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Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Fedora Troika: Devil's Advocates for Saint Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is dead. Africa's problems continue. The Other McCain did thisthis, this and this post on the subject. Rather than joining the chorus on how great Nelson Mandela was, Robert Stacy McCain cautioned looking critically at Mandela's past.

Saint Mandela, not so fast...
Some on the Left are having a religious experience!
Talking about "Saint Mandela": I cannot believe he actually said this.  Given the rush to canonize Saint Nelson Mandela, it only makes sense that a Devil's Advocate be engaged.  Update: Michael Haz at Lem's Learning Levity

So what is a Devil's Advocate you may ask (not everyone went to parochial school).  During the canonization process employed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Promoter of the Faith (Latin: promotor fidei), popularly known as the Devil's advocate (Latin: advocatus diaboli), was a canon lawyer appointed by Church authorities to argue against the canonization of a candidate. It was this person’s job to take a skeptical view of the candidate's character, to look for holes in the evidence, to argue that any miracles attributed to the candidate were fraudulent, and so on. The Devil's advocate opposed God's advocate (Latin: advocatus Dei; also known as the Promoter of the Cause), whose task was to make the argument in favor of canonization.

Now Nelson Mandela is not up as a Roman Catholic Saint (at least not yet) but the Secular Media have jump the Beautification process and are right now in the process of Canonizing Mandela.  I would not be surprised if Bono and Paul Simon are in the process of writing a requiem mass for him.  

For Mother Teresa the Vatican actually engaged gadfly and atheist Christopher Hitchens as her Devil's Advocate (seriously they did, although Hitchens claimed he represented the Devil pro bono).  For Nelson Mandela, to play the roll of Devil's Advocate, I would suggest the following professional skeptics (consider them Van Helsings for the truth):

Robert Stacy McCain:  Freelance Journalist, Streetwise Investigative Reporter, Blogger.  
If there is a new twist to this story, McCain will get it.  Also McCain, after facing the white tail deer challenge of Virginia and Maryland, want to try his hand at taking out springboks with a rental car.  

Bob Belvedere:  Raconteur, blogger, international gentleman of mystery, defender of Western Civilization, closest character we have to the Watchman's Rorschach.  Bob did thisthis, this, and this post on Mandela and his passing.  Bob is definitely not a Mandela fan.  The perfect skeptic.  Update: Mandela, Charming but he set is dogs upon us... (what did I tell you, perfect skeptic)

Adjoran:  Because it takes a Marx to investigate a Marxist
The Shoe Leather Fund has to go into overdrive to fund sending this investigative team off to South Africa (McCain will definitely need the supplemental insurance rider for the rental car).  And maybe after they are done their, they can stop off in Argentina.

And you ask, what is wrong with sainthood for Nelson Mandela? Well, if Nelson Mandela becomes a saint who could be next?
Just be glad he is not depicted walking on water...yet.  


  1. Couldn't agree more.

    Mandela was an unrepentat communist terrorist who cheered on cutthroats like Arafat and bin Laden.

  2. OK, eddie, I'm gonna have to ask for a source on your claim about Mandela and bin Laden. O/w I'm just gonna assume that youre talking out your ass.

    And evi, there's stuff to like and dislike about just about everyone. The social convention is to focus on the good they did at their funerals. But some righties in this case just can't control their inner asshole.

    The obvious question is, why?

    1. It is a reaction to be bad mouthed all the time by the left...so they start acting like the left and being polarized. It is stupid, because it plays into the bad mouthing (i.e., "See how those conservatives are, they must be racist to be so anti Mandela...").

      The left were absolutely disgusting when Margaret Thatcher died. The White House showed its bias by its reaction.

      I am all for pointing out that Mandela is not a saint based on objective facts (I mean seriously the greatest leader of the age?). But for transitioning the succession of power in South Africa the way he did, he proved himself to be an exceptional leader and, unlike Barack Obama, he actually earned his Nobel Peace Prize. You can point out the truth and be respectful too.

      I like Stacy, Bob and Adjoran very much. I appreciate their comments (and given the harm and millions of deaths Communism has caused, criticism of Marxism is always justified), but being a bit more objective on Mandela's good points is justified--if only to be more persuasive on the conservative policy points they are making.

  3. Evi, you're a very sensible ungulate, so I'll ask you to consider this:

    The people who were nasty about Thatcher hated her b/c they were opposed to her policies. They looked bad b/c of their bad taste; we already knew their politics sucked.

    But there was nothing unreasonable about Mandela's policies. People like RSM are harping either on stuff he said when he was leading a revolution, or stuff that's happened under Jacob Zuma.

    So what are we to infer about what motivates this carping? Why, it's as if they really weren't very bothered at all by apartheid.

    Crack's blog has an excellent quote about all this from Newt Gingrich.

    Again, I'm not talking about you, Evi. But I'm really sick of reading historically ignorant comments by right-wingers about Mandela. None of it is justified by the fact that socialists said mean things about Lady Thatcher.

    1. Again, I'm not talking about you, Evi. But I'm really sick of reading historically ignorant comments by right-wingers about Mandela.

      I could care less what you're sick of, Chip.

      Nelson Mandela led a noteworthy life. His docket speech from 1964 is particularly inspiring. I think you enabled Haz's detractors at Lem's by ignoring one point: Whose legacy is modern South Africa?

      You seemed to completely decouple Mandela from anything which came after, but is that fair or even accurate? Are political events at all responsible for subsequent trends and events in any country in any epoch? Are political and social upheavals ever responsible for subsequent events?

      Evi's point (which I share) is that Obama shat on the whole event by releasing only that narcissistic quote and photo of himself; it's natural for conservatives to juxtapose his fawning adulation for Mandela with his inexplicable snubbing Thatcher's funeral.

    2. @Chip: Another point: the modern world believes less and less in gods and non-human idols. In their place, humans seem to be substituting flesh-and-blood people. You yourself used the verb "revere" referring to Mandela. In my opinion, a modern, ever-present political danger is beatification of past rulers and leaders -- all of whom were flawed -- across the full political spectrum. I reject that trend, and you, Chip, abetted it.

    3. I wasn't addressing you, chicken. When did you join the internet police?

      But since you're all in my grille, I'll just say that your comment has noting to do w/ Evi's post.

    4. Whatever Chip.

      Be all non responsive.

  4. You've turned into quite the scold, chicken.

    You start by saying how you "could care less" about what I said, then you get all pissy when I don't say much.

    But claiming that I'm abetting hero-worship by reporting that a lot of people consider Mandela a hero is a major logic fail.

    We could play this game all night. I could dredge up Reagan quotes from when he was an FDR-loving Democrat labor-union president and denounce him for those. I could blame him for the Iraq war or NCLB or Medicare Part D, b/c the same political party he led subsequently adopted all those policies. Then I could say that all those people who wanted to name a federal building and National Airport after him were idolators, and that anyone who said that those people loved Reagan was abetting idolatry.

    Or I could just look at his record as president and judge him on the basis of that. And if I didn't have anything nice to say about him right after he died, I could just keep quiet, the way my Nana taught me.


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