Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Trying to incite people to behave in a certain way"

Someamongus was the first blogger I noticed to pick up the baton and run with this theme. (And if you want to know what I am on about in this posting, it might be best you read that delightful 1st post & my comment to it). Then he just kept running, still holding the baton. But I am going to pry it from him for a few minutes and have my not-as-well-articulated say on the subject….

If I were to have one hour of President Mbeki’s time, I’d march into his Union Building office (or is he parking off in Newlands at this stage of the year??) ready to conduct a short presentation, by use of clipboards & PPP & those laser pointers, very much resembling what I was a participant to for the majority of the student year of 2000.

Realising that the current South African president is an Economist at heart, I understand that he may have missed some vital political concepts through his education. This is nothing to be embarrassed or stubbornly defensive about. After all, we all know that Economists hate Political Scientists in much the same way that Ozzies, Kiwis & S.Affers all claim to hate one another….bitterness that stems from being so similar, yet slightly divergent in perspective & action.

This hour long course, which I would kindly offer cost free to the pipe-puffing grey-bearded Head of the South African State, would be to examine particular definitions relevant to the presidency and the other civil servants who serve the South African citizens.

Definitions covered would include:
Participatory Democracy
Monarchy versus Republic versus Chiefdom
Divine Right of Kings versus Inherent rule versus Elected rule
Absolutism
Civil Servant versus Political Party Member vesus Elite Class
Democratic Elections
Accountability
Elected Representatives
Aristocracy versus Communist Parties
Civil Liberties

To start, we would discuss, argue and debate just four definitions that right now, following the reactionary statements by government officials to the FNB Anti-Crime campaign, I believe are vital for a continued healthy state of South Africa.

Consent of the governed - the idea that a just government must be based on the consent of the people who live under its jurisdiction. Government must be an expression of the popular will. This concept is found in the writings of theorists from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, especially John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Stuart Mill. Locke's work influenced the Founding Fathers, and the Declaration of Independence states that "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it."

Republic - the form of government in which ultimate power resides in the people, who elect representatives to participate in decision-making on their behalf. The head of state in a republic is usually an elected president-never a hereditary monarch. A republic is founded on the idea that every citizen has a right to participate, directly or indirectly, in affairs of state, and the general will of the people should be sovereign.

versus

Divine right - the terms usually refers to the divine right of kings, a medieval belief that the king was appointed by God to rule, and this divine right was passed on by hereditary alone. The belief had virtually died out by the end of the nineteenth century, except among a few diehard groups. [Ed. Yes, in this case, perhaps divine right is not assumed to be passed on by a family name, but perhaps by a particular political party's name.]

Serve – To work for.
….this begs the question, who is working for who in this state. The South African citizens elected the president. The South African citizens toil their rainbowed butts off & pay their taxes. These taxes are intended to pay the salary of the president, who then is supposed to carry out the wishes, needs, and demands of the citizens.

Perhaps I misunderstood. Perhaps Mbeki has. Hopefully my hour with him will bring clarity to the issue.
But with these definitions in mind, President Mbeki & your Government spokesman Themba Maseko, and all who follow their train of thought: “Trying to incite people to behave in a certain way towards the head of state cannot be condoned,” ….put THAT in your pipe and puff on it.

Back to you, my dear Someamongus.

26 comments:

Insane Insomniac said...

And yet again you show why I love reading yoru blog. So informative! It's liek a university education. Well, I guess, since I've never been.

If I had an hour with the president, I'd like to discuss his decision making process. Like why he chooses to be friends with known dictators etc. If it was championing the underdog then fine, but i hardly think Mugabe is underdog material.

Champagne Heathen said...

Ah, thanks Insanity!! You do not know how I crave answers to THAT situation!

Robert@iScatterlings.com said...

Champers - you amaze me.

Champagne Heathen said...

And you make me blush and smile dear Rob. Thanks!

Phlippy said...

OK, now that we know that you are the intelligent life on earth, what planet are you from and will you please teach our world leaders how to change a lightbulb :-)

Brilliant post, I feel so much more intelligent after reading them.

Champagne Heathen said...

Ha Ha! Thanks mon mignon escargot!

I learnt all I know about Politics from a thick-Afrik-accented Marxist lecturer! "Hey Comrades, Hey!".

The problem with politics is those people who follow the discipline become politicians. In my politics class, the top thinkers had no desire to end up in forefront government. It was the fools who did.

Way back when, politicians had no cash-incentive to end up in government, you did so because you had a point of view/principle you wishe to fight for. While I like this idea, it does allow for fundamentalism to gain strength. Sorry. I think I'm going far off topic - what happens when you are trying to do 10 things at once...your mind goes everywhere.

Phlippy said...

No no - I'm interested in that because I feel the same way. The "cash incentive" is such a driver over the last few decades rather than people being passionate about making a difference and instilling change in what they believe to be a sick society that needs help. Oftentimes people are so plagued with this desparate want to do more for those around them but they fear to do anything because of the stigma associated with politicians. Which in turn revolves back to your preceeding point.

Revolving Credit said...

I would so like you to personally invite Truman Prince to attend your course.

Robert@iScatterlings.com said...

Oh dear I feel the Campaign Manager Wanted advert coming on.

I do offer bulk discount on tomato boxes. Buy enough for a campaign trail and I give 45% discount.

As for politics screwing one of the big financial lions of S Africa - hey FNB you just got fucked big time!

I think that had the campaign come from a truly non-political socialy aware organisation it migh not have had the same impact as FNB might have had. But by the same token, FNB were skating on thin ice.

Their priorities were very quickly revealed and made transparent - big powerful and rich customers' bank account retention is more important than another murder, another rape, and another carjack. Shame on them.

That is a chink in any bank's armour. And government knows it, so poured salt into the wound and turned the screws. Any bank faced with the loss of the government accounts would back down immediately without so much as a whimper. Just goes to show the public how FNB value the elimination of crime versus losing customers.

They should have stood their ground and screwed the blackmailers. But no. Their fickle profit minds kow-towed and grovelled before their masters.


I knew that one day, FNB would be made to suffer for all the overdraft fees they charged me in error!

Champagne Heathen said...

Why are you all responding with intelligent thoughtful comments at this hour of the long day?? Can I get back to you post 5pm when hopefully my mind has returned. Thanks!

kyknoord said...

You do realise that you're going to have to compress that down into about three bullet points (hah!) to hold his attention for more than 2 picoseconds? By the way, good luck on the whole "public servant" thing. I phoned my order for a pizza through to Tynhuis absolutely ages ago and I'm STILL waiting. Slack bastards!

Revolving Credit said...

I didn't realise that literacy was a prerequisite for becoming a politician??
Shit, do you realise how many by-elections we would need to have??

# 302 said...

Government, Financial Institutions, Advertising where's the crime in that? Excuse me for being a tad cynical about the whole thing, I'm sure FNB and the criminals are enjoying the publicity.

Champagne Heathen said...

Kyks - I will take his pipe away, and if I notice him lose a second of concentration, I will threaten to take his whiskey glass from him!

At least you know your pizza will be free! Just turn on the oven to heat it up when it finally arrives. Actually, maybe scrap that idea!

Rev - at least all the by-elections will keep them so occupied they won't have time to get up to their usual daily activities - expensive lunches, purchasing of german cars, looking up kiddies' porn etc!

Numero - a tad cynical?! You?! Never! :)

(Still getting to more indepth comments...just now)

Garth said...

First time visitor Champers. Impressive!

Please let me come with when you brief el Presidente, I would love to see the look on his face.

I'll be back.

Champagne Heathen said...

Welcome Garth! And thank you so much for the compliment on your first visit...you can come back anytime!

I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I weasel in an appoinment with the Prez!

Ok, now I must be off. I have kilos of sushi to go and ravish!

Urk said...

while you're at it, ask him why manhole covers are round. and how they get blue lines on paper. i've always wanted to know that.

302 said...

cynical...your bottom

-D

Robert@iScatterlings.com said...

I think Champers is really a Fishoid from Atlantis. The one from myth and legend NOT from Kaapstad af!!

She eats so much sushi. But then that makes her a cannafish. Haahaa - get it....??!!

But she is a clever fishoid. And has a memory too. Ja, she recalls conversations we had last week which is impressive hey?!

I wonder if her gills are behind her ears like Patrick Duffy's were when he tried to act like a fishoid in that TV serial funnily enough called The Man from Atlantis.

If they were, that'd be an interesting talking point while having tea n beskuit with Mr Mbeki. It'd be a icebreaker for sure.

Maybe it could lead into establishing Tuna & Sardine quotas around our seas off South Africa and banning the Spanish and French trawlers form coming wiothin 200 miles of the S African coastline.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog champers, good to see that there are still young people in SA who care about the political situation and haven't just moved to the UK. You and Someamongus make so great points but unfortunately just like Mbeki we offer no solutions. Relating to this post it's interesting tolook at a) the source, let's be honest Sunday Times isn't exactely what I would call great journalism and b) the calls came from other business leaders, now forgive me for a little over-simplification here but I believ that Mbeki is a highly intellectual dude and i would assume that so are the countries business leaders so if they both urged the campaign to be withdrawn, it would certainly make me think?

On the more general Mbeki theme I think we're a little to quick to criticize T-Bone, there have been several mind boggling errors (HIV esp) but lets also remember that Mbeki has done alot of good (granted mainly economic) but as champers mentioned he is an economist, his belief is that the economy is the driving force behind the issues esp. crime in SA and through economic stability we can created long term stability in the country. Which in mind is a fair assumption. I agree Mbeki deserves his critics, but lets also take a step back and look at where we are - 11 years on (most ofwhich where under Mbeki's guidance even when Mandela was president) I think we've come a long way, not as far as we would have liked but pretty far. I could go on for hours but that's enough for now - thanks for making me think a little dudes, nothing better some brilliant debate to get the old mind rolling.

fuzzy logic said...

Champers for president!

cat said...

brilliant post champs. divine right - i really believe 80% of population votes on loyalty lines, and does not equate service delivery with leadership.

Champagne Heathen said...

Phlipppy – Exactly. But people will always find means to change that what they do not like. So we see the rise in Non-governmental Organisations, and “new” Social Movements. What also struck a thought was in place of “coffee shop political debates” we now have blogs to satisfy our need for discussions and debates. Hmmm….perhaps a post in the making…

Rev – you had to make me do some research on this dear man. He could use several lessons in many many varsity 1st year subjects. …I see he is being had up for indulging in child prostitutes & has had charges of assault brought against him before.
AND “Prince is accused of receiving a performance bonus of R49 000 even though he had been in his current position for less than a year….[and the] use of R3000 from the mayoral fund to pay for the bail of his friend Harry van Rooyen.”. http://iafrica.com/news/sa/620953.htm
He has been contravening the ANC constitution, has been opposing another ANC candidate in the area, and has registered to contest the elections as a candidate for another party. Now the ANC is “cleaner and more focused without these hindrances and embarrassments," said Skwatsha”. http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1871800,00.html

Delightful.

Robs – thanks very much for your generous discount on those tomato boxes! I do prefer the former soap ones, but if the price is right…

That is the problem with not having enough advocacy groups & more strong opposition parties. The bank had to step into a serious gap, and the government used their own devious strength to fight back.

Shame on the ANC if they did threaten to pull their accounts from the bank simply for calling on the president to listen to his electorate!!! If that is true, it is DISGUSTING. The ANC & our president should welcome means for the people of SA to be heard! FNB was not calling for his resignation, or for a coup or anything of that sort. They were asking for the president to listen to the people he represents!

Urk – he’s the president, not The Oracle! But I’ll ask anyway. See how lateral thinking he is.
My answers: Blue lines are peace-instilling & Round manhole covers are cheaper to manufacture…less metal needed for corners! :P

Numero – and a very cute cynical bottom mine is, thank you!

Rob – I’ll gooi that cannafish at you! But good talking point about the trawlers being sent on their polluting way. Hold on….who catches the fish that a day later becomes my sushi?!?!? OOoooo conflict of interest for me!

Fuzzy – Yeah for my varsity education!! What role would you like on my cabinet.

Someamongus – thanks very much for the link on your site!! I had 60 readers last night cause of it. Oooooo!

Champagne Heathen said...

Anon – Thanks very much for the compliment, and yes, I love that this new blogging trend allows me to voice my thoughts, form ideas, opinions, faulty theories etc. and to read others!

Yes, I am not a regular reader of the S.Times as many articles often drive me to frustration with them being sensationalist. The Sunday Independent just hadn’t arrived yet. What was my predominant concern though was the quote from the government spokesperson’s statement: “Trying to incite people to behave in a certain way towards the head of state cannot be condoned,”

The thinking behind such a statement is very dangerous. As I try to explain why in my posting.

As for Big Business’s role; I did read a further article in The Star (back to your first very relevant point about sources!) where Paul Harris stated that: the campaign was cancelled after “various discussions” that highlighted potentially negative consequences of the campaign. He said the “possible outcomes might not have matched the intentions of the campaign”.
( http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/topstories.aspx?ID=BD4A376028 …Can’t track down that exact article.) And that the campaign will happen when they are certain the intended outcomes will be achieved. How much of this hints towards convincing gov not to pull their big accounts from FNB, who knows. But let’s hope it does mean it was for intelligent altruistic reasons on the part of Big Biz & Gov!

Mbeki has done many good things. And he more than likely will never be recognised accordingly for these. But then he must also recognise that being Head of State is meant to be a thankless job, not a glorified demi-god position. It is our role as active citizens to critically analyse ALL he does, says (and does not say far too often in Mbeki’s case!), and policies he puts forward. If we do not do this we run the risk of complacency and even allowing our leaders to become autocratic & unaccountable (as we are worrying hoping is not happening already).

Yes, you picked up my point of him being an Economist. With me being s a Pol Scientist, this means he & I are often at odds on the course of action he chooses. I do understand his theory on how to alleviate crime, or even his original intentions on his HIV stance & Zim stance. But one cannot rely too heavily on the economy if it means compromising thousands/ millions of citizens’ lives. There are times that more direct action does need to be taken, as we have already witnessed.

Thanks for your thoughts! I really enjoyed them! And yes, nothing like some blog political banter to help broaden & strengthen our minds! Visit again…although, on this blog, expect a potjie of themes.

Cat – thank you! As was said on someone’s blog recently - exactly, it is either remain loyal and vote for the party you always have, or now, do not vote at all. What is needed is an alternative for ANC members who are becoming disillusioned with their current party, and so far this country has yet to offer such an alternative.

Dave said...

Mmmm, very interesting post Champs, I seem to have missed a lot recently with my little trip to the States.

Frustration is par for the course when discussing our government and its actions, or inaction to be more precise!

Champagne Heathen said...

Thanks Dave! And yes, you've missed a great deal.