Nihilism: South Africa’s new religion

nihilistBy Joseph Secrève.

What does nihilism mean? That the highest values devaluate themselves. The aim is lacking; “why” finds no answer. – Nietzsche.

I’ve recently perused an old interview dating back to 1983 between Dutch author Willem Frederik Hermans and a well known journalist of the same country. Hermans was residing in Paris at that time, having turned his back on his home country due to various irreconcilable differences between himself and his former colleagues in his native land. The author had just returned from a visit to South Africa during the forbidden years of National Party rule and the reactions he received from his kinsmen varied between curiosity to outright contempt. The level of scorn he endured was nothing short of a national outrage, and even a brief visit to Amsterdam three years later was met with bomb threats from the radical left.

In this interview Hermans correctly foresaw important turning points that were about to come, mentioning the role that journalists played to destroy South Africa by any means possible, and especially the communists “who would benefit enormously to turn South Africa into chaos the way they did in Angola, Mozambique, Sudan and Rhodesia.”

Since the demise of National Party rule, the veracity of this statement has been proven time and time again. Everything that was once taken for granted, our core values, our identity, our sense of morality, and our deference to our culture have been uprooted, and what was once thought of as demeaning, cruel and evil have been watered down to banality. Conversely, holding on to our customs and morals is the new anathema. Of all the severe crimes and savagery in South Africa today, the gang rapes of infants, cannibalism, farm murders and the torture of the elderly, the most heinous crime by far is an Afrikaner who wants to mind his own business.

This was clearly displayed the past week when a group of mainly Afrikaners held the Red October protest, demanding an end to savage violence, rampant government corruption and laws depriving minorities of a decent existence. As many commentators and historians have confirmed, the discriminatory practices from blacks against whites today are much more intense and profound than ever during National Party rule.

For some former left-wing activists, the savagery came as a complete surprise and made them recant much of their former rhetoric. For others however, their hatred towards any semblance of Afrikanerdom is still in full swing. In fact, many key players in South Africa today including academics and politicians do not hesitate to throw everything including the kitchen sink at Afrikanerdom. Ten years ago, no one would have believed that the ANC would start openly disowning land from white farmers the way it was done in Zimbabwe. Intellectuals who dared point this out were lampooned and considered mentally unsound. However, nowadays even the most formidable “opposition” party, the Democratic Alliance, is supporting this destruction of South Africa’s agricultural industry, apparently impervious to the tremendous suffering taking place which has already been upscaled to genocide.

And all the while we are misled into believing that this is only a transitional phase. Once the goals have been met, things will start to stabilise again. The same thought pattern prevailed in Eastern Europe and was expounded by Arthur Koestler in Richard Crossman’s The God that Failed. The level of terror and poverty were seen as temporary, and the victims “were class enemies anyway”. Thus the terror perpetrated by communist agitators was looked upon by their eager followers with their eyes wide shut.

The question is why. Other than some foolish joy they might feel by behaving like intellectual juveniles, it would be important to ponder on the more important reasons behind this antisocial ideation that seem to trickle down from the top.

One would be inclined to side with the above quoted philosopher Nietzsche on this matter. The notion that “God is dead” and consequent abolition of religion has indeed left us with no moral certitude. The only forces remaining are will and power, the law of tooth and claw. This statement, in combination with the communist ideal of the dictatorship of the proletariat forms a perfect hammer and anvil for society’s two important classes, the extremely powerful and extremely poor. These two classes have something in common, i.e. both want more power and both have nothing to lose. The moral majority caught up in-between would then necessarily become the new villains.

In the wake of the Red October protest certain radical News.24 columnists did not hesitate to consider this display an embarrassment, harping on their favourite platitude of ‘racism’ and commenting that all population groups are equally affected by the high levels of violence, regardless of the fact that Africans also participated in the protest.

Their message is clear: Afrikaners should stop whining. The conscientious care these leftist opinion makers claim to have for all people of South Africa does not appear to stretch very far though, since none of them ever undertook a single event to protest on behalf of the victimised masses, regardless of skin colour. The only people voicing their concern seem to be the Afrikaners. It is apparently no problem that murderers and rapists are banking on their apathy, but as soon as you speak out against this tide, you are vilified. The age-old reflex of the Brits hating the Boers constantly turns up in their rhetoric, once again demonstrating their inconsiderate attitude towards the magnitude of the daily violence. A deep undercurrent of chauvinism appears to be the motive.

The sanctimonious love the radical left have for the poor could be explained by means of this paradigm: By shunning everyone who represents orderliness, kinship and personal development (in this case Afrikaners) they hope to procure their meal ticket to fame, fortune and glory. They want to prove to their masters at the top that they are capable of rather reigning in hell than serving in heaven. Destroying a people’s religion is a tactic designed to send people into a moral tailspin and the need for a strong state would become justified, which is not possible if people had a well-internalised sense of right and wrong. A cold, sickly and cynical world would be the result, not much different to some of Lady Gaga’s music videos where morbidity, violence, and mind-controlled sex slavery is idolised.

The ‘why’ in this piece still needs to be fully answered. At the end of the day, what do these power hungry prigs really want? One could also obtain power by being an anti-conformist rebel in the spirit of Che Guevara. One would imagine that protest writers at least not be in favour of policies enforced by an oppressive government, yet these columnists can’t seem to get enough to venerate top government officials while writing crushing columns about their desperate fellow countrymen, in fact laughing at their ill-fate.

With nihilism being their new religion and spreading apathy their mission, one would guess that after all the historical progress that mankind has made, the Freudian death instinct ultimately is never far off.

Perhaps we don’t have to seek any theoretical answer on dusty bookshelves or made up by brilliant theoreticians to explain their bizarre behaviour. At the end of the day it boils down to nothing but “good sports”. As Michael Cane’s character explained in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Night, the answer is in fact right in front of us.

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”