Rhoda Kadalie says all too often it's whites who try to negate other whites' constitutional rights
Kallie Kriel's off the shoulder response to Adriaan Basson's mealy-mouthed attack on Afriforum is the kind of debate we should be having in our public forums. The politically correct media have condemned Afriforum for daring to take Julius Malema to court for that horrible "Kill the Boer Kill the Farmer" slogan.
Whether chanted in the struggle or not, this song is disgusting. Whether or not Judge Lamont ruled against it, it will remain hate speech. Yet holier than thou Basson insists that Afriforum's lawsuit was inspired by rightwing impulses that further polarise South Africa. What if I argue to the contrary? What if I argue that AfriForum did this precisely to stop racism and polarisation?
It is of course easier for limp-wristed Basson to take on Kriel rather than Julius Malema - the megalomaniac of racism and sexism. Malema's raison d'etre is to divide people. He has done that par excellence even within his own party to the extent that President Jacob Zuma no longer trusts his own cabinet and party.
Pointing out other charges of hate speech brought to the Equality Court by the Sonke Gender Justice Network and the gay lobby against John Qwelane's anti-homosexual diatribes, Kriel asks why Basson does not condemn these organisations equally for defending minority rights? It is not AfriForum that has polarised civil society; it is your double standards, stupid!
Exposés of shoddy reasoning are what our country needs. Public dialogue in the media, as in our universities, is littered with half truths. Journalists write superficially about complex issues and they often lack the courage to take on politically incorrect stances. They will go out of their way to attack white people who take up a cause to defend their rights but will retreat when black people violate the rights of others.
The "woundedness of black people" has become sacrosanct - the untouchable political G-spot! And, if you want any kudos as a white person, then attack your own. This is what the Home for All Campaign and the Wealth Tax debate were all about? The good whites versus the bad whites; the coconuts versus the nuts! And, God forbid if you are conservative, the wrath of Marx will be unleashed upon you as though conservatism is a sin.
In essence, white people are too easily considered not worthy of constitutional rights and the ones who often negate their rights are other whites - the gate-keepers who appropriate the right to judge.
South Africa's universities, equally, are populated with like-minded commissars. It is therefore no wonder that the Humanities are on the decline as reported in the latest Mail & Guardian. Prof Lawrence Hamilton lists a range of reasons for this decline: declining student enrolment; falling graduation rates; decreasing government funding; human resource stagnation; declining and lack of high quality research outputs; and more support for the science and technology disciplines to the detriment of the humanities.
Prof Lawrence fails, however, to mention the more serious reasons for the decline of the Humanities. The culture of political correctness and self-censorship prevalent in faculties of humanities has killed scientific inquiry. Prior to 1994, debate, critique, and engagement between the academic and political enterprises were vibrant, explosive and exciting.
Today academics eschew controversy except if they are sure of populist support. They hesitate to ask the big questions. Few academics read or write even though books and computers are their means and modes of production. Intellectualism is frowned upon; the word ivory tower is used to disparage the life of the mind; voting in faculties and senates are often driven by political rather than academic motives. Our Chief Justice justifies his poor publication record to a lack of passion for writing!
When the financial crisis hit the USA and Europe, the Marxists immediately jumped on the bandwagon, seeking justification for their long dead cause, seeking justification for holding onto their dogmas like religious fanatics.
In the Sciences scholars cannot get away with such intellectual recklessness and bullshit. If you make the wrong incision in a heart operation, the patient will die. If the aeroplane is badly constructed, it will crash. If we do not recycle waste, we will exacerbate global warming. In the Humanities, the effects of poor research are not as immediate, but can be equally deadly.
This article first appeared in Die Burger.