A Harvard physicist gives me reason for this position.
“The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas S Kuhn was published by University of Chicago Press in 1962 and for decades was prescribed reading for Philosophy undergraduates. It remains a useful framework for understanding change.
Kuhn’s work is most famous for coining the phrase, “paradigm shift”. For him there are five phases in scientific revolutions, with parallels in other spheres like politics.
According to Kuhn Phase 1 is the pre-paradigm phase.
This is a time of interesting theories that have not been tested. Characterised by lengthy books and idealistic frameworks out of which a dominating paradigm arises. This would be the beginnings of the ANC as it started in Bloemfontein in 1912 and idealised about a democratic and inclusive non-racial South Africa. The dominant paradigm was inclusivity and non-racialism.
In Kuhn’s Phase 2- normal science begins.
Now puzzles are solved within the context of the dominant paradigm. As long as there is consensus within the discipline, normal science continues. Over time though, progress in normal science may reveal anomalies, facts that are difficult to explain within the context of the existing paradigm. While usually these anomalies are resolved, in some cases they may accumulate to the point where normal science becomes difficult and where weaknesses in the old paradigm are revealed. In phase 2 the ANC came to power in 1994 and following their paradigm, systematically removed the effects of Apartheid which was to blame for everything that was wrong. The anomalies that appeared however were the exploitative elites and nepotistic cabals that cared more for self aggrandisement than democracy and non-racialism.
Kuhn’s phase 3 states, “If the paradigm proves chronically unable to account for anomalies, the community enters a crisis period.”
For the ANC this is the present. The old paradigm of colonial blame and apartheid shame can no longer account for the ongoing suffering of the poor and government’s inability to implement significant transformation.
For Kuhn Phase 4 is the “paradigm shift”, or scientific revolution, where “underlying assumptions of the field are reexamined and a new paradigm established.”
It is here that the ANC faces its nemesis. A new paradigm requires acknowledging that the enemy now is not previous regimes nor our history of oppression. The enemy lies within. The movement itself requires a revolution.
In science only the finest minds like Newton and Einstein (a century apart) were able to create such a breakthrough. Given the current absence of significant intellectuals in the party, I doubt the ANC can shift paradigms.
Kuhn’s framework concludes with phase 5. Post-Revolution, where “the shift is established and scientists begin solving puzzles within the new paradigm.”
You don’t have to be an Einstein, or a scientist to realise that paradigm shifts for South Africa will not be created by the intellectually stagnant ANC.