Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rape — sex or power?

Boy, oh boy! My comments follow after the post...

from Thought Leader, Jennifer Thorpe

Rape happens every day in South Africa. It is estimated that each year about half a million rapes occur, but only 1 in 9 of these is reported. With roughly 24 million women in South Africa this presents women with a scary picture. It means that if you are a woman and you live to the age of 50, you have a damn high chance of being raped in South Africa. You can debate with these statistics, but that’s not the place of this blog. Even if only 1 occurs, there is something going on. And I’m interested in what that something is. Is rape about sex, or is it about power?

For a long time many women’s groups have advocated for the idea that rape is about power. They have argued that it is about the relationships between men and women, and the “expected” relationships between men and women in a patriarchal political system. To explain, the “expected” relationships say that men should have more power than women, and historically this has largely come from their physical size and economic power. Men have been the breadwinners, businessmen and success stories whilst women have played a background role. This has been intimately tied with masculinity, and in fact being dominant has been one of the central historical traits that have been labelled as “masculine”. Similarly, being sexually powerful, having a good libido and the ability to be sexy to women is part of the script of masculinity that appears cross-culturally throughout history. In summary, men are supposed to be strong, rich and virile.

However, the times they are a-changing and increasing numbers of women are gaining their economic independence. In South Africa especially, they have been given constitutionally entrenched equal legal status. Women have also been granted sexual freedom. They are legally empowered to have sex with whom and when they want to. Women are no longer legally required to have sex with their husbands, boyfriends or partners. They are sexually liberated (in theory). So women too are legally enabled to be rich, and sexually free post 1994. For all intents and purposes, they are equal to men for the first time in the history of the country.

How is rape related? The explanation goes that these changes can make men feel emasculated and powerless. This can result in feelings of anger, and sometimes these feelings can be directed at women. Women represent the unwanted changes in their power status and are thus the perfect object of their anger. Men who do not find some other way to renegotiate their masculinity will take their anger out in a physical way, and the most invasive way to teach women their place is to rape them. The level of invasiveness is unlike any other because during a rape, a man is physically inside of a woman. It takes away women’s sexual freedom, and it is an insult to her dignity.

I have been a firm believer in this explanation for a very long time. In my understanding the way that masculinity and femininity are constructed, renegotiated and formed are essentially political and are not without their links to power. The fact that rape is so invasive, whether it is of a man or a woman, with a penis or an object is linked to this power relationship — it is a demarcation of that most intimate space as someone else’s property. It is a taking-away of the survivor’s power. A re-assertion of the rapist’s power.

Sexual relations are necessarily based around power and as rape is the most unfortunate and damaging of sexual relations, rape is about power. It is about putting women back in their places. It is about taking sexual freedom and showing women that it is not theirs to have.

But there is a second stream of thought that says that this is not the point of rape. If it were about power, men could just beat up a woman (and some do). They could simply kick a woman out, or kick her to show how powerful they are. So what is it, that makes a man choose to use his sexual organs? Could rape be about sex?

If we think that rape is about sex, then we explain that rape is about men’s (socially constructed or physical) needs to have sex with women when they want to. Rape involves the sexual organs because it is the part of the body that is associated with their sexuality, their sexual pleasure and their reproductive power. This explanation also links to biological drives like reproduction and the reproduction of the species.

I have an extremely close friend who has been part of the women’s rights struggle for the 37 years of her life, and she suggested that in her experience of dealing with survivors she has begun to change her mind about what the “cause” or “explanation” for rape is. Through hearing the narratives of rape survivors and alleged rapists, she has come to believe that rape is very much about sex. It is about men wanting sex and women being forced into sex. It is about the inability of women to negotiate the sex that they have, and thus being forced into situations where sex happens to them without their consent. Rape then, for many women and for some men, is about sex.

These distinctions are not about light matters. They define the solution. If rape is about power we must renegotiate power relations, masculinity and femininity, and ensure that equality is something that does not become a situation of equal disempowerment. In order to stop a rapist you have to understand why he is raping, and not understanding this will leave many organisations with the simple task of picking up the pieces. If rape is about sex, new strategies and solutions will need to be devised and enacted to create a better way of living for men and women.

The most disheartening thing about both explanations is that neither provides us with an explanation of why one man chooses to rape and another does not.

My comment on the origional post follows:

A large part of a rape survivor's recovery will come from the realization that she was the victim of her rapists' feelings of powerlessness, which was transferred to her through sex. In that respect I think feminists are right.

However, I don't think your conclusions about rape in the present day political context have much merit, to the extent that you have generalized in your post. Rape and violence have always been a part of Western culture, going back to the Dark Ages and beyond to historical times when Western society was much more patriarchal. I don't believe we have more rapes occurring today than we did back then, even though we are much more likely to talk about it openly. Another contradiction in your thought process is the fact that other societies that have been liberated much more, in terms of sexual equality, have much lower incidents of rape than South Africa. Be careful not to down play South Africa's horrific rape statistics in your post.

Still, I commend your efforts to raise the issue and create public awareness. I take a keen interest in this topic in a personal capacity, having been raped at the young age of three years.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Theory on Black Nationalist Racism

So the High Court in Azania ruled that "Kill the Boer, kill the farmer" is hate speech and that it incites racial hatred. Bravo you might think! That will put Julius wanktard in his place!

But hang on, none other than the ANC itself is appealing the Court's decision. So the ANC backs Julius and the youth league. What other conclusion can we draw?

What we are witnessing currently in ZA is a reversion to type. A kind of atavistic urge that seems to be expressing itself in the general black population. Before I get accused of making wild generalisations, bear in mind that the "general population" voted for the ANC. The black youth of voting age overwhelmingly voted for the ANC and overwhelmingly support the ANCYL and the ANC. So it is not a generalisation. For the sake of brevity, I refer to this segment of the population (sowing discord, chaos and anarchy) as "blacks in general".

So we find them singing "kill the boer, kill the farmer" and songs about "whites are rapists" and even the president himself is notorious for his "bring me my machine gun"

We find a story about the corrupted, convicted murderess and embittered divorcee, "petrol and matches" Winnie Mandela, who spewed her vitriol
in an interview with a UK newspaper that "Madiba sold out the blacks" and furthermore "I cannot forgive him for going to receive the Nobel with his jailer De Klerk".

What is it all about?

Apartheid ended nearly twenty years ago! Am I missing something! It's over, gone, kaput, never gonna come back.

By contrast, the whites have been huge stoics. Disciplined, yet willing to change. Willing to bear their burden and move on with life. Yet every day they are faced with these threats, taunts and jeers by a motley crew of uneducated morons, backed by the ANC! The f**cking government supports "kill the boer, kill the farmer!"

Why the huge chip on the shoulder?

Could it be, now bear with me, this is speculative, so be patient, I'm throwing this in for opinion and comment; I could be wrong. Could it be that the ANC (a liberation movement, not a political party, never mind a Government) is experiencing something of an identity crisis?

Is it possible that this liberation movement has been totally unable to move on, into the future, with the rest of the country?

Even the COPE party has
welcomed the verdict of the Court.

Is the ANC having a little philosophical dilemma, perhaps experiencing some existentialist angst within their collective consciousness?

Does the ANC want to go back to the struggle?

Does the ANC want to have it's blood revolution after all?

Impressions from SA – no alien human interspecies sex

Wessel van Rensburg, a.k.a Kameraad Mhambi, has always been ultra politically correct in his writing. It was no surprise, considering that he "used to work as an investigator and evidence analyst for the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission" where he "specialised in investigating a number of high profile massacres that took place in the early 90’s."

Here is an update on his impression of South Africa, since recently returning from overseas.

I arrived in South Africa yesterday, tired. Flying over Dubai is cheap but not worth it.

But I’m happy to be home.

The arrivals hall at Joburg International is dressed up in a garish MTN yellow. Welcome to World Cup Country. The new arrivals hall is gigantic. Shiny, plush.

But the highways of Gauteng are in turmoil. The R21, N3, N1, all of them are undergoing roadworks. A race against time. They need to be finished by June. I was listening to RSG – the National Afrikaans radio station, an ad pimping the world cup pops up every few minutes, it’s in Afrikaans and ends in an English jingle. A high gloss “Freedom – it is here” in a “Coke is life” kind of way, but not as authentic.

But you can’t but notice that South Africans are not that free. As we pulled up the fake Tuscan security villa where my dad now lives he said, welcome to our prison. He is right. Guards at the gates, a very high wall. We are safe.

This time round I’d like to record the news that I can’t get when I’m overseas. I want to hear what the people on the ground is saying. I mean from my vantage point in England it seems that the country is falling apart. Perhaps I’m very wrong.

First anecdote. My dad tells me that in Ermelo, the town where my mother and grandmother went to school some Nigerians have moved in and that they are responsible for sex trafficking. I queried him whether there’s been any reports of human alien inter species sex. He looked puzzled. Anyway I thought I’d Google it tonight and
it’s true! Sorry dad.

Otherwise my dad seems as fit as one can be at 75. But he is a little worried. My little bro, whose getting married tomorrow, he and his wife has applied for a mortgage. They have been waiting to hear back from ABSA for two months now. News just back apparently is that they can’t get a mortgage. The reason? His wife to be does not have a landline telephone number at her place of work.

She has a good excuse mind you. The school where she teaches close by Broederstroom, is a plaasskool. And the school’s phone lines have been stolen. The schools only phones are mobile phones. I kid you not. And ABSA won’t have that. No land line no mortgage.

Yes my dad said, this kind of theft is quite common. When they were driving to the Natal South Coast in December they stayed over is the famous triangle houses in the Drakensberg. But the hotels phones were down, because the phone lines had been stolen.

OK, here is some news that’s not from the people.

Last night I watched ETV’s news, ANC youth league leader Julius Malema is speaking to SARS about a possible lifestyle audit and him settling matters with Mr Taxman in private. As long as he pays his dues I suppose.

And this morning ETV featured a clip the Afriforum march where they tried to hand a list of farmers that have been murdered to the ANC. The context of course is the singing by Julius Malema of the ‘Kill the Boer’ song. Steve Hofmeyr, the Afrikaans crooner lothario (think Che Guevarra with a guitar), was also there, wearing a very cool t-shirt. There was also some footage of ANC youth league members stamping on said list of murdered farmers, while Afriforum members were crawling on the floor trying to salvage as much as they could of said list.

Nice shirt Steve, where did you buy it? It’s a black t-shirt with a big red star, and in the middle of the star, a big black African continent. Steve is cool. Much cooler than that suurgat Breyten Breytenbach, even if he does not have Breyten’s way with words. I just don’t get why Die Antwoord does not like him.

When I saw Steve there in front of the ANC offices I was reminded of the
excellent interview Perly Joubert did with him. Steve said:

“I’m not a rightwinger. I’m not a Vierkleur type who believes that the boere must own the country again. But I do have political ambitions because I’m politically homeless. The right is disappointing because they’re so stupid and the left is so dogmatic and judgmental.

“My job here is not only to sing. I’m very involved and participating in what happens in our country because I love this bloody fucked-up place. I love all the people who live here. This mess is my home, but we have to sort it out and the boere must be part of the solution.”
I wish Steve and Zachie Achmat would team up and form a political movement. I mean all my other South African hero’s have been such disappointments. Absent, chasing money, just silent. Cyril Ramaphosa, Van Zyl Slabbert, Breyten Breytenbach wtf? Only Steve and Zachie never disappoints.

OK, so Breyten has been making
noises of late. But your a bit late Breyten, and a little out of touch. And you are a pain in the arse.

So today I’m with my sister in Pretoria. Another anecdote. The neighbours next door have been robbed at gunpoint in their house. My sister and her husband have been trying to persuade them to build a fence around their property for years. But the victim couple next door, whose getting on in years, did not want to. They said they had been living like that, fence-less, for 30 years. They have been fine all this time. Not this year though.

Anyway when I was listening to RSG on the radio today they also reported that Andre Lambrecht, the senior state prosecutor in the West Rand have apparently been demoted for refusing an order from Menzi Simelane, head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Why? The top prosecutor was told not to oppose bail in the case of hip hop artist ‘Jub Jub’

Just to recap for those of you who have not been paying attention to South African news. Jub Jub went drag racing in Soweto and managed to hit 6 school children with his Mini, four of whom died.

To thicken the plot, South African style, one day before Jub Jub’s bail application was set to begin, he received a visit in detention from none other than Julius Malema, yes the president of the ANC Youth League.

reports that Lambrecht “has been chief State prosecutor of the West Rand for the past ten years. The prosecutors of Krugersdorp, Soweto, Randfontein and Roodepoort, among others, fall under him.”

They also reported:

"The orders were that he should not contest bail for the musician Jub Jub.

André (Lampies) Lambrecht, 60, chief State prosecutor of the West Rand, was given the order three times.

Gladstone Maema, acting director of public prosecution (DPP) in Gauteng, phoned Lambrecht twice to say Simelane had given the order. Maema repeated the order to Lambrecht for the third time in person.

Lambrecht refused to execute the order unless he received it in writing, which he did not receive.”

Now Lambrecht has now been told that he is relieved from his managerial duties and that he has to work as an ordinary prosecutor. While I was driving Maema (not to be confused with Malema) was on the Radio defending his decision to demote Lambrecht. Apparently Lambrecht had been ‘redeployed’ in accordance with a new policy of using the most experienced prosecutors in the ordinary courts.

Lastly, an yes, not a personal anecdote, I saw on Twitter today that its now illegal to sing kill the Boer or rather ‘dubula ibhunu’ in South Africa, after a high court decision. But apparently the ANC will take the
case to the Constitutional Court, because… its not entirely clear, but apparently because it is part of ANC history.

Toosday Toot

These guys, the Parlotones, have done very well for themselves in South Africa. You go guys!

On the curious case of "shooting the boer."

It's tempting to be disgusted by the lack of sensitivity to farmers shown by Pierre de Vos in this post from Constitutionally Speaking. But the legal issues he highlighted about the ruling regarding the phrase "kill the boer" are worth paying attention to. We've observed the slip in the judicial system over the years since apartheid ended, with politicians walking free from serious crimes with barely a slap on the wrist. But the farm murders is an issue that's very close our hearts as white South Africans, and if it isn't then it certainly should be. The incitement of violence by politicians needs to stop!

News that the South Gautenteng High Court Acting Judge Leon Halgryn ruled on Friday that use of the words “dubula ibhunu (shoot the boer)” was unconstitutional and unlawful is odd, to say the least. Unfortunately this was an urgent application so the judge did not seem to have given reasons for his judgment. Nevertheless, if the media reports are correct, the judgment does not seem to make much sense.

I am not sure on what basis the “publication” and the “utterance” of the words can be declared unconstitutional. It is true that section 16 of the Bill of Rights states that the right to freedom of expression does not extend to incitement of immenent violence or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethinity, gender or religion and that constitutes incitement to cause harm. However, section 16 itself does not ban such words, but merely states that the utterance of such words are not protected speech.

This would mean such speech could be regulated or banned by the legislature and such a ban could not be challenged on the basis that it infiringed on the section 16 protection of freedom of expression. It decidedly does not mean that in the absence of such regulation by the legislature the words are “unconstitutional”. How a particular phrase could ever be declared unconstitutional is beside me. There is no provision in the Bill of Rights that prohibits any particular phrase. If the judge was quoted correctly, he was obviously talking nonsense.

Another question is whether a particular phrase could be declared unlawful by a court. I suspect not. The utterance or publication of some words in certain context could amount to defamation or it could fall foul of section 10 of the Equality Act but that could only be done with reference to the specific context and the facts of a particular case.

Maybe the Acting Judge was relying on the criminal law principle in common law and in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act which prohibits the incitement of a crime. But then it would have to be shown that an accused “sought to influence the mind of another person towards the commission of a crime” and that would depend on the facts of a particular case and could not be decided in the abstract.

It seems to me bizarre that a court could decide in the abstract in an urgent application that a particular phrase was unconstitutional and unlawful. Surely one will have to decide on a case by case basis whether the utterances of words defamed someone or falls foul of the Equality Act or constitutes incitement to commit a crime.

To hold otherwise would be dangerous, nonsensical and would lead to absurd consequences. What would happen if I write a short story and one of the characters sings “Shoot the Boer”. Would this mean my story when published would be declared “unconstitutional” and “unlawful”?
At the very least it would be good for the judge to present written reasons for this judgment. Based on the available evidence it makes absolutely no sense.

Race Relations at the University of California

Courtesy of The Irish Savant:

Someone please explain....

Apparently race relations (translation: relations between blacks and everyone else) are ‘toxic’ at the University of California. Just listen to the co-chair of the UCSD Black Student Union Fnann Keflezighi : "Students don't feel safe going to class, I personally don't feel safe going to class. It's disheartening."
God love them, the poor dears. And why don’t they feel safe? Well they cite the "Compton Cookout" and the discovery of a noose hung inside a campus library. The Cookout was a joke perpetrated by a black comedian, and the noose? Well, just let’s say if it’s like an awful lot of similar incidents, the perp was also a ‘minority’ stoking victimhood.
And that seems to be it. They don’t ‘feel safe’ on account of those incidents! If they want to really know what not feeling safe is like, in fact if they want to be scared shitless, they should take a stroll down, well, Compton, as it happens.
However, when minority victimhood is invoked, no matter how unfounded, whitey must lie down and compensate. Propitiate the gods of white guilt.
So right on cue, UC President Mark Yudof said that he would seek changes in admissions policy as well as the creation of scholarships for underrepresented minorities in order to 'improve diversity' (groan). He said all the UC campuses needed to employ "a holistic review-currently employed at UC Berkeley and UCLA-when screening applicants, rather than focusing on SAT scores and grade point averages in making admissions decisions."
Translation from PC-speak: Lower admission standards even further to allow in greater numbers of ‘underprivileged minorities’, i.e. semi-literate blacks.

One Regent, the splendidly named Eddie Island (pictured), claimed "It is our own standards and slavish adherence to grade point averages and SAT scores that have put us in this dilemma". Which stroke of genius apparently “drew applause from students, faculty and staff”.
Now leave to one side for the moment the impact this will have on the already plummeting standards at American universities – and others in the Anglosphere. What fascinates me is the belief that increasing the small numbers of black students will herald a new dawn of racial harmony.
Here's my question: Can anyone give me one reason why this should be? Any normal person not blinded by PC delusions could only conclude that increasing the black proportion will exacerbate the situation.
The madness is spiralling out of control.

How long are whites going to keep putting up with this shit?

Monday, March 29, 2010

White South African Farmers Are Being Slaughtered

To readers of this blog, this isn't a new revelation. We have been trying to draw attention to the farmers plight for ages. It seems that the MSM media, at least in some quarters, are starting to take notice. More importantly, it is the international media. Unfortunately most people will not be surprised, and won't care, at the same time.

THE gunmen walked silently through the orchard. Skirting a row of burnt-out tyres, set ablaze months earlier to keep the budding fruit from freezing, they drew their old .38 revolvers.

Inside his farmhouse Pieter Cillier, 57, slept with his 14-year-old daughter Nikki at his side. His 12-year-old son JD was having a sleepover with two teenagers in an adjoining room.

As the intruders broke in, the farmer woke. He rushed to stop them, only to be shot twice in the chest.

In his death throes he would have seen his killers and then his children standing over him, screaming and crying.

The attackers, who were drug addicts, simply disappeared into the night. Cillier’s murder, at Christmas, was barely reported in the local press. It was, after all, everyday news.

Death has stalked South Africa’s white farmers for years. The number murdered since the end of apartheid in 1994 has passed 3,000.

In neighbouring Zimbabwe, a campaign of intimidation that began in 2000 has driven more than 4,000 commercial farmers off their land, but has left fewer than two dozen dead.

The vulnerability felt by South Africa’s 40,000 remaining white farmers intensified earlier this month when Julius Malema, head of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) youth league, opened a public rally by singing Dubula Ibhunu, or Shoot the Boer, an apartheid-era anthem, that was banned by the high court last week.

Malema’s timing could hardly have been worse. Last weekend in the remote farming community of Colenso, in KwaZulu-Natal, Nigel Ralfe, 71, a dairy farmer, and his wife Lynette, 64, were gunned down as they milked their cows. He was critically injured; she died.

That same day a 46-year-old Afrikaner was shot through his bedroom window as he slept at his farm near Potchefstroom. A few days later a 61-year-old was stabbed to death in his bed at a farm in Limpopo.

The resurrection of Dubula Ibhunu, defended by senior ANC officials as little more then a sentimental old struggle song, has been greeted with alarm by Tom Stokes, of the opposition Democratic Alliance. He said the ANC’s continued association with the call to kill Boers could not be justified.

“Any argument by the ANC that this song is merely a preservation of struggle literature rings hollow in the face of farming families who have lost wives, mothers and grandmothers,” he added.

He was supported by Anton Alberts of the right-wing Freedom Front Plus party: “Malema’s comments are creating an atmosphere that is conducive to those who want to commit murder. He’s an accessory to the wiping out of farmers in South Africa.”

Rossouw Cillier, Pieter’s brother, bristled as he pointed to the bullet holes in the panelled kitchen of the farmhouse near Ceres in the Western Cape. “They shot him through the fridge from the back door — the bullets came straight through here, into his heart. He never had a chance,” he said.

A successful apple and pear grower, he believes his community is living on borrowed time: “More white farmers have been killed than British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, we are at war here.”

His brother’s farmhouse is now shuttered and empty. “I can’t spend time here. We’ll have to sell. This farm has been in our family for generations but it must go. Who’ll manage it? The children will never come back here. They held their own father as he died in front of them. Will they ever get over that?”

As we walked across the orchard, fruit destined for the shelves of Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the UK was still being picked. A tractor passed a 10ft cross erected in honour of the murdered farmer.

“It lights up at night,” Rossouw said. “My brother was a religious man. It’s all that’s left of him here.”

Across South Africa many farmers feel endangered. In Northern Province a tribute has been created beneath an enormous sign with the stark Afrikaans word “plaasmoorde” — farm killings. Thousands of white wooden crosses have been planted across a mountainside, one for each fallen farmer.

Recently the government’s department of rural development has been airing proposals to nationalise productive farmland as a “national asset”. Critics claim it is designed to deflect criticism from the ruling ANC’s failures.

“It’s a lot easier talking about nationalising farms than building decent houses, making clean water come out of taps or honouring promises to redistribute farm plots to millions of landless poor,” said a spokesman for AgriSA, the farmers’ union.

On the outskirts of Ceres there are few groceries in the township store — tins of pilchards, baked beans, some dried biscuits. A group of teenage boys sit on the burnt-out remains of a Ford Escort. This is where Cillier’s killers gathered, in a shebeen, a drinking club, where they fortified themselves with cheap hooch before they set off to rob him. They escaped with nothing.

According to Rossouw Cillier the most telling detail is that his brother was unarmed when they attacked. “If we brandish a weapon, we’ll go to prison, not them. What did they gain from this murder? It was an act as pointless as their lives.”

Source: Times Online

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Freedom Dealt Another Blow

I don't like this at all. I also don't have a problem with my religion being criticised. Not because I have a particularly tough skin but because I understand that a religion is an ideology, and as such must be subject to constructive criticism - for that is how we as people sort the good ideas from the bad; the wheat from the chaff as it were.

Insulating religion - which is just an ideology with a deity - from criticism is dangerous because it shuts down debate on an important topic, and that is threat to Freedom. Of the worst kind. And as we know from experience, it will only protect the bad ideas....

U.N. body adopts resolution on religious defamation

GENEVA (Reuters) - A United Nations forum on Thursday passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation, despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries.

The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the non-binding text, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states, with a vote of 23 states in favor and 11 against, with 13 abstentions.

Western governments and a broad alliance of activist groups have voiced dismay about the religious defamation text, which adds to recent efforts to broaden the concept of human rights to protect communities of believers rather than individuals.

Pakistan, speaking for the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said a "delicate balance" had to be struck between freedom of expression and respect for religions.

The resolution said Muslim minorities had faced intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, including laws and administrative procedures that stigmatize religious followers.

"Defamation of religious is a serious affront to human dignity leading to a restriction on the freedom of their adherents and incitement to religious violence," the adopted text read, adding that "Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."

It called on states to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are protected, to reinforce laws "to deny impunity" for those exhibiting intolerance of ethnic and religious minorities, and "to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs."


The 47-member Human Rights Council has drawn criticism for reflecting mainly the interests of Islamic and African countries, which when voting together can control its agenda.

Addressing the body, Germany said on behalf of the European Union that while instances of Islamophobia, Christianophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of religious discrimination should be taken seriously, it was "problematic to reconcile the notion of defamation (of religion) with the concept of discrimination."

"The European Union does not see the concept of defamation of religion as a valid one in a human rights discourse," it said. "The European Union believes that a broader, more balanced and thoroughly rights-based text would be best suited to address the issues underlying this draft resolution."

India and Canada also took to the floor of the Geneva-based Council to raise objections to the OIC text. Both said the text looked too narrowly at the discrimination issue.

"It is individuals who have rights, not religions," Ottawa's representative told the body. "Canada believes that to extend (the notion of) defamation beyond its proper scope would jeopardize the fundamental right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of expression on religious subjects."

A separate, EU-sponsored resolution about religious discrimination is due to be discussed by the Council on Friday.

Earlier this week, 180 secular, religious and media groups from around the world urged diplomats to reject the resolution which they said "may be used in certain countries to silence and intimidate human rights activists, religious dissenters and other independent voices" and ultimately restrict freedoms.

Condemnation of defamation of religion had been included in a draft declaration being prepared for an April U.N. conference on racism, known as "Durban II," but was removed earlier this month after Western countries said it was unacceptable.

Where's Winnie Mandela?

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who earns a total of R771787 a year, cannot afford to furnish the taxpayer-sponsored home allocated to her as an MP last year.

This is her response to a row brewing in the corridors of parliament over the allocation of homes in the parliamentary village to MPs from different political parties.

The liberation struggle stalwart was drawn into a High Court battle last year that saw two COPE MPs face eviction by the government from their three-bedroom homes in the village to make way for Madikizela-Mandela and the late minister of health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

There are three parliamentary villages in Cape Town where MPs live, at a subsidised cost of about R200 a month. Madikizela-Mandela was sworn in as an MP last year - earning an annual salary of R771787 including allowances.

COPE MP Dennis Bloem vacated his home, called Flamingo, to make way for Madikizela-Mandela. But she was allocated another home in the village, the Falcon residence.

Despite the costly High Court battle to provide Madikizela-Mandela with a parliamentary home, the Sunday Times has established that she is not living there. In an SMS response to questions from the Sunday Times, she brushed aside criticism about her not moving in.

"If indeed there are a few MPs who spend their energy getting upset about where other MPs live, to the extent that it is any business of theirs - given that Mrs Mandela does not stay in Cape Town at parliament's expense and to the extent that they appear to be upset about a house they expect a former pensioner to furnish overnight on an MP's salary - she wishes them well and is happy to suggest the name of a good counsellor," the SMS reads. (TKD - typical kaffer dialogue.)

On Friday, COPE's lawyers called for a meeting with the Chief Whips Forum to discuss the ANC's alleged bullying tactics over housing arrangements.

The Department of Public Works said it had allocated homes to political parties, who then distributed them to MPs - but did not appear to keep tabs on what became of the homes.

In a damning letter to the forum last week, COPE leaders said they had reason to believe ANC MPs were allowed to "lease their units to relatives or members of the public".

Madikizela-Mandela has also drawn sharp criticism for her absence from parliament.

Moloto Mothapo, spokesman for ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, refused to be drawn on her alleged absenteeism.

"Why should we single her out? There are others who are absent just as much, but I am not going to mention names," Mothapo said.

DA shadow minister for social development, Patricia Kopane, said she was "disgusted" at the ANC for allowing Madikizela-Mandela to get paid for doing "nothing".

"The last time I saw her was at the state of the nation address, where she was sitting in the public gallery competing with the new Mrs Mandela, Graça Machel," Kopane said.

Corné Mulder, chief w hip for the Freedom Front Plus, who sits three rows behind Madikizela-Mandela, said her seat had been empty for months.

The parliamentary communication services confirmed that there had been 49 plenary sittings of the National Assembly between April last year and this week.

"I would like someone to prove differently but I cannot think of her being there more than five times since the elections last year," said Mulder.

He said the last time he saw Madikizela-Mandela in parliament was last Tuesday.

Cheryllyn Dudley, chief whip for the African Christian Democratic Party, said: "We haven't looked into the facts, but it is something that is pretty obvious. I think she came to a meeting once last week and the last time we probably saw her was back during the Mandela celebration."

Mothapo said all ANC MPs liaised with the chief whip if they could not attend parliamentary sessions.

"The principle is that, whenever the need for the absence of MPs emerges for reasons beyond their and the caucus's control, an apology is forwarded and in some instances discussed with the chief whip before permission is granted. This applies to all our MPs without exception," Mothapo said.

According to parliament's website, Madikizela-Mandela is a member of the social development portfolio committee, but the DA's Helen Lamoela said Madikizela-Mandela had never attended meetings.

The Sunday Times has established that Madikizela-Mandela is an alternate member of the basic education portfolio committee. This means she only acts as a stand-in for fellow party members who cannot attend committee meetings.

"If you are an MP, the most important thing is that you must be in a portfolio committee because that is the engine of parliament - it is where you discuss and enforce decisions of parliament," said Kopane.

"If one fails to be a member of such committees, what type of member are you?"
Comment by BornintheRSA:

It's one of the accepted ways of looting. Quite legit and quite acceptable. No need for a moral debate.

The Times Live, 28 March 2010

SA's dodgy doctors

The deterioration of South African health care has been so rapid, at this stage the government can only hope to do an assessment of the damage. They are too slow to identify the cause, which is mainly affirmative action. At this rate we are heading for a complete break down to African health standards. I haven't been to any public health care facilities in South Africa lately but I am told it is only possible to grasp the horror when you see it in person.

South Africa's medical professionals are in the dock over claims that some sexually abuse patients, suffer alcohol and drug addiction or battle to pay bills.

This is according to the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) the statutory body that oversees the conduct of health-care workers in the country.

Amid a spate of high-profile cases involving medical practitioners and patients, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is finalising the establishment of the Forum of Statutory Health Professional Councils.

The oversight body will protect the public by holding the statutory health councils to account for their performance as competent public authorities.

In the past year medics have faced a litany of grievances from patients, including claims of sexual misconduct, overcharging, wrong treatment and fraudulently writing out certificates, according to the HPCSA.

The number of complaints against medical professionals, according to the latest available statistics, increased from 2 036 in 2007/08 to 2 310 in 2008/09.

A total of 336 doctors were found to be struggling with drug (including morphine, cocaine, mandrax and heroin) and alcohol dependency, compared with 110 in the previous period.

At least 29 medics were dealing with depression and cheques written by 350 doctors and dentists for registration with the council last year had bounced.

Statistics for the past five years show that past year 190 cases were finalised, with 71 doctors paying admission of guilt fines, 16 acquitted, 45 suspended, four struck off the roll, six reprimanded and 48 referred to a committee for their transgressions merely to be noted.

Nine doctors were struck off the roll in 2007/08, against 10 in the previous year and 18 in 2005/06.

The HPCSA has 105 000 members, comprising doctors, dentists, dieticians, medical technologists, occupational therapists, opto-metrists, dispensing opticians, physiotherapists, podiatrists, biokineticists and psychologists.

Most of the complaints are against doctors and dentists.

The shocking revelations come after former Cape Town specialist orthopaedic surgeon Johannes Albertus Roux Volsteedt was found guilty in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday of raping and indecently assaulting a former female patient.

He was also found guilty on 14 counts of indecent assault of nine female patients. And he is on trial in the Witbank Regional Court on three charges of indecent assault that allegedly took place while he was practising at the Park Medical Centre in Witbank.

Last week the HPCSA held a hearing in a misconduct case against a Joburg doctor accused of having sex with a patient in his rooms at Life Flora Clinic in Roodepoort.

The doctor is still on duty at Life Flora Clinic. His legal representative confirmed yesterday that a summons pertaining to a civil case against his client had been served.

Communications manager for the Life Healthcare Group, Marietjie Shelly, said the case of unprofessional conduct involved only the specialist, not the hospital.

"The hospital will await the findings and ruling of the HPCSA in this case," she said.

Communications officer for the HPCSA, Lize Nel, said for sensitive cases, identities were withheld to protect the complainants, but the practitioner did not have the same protection.

"Due to the sensitive nature of the charge sheet, the doctor's legal representatives requested the committee of inquiry to grant a similar ruling in respect of the doctor. The committee ruled that the doctor's request to have his name not published was granted."

The annual report from the council for 2008/2009 said in addition to claims of improper sexual relations between doctors and patients bringing the profession into disrepute, there had been complaints of overcharging, instances of wrong treatment and other claims - all of which were being investigated.

Last year Mpumalanga medic Ebrahim Dafi was given a suspended sentence after being found guilty of unprofessional conduct for having sex with a patient who had gone to see him because she suffered a loss of libido.

Dafi, chief medical officer in the paediatrics department at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit, was warned that his six-month suspension would take immediate effect if he was found guilty of a similar offence within two years.

The incident took place in 2005 when Dafi and the patient had sex at Embhuleni Hospital, where he had been in charge of child health.

In another incident Ninandu Mafulu, the senior Joburg district surgeon, was accused of sexually assaulting female rape victims who came to him for help. The case is continuing in Randburg Magistrate's Court amid claims that more complaints have been received.

SA Medical Association chairman Norman Mabasa said of all cases reported to the HPCSA, only about 10 percent reached the hearing stage.

Registrar of the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa Louis Mullinder confirmed that the council for alternative medicine had also received complaints about complementary and alternative health practitioners relating to improper conduct.

From Tribune, 28 March 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hurt Locker is a Blast Without the Spark

Some of the scenes are so disconnected with reality to be almost parody.

A lot of the war veteran criticism for the movie, The Hurt Locker, centered on the main character, who is a loose cannon; and the autonomous 3 man team, who drive alone all over Baghdad and its periphery in a single Humvee with no escorts, convoy or communications gear.

Liberals have judged the actions of the US army in the Middle East harshly and sometimes one wonders whether they believe in the fantasy created by the media.

Review by Christian Lowe, Defense Tech.

It has been lauded by the New York Times as the best action movie of the summer. The New Yorker calls it quite a feat. A classic that will be studied 20 years from now. And Time gushes that its a near perfect movie.

Makes me wonder if any of those reviewers even know what EOD stands for.

The latest film from the director best known for the surfing bank heist flick Point Break, Hurt Locker is a duly admirable first attempt at an Iraq war action movie. Director Kathryn Bigelows skill at delivering action, explosions and digital mayhem come through, but the film will strike most military viewers as a bit tone deaf.

But thats Hollywood, right?

Sure there are bomb suits, PackBots, plenty of red, green and black trigger wire, enough C4 to bring down the Green Zone and scores of tweaked out Joes waiting for the bomb squad to see whats under that block of Styrofoam on the side of the MSR.

And itd be fine if it all stopped there.

The movie centers on the quietly intense and a bit loose-cannon-esque Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) who steps in to replace an EOD detachment sergeant whos killed during a mission in Iraq mid-way through the deployment.

The films strength comes from the intensely psychological approach taken by the screenplay, with the interplay between an EOD techs studied intellect, selflessness and inherent recklessness moving the action in unexpected directions. James leads his team Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Spec. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) –through a smoldering cauldron of daisy-chain IED ambushes, suicide vest defusing and bomb-making terror cells.

And all that excitement is fine. But the movie jumps the tracks when the team gets involved in a bizarre sniper duel with a team of contractor Saddam hunters, sponsors a booze-fueled combatives tournament in their hooch and when James embarks on an impromptu off-FOB outing with a pistol on his belt wearing ACU trousers and a civilian sweat shirt.

Its understandable when Hollywood doesnt get it quite right. They want drama, action and flow so they take some artistic license. Im not begrudging them for relying so heavily on the bomb suit (Ive never once seen an EOD tech wear one to diffuse a roadside bomb) or fudge the radio chatter or get the raid stack wrong theres no nit picking here. But Hurt Locker is not the best action movie of the summer and it will not be studied 20 years from now. Some of the scenes are so disconnected with reality to be almost parody. And thats where a film plugging along just fine breaks down.

Its a good first attempt at an Iraq war movie that finally does some justice to the men and women who fight there. Maybe we've come through the long dark period of Abu Ghraib guilt-ridden films that tell us how bad we are as Americans and how bad an idea the Iraq war was. Theres plenty of heroism, drama and excitement in the Iraq narrative that lends itself well to the silver screen without having to engage in moral critique.

So, bravo to Kathryn and Mark Boal (the screenwriter) for bursting through the Iraq-war-guilt envelope with a solid base hit. Maybe this will encourage other filmmakers and studios to support the myriad films that could be made from the simple drama of the job our troops do every day in the worlds war zones.

ILSA's First Anti-Joo Post!

And it's from Haaretz!

To introduce, we at ILSA have received many complaints about our (well, my) frequent anti-Islamic tirades, so I thought I ought to listen to those requests to balance things up a little.
I reckon the World Muslim population to be about 1.7bn and the Jewish population to be 12.5million.

With this in mind, for every 136 anti-Muzz posts we come up with, we owe our readers 1 anti-Joo one.

And here it is!

Jewish extremists have urged supermodel Bar Refaeli not to marry her actor boyfriend, Leonardo DiCaprio, because it would dilute the Jewish race, according to media reports.

In a letter to Refaeli, far-rightist Baruch Marzel wrote on behalf of nationalist group Lehava, which aims to fight assimilation among Jews: “It is not by chance that you were born Jewish.

“Your grandmother and her grandmother did not dream that one of their descendants would one day remove the family’s future generations from the Jewish people,” the letter continued. “Assimilation has forever been one of the enemies of the Jewish people.”

Lehava in Hebrew means “flame” but it is also an acronym for “Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land.” According to the group’s Facebook page, it aims to provde assistance to Jewish girls in relationships with non-Jews, and especially Arabs.

Marzel told Refaeli that he “has nothing against Mr. DiCaprio, who I have no doubt is a talented actor.” Still, he urged Refaeli: “Come to your senses, look forward and back too – and not only the present. Don’t marry Leonardo DiCaprio, don’t harm the future generations.”

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Break

After a long, hard winter the northern hemisphere is slowly entering spring. For some of us, Spring break is upon us, and many of us will be off to Cancun, Mexico to get a bit of sunshine. In the meantime a pop quiz.

When you survey the picture below, can you spot the Canadian?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Look at AA

My new local shop is run by Somalians. Now, I've just noticed, that all the employees are - wait for it - Somalian too!

I notices exactly the same thing when my builder stopped off at the (halal) butcher's - all the employees were Muslims. All the workers in my local Chinese are, well, Chinese. There's a pattern developing here.

In actuality, I have no problem with this. Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Association, these pave the way for an employer's right to employ whomever he damn well wants, relative or not. And I support white employers' right to do the same thing. I got a tirade of abuse recently, for arguing against someone who said that a large supermarket chain was "racist" because most of its managers are white. I said, so what?

What I would like to see is a nation-wide study of employers and their employees. I would like to know how many non-white employees have the same openness to employing those unlike themselves in their businesses. I DO NOT want to hear statistics about what colour people occupy what levels of the economy, or how many whites are "over-represented" at management level, as a certain Cape newspaper tried to indoctrinate us.

I want to know, what colour employers are most likely to employ those of another colour. I bet you dollars to donuts that whitey comes out on top. It may be due to demographic realities, but I bet you white businesses employ more nonwhites than Indians employ non-Indians, and blacks employ non-blacks, etc. And I'm not talking about when they get themselves white lawyers to weasel them out of financial trouble; but proper full-time employees. That they aren't related to.

Despite all the cries that we are racists, and all the left-wing bullshit about "minorities", "privilige" and "discrimination", the societies we have created are the most open in the world.

But I'm still going to employ the white guy to do my electrics next time...

The economic liberation of Afrikaners

From News24.

It is an ironic twist of fate that so far the real beneficiaries of the ending of apartheid are the people who were supposed to have benefited from it whilst it was in existence - the Afrikaners.

During the years of apartheid, there was a culture of entitlement among the volk. With a good education you could end up as a Cabinet minister, a top civil servant, head of a parastasal or a senior executive in an Afrikaans-owned business like the Trust Bank or Sanlam. If you weren't so privileged, you could get a job on the railways as an artisan, join the ranks of the army or police or work for a municipality.

After 1994, all these expectations came to an end. Suddenly Afrikaners were out of power. They had to take a leaf out of Steve Biko's book: you are on your own and you will have to fend for yourself. And they have done so - fantastically well. I was told the other day that the fastest growing element of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are companies owned and run by Afrikaners. The whole coast north of Maputo in Mozambique is now a string of safari lodges and dive shops established by entrepreneurs from Pretoria. The list goes on and on all around South Africa, and increasingly north of the border and elsewhere in the world.

One could call this phenomenon the great trek into business. Adapt or die, John Vorster said. The Afrikaners voted for the first option individually and collectively. Rather like the Jews in America, the Pakistanis in London and the Chinese in Australia, Afrikaners have a collective consciousness which is the spiritual foundation of an effective commercial network. Language, religion, culture and a common outlook on life bind them into teams that are almost unbeatable when challenged by less cohesive competitors. This trait obviously extends into sport as well. It is a form of ubuntu: you help me and I will help you because together we can achieve more. It's just that you have to speak the taal!

This article was prompted by my wife and I staying one night last week at a brilliant place called Bergwaters Eco Lodge just outside Waterval Boven. It was a real pocket of excellence in the Elands Valley. Run by a young Afrikaans couple, it offered everything from a long, beautiful walk to great food to a comfortable bed. But it was the entrepreneurial spirit that impressed me. She wants to give every room the theme of a herb and he has just bought a local hardware store as a second business. Music to my ears. You should always want to improve, no matter what the current state of your business is.

This all goes to show that we need an entrepreneurial state in contrast to a developmental state. California is the sixth largest economy in the world with only 36 million people. There is no sense of entitlement there. Everybody follows the Steve Biko code: you make it yourself. It would be a real shame if, by replacing one entitlement culture with another, we undermine the truly entrepreneurial spirit that South Africa undoubtedly possesses in its population as a whole. The Afrikaners were liberated by creating a level playing field. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Entitlement shackles it.

I conclude with a question: why do you think Jews, Pakistanis and Chinese people perform so much better on other people's playing field than on their home grounds? They know the result depends entirely on their own efforts. Afrikaners have managed to make this psychological adjustment without having to emigrate. Good for them. The next job is to liberate our black brothers and sisters in the same way.

Woman, 77, attacked with spades

Bloemfontein - A 77-year-old woman who was attacked by four men with spades, was still in a critical condition, a Free State health official said on Wednesday.

Francina Van Vuuren, her husband, Boet, 80, who is in a wheelchair, and two sons Marius, 44, also in a wheelchair, and Marthinus, 35, and nephew Juan, 13, were attacked by the men with spades and knives in Jagersfontein on Sunday night.

Free State health spokesperson Jabu Mbalula said Francina van Vuuren was still in the intensive care unit and in a critical condition after being admitted on Monday.

It was alleged that Francina went to check the back door of her home when she heard someone knocking, but was surprised by four men storming in.

Police spokesperson Thandi Mbambo said the woman was hit with a spade and her hands were tied with wire.

The young boy, who was in another room, was assaulted before the men moved to the sitting room where Boet van Vuuren and his two sons were.

Broken limbs

Police said the men demanded money from one of the sons and when he refused he was hit several times on his head with a spade.

"The father and the other son who were in wheelchairs were also hit several times," Mbambo said.

Police said the father eventually gave in and went to fetch money from a safe.

The men fled the scene with a .22 revolver, six cellphones, digital cameras and R38 000 in cash.

Police said Francina and her son Marius were initially transferred to Pelonomi hospital and both underwent operations for broken limbs.

On Wednesday, Mbambo said no arrests had been made.


Luggage Theft Down! Just in Time....

Airlines lose less bags

There is something comical about this headline - this is as good as good news gets in South Africa sometimes...

Johannesburg - The number of lost airline passenger bags dropped by nearly 24% between 2008 and 2009, an international report revealed on Thursday.

"(This) resulted in savings of $460m for the world's airlines in a year when their overall losses due to the slowdown in air travel reached $9.4bn," stated the 2010 Baggage Report released by IT aviation specialists SITA in Brussels.

It was the second consecutive year that the number of "mishandled bags" had dropped world-wide.

"Last year there were 2.2bn enplaned passengers and 25 025m bags mishandled globally, which is down 23.8% (or 7.8m bags) from 2008, and more than 40% (or 17.4m bags) down on the 2007 numbers," the report found.

Some of the decline could be attributed to fewer passengers travelling last year, SITA regional vice president for Africa Khodr Akil said in a statement on the 2010 Baggage Report.

"But the 2.9% decline in passenger numbers is still far smaller than the 23.8% decline in mishandled baggage," he said.

Less than four percent

"Improvements in baggage handling systems and passengers checking in fewer bags to avoid extra fees have also contributed to the overall decline."

In 52% of lost baggage cases, the bags went missing during aircraft transfers, while 16% were never loaded onto the plane.

In other cases, tagging errors or ticketing errors occurred.

Most lost bags were returned to their owners within 48 hours.

"Just 3.4% of all 25 025m mishandled bags go either unclaimed or, in rare instances, are actually stolen," the report found.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Off-Topic: Mark Steyn on Obamacare

It passed. The healthcare reform thingy got the green light, despite Americans not wanting it.

This piece is very good, and the reason Mark Steyn is always worth reading.

Health care is a game-changer. The permanent game-changer. The pendulum will swing, and one day, despite their best efforts, the Republicans will return to power, and, in the right circumstances, the bailouts and cap-&-trade and Government Motors and much of the rest can be reversed. But the government annexation of health care will prove impossible to roll back. It alters the relationship between the citizen and the state and, once that transformation is effected, you can click your ruby slippers all you want but you’ll never get back to Kansas.

Why’s that? Well, first, the “health care” debate is not primarily about health, which chugs along regardless of how the debate goes: Life expectancy in the European Union 78.7 years; life expectancy in the United States 78.06 years; life expectancy in Albania 77.6 years; life expectancy in Libya, 76.88 years; life expectancy in Bosnia & Herzegovina, 78.17 years. Once you get on top of childhood mortality and basic hygiene, everything else is peripheral – margin-of-error territory. Maybe we could get another six months by adopting EU-style socialized health care. Or we could get another six weeks by reducing the Lower 48 to rubble in an orgy of bloodletting, which seems to have done wonders for Bosnian longevity. Or we could lop a year off geriatric institutionalization costs by installing some kook in a pillbox hat as Islamic dictator and surrounding him with a palace guard of Austin Powers fembots. It’s as likely to work as anything Congress will pass.

What explains the yawning chasm of these gaping six-month variations? Lack of funding? The United Kingdom spends three times as much money on “health” as Poland and their cancer survival rates are more or less identical. Okay, forget the cash and consider the treatment: Even within the United States, even within the Medicare system, there are regions that offer twice as much “health care” per patient – twice as many check-ups, pills, tests, operations – for no discernible variation in outcome. To one degree or another, any health care “system” is a giant placebo. Right now, in a fit of mass hypochondria, large numbers of Americans have convinced themselves that they – or, at any rate, their uninsured neighbors – urgently need the magic Euro-cure-all. If they get it, it will improve their health not a whit.

But it will make a lot of other things worse. Government-directed health care is a profound assault on the concept of citizenship. It deforms national politics very quickly, and ensures that henceforth elections are always fought on the left’s terms. I find it hard to believe President Obama and his chums haven’t looked at Canada and Europe and concluded that health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. He doesn’t say that, of course. He says his objective is to “control costs”. Which is the one thing that won’t happen. Even now, health care costs rise far faster under Medicare than in the private sector.

By the way, to accept that argument is to concede a lot of the turf: Why is the cost of my health care Barack Obama’s business? When he mused recently as to whether his dying grandmother had really needed her hip replacement, he gave the game away: Right now, if Gran’ma decides she doesn’t need the hip, that’s her business. Under a government system, it’s the state’s business – and they have to “allocate” “resources”, and frankly at your age your body’s not worth allocating to. Why give you a new hip when you’re getting up there and you’re gonna be kicking the bucket in a year or two or five or twenty?

There have been two trends in US health care over the last decade. On the one hand, a lot of Americans have become, in any rational sense, over-insured: They get tested for things they’ll never get. On the other, there has been an abandonment of health insurance by the rich. If you peel the Census Bureau and DHHS figures, of those alleged “45 million uninsured Americans”, one-fifth aren’t Americans; another fifth aren’t uninsured but are covered by Medicare; another two-fifths are the young and mobile (they don’t have health insurance, but they don’t have life insurance or home insurance, either: they’re 22 and immortal and life’s a party); and the remaining fifth are wealthier than the insured population. Really. According to a 2006 Census Bureau report, 19 per cent of the uninsured have household income of over $75,000. Since the last round of government “reform” in the Nineties, wealthy Americans have been fleeing insurance and opting to bring health care back to a normal market transaction. And, if you look at the “uninsured discount” offered by doctors, one can appreciate that, for everything but chronic disability, it’s not an irrational decision to say I’ll get a better deal for my broken leg or my colonoscopy or my heavy cold if I just write a check for it.

And, if you disagree, so what? In a free society, Mr Smith should be free to be excessively prudent and over-pay to be over-insured, and Mr Jones should be free to conclude that he wants to pay cash down and get the best price for his broken leg. But a government system usurps both Smith and Jones’ right to calculate their own best interests. Whenever I cite some particularly lurid tale from the front lines of Euro-Canadian health care at The Corner, I always get a flurry of e-mails from American readers offering horror stories from US hospitals. And yes, it’s true, bad things happen in American hospitals. But the Euro-Canadian stories are not really about the procedure, the operation, the emergency room, the doctor, the nurse. They’re about impotence – not in the “Will Obama pay for my Viagra?” sense but in terms of civic dignity and individual liberty. I think of a young man called Gerald Augustin of Rivière-des-Prairies, Québec, who went to the St. André medical clinic complaining of stomach pain. He’d forgotten to bring his government medical card, so they turned him away. He was a Quebecker born and bred, and he was in their computer. But no card, no service: that’s just the way it is. So he went back home to get it, collapsed of acute appendicitis, and by the time the ambulance arrived he was dead. He was 21 years old, and he didn’t make it to 22 because he accepted the right of a government bureaucrat to refuse him medical treatment for which he and his family have been confiscatorily taxed all their lives. “I don’t see what we did wrong,” said the administrator. “We just followed the rules.” No big deal, M Augustin wasn’t anything special; no one in her clinic even remembered giving him the brush.

Roy Romanow, the Canadian politician who headed the most recent of the innumerable inquiries into problems with the system, defends the state’s monopoly on the grounds that “Canadians view medicare as a moral enterprise, not a business venture.” If the St Andre clinic were a business venture, they’d have greeted M Augustin with: “You’ve got stomach pains? Boy, have we hit the jackpot! Let’s get you some big-ticket pills and sign you up for surgery!” But because it’s a moral enterprise they sent him away with a flea in his ear. If you have a bad experience in a private system, there’s always another doctor, another clinic, another hospital five miles up the road. But, when the government monopoly denies you health care, that’s it: Go home and wait – or, like M Augustin, die.

“Morality” is always the justification. Inaugurating Britain’s National Health Service on July 5th 1948, the Health Minister Nye Bevan crowed: “We now have the moral leadership of the world.” That’s how Obamacare is being sold: Even The New York Times (buried deep down in paragraph 38) reports that 77 per cent of Americans are content with their own health care. But they feel bad about all those poor uninsured waifs earning 75 grand a year. So it will make us all feel better if the government “does something”. Not literally “feel better”: We’ll be feeling sicker, longer, in dirtier waiting rooms. But our disease-ridden bodies will be warmed by the glow of knowing we did the right thing.

What’s so moral about relieving the citizen of responsibility for his own health care? If free citizens of the wealthiest societies in human history are not prepared to make provision for their own health, what other core responsibilities of functioning adulthood are they likely to forego? Oh, Smith and Jones can still be entrusted to make their own choices about which movie to rent from Netflix, or which breakfast cereal to eat. For the moment. But you’d be surprised how quickly the “right” to health care elides into the government’s right to tell you how to live in order to access that health care. A government-directed medical system can be used to justify almost any restraint on freedom: After all, if the state undertakes to cure you, it surely has an interest in preventing you needing treatment in the first place – or declining to treat you if your persist in your deviancy: Smokers in Manchester, England have been refused treatment for heart disease, and the obese in Suffolk have been told they’re ineligible for hip and knee replacements. With a staff of 1.4 million, England’s National Health Service is supposedly the third biggest employer on the planet after the Chinese People’s Army (2.3 million) and Indian National Railways (1.5 million). And those couple of million Chinese and Indians are mere drops in oceans each over a billion strong, not a significant chunk of the adult population of a tiny strip of land in the North Atlantic. But they still have to ration treatment. Patricia Hewitt, the former Health Secretary, says there’s nothing wrong with the state forbidding treatment on the basis of “lifestyle choices”. And apparently the “pro-choice” types who jump up and down in the street demanding that you keep your rosaries off their ovaries are entirely relaxed about the government getting its bureaucratics all over your lymphatics.

Ultimately, it’s not the nationalization of health care but the nationalization of your body. Right now, if you want an MRI, it’s between you and your doctors. In a government-run system, if you want an MRI and you can’t get one, it’s the government’s fault. And the government should do something about it. Not give you the MRI, of course (that’s too obvious, as well as too expensive), but at least introduce a new Patient’s Bill of Rights, as Gordon Brown’s just done, promising every Briton the “right” to hospital treatment within 18 weeks. Or your (tax) money back? Ah, well, no, but the Prime Minister’s charter will also give you “guaranteed access to cancer treatments”, as well as “the right to die at home”, which sounds a bit as if Mr Brown is covering himself. Scotland’s male cancer survival rate is 40 per cent, compared to America’s 66 per cent. So if the other 60 per cent of Scots all exercise their right to die at home that might free up some “guaranteed access” for the remainder. And, if it doesn’t, the Prime Minister will perhaps introduce a new helpline - 1-800-PATIENT begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-PATIENT end_of_the_skype_highlighting – in which all you have to do is punch in your postal code and some bureaucrat will come on the line to explain that that new cancer-survival targets for your area will be introduced circa 2012, so call back then, if you’re not dead.

So elections dwindle down to a sterile argument over how to “improve” the system: The left-of-center party usually pledges to throw money at it. The right-of-center party is less enthusiastic about that, which generally makes it suspect on the issue, so it settles on some formulation to the effect that it can “deliver” better “services” more “efficiently”. In other words, the only viable rationale for the right becomes its claim to be able to run the leftist state more smoothly than the left. Every footling reform with any whiff of the private sector about it has the ranks of the great and the good lining up on TV to drone the indestructible cliché that “the NHS is the envy of the world.” Years ago, in The Daily Telegraph, I wrote that I’d seen a fair bit of the world and had never met anybody who envied the NHS, although presumably there must be a Bhutanese yak farmer up country somewhere who’d be impressed by it. A couple of days later, Mr Sonam Chhoki, a Bhutanese gentleman, wrote to the paper to say that, while not a yak farmer himself, he came from good yak farming stock and, after a bit of grumbling about my outmoded ethnic stereotyping, declared that he certainly didn’t envy the NHS. His British parents-in-law “have had to wait more than two years for operations, after being turned away several times for lack of hospital beds. However basic the Bhutanese health service is, it has not yet come to this sorry state.”

And yet Mrs Thatcher, one of the great fearless conservative figures of the age, could do no more than insist to a skeptical public that “the NHS is safe in our hands”. In the 2000 Canadian election, Stockwell Day, leader of the allegedly right-wing Alliance, found himself forced to make similar prostrations after entirely unfounded rumors that the party was thinking of “permitting” private health care back into the country. In the leaders’ televised debate, he wanted to be certain that, whatever questions he was asked, the public got the message that he had no plans to monkey with the government monopoly. So he brought in a little handmade sign and propped it up in front of the microphone to advertise his fealty: “NO TWO-TIER HEALTH CARE.” While he was distracted by a question on some inconsequential topic like foreign policy, Joe Clark, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party (think RINO squishes with bells on) swiped the little placard and gleefully scored through the “NO” to let viewers in on Mr Day’s hidden agenda: “TWO-TIER HEALTH CARE.” This is what it’s come to: The leaders of the two soi-disant “right-of-center” parties competing to see who can grovel most abjectly before the state monopoly. That’s the Republicans’ future if they collude in the governmentalization of health care – as Democrats well understand.

When health care is the government’s responsibility, it becomes its principal responsibility. Because the minute you make government the provider of health care, you ensure that, come election time, the electorate identifies “health” as its number one concern. Thus, in a democracy, the very fact of socialized medicine seduces the citizenry away from citizenship. Buying health care is no more onerous than buying a car or buying a house – which, pre-Barney Frank, most Americans seemed able to manage. Indeed, most of the complications are caused by existing government interventions. If you were attempting to devise a “system” from scratch, you might opt for insurance for catastrophic scenarios and, for PAP smears and colonoscopies and whatnot, something similar to the tax breaks for a Simplified Employee Pension: C’mon, how difficult can it be? Back in the day, your grampa managed to go to the doctor without routing the admin through Washington. Matter of fact, the doctor came to grampa. That’s how crazy it was.

But the acceptance of the principle that individual health is so complex its management can only be outsourced to the state is a concession no conservative should make. More than any other factor, it dramatically advances the statist logic for remorseless encroachments on self-determination. It’s incompatible with a republic of self-governing citizens. The state cannot guarantee against every adversity and, if it attempts to, it can only do so at an enormous cost to liberty. A society in which you’re free to choose your cable package, your iTunes downloads and who ululates the best on “American Idol” but in which the government takes care of peripheral stuff like your body is a society no longer truly free.

In a nanny state, big government becomes a kind of religion: the church as state. Tommy Douglas, the driving force between Canadian health care, tops polls of all-time greatest Canadians. In Britain, after the Tube bombings, Gordon Brown began mulling over the creation of what he called a “British equivalent of the US Fourth of July”, a new national holiday to bolster British identity. The Labour Party think-tank, the Fabian Society, and proposed that the new “British Day” should be July 5th, the day the National Health Service was created. Because the essence of contemporary British identity is waiting two years for a hip operation.

They can call it Dependence Day.

from National Review