THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

archives
articles

WE ALL LIVE IN SOWETO NOW | 2000-09-02

Most of us have heard of a butler called "Jeeves." The inventor of Jeeves was P.G. Wodehouse.

In his first book after World War II, called "The Return of Jeeves," the wise English butler is quoted as saying, "We live in the age of the welfare state, sir. This means, as nearly as I can tell, that everyone is destitute."

Right after World War II, in order to make everyone equal, Britain's new socialist Government had imposed confiscatory taxes, rationing, and regulations to the point where nobody had anything. It was called a welfare state. It was also called Austerity. And boy, was it ever austere!

So while America had a post war boom, the British managed to make themselves miserable, all in the name of Equality.

The United States Constitution assigns the United States Government the role of pursuing "the general welfare." Not only is this not the same thing as "equality," it is very often the opposite.

Austerity was one example of how equality and the general welfare conflict. Another is South Africa today. In South Africa today, every honest person is worse off, in every measurable category, than he was under white rule.

There is real genocide going on in Africa today. That real genocide is taking place under the name Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. The old apartheid Afrikaners would have come down on this epidemic in a mercilessly Politically Incorrect way. They would have imposed testing and isolated HIV-positive people in a way that would have outraged civil libertarians and saved millions of lives.

But instead of being treated as politically immature subjects, black Africans are being made equal. And, as in the rest of Africa, they are dying like flies. In the AIDS emergency, what is being pursued is not the general welfare, but equality. No one cares what happens to real people as long as Holy Equality is the announced goal.

In the 1950s, I used to read about high rates of illegitimacy and dope addiction. But back then, this was called a "Negro" and a "Puerto Rican" problem.

Things are "better" now. We are more equal.

By "better," I do not mean that the rate of illegitimacy and drug addiction among blacks and Puerto Ricans is down. In fact, both rates have skyrocketed. Things are better now in this sense: the white rate of drug addiction and illegitimacy is now what the black rate was in the 1950s. There's more of it for everybody, but it's more equal because now it's general.

"Progressive" forces used to point to the black township of Soweto to show what was wrong with the old white-ruled South Africa. The crime rate was enormous, and poverty was rampant in Soweto.

But things are better now. The crime rate is now higher in Soweto, and there is certainly no less poverty. Quite the opposite is true. Crime, poverty, and disease were bad but getting better under the old regime. Now they're worse and getting even worse, and there is no prospect that the new downward trend will ever change.

But that doesn't matter, because everything is now worse for whites, too. The crime rate is unbelievable in white areas, even compared to American ghettoes! South Africa's currency, the rand, was at a quarter of the old value the last time I looked.

The old "safe" areas no longer exist. To paraphrase Jeeves, "South Africa lives in the age of Equality. This means that EVERYBODY is destitute, and living in terror."