Black South Africans sold the world a dream about freedom, but as we can now see, it was only ever a dream about equalising wealth. The lawlessness and social disintegration will continue until all wealth is equalised, and seen to be equalised. Nobody minds if the rule of law and social order break down, because once we set equality as the goal we can't really stop to quibble about the methods.
In an ideal world, everyone would be equal, and everyone would also be free to live the life they want in pursuit of their private individual goals. We wouldn't have to choose between equality and freedom, because we'd be able to forge a world with both equality and freedom for all. There would be no trade-offs: equality and freedom would co-exist and support each other. So we would have an intricate legal framework forcing everyone to be equal, and at the same time everyone would be left free to think their own thoughts, say what they like, keep their own stuff, and freely decide whom they wished to interact with and what goals to pursue in life.
Some argue that it doesn't matter whether this dream is achievable or not; we should fight for equality without worrying about achievability. The whole point is to try. As Yoda said, 'try, or try not. There is no do'. Others argue that it's safe to assume that this ideal society is achievable. It offers a testable hypothesis. This carefully-framed assumption makes it easy to justify a surprising range of follies. Don't be surprised by the chaos you see around you, that's just a way of running equalisation tests.
The dominant approach argues that when it comes to equality and freedom, the vote is unanimous. Everyone loves equality and freedom! Including all the African despots and kleptocrats. Take the example of Idi Amin. Did Idi Amin ever say 'I hate equality and I hate freedom' before he killed thousands of people and stored their bodies in his fridge? No. Quite the opposite - he did everything within his power to achieve equality for his people so they could live a free life. This is why he just had to kill all those people, expel those of a different race, and steal all their stuff. It's the only thing to do when you don't see any other quick way to achieve Justice and Fairness for your disadvantaged people.
Part of the reason for the confusion surrounding freedom and equality is that although everyone knows what equality looks like when they see it, there is no clear meaning of 'freedom'. Some people believe that there can be no such thing as 'freedom' if people are not equal. This idea can be traced back to the French Revolution:
How should we understand problematic examples like Idi Amin, who tried to pursue both equality and freedom, but got things slightly wrong when he resorted to murder and cannibalism as a means of achieving his worthy goals?
Corrupt dictators can be dismissed by saying that there is nothing to be learned about the relationship between equality and freedom by studying their excessive methods. You could say that Idi Amin was simply a very bad man, regardless of his ideals. He killed people and ate them, so he was obviously beyond the pale and went a bit too far in enforcing his ideals. You could argue that there was nothing wrong per se with his ideals about achieving equality and freedom for his people (at least, those of his people to survive his purges). His ideals were fine. It is his methods that were perhaps a bit concerning. If he had only been a good man, and not a cannibal, his ideals about equality and freedom for the Ugandan people would all have worked out ok.
This is why Zimbabwe, followed by South Africa, decided to emulate Idi Amin's ideals. In this philosophy, stealing other people's stuff is perfectly fine, because it produces more equality. If some of the rich white folk end up being murdered in the process of separating them from their stuff that may be a bit sad, but it's not very sad when you think of the higher goal - equality. Equality is the most important aspirational goal. It is to be pursued mainly by getting angry and expressing that anger through riots.
So, as you witness events in South Africa remember, it's all about angry people demanding their dignity and their equality. And when people start shouting about dignity and equality, you don't want to be the tone-deaf philistine saying that you don't agree with killing other people and stealing their stuff. Because complaining about theft and murder sounds like quibbling about details, instead of just being happy about all the dignity and equality that will rise from the ashes when the riots abate.
Fairness is another important ideal in this debate: since the ancestors of the current farmers grabbed that land in the first place, without checking that it would be ok to sequester it, that makes it fair to steal the land right back from their descendants. Two wrongs do make a right in this case. Killing people and stealing their stuff because you are greedy is unacceptable, but killing and stealing for Equality and Dignity and Fairness is fine, and indeed commendable. Even better if you share all the stolen loot among your tribesmen and cronies, because that shows community spirit (which is also a good ideal to aspire to).
This is why in Africa, fighting for Dignity and demanding to be treated with Respect is literally the most important thing. More important than mundane issues such as growing enough food to feed starving children, because feeding your numerous offspring is not really a moral ideal, is it, when compared to admirable values like Dignity and Respect that you can talk about eloquently and intelligently at UN summits. Have you ever seen anybody summoned to address the UN because of his diligence in putting food on his family's table and making sure his kids do their homework? Of course not. It is the struggle for Dignity and Equality that is worthy of accolade.
In this way of thinking, there's no need to worry that all the stolen farms in South Africa will return to bush, and everybody will starve. That doesn't matter, because at least they achieved dignity and equality and historical reparations, so it's fine. If they run out of money they could always ask the Europeans to pay more historical reparations for colonial excesses, which will be donated by the lovely taxpayers in rich countries to atone for the sins of their ancestors. The Americans too - even though they never colonised anybody, they're rich, so they should pay up in the interests of justice and fairness. And equality. And they had slavery, which shows the morality of making their descendants suffer. When you follow your ideals diligently, it's easy to make rich people pay up for redistribution schemes without the need to prove any culpability. This is called the Deep Pockets theory of justice.
Such reliance on noble ideals to mask sheer idiocy may seem unnatural to innocent readers, who may be thinking by now that this doesn't make any sense as a way to organise life. But history shows that when people have embraced noble ideals that allow them to occupy the moral high ground in any debate, they can live with a surprising amount of irrationality and not feel bothered by it, at all. Yes, they may be stupid, but at least they're promoting equality, so it's fine.
Being thus swamped in ideals, it is easy to overlook the choice to be made between equality and freedom. The more equal we try to force everyone to be, the less free we all become, but we don't care, because look how equal everything is now, how lovely. This is helped along by the fact that modern liberal ideology supports the notion of replacing freedom with equality.
Of course, in theory there is no reason why we can't pursue equality without any adverse effect on freedom and liberty. Any practical problems that arise can easily be distinguished by blaming it all on the particular mad-man in charge. Thus we derive confidence from the comforting thought that infringements on liberty could never happen here and now, so it's all fine.
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