Why Do White Protestant Societies Wither? South Africa As A Case Study

from her address to the
3rd Annual
of the

HL Mencken Club
, October 23 2010.]

VDARE.Com Editor Peter Brimelow with
Ilana Mercer at 2010 H.L. Mencken Club conference

The topic of my talk today—also the
title of a chapter in my forthcoming book,

Into the
Cannibal`s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid
South Africa
—directly relates to the theme of
this conference: the thing we deprecate with the epithet
“political correctness.”

The Law Of Rule

Political Correctness,
or PC, is tyranny euphemized.

fiction, the

Ministry of Truth
is a reified entity. In U.S.
reality, there isn`t one concrete ministry that decides
how the country thinks—there are many such entities.
America`s many Ministries of Truth include the education
system, most

, the self-anointed

ruling duopoly
and their attendant TV

. They issue countless edicts. This
“dark art of rule”
demands obedience. Choose to disobey, and you

public shame,

loss of livelihood.

Sometimes The Ministries of Truth
will lunge for your property in the form of a law suit.

Ministries have
special Kangaroo Court
in which they judge un-PC
speech. Traditional
legal defenses have been barre
d—for example,
or, the lack of intent to harm.

PC is the law of rule—mob
—as opposed to the rule of law.

This self-inflicted tyranny, so


Western societies
, plays a role in collapsing our
societies. It is the perfect segue to the topic of my
talk. Over the last three years I`ve been consumed with
one mission, and that is writing a book about

my old homeland, South Africa,
and getting it
published in my new home, the USA (which

happened to help kill off the old

Phase one of the mission has been

Those who`re in the process of
publishing on the topic of immigration will forgive me
for saying this, but
wrote everything there is to write about
the topic.

Steve Sailer

Dinesh D`Souza
) has done the same in

analyzing Obama`s pigment burden.
said it all about the


the conservative movement

Similarly, in a sane world,
Into the Cannibal`s Pot would become the standard reference for when

about the

death of South Africa
begins to matter. But,
realistically, I`m afraid that we`ll continue to be
force-fed with Richard Stengel`s serialized
tributes to Saint Mandela.

(Stengel, a

TIME magazine
has completed two. It`s possible that a
third is planned.)


, Into
the Cannibal`s Pot
is a polemical work, anchored in

history, reality, fact,
and the political philosophy
of classical liberalism. It is a manifesto against mass
society, arguing against raw democracy, here, there, and
everywhere. My book follows

Russell Kirk`
s contention that

“true freedom can
be found only within the framework of a social order.”

It is a reminder that civilized societies are fragile.
They can, and will, crumble in culturally inhospitable

Let me
return to the tyranny of PC, so unique to the West—even
playing a role in its near-collapse. For white

Protestant societies
don`t just die: they

either wither from within
. Or, like South Africa, they are

finished off

by other white
Protestant societies

The fate
of South Africa was sealed by “The
Anglo-American-Australian Axis Of Evil”
(yet another
chapter in

Into the Cannibal`s Pot),

helped to
bring the old, orderly South Africa to its political

Ambrose Bierce

is supposed
to have said “War is God`s way of teaching Americans
The US might not have used South Africa as an object
geography lesson for the bumper crops of

its schools
produce, but it certainly doubled down in diplomatic
warfare against it.

A Couple Of Culprits


“constructive engagement”

with South Africa, members of his Republican Party
launched a coruscating attack on Ronald Reagan. Senator
Lowell P. Weicker Jr., in particular, claimed: “For
this moment, at least, the President has become an
irrelevancy to the ideals, heartfelt and spoken, of
78 to 21, Overrides Reagan`s Veto and Imposes Sanctions
on South Africa
by Steven V. Roberts,
New York Times, October 3, 1986]

Republicans had slipped between the sheets with the
fashionable Left. Today, they are as eager as the next

to press flesh with Nelson Mandela.

In 1990,
President Bush Senior expressed
his preference
to South Africa`s President De Klerk that blacks enjoy
“equality of outcomes” instead of “equality of
[The Afrikaners: biography of a people,
By Hermann Buhr Giliomee, p.


Herman Cohen,

US Under-Secretary of State for Africa, specified that

should not expect a veto.

Mandela`s African National Congress, of course, said
to minority veto power, power-sharing, or even
to any meaningful federalist-style devolution of power
to the regions of South Africa. And the ANC`s wish was
the command of the power-brokers in Britain and America.
In the words of Duke University`s
L. Horowitz
, South Africa`s white minority was
commanded “to legislate itself into a position of
political subordination.”
[A Democratic South Africa?: Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society,


A Couple Of Characters

Africans: one white one black; one a gentleman, the
other a general. The Axis of Evil pushing for democracy
in South Africa held
white Africans
in contempt. With special vengeance
did the Axis turn on the Afrikaners (who happen to be as
African as black South Africans). But neither was the
Zulu minority`s rights safeguarded. Zulu leader

Dr. Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi
represented (still does) an authentic, indigenous authority. He is
also a devout Christian, a capitalist who eschewed
populism and has retained the annoying habit of
mining the

Western canon

for what it
teaches about liberty.


Second Coming
by W. B. Yeats to describe
what has become of his homeland: “Things fall apart;
the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the

Representing another authentic, indigenous authority:

General Constand Viljoen.
Viljoen was a military
hero and the former chief of the South African Defense
Force. He planned on leading an alliance that would have
deposed De Klerk and negotiated for an

Afrikaner ethnic state.
But, being a White
Protestant, he decided against it. I`ll come back to

The Notional Afro-Saxon Nation

aggressive insistence on “democracy” for South
Africa was probably, in part, borne of the ingrained
American notion of a

Afrikaner patriot
Dan Roodt
argues convincingly that “American and
ANC views on Africa have actually converged.”
Britain wanted ANC in power
, By Dan Roodt, praag.co.uk, July 14, 2009] South Africa under the
Afrikaners was a European-style nation-state: Christian,
and bi-racial, in the main. But under the ANC it has
adopted multiculturalism, which Roodt says subsumes an
“American radicalism” that “aims at abolishing
the nation-state and replacing it with a kind of
global corporatism
and welfarism.”

The ANC is
very much a creature of the West. South Africa is now
what I call the “Notional Afro-Saxon Nation”.

Israel: One Plucky, Un-PC Friend

Israel was
perhaps the only friend the old South Africa had. It was
a firm relationship forged in the fires of international
excoriation and excommunication. Back then, it was South
Africa and Israel against the world.

the sanctions decree of the United States, Israel`s
Labor and Likud governments chose barter over boycotts.
In 1986, Yitzhak Shamir, at the time Israel`s foreign
minister, gave a remarkable—even

—speech in New York. He told his

“that Israel would not institute sanctions against South
Instead, Jerusalem would leave
“entangling alliances”
to the great powers and
continue its “normal” relations with Pretoria.
And so it did. [
Won`t Act Against Pretoria,
By David Bird, New York Times,
September 27, 1985]

recently, in May of 2010, further proof of the depth of
this relationship surfaced. Israel was credibly accused
of offering to provide

-era South
Africa with nuclear warheads. A book written by

Sasha Polakow-Suransky
of those academics with a gender neutral double–barreled
name (The Unspoken Alliance: Israel`s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa) —was meant to disgrace Israel. But it
warmed the cockles of this heart.

I must be
one of the few Jews who are proud of the fact that
Israel—in the person of the tough, laconic

Yitzhak Shamir
—told the US it would take no part in
its attempts to cripple South Africa. (For fighting the

British mandate in Palestine
, Shamir has been
described as a terrorist in American paleoconservative

, who had been

brutalized by the

, disagreed. If anything, the Afrikaners and
the Israelis would have been united in their shared
hatred of the British.)

I rejoiced to read of a 1974 “Top Secret” letter
that Minister of Defense Shimon Peres wrote to

Eschel Rhoodie,
a minister in the Vorster
government, declassified recently by the ANC in order to
embarrass Israel. [Israeli
president denies offering nuclear weapons to apartheid
South Africa
, by Chris McGreal, Rory McCarty,
David Smith, The
, May 24, 2010]. In it, Peres spoke about
the two countries` shared determination to resist their
enemies and to refuse to submit to the injustices
against them.

“Surrender Without Defeat”

So, yes,
the Anglo-American axis of evil ganged up on the
Afrikaners. Sanctions had a considerable
effect—although, having lived through them, I can attest
to the fact that times were only truly tough for the
blacks, who were supposed to be helped by these

But the
question remains:

why did the Afrikaner give up his birthright for a

mess of pottage?

Often called
White Tribe of Africa
, Afrikaners are perhaps
the toughest tribe in Africa. They had a

350-year history on the Continent
—as long as their

American cousins
have been in North America.
Arthur Conan Doyle
, creator of the

Sherlock Holmes

the modern Boer

“the most
formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of
Imperial Britain.”

So why is it that the Afrikaners,
unlike their Israeli allies, failed to endure as a
nation-state? Why did the modern Boer burn bright for a
relatively short while, and then, despite superior
military prowess, simply, as
Hermann Giliomee
put it in a
1997 journal article
without defeat”

I earlier mentioned General Viljoen,
the former Chief of the South African Defense Force.

“You and I and
our men can take this country in an afternoon”
famously said
to the Army Chief, General George
Meiring, as President De Klerk was preparing to cave
into ANC demands, forgoing all checks and balances for
South Africa`s

, British and


Why on earth did the formidable SADF
capitulate to

ragtag ANC? And the very same people, in
the very same spirit, went on to dismantle the

six nuclear devices they had built at Pelindaba
west of


Since it all makes so little sense,
my conclusions are more philosophical than factual.

The Pathos Of The Puritan

The pathos and the tragedy of the
Afrikaner and the American—a function of a shared

ancestry—is the struggle to
reconcile Pietism with power. Some clues as to why

white Protestant societies tend to wither from within

are offered by

Afrikaner novelist W.A. de Klerk
(no relation to the
traitor president), excerpted in
Into the
Cannibal`s Pot

“The basic dilemma of Western man is how to reconcile
power with justice. … Those within the Calvinist-Puritan
ethic, who secretly yearn for power, find it impossible
to do so openly and unashamedly. … Naked power… is not
possible for Western Christian man, especially of
Calvinist-Puritan leanings. … For Puritan man, the
quest for power—a quest very much alive—cannot be an
open bid for supremacy,” but, rather, has to be “power
acceptable in Christian terms”; it must be power driven
by a devotion to a

great ideal`
The Puritans in Africa: A Story of Afrikanerdom,


The Afrikaner`s
“great ideal”
was inextricably tied to enduring as a biblically
sanctified nation. However, if national endurance was to
be accomplished, power was absolutely essential.
Apartheid was the political superstructure within which
the Volk
sought safety for what they saw as their
divinely-ordained sovereignty.

“great ideal”,
however, turned the Boers into something they detested.
The people who had fought imperial Britain in Africa`s
first anti-colonial war were now

lords and masters of their own satrapies
: the
African Bantustans. Soon, the biblically-blessed country
became an Ishmael, an outcast.

Charges of
“racism” were
especially difficult for them to withstand. Petty
perhaps, but no less intolerable for these South African
Spartans was their

banishment from international sports.
Patriots that
they are, Afrikaners resented being expected to feel
ashamed of their country. Puritans that they were, the
resentment soon turned inward.

As an abstraction, the grand ideal

separate but equal development
failed to reconcile
power with justice. True to type, the Puritans of Africa
relinquished the former to achieve the latter.

Consider General Meiring`s response
to General Viljoen`s call to take back their
beloved country
before the ANC seized it:

that is so, but what do we do the morning after the


is how a member of the

African National Congress
would have responded to

But then the ANC is unencumbered by


Ilana Mercer Is a classical liberal writer and the
author of 
Broad Sides: One Woman`s Clash With a Corrupt Culture,

to which

Peter Brimelow

wrote the

. Ilana is a fellow at the

Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies
. She is also a columnist for

. Her forthcoming book is

Into the
Cannibal`s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid
South Africa
. “The titular tease,” writes
Ilana in the Introduction, “is meant as a metaphor,
and is inspired by Ayn Rand`s wise counsel against
prostrating civilization to savagery.”
website is

; she blogs reluctantly but
regularly at