Saturday, 9 January 2021

 Love and harm

Trevor Watkins 9/1/2021

Everybody has an opinion.  Almost every opinion differs.  Are all opinions equally valid? Must we give everyone an opportunity to voice their opinion, no matter how devoid of sense and truth? How are we to decide which opinions are important and useful,  and which are simply frivolous. Is there some combination of words on which we can mostly agree,  rather like the Ten Commandments. Is there a magic sentence who's internal logic is so indisputable that all thinking person's must accept it, whose truths are self evident?  How would we persuade non-thinking persons to accept the truth of our magic statement?  Can such a concept be reduced to mere words?

Can we improve on “Love your neighbour”, as a rule for peaceful co-existence? The problem is that this is an active rule, it requires you to act in ways you may not choose. It is instruction, rather than advice. 

“Don't harm your neighbour”  is much better advice.  This is a passive rule.  It does not require you to do anything,  just to refrain from doing some things. 

I believe the gap between these two rules summarises the gap in western society between left and right,  between Democrats and Republicans,  between the kindly, caring,  sharing, socialists  and the individualistic, thinking, independent, self-reliant capitalists. Both sides passionately believe that their rule is the better one. Religions, governments, economic systems are based on one or the other approach, and sometimes an uneasy mix of the two.

Many would say that these two statements are perfectly compatible,  that you can love your neighbour and not harm him or her.  But this is to deny the meaning of these words.

 To love someone is to care  strongly for their best interests,  to put their well-being above your own,  to ensure their happiness and survival.  This is how we love our children, our parents and our spouses.  And we are now instructed to behave the same towards our neighbours, who are not our family, who may have completely different world views and cultures, who may wish us harm. We may end up betraying the interests of our own family for these strangers. This is not an instruction which most people can honestly fulfill.

To not harm someone is a much easier proposition. It requires no direct action, but rather calls for inaction. We go through life not harming the vast majority of those around us, our neighbours, our competitors, even our enemies. But, like love, the definition of harm can be difficult. Do we harm someone if we offend them? Is mental harm as bad as physical harm? If I fail to wear a mask in a pandemic, do I harm my neighbours? Does my mere existence harm the existence of others as we compete for scarce resources?

Do you have to choose? No. Most people spend their lives in a state of blissful cognitive dissonance. Go to church on Sunday. Ignore the needs of your neighbours the rest of the week. Believe in coercive, harmful policies like taxation, minimum wage, rent control on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. Respect the gender and lifestyle choices of others for the rest of the week. Ever wonder why life seems so confusing all the time.

Think about and then actively choose the principles you aim to live by. Avoid compromising.  When faced with a difficult decision, revert to your principles, even when inconvenient. Respect the right of others to do the same.


Then there are the independent thinkers who are able to rise above their culture and able to recognize evil and escape its clutches. If one can think for oneself, if one can make the effort to think independently and evaluate things from an ethical standard, one can overcome the cultural biases that prevail. One can learn to recognize and reject evil. 

Marco den Ouden, The Jolly Libertarian.

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

John Stuart Mill

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Looking for balance

 Are the woke really that bad? 

In these surreal times, it is time for another reality check.

It is easy to demonise the left as violent and stupid, but they once were liberals, like us.

Did our (classical) liberal and libertarian policies once look as stupid to conservatives as modern woke policies now look to us? Libertarians have always believed that individuals should be free to make their own choices about gender identity, sexuality, and consenting sexual behaviour. Has that changed? 

Many so-called libertarians do not believe fully in freedom of speech, where you can say anything that does not result in real-world actual harm, as opposed to disagreeable or unpopular or insightful language. They would seek to silence or cancel some forms of speech which they believe is excessive. 

Libertarians cannot agree on the subject of abortion, although the rights of a woman to make her own choices about the body she owns should be paramount. At least the wokerati are consistent here.

The woke left seeks to invoke the power of the government to enforce their ideas, which is wrong. So do the vast majority of libertarians.

Most libertarians would agree that the police have frequently exercised their powers with excessive force, in the USA and in SA. Most Libertarians believe that the police should be held to the same standard of accountability as ordinary citizens.  Most libertarians believe that rogue cops should be prosecuted and imprisoned if necessary.  Most libertarians would believe that citizens have the right to resist  the use of force by the police  with equal force.  How does that make us different from Antifa? When Antifa  initiate violence in the form of a riot then most libertarians would reject that. 

When large corporations collude with government to undercut the rights of individual citizens, most libertarians would object.  This is cronyism, not capitalism, they would say.  they might even come out on the streets and protest against this abuse of power by large corporations.

The individual freedom of choice that capitalism represents is never wrong. 

Empathy is important, despite that woke people think so too.  All people, including selfish libertarians,  must feel an obligation to care for children, the sick, the elderly, even when they are strangers. We cannot ignore this obligation to the tribe and the possible costs it might incur. 

Immigrants are individuals with rights too. Individual rights do not only apply in  certain geographic locations.  Libertarians reject governments, states, nations, public borders. Like the woke left, we should welcome all individuals,  of whatever current nationality, to share in the wealth we believe we can generate,  while always respecting individual property rights.

Unity is not strength.  Progress is not dependent on us all working together towards some common goal.  The idea of a common goal is anathema to most individualists. Progress is dependent upon the spontaneous actions of individuals free to choose within a market. Working together substitutes the retarded mind of the mob for the brilliance of the individual.

Democracy is a resounding failure. It is an inherently collectivist concept that substitutes rule by beauty queens chosen by the mob for individual responsibility. It appeals to the inherent laziness and gullibility of the masses. It is a useful way for six people to decide what  flavour of pizza to buy, but it is an awful way for 60 million people to decide what economic system they must all pursue. 

In the future we should all live in enclaves of approximately 300 people where we make our own governance rules as we go along,  and coexist with our neighbouring enclaves in a confederation of tiny States. 

In South Africa there is an endless whine about how stupid the ANC is. Yet they are smart enough to be the ones in charge, and get to do pretty much as they please. Their policies are exactly right for them,  otherwise they would have different policies.

There is a constant complaint that Cyril Ramaphosa is a weak and indecisive leader.  There are endless calls for a stronger leader to tell us what to do.   Thank your lucky stars for a weak leader, because the alternative is a strong one, like Bheki Cele. The only thing worse than incompetent government is competent government, 

The response to covid19 demonstrates that the vast majority of society are mindless drones, doing whatever the loudest voice tells them to do. Why is everyone trying to save these surplus-to-requirements people?

In the immortal words of Ayn Rand, “ Check your assumptions”.

Sunday, 24 May 2020


By Trevor Watkins 24/5/2020
Some of what I have to say here is derived from a Wikipedia article entitled “Authenticity”.

What is real? In a world flooded with fake information peddled by phony people, how do you as a thinking individual arrive at any conclusion? How do you establish what information advances your life and what retards it? Is the truth knowable?

Are truth and authenticity the same? I think many people authentically promote the version of the truth they happen to believe. You cannot accuse them of bad faith, just ignorance of your version of the truth.

I have come to the conclusion that one can only strive to be authentic. This is not an original idea. Many great people throughout history from Marcus Aurelius to Kierkegaard have come to much the same conclusion. The best advice that the Oracle of Delphi could offer was “know thyself”. I would add that you must not only know yourself, but you must be yourself, You must act authentically.

To be authentic you must constantly examine your actions and your motivations for these actions. Did you quote Kierkegaard because he was relevant, or because it makes you seem intellectual? Did you choose a controversial title because it advances the authenticity of what you say, or because it might get you more clicks. The greatest test of authenticity, in the written word, is the answer to the question, “How much are you being paid, and in what currency, to say this?”

An authentic person has a responsibility to develop and shape their beliefs to the best of their ability using the resources at hand. These resources are not always reason and logic. A bushman who comes to the conclusion that existence is the dream of a praying mantis, based on his experience of the world, is more authentic than a zealot who bases his beliefs on the writings of an unknown third party in a book of uncertain origin. Even a scientist who pretends to know the unknowable is not authentic.

To fulfill the potential of one's humanity and existence, one must take an active part in the shaping of one's beliefs, and then be willing to act on those beliefs. Too many people simply accept the norms of the society in which they live, swallow whole the beliefs of others, even when contrary to their own good sense.

Actively shaping one's own belief and then acting upon that belief is a laborious task. But, as Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living”. Most humans possess an ill-defined sense called a conscience. This seems to be a good place to start in developing an internal set of beliefs. Most individuals seem to have an innate sense of right and wrong, of good and bad, almost independent of the surrounding world and its norms. If you lack this sense you may end up an authentic Nazi, which would be a pity.

Not all beliefs are valid or equal. I favour beliefs that are rational, consistent, and explainable, otherwise any form of conversation is difficult. If you believe that life is paramount, then you cannot also believe in taking life. If you believe that you own the fruits of your labour, then you cannot also be comfortable with theft. If you believe in reason you cannot also believe in magic.

Here are the attributes which form the basis of my set of beliefs. Life is better than death, You own the fruits of your labour. Honesty is important. . The individual takes precedence over the community. Freedom is a virtue. Consent is a necessity. Choice is fundamental. Violence should be discouraged.. Comfort is better than pain. Kindness is better than cruelty. Courage is better than cowardice If I am to be authentic, then what I say and write and do must be consistent with these attributes.

Other people may base their beliefs on a different set of attributes. The community is more important than the individual. Safety and security are more important than individual rights. There is a divine being who controls my life. Faith is more important than reason. The end justifies the means. Many people authentically hold these beliefs.

The problem arises when you hold beliefs that are mutually contradictory, a condition known as cognitive dissonance. If you believe that the interests of the collective outweighs the interests of the individual, then you cannot prioritise the health or safety of your child or your family over the health of the rest of the community. If there is inequality within your community, if some people are poorer than others, then as a true communitarian you must sacrifice your individual resources to the greater good of the community. If you believe that faith is more important than reason, then you should always rely on prayer rather than a science-and-reason based medical expert. If your beliefs and actions are mutually contradictory you are no longer authentic.

Why is authenticity important? It is the basis of communication between humans. If I cannot trust what you say, what is the point in listening to you? If you do not trust what I say, why am I even speaking? A reputation for authenticity, for honesty, is established over time and must be carefully nurtured. It is destroyed by just one failure. Whole classes of people in society lack authenticity, such as politicians, lawyers, used car salesmen, many biased news sources. Some organisations have a hard-earned reputation for authenticity such as The Times of London, or Nature journal. No one is always right, but some try harder than most. Walter Cronkite, a United States news anchor, had an admirable reputation for honesty. Maggie Thatcher had a reputation for being brutally honest. (Surprisingly, it is very hard to find a list of authentic people on Google, although there are lists of rich people, stupid people, etc.)

Nature is authentic. Animals are authentic. The universe is authentic, although mysterious. Maths is authentic. Death is authentic. Children are usually authentic.

Religions are rarely authentic. Politicians are rarely authentic. Salesmen are rarely authentic. News organisations are rarely authentic. Advocacy groups are rarely authentic. Governments are rarely authentic. Do-gooders are rarely authentic.

Am I authentic? Is this article authentic? The best judge of authenticity is history.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Explaining Covid-19 to a 5 year old

by Trevor Watkins 26/4/2020

Dad, can I go and play with Johnny?
No son, the government won't allow you to because you might get sick.
But Dad, I get sick all the time and so does Johnny. We both had the flu last winter. It didn’t stop us from playing with each other.
It is different this time, son. There is this thing called covid-19 which is a virus like the flu. Millions of people might get sick and die if everyone doesn't stay inside and alone.
Wow! Do we know anyone who has died?
No. It is mostly old people who get sick and die.
So, if young people don't get sick, can I go play with Johnny?
No! I told you the government doesn't allow anybody to go and play with anybody else.
Ok, so how long are they gonna stop us from playing?
Until nobody is dying anymore from Covid 19. Nobody knows how long that will take. It's better to be safe than sorry.
How many people are dying right now of covid-19? Is it thousands and thousands?
Actually, no. In South Africa it's a bit less than 100.
I have seen that lots of people die in car accidents. Must we also stay inside until no one dies of car accidents?
No. That's different.
And James says lots of people die from crime in South Africa. Must we stay inside until there is no more crime?
No, that's different.
If I can't play with Johnny can I take Muffin for a walk in the park?
That's not allowed either.
Is the government worried about Muffin getting sick too?
No they don't care if Muffin gets sick, But you still can't take him for a walk
That's just stupid. Ok, so why are you home all the time now?
I'm not allowed to go to work because of covid-19. Actually I don't think I have a job anymore.
How are you going to pay for food and toys and stuff if you don't have a job?
I don't know.
So, can we go to the shops and buy something?
Yes, I can go to the shops, but you must stay in the car.
So it's OK for you to go shopping with hundreds of people, but I can't go play with Johnny?
Yes, I don't understand it either.
So what if we just don't listen to them and I go play with Johnny?
Then the police will come and they will beat you and possibly put you in prison.
Aren’t the police supposed to protect you and me?
This is different
Is it like this all over the world?
Mostly, but some countries have taken a different path. If you lived in Sweden you could go play with Johnny.
And have they all died?
No, actually. They seem to be doing about the same as everyone else.
So we go to all this fuss and it seems to make no difference?
And you think I'm the child here.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

3.2 million years

Cyril Ramaphosa and his fellow travellers in the ANC have stolen 3.2 million years from the lives of ordinary South Africans that they will never get back. 21 days for 57 million people equals 3,279,452 years. Plus who knows how many billions of rand their ill-thought out plans will cost.

Perhaps a few middle-class lives will be saved from covid19. Just as a few middle-class lives will be saved from the flu, from the motor accidents, from the criminal violence that might otherwise have occurred. But this lockdown will not have worked for the vast majority of the poor living cheek-by-jowl in our townships. It will not have worked for the millions who congregated in supermarkets and pharmacies and taxis. But magically all this will be forgotten when the number of fatalities withers away, as they surely must.

Ever wondered how they persuaded all those Jews to walk into the ovens? Fear of violence, desire to live, ignorance, uncertainty, doubt. Unthinking obedience to their rulers in government. Sound familiar?

Today, 5th of April 2020, is a fascinating moment in the history of both South Africa and the world. It is a nexus. It may be a turning point for our western civilization. Let's consider where we find ourselves.

We are halfway through the South African lock down. So far there have been nine deaths and somewhat less than 2000 recorded infections. The rate of infection has been going down for the last 4 days. It looks as though the Covid19 infection rate has peaked. The 10,000 tests backlog may be hiding some real and horrific information. Possibly the number of infections will zoom up in the next two weeks. But the only really important measure will be the number of deaths directly related to the Covid19 illness. This will become clear in the course of the next two weeks.

If the number of deaths exceed the annual flu total, then we have some real cause for concern. If they don't, how will government respond? Will they say “Oops, sorry, my bad”, and attempt to carry on as if nothing had happened? Or will they bluster and fume and invoke evermore outrageous powers to cover their confusion, and save their skins. How will we as a society respond to this atrocious attack on our liberties? Probably with a meek “Oh well, at least they tried”.

If the Swedish and South Korean experiments succeed, will major western governments fall? If these experiments fail, will the West stay in lockdown for months? Will we have an economy to come back to?

I look forward to the next 2 weeks with a sort of grim delight.

Saturday, 1 February 2020


Trevor Watkins 1/2/2020

Mindful chatter

I am saturated with intelligent and sincere hand-wringing articles on:
  • how bad government is
  • how stupid the ANC and all their voters are
  • how this or that thoughtful free market solution will fix everything
  • these are all words filled with sound reasoning and furious argument, signifying nothing to the powers that be.
We are just so many crickets chirping in the undergrowth as the lions amble by.

Actual power

If you want actual power, join the ANC and work your way up through the branch structures. (You may have to kill some people, but don't worry your cause is just.) After you have defrauded the state of billions you can afford to pay various factions to support your crazy ideas.

These days even making billions doesn't seem to give you any real power, if you are white.


Why on earth should we respect the jurisdiction of a state that has no respect for its own founding principles? The constitution is no longer a hallowed document, it is a hollow document, perverted at the whim of the occupying powers.

The solution is to treat the ANC state as though it wasn't there. Most of the time they won't even notice. If you have something to sell, just sell it. Just like everyone else in the townships. If you want to buy something, be careful who you trust and how you spend your money, just like you should always do. If someone cheats you, do you really think the police will help in any meaningful timeframe?

On those rare occasions when the organs of the state do actually react and take you to court, you can go with the Stalingrad defence. This starts by refusing to recognise the court's jurisdiction. When the judge asks you what jurisdiction you do recognise, there comes the rub.

While you know that you hate the current dispensation and the current jurisdiction, the vast majority of us have no idea of any useful alternatives. It would be nice if you could claim to be the 53rd state of the United States of America, but the Americans are probably not keen. Tiny disaffected groups in Africa are two-a-penny and hardly worth the trouble of investigating.

Establish a jurisdiction

So you must establish your own jurisdiction. There are good precedents for this in the many independence movements both here in South Africa and around the world. But very few of them offer a well-defined and articulated jurisprudential system that you could offer as your alternative jurisdiction.

For about 10 centuries commercial interests in Europe have used the law merchant as their jurisdiction in Commercial disputes. this has now evolved to become the TransLex Principles collected and formulated by Klaus Peter Berger (University of Cologne) and his Center for Transnational Law.

This would be a fine solution for commercial disputes, but what about disputes with the state within which you reside, of a political or criminal nature. The most obvious one is a refusal to pay tax to the state. Most existing governments get very excited by this refusal and are quick to take offenders to court.

Generally, existing nation states require that claimants to alternative jurisdictions have their own nation state consisting of physical land bounded by accepted borders and confirmed by other nation states and organisations such as the United Nations. Are you, as a citizen of the world, obliged to abide by these rather stringent requirements?

What about claiming your own private property (within some nation-state) as your jurisdiction, no matter how small?

What about claiming a virtual jurisdiction in some cyberstate such as Bitnation?

Estonia offers e-Residency, a program which allows non-Estonians access to Estonian services such as company formation, banking, payment processing, and taxation. The program gives the e-resident a smart card which they can use to sign documents.

What about claiming to be a citizen of a tiny jurisdiction like Liberland and applying their laws? 

What about becoming a citizen of a country like Mauritius or Lichtenstein and claiming their jurisdiction as your own.

All of these possibilities are worthless if you do not have the power and authority to enforce them against your own overbearing nation state. It is highly unlikely that Liechtenstein will send troops or even lawyers to help fight your case in South Africa.

When enforcing your claim to be bound by an alternative jurisdiction you are pretty much on your own.

What is needed is an independent and private jurisdiction enforcement agency consisting of soldiers of fortune of the worst sort who would strike fear into any opposing legal process, while always acting within the bounds and statutes of the jurisdiction that you claim. So, for example, any attempt to violently detain or incarcerate you would trigger an equally violent response to the detriment of the enforcers in the opposing state. Rather like the American response when American citizens are taken into custody by some two-bit third world fleabag country. Generally just the mere threat of response is sufficient to concentrate the minds of tin-pot dictators in distant lands.

Of course an effective response does not always have to be violent. If one has the means one can normally resolve virtually any legal difficulty with a payment to the right set of individuals. In many cases a little research into the backgrounds of these corrupt figures plus a threat to make the details public will result in an acquittal for any particular individual.

Define a constitution

In order not to appear like a lawless mob, your preferred jurisdiction should have a well-defined and widely accepted constitution. For most libertarians this is a short and succinct statement of principle. The Individualist Manifesto is a good example. What better way to popularise the principles of individual freedom than to insist that they be applied to you when arraigned in a court whose jurisdiction you do not recognise.

The best strategy when dealing with a bully is to walk away. The worst strategy is to accept the bully’s terms, to appease and cower. In the words of Ayn Rand, the “sanction of the victim” is the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the “sin” of creating values.  

Demand that the state recognises YOUR jurisdiction!

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Meerkats and Weavers

Trevor Watkins 15/12/2019

There is a small valley somewhere in Africa where a colony of meerkats live close to a large nest of social weavers. Each group has been quietly filling their destiny in the way nature intended, for many generations. The meerkats do not particularly like the weavers, regarding them as noisy, untidy and annoying, while the weavers think the meerkats are weird, anti-social and disapproving. Nevertheless they have got along side-by-side for generations, mostly by avoiding each other.

The meerkats often scatter seed around their colonies, which the weavers eat and enjoy. The meerkats also keep the area clear of snakes, which are the weavers' worst enemy. In turn, the large weavers nest provides welcome shade on the hot days, and the birds do provide early warning of approaching predators.

But times change, and a new and unsettling cloud of meaning drifted over the valley, driven by the winds of change blowing throughout the world. Phrases like “the majority shall govern” and “the poor and oppressed must rise” were heard in dark corners from odd folk who did not live in the valley. With their aristocratic bearing and independent lifestyle, the meerkats were quickly regarded as the enemy of the working classes, who were best represented by the weavers who worked long hours to erect great nests for the general good. After a few unpleasant incidents, a meeting of all the valley residents was called to discuss the “emergency”. The weavers liked the idea because they constituted the majority in the valley by far, while the meerkats were perfectly happy with the way things had worked in the past and saw no need for change. After days of talking and twittering, and several walkouts by the meerkats, it was decided to hold an election to elect a parliament and leaders for the valley.

Since the weavers outnumbered the meerkats 10 to 1, it was not surprising that they won the election hands down, and the majority of the seats in the new parliament. The meerkats were mildly horrified but did not know what to do - it all seemed reasonable and fair and democratic. What's the worst that could happen, they asked themselves.

Although the weavers liked the idea of being in charge now, they had no idea of what they were supposed to do next. Weavers weaved, meerkats burrowed, life went on. But soon the same odd folk who had suggested the election started suggesting some rules the weavers could pass. The meerkats could be obliged to put out more seed under the weavers nest, for the “good of the community” and to pay their share of the administration costs of the new government. When they passed this law, by a large majority, with only meerkats dissenting, pretty much nothing happened. This annoyed the bureaucrats amongst the weavers. At first they tried to get weaver birds to dive bomb the meerkats, but the meerkats just laughed this off. So the weavers made a deal with their arch enemies, the snakes, to enforce the weavers’ laws, in return for first pickings on any illegal meerkats. Pretty soon it was simpler for the meerkats to comply with the extra grain allowance than lose members to the snakes.

And so it carried on - the weaver parliament passing ever more intrusive laws, generally to the disadvantage of the meerkats. All entrances had to be entered from below - just like a weaver's nest, but insane for a ground dwelling meerkat. All nests were limited to a maximum size, which just happened to be the size of an individual weavers nest, but was hopelessly inadequate for a meerkat warren. When the meerkats appealed to the weavers to just leave things the way they had always been, the weavers told the meerkats they were anti-democratic, unprogressive, and worst of all, conservative. The peace and cooperation of the little valley was shattered, in the interests of the common good.

Of course, after a few months of this, the meerkats just abandoned their warren one night and moved away. The weavers were enraged and passed many resolutions condemning this selfish behaviour, to no avail. The weavers had become used to their extra ration of seed, which was no longer available. Worst of all, the snakes which had been kept busy enforcing the rules on the meerkats now had nothing to do, so they went back to their old ways of attacking the weavers nest. Soon, the weavers nest fell into disrepair and began to crumble.

And the moral of this story? A majority confers no moral authority, it is just a majority. Individuals do best when left alone to compete for themselves using tried and trusted approaches. What works for a weaver does not necessarily work for a meerkat, or anyone else. Individual choice is more important than collective good.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

New Principles for the DA

by Trevor Watkins 27/11/2019

After a long period of confusion the DA has finally agreed to adopt a principle-based policy going forward. This is great news, but do they really mean it?

A principle is a fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for a system of behaviour. It is a statement that is true at all times and in all places. It must be consistent. It is not subject to negotiation. It does not vary with polling numbers. It is not influenced by the current consensus.

So before adopting a principle you had better be sure that you agree with it and that you are prepared to die on a hillside defending it. You cannot choose which bits and pieces of the principle you wish to defend, and which to ignore. It really is all or nothing, or else the process is pointless.

The issue that has split the DA revolves around the principle of non-racialism. This appears to say that race will not be a factor in making decisions about people and policies. However the ANC proclaims a wildly different view of non-racialism, believing that demographic representivity in all spheres somehow represents a form of non-racialism. For awhile, the DA seemed to believe this too. Obviously a robust and consistent definition of non-racialism is required.

But mere non-racialism is a far too limited position. The real principle we must seek to extract is how we deal with each other as individuals, and the relationship between the individual and the state. The summary of the principle is that we respect each other's sovereignty, the right of each individual to make his or her own decisions completely free of the influence of others, except when those decisions may impact on the equal freedom of others.

Race is just one aspect of this wider principle. Freedom of speech, religion, sexual preference, preferred economic system, the right to life itself, are all intimately involved in the principle of freedom of choice. Freedom of choice means removing the stultifying hand of government from the lives of ordinary individuals. Instead of regulations prescribing every aspect of life, freedom of choice will allow individuals to make their own decisions. Government can offer solutions such as education, health, social grants, business development, etcetera but it cannot and should not force citizens to participate in, or fund, what they do not use.

Of course if individuals really are free to choose they should be entitled to choose the government programs they wish to support with their funds and attention. If something like unemployment is the biggest challenge of the day, then let them put their tax funds specifically towards relieving unemployment. If others think that education is the problem then likewise let their tax funds go to education. Ultimately in a free to choose state individuals should have complete control over the disposition of their personal funds. This is all a logical consequence of the idea of empowering citizens through personal choice. It would represent a sea change in DA policy but it might well resonate strongly with members of the public.

What about the issue of redress for past grievances? It suits the ANC very well to make this a cornerstone of their policy because of the pressure it places on whites in particular. Despite the outrage this would precipitate, I believe the DA should adopt as a principle that only the actual perpetrators of a crime are responsible for its consequences. The unborn should not have to pay for the crimes of the long dead. This can only result in a society held hostage to ghosts.

Of course past actions lead to current inequalities, differences in outcomes and wealth. This has always been true and is not unique to apartheid and South Africa. These differences must be resolved by current actions.

Direct government control of every aspect of society through myriad rules and regulations has become so entrenched in our Society that many will find it virtually impossible to imagine an alternative scenario.

Amusingly the free to choose (or user pays) principle is nevertheless the Foundation of Sanral's justification for its tolling system on Gauteng roads. Individuals should be free to choose which school they send their children to, which hospitals they prefer, what salary they choose to work for, what kind of house they choose to build and in what place. These are all reasonable concepts made fantastical by our current dictatorial state.

If the DA is looking for a change of principles that will surely reverberate through the country and quite possibly the world, then I suggest the principle of individual freedom of choice going forward.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

A virtual country

New Zealand consists of about 4 million people, mostly white and western. It is a country in two parts, north and south. The inhabitants are mostly peaceful, hard-working, thoughtful people. New Zealand has stringent immigration restrictions which limit who may become citizens of this country.

Imagine that the leaders of a neighbouring country, such as Indonesia, decided they were entitled to rule New Zealand because they had more people. Imagine these leaders levied a heavy tax on the native New Zealanders, and then repatriated this income to their friends and cronies. Imagine that these leaders took over all the functions of government such as police, health and education and placed only Indonesians in all these jobs. Imagine that these Indonesian usurpers pursued a program of looting, death and destruction amongst the civilian populace.

The outcry would be enormous. New Zealanders would take up arms against the perceived invaders. Civil War would be inevitable. The Commonwealth and United Nations would come to the aid of the beleaguered New Zealanders. The USA would move aircraft carriers to the vicinity and demand immediate Indonesian withdrawal. Chaos would Reign.

South African whites consist of about 4 million people of mostly western descent. They are spread throughout the physical area of South Africa but are generally concentrated in 5 urban areas, in the north and the south. South African whites are mostly peaceful, hard-working and diligent.

Nevertheless, the leaders of the black population believe they are entitled to rule over the whites and other population groups because they have more people. They levy a heavy tax which is mostly borne by a segment of the white population. They have taken over all the functions of government such as policing, health and education and only place blacks in the majority of these jobs. They allow a program of looting, death and destruction amongst the white civilian populace to continue with almost no hindrance.

There is no world outcry at all. The United Nations is silent. South African whites do not take up arms against their rulers. No one is expected to come to the aid of these beleaguered white South Africans. Chaos Reigns.

I suggest that white South Africans should regard themselves as a separate virtual country embedded within the boundaries of the current South Africa. They should make a unilateral Declaration of Independence from the existing South African state. They should identify and elect their own leaders and political structures. They should cease paying tax to the South African state and begin contributions to their own new virtual state. They should set up structures of their own for activities such as defence and security, education, health and welfare. They should begin a process of population registration which would decide who would be citizens of this virtual state. They should put in place stringent immigration policies which would decide entry into the virtual state.

For many this will seem like a return to the bad old days of apartheid. But the existing ANC government continues to insist upon a racially divided and classified nation. It insists that some racial groups are discriminated against, treated differently, ineligible for positions in government. This proposal merely takes existing ANC policy and applies it to a class defined as white, instead of black.

Whites already have to make private arrangements for their own security, education, health and many municipal services. Many of them already live in separated walled-off estates. They already constitute most of the economic base of the country. What have they got to lose?

Sunday, 28 July 2019

U4I - Union for Individuals

by Trevor Watkins

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’
Buckminster Fuller - Architect / Designer / Futurist / Author

What idea would attract the interest of your average township gogo, trying to sell vegetables from a roadside stall?
What would interest a rural mother of 5 with a drunken husband eking out a precarious existence living on tribal land?
How can you explain the downsides of minimum wage to millions of unemployed workers?
How can you conduct a countrywide poll of the poorest of the poor in a matter of minutes?
How can you credibly address the security issues of middle class South Africans?

Here is an idea that can tick all of these boxes.

Some current realities

  • South Africa is on the verge of a catastrophe.
  • Opposition politics is a black hole which sucks up funds and energy without return.
  • The vast majority of South Africans of all classes have some access to cell phone technology.
  • Ordinary individuals are the largest oppressed group in SA
  • Unions have near unlimited power and access to the state
  • Jobs, not race or land, is the biggest issue for most South Africans
  • The ANC has provided significant benefits, economic and social, to millions of poor South Africans, who remain grateful and loyal to the ANC as a result
  • We have much to learn, and to fear, from the Chinese

Some current myths

  • Black people must be stupid because they keep voting for the ANC
  • White people are no longer relevant to, or influential in, the future of South Africa
  • Our current problems can be solved by doing what we’ve always done before
  • Our past defines our future
  • Socialism can work here, or anywhere else.


Many solutions are proposed
  • BBBEE, NHI, prescribed assets, endless bailouts, improved social grants
  • Commissions on jobs, poverty, state capture, corruption, education, security, SMME’s
  • Emigration
  • Secession
  • Better education through private initiatives

Characteristics of a workable solution

It must directly involve the vast majority of South Africans, across all races and classes
  1. It must improve their lives significantly in the short term
  2. It must be affordable to all
  3. It must be new and different, not simply a recycled version of a past failed strategy
  4. It must be non-political, non-racial, independent of the level of education and income
  5. It must be popular - it should appeal to most people
  6. It must be professionally and privately administered and managed, without corruption


To address these issues, I suggest the following new model:
  1. Setup a new business, provisionally known as the Union for Individuals (U4I). Register it as a union.
  2. U4I will act as a union for individuals, providing services, protecting their rights, and advocating on their behalf.
  3. The precedent for this is Afriforum, which is linked to the Solidarity trade union and promotes the protection of Afrikaner culture. However, Afriforum excludes the majority of the SA population, who have a deep culture of union membership.
  4. U4I will charge a nominal annual membership, such as R10. It will undertake projects on behalf of individuals, like Afriforum does for Afrikaners. Court actions, protests, dissemination of information, special services.
  5. A new Android app, provisionally called App4U, similar to the Vodacom LINK app, will be developed. (See
  6. Members will be registered on App4U for free. The app will have the following facilities:
  7. Members can setup local security groups amongst friends and relatives. The people who agree to be in your group will be notified if you have an emergency, along with your location.
  8. Members can report less urgent problems using the App4U, for attention and possible resolution by U4I employees, local councillors, state officials.
  9. Instant polls of members on specific issues can be quickly and easily conducted and tallied.
  10. Members can communicate, offer and request goods and services, interact with each other, like on Whatsapp. A marketplace for work seekers will arise, which prospective employers can access.
  11. App4U will provide the contact details for all levels of government in a structured search, similar to the LINK apps’ councillor and ward database. Complaints and queries will be recorded on the app and shared with the targeted officials. The app will provide facilities such as standardised emails to selected officials. A history of interactions with officials will be kept, and available for public interrogation. Non-performing officials will be quickly identified.
  12. U4I can directly communicate with members through broadcasts. This can be used to rapidly spread awareness of important issues, such as widespread fires, rioting, weather problems. It can also be used to educate members on new legislation, better practices, tips, etc.
  13. The app will track your reputation. Abuse of other members or app facilities will lower your reputation. Frequent assistance and problem resolution will raise your reputation.
  14. The app will probably fund itself through targeted advertising.
  15. U4I management will be able to conduct polls, track developing issues, alert authorities, act to resolve issues before they escalate.


  1. None of the technology proposed is new. The Vodacom LINK software could probably be used without change initially.
  2. The app addresses a fundamental issue of most South Africans, security, quickly and efficiently.
  3. It may also assist job seekers, small enterprises, education.
  4. U4I will establish a wide and deep network of members who can assist fellow members in need, provide critical intelligence on needs and shortages, offer advice to many simultaneously.

Next steps

  1. Find a backer for this idea with sufficient funds and infrastructure and motivation.
  2. Setup a project team.
  3. Contact the developers of the Link app at , or, The App Factory (Pty) Ltd, 11th Floor Convention Tower, Cnr Heerengracht and Walter Sisulu Avenue, Foreshore, Cape Town.
  4. Register U4I as a union.
  5. Test the idea in a controlled localised trial.
  6. Develop a marketing strategy.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Future Money

by Trevor Watkins

Initially Fractional Reserve Banking (FRB) was criticised from the perspective of the person depositing funds with the bank. Since the bank theoretically lent out multiples of their deposit, there is a potential for fraud and loss to the depositor. However, if the bank honours the terms of its agreement with the depositor (your money is available whenever you call for it), there is no fraud or loss. Bank runs are actually very rare.

Then the debate centred around the dangers to the economy of the bank creating "new" money without full backing. Leon said new money was not created, Dawie said it was. Even Von Mises warned of the dangers. I think it is patently obvious that new money is created when a bank makes a loan in excess of its reserves. However, I no longer think this is a bad thing.

My new insight is that banks are lending "future" money - money which has not yet come into existence, but will as a result of the loan. Consider this scenario:

  1. A builder wishes to erect a block of flats but does not have the necessary capital for materials and labour. The maximum credit period he will get from suppliers and labourers is 30 days. However, his bank will give him sufficient credit for the entire project for 5 years, if it judges him to be a good risk.
  2. The bank lends the builder R5 million for 5 years. This loan plus all its others exceeds its reserves (but hopefully by not more than the almost pointless statutory amount). Because the bank's credit is trusted by the suppliers and labourers, the bank makes the money available as a bookkeeping entry in the builders account. (ie, it does not have to produce actual gold or silver to convince people it will honour the demands)
  3. This is now "real" money. As soon as the labourer or supplier spends money paid from the builder, it is in the economy doing useful things. But it is only backed by trust in the bank, for now. Because the bank aggregates many deposits and loans, it can meet all demands through judicious management.
  4. This ability of the bank to stimulate new production by issuing unbacked loans is wonderful for the economy. It is a form of private Keynesianism. Through a network of trust it persuades and assists people to take risks they might not otherwise take.
  5. The builder completes his block of flats and starts receiving rent. He uses this to repay his loan from the bank, plus interest. The loan IS NOW BACKED by the funds and real asset created by the builder. The future money loaned by the bank becomes real money on the banks books. Everyone is happy - the builder has a productive asset, the bank has more money than it started with, the workers and suppliers have all been paid at profit.

 Love and harm Trevor Watkins 9/1/2021 Everybody has an opinion.  Almost every opinion differs.  Are all opinions equally valid? Must we giv...