The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the inalienable right to pursue happiness, or in other words to own property. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he included these words that have become immortal: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Americans may not fully appreciate the blessings given to them by the Founders. Americans have many rights, including the opportunity to own property. This right belongs to every American no matter their race, age, education, sex, or religion. This blessing is not available to all people in the world, and we should truly appreciate. I certainly think more of this right after reading about the problems in South Africa.
On Tuesday [February 27, 2018] in South Africa, a shocking vote in the National Assembly ruled that white South African farmers will be removed from their land. The vote, prompted by a motion brought by radical Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema, was not even close; 241 legislators voted for it with only 83 voting against it. Malema told his supporters in 2016 he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people – at least for now.”
Supporters of the motion issued harsh statements; News24 reported Malema saying before the vote was taken, “The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice.” Gugile Nkwinti, minister of water affairs, echoed, “The ANC (African National Congress) unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation. There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation.”
Apparently, this move was made by the South African lawmakers in order to allow black to reclaim land that was taken from black people about a century ago. When I read the above information I thought back about eighteen to twenty years when the same thing happened in another African nation. In the year 2000 Zimbabwe took land from about 4,000 white farmers in a “chaotic and violent manner” with the deaths of five farmers.
The white farmers were displaced and given no compensation for their land, buildings, or improvements on the land – the same thing that South Africa is planning to do. When the land grab took place in Zimbabwe, the black people “were inexperienced and poorly resourced” about farming. In other words, they did not know how to make the land produce food. The agricultural production fell, and the nation had to import corn between 2000 and 2016. Many of the white farmers as well as investors fled the country, and the economy spiraled out of control.
There is some talk in Zimbabwe of compensating the white farm owners, but talk is cheap. I wonder if the people in South Africa are even aware of how the economy tanked in Zimbabwe or if the black farmers in South Africa have any more experience in farming than the ones in Zimbabwe did. It is one thing to lay claim to a prosperous spread. It is a completely different thing to know how to keep it prosperous.