By: Professor Chris Malikane
DA Chief Whip Johan Steenhuisen’s speech is exactly the work of an intellectual con-artist. The man does not even know what he is saying. He talks about Mao, Marx and Fanon…with matric alone you cannot masquerade as someone who understands them. The fellow once again does what he does best. Put on a show, talk good English and act confident. The whole speech rests on something he does not know he does not know.
Steenhuisen has now newly found a perspective: anti-elitism! If he really is anti-elitist, the first thing he would do is to quit the DA and join some party that ideologically is oriented towards the working class. If he does not do that, to live up to anti-elitism, then he once again would have proven that he talks, because he speaks English in suit.
Steenhuisen has confidence to make a distinction in his mind between parliament and a university convocation, as if he really knows what a university convocation entails. He unfairly disses the University Convocation for obvious reasons. He creates a gulf between the university and the parliament, on the grounds of being anti-elitist. He fails to see that, all else being the same, a parliament full of tertiary education graduates is far better than one full of matriculants.
Let me repeat: all else being the same, a parliament full of University Convocants is far better than one full of matriculants!
He accuses the EFF of being thugs, he talks about fascism, and says he does not need a degree to see what the EFF is. He forgets that when confronted with policy alternatives with which he differs based on a hunch, because what else can he use with his matric to engage on technical matters of policy in parliament other than a hunch, he resorts to thuggery and fascism too. Again this proves that he does not understand what he is talking about, because if he did, he would not accuse the EFF about what he does when confronted with things he knows nothing about.
Steenhuisen attempts to excuse himself for not having taken the vast opportunities provided by white male privilege. He does so by mingling himself with the mass that does not have tertiary education. In this he attempts to be a guerilla, whose only way of survival is to be rooted in the masses. Steenhuisen at least appears to know that the relation of a guerilla to the masses is the same as the one between fish and water.
Unfortunately for him, the degree-less mass that he seeks to hide in is largely black, so he sticks out! Once again if Steenhuisen was serious about opening the doors of learning and culture in tertiary institutions, he should have stuck out his neck from inside the elitist DA and vehemently called for Fee Free Tertiary Education. He failed!
His newly found affinity towards the working class is nothing but crass opportunism. One of the advantages of tertiary education is that it opens some possibilities for self-reflection and self-correction, especially when formulating an argument. Had he had such a developed sense, he would have quickly noticed that the working class does not romanticize low levels of education. For obvious reasons, the working class is conscious that it is in its best interest to have representatives with tertiary education than to have representatives with matric.
Instead of following the EFF when it correctly continuously loads its leadership with higher levels of education, Steenhuisen, for reasons of his ideological differences with the EFF, chooses to denigrade higher education and elevate his matric. All this in the name of pro-working class anti-elitism! True, higher education does not completely eliminate ignorance and the challenges that the world faces at each stage, but with higher education such ignorance and challenges happen at a higher plane of knowledge, which is far better than at a plane of matric.
Today we are supposed to empathise with Steenhuisen for not having a tertiary education, while at the same time he leads a party that actively opposes a policy that stands to benefit the mass he attempts to insert himself in. Steenhuisen must quit the DA if his lyrics on anti-elitism are to be taken seriously.
By: Professor Chris Malikane