Balancing acts and misplaced self-confidence: How contractors steal culture   

The misplaced self-confidence in the ability to separate matters

                              Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.

                              – GK Chesterton

The modern Western person accepts various matters as possible, and regards them as normal; although these are often matters that are not necessarily possible or normal or are not supposed to be so.

One of the most terrifying ways in which the acceptance of abnormal matters realises, is separation. We regard ourselves as masters of balancing acts to separate various parts of our lives from another. Maybe one can make out an argument that this misplaced self-confidence can be found in all successful civilisations, and that modern Westerners are just its latest victims. Do have a look at earlier civilisations. There are more than enough instability factors that led to the demise of the Roman or Persian empire than I, with my layman’s knowledge, can endeavour to mention.

Separation, for purposes of this essay, means dividing matters and place them in separate compartments; just as if different things can exist quite independently from each other, without any reciprocal relevance of influence. The obsession with separation lets us believe we can separate family, convenience and labour from each other. The same with struggle and victory. Politics and practice. Entertainment and culture.

Where does our steadfast confidence in our own ability to separate things that belong together, and that only in rare cases can be separated successfully, come from? How did it happen that the West forgot the most obvious, basic principles of being human, being a people, a community? How is it possible that we observe that absurd political decisions, with absolute catastrophic consequences, are becoming the default position of the West, day after day?

My suspicion is that scale has made us blind.

And scale needs contractors …

Contractor culture

The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.

                    — Thucydides

Being an inhabitant of Orania, who is fully convinced that labour relations are one of the big catalysts of conflict in this century, labour is a suitable case to explain this reference to contractors.

Scale savings need labour. In Africa several systems were developed over centuries to make cheap labour continuously available. (This is by no means unique in the world. Antique civilisations blossomed and fell due to slavery issues; labour needs ensure a never-ending migration stream to the West; China abuses its own population as labour.)

When labour and the outcomes of labour (the fruits of labour, success, convenience) are separated for two groups, this has several consequences. The idea that labour and its fruits can be sustainably separated on scale, is actually absurd.

Ever since Unification of South Africa in 1910 up to the present day, resources such as labour have been consolidated on scale and this brought along enormous demographic challenges for Afrikaners. A small minority people, dispersed over the whole territory of the Union, engaged increasingly in contracting out labour, causing them to stand in a demographic scale relationship with labourers starting at 1:3, thereafter 1:5 and in the final instance 1:15.

It is irrational to accept that a country or geographical area will take over the culture of a minority above the culture of the majority.

In our present-day specialist-oriented existence, it is unfortunately not only labour that is being contracted out.

The following all form part of our daily existence:

  • Motherhood (and fatherhood) are contracted out to childcare centres, enabling parents to work.
  • Children’s education is contracted out to the state, of for those who can afford it, to private schools. This includes the future generation’s physical, religious, academic and culturaldevelopment.
  • Entertainment and recreation are contracted out to Netflix, SuperSport and SAB.
  • Security is contracted out to Trellidor, CCTV and a number of specialised security businesses.
  • Physical and mental health is contracted out to chemists and physicians on the other side of the world.
  • Nutritional value is blindly contracted out to instant-food companies and supermarkets.
  • Relations within the family, with relatives and loved ones are contracted out to technologies that should ensure distances are reduced.
  • And the simplest, but for me personally saddest matter is that children’s heroes are contracted out to Marvel and Hollywood.

Every problem encountered by a modern Westerner is solved by way of a financial transaction (maybe this is all that we still have power over?). We pay for relationships, for specialist psychologists, specialist dietitians, specialist security services, specialist child minders, specialist coaches. Every societal problem is handled in this way – and thus every responsibility is contracted out.

The biggest problem with all of this is not just the false confidence that we can separate labour and convenience, or entertainment and culture, or education and educator on an individual base. The crisis is that a whole way of life is being built on specialisation, while we still want to believe that the sum total will not be affected.

In a hyper-capitalised world, the culture of mass contracts is actually an anticulture, since it undermines culture. A generic grey culture is not a rainbow culture at all.

Consumerism has become the focus, and scale requires addiction.

Anthropologists define culture as the shared value systems, ideas, concepts, rules and behaviours used by a society to survive. When values are reduced to contractual relations, culture only exists in terms of such an agreement. A contract is a business relationship, and in this way, society is reduced to a series of transactional business relationships.

Outlook on life and cultural costs

Of course, everyone has the right to lead their lives as they see fit, and the situation as described above is not a moral lecture or admonition.

My criticism on such a form of culture (and it represents culture in its fullest sense, seeing that it fulfils all the requirements to be regarded as a way of life on its own) is the following:

  1. It is unsustainable.
  2. It is deemed to consist of transactional agreements outside a system of values and thus constitutes a blind spot.
  3. The imperialistic-arrogant nature of #2 creates an arrogant moral stage which makes it a choiceless export product for those who want it – and for those who do not.

Transactional agreements as default culture have become so mainstream that any other form of culture is regarded as obdurate, narrow-minded and a nuisance. An outlook on life based on faith or culture is seen as an extra burden, while mainstream contract culture is regarded as the pragmatic absence of the “burdens of culture”. In thinking about this it is clear that it is untrue, and it may be the case that the moral, structural and other costs of such a contract culture are even higher.

Identity and community

The person living in a small community is actually living in a much larger world. They know a lot more of the vehement, steadfast variety of people. In a large community we can choose our company; in a small one they are chosen for us. Therefore, in extended and highly civilised societies, groups are formed on the basis of mutual sympathy and the real world is thus excluded.

There is nothing really narrow about the clan, the thing which is really narrow is the clique.

                    – GK Chesterton

The widely propagated liberal values of the West indeed mean absolutely nothing at all in respect of choices in culture or outlook on life if the dominant culture simply does not allow any diversity in these matters. To tell the truth, popular media as well as the mainstream narrative actively attack an outlook on life which attempts to maintain and develop cultural or religious values.

The choice for a specific view of life (in itself worth a long discussion saved for another day) becomes impossible to make when the dominant culture sees itself as superior and does not allow for digressions.

I believe it is valuable to develop a place in the sun for the value system that I respect. I also believe it is worth the effort to base my view of life on this system. For me, and others like me, this is only possible in a community where such a view is allowed at all.

Identity is not a concept which can exist in isolation. The success of the propaganda promoting the idea of “total individuality”, which has recently become mainstream, has very little connection with anything grounded in reality.

If and when a person should want to make the choice to establish themselves and their children within a different view of life and identity than that offered by mainstream contract culture, this implies the need for a suitable community. A community can take on many forms, but the best vehicle for this specific purpose should be geographically defined, clearly delineated, (culturally) voluntary and in some measure self-sufficient.

It is a requirement that the choice for such a decision should be voluntary and thus will form an antithesis for the crippling modern concept of “everlasting integration”. Whenever a community (of any description) is not based on voluntary relations, it either is an emergency measure or a recipe for high levels of continuous friction.

At this point it is of the utmost importance to realise that such communities are not an attempt to escape reality, because such a point of view would only lead to stagnation and cultural asphyxiation, ending eventually in the downfall of the community. Identity serves as a pair of glasses; it is not a wall.

Communities can only establish their identity when they start to “contract in” rather than “contract out” (starting at labour, education and entertainment!).

Community of communities

Over many years that I have explained the idea of Orania to the media, it became increasingly clear to me that certain concepts were easier grasped by black journalists from African countries as by white Europeans – especially by representatives of the media from Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK. There are many reasons underlying this which I can formulate or mention, but this will also remain a fascinating discussion saved for another day.

The relevant matter here is one’s outlook on life: who has what in common with others, and why?

Maybe it is the case that people have more understanding for each other when, despite enormous differences, they see the same matters as being logical and obvious; matters such as place, group, grouping around identity and feeling at home.

Despite all British attempts as well as those during the second half of the era of the previous government and attempts by the present-day government, South Africa has never become a “union” at all. It remains a melting pot of diverse groups and communities, of peoples, languages, nations and varying views on life.

The only sustainable relations which can be built upon in South Africa, or for that matter in any place, are based on communities showing self-confidence. Self-confidence and a feeling of being home and belonging are inextricably linked to identity, while land threats and distribution break it down.

Communities that have confidence in their own identity and are firmly grounded in a place they call home, will have the courage to engage in discussions with other communities and to trade with them.

This is the concept behind the Orania model.

In contrast, groups that are denied a feeling of belonging and a specific identity, lack self-confidence. Such communities are caught up in a vicious circle of friction, conflict and finally a dull grey form of assimilation.

This is the concept of modern South Africanism.

Joost Strydom

Chief Executive of the Orania Movement.

Balancing acts and misplaced self-confidence: How contractors steal culture   

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