NY Post – Rian Malan
Van Wyksdorp, South Africa – As South Africa erupted into chaos, my thoughts turned to the United States — a great country brought low by the same toxic and demented racial politics that set afire my homeland last week. As I write, shell-shocked South Africans are trying to muster a response to an orgy of arson and looting. Cargo vessels are being turned away from some of our largest harbors, because it’s too dangerous to unload them. Hundreds of thousands face hunger thanks to the destruction of warehouses and disruption of food-supply chains. Tens of thousands of jobs and small businesses have been destroyed; the property damage is incalculable. Former President Jacob Zuma’s refusal to be held accountable for corruption triggered this mayhem. Rather than face the prospect of imprisonment and disgrace, he seems to have attempted a preemptive coup against his successor. But this is just part of the picture. The overarching truth is that an idea pushed South Africa to the brink. You guys know this idea, because it animates the sermons of critical race theorists trying to force you to take the knee and atone for your supposed sins. I am going to call it the Beautiful Idea, because it is beautiful in a way — but also dangerous. The Beautiful Idea holds that all humans are born with identical gifts and should turn out to be clones of one another in a just society. Conversely, any situation in which disparity survives is in itself proof of injustice. This is the line promoted by CRT pundit Ibram X. Kendi, who blames all racial disparities on racist policies. South Africa violence continues to spiral, causing food and fuel shortages. But what policies is he talking about? Kendi is reluctant to be drawn on this score, and with good reason: He can’t name the policies, because they don’t exist anymore. In your country, all discriminatory laws have been repealed, all forms of overt racism outlawed and replaced by laws that enforce preferential black access to jobs, housing and college admissions. So Kendi must insist that an invisible miasma of “systemic racism” infects white people and propels them to act in ways so subtly racist that most of them aren’t even aware they’re sick until it is pointed out to them by diversity consultants. Once upon a time, South African revolutionaries would have laughed at this sort of thing. Until the mid-1980s, the aims of our freedom struggle were the eradication of capitalism and the creation of a classless society where equity would be enforced at gunpoint by commissars. But the Soviet Union collapsed just as the African National Congress started its rise to power, forcing our new leaders to embrace economic policies of the neoliberal variety. This didn’t set well with the hard left, which openly reviled President Thabo Mbeki (1999-2008) as a sellout. To mollify them, Mbeki set about building a black middle and upper class that would reap the fruits of neoliberalism and thank him for it. The object of this new game was not to destroy capitalism, but to force it to open its doors to aspirant blacks. Starting in l999, Mbeki’s government enacted a phalanx of American-sounding laws intended to eradicate racial disparities of the sort that exercise Kendi. The old revolutionary songs were dusted off at rallies, but somewhere along the line, the Beautiful Idea replaced socialism as our ideological lodestar.