A call for a culture of critical thinking

Abstract: South Africa's neglect of its children is damaging its global competitiveness... As highly developed as we humans think we are, we still retain elements of mammalian instinct, the strongest of which is to protect our young, even if it's at the expense of our own lives. Ironically, it is this mammalian instinct that defines one of the cornerstones of our humanity - it is considered abhorrent, even inhumane, to willfully subject a child to abuse, or to neglect its cries for help. It's helpful to bear this in mind when examining South Africa's ranking in global competitiveness. Every year the WEF (World Economic Forum) publishes the Global Competitiveness Report, which assesses the competitiveness landscape of a list of countries around the world according to twelve key indices. This year that list of countries totals 148. The report draws on an extensive spread of

Pity the poor atheists

Abstract: Everyone seems to hate atheists. But why?... God knows I'm an atheist! There you go, I've said. I've 'come out', as it were and acknowledged the fact that I don't believe in God or any other superpowerful supernatural being that supposedly made us and the universe, and who spreads their word via one or many prophets, angels, saints or persons in some manner or form. Writing that very sentence is either very brave of me or just very stupid because for some or other reason most people really don't like atheists. The chances are pretty good that when you read that sentence you felt some form of emotional reaction, anything from gentle surprise at the boldness of the statement to complete horror, and you now consider me akin to a trafficker of small children. Am I perhaps being a little overdramatic? It seems

Beware the cliched motivators

Abstract: The snake-oil salesman of the Wild West is a firm fixture of modern-day business... Beware the forked tongue of the snake-oil salesman! This may sound like dated advice from the Wild West but it's as true today as it was when American frontiersmen, desperate for alms to aid their various ill fortunes, fell foul of the smooth talking quack hawking his quick fix mixture. Times are just as wild in today's business environment, where ever-expanding frontiers demand more than just sound sense and the employment of time-honoured trade philosophy. Just as you invest in a formula that rewards your prospecting, someone edges closer to your stake and you are forced to try new measures to remain one step ahead of them. And who can provide this nostrum for superior profit? Today's answer to the snake-oil salesman - the motivational speaker. When you're feeling down

Beware the dead camels, and please pass the salt

Abstract: There's a new threat we need to talk about: dead camels... Dinner conversation is drying up. And the culprit? So few new topics. When we chat animatedly over our lamb cutlets we prefer a subject that can be expressed as a word or phrase so it can be neatly packaged and passed on to the person sitting next to us - "what do you think of this Zuma thing?" or "isn't crime getting out of control now?"
The reality is that 'the Zuma thing' is getting boring and 'crime' is offering few new twists to spark any discourse over dinner (unless of course you've just been robbed at a restaurant). While we're at it 'the war on terror' has dragged on too long and 'HIV/AIDS' seems to be under control (as much as any rampant, ineptly addressed epidemic can be). So

The Crusades on our playgrounds?

Abstract: There is something that could threaten to tear apart even moderate Muslims and Christians - a potential battlefield on our children's playgrounds... Ever heard of Pollokshields? I doubt it. In fact, I doubt if anyone outside of this suburb of Glasgow has ever heard of it. And yet it may be a defining player in Islam's relationship with the West that could have repercussions in South Africa. I have just returned from the UK where the Muslim reaction to the Danish cartoon debacle is still making the news. In a country that boasts a press that is legendary in its tenacity and sovereignty, the British press has been remarkably restrained. Unlike some of their European counterparts, they refused to publish the 'offensive' cartoons. Their moderation had nothing to do with censorship though. Like South Africans, the British are sensitive towards offending different

Come on guys, let’s show off our manhood!

Abstract: This is not about what you think. It's about that which makes men, men and how it's being cut off. Man, as opposed to woman, is facing his ultimate emasculation, and it seems it may ironically be the kindest cut of all. He may not even notice it happening and, when the blade finally falls, women around the world will smile with satisfaction and say, "there, our work is done". Outside of the actual disseminating of his reproductive material, is there anything a man can do that a woman can't? Think about it - thanks to panicky liberal thinking and the strident, affirmative actions of women's rights campaigners, men are no longer kings of anything anymore. Women swing pickaxes down mines and fly space shuttles; and at the end of a sweaty day they burp, break wind and knock back a couple

Why blacks shouldn’t be priests

Abstract: If saying blacks shouldn't be priests is racist, why is saying women shouldn't be priests, not misogynist?... I have a confession to make: I've misled you. Well, only to a certain degree. You see this is not really about why blacks shouldn't be priests because, obviously, I cannot think of a single reason why they shouldn't be. But your reaction to the title of this piece is central to its theme and potential impact. And if you were drawn to the title because of some expected discourse on the matter of priests, you won't be disappointed. I'll get to them later. But let me first remain with the theme of the title, and let me ask you this: can you think of any reason why blacks shouldn't be allowed to be priests? What about bishops, or rabbis, or mullahs? Of course not; the

What glass ceiling?

Abstract: Let's discuss why the glass ceiling isn't... Every time a social commentator or political activist bleats about the ever present 'glass ceiling' hanging in the way of the advancement of women in senior management positions, I want to grab them by the ear and drag them off to the closest magazine stand. It is there where they will find the real culprit - splashed all over those glossy covers. The term 'glass ceiling' dates back to the corporate America of the early 80s. It only really became a 'legitimised' buzzword when it appeared in a March 1986 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Since then it has earned its colours as a rallying flag for feminists and equal rights campaigners. It's just a pity that their passion is blinding them to the real problem - the women themselves. They have no real interest

Preparing our children for war

Abstract: Ever stopped to think how you may be emotionally and psychologically preparing your children to fight?... Every day, without knowing it, we prepare our children for war. We do things and we say things that prepare them mentally and emotionally to fight. We do this calmly, even rationally; and we do it because we love them and because we think we're doing the right thing. Have you ever asked your 8-year old child what is his or her political affiliation? Are they an ANC supporter, or do they identify more with the centralist liberal ideology of the DA? Perhaps they consider the ANC sell-outs, and yearn more for the fiery rhetoric of the SACP? Of course, you're not going to ask them because they're far too young. How is an 8-year old supposed to understand the subtle and twisted shifts in politics? Besides,

The monster within us

Abstract: Why we should leave smokers alone... I caught a glimpse of her upper thigh as she teasingly lured the hem of her skirt towards her waist. My breath shortened in expectation waiting for a heavenly full disclosure. What would I see, what would she show me? She shrieked with delight and then collapsed on the table to tremendous applause from her friends. The party nearby had been going at it all afternoon and was clearly in an advanced stage of celebration. They had encouraged one of the girls to take to the table in a high-kicking act of can-can, but she couldn't. Instead, she had lifted her skirt in a sensual tease before the sudden increase in altitude cleared her head of consciousness. As I replayed the image in my mind it was accompanied by a subtext that had nothing, and yet