The rantings of True Believers entertain me in many ways, but one that gives me the most laughs is the way that their take on the Boer War is in no way linked to historical reality. This means that any chance of rational discussion with them is impossible, and one might as well try and debate with a religious fundamentalist.
The simple reality is that absolutely nothing one can say, and absolutely no evidence one can produce, will give a True Believer so much as cause to pause and think. Their resolutely held outlook – indeed, an outlook which is utterly unshakable – is that absolutely everything is the fault of the nasty old Brits, and the poor old, misunderstood Boers are the innocent victims in every single incident throughout history.
If you think I am exaggerating even slightly, take the comment which appeared on one of my blog entries for example. Have a look at the remark left by someone called ‘TJ Booyens’:
You will note that, in response to an epically inane Quora answer by someone called Mr Vos, I wrote about 4,500 words explaining why the First Boer War was not caused by ‘the British wanting to annex two Boer republics’, and had nothing to do with ‘stealing gold and diamonds’. You will note I included copious quotes, loads of dates and all the rest of it, to explain why this ridiculous contention was impossible… but this cut no ice with old Booyens, who simply declared that Vos’s inane answer was ‘closer to the truth’. You will notice that Booyens didn’t feel the need to explain why everything I had written was wrong, or explain why he dismissed all the quotes and other facts I presented… True Believers don’t feel they need to do that – they simply declare that the British are to blame for everything and that is that. Job done.
Such is the mindless zeal of True Believers to blame absolutely everything that has ever happened on the British, that neither Booyens nor Vos, for example, let awkward things like dates bother them. If they did, they’d have to explain why, given that the British had peacefully annexed the Transvaal in 1877, would they need to ‘start a war to annex it’ in 1880?
To anyone with half a brain, that obviously does not make sense – they had already annexed it.
Another date which clearly doesn’t bother either of these fellows is that the Witwatersrand gold rush commenced in 1886 – which is, for the benefit of those who clearly cannot understand such things, five years after the First Boer War had been fought.
Geography is given just as little attention as History by such people. The First Boer War was not fought in the Orange Free State – it was fought in the Transvaal and northern Natal (the latter, because the Boer rebels had invaded the British territory of Natal)… so how does that square with their wild assertion that the British ‘started the war to annex two Boer republics’? What relevance does the Orange Free State have to any of this?
Equally, if True Believers had any understanding of geography whatsoever, they would realise that the diamond fields of the time were around Kimberley… which was (wait for it…) in British territory… so, again, how does that fit with the insane claim that British ‘started the First Boer War to steal diamonds’?
Diamond fields which were, let us remember:
a) in British territory,
b) owned by the likes of Cecil Rhodes
Really, Messrs Vos and Booyens? You really believe this crap?
In a nut shell, the Vos and Booyens combo are trying to pretend that the wicked old British started the First Boer War to annex two Boer republics (one of which they had already peacefully annexed three years earlier and one of which was not involved in the war at all), to steal gold fields which would only be discovered five years later, and to steal diamond fields which were in British territory.
And grown men actually believe this utter clap trap.
Of course, one can effortlessly poke holes in their ridiculous outbursts – it really is like shooting fish in a barrel – but when for these people up is down and black is white, what can one actually say to make them open their minds and stop banging away on their little drums of victimhood?
Sometimes I think one could have a more rational and worthwhile conversation with a suicide bomber.