Andrew Kenny’s opinion piece “Should whites go?” reminds me of Ayn Rand’s epic novel Atlas shrugged. In a nutshell, the story revolves around a group of entrepreneurial persons who withdraw from a state in which their freedom to act is increasingly curtailed by an oppressive majority who organise themselves in various committees to regulate everything. (It sounds familiar!) The entrepreneurial persons then create their own free-market utopia in anticipation of the inevitable failure and end of the order that they have escaped from.

The question of whether there is a moral obligation on those with the ability to withdraw from the oppressive order cannot be considered lightly. Some of my family members who left the country indeed confirmed that one of the reasons they were leaving was that they were no longer willing to finance the discrimination against their own community.

We all know that such a utopia does not exist in real life – all countries have their pros and cons. It is still relatively easy to own firearms here, for example, while it is more limited in Australia and even impossible in other countries.

In reality it simply is impossible for most ordinary middle-class families to emigrate, however. The debate of whether the so-called “whites” should remain or leave, is in fact nothing more than a debate for a wealthy, well-qualified elite – to the ordinary citizen, it is nothing more than a daydream. One should not err to think that this debate is only conducted in “white” circles. One visit to Australia is enough to realise that well-qualified and wealthy people of all cultures and languages are faced with this choice.

No-one wants to stay in a country simply to be a thorn in the side of the ruling elite. Ordinary people want to live free, safe and prosperous with the prospect of a beautiful future for their children. What to do, then?

The only practical solution to create a future – amidst the deterioration of the ordinary citizen’s living environment as a result of an increasingly failing state – is self-management through community institutions. The state’s achievements over the past 25 years prove that a future won’t be handed to us from above, but that we will have to build it from the bottom up.

If you do not like the future that the government is offering you, and you cannot or don’t want to leave, you will have to jump in and build a future yourself. A society formed by the establishment of strong community institutions (schools, churches and civil organisations, for example) will be able to fill the vacuum that an absent state leaves and to make such a prosperous future possible.

A wise man once told me that you should choose either to live on the continent, or to live on the island – some people waste their entire lives by continuously swimming between the island and the continent.

Decide what you want to do. If your heart is with the continent, roll up your sleeves and work for the future that you would like your children to have.

Barend Uys is head of research and development at AfriForum.





This post is also available in: Afrikaans


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