ON Kilter: The right is on the wrong side again, Mandela considered

OPINION – The world has bid a sentimental farewell to one the most noted leaders of the last century, Nelson Mandela.

And the extreme right has done it again. They’ve gone so far off the reservation that even their own party members are distancing themselves from the rhetoric that rides a fine line of racism and willful ignorance.

There is within the confines of a small faction of the Republican party an inability to see clearly beyond the dogma of party line ideologies and recognize the breadth and the body of a lifetime’s work and achievements.

Mandela’s associations with socialist viewpoints and communist leaders not withstanding, there is an insistence that his involvement with the African National Congress, an organization linked to and likely responsible for years of terrorist activity negate in its entirety his tireless work and achievements in freeing his people and ending Apartheid.

And at the outset, dismissing any rudimentary and sophomoric notions that Mandela had anything at all in common with fascist leaders such as Hitler or Stalin, my question is really quite simple:

How is he any different than the founders of this nation? Or the pioneers of this community?

When we think of terrorists, images emerge of fundamentalist religious fanatics cloaking their impetus to eradicate the unbelievers (or at least subjugate them) under the guise of eco-political agendas. We think of people who at the very core of their mission intend to cause as much human suffering as possible in the name of their cause. Collateral damage in this scenario is not considered fallout, but rather a bonus.

This is why when people refer to the Founders’ acts against England as terrorist in nature it is refuted at some level because it was a righteous purpose which drove the people who settled this land to take arms against its government. Oppression and tyranny were met head on with necessary violence to free the people and set forth a new nation. Collateral damage was considered a tragic byproduct but the objective was just.

If you were to talk to anyone with lineage in the pioneer families of St. George, they would tell you that the massacre of the Baker-Fancher party – where settlers making their way west were egregiously deceived to believe they had refuge with the locals, were disarmed and slaughtered in the most cowardly way imaginable – was somewhat justifiable. The locals’ prophet had been murdered and they had been on the run from deadly persecution from much of America at the time.

This is to say that perhaps there are times when violence is justifiable, or at least understandable as a means of last resort to right the course of history in human behavior. That when a ruling government is inflicting injustice and violence upon a people, a violent response is not only justified, but should be expected. It is to say that there comes a time when people cannot take it anymore and they pick up a weapon like the Founders did. Like the Mormons did.

Consider this passage from French philosopher Jean Baudrillard:

“When global power monopolizes the situation to this extent, when there is such a formidable condensation of all functions in the technocratic machinery, and when no alternative form of thinking is allowed, what other way is there but a terroristic situational transfer. It was the system itself which created the objective conditions for this brutal retaliation …. This is terror against terror – there is no longer any ideology behind it.”

It is not a difficult concept to grasp that what incited Mandela and the ANC was as insidious as the response itself. Americans who know their own history should know this and relate to it well.

But ideology takes precedence over common sense it appears when the extreme right is given the opportunity to interpret Mandela’s life and it is sadly telling. Very telling.

To add insult to stupidity here, it is confounding to the intelligent mind that the entire scope of Mandela’s life is surmised by the right in things that took place decades ago, that resulted in his imprisonment and eventual enlightenment and release whereby he chartered unprecedented waters in South Africa, in a manner befitting his counterparts such as Martin Luther King, and saw in his own lifetime the fruition of that labor in the ending of Apartheid by some of his own measures.

To be so obtuse as to dismiss his life as a whole in the manner which they do so is to demonstrate the most vulgar and damaging of human behavior. It is short sighted and likely fueled by something darker than the extreme right cares to admit.

To echo former Speaker Newt Gingrich: “What would you have done?”

And intellectual honesty demands that you recognize your very lineage in this country is preceded with people who did exactly what Mandela did.

See you out there.

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Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @dallashyland

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.



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  • Doug Chambers December 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Dallas Hyland is an opinion[ated] columnist. Good grief, the examples you choose to use are meant to offend people, not reason with them. Stop it! You sit there writing in all your “assholiness” and in some Marxist way, justify what Mandela did, as if he didn’t admit it himself. After he got out of prison, he said he was glad he was incarcerated when he was because they were planning to blow up schoolchildren, and he was glad it never happened. Does that mean we can’t appreciate that he changes his ways and opinions? Of course not, but neither can we ignore what he was. The “ends justifies the means” thinking is what you are praising. So, the left-wing has always felt that way. Obama thinks destroying vast parts of the American economy is justified as wealth redistribution. The left makes me sick, the way they can have so many double-standards. At least Mandela overcame his ideology, will you?

    • Royalredus December 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Well said, Doug!!

      Look, we understand how much time each week you probably have to spend combing the nits out of your beard, Mr. Author, so don’t feel like you need to trouble yourself with citing any actual examples of who “The Right” is. Just go ahead and dump on this faceless, nebulous group called “The Right”. If nothing else, your lazy form of, ahem, “journalism” does give us something to snicker at over dinner.

    • skippy December 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      I do not align myself with either left or right or whatever other designations someone wants to use to put their opponent in a box. And I have no interest in defending the writer of this column or his opinions or offending the respondent.
      Would it be possible to entertain the thought that both “left” and “right” (and “centrist”?) are capable of double standards in their positions and behaviors? And is it also possible that “wealth distribution” occurs in different ways, justified by political ideologies that cover the spectrum? And, even more, isn’t the “ends/means” argument common to anyone, regardless of affiliation. “The left” “The right” “Liberals” “Conservatives” These labels are not meaningless; they do suggest tendencies, if not entrenchment, in social and political perspectives. But the hitch is that neither the writer nor the respondent is free of this trap: Dallas irritates his respondent by offending him (and the general reader) with “leftist” claptrap, and the respondent complains that Dallas should have reasoned with his audience instead of being what the respondent calls an a**hole!! Interesting logic. Believe me, I love a good fight, but this doesn’t surpass the level of “na, na, nana-nah!” Look at it this way: as unlikely as it seems, the writer and respondent share much more in common than we may want to acknowledge.

  • bUB December 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Your article makes no sense to me.

  • Nathan December 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    The apartheid regime was a crime against humanity; as illogical as it was cruel. It is tempting, therefore, to simplify the subject by declaring that all who opposed it were wholly and unswervingly good. It’s important to remember, however, that Mandela has been the first to hold his hands up to his shortcomings and mistakes. In books and speeches, he goes to great length to admit his errors. The real tragedy is that too many in the West can’t bring themselves to see what the great man himself has said all along; that he’s just as flawed as the rest of us, and should not be put on a pedestal.

  • Roy J December 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I think that, in the interest of being intellectually honest, a person is obliged to distinguish an act of terrorism from an act of war, and both from that of massacre, instead of lumping them all together under the idea of justifiable violence. To say otherwise is also to admit the claims of any government to use violence against its’ people, ‘because they can’t take it anymore’, ‘because the objective (whatever that is) is just’. It is a short step from there to anarchy and the war of all against all.

  • david December 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I can’t even believe the hogwash you spewed out in this article. You are entitled to your opinion, but taking advantage of your position as a journalist to bend reality to fit your opinion is unforgivable. Comparing Mandela to alignment with terrorist killing innocent people to fight racism to our founding fathers is preposterous, then stretching it to compare the miserable actions of a few extremely misguided “mormons” is absolutely unbelievable and in the very least disgusting. Explain to me at what point in time is it acceptable to kill innocent people for any reason? Because they treat you bad, or they don’t like the color of your skin, or because they don’t like your religion, when? Where do YOU draw the line? The early Americans were fighting for their freedom because they wanted to govern themselves. The revolution was one one of the greatest freedom fights this world has ever experienced. The early mormon pioneers were fleeing persecution and murderous gangs who would have killed them all had they stayed their ground. Self preservation is a noble cause. I still don’t see the parallel. I am not a extreme “right winger” but I don’t believe that when all peaceful solutions have been exhausted you start killing innocent people to get your way or make your point , which is exactly what the African National Congress did. If you oppose the treatment or tyranny of your government you start killing people and perform terroristic acts to free “your” people. So, the end justifies the means? I don’t see it your way at all. I think you can draw a parallel line between anybody who takes up arms against somebody who he does not agree with and Mandela. There is a huge difference between self defense and collective terrorism to get what you think is right. Please don’t take me the wrong way. I am very glad the people of south Africa are now somewhat free from racist persecution. They still have a long way to go before that continent is free. Please in the future, be more careful with the comparative analysis. Temper your anger with love. Thank you , Dave.

  • skippy December 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Sorry. Forgot to note that no matter what “side” you’re on, please do not ever construct a sentence that no one (unless they have lungs of titanium!) could read without the risk of fainting. I’m referring to the para-sentence that begins “To add insult to stupidity…” Indeed, I do feel a bit stupid…after hyperventilating…

  • JamesB December 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Classic pseudo intellectual. Throw a few big words out there. Make some general put downs to those with differing ideas. Can’t really put a string of facts or ideas together to make his point. Makes no sense to the reader in the end…………Snooze.

    Need to find a local columnist on the left that can actually make a decent argument for their position.

  • Craig December 15, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Yawn. This article will definitely help an insomniac.

    • Bender December 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Craig, you appear to be reading the stgeorgeutah.com columnists as a sleep aid. I find the Book of Mormon works well too.

  • Jason December 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Another Libtard using someone’s death to further their own political agenda.


  • Dou7bleTap December 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I’m a couple of days late getting in the fray here, but ….Dallas…..you really went way way off the left side this time. At least tie half of what I could discern of your so-called article. I agree with about 90% of the commenters here….you are way off.

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