Those with insufficient evidence are not to be believed, writes Lebogang Hoveka
Eighteenth-century philosopher William Kingdon Clifford wrote in The Ethics of Belief: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it – the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”
This is what we should make of Kgabo Maditodi’s open letter extolling the perceived vices of a David Mabuza presidency.
Read: Mr Deputy President, save us from another Zuma era
Although Maditodi pretends to be some wet-behind-the-ear political tabula rasa, he is no novice to politics.
His intellectual aspirations are well known and documented. So he ought to know better.
We must hoist him by his own petard.
The New York Times he references belongs to a legion of epistemically lazy, vacuous and microwave journalists who reheat stale stories to turn public sentiment against political opponents.
We ought to enter the fray when those who are bruised, abused and beaten into a semblance of quiet dignity, continually face the pestilence of unjustified public harassment.
Ours is country where stories are routinely cooked up to frustrate any form of political ambition.
Truth is Mabuza is on record regarding all the allegations Maditodi levels against him.
Here is an adjunct head of state, who stands in Parliament to say a human nearly died that night — “I was in pain”.
Our response is to accuse him of fabricating his illness to consort with the Guptas.
This is inhumane. I know of no intelligent human who would take six months leave just to grab a joyride with the Guptas under some guise of medical care.
But even more compelling is that, as early as 2015, Mabuza was open about his illness and continues to answer questions, despite the public torment and stripping of his dignity he routinely endures.
Perhaps like the Temptations, like an old book sitting on a shelf, he is tired of talking to himself.
Perhaps he wishes fellow humans would have the kindness to pick him up and look inside.
He is human after all; nothing of that which is human should be alien to him.
Clifford further reminds us that: “Inquiry into the evidence of a doctrine is not to be made once for all, and then taken as finally settled.
"It is never lawful to stifle a doubt; for either it can be honestly answered by means of the inquiry already made, or else it proves that the inquiry was not complete.”
One is not entitled to say “I am a busy man; I have no time for the long course of study which would be necessary to make me in any degree a competent judge of certain questions, or even able to understand the nature of the arguments.”
Then, if so, such a person should have no time to believe.
A cursory reading of the New York Times’ article would have informed Maditodi that it lacks basic news values.
At best it is akin to a bush mechanic’s version of the plagiarism of old stories.
There is no point in arguing with Maditodi and company; their minds are paid and made.
In his rendition, Thuma Mina live at the Market Theatre, Hugh Masekela taught us something about the temerity, and liver, of heathens and false prophets.
As he invited the audience to sing along, they were reluctant. He never managed to get them going, so he gave up and said, “Mnxa abahedeni laba”, these ones are heathens.
Maditoti and his ilk are spoilsports, they refuse to sing along to the rising of a new dawn.
He should just get back to work and repeat after me: It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
Hoveka is a communications specialist in the office of Deputy President David Mabuza