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

Tag: Control

Freedom cannot ever be completely controlled


ARTICLE: We should righlty fear control. Its limiting effect on freedom is, ultimately, a limiting effect on our unique nature and character as individuals. Its only purpose should be to safegaurd freedom itself, so that it might be best used and expressed. At our core, we are all free. It is true the nature of that freedom might be limited, even severly, but outside of death no constraint on freedom can ever be absolute and that is a glorious thing.

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On patriarchy


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Today, a look at the relationship between patriarchy and dignity. Why is it that a patriarch will so easily feel their dignity has been impugned? The answer has to do with the assumption that they bear no responsibility for upholding it in the first place.

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On power


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Today a look at the idea of power and how those in close proximity to it, react to it. For those who seek it out for its own sake, its effect can be dangerous but, rather than outright abuse, it lends itself to maniuplation – of information and behaviour.

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On low self esteem


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. What are the effects of low self esteem? It is a permanent force in our lives. Unrestrained its impact on our approach to control can be dramatic. On the one hand, driving a desire for power and respect; on the other, it is able to reduce someone to a victim, unable to act and inhibited by self doubt.

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Some thoughts on the idea of ‘respect’


ARTICLE: South Africa is obsessed with the idea of ‘respect’. Constantly we read about the need for various things – from culture through to our attitude to certain positions – to be ‘respected’. But respect must be earned, it cannot be enforced or demanded. And that requires behaviour which is worthy of respect in the first place. In the article below I look at the relationship between respect and deference, and between deference and nationalism in turn.

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Secrecy: the drug you slowly become addicted to


ARTICLE: The Protection of State Information Bill, perhaps now better known as ‘the secrecy bill’, has put transparency front and centre in our public discourse. I have, in the article below, tried to explain in abstract why the principle of transparency is important to a democracy and, at the other end of the spectrum, why secrecy is a danger to it. Of the many reasons, perhaps the most subtle is secrecy’s insidious effect. Once given a foothold, it gradually tightens its grip, until, before you know it, it has squeezed the very life out of a democratic order.

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The nature of good leadership


ARTICLE: What is the nature of good leadership? That is a question that has elicited a thousand answers. In the article below, I look at a few of the requisite traits. In particular, the central importance of a vision and its relationship to sacrifice: that a good leader understands, in order to progress from one state of affairs to another, they must be willing to sake something on that transition and that you can tell a great deal about a leader by the extent to which they are willing to do this.

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