God vs Knysna fires and Vegter vs Vegter

Earlier this month, as a runaway fire was claiming many lives and many houses in Knysna, Ivo Vegter* wrote a Daily Maverick column that lamented the fact that essential communication channels for disaster-relief were being used to offer prayers and other religious homilies.

Given that Ivo was himself dealing with the same threat to home and safety, and assisting with the relief efforts, it’s understandable that he thought the “emoticons of praying hands, or even entire prayers” shared over WhatsApp were getting in the way of more essential communication, and many Christians will agree with him on this. Continue reading “God vs Knysna fires and Vegter vs Vegter”

Man is free to reign as god!

downloadEven though Ivo Vegter might be slightly less than gruntled to be spoken of alongside Error Naidoo, the homophobic and very paranoid man of God, the title of this post (from Naidoo’s latest rant) happens to fit them both.

It fits Naidoo simply because it’s his line, verbatim, and follows his taking note of the “athiest groups [that] are growing bolder and more aggressive in their diabolical quest to eradicate Christianity from public life in South Africa”, in this case by trying to ensure that publicly-funded schools are secular.

It fits Vegter more loosely, mostly a) because it sounds like something Ayn Rand might have said; b) Vegter is an unapologetic libertarian; and c), because his most recent Daily Maverick column, on regulating complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs), rejects State oversight of CAMs in favour of people deciding for themselves which risks they would like to take and which not when it comes to their healthcare.

The above summary (in its brevity, rather than due to misrepresentation) doesn’t do his argument justice, so please do read his column. The one note that is essential for accuracy, though, is that he is open to other regulatory bodies stepping in, perhaps a “private, voluntary and competitive” scheme.

As is typical for Vegter, his argument is consistent and well laid-out, so even if you disagree with him, you’ll find much to ponder when reading the column.

As I noted in a comment to that column, my concern is that his perspective is either insufficiently agent-neutral, in that it privileges those of us who are more able to make informed healthcare choices, or that it indicates a moral stance I don’t support – namely that those who make poor healthcare choices will eventually learn to make better choices, but via their mistakes (which might well involve suffering, and death).

A private, voluntary and competitive regulator doesn’t reassure my concerns on the agent-neutrality point, in that if it’s voluntary, you need to know about it and sign up to it, which immediately leaves some folk out of the safety net, and allows for producers to opt-out also.

It also opens the door for competing regulatory bodies – and yes, while the market might eventually result in one being trusted above all others, the interregnum before that happens exposes people to risk. And at the end of the day, nobody is going to do this for free, so it’s not obvious that it will make medicines more affordable than a State-subsidised regulatory process does.

Private regulators cropping up to ensure that your food is Halal or Kosher are not good analogies, to my mind – nobody dies if they accidentally eat some pork. There’s more at stake with medicine, so our standards need to be higher. For me that means a central regulatory body, where the interesting questions become whether it’s good at its job, and if not, how to make it better.

Except, of course, if you think that people don’t need that sort of nannying, and that we will learn who to trust (in terms of medical providers) through taking bad or ineffective medicine, and suffering the consequences of our mistakes. Some of us will avoid misfortune through hearing through word of mouth, radio, newspaper and the like of what to avoid, but others- especially rural poor, with educational disadvantages – would be particularly vulnerable to snake-oil salespeople who care only for profit, not others’ health.

In cases like these, some easily-identifiable and consistent stamp of authority, that a central regulator provides, seems a useful thing to have. Rejecting such a body seems to involve an idealism about the market, and about human capacity for avoiding tragic errors, that aren’t borne out in history. Hence Vegter’s argument, while logical, involves a moral commitment that I shy away from.

But it’s still a far better column than Leon Louw’s, who seems to want the pseudoscientific stuff to stand on equal footing with medicine, and I do commend it to you.

Briefly, on to Error Naidoo, who is most agitated about OGODs lawsuit against 6 schools that speak of having a “Christian character”, hold regular Christian prayers and so forth. As I’ve written in the past, this might contravene existing policy, and more to the point, paying lip-service to secularism in schools can still leave many children ostracised (and indoctrinated).

Naidoo is in “good” company here, as Afriforum have offered to help cover court costs for the schools that are the subject of this lawsuit. I feel for all my sensible Christian friends, who must be cringing at the thought of white racists rushing to defend the Christian values of the schools in question. Anyway, here’s Naidoo, unplugged, unedited, and perhaps a little unhinged.

The obvious objective of the athiest group, “Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie” is to eradicate all Christian activity at state run schools. Humanists want education all for themselves.

Although a small minority, athiest groups are growing bolder and more aggressive in their diabolical quest to eradicate Christianity from public life in South Africa. Man is then free to reign as god.

What you may not realise is that secular humanism is a religion! And what athiests are actually advocating is replacing Christianity with the godless and bankrupt ideology of secular humanism as the most dominant religion in SA. Incidentally, They already control politics, the media and academia.

A culture war is currently raging in SA society. Two conflicting worldviews are engaged in a life or death struggle for the hearts and minds of people. Victory is assured for the courageous and the committed.

On one side of the battlefield are advocates of the Biblical Christian Worldview with its message of service and submission to an all powerful God. On the other side are the secular humanists whose ultimate goal is to abolish all acknowledgement & recognition of God from the national psyche.

Significantly, apathy and disunity in the Christian Church has emboldened atheist groups, sexual rights activists and other anti-family radicals in South Africa. The Church’s silence amplifies their voice.

Somebody desperately needs to sound the alarm in the Christian Church in SA. The enemy is united, committed and well-resourced. And they have a cunning plan to control and dominate society.