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

Tag: Unique

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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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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Why difference is important


ARTICLE: Every single person on this planet is different in some way unique to them. Most people have one of two responses to that: either it is the source of insecurity or pride. For those who feel uncomfortable with difference, comfort is found in conformity. That is no bad thing, but when those same people take that fear to an extreme level and try to outlaw difference in others, in order that everyone might be the same, that is not only a sure path to authoritarianism but to misunderstand the very value and wonder of difference itself.

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On generalisation


SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Today we look at generalisation. Is there any value to generalising? What is its relationship to the particular? When is generalisation helpful and when is it a hinderance? And what happens when that relationship is not well understood?

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