The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


The first black president of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95 years.  He was a statesman and a gentle, humble man.  Mr. Mandela served 27 years of a life sentence before he was released from prison for his anti-apartheid campaign which finally saw the downfall of that oppressive institution.

It is interesting that Mandela’s efforts in South Africa happened concurrently with the civil rights movement in the United States.  What is amazing is that in South Africa where blacks were the majority population, it took many more years for apartheid to be abolished while the minority black population in the United States saw significant legal and social advances much earlier.  That was something that Mandela marveled at, both while he was in prison and afterward.

Nelson Mandela came under a lot of criticism for his efforts from the United States which supported the white government in South Africa.  His support came from  the Soviet Union and Cuba and he was branded a communist.  That probably is an accurate assessment of his political viewpoint.

But that shouldn’t surprise us if we see that communism, whether it was in Russia or China gained a hold as an appealing political system as the concentration of power and wealth was held by very few.  It is for that reason that there was a significant investment by political American blacks in Marxism going back to the 1920’s, long before the Civil Rights law was enacted.

On a national level it is undeniable that communism is one of the most efficient methods of immediately re-distributing wealth.  On an individual level we have another word for it – theft.  Having the legal authority to seize another person’s property barely elevates the act from an armed robbery accomplished at gunpoint.

Perhaps if the United States and other western countries had backed Mandela’s efforts he might have embraced our capitalistic viewpoint.  But how can a person embrace an economic system which promotes individual effort when the majority of people are denied the right to be rewarded for their achievements?  Clearly, Mandela had placed his focus on the underlying problem – that black South Africans had no rights and no prospects for a better future.

At the trial which resulted in his conviction, he made the following statement:

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.  I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Those are the words of Nelson Mandela.  Those are the words of a statesman.



  1. This is one man who has inspired me with his willingness to forgive the unforgivable things done to him. His body may have passed to rest but one hundred years from now the name Mandela will appear in history books as evidence there was at least one noble soul in this era.

    • I happened to hear an interview today with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s neice who had met Mandela. She thought the most significant thing about him was that he turned from his original view that equality could only be achieved through armed conflict to both Gandhi’s and King’s view that espoused civil disobedience and peaceful methods. The one theme that came from all those who knew him and spoke of him was that he was a humble man. That is something that we should all consider as we conduct our own lives and affairs.

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