BY PETER WANYONYI
Back in 1929, at the height of British colonial oppression in Kenya, the Kikuyu Central Association sent Mzee Jomo Kenyatta abroad to lobby for Kikuyu land rights and restitution. It was felt that, given the denial of rights to Black people to express themselves in British colonial Kenya, there was only one place in the world that would tolerate and in fact welcome and embrace the ideals of free speech and open debate to the extent needed to push African land rights to the fore of British colonial debate. That place was, quite ironically, Britain – the colonial master herself.
This seeming contradiction – a complete denial of freedom for Africans in British colonies, juxtaposed next to the freedom that Africans and other colonial subjects encountered in Britain itself – was in fact not a contradiction at all. For while the colonial authorities in Kenya were an oppressive, brutal settler community hell bent on grinding the African into the dust and subjecting him to a discrimination not even befitting of animals, their home country itself disagreed with this and welcomed Africans into Britain – and accorded them every right to free speech. Jomo Kenyatta’s impassioned speeches in opposition to colonialism at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park were not just tolerated, they were applauded by his British audience. Kenyatta felt so much at home in Britain that he married a white British woman while there – an act unthinkable in the colonial Kenya of the day, where the colour bar was rigidly enforced and interracial marriages were a legal and social taboo.
Just over eight decades later in 2015, America’s first non-White president, Barack Obama, landed in Kenya. Kenyans loved his arrival, just as the entire country – and indeed Africa – had followed and totally enjoyed his ascent to become the most powerful man in the world. The Western media called him “Black”, but Africans knew better: while he wasn’t white, he wasn’t black either. Obama met with Uhuru Kenyatta, Jomo’s son and President of Kenya, and the resultant press conference left many Kenyans not just disappointed in Obama, but bewildered at his choice of subject. For Obama had chosen this moment – his visit as the first US President of African origin to the country of his father – to bring up what virtually all Africans agree is a complete non-issue: homosexuality and homosexual “rights”.
Perhaps we should have expected that: Obama was and remains a self-confessed radical leftist, dedicated to the politics of “progressivism” and to defending the “values” that his politics dictate. Those values are as antithetic to African values as day is to night.
The Western Leftist movement has its origins in Communism and the latter’s distaste and violent opposition to not just capitalism, but traditional values of any sort. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the West thought communism had lost and capitalism had won.
This was certainly true in the economic sense, because communism’s state-planned economies simply could not keep up even with their own market demands. The communist desire for “sameness” in society – in which there are no hierarchies, everyone earns the same salary and all property is communally owned – could not cope with the human desire to be better than the next person and to see one’s children excel more than oneself. The desire to remove all hierarches naturally required the removal of religion from communist society, because God is at the top of all natural hierarchies. However, such a radical reorganisation of human society was always going to meet stiff resistance from ordinary citizens, and communism therefore required state dictatorship and the deprivation of all individual rights from citizens for it to “work”. And even then, the contradictions of communism were glaring for all to see: while communist states preached “equality for all”, the leaders of the communist states were way above their starving countrymen in status, wealth, and security. While no one was theoretically anyone else’s boss, in reality there existed a vast bureaucracy that ended up as a corrupt dictator class, a modern incarnation of which is very much in evidence in North Korea and Cuba today. And so communism collapsed under the weight of its contradictions, and the countries that were communist all turned to capitalist economic models to survive – although a few, such as China and Russia, still retain vestiges of communist political organisation, particularly the tendency to dictatorship.
Even as it collapsed, though, communism had a close sibling: socialism. Socialism picked up all its values from communism: the desire for “absolute equality” in society, the demand that all economic resources should be collectively owned by the public and controlled centrally, the belief that economies should be state-planned, a vicious hostility to anything religious or anything resembling traditional authority, and a commitment to a state-run society in which all solutions, even to personal problems, come from the State.
In opposition to the capitalist excesses of the West in the post-WWII era, socialism became fashionable in the West. Traditional values such as different roles for men and women in society were declared the enemy by socialist thought, and movements such as “women’s rights” popped up all over the West, demanding equal access to the military for men and women, equal proportions of men and women in every role in society, the removal of any references to God or religion in the public sphere, and the repealing of laws thought to have had an origin in religious belief – laws against abortion and homosexuality were the first to go. Because of the nature of these demands, leftist campaigners found ready allies in oppressed minorities in the West – Jews first, then Blacks, some women’s groups, immigrants and their religious groups such as Muslims. Leftist thought captured hearts and minds in the academic institutions and labour organisations of the West, with such success that virtually every single “Liberal Arts” university in the West today is radically Left-leaning. Universities based around agriculture and engineering were slower to fall to leftism (because they are designed around practicality and pragmatism), but many have fallen too.
Some of the results of leftist campaigns were good – on the surface. Welfare states were created to cushion vulnerable members of society against the vagaries of capitalist life, so much so that no citizen of the West today really worries much about losing their job – because they will receive jobseeker support payments and similar welfare entitlements until they find a new job. However, slowly but surely, things have changed for the worse. A new underclass has emerged in the West – peopled mainly by ethnic minorities such as Blacks and Hispanics, Muslim immigrants, and their progeny – that has no intention of ever finding a job. The welfare state in the West is vast – there’s generally free education, free medical care, free money (welfare payments), even free food in some countries. Millions of people have become entirely dependent on welfare: in the US alone, fully 50% of the population depends on the government for their existence. The flipside of this massive dependence syndrome is that many of these are registered voters, and they vote for the political parties that guarantee to not take away their welfare benefits. These are the parties of the Left, for whom socialism is a dearly-held value.
And that’s what brings us to where the West is today. The election of Donald Trump as US President was effectively a revolt by the “other” section of the population, those who believe individuals should be in charge of their own destiny – rather than the state. This group of citizens, the right wing, are appalled at the extent to which the Left has gone to insert its values into society as default values. In most of the West, leftist governments have, over time, passed “anti-hate” laws that make it a criminal offence to say anything outside the Leftist orthodoxy of the day. Thus, openly opposing homosexuality is “hate speech” in most of the West, as is any objection to abortion. Any demand that individuals should be left to excel or fail to the extent of their personal abilities is beaten down: a Google employee was recently sacked for daring to suggest that affirmative action at Google- in favour of women and minorities – was misguided. The media in the West, staffed by graduates of “Liberal Arts” programmes from Western universities, are generally so Left-leaning that they have become virtually identical to each other: there’s no difference between the approaches that CNN and MSNBC use to report on Donald Trump, for example.
And so the light of freedom in the West is flickering towards an inevitable doom. The Left dominates all intellectual thought. Leftist answers to all questions are all the same: the state must spend more. But the state doesn’t make money, so for it to afford these, it must tax more. But this needs laws, so the state must regulate more. The virtues of enterprise and self-reliance are hate speech to the Left, and capitalism is the enemy – just as it was to communism. The apple never really falls far from the tree, and this is true with socialism and leftism: there can be no debate once Leftists adopt a position. Any attempt at debate is shouted down and drowned out, just like communist dictatorships killed individual freedoms. The issue of “man-made” climate change is a good example: the Left has browbeaten virtually every intellectual into either backing or not commenting on what is easily a demonstrable hoax. Leftist intellectuals in places as far apart as Kenya and New Zealand declare that “the science on man-made climate change is done and the conclusion is obvious”, despite a huge number of scientists disagreeing with what is an ideological position rather than scientific consensus. Most government-employed scientists keep quiet for fear of their careers, for the Leftist mob is an unforgiving one. Western debating halls are silent on topics such as abortion and homosexuality in society, and legal structures are used to frustrate and punish anyone who disagrees. The courtrooms of the West are staffed by lawyers and judges who schooled in Leftist institutions, and their interpretations of the law read like excerpts from The Communist Manifesto. Traditional occupations and pastimes – coal mining, animal husbandry, farming, fishing, hunting, mining, drilling for oil, anything that even remotely allows an individual to be free and to decide their own destiny – are under sustained assault from a Left wing that smells victory. Schools are forced to teach Leftist values like abortion to very young kids. Even the very eating of meat is now taboo in some Western circles. Wherever possible, Leftists try to avoid any popular votes on their values, because they know most humans do not really identify with Leftist positions. In Australia, Leftists have for decades campaigned for the legalisation of homosexual marriage. The government of Australia finally gave in and decided to hold a countrywide referendum to let the people of Australia have their say. Surveys show that a huge majority of Australians would vote against homosexual marriage, so the leftist campaigners have gone to court to stop the government from holding its referendum, and demanding that the matter be subjected only to a parliamentary vote – because it would be easy to single out and intimidate individual lawmakers into voting for homosexual marriage.
As the West goes, so does the rest of the world. Once the Leftists have turned the West – particularly the Anglo-Saxon countries, which for two centuries have been at the forefront of world leadership and the promotion of individual freedoms, if imperfectly so – into a bubbling, irreligious, incoherent muddle of communist welfare societies in which freedom is forbidden, they will turn to places like Asia and Africa. Already, they have adherents in African society, particularly among our intelligentsia, who will sing all night and day about how marriage is oppressive to women and divorce is good, how sex and gender are not fixed identities, how abortion is a right, how we must follow the West in allowing homosexual marriage, how we cannot burn coal because that kills polar bears in the Arctic.
In the end, we will find that communism didn’t lose – it simply went underground and re-emerged as the political left in capitalist countries. And what a shame that will be!