South Africa and the Sneetches

Reading the shocking news which came out of South Africa last week, one would feel like they were in a new episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. The South African government passed a law whereby land owned by white landowners may be confiscated and re-distributed to other racial groups. The move, which is seen by its supporters as ‘justice’ for the apartheid scandal which plagued South Africa for decades before ending in the 1990s, should be a disturbing signal to those who believe in natural law and order as well as the practice of forgiveness.

Discrimination on the basis of skin color is a grave injustice to any human being and thankfully it is condemned by many today no matter what skin color they have. However, as with all causes, there are those who attempt to hijack a cause for their own end or to push an agenda which is at odds with the good principles which the cause might embody. In this case, the campaign for racial equality in South Africa has been hijacked by Marxists who seek to spread their ideology’s core doctrine of vengeance and hatred against the privileged classes through re-inflaming the racial tensions which have existed in South Africa for decades thanks to the injustice of apartheid. As any true student of the 20th Century tragedy of Marxism and Communism will tell you, this approach does nothing but lead to genocide, war and prolonged unnecessary suffering in which only privileged Marxist leaders can be said to benefit. Indeed, one can see a warning sign of a possible future genocide in the words of the new president of South Africa when he said in 2016: “We are not calling for the slaughter of white people — at least for now.”

As this foreseeable and preventable tragedy appears to unfold, it would be well to look back on one of the great written works on racial equality which appeared in the 20th century. Namely, a 1950s children’s classic story called The Sneetches written by the legendary children’s author Theodor Geisel; better known to millions today as the beloved Dr. Seuss. Here we may find truths which speak from another generation as to right approaches and wrong approaches to solving the issues which racial discrimination and inequality leave in their wake.

In The Sneetches, two identical-looking groups of bird-like creatures known as Sneetches are distinguished by one thing: whether they have a greenish-bluish star on their bellies or not. The star-bellied Sneetches consider themselves the privileged class and indulge in the good things of their world while shunning the Sneetches who have plain bellies with no stars and who clearly have a rougher path in life.

Into the midst of this divided world comes a slick smooth-talking salesman character named ‘Sylvester McMonkey McBean’ who pitches a quick-and-easy solution to the plain-belied Sneetches. He sells them a solution whereby they can easily acquire the necessary greenish-bluish star and thus reach the coveted privileged status. After multitudes of plain-bellied Sneetches buy his solution, the original star-bellied Sneetches become alarmed and seek a way to be able to continue telling the two groups apart which McBean gladly provides by having them buy a more expensive solution to remove their stars. Anger then arises between the two groups as they both seek to attain and hang on to their privileged status by continually buying offers of McBean’s solutions. Finally, after bankrupting both groups of Sneetches, McBean departs a wealthy man believing he has fully exploited the Sneetches’ petty rivalry. However, after McBean’s departure, the Sneetches finally realize that they are all equal and decide to no longer use stars as an indicator of their status or worth.

While it is easy to see that the two different groups of Sneetches refer to different races or groups, the role of McBean is not sufficiently probed or understood in the world today and it has led to missing a whole different aspect of the anti-inequality message which Seuss provided in the story. McBean symbolizes those who only seek to exploit a problem for their own gain (political or monetary) and so provide illusionary ‘quick and easy solutions’ in order to profit from the problem rather than actually seeking to resolve it. It is these people whose actions are to be condemned, for their illusionary solutions, more often than not, exacerbate the problem rather than actually putting forward a constructive resolution which might bring forgiveness and harmony.

When the South African problem is approached with this lesson in mind, it is easy to see that the Marxists in the South African government are the ‘McBeans’ of this conflict. By putting forward an illusionary solution of land confiscation from white farmers in order to re-distribute it to blacks, they are only propping up one group against another. When governments prop up one group against another in these ways, it leads to resentment and anger among those who are newly disadvantaged and this can lead to protests, violence and eventually rebellion or civil war. No doubt this suits the Marxists very well as class conflict is a core doctrine of theirs as proclaimed in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. However, for those who seek true solutions and healing to the injustices left by racial inequality and discrimination, this development should worry them very much and should inspire them to work ever harder for the real solutions to this problem.

There are no quick-and-easy solutions to long-lasting injustices and wrongdoings. Healing and rebuilding always takes time. There are many solutions which can be found to the wake of suffering and inequality which apartheid left in its wake in South Africa. However the number one solution comes in individuals themselves laying aside the practice of hatred and vengeance and instead embarking on a path of forgiveness and respect for every human being, no matter their skin color, as the Sneetches themselves figured out at the end of Seuss’ iconic tale.

© 2018 Grant Dahl & On This Terrestrial Ball. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without permission from the author of this piece.