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Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > English > Essays

The triumph of liberalism over the forces of evil

Jameson Maluleke - 2009-08-17


It is a fact that almost all 48 million of South Africans subscribe to the liberal doctrine. Unfortunately some do it cautiously, as they think they might lose their social standing or even their jobs. Others are unaware that the social system they have adopted as their own is, in fact, liberalism. The abuse of democracy by ignorant and greedy despots in previously colonised countries is a typical instance of the unawareness in question. The reason behind the pandemonium is partly motivated by the lack of knowledge, as we can see, but chiefly, the confusion should be attributed to the fact that a greater number of liberals are vexed by liberal rivals’ constant vilification of their creed, so much so that millions of liberals suffer from an identity crisis and self-denial. This paper seeks to rescue millions of fellow liberals from this poisonous disparagement and restore their dignity as heirs of liberal tradition.

Liberalism is neither a crime nor it is a sin. Throughout the ages, liberalism has remained a steadfast creed and a practical social system. Ideologies such as communism, fascism, despotism etc have been tried but have all been found wanting. Men and women who became world famous did so because of liberalism. Millions of liberals in South Africa should not be ashamed of what they are, but should stand up and shine because as the world chant its way towards common humanity, tyranny will cease to exist.

Hillary Clinton’s visit

I am well aware that doubting Thomases still prowl the length and breadth of our country. I am conscious that these sceptics who infest our society might die thinking that liberalism had neither contributed a day’s work nor a dime to the service of mankind except perpetuate the suffering of mankind. Of course, this is the height of indoctrination by liberal-bashers. In the mind of these pyrrhonists, liberal faith has since been replaced by scepticism. Opponents of liberalism have succeeded in changing liberals’ mindset and forced them to believe that liberalism should be shunned by any society as it is a fertile breeding ground for everlasting racism. As such, our short-sighted and indoctrinated liberals fail to see the positive side of liberalism, and that first-world countries have benefited and continue to benefit from the productive and yielding system.

These poor souls would be well advised to assess US State Secretary Hillary Clinton’s visit to several African states, including South Africa. Let me hasten to point out that Clinton’s visit may or may not succeed in remedying our ideologically ailing brothers and sisters. There are better remedies. Besides, it might take years, or even a lifetime, to right the wrongs committed by our detractors. However, no single tablet can heal an indoctrinated and poisoned mind. Healing should be a collective effort by all caregivers who should administer all kinds of medication to the patients. So, Clinton’s visit is intended to be part of the healing combination.

Clinton embodies all that we know about liberalism, that is, of virtue, generosity, freedom, liberty and independence. She is a liberal institution on her own, that is, a well-known personality in liberal circles both in the US and here in the Republic of South Africa. But for the sake of my fellow liberals who hail from the deep caves of our beloved country, let me add that Clinton is a luminary - a torch-bearer that lights up the liberal route not only in the US, but throughout the world. Described by the Washington Journal as one of the most powerful women in American politics today, Clinton was in Africa recently to exercise her role as the world’s top ambassador. Rather than being elected as US president as she wanted, she became the first liberal to rule the world as the globe-trotting diplomat.

Clinton surprised and angered many of her despotic hosts and their first ladies when she arrived in Africa empty-handed. She had the temerity to insist on clean and stable governments as a precondition to doing business with the US rather than to distribute food among life presidents and their bodyguards as befits high-ranking officials from donor countries. Speculations, half-truths and distortions began to spread like wild fire as soon as it was discovered that she did not have the Midas touch to change our barren fields into bags of yellow maize and our empty pockets into US dollars to enrich our dictatorship. Newsmongers went as far as to attest that Clinton had a military agenda in her African expedition, and that she was actually campaigning to be elected as the next US president after the incumbent President Barack Obama.

A word of caution is necessary here before we proceed with our healing ministry. Many of my fellow liberals tend to confuse politics with a person’s social responsibility. To be a committed liberal, one does not need to be a politician like the Clintons. One may be called to serve one's people in various sectors of public life rather than in politics. The one thing needed is dedication. People like the Clintons happen to find themselves in the political field where they have worked with diligence and intelligence to make liberalism a creed to be reckoned with. However, a person can be a soldier, an academic, a pig farmer or a street sweeper; it does not matter, as long as he/she answers the call to serve his/her own country, his/her people and the Almighty God.


Tony Leon’s mission to Argentina

I have heard people on our local radio station debating the merits and demerit of Tony Leon’s appointment as an ambassador to Argentina. Some debaters opined that President Jacob Zuma is trying to silence critical politicians within the opposition parties by giving them positions. Others were convinced that Zuma was backtracking to the apartheid days – that he is selling our hard-won freedom to the people who don’t deserve it. None of the debaters realised that Leon is a sizzling politician who will never be bought - he is not in politics for money. None of the debaters saw that both Zuma and Leon are possessed by liberal spirits which compel them to serve the beloved country irrespective of their ethnicity and beliefs. Zuma hauled Leon from his early retirement because he is clever enough to realise that Leon exudes expertise that can help transform the country into a fully-fledged democracy. Be that as it may, the events of the past week have revealed to all of us that liberalism is a perennial system – one that is practised by its worshippers and critics who are not aware that they are liberals at heart.

Perhaps the point which is not clear to most liberals from the outset is that the arrival of Clinton on our shores and Leon’s ambassadorship in the native land of Che Guevara (reputed to be the father of Latin-American Communism) is the triumph of liberalism over rival social systems. Clinton’s advent in Africa will hopefully revive and encourage liberals to strive for liberal values. It will solace liberals who continually bemoan liberalism’s lack of vitality.

In his own small way, Leon will hopefully help influence opinions which will eventually free Argentina from the chains of oppressive ideologies as he had courageously done in our country.