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The pressing affairs of the day

“The world is a dangerous place,” mused Luke the Dude. Trust him to ruin the general feeling of bonhomie and the peace we had with the world at large. As is our wont on the odd occasion, the congregation of learned conversationalists were adding to The Governor’s wealth at the local pub and grill. Minding our own business. Quietly in our own corners.

Well, maybe that is taking it a bit too far.

“I’ll tell you why,” offered Luke the Dude when nobody responded. It must be admitted, though, that Jon the Joker did look up disdainfully from his lager, and that was all it took.

“Let’s not even talk about South Africa,” lectured Luke, “where the ANC, elected as our government under the downturned eyes of the … ahem … quote … Independent … unquote Electoral Commission, appoints an investigation into state capture and the creepy hand of the Gupta Brotherhood around our president’s shoulders and then? Then nothing. Then it disappoints the investigation again.”

“You got it right there, Boy,” interrupted Colin the Golfer, who for once liked what he heard.

“Useless!” contributed Jon the Joker, either in agreement or dismissal.

“No swearing!” warned The Governor, being a Scout master and prepared for anything.

Luke turned a scornful lip down at him and proceeded, “Okay I won’t say it then, let’s rather talk about America, where the Grand Old Party, the political home of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan is electing who as Republican candidate for the presidency? Donald the Liar, that orange-coiffed crook, capitalism’s worst nightmare, a Robbing Hood who steals from the poor to give to the rich, namely himself, a con-man buying the presidency!”

“You really don’t like him, do you?” enquired The Prof academically.

“I do,” contradicted Luke the Dude enigmatically, “as a TV host saying ‘You’re fired!’ That suits his nasty nature. I don’t like him as a school-yard bully with his finger on the Red Button ready to start World War Three if anybody should be so ‘disloyal’ as to piddle him off.”

“So do you want Hilary Clinton then, with sneaky Bill stalking interns in the seats of power and the corridors of sleaze?” queried Dave the Dancer doubly meaningfully. “I mean, if she gets into a fit of rage, and she might well have every reason to, seeing that Old Bill there is still looking all smiles and up to it, who knows what she will do with the Red Button?”

“Hmmm,” pondered The Prof, “a thought best banished from the mind.”

“Exactly,” jumped in Big Ben, who has had his hand up for some time, “she is just as likely to start World War Three!”

“But that is precisely my point,” exasperated Luke the Dude, “You sit here as if this pub is under a tree and suddenly you’ve been hit by an apple. Eureka! Meanwhile I have been saying from the beginning: the world is a dangerous place. Remember? America is the leader of the world in gross domestic product, in innovation; it has more Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer Prize winners and whatever winners than anybody else. It has more geniuses per square mile, even though some of them come from South Africa. Blame the ANC for that.

“America has a deep vault of human capital. They can choose the best. But who do they want to lead them and the free world as president? Take your pick, as long as it’s either Hilary the Clinton or Donald the Dump.”

“So no matter what the Americans do, or what we do, the world is a dangerous place,” concluded Big Ben in a rare lucidum intervallum.

“And it is no better at the other end of the world,” continued Luke the Dude, “where the Islamic empire is finally succeeding in its long-sought invasion of Europe. They came from the East and they came from the West in the Dark Ages. The Ottoman Empire lasted until less than a century ago, but its Islamic progeny has remained in south-eastern Europe and many remember the days of the great empire with fondness.

“From the west they crossed out of Africa into Gibraltar and conquered Spain, where they ruled from the eighth to the fifteenth century. They also took their wars of conquest into France and Italy. As anybody with any knowledge of Asterix and Obelix knows, the Gauls would not agree to that without a fight.  Charles the Hammer’s Gauls defeated the Moors in 732 and drove them out of France. Even though they had to be driven off again and again for centuries.

“But now, in the 21st century, what do the Europeans do? They invite the invaders in with open arms, don’t they? Come and take over our countries! Welcome! Welcome!”

At this point I would have liked to give the floor to Yusuf the Trader or Muhammad the Principal to enlighten us with their perspectives, but as Muslims do not partake of the liquid fare served by The Governor, they do not set foot in our local pub and grill. Fortunately, Big Ben came to my rescue.

“I do not agree,” said he. “I know many Muslims and they are friendly, hard-working people.”

“We all do,” we all said.

“The Muslim community of the Cape is indeed a positive contributor to the stability of our society,” added The Prof.

So that took care of Luke the Dude, right? Wrong.

“But that is precisely my point,” said he. “I am not talking about the Muslim community integrated in the population of the Cape. No threat of instability from them, rather the opposite, as you say Prof. I am not even talking about individuals. I am talking about more than a million people entering Germany alone. And how many more in the other European countries?

“These are not Germans or Swedes; they have different customs and habits and ways of treating women, for instance. If you don’t see the threat of social instability you are fooling yourself. A small country like Sweden is already taking strain.”

“What is your point then, Boy?” enquired Colin the Golfer.

“My point, as I have been saying right from the beginning,” replied Luke the Dude while looking at the roof for assistance, “is that the world is a dangerous place. We have always lived with change and we make allowances for it, but at the same time we need a minimum level of predictability to make sense of our lives. Just ask any investor. Below that minimum level of predictability we live in a dangerous place.”

“Indeed we do,” agreed The Prof. “Young Lucas here is making a perfectly valid point. The Richter scale of human affairs shows we have entered an era of instability. It is in our nature to assume that life will carry on as before, from day to day, but that is a mistake.”

“Oui,” reminded Jean-J, “when the Jewish people of Europe saw the rise of Hitler, they went on with their daily lives, assuming it would be okay. Nobody thought the Holocaust was possible. And when Pol Pot became dictator of Cambodia in 1975, the educated Cambodians had no expectation that they would all be killed, and killed because of their education.”

“Well, well, well!” scolded Jon the Joker, “thank you very much for that piece of information. You and Luke the Dude really know how to cheer a chap up, don’t you? Next round please Governor, we have no beer left to cry in!”

“Okay then,” said The Prof brightly, “young Lucas has made his point and he has made it admirably. Time now to change the subject. Somebody tell a joke please.”

“Fransman!” shouted Jean-J.

“No dirty jokes!” reprimanded The Governor.

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