Friday, January 9, 2009

Politics without Principles

 By Mohamed Shiham

The focus on the personality ethic is the instant creation of an image that sells well in the social and economic marketplace.

You see politicians spending millions of dollars to create an image, even though it's superficial, lacking substance, in order to get votes and gain office. And when it works, it leads to a political system operating independently of the natural laws that should govern- that are build into the Declaration of Independence: " We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….."

In other words, they are describing self-evident, external observable, natural, unarguable, self-evident laws: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident". The key to a healthy society is to get the social will, the value system, aligned with correct principles. If there is no principle, there is no true north, nothing you can depend upon. You then have the compass needle pointing to true north- true north representing the external or the natural law- and the indicator says that what we are building our value system on: they are aligned.

But if you get a sick social will behind the political will that is independent of principle, you could have a very sick organization or society with distorted values.  For instance, the professed mission and shared values of criminals who rape, rob, and plunder might sound very much like many corporate mission statements, using such words as "teamwork", "corporation", "loyalty", "profitability", "innovation", and "creativity". The problem is that their value system is not based on a natural law.

Figuratively, inside many corporations with lofty mission statements, many people are being mugged in broad daylight in front of witness. Or they are being robbed of self-esteem, money, or position without due process. And if there is no social will behind the principles of due process, and if you can't get due process, you have to go to the jury of your peers and engage in counterculture sabotage.

In the movie The Ten Commandments, Moses says to the pharaoh "We are to be governed by God's law, not you." In effect he's saying, "We will not be governed by a person unless that person embodies the law". In the best societies and organizations, natural laws and principles govern-that's the Constitution- and even the top people must bow to the principle. No one is above it.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, there are basic principles in life which must be followed.
The Maldivian parliament seems to lack this insight.

Anonymous said...

With principles, there would be no need for any politics as everyone would be following rules and principles.

Politics is there due to lack of principles.

If people follow the principles (of say Quran or even international best practices), the people without knowledge and skills would not be rich people.

How can the crooks and people without even GCE O/L defend their jobs as deputy ministers and ministers without playing politics. Last Government had many of them.

I am surprised that you mentioned the two words in one sentence...

Anonymous said...

Corporate principles are effective by and large because they are based on a measurable goal -profitability. And what is natural law? Do you mean the common good of man? The problem is we are not sure what the common good of mankind is.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Islamic countries are more principled and law abiding? If so who will get the credit and if not who will get the blame?

Anonymous said...

If natural laws do not work in real life, then the problem lies with the natural laws. May be they are unnatural.

Shiham said...

The Natural Laws are "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"
Why it does not work is the question here! The social will and the political will behind is sick. few people have rigged it all just for couple of millions of cash while disturbing the natural law of equality. The above laws can be discussed very broadly and we need to aligne our personal life first may be with these principles that are based on the natural laws.(the social will).

Anonymous said...

Shiham,
The validity of natural laws are far from proven. Founding Fathers side stepped the issue by using phrases like "We hold these Truths to be self-evident...". They are not self evident at all. The only thing self evident is 'might is right'. you are running into all sorts of dilemma because you are denying the only natural law -"The fit and only the fit will survive." 'might is right' is the corollary of this law.

Anonymous said...

All men are not created equal. Many fetuses are conceived with genetic defects and are aborted or still born or end up as retards. At the species level millions of mutant variants simply lost out in the survival battle. The men you are seeing today are simply the survivors.

Shiham said...

Anon January 10, 2009 8:33 PM.

Would you consider fit, while everyday your life is being mastered or stewarded by the social obligations (which you do not believe), while we become the product of our sarrounding, while the politics can play a pivotal role in destroying or constructing every aspect of our lives.

I agree the "fit would survive" in the current society and politics we have. but does that provide the unalienable rights to those who may lack the skills to survive. hence the call for a change in the social and political will and the principles they adhere to.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiham,
You cannot make the weak fit by weakening the fit. You cannot enrich the poor by dispossessing the rich. Nobody gives power on a platter. If you are man enough you take it. In short if we don’t have the guts to come out and fight for our rights we deserve to perish. "Fit would survive" not just in the current society and politics we have, they will survive in any society. If there was an inalienable right, then by definition it could not have been taken away. If it could be taken away then it is not inalienable at all.

Shiham said...

Anon- 10:12 PM
I agree with you. You can not make a horse drink water even if you managed to lure him to the shore. I think still there is this nature of exposal that effects whether a person be weak or not. It is basically decided by factors that one is exposed to. The geeks live in the gloomy islands (some) or even in capitals and have no means to outside world, media, knowledge base, they would never realize their potentials or powers. Thats where govt should steps in to fill that gap.
Unalienable rights could not be taken away, you are absolutely right. If i could rephrase, i would say, it does not protect the rights or probably we need to let the people know they have certain rights that can not be taken away. if they only knew it, they would be man enough to fight for it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiham,
You are absolutely right. Sometimes a person becomes strong or weak depending on what he was exposed to. Take the example of the footballers of Huraa Island. This small island produced a national level team simply because they got the necessary exposure, while the neighboring larger island Thulusdhoo has produced nothing. So it is the government’s duty to give good opportunities to all, so that they develop their full potential. Having said that, one must add that the government can do only so much. People must not expect spoon feeding throughout the whole life.

Anonymous said...

I am short. I have shorter friends Others are tall. Proof that all men are/were not created equal.

Anonymous said...

@Anon:2009 2:21 AM and Anon 2009 8:43 PM

Are you serious! The intended meaning of all men being created equal does not deal with your heigh and disables. It means the short and the tall along with the disables are entitled to the same rights that the rest of the humans have. This is how humans are being created equal, equal in their rights. Why is that image and the size is always overrated. That wat the article first fewlines are abt. political leaders establishing a false image just to get votes.

Anonymous said...

@anon 3.43,
What you think is real is simply what your mind has gathered through the senses. The senses may be mistaken (remember optical illusions). So there is no fundamental difference between what you think is false and what you think is real. The media is an extension of the sensory process. So the image it creates is something similar to the mental image produced by the senses. It is in fact not just real but more real than real. Postmodern philosophers therefore call it hyperreal. (For further details refer the work of Jean Baudrillard). To illustrate this let me ask a question. Who is more real, Ibra or the Spiderman? Spiderman could draw packed houses and collect 200 million dollars in one week. Ibra couldn’t attract 300 participants to his inaugural meeting. Now let’s go back to the ‘false’ image of the politicians. Obviously it draws more support than what you think is ‘real’ image. So the ‘false’ image is more real than real. It is hyperreal.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 3.43 am – How can two unequal men get equal rights? If you give a tall man an equal pant as a short man it will come only up to his knees. He can’t wear it unless he is Wahhabi. You can’t give a leg to a cripple –only a wheel chair. At best you can do what Karl Marx said: “To each according to his need.”

Anonymous said...

All men(not women?) are/were not created equal.That is a fact.But all men and women are born with an unalienable right to be able to be intoxicated at all times or sometimes or most times or less times.Hail Shula Shiraz!This is what our new Constitution is all about. Ask the Supreme Court.