Columns 2.8.2018 08:30 am

It’s time for humankind to press the reset button

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump

Political and social discourse, locally and internationally, has me convinced we have gone as far as we ever will as a species.

Political and social discourse over the past few years, locally and internationally, has opened my eyes to an inconvenient truth: now, more than ever, the world needs a nuclear holocaust to cleanse it of the plague that is humankind.

Our massive scientific and technological advances are impressive, but how they are put to use and the ill-informed scepticism with which the general public tends to view knowledge, education and science has me convinced we have gone as far as we will ever go as a species.

It’s time to quit while we’re ahead, and I can think of no better way than by simply letting the world’s most powerful orangutan use the red button on his oval office desk and unleash that final sunset on us all.

The local issue that has shone a light on the worst kind of humans recently is the question of whether government should be allowed to expropriate land without compensation and redistribute it to those in need.

In a logical world, the answer to this question would be simple. Of course it’s necessary!

This is South Africa though, and logic doesn’t work here.

Instead of rational arguments for or against radical land reform, we have seen those espousing slogans like “no boer, no pap”.

The racist implication here is that only white farmers are able to provide food and it is so stupid it doesn’t deserve further discussion.

On the other side of the spectrum lie a few radical groupings who argue that all land belongs to black or Khoisan people, and everyone else is simply a settler, who deserves nothing.

Their equally racist and myopic arguments deserve similar disdain.

Then there are the former homeland dictators, arguing for their right to impose their will on the populace of a supposedly democratic country and maintain their opulent lifestyles on the backs of their subjects, based on nothing but the luck of their birth.

In the middle are those ordinary South Africans, hoping for a tiny piece of the pie, which would mean ownership of a tangible, appreciating, workable asset, which could improve the lives of their children, or simply allow them to be closer to their places of work in the case of urban land.

These are ordinary citizens who have to deal with the fact that our education system consistently ranks among the worst in the world, meaning we are churning out dumb kids faster than religious home schoolers.

These are ordinary citizens who have to deal with the fact that our economic growth has slowed to a snail’s pace while those being paid millions to ensure social grants are paid on time spend our tax money at trendy Durban restaurants.

Ordinary citizens have to sit by and watch as the loudest, but least talented and intelligent, are rewarded with seats in parliament for their ability to use the land debate as a means to distract from these issues.

They are the ones who might eventually get some land, when it has become worth nothing more than dirt in a country where everything else has collapsed.

But hopefully we’d have all come to our senses by then and simply pressed the reset button.

Earl Coetzee.

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