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Old 24th Aug 2018, 11:10
  #102 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Brighton
Age: 65
Posts: 9,678
Washington Examiner:

Trump has a point about South Africa's farm land-grabs

It’s entirely true that land ownership in South Africa is racially biased and that it was so by design through good parts of the 20th century. It’s also true that taking the land off people without compensation is the beginning of a descent into not having an economy at all, like Zimbabwe. That certainty of the latter makes the former rather something that has to be put up with, rather than the sort of “Yes, but …” we’re getting from the likes of Vox and other places on the Left. Yes, apartheid was a foul system, that system of discriminating between who had economic and civil rights upon the basis of their skin color. But then, shouting about the skin color of those who own land is also discrimination, which is what's happening now, isn’t it? Pointing that out gains the ire of the South African Government. But does that mean that Trump is right in talking about a wave of murders? No, not really, but here is what is right concerning this matter.

The only economic system we’ve ever stumbled across that produces actual growth, a rise in the living standards of the general population, is one with private property rights, with land rights being important on this point. The suggestion in South Africa is that the imbalance in who owns land today is so great that the very concept of ownership should be undermined. Government should be allowed to take from one to give to the other, to reallocate, without compensation to those who currently own land. Yes, it is tempting as a political solution. It’s also a disaster as an economic one. The evidence of this being the shell that is Zimbabwe today after former President Robert Mugabe did exactly that: He took the land from the one group and gave it to another. Once that happens, no one’s property is safe, therefore no one invests in property. With Nicolas Maduro gaily confiscating factories to give to the worker cooperatives who will invest in a factory in Venezuela today?

Our own Founding Fathers were so aware of this that the U.S. has an actual constitutional prohibition on it being done. No property may be taken without just compensation — to do otherwise we call a “taking.” Sure, there are reasons grand enough that we can force someone to sell, but we’ve got to pay them.

So whatever one’s views on the racial makeup of landowners in South Africa, it isn’t worth destroying the entire basis of any possible form of prosperity to rectify the situation. The truth being that yes, injustices have happened throughout history, but there is a point where the disruption of the remedy is larger than any righteousness of rectifying them. My native England, for example, was entirely stolen by the Normans in 1066. Large chunks of the best land are still held, a millennia later, by their descendants. A campaign to restore the old Anglo-Saxon land holdings would be, rightly, considered ludicrous.

There is also one more point about South Africa, one that’s terribly impolite to mention these days, and someone can even be accused of racism for even thinking about it. The Bantu (that’s a technical term applying to the culture) didn’t actually reach the area south and west of the Fish River in South Africa before the Dutch and English (i.e., the whites) arrived. The area simply didn’t work for the Bantu agricultural basket of technologies. It needed wheat and other European crops before it could be farmed. The inhabitants before that were the Khoi San and the like, just the same people who were displaced by the Bantu Expansion out of West Africa in the previous millennium.

To put it crudely and politically incorrectly, within recorded history everyone there other than the Bushmen is a recent colonialist, white and black together. Quite why we should destroy an economy to benefit one group of such incomers over another isn’t well explained by anybody.
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