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Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective. Winner: Best Political Blog 2012.

Month: October, 2012

On hysteria


TheThingAboutSERIES: Much public rhetoric in South Africa is defined by hysteria and our response to current affairs, often hysterical in turn. So it is worth paying some attention to the idea. What is the nature of hysteria? Certainly it is extreme in nature but how so? It is perhaps best understood as a kind of drama, with heroes and villains, good and evil. And thus, the last thing hysteria will ever indulge is subtle or ambiguity, doubt or uncertainty.

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On expression


TheThingAboutSERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. We spend much time, in a myriad different ways, expressing ourselves to the world at large. But what, actually, is it to express an idea? And does a thought change when we verbalise it, from some abstract inclination to something more concrete? If this does happen, it’s a process we often don’t pay enough attention to.

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On foresight


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. I am back and normal posting will resume from tomorrow. In the meantime, here is yesterday’s column, on the idea of foresight and how it works. The ability to foresee things can often be mistaken for guesswork. The difference between foresight and randomness is reason and being able to argue forcefully, the ability to use language and logic to present a prediction.

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On specialness


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. I am currently overseas until the end of this week, so please forgive the limited posting. Here is this week’s column, on specialness and how the idea is often misused, certainly over-used – to the extent that everything (and hence nothing) is actually special at all.

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