What are black hopes, and what are white hopes, and can they be hoped together?
So asked Jan-Hendrik Hofmeyr, in 1930. Rarely has such a question been asked so anxiously and so seriously, or in such tragically doomed spirit of hope.
One of the greatest privileges any man can inherit is not the riches of ill-gotten gains, but the wealth of an ancestry worth honouring in all seasons. For most of South Africa’s history, its greatest men were murderers and thieves, on all rungs of our sordid caste system. I have had the good fortune to have been born to an educated family of what would pass for nobility in the Afrikaner world, though tainted by the Cape’s usual ambiguity of political allegiances between Brit and Boer. One of the ancestors to whom my family would often pay deference was the esteemed deputy of Jan Smuts, Jan-Hendrik Hofmeyr. His skill, diligence and intellect allowed him to manage seven portfolios during the Second World War, while balancing the books and achieving a budget surplus. He was also remembered for his integrity – he became the only member of parliament, in 1936, to vote against the disenfranchisement of the non-white population. He opposed the infamous Riotous Assembly Act, and the fingerprint registration of the population, losses of freedom which have now come to be accepted.
Jan-Hendrik Hofmeyr was my great-grandmother’s first cousin, and having no children of his own, the man’s legacy was mainly passed down through the various institutions he shaped, from the University of Witwatersrand, which he transformed from a crude technikon for a few dozen mining engineers into a world-class university with history and classics departments and the capacity for experimental science.
He was, like Jan Smuts, a precocious youngster, and graduated from what is now the University of Cape Town at 15, before leaving for Oxford. Shadowed by his domineering mother, he never truly gained independence, and never married. However, he did manage to have an impressive public life, and his intellect and trustworthiness, a rare if not inconceivable trait in contemporary politicians, earned the title of his biography, South African Tragedy, written by his protégé, Alan Paton.
One of the memorable moments in this biography was the great national meeting of churches and young Christians in South Africa, at Fort Hare University. The theme, which is now our national motto, was Unity in Diversity. It was a coming together of white and black in great numbers for the first time in our national history, and was felt as an almost ecstatic event. But the fraternal affections of this hopeful congregation were not representative of the hearts of the country at large, and never would be.
Much like the now-tarnished message of “rainbowism”, Hofmeyr’s concept of Christian Trusteeship is regarded askance with jaundiced eyes from all sides. He hoped that through a gradual introduction of the franchise to those Africans who could graduate from peasants to burghers through the love of Christ and the power of literacy, that the whole chimera of the nation, and eventually the world, could be united. He was accused by the Nationalists, perhaps accurately, of “flinging himself ineffectually at heaven”. White South African, wary of the diffidence between races and their demographic condition, would not accept black rule for another sixty-four years.
But through this strange crack in the sealed doorway of the past, we may glimpse the sickly yellow light of Liberalism in its purer form. See, South Africa’s peculiar form of Liberalism forms a strange chain of influences. After Paton, there are few great public figures that have carried the mantle by themselves, though the Institute of Race Relations has managed to shoulder he political aspects of it. But Hofmeyr’s teacher was Smuts. Smuts systematised the thoughts of Walt Whitman who, if Harold Bloom’s analysis is to be taken for granted, was no less than a disciple of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson is to the American Progressive movement as Darwin and Mill were to the English Fabian Society – an inspiration towards a transcendental naturalism which dragged humanity towards a perfect future.
Emerson is echoed in the character of Waldo in the country’s first novel, Story of an African Farm, a resentful parade of settler stereotypes by Olive Schreiner, the daughter of a prominent family of jurists, who felt stifled in the colonial backwaters of the Cape, and fled to London to enjoy the company of communists and poets. Waldo’s spiritualism could easily be Smuts’s, a farmboy’s rural Christianity brought to doubt by encounters with life’s grim cycles, and revived through a sort of neo-animist worship of nature and a belief in the perfectability of man.
Smuts, having shaped the modern understanding of ecology through his system of holistic evolution, foresaw a grand vitalist ontology. Evolution, he believed, was an inevitable process that showed the spirit of the world in action – a striving towards higher forms in ever-greater harmony, in a jagged but assured march to progress. This he shares with the Jesuit charlatan Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, praised by the current liberal-reformist pope despite boasting of satanic possession and participating in two “missing link” hoaxes.
Smuts was by all accounts an honest man, though his dogmatic idealism and belief in the necessary upward holistic evolution of all things, which necessitated the total integration of all people. He initially foresaw the ideal mechanism as the British Empire, and fought against any form of localism in South Africa, seeding us with our structural obsession with centralised tyranny, which has failed to abate in its arrogant interference, by writing the constitution that stood for the first 50 years of the Union. But soon enough the British Empire was seen as an insufficient mechanism for unifying man under a single order.
In forming the League of Nations and subsequently playing a similar if diminished role in the form of the United Nations, Smuts created a new form of the British Empire by uniting Woodrow Wilson’s imperial vision with that of the Rhodes club – a global Liberal system which seeks to eliminate all difference and destroy the barriers between man and man, and between man and nature, facilitating progress towards a grand holistic system. Freedom from fear, and freedom from want. This is what Smuts promised, what the system adopted as a sales strategy. And behind this grand system lies the same financial architecture which coordinated the British Empire, bridging the Atlantic through the consolidation of efforts in New York and London in a patchwork of tax havens in the Caribbean.
Smuts’s ideas were useful to the Anglo-American establishment which grew out of Rhodes’s colonial ambitions, “to give the vote to every civilised man south of the Zambezi”. These ambitions seeded the Rhodes Scholarship, which has continued to pursue the aims of Progress by creating a network of elites whose culture blurs the line between common liberalism, American progressivism and Fabian Socialism. The common ground uniting these orders is a set of attitudes inherited from a social set surrounding Charles Darwin, primarily the Huxley family.
The Huxleys were Fabians, as were the Webbs and other prominents like George Bernard Shaw. What they held in common was a belief in the economic ideas of Thomas Malthus, and a tendency to encourage increasing state control by experts – what is now known as technocracy. Aldous Huxley, without directly attacking his family, wrote extensively about the perverse desires of the Anglo elite, who despised most of humanity for its backwardness and wished to continue the English path to enlightenment through utilitarian hedonism, ecological balance and enlightened despotism. His Brave New World was a dark mirror in which the desires of his brother, the founder of UNESCO, were reflected – an effort to destroy the family unit and produce a mass of enlightened atoms who could be magnetised into machinelike compliance through drugs, finance, bureaucracy, propaganda and historical amnesia.
The success of WWII for consolidating Anglo world domination led to the use of psychological warfare to subdue the Nazis, grown from the OSS-funded Frankfurt School’s ideological weaponry declaring the West to be infested with an original sin that would always result in the gas chamber. Tying all European civilisation to this lodestone, the rot soon spread, and was employed in the new forms of privilege and intersectionality, until every nation in the West was teaching its children to hate its heritage, and embrace the New World Order or be thought a demon. This has been propagated by socialists, but a special kind of socialist who is comfortable with private high finance and capital monopolies.
The Fabian Socialists are a unique crew. They shun Marx for Hegel, and use dialectic as an alchemical formula for power. They have enjoyed collaboration with government, trade unions, corporations, popular movements, and NGOs alike, and currently led by Tony Blair, directly structure the governing programmes of a dozen African countries. Their aim was best expressed by Bertrand Russell, an ardent supporter of Malthusian technocracy. He desired a global government divided into six or seven great blocs which, through the tracking and control of commodities, would be allocated limits in population growth. Should they exceed these targets, their access to resources would be restricted, and the suffering which resulted would be part of a necessary sacrifice to maintain a sustainable global order.
Liberals in the broader world have agreed to this model wholesale. A combination of the Imperial ideology of ecological balance, a hypocritical model of “free markets” which grants access only to those within the social orbit of the ruling class, Malthusian, zero-sum economic morality, and a gnostic faith in transhuman progress. These ideas have given us The Great Reset, a peculiar slogan, which started out as the name for the financial state of things in 2008, when the slow-motion economic liquefaction of the West for financial gain ran out of new pastures in “developing” countries, and globalisation hit a ceiling.
I called the preceding economic process since 1971 Mugabenomics, because it relies on the ballooning of state services, which create debt, eased by printing money, which erodes savings and depresses the growth of ordinary people’s wealth, transferring calue to cronies through centillion effects. It forces investors to store value in commodities like housing, which raises the cost of living, while land reforms (whether "green belts" or villagisation) concentrate the population in cities they can barely afford. As the popular compensations of welfare and minimum wages increase, manufacturing becomes infeasible, except through globally consolidated monopolies with state protection, centralising control. The third world could grow, when new investment lay there, but now it can’t. Then finally the confiscation of wealth can begin, but not for the oligarchs. At this point, the mask falls, and the whip is cracked. We are now here.
Everything is choked by thousands of overlapping international bureaucracies, CIA-funded NGOs and tech companies, financial interference and backing of land reform to drive down property prices in expectation of cheap purchase. The Empire abides, but no longer British; abstract, yet no less real. And at the heart of it, the Empire always wanted what it eventually achieved, if Rhodes’s and Milner’s private plans are to be believed. The stern conviction in the superiority of the white man allowed them to strive for an end to formal legal divisions between nations and races, and their successors saw value in the alliance with the Fabian pursuit of the elimination of tradition and local independence.
Like the Freemasons and other Liberal orders, the beating heart is never exposed, only the white-gloved hand, offering a step up the stairway to heaven. But once that holy mountain is climbed, a cliff breaks out amid the cloud banks, and reveals that only a select few are welcome past the gates. These men and women are not those who wish the best for their fellow man, but they who wish to chain them down and climb over their bodies into the sunlit cloudbanks of post-humanity.
The trick Liberalism plays on Christendom is that it appeals to the earnest Christian belief in universal brotherhood, and by teasing our hopes, teaches us to forget that man is also fallen, and that evil can often win. Hofmeyr worked himself to death, focusing for many long hours on communications, finances and briefs, campaigning and taking meetings. I suspect that he may have suffered from a rather simple problem, that of forgetting to drink water – he had recurrent issues with kidney stones, which eventually took him down at the age of fifty-four. Having never left his mother's side, nor wavered in his loyalty to Smuts's dream of enlightened holistic progress, Hofmeyr never learned to dream his own dreams, except through a white haze of romantic optimism.
And he never knew the heart of the beast. Smuts did though, and he welcomed it, as did Mandela, a man who played a similar role for black South Africa as Smuts did for White - unifier, peacemaker, statesman. Loyal to the Abstract Empire of progressive liberalism, and its rictus-grin genuflections to ill-defined notions of “human rights”, Mandela hoped that his supplication to the Transatlantic political order, for which he received a welcome into its most intimate secret societies, like the Order of Malta, would deliver his people into an era of well-managed material prosperity, in harmony with nature, marching towards ever greater unity through diversity. And like that poignant moment of Christian brotherhood in Fort Hare, where Mandela would later study, the yearning for brotherhood between black and white would be usurped by an alien and antichristian order that had long ago learned to appeal to Christian man’s gentler hopes.
Hofmeyr asked the question, can our hopes be hoped together? The Afrikaner has answered firmly, after trying on two separate occasions to escape the grasp of the Abstract Empire, that heavin on earth is not possible, and that survival must take precedence over such extravangant dreams. Africa has been torn between those who believe that some reasonable common settlement can be achieved, and those who believe revenge will restore the green pastures that grew before the Empire’s arrival, by watering them with blood.
But as the Fabian stewards of British cryptocolonialism like Sir Robin Renwick have shown, both African dreams have been wielded as weapons of the Transatlantic Empire, and every noble or nasty hope of the white man has been either thwarted or incorporated, divided and conquered.
Land rights activism is funded by international billionaires scooping up cheap land, the frustrated anger of BLM was channelled by financial powers and state security into little more than an exercise in money laundering and political intimidation, disbanded and crushed when no longer useful. Malcolm X would pity the black man, for he has sought empowerment through the instruments of his oppressors. Indeed, Africa has fallen into the crypto-colonial trap before - Tiny Rowland showed how African Socialism can be made more profitable than diligent colonial administration. The elites learned that lesson through Lenin's boon to Standard Oil in Russia.
And now at the Dawn of the Biden era, we can all share in the weight of the same chains, as stock exchanges throttle access to retail traders, populist economic instruments become tools of wealth extraction, and every man woman and child in the West is confined to their homes and terrorised by a monolithic cartel of propagandists steered and monitored by the Enduring Security Framework. Orwell asked what the world would look like if the Fabians gained the power of Stalin, and now they have it.
Like the good colony it is, South Africa’s entire political and academic elite is captured by the ideas and the financial interests of this faceless entity, decentralised, hiding behind committees and planning councils, shell companies and state bureaucracies. Looting is never connected to the mechanisms by which such patronage sustains itself, because the ideology of the greater system can never be questioned. And while black nationalists obsess over white monopoly capital, they miss it in front of their noses, because it has camouflaged itself by turning against the whites who live beneath its glass ceiling.
Can our hopes be hoped together? It depends on whether we can learn to hope our own hopes in the first place.