The old South African flag should not be banned

Predictably, vast swathes of sheep across South Africa have been celebrating yesterday’s court ruling effectively banning the old South African flag. Mainstream and social media are rejoicing as if they’ve slayed a dragon.

Except that they haven’t.

Instead, they’re feeding the monster the Nelson Mandela Foundation has created.

And that’s precisely what’s happening in response to the announcement. It’s almost as if the old flag - and variations thereof - are becoming a symbol of resistance.

Just because I oppose the flag’s prohibition does not mean that I want to wave it around.

Just because I oppose drug prohibition does not mean that I want to consume drugs. Just because I oppose criminalising prostitution does not mean that I want to go to a prostitute.

Are you getting it, yet?

“So, then, why don’t you support the ban, Jerm?”

It’s a culture war being advanced by self-righteous, narcissistic, bourgeois leftists signalling their virtue from their pulpit.

And they’re winning.

It isn’t about the flag. It never was.

If it were truly about apartheid and emotions and national unity and all the usual claptrap bandied about by morally bankrupt journalists and champagne socialists on Twitter, then it would have been banned quarter of a century ago. It would have been at the forefront of the zeitgeist since 1994. Talk shows would have spent every waking moment lobbying for its criminalisation. Sponsored campaigns would have appeared before 7de Laan and Carte Blanche.

And yet, none of it happened.

Because most South Africans didn’t care about it. Nobody even thought about it except that one time some drunk dude flew it at a rugby game, quickly followed by attention-seeking elites exploiting it for their 15 minutes of fame.

Most South Africans were too busy fighting off criminals; looking for employment; becoming an entrepreneur, having drinks with friends; worrying about corruption in government; trying to live a free and prosperous life.

Yes, apartheid was morally wrong.

It was also economically destructive.

No sane person should deny any of that.

But banning stuff doesn’t make that stuff go away. Banning stuff simply pushes that stuff into the shadows where it festers and grows. It becomes more popular. It becomes a unifier. It becomes rebellious. It becomes the new underground cool.

And it negatively impacts the pockets of all South Africans, especially the poor, because enforcement of the law requires a budget funded by citizens.

Freedom of expression is a principle that South Africans believed in once, but that time appears to be a distant memory now, compliments of the very vocal evangelical left and its choir of progressive subordinates chipping away at individual freedoms.

I’ve already covered hate speech in a previous blog post, so I won’t repeat it. Please read it.

Oh, and since I’ve been asked about other flags like the Swastika, my view is consistent: I oppose the banning of all flags, no matter how offensive.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
— Nelson Mandela