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

Tag: Political Correctness

On egalitarianism


TheThingAboutSERIES: In politically correct environments there often exists a strong compulsion to treat every idea as equal, or risk ‘offending’ someone by suggesting their argument weak or wrong. Because we are all equal before the law, the assumption is made everything we say is likewise of equal worth. That, of course, is not true. And we risk encouraging ignorance if we disallow critical interrogation of argument.

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The DA’s illiberal response to Lulu Xingwana


InsidePoliticsFEATURE: The DA yesterday called on the Human Rights Commission to investigate Lulu Xingwana for comments it deemed “offensive”. That, however, is an intolerant and illiberal response. To try and formally shut down an opinion you no more than disagree with is anathema to free speech, a touchstone liberal principle. Anyone can speak out against a view they deem to be wrong or damaging in some way, but when you try formally to prohibit or ban a disagreeable opinion, you have crossed a line liberals should protect not abuse.

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On gullibility


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. At some point or other in our lives everyone is gullible but what separates those people who are consistently gullible from those who are not? The ability to learn from experience is important, likewise the need not to be deferential in the face of political correctness and orthodoxy.

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The painting of President Zuma


PICTURE: Today the ANC released a statement about a painting of President Zuma by artist by Brett Murray which, among other things, says: “We have this morning instructed our lawyers to approach our courts to compel Brett Murray and Goodman Gallery to remove the portrait from display as well as from their website and destroy all printed promotional material. We have also detected that this distasteful and vulgar portrait of the President has been displayed on a weekend newspaper and its website, we again have instructed our lawyers to request the said newspaper to remove the portrait from their website.” Well, in support of the constitutional right to free expression and in opposition to the ANC’s tyrannical attitude, here is the painting in question.

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In conversation about tolerance


SERIES: Two heads are better than one, or so the saying goes. Jacques Rousseau is a lecturer in critical thinking and ethics, as well as a columnist for the Daily Maverick and, in discussion with him, the series In Conversation will look to explore a key concept or development in a few email exchanges. Few ideas get more attention than in South African public debate than that of ‘tolerance’ – and, with it, the seemingly omnipresent idea of ‘offence’. We get offended a lot. Too much perhaps? In response, tolerance seems to have become an excuse to avoid the proper critical examination of bad ideas and poor thinking. These, among others, are some of the issues explored this week.

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