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Nelson Mandela the Incoherent Ender of Apartheid

Nelson Mandela passed today, December 5th 2013 at the age of 95.  As a youth he opposed the use of force against himself and his supporters on seemingly principled grounds.  He opposed the oppression of the citizenry by the state.  As president, however, he supported the use of force against innocents to organize society according to his vision.  Like all statists, he did not recognize or choose to recognize, the incoherence of his position.

Most people remember that he had been incarcerated for 27 years.  Most are likely unaware, however, that according to Wikipedia and other news reports, Mandela was jailed resulting from a conviction on sabotage and conspiracy charges stemming from a bombing campaign targeting the government.  Mandela was accused of leading that campaign.  He denied the charges.  He was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment and was released in 1990 after an international campaign lobbied on his behalf.

Born into a royal family, Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. While living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the African National Congress (ANC) and becoming a founding member of its Youth League.  He studied the writings of Karl Marx aligning and associating himself with communists.

Upon his release from prison he worked to end apartheid which occurred in 1994.  His visits after his release included Cuba and Fidel Castro whom he long emulated.  His “ascent” to the presidency was as a democratic socialist.  He then, as a matter of policy, systematically used the force of government to reshape the South African society.  In 1994 he implemented “Obamacare”, “free” healthcare for pregnant women and children under six years of age and a slew of other social programs.  Mandela’s administration instituted collective bargaining and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 which created enforcement mechanisms while extending a “floor” of rights to all workers, while the Employment Equity Act of 1998 was passed to put an end to discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.

Mandela received criticism for failing to sufficiently combat crime, South Africa having one of the world’s highest crime rates.  750,000 whites who emigrated in the late 1990s cited the crime rate as the reason for leaving.  Much of that crime was black on black.  Mandela’s administration was mired in corruption scandals.

Upon Mandela’s death, most are unaware of the contradictions of his life.  They will fail to evaluate his life in full context.  They will hail him as a good man.  One who endured severe hardship and  ended apartheid.  I can support only his actions which were in concert with justice.

The only principled legacy is that of peace.  And peace is a result of the respect for the non-aggression axiom and property rights stemming from self ownership.  Nelson Mandela respected neither with consistency.


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