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Be weary of “popular” sentiment

By Vuyani Ngalwana SC

Truth be told, we have had worse “state capture” in this country – perpetrated by foreigners from Europe and the Uited States. I wish I could share my readings and doccies with my Facebook friends. Many years of collecting them and the ability to sift propaganda from real facts. The groundswell “popular” narrative of “state capture” associated only with the Guptas is a distraction. The real looting happens before our very eyes by “trusted” institutions and persons in navy suits. We just don’t associate them with criminality and that’s why we go for the lower hanging fruits in the form and shape of an Indian family.

We don’t associate whiteness with criminality in South Africa, especially economic criminality. We readily associate blackness with it. Whiteness knows this and banks on it. Go after the Indian family by all means. But to pretend it is the ONLY cause for our woes is either dishonest or less than perspicacious.

Whiteness bets on the rest of us dismissing any association of it with criminality. It’s a consciousness thing. At least 3 thinkers have written about this phenomenon and I won’t bore you with labels.

Read Noam Chomsky’s Who Rules the World. Then look up Edward Bernays and Gustave le Bon and read them. Maybe even Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion. Ta Nehisi Coates is another author you may wish to familiarise yourself with. That done, I’m sure you’ll all appreciate that much of what we read in the media, passing for news (especially during times of contestation of any sort), is nothing more than wishful thinking. We are just sitting ducks for BS put out by people who know just what buttons to press and have the financial muscle and real power to do so.

So, the next time you tar another expressing his or her own opinion which differs from a sensational story that you’ve read in a newspaper, think. Why this particular story? Why now? Why is everyone accepting it as truth instinctively and implicitly?

Maybe I’m just a born-sceptic. Everytime something becomes popular I ask why and usually go the other way. It has served me well. I have never lost money in the stock market. I have never put money in a BEE scheme. I’ve turned out fine because I question “popular” sentiment. You should too. Or else you might end up on the side of the road blaming everyone else for the decisions YOU made and the actions YOU took based on a newspaper report.

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