you and I are about to have a falling out.

“I can only say that I felt morally obliged to do what I did.”

“Great anger and violence can never build a nation.”

Nelson Mandela

[I’m trying to see if I can speed up my posts and still have them make sense, so apologies if this fails entirely]

Much like Thatcher, Mandela dies a polarising figure.  It’s just that more people believe he is a saint rather than a devil.  Whatever the truth of the matter (and I wonder lazily whether anything he supposedly did in his MK days was ever the subject of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission), his death leaves South Africa in a moment of decision.

Whether he was a monster or a martyr is not the issue, but whether he will be permitted to die a man or be immortalised as a myth.  I think the latter would be a disaster, regardless of his personal righteousness, for the ANC would (as I believe it currently does) use that status to create a de facto one-party state, with consequences that I think are already apparent.

Mandela must not become the posthumous Geordie Messiah of South Africa.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 502 other followers