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

Tag: Power

On propaganda


TheThingAboutSERIES: When does opinion become propaganda? There are numerous factors to consider but, central to answering that question, is the extent to which any view manipulates facts, the main focus of the brief exposition below. Essentially this can be done in two ways: by altering the nature of information or by excluding it entirely. What is the effect of that on public thought? And why do that? Read on to find out.

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On political support


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 political support and the public expectations which accompany it: promoting and protecting the public interest. The relationship between these two requirements of public office can be a vexed one, however, for both politicians and the public.

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South African Political Dictionary: Cadre employment and cadre deployment


SERIES: I have noticed over the past few weeks a number of political analysts and commentators using the phrase ‘cadre employment’ when, in fact, they mean ‘cadre deployment’. An intentional euphemism or not, it is perhaps worth properly defining and legitimating. It could explain much about the ANC’s attitude to tenders, for example. But, whether defined or not, it should be distinguished from ‘cadre deployment’ which is something else entirely. I try to explain the difference below.

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On arrogance


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. A common accusation today is to accuse someone of being ‘arrogant’. In doing so, however, arrogance is often confused with boldness and, in truth, it is the powerful who, not wanting to be contradicted, evoke the idea of arrogance to defend themselves.

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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 authenticity


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Politics and public life lend themselves to compromise and appeasement. Both these things, in turn, help to generate an incentive structure that often does not reward but punishes authenticity. Constantly those that would seek out public office are encouraged to present to the world a version of themselves that is as inoffensive to as many people as possible. But what happens when one attains a position of power? Does that incentive still hold, or are people then more inclined to reveal their real selves?

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