Remember when the Sahara’s sand dunes were marching unstoppably southwards across the Sahel, and desertification was a bogeyman we caused by our industry and productivity? New research has shown that greenery in the Sahel has been advancing in the last two decades, as it has done worldwide.
As promises go, this is the most infamous of lies. But if you really want to elicit howls of derision, quote the slogan of the South African Post Office to one of its customers: “We deliver, whatever it takes.” It doesn’t deliver, of course. At all. This is harming a great number of people. Nobody will buy the Post Office, but its monopoly status must be repealed.
It is trite to compare government surveillance programmes to George Orwell’s 1984. It is trite, and the term “Big Brother” may have lost its impact, but the comparison is truer every time it is made. Through pervasive surveillance and even mood manipulation, the power of the state has never been greater, and the privacy of the individual has never been more under threat.
I recently had the pleasure of participating in a live radio debate about whether shale gas threatens our water resources. Afterwards, I was accused of making a personal attack on one of my debate opponents. This disappointed me, because I had intended the attack to be entirely professional.
You wouldn’t be surprised that there are schools of magic in South Africa. After all, someone has to teach would-be astrologers, sangomas and fortune tellers the tricks of the trade. It is more alarming to learn that real universities participate in the charade. Welcome to the Hogwarts Schools at the University of Johannesburg and Durban University of Technology.
Now that the election is over, the South African government ought to fast-track shale gas exploration licences, but resist the temptation to be too greedy and authoritarian. A field trip to Canada holds many lessons for South Africa.
I had the pleasure, in recent weeks, to chair the Shale … Continue reading
The misguided idea that free market advocates are on the side of big business is an endless frustration to me. Although they do not oppose business of any size in principle, free markets are usually not in the best interests of big business. They’d rather have protectionism. In that fact lies an important realisation.
I spent several columns in the last few weeks pondering who most deserves my vote, and why. Several parties have attractions, but none were an obvious fit for an advocate of individual liberty and free markets. I realised that it really is a Morton’s Fork – no matter who you vote for, they’re all power-hungry thieves. But there is a rational way out.
I was going to vote for the Democratic Alliance. Really, I was. Despite Julius Malema’s uncanny ability to be so usefully wrong about almost everything, I had a superb reason to do so: “Title Deeds For All”. But then, a few more of the DA’s senior members reminded me that the party is infested with elitists and fascists. What is the use of a mind if you can’t change it?
It was with great sadness that I learnt from the University of the Free State earlier this afternoon that Professor Gerrit van Tonder, head of the Institute for Groundwater Studies, passed away last night. A seemingly healthy man who followed Tim Noakes’s controversial low-carb-high-fat diet, he was struck by an … Continue reading