As Cape Town faces the day the taps run dry, likely to be less than three months away, the premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, is exposing the inevitable evil consequences of socialism: critical shortages and draconian enforcement.
"Helen releasing her inner fascist," a friend - and learned sage - wrote to me. He referred to a tweet by Western Cape premier Helen Zille: "'Naming and Shaming' often works well when people will not pull in the same direction in a crisis. [The Western Cape Government is discussing] publishing lists of names of families who exceed water limits. Peer pressure needs to be brought to bear."
Public shaming is a cowardly and cruel form of retribution, rather than a civilised and fair means of punishment. And indeed, public shaming has long been a hallmark of fascist countries, in which authority is centralised under a dictatorial government and where stringent socio-economic controls are in place. That description also applies to socialist and communist countries, of course, because they necessarily turn to fascism as their economic policy fails.
Public shaming is particularly strongly associated with Mao Zedong, the founder and brutal dictator of what was fittingly called Red China. He put...