The Great Quartz Rush in KwaZulu-Natal


Diamonds and Quartz Look Similar

The harm a lack of education and poverty can cause was on display in South Africa when a cattle herder found a mineral that looked like it might be a diamond. This set off a diamond rush to the KwaZulu-Natal region of that country.

The problem is that another mineral, quartz, looks an awful lot like a diamond to the naked eye. In fact, it generally takes a laboratory examination to tell the difference between the two minerals.

Diamond Rush Ensues

Many people rushed to the KwaZulu-Natal region in order to start digging for diamonds. These treasure hunters then proceeded to destroy over fifty hectares of land, that’s over a hundred and twenty acres to those of us in the United States.

This happened despite overwhelming geologic evidence the region is extremely unlikely to contain diamonds. It is a region composed dolerite, a predominately volcanic rock. We find Diamonds universally in rocks called kimberlites and lamproites.

Quartz is extremely common in dolerite regions.

Why did this Happen?

I finally get to the point of this blog. The incredible damage that often results from the terrible combination of poverty and lack of education. It is fairly clearly established that greater wealth goes hand-in-hand with higher education. This in itself is useful but I want to look at the dangers uneducated and poor populations present to the rest of society and the world.

People who do not have money have less to lose. I can understand why someone from the poverty-stricken region of KwaZulu-Natal gave into the temptation of this diamond rush. What do they have to lose? Their lives are already miserable and the futures for their children are just as bleak.

Throw into this mix a lack of education. The people in the KwaZulu-Natal region might not even know the mineral composition of the soil and the impossibility of the discovered minerals being diamonds. They just don’t know any better.

The Terrible Results

In this case, the result is the destruction of a large chunk of land, that happily enough was not of great value. The potential damage is far, far greater. It seems to me the negative results of anti-education policies right here in the United States and around the world are manifesting themselves every day.

People who are desperately poor and without a solid educational foundation are significantly more likely to make poor, desperate decisions. Those decisions lead to negative outcomes not only for the people in question but for everyone around them. That’s the problem.

As a Libertarian, I strongly think people should make their own decisions in life. That being said, it’s undeniable poor people, desperate people, and uneducated people tend to make worse decisions than their counterparts.

I know some people will laugh at this situation and think of South Africa as a poor nation. Such people will think to themselves this could never happen here. I beg to differ. I put no stupidity beyond people, even here in the United States.

If a supposed diamond was found in my backyard, I’d immediately fear for my life from the hordes of people immediately descending upon my property with violence in their eyes, greed in their hearts, and nothing at all in their minds.

The United States is not as far removed from South Africa as you might imagine. People are the same everywhere.

Tom Liberman

Oscar Pistorius – Why a Trial when he’s Guilty?

Oscar-Pistorius-Trial-On-TVWhen I got up this morning and looked at ESPN3 to see if there are any upcoming events available I noted that the Oscar Pistorius trial is being broadcast live.

Cases like this make me think about the purpose of laws, trials, and the nature of justice. Before I get into my thoughts I’ll recap events in the Pistorius case for those who are not following along.

Pistorius is an athlete from South Africa who I wrote about not long ago in regards to the fact that he has two artificial legs. The article that day was about how mechanically enhanced athletes will soon be dominating those without artificial aid (medically enhanced athletes already dominate those who don’t use PEDs but that’s another topic).

On February 14, 2013 Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. There are two versions of events.

Pistorius claims that he awoke in the middle of the night, heard sounds, assumed a burglar was in his bathroom, and shot through the closed-door four times only later realizing that it was Steenkamp. This is, obviously, a lie.

What happened is that Pistorius and Steenkamp were engaged in an angry, passionate fight heard by neighbors over a hundred meters away. Pistorius chased her into the bathroom where she locked the door. In a fit of rage and madness he fired into the bathroom four times, hitting her three times, once in the head.

It’s clear to everyone that Pistorius intentionally shot her. That his fabricated version of events is filled with logical holes. So why are we having a trial? What’s the purpose of laws? Judges? The nature of justice?

This is what brought me to Wikipedia articles about Law and about Justice. It speaks to why I’m a Libertarian. If we do not have laws then people within society are subject to the whims of those in power. Without the concept of blind justice those in authority can simply do whatever they want.

What happens when law becomes perverted? When wealthy and powerful people can do as they wish? When politicians can terrorize citizens without repercussions? When police agencies can take our possessions on trumped-up charges designed to fleece us?

I’ll tell you what happens: people stop believing that justice is possible in their nation. When people give up on justice they get violent. When people believe that a legal system works and they can have their grievances fairly adjudicated they work within the system.

That’s why there is a Pistorius trail, despite his obvious guilt.

I know some people are going to read these words and try to politicize them. Blame Republicans or Democrats for violating the spirit of the law. I’m both with you and against you. I’m with you in that, yes, Republicans/Democrats are eager and willing to ignore the law when it benefits them. I’m against you in that one side is in greater violation than the other.

This is largely the problem. Most people seem to have no objection whatsoever when the group they support violates the law to pursue their ends. Anything to win an election as long as it’s your political party.

When we stop looking for justice and merely want to expedite our agenda we tear down the fabric of our nation, one law at a time. If you don’t like it when the other side violates a law, I suggest the solution is to come down hard on your side when they do the same.

So I got pretty far from the headline of this post but the trial itself doesn’t interest me much. Pistorius is murderous scum regardless of the outcome. It’s the reason for the trial that intrigues me. In a totalitarian state Pistorius would either be hanged already or been given his freedom by a sympathetic dictator.

Be happy if you live in a republic (like South Africa) and do what you can to preserve it (regardless of your political affiliation).

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne