Category Archives: Federalism

UPDATED (2/10): NEW COLUMN: What Americans Can Learn From F. W. de Klerk’s Great Betrayal Of South Africa

Africa, Democracy, Federalism, History, Iraq, Racism, Secession, South-Africa

NEW COLUMN IS “What Americans Can Learn From F. W. de Klerk’s Great Betrayal Of South Africa.” It’s on American Greatness NOW. The column also appeared on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

Excerpt:

In what should serve as a lesson for Americans today, recall that 30 years ago, on February 2, 1990, F. W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, turned the screws on his constituents, betraying the confidence we had placed in him.

I say “we,” because, prior to becoming president in 1989, Mr. de Klerk was my representative, in the greater Vereeniging region of Southern Transvaal, where I resided. (Our family subsequently moved to Cape Town.)

A constellation of circumstances had aligned to catapult de Klerk to a position of great power. A severe stroke forced the “The Crocodile,” President P. W. Botha, from power in 1989. Nothing in the background of his successor, President, F. W. de Klerk, indicated the revolutionary policies he would pursue.

To a 1992 referendum asking white voters if they favored de Klerk’s proposed reforms, we returned a resounding “yes.” Sixty-eight percent of respondents said “yes” to the proposed reforms of a man who sold his constituents out for a chance to frolic on the world stage with Nelson Mandela.

For it was in surrendering South Africa to the ANC that de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela.

Why was de Klerk trusted to negotiate on behalf of a vulnerable racial minority? For good reason: De Klerk had made his views abundantly clear to constituents. “Negotiations would only be about power-sharing,” he promised. At the time, referendum respondents generally trusted de Klerk, who had specifically condemned crude majority rule. Such elections, in Africa, have traditionally amounted to one man, one vote, one time. Typically, elections across Africa have followed a familiar pattern: Radical black nationalist movements take power everywhere, then elections cease. Or, if they take place, they’re rigged.

Among much else, de Klerk’s loyal constituents agreed to his scrapping of the ban on the Communist-sympathizing ANC. Freeing Nelson Mandela from incarceration was also viewed as long overdue as was acceding to Namibia’s independence, and junking nuclear weapons. Botha, before de Klerk, had, by and large, already dismantled the most egregious aspects of apartheid.

What de Klerk’s constituents were not prepared for was to be legislated into a permanent position of political subordination. President de Klerk, the man entrusted to stand up for crucial structural liberties, went along with the great centralizers. He caved to ANC demands, forgoing all checks and balances for South Africa’s Boer, British and Zulu minorities.

By the time the average “yes” voter discerned the fact that de Klerk had no intention of maintaining this opposition when push came to shove, it was too late.

… READ THE REST. What Americans Can Learn From F. W. de Klerk’s Great Betrayal Of South Africa” is on American Greatness NOW. The column also appeared on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

* Image is of President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela (Photo by © Louise Gubb/CORBIS SABA/Corbis via Getty Images)

UPDATE (2/10):  Nevertheless, we are honored to have a response from Jeffrey Sachs. It generated quite the thread.

My book is not “an attack on the end of apartheid,” @JeffDSachs. That’s a distortion. A principled critique of dominant-party rule in South Africa doesn’t amount to an approval of apartheid, of which the book offers a detailed critique, too.

Heck, I came out FOR Quebec’s secession (2000), @GerardHarbison & @JeffreyASachs . That’s the libertarian position. Political divorce is completely kosher, so long as individual rights are preserved.

 

 

California’s Centrally Planned Neighborhoods

Federalism, Founding Fathers, Private Property, Regulation

Think Americans still live in the decentralized republic the Founding Fathers bequeathed? Think  Americans benefit from a federal form of government, where control is local and residents get to decide about the character of the place they inhabit? Think again.

Consider California’s housing-supply law. If residents of a community don’t want to “develop” their corner of the world—if they wish to preserve the character of the place they call home—Big Brother Central Planner will make them.

Gavin Newsom, California’s new governor, is  suing “Huntington Beach, a coastal city in Orange County, for failing to comply with the state’s housing-supply law.”

California has a severe shortage of affordable housing, and he wants to bring a sense of urgency to the problem. The state has the highest poverty rate in America when adjusted for the cost of living. One-third of renters pay more than half of their income towards rent, and homeownership rates in the state are at their lowest level since the 1940s.

The lawsuit against Huntington Beach is meant to be a warning shot to cities that they cannot stonewall development. Fifty years ago the state passed a “housing element” law requiring communities to plan for new housing for all income groups, based on forecasts for population growth. In 2017 the state legislature passed several bills to speed up housing development and approvals. Until recently many cities have not met their housing numbers but faced little consequence …

MORE: “Why California’s governor is suing Huntington Beach: Can a lawsuit compel upscale cities to build more housing?

America Was Never Meant To Be A Raw, Ripe Democracy

Conservatism, Constitution, Democracy, Federalism, Founding Fathers, Natural Law

In the context of last week’s column against democracy, it’s important to remember that, “the reason the American democracy has been more successful than others is precisely because “the fathers of the American Republic devised an instrument of government unparalleled as a conservative power for ordered liberty.” (“The Conservative Mind” by Russell Kirk.)

Everything in the American Constitution was wisely designed to constrain raw democracy. A “great part of that accomplishment results from the wise conservatism of the Federal Constitution,” which avoids “the peril of a single assembly,” recognizes “the rights of several* states and the necessity for limiting the power of positive legislation.”

However, warned Kirk, the father of American conservatism, “[I]f there is a weak point anywhere in this “artificial reservoir,” “the mighty force which it controls will burst through it and spread destruction far and near.”

(“The Conservative Mind” by Russell Kirk, p. 335)

And so it has.

* The meaning of “several” in this sentence is individual,” I believe. 

** Image is of the guillotine, French democracy in action

Why Liberals Hate The Original Constitutional Scheme

Constitution, Egalitarianism, Europe, Federalism, Founding Fathers

Liberals disapprove of the brilliant men “who wrote America’s constitution,” you know, the geniuses of the pale patriarchy.

Yes, concedes the Economist, the Senate was devised “to represent places, not people, and there is a case for that; other constitutions, such as Germany’s, look to ensure regional representation in their upper house.”

So far, so good.

But liberals want heavily populated cities and city slickers—they vote Democrat—to drown out rural people, who vote Republicans. So, for ensuring that “the largest states do not dominate the rest,” the Senate is considered bad by liberals. “[T]he constitution provides equal representation for all the states, large and small alike. This builds in an over-representation for people in small or sparsely populated places.”

That liberals can’t abide.

But for the electoral college liberals, who’re ignorant of any political theory other than egalitarianism, reserve the ugliest terms.

The “electoral college,” writes the Economist, is as system “that America’s founders jury-rigged in part to square the needs of democracy with the demography of slavery.”

Come again?

See: “The minority majority: America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats,” July 12th 2018.