Phumlani Majozi says mob-driven intolerance is sweeping across democracies around the globe
It is the age of intolerance. Where everything has become offensive. People’s careers and livelihoods are destroyed by the intolerant, self-righteous mobs who get offended by almost everything. This very disturbing intolerance toward ideas, opinions, sweeps across democracies around the globe.
Due to pressures and attacks from intolerant mobs, Western celebrity journalist Piers Morgan, has left his job as a presenter on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. This is after he said he "didn't believe a word" Meghan Markle said about her mental health in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. He also doesn’t believe that she's experienced racism in the British Royal Family.
But why Piers was attacked, demonized and his career ruined does not make sense to me. There is no reason to vilify and brand Morgan a racist just because he doesn’t believe Meghan's words. People should not be forced to believe Meghan – they have a right not to believe her.
Here in South Africa, some people have been offended by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s expression of his support and affection for Israel.
The organizations supporting Palestine have called for Mogoeng to be disciplined.
But this is stupid from these organizations. Mogoeng spoke as a citizen – and he was clear that every citizen has a right to criticize government’s policies.
Last year, the Chief Justice was condemned and demonized for expressing his thoughts on COVID19 vaccines. Some people, including Progressive Health Forum, called for him to be dismissed as Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court.
Here again, on COVID-19 vaccines, Mogoeng has a right to publicly express his views. He’s constitutionally entitled to his religious opinions about anything in this country. So long he doesn’t spread hate – and so long his personal views don’t influence his interpretation of the constitution at the Court. That he is Chief Justice of South Africa's Constitutional Court, does not preclude him from criticizing or commenting about government's policies as a citizen. Anybody who argues otherwise is being ignorant on how important individual freedom and free speech are.
Mogoeng is a principled, family man. A devout Christian who is an inspiration to millions of South Africans. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. By that I do not imply that his opinions should not be criticized. Anybody can criticize him if necessary. But to call for his livelihood to be destroyed is total madness.
The demonization of people who say politically incorrect things is not new in South Africa and around the world. Remember Chris Hart back in January 2016?
Hart was an investment strategist at Standard Bank. He's an accomplished man, and was famous in the media for his astute analysis on financial markets and economics. A fine gentleman. He and I met a few times for coffee – and spoke in length on South Africa’s economic and political headwinds.
Chris’ reputation was and his career at Standard Bank ruined by the intolerant mobs. His sin was calling out the sense of entitlement that sweeps across South Africa. He was branded a racist and his reputation tarnished in the public opinion for speaking what I believe was, and is, the truth.
There is a very disturbing entitlement attitude in this country. This entitlement attitude has also been highlighted by the Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu.
Lindiwe has spoken of entitlement in the context of the government's free housing program. That the program leads to the entitlement attitude.
People do talk about entitlement; yet Hart was punished for expressing something that reasonable people see and talk about. My view is that the reason he was attacked and cancelled for his utterances, is because he is a white African.
A white person who tells such truths does not survive in this world. The whites who are brave enough to speak are branded racists and white supremacists - or dismissed as speaking from a point of privilege.
In America, the intolerance toward the Republican Party and its members is a pandemic.
Larry Elder, one of the famous radio talk show hosts is being censored by YouTube. Which is astonishing because Larry is an evangelist for personal responsibility and the Republican political philosophy.
On a daily basis, Elder talks of the very big problem that the American black community faces; and that problem is the absence of fathers. This is a problem that even Barack Obama acknowledged when he spoke in Chicago in 2008. Why cancel a man who highlights a problem that slows black economic progress in America? Insane.
With these high levels of intolerance, rampant cancel culture, we live in dangerous times. The trend taints democracies all over the world.
If you favour these intolerant mobs, and you cheer at the cancellation of Piers and the attempts to cancel Mogoeng, I advise you think things through again. Because one day they will cancel you. One day, it will be you
Phumlani M. Majozi is a senior fellow at African Liberty. His website is phumlanimajozi.com Follow him on Twitter: @PhumlaniMMajozi