Leon Louw and his Free Market Foundation are cynical lobbyists for corporate South Africa’s brave neo-liberal world

The venality and gross incompetence of the ANC government have provided a convenient smokescreen for unelected lobbyists and vested interest groups to inveigle themselves into the South African political process at the expense of transparency and democracy.

One such organisation is the Free Market Foundation (FMF), a neo-liberal* lobby group that styles itself as a non-profit Public Benefit Organisation. Kind of bizarre if you consider that they charge R20,000 – R250,000 per year for corporate membership and their only real expenses would be the salaries of the Foundation’s staff and the odd spurious court case on behalf of its corporate benefactors.

Its patrons include some of South Africa’s wealthiest people, mostly privileged white males, such as Donald Gordon (founder of Liberty Life), Johann Rupert (chairman of Richemont and Remgro) and Raymond Ackerman (retired chairman of Pick ‘n Pay). Another patron is Bongani Khumalo, Chairman and Chief Executive of Gidani (Pty) Limited, which previously ran the National Lottery and currently embroiled in a legal battle to regain the goose that lays the golden eggs.

The FMF was founded in 1975 by Leon Louw, a conveyancer at the time, with its core premise,

“to promote and foster an open society, the rule of law, personal liberty, and economic and press freedom as fundamental components of its advocacy of human rights and democracy based on classical liberal principles.”

At first glance it comes across as a laudable and benign organisation, but in reality it is a thinly veiled vehicle for opportunistic carpetbaggers** and big corporate interests. Louw is a vehement neo-liberal ideologue who has been allowed to spout his generic and sophomoric “government bad, companies good” mantra in mainstream business publications for ages. The FMF seems to conflate economic civil liberties with social civil liberties, both tenets of classic liberalism built on John Locke’s theory of personal rights and Thomas Hobbes’s social contract, as opposed to the brutal laissez-faire capitalist ideology of Friedman, Von Mises and Hayek. A fact that is corroborated by Louw’s self-declared and frankly quite puerile reverence for Ayn Rand’s incoherent egotism.

The irony of calling his organisation the Free Market Foundation probably escapes the loquacious Louw, a man with a non-existing business track record and modest academic background, who displays a fundamental misunderstanding of what a free market is. A true free market ensures a level playing field for all the participants; if that is not the case, then government (public) intervention is a necessity to correct the artificial imbalance created by historical monopolies, cartels and unequal access to education, information and communication. Denying those imbalances is to embrace de facto technocratic fascism.

According to the Free Market Foundation’s website,

“The FMF’s submissions to Codesa[sic] and Parliamentary constitutional committees contributed, for instance, to the devolution of exclusive powers to local and regional tiers of government, the inclusion in the limitation clause of the requirement that limitations of rights must be “justifiable in an open and democratic society”, and the inclusion of the administrative justice clause (33), the freedom of trade clause (22), and the rule of law as a justiciable provision in the Founding Provisions of the constitution.”

Except for the fact that we could find no official record of the above claim there is the problematic issue of why a vested interest group with no mandate from voters was allowed to influence negotiations for South Africa’s first democratic constitution. Some pearls of wisdom from the pen of our learned friend:

“The reason why rhinos are endangered and cattle are not is because cattle are privately owned and there are relatively free markets in cattle products.” … “The nationalisation of rivers, beaches and wilderness areas increases the likelihood of degradation.”

Yep, them beautiful South African beaches and our world renowned National Parks are for those who can afford it, not the inconvenient, unwashed masses who just clog up amenities and make a nuisance of themselves. Anyone who has taken a cursory glance at the cost of staying at one of the private game reserves will know that the fully fledged privatisation of South Africa’s conservation areas would mean that only the privileged few will be able to visit them, excluding the vast majority of South Africans and creating a sort of Ballardian dystopia where we’ll all eventually have to pay for oxygen in Louw’s brave neo-liberal world.

Perhaps the most damning evidence against Louw’s integrity is his claim to have been a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, not just once, no siree, three times: 1989, 1991 and 1992 according to his Who’s Who profile. What makes this claim a bit dodgy is that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee makes it very clear that: “The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.”

That means our Leon and his FMF acolytes are either suffering from temporal confusion or the naughty rascals are trying to game the system.

All mentions of Louw’s Nobel Peace Prize nominations are made in publications for which he or his foundation provided the information. Even if his nominations were above board, he and his foundation blatantly ignored the explicit instructions of the Nobel Foundation in order to gain some semblance of gravitas.

It is also very clear that Louw’s Wikipedia page was written by himself or his foundation as a promotional exercise. All the references are either from the Free Market Foundation or generic profiles that he provided to third parties.

When we contacted the Free Market Foundation with the above facts, Louw’s long-time sidekick and FMF director, Estace Davie, ignored all our pertinent questions and responded with a curt one-liner: “As far as I know Leon Louw was nominated by members of Parliament of a Scandinavian country.”

[Update: Frances Kendall, who was apparently nominated with Louw, has contacted us offering to provide proof that a Norwegian political party did in fact nominate them. Of course all our other queries were once again ignored. More in the comments section.]

After our correspondence with Mr Davie, the mention of Louw’s Nobel Peace Prize nominations mysteriously disappeared from his Wikipedia page. It was still mentioned on his Free Market Foundation and Who’s Who profiles at the time of writing this article though.

The biggest damage done by players like Louw is that they helped to entrench an ever deepening polarisation of the socio-economic debate in South Africa. They are not the only guilty parties; the anachronistic and globally debunked pseudo-socialist approach of the tripartite alliance is as much to blame. But to put the blame for South Africa’s current ills solely at the feet of the ruling party shows not only woolly thinking but is also a mendacious disavowal of blame for what is frankly blood on the hands of neo-liberal ideologues like Louw.

The FMF is a chilling reminder that lobby groups can often be proxies for vested interests that will use buckets of money to manipulate the media, public discourse and even the political process.

A pertinent recent example would be the government’s clumsy Orwellian attempt at internet censorship and transparent attack on freedom of speech via the Films and Publications Amendment Bill, which would see all internet material classified and licensed. In a brazen breach of net neutrality and in the classic apartheid era tradition of gaining an unfair advantage at all cost, organisations representing mainstream media and advertising conglomerates (IAB, Sanef and the South African Press Council) have negotiated special terms with regards to the bill, which if implemented would see independent digital publishers further marginalised by big media, this time in cahoots with government. In the process they have hi-jacked what is in fact a Constitutional Court issue that affects all South Africans.

Joseph Stiglitz, who has actually been awarded a Nobel Prize ( Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001), had this to say about Louw’s unfettered free market:

“The theories that I (and others) helped develop explained why unfettered markets often not only do not lead to social justice, but do not even produce efficient outcomes.”

“The real debate today is about finding the right balance between the market and government. Both are needed. They can each complement each other. This balance will differ from time to time and place to place.”

Another Nobel Prize winner for Economic Sciences (2008), Paul Krugman, argued extensively in his The Conscience of a Liberal that government policies played a much greater role than commonly thought, both in reducing inequality, e.g. the 1930 – 1970 period (starting with F.D. Roosevelt’s New Deal), and in increasing it, e.g. from the Reaganomics of the 1980s to the present.

Krugman describes himself as an American liberal which he views as similar to being a European social-democrat. He has also publicly endorsed Thomas Piketty’s magisterial, but often badly understood tome on income inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

All these highly regarded academics are brazenly contradicted by the home-brewed Louw and his FMF, who have consistently refused to address the how and why of righting the wrongs of the past and levelling the playing field for all participants in the economy. And just so that we are clear, that means confronting historical private sector monopolies, cartels and professional guilds that exert undue influence on civil society despite not being accountable to the public (reference the dismissive intransigence of the South African law societies).

BEE is a failure because it does not address the root causes of inequality in South Africa, which is the corrupt origin of many of its biggest companies and wealthiest denizens and the lack of equal access to education, information and communication. Instead BEE tries to replicate apartheid-era crony capitalism with dire consequences for the country as a whole.

Reprobate has said this before, and will keep repeating it until common sense prevails: South Africa is staring down the barrel of a socio-economic gun that has its origins in the corrupt, myopic deals made between the ANC and big business in the aftermath of the first democratic elections in 1994. An Economic Truth and Reconciliation Commission based on forensic evidence of the origins and past actions of South Africa’s biggest companies is an absolute necessity to establish a semblance of trust and transparency among the marginalised majority. An opinion that veteran journalist and political analyst, Allister Sparks, has elaborated on in an article published three years ago.

Is Leon Louw an irredeemably horrible person? Probably not, but he is representative of a huge tranche of apartheid legacy beneficiaries who are in complete denial about their continued discordant privilege despite their relatively modest abilities and their chauvinist insistence that success must at all times be framed in terms of their narrow cultural or class paradigm.

This obtuse, self-righteous mindset is prevalent across the comment sections of mainstream media and often in the articles themselves. Much of which can be ascribed to the baseless intellectual arrogance of many white South African professionals, who are generally not nearly as well educated or well read as they care to think. The not-so-inimitable Andile Mngxitama is usually guilty of nonsensical verbiage, but he did recently come up with the salient point that white South Africans are generally more confident and eloquent in the expression of their ignorance than black South Africans.

Notes:
*Neo-liberalism: to avoid any potential confusion, we use the term neo-liberalism in the
current sense of a radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. What it means in reality is the swapping of one tyranny (usually that of the socialist state) for another, the untethered power of multi-national corporations.

**Carpetbaggers: In contemporary terms, carpetbagger refers to roving financial opportunists, often of modest means, who spot investment opportunities and aim to benefit from a set of circumstances to which they are not ordinarily entitled.

Leon Louw and Free Market Foundation
[Featured image adapted from Banksy | photo by DeptfordJon / CC BY]

17 thoughts on “Leon Louw and his Free Market Foundation are cynical lobbyists for corporate South Africa’s brave neo-liberal world

  1. Interesting article that raises important questions about the bona fides of ‘think-tanks’ and other lobby groups funded by business interests. Koch Industries in the U.S. and their founding and funding of numerous think-tanks, foundations and institutions that push their own narrow business interests (which include climate change denial and the pro-tobacco lobby) is probably the most egregious example of very small, but powerful minorities trying to manipulate government policy and public discourse.

    What is quite evident from the comment section is that it definitely stirred up emotions among a club of like-minded individuals who would rather stick to narrow-minded dogma and selective definitions that suit their collective agenda than engage the issues raised in the article.

    The off-topic attacks come across as a concerted group effort to obfuscate, a suspicion that is corroborated by the fact that many, if not all, seem to belong to a libertarian forum of which Leon Louw is a member. The irony of this group mentality is probably lost on the poor souls.

    There’s a nasty subtext as well. After 1994, many apartheid legacy bigots started focusing on economic exceptionalism when they realised they had lost political power. They hate any mention of a ‘level playing field’ in their definition of a free market and are in total denial about historical distortions of the free market from which they have benefited.

  2. 1. Why don’t you publish your name so we can read other things you have written and get to know your points better?
    2. I am not interested in attacking you or anyone else personally or calling you names or stereotyping you. In fact I find some of the articles in your group pretty interesting.
    Rather let’s discuss the issues.
    Some things we agree on.
    It seems you are offended by government created monopolies and crony capitalism. I am too and I suspect Leon Louw is too. I am glad you are admitting that the ANC government is guilty of the same thing. Do you have examples of governments who did not fall in that trap?

    Are you saying the FMF is endorsing government control of the internet or bailouts of Naspers or other crony interventions ? I doubt it. Show me where.

    It seems you are offended by the existence of what you call “neo liberal” lobby groups.
    What do you propose? Should all lobby groups be banned in your opinion or only those that admit to having corporate sponsors? What about the ones who lie about their sponsors? Who decides, the ruling party?

    You seem to combine all free market advocates (what you call capitalists) with corporate crony capitalists. Show me some examples of monopolies and brutality by the free market that does NOT involve government interference.

    I know eventually the conversation has to get to what you call “a level playing field”. That’s fine, but lets see where we can agree on basic principles first.

    • Hi Albert. Thanks for the comment.

      1. Editorial opinion pieces are a well known component of a free press and freedom of speech. We generally publish them in the ‘Articles’ section of this website under the ‘Reprobate’ byline, so it is actually very easy to get to know our points better. The main reason for doing that is to force readers to engage with the content rather than descend into personal attacks because their insular beliefs are being questioned.

      2. Government monopolies and – crony capitalism are not the subject of this piece, but for the record we agree with both you and Leon Louw in that regard. This article clearly refers to private sector monopolies, cartels and unethical businesses, and the fact that mainstream media and so-called public benefit organisations like Mr Louw’s FMF do not confront them on a consistent basis. When that type of bias is so clearly evident it raises questions about vested interests that are pulling the strings of both media and non-profit.

      3. Your statement: “Are you saying the FMF is endorsing government control of the internet or bailouts of Naspers or other crony interventions ? I doubt it. Show me where.” does not make any sense. Maybe read that paragraph again. We were very clearly referring to private sector organisations (IAB, Sanef and the Press council) screwing over smaller players in their market segment (and civil society) by trying to do a special deal with government with regards to the proposed Films and Publications Amendment Bill – as another example of iniquitous behaviour by lobby groups. Naspers is not mentioned in the article; if you are referring to something in the comment section then please contextualise properly.

      4. Offended, no. Concerned for South African democracy, yes. Lobby groups for vested interest groups have a long history of manipulating government policies and public perception. Their mere existence means that democracy is for sale, since the lobbyist with the wealthiest (and maybe not so benevolent) backers can afford a bigger media presence and have better access to government role players. Have a look at the massive influence of tobacco and oil lobby groups across the globe. Our mission is transparency, exposing lobbyists who pose as egalitarian organisations and kick-starting a conversation about the topic. Not sure that any form of banning is the answer.

      5. Nowhere in the article did we equate all free market advocates or all forms of capitalism to crony capitalism. It’s a bit bizarre that you came to that conclusion. We are concerned about organisations that profess to be pro free market, but whose actions suggest otherwise.

  3. Hi there.

    Just a infobite: none of the participants at Codesa, minus the white/colored/Indiain parties, had a democratic mandate. The interim Constitution of 1993 was adopted and passed by the Tricameral Parliament (the white House of Assembly, the colored House of Representatives and the Indian House of Delegates) with the view that the first democratic Parliament (named the Constitutional Assembly) will adopt a permanent constitution within three years. This was done in 1996, when the current Constitution was (democratically) enacted.

    I think this is an important thing to note considering the attack on the FMF’s ‘non-democratic’ nature. It had just as much legitimacy as any other unelected participant at that convention.

    Regards,
    Martin

    • Hi Martin,

      Thanks for the comment.
      Most of the political parties at CODESA, participants in the tricameral parliament or not, had internal democratic structures and processes to choose their leadership and policies, and represented sizeable proportions of ordinary South African citizens, which means they did have a mandate. As far as we know that is not the case with an NPO such as the FMF. Of course we have an issue with the participation of the not-so-democratic governments of the apartheid bantustans at the time, but they fall outside the remit of this article.

      The official list of participants at CODESA:
      African National Congress
      Bophuthatswana Government
      Ciskei Government
      Democratic Party
      Dikwankwetla Party
      Inkatha Freedom Party
      Inyandza National Movement
      Intando Yesizwe Party
      Labour Party of South Africa
      Natal/Transvaal Indian Congress
      National Party
      National People’s Party
      Solidarity
      South African Communist Party
      Transkei Government
      United People’s Front
      Venda Government
      Ximoko Progressive Party

  4. Re the Nobel Peace prize, Leon and I were nominated jointly in 1990, 1991 and 1993. The Progress Party (Fromakrittspartiet) of Norway was responsible for the nominations.

    In the words of Professor Fritjof Frank Gundersen, Member of Parliament for The Progress Party, “those with a right to nominate a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize come in three groups: (1) former laureates of the Nobel Prize (2) professors of either Law or Economics, or (3) members of Parliament. …

    There have been some 120 candidates to the Prize these later years, between organisations and named individuals… We believe that Helen Suzman has been nominated, but the list of candidates is not publicised, and any publication of the candidates’ name is at the discretion of the person who nominates”.

    Gundersen says “we undertook to test opinions worldwide by inviting support for the idea (of nominating Kendall & Louw) by mail”. He quotes support from Milton Friedman, James Buchanan & Lawrence Schlemmer, adding “that these are only a few examples from the letters that continued to come back. They evaporated whatever doubts we had had to go forth with the proposition… The nomination itself must, of course, be thoroughly substantiated… The Nobel Committee holds absolute power of decisions, and cannot be overruled. Their minutes are secret.”

    I am happy to forward a copy of the full letter if you wish, and you are able to contact Professor Gundersen to check its validity.

    • ►Thank you for the reply to one of our questions, but it still does not answer the fact that the nominations were prominently displayed on the Free Market Foundation website and Wikipedia contrary to the clear stipulations of the Nobel Foundation. Your statement – “any publication of the candidates’ name is at the discretion of the person who nominates” is not correct.

      From the statutes of the Nobel Foundation:
      “Proposals received for the award of a prize, and investigations and opinions concerning the award of a prize, may not be divulged. A prize-awarding body may, however, after due consideration in each individual case, permit access to material which formed the basis for the evaluation and decision concerning a prize, for purposes of research in intellectual history. Such permission may not, however, be granted until at least 50 years have elapsed after the date on which the decision in question was made.”

      ►Why would you then remove the nominations from the FMF website and Wikipedia after our initial query?

      ►Your professor is also not 100% correct about who can nominate candidates. Once again from the Nobel Foundation:
      “Qualified Nominators
      According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, a nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:

      • Members of national assemblies and governments of states
      • Members of international courts
      • University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
      • Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
      • Board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
      • Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1)
      • Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee”

      ►It is interesting to note that some academics view the Norwegian Progress Party, that nominated you, as a neoliberal right-wing populist party built on platforms like restricted immigration, tougher integration measures and anti-taxation. Historically other parties in parliament refused any formal governmental cooperation with the Progress Party until the current coalition with the Conservative Party. Bottom line, they nominated you because it suited their agenda nothing else. In the same vein Julius Malema can be nominated (probably has been) by the Che Guevara Institute for Marxist studies or a member of the Uzbekistan parliament. It actually means jack.

  5. “brutal laissez-faire capitalist ideology of Friedman, Von Mises and Hayek”

    Lost me completely there. Are you at all familiar with any of their writings or teachings? Your description of them as “brutal” proves that your entire experience with them is probably from a non-cited and heavily biased site (perhaps like this one). If you wish to criticise them effectively, I advise actually learning about them.

    The biggest problem with this article is that it presumes terms like “Neoliberal” to be negative. First, both your definitions are wrong. Neoliberal is a term referring to the ideology which arose after the failed Keynesian Consensus. It proposed freer markets over the previously irresponsible fiscal policy.

    I can see that you have attempted to make a good effort here, but it is obvious that you are letting your ideology blind you, and that your research is biased towards the opposition of Capitalism.

    Please consider educating yourself more about Libertarianism, Economics and the Free Market, so you can find how it can genuinely help South Africa.

    • Thanks for the puerile attempt at condescension. Unfortunately it does not make your selective and unsubstantiated comments true.

      There are 12 citings throughout the article, so your “a non-cited and heavily biased site” comment is blatantly dishonest.

      You address not one iota of the article’s main premise which is the questioning of the transparency, integrity and impact of lobby groups professing to be non-profit institutions that further individual rights, but in actual fact seem to be at the beck and call of vested corporate interests.

      Frankly, it is quite obvious that your knee-jerk reaction is more about defending your own myopic agenda than anything else.

      As for your sophomoric definition of the term neoliberal, we’ll take yours with a pinch of salt and rather stick with the current general consensus that it denotes a resurgence of radical (slash ‘n burn) and laissez-faire capitalism.

      Some homework for you: the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act which repealed parts of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, is a classical example of the neo-liberal approach of removing legislative barriers to doing business, at all costs.

      Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has argued extensively that the Act was one of the causes of the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis.

      Respected high profile commentators like George Monbiot, Naomi Klein and professor Paul Verhaeghe have all consistently criticised neo-liberalism for its negative impact on society, thus helping to entrench its use as a pejorative term.

      We have no problem with libertarianism in its truest form, but we do take exception when unscrupulous vested interest groups and their clueless acolytes hijack the term to further an agenda which more often than not negatively impact those less powerful. Your incoherent, shotgun comments being an exceptionally clumsy example of such characters.

      From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
      “Although libertarianism could be advocated as a full theory of moral permissibility, it is almost always advocated as a theory of justice in at least one of two senses. In one sense, justice is concerned with the moral duties that we owe others. In a second sense, justice is concerned with the morally enforceable duties that we have.”
      and
      “According to libertarianism, the justice of the current distribution of legal rights over resources depends on what the past was like. Given that the history of the world is full of systematic violence (genocide, invasion, murder, assault, theft, etc.), we can be sure that the current distribution of legal rights over resources did not come about justly and that adequate reparations have not been made.”

      Now we’re fairly sure that in your mind you are quite the bright young thing, but we are equally sure that you are no Nobel Prize winning economist. Maybe read a bit deeper and wider, and maybe try and travel beyond your insular little world more often and you will be less confused.

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek#Nobel_laureate

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman#Nobel_Prize_in_Economic_Sciences

      I think you need to edit your article if you want to maintain the credibility of claiming Nobel prizes to be the credence of those you support. There are plenty of “neoliberal” thinkers with Nobel prizes. Claiming that your argument is right just because a Nobel prize winner said it, shows a lot of inconsistency, seeing that those you accused of being brutal are also highly decorated.

      When I was referring to your bias and lack of citation, it was obviously in regards to your definition of Libertarianism. Citing something is all well and good, but defining Communism with Conservapedia is a bad idea. Try see what Libertarians actually say about their ideology, and not what their critics say.

      Also, just because some people don’t like something, doesn’t make the term evil. Republicans don’t like Democrats. Doesn’t make Democrats a dirty word.

      Neoliberalism has a set framework of principles. Exploiting poor economies and people is not one of them, and many critics demonisation of it is a disservice to Economic History.

      • No actually you’re wrong again. Your quoted Nobel prize winners received theirs in 1974 (Hayek) and 1976 (Friedman) respectively. Stiglitz and Krugman got theirs in 2001 and 2008. You see there’s this thing called progress and enlightenment. It got rid of slavery, gave women the vote and children out of the coal mines. Maybe your circle of brownshirts don’t like it, but you know democracy and all that.

        Shall we discuss Hayek’s support for transitional dictatorships and the huge influence he had on Reaganomics and Thatcherism? Friedman was an adviser to Reagan as well as the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, a fact that he tried to obfuscate in several interviews. He never criticised any of the assassinations, illegal imprisonments, torture, or other atrocities until after Pinochet was disposed.

        The problem with your desperate attempt at one-upmanship is that you think you understand the argument and then get lost in your own dogmatic ideology. It seems that you fixated on the word ‘brutal’ out of an article of 2000 words because it offended your version of how things should work. Unfortunately this article is not about you but how powerful lobby groups manipulate the media and influence government policy. The undergrad discussion about the pros and cons of the Austrian and Chicago schools is taking place in another forum. We suggest you join it instead of getting terribly confused about the difference between neoliberal and Libertarian over here.

        With regards to the definition of Libertarian, you are again being dishonest in your argument just because you don’t like the academically highly respected source of our extensively cited definition. So let’s be clear, you are not going to waltz in here like some latter day obersturmführer demanding that your ideological camp’s definition of still evolving concepts are the only correct ones. You are typical of right wing Thatcherites whose self-centred hubris blinds them to the actual debate.

        Many people don’t like sexism or racism and consider them evil. Except for the fact that brutal has a wide range of meaning in the English language, from ‘severe’ to ‘savage’ (we really don’t have time for classes in semantics today), your logically fallacious attempt at an analogy shows just a bit too much desperation.

        From your profile pic you seem inordinately proud of being British, usually the sign of a chauvinist nationalist and not exactly a paragon of cold clear logic. So, either stick to the central premise of the article or piss off.

    • It’s pretty ironic that you are accusing each of your critics as ad hominem users when the main culprit is you. If I was a lesser man, I would be downright perturbed.

      In response to your final ad hominem against me, which I found somewhat amusing – here is a breakdown:

      I’m not British. Never been there and don’t plan on ever moving there. Having the flag on my shoulder does not show my allegiance to them. Flags are aesthetic pieces of artwork which have meaning but also look pretty cool in certain situations.

      That situation was in preparation for an airsoft battle, wherein I was on the side of the SAS. So it is pretty appropriate for me to wear a UK flag. You don’t call war re-anactors Nazis just because they’re wearing Nazi insignia.

      To breakdown the adjectives:

      Chauvinist – it’s pretty racist to presume that all Brits are chauvinists, aint it?

      Nationalist – already dealt with this. Also, see: Anarcho-Capitalism under Libertarianism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism)

      Good day

      • You really are a sucker for punishment aren’t you? Not only have you resorted to blatantly lying in lieu of a proper argument, but you still have to add anything of substance to the debate. Nowhere in this article or in its comment section did we accuse a commentator of ad hominem attacks although that may very well have been the case.

        Which means that you’re definitely not in jeopardy of being a lesser man, just being a man, full stop.

        So you’re not British, you have never been there, but you love displaying a British flag in your profile pic which is meant to make you look cool, and is part of your fancy dress for war games with pellet guns. Jesus wept, at least you get out of your parents’ basement once in a while.

        “You don’t call war re-anactors[sic] Nazis just because they’re wearing Nazi insignia.” – no, we call them twits.

        Chauvinist (from the Oxford Dictionary): Excessive or prejudiced support for one’s own cause, group, or sex. In your case the cause is apparently anarcho-capitalism. Well good luck with that, and thanks for informing us of this earth-shattering fact.

  6. You clearly know nothing about Leon Louw, understand nothing about the principle of a “free market” and even less about Libertarianism.

    Shape up, or ship out!

    • A typically aggressive, unsubstantiated comment from a right wing sycophant foaming at the mouth without really understanding what the discussion is about, but feel that they have to lash out because their interests are being challenged.

      The article challenges Leon Louw and the FMF’s claims to classical liberalism (they do not call themselves Libertarians per se, probably because it is a term that has been hijacked by American right wing laissez-faire capitalists). The definition of classical liberalism is not so much the issue, but the transparency, integrity and impact of lobby groups. Maybe try and read the article again, this time with a better critical comprehension.

      Since you add nothing of substance in your comment it is obviously you who understand nothing about either free market principles or Libertarianism or even freedom of speech and conducting an intelligent conversation.

      By the way, you are aware that there is something called libertarian socialism or do you only read American right wing drivel?

      From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
      “Although libertarianism could be advocated as a full theory of moral permissibility, it is almost always advocated as a theory of justice in at least one of two senses. In one sense, justice is concerned with the moral duties that we owe others. In a second sense, justice is concerned with the morally enforceable duties that we have.”
      and
      “According to libertarianism, the justice of the current distribution of legal rights over resources depends on what the past was like. Given that the history of the world is full of systematic violence (genocide, invasion, murder, assault, theft, etc.), we can be sure that the current distribution of legal rights over resources did not come about justly and that adequate reparations have not been made.”

  7. That’s really upsetting. There’s absolutely nothing neo about my liberalism.

    Leon Louw

    • If that is the case can you please point out where you or the FMF have consistently criticised SA’s private sector cartels, monopolies as well as the unethical conduct and the corrupt genesis of some of South Africa’s biggest companies.

      E.g. the murky awarding of a monopoly pay-tv license to Naspers in the 1980s and their subsequent bailout with taxpayers’ money by the apartheid government before they became profitable; or the fact that more than 90% of Naspers’s market cap is derived from Tencent. A company that “because social media is the arena in which Chinese censorship and control is fought out, this puts Naspers’s Tencent investment at the heart of Chinese politics. In fact, one could go further: as a social media platform seeking to comply with Chinese laws, Tencent must actually police China’s censorship rules.” – to quote professor Anton Harber from his book, Gorilla in the Room.

      How about Naspers’s domestic tactic of predatory pricing that has put rival publications out of business, which amounts to an attack on freedom of speech?

      How about Naspers’s attempt to dictate state policy with regards to digital migration which would threaten MultiChoice’s dominance of the pay-television market? http://mg.co.za/article/2015-05-28-multichoice-accused-of-hijacking-digital-tv

      And that’s just one example of the exploitative and corrosive behaviour of some big companies in South Africa ever since the days of Randlords like Barney Barnato, Alfred Beit and the evergreen Cecil John Rhodes.

      Where are you fighting for the little guy, and putting the big power players in their place? In fact it seems the opposite is true and that you are in fact quite comfortable to cosy up to the corporate moguls as long as they financially support you, in the process making a mockery of your self-professed classical liberal principles.

      And more pertinently, can you clear up the confusion surrounding your claimed nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize? The fact that you insist on dodging very valid questions about the claims you have made, does not reflect well on the rest of your or your organisation’s utterances.

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