Spare a thought for Oudtshoorn
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Oudtshoorn. 14 March 2012. 11h45. OO has mentioned the Western Cape Minister for Local Government, Anton Bredell, in the same breath as philosophers before – as in … The Philosopher’s Stoned.
OO repeats the compliment today.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, the greatest philosopher of them all bar one, or two, by me, famously said that a quite decent philosophy could be constructed out of jokes only. Or words to that effect.
The existentialist philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, was sitting in a cafe where a waitress approached him: “Can I get you something to drink, Monsieur Sartre?”
Sartre replied, “Yes, I’d like a cup of coffee with sugar, but no cream”.
Nodding agreement, the waitress walked off to fill the order and Sartre returned to his reading.
A few minutes later the waitress returned and said, “I’m sorry, Monsieur Sartre, we are all out of cream – how about with no milk?”
Now, this is, I think, a funny story, but it becomes quite hillarious when one realises that Sartre was an indefatigable prankster himself and also that he argued that choices we have regarding action could sometimes be a kind of false choice.
Kom, ek verduidelik in plein Afrikaans – dan kan die arme standerd vier-klong perdalkies óók verstaan. As iemand dreig om jou dood te skiet, en hy gee jou ‘n keuse tussen ‘n skoot in die kop en ‘n skoot in die hart, dan gee hy jou mos nou nie wérklik ‘n keuse nie!*
There is no difference between coffee without milk and coffee without cream. Yet, if coffee by definition has cream in it, coffee without cream becomes impossible. One could then make coffee with milk, and leave out the milk…
But maybe philosophers should just get out more.
O.K. So what is OO’s point late on this lovely autumnal morning?
Whether Oudtshoorn is governed by the ANC or the DA is of no consequence.
Now let’s argue backwards from this conclusion.
We know the ANC is clueless about governing Oudtshoorn – OO proves it daily and the stories of the last seven days confirm it.
So, we look at the DA.
The DA Councillors say, without fail, that the ANC acts unilaterally, irresponsibly, and illegally in Oudtshoorn.
Yet the DA’s Western Cape Secretary, sporadically ghosting as the Provincial Minister of Local Government, says, on November 1 last year, that he has just about complete faith in the local ANC Government. And Bredell makes the statement without consulting, or even informing, his Oudtshoorn Caucus. (Click here for the full statement.)
On February 28, the local DA Councillors object vehemently to the Adjustment Budget, calling it illegal.
The very next day Bredell’s DA colleague, Johan Visser, of the NCOP (National Council of Provinces) and MPP for Local Government, Development Planning, and Housing, expresses confidence in the ANC Government of Oudtshoorn. (Click here for the full statement.)
Again, neither Bredell, nor Visser – nor any DA functionary – informs the Caucus.
To crown this objectionable affair, Oudtshoorn’s DA MP, Jac Bekker, sits in the selfsame NCOP seats as Visser!
Ye gods and faeries!
Monty Python eat your collective heart out.
Do these poor sods not talk to each other? Is there no coherent policy, or, at least, face saving strategy in place?
I need say no more, but, unfortunately, I am about to indulge myself.
I can hardly decide the question: Is Bredell’s own discombobulating statements on Oudtshoorn worse than his pathetic ignorance of what is said around him, or is it the other way around?
Clearly the DA is rudderless and knows not it’s fleshy parts from its bony parts!
Bredell’s management is as alarming as his dontopedology**.
I can only hope that Bredell is not going to attempt to fiddle himself out of this predicament by either claiming ignorance of Visser’s statement, or by distancing himself from his NCOP colleague.
Bredell is the Western Cape Minister for Local Government. The buck stops with him. Period.
And Bredell needs to explain why he, and his, say and do what they say and do, while the Oudtshoorn DA Councillors say and do quite the opposite!
A choice between the ANC and the DA.
Read the Sartre joke.
* If the expected utility of the outcomes is equal or the difference between the possible choices is largely arbitrary, then one could say that the situation is equivalent to not having any choice at all. If a psycho-killer offers you the choice between dying from a bullet to the left eye or the right eye or between the eyes if we do not choose, the difference is arbitrary since the outcome is the same for all choices available. In other words, if an agent is indifferent between choices presented, then the choice does not really seem to count for much. We would still tend to say that the psycho killer is responsible for the death, not the agent that supposedly chooses the way he will die.
** Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and infamous for his foot-in-mouth moments, coined the term “dontopedology” – the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it.
1. 2012, January 9. Riddett, Matthew. Make Yourself: Jean-Paul Sartre on essence and existence. m riddett.com.
2. 1993. Sartre, Jean-Paul. Essays in Existentialism. Reprinted. Kensington Publishing Corp. New York.
3. The joke is from the Internet and can also be found among any number of rib tearing stories on Drewan Baird Communication.