Friday, 14 November 2008

Ignorance + Freedom = Chaos

RPK recently publish an article on No Holds Barred entitled "Robespierre on freedom of the press" which advocates total, unfettered freedom of the press. This was written in relation to the "criminal defamation" and "sedition" charges the people can be subjected to under the restrictive laws of this country - and as such, in principle, I'm inclined to be in agreement.

However, it is my opinion, that an ignorant society cannot "handle" freedom - it would be akin to setting free a caged animal which is fed its meals, and having lost its survival instincts.
In order for a society to appreciate the value of freedom there first has to be freedom of thought and a liberal education. The education referred to here doesn't refer to the schooling under shackles of restrictive laws that we have in Malaysia. It refers to that which requires students to be exposed to fresh ideas, challenge established norms and debate ideas that are deemed "alien" or even "dangerous". Without the ability of the public to grasp ideas and concepts, they would be prone to irrational emotional outbursts of "flight or fight" response of the mid-brain, as seen at the Bar Council forum (led by the intellectual amoeba - Zul Nordin).

Had this liberal education been prevalent in Malaysia, RPK's writings would never have been considered "dangerous" by our political elite, and BN with its intellectually bankrupt political ideologues would long ago have been history. The ignorance we see among our "educated" graduates is an essential element, that ensures the perpetuation of the rule by these pirates who plunder the nation. It is the one reason we have institutions like BTN and religious enforcement bodies- to ensure that the minds remain in bondage - it will ensure that the people live in fear of the very freedom they seek and demand a "strong government" to keep them on a leash.
It is the stuff which, as Imran Imtiaz calls them - "benevolent authoritarians"(aka dictators) , dream of.

It was keeping these things in mind, that the following (minimally edited) comment was put up in the comments section on No Holds Barred ....

Robespierre did say all those things about freedom - however, without a rational people and sound philosophy to back it up, the french revolution resulted in plenty of bloodletting (which ended in his own).

What I write now is a generalisation of Malays indebted to Umno out of ignorance. The reason for this is simply becos Umno rules, and Malays form the majority. This isn't meant to be a racist tirade - I know of many good Malays who want change.
However it also applies to many in other communities.

Anyway- as you said Pete, it's about the money.
The sad part of it all is - the Malays think it's about Ketuanan Melayu, and insist on giving their support to Umno.
They do it even if it means surrendering their liberty and remaining in shackles - mind, heart & soul. They don't seem to care if religion is just a tool to promote fascism.
I remember clearly, one comment in this column (some time last year), stating that they don't mind living in the jungles, as long as they feel they are in control.

Liberty, freedom, economy, education, integrity, nationhood etc, etc don't seem to matter to them at all. These higher ideals are foriegn, greek, kafir to them. They just need their "opium" - religion, and ego.
They don't mind living in "denial" - like how some claim that "Tanah Melayu was never really colonised - only took advise from Brits". It is the same thing that goes on in their minds where Umno is concerned - and as a result they fear living without their (psychological) colonial masters.

What matters to them today is, that they get their pittance and feel they are bosses, while gawking with empty pride at the high and mighty god-like "cemerlang & gemilang" Malay elite, or the concrete structures that apparently depict their progress.
What matters is they have handicaps over (who they believe are) "pendatangs/kafirs", provided for them by their political masters.
What matters is they have the ability to spite & sneer at those they are made to perceive as foreigners.
They just want to go on "living" the way Umno (thru BTN) has taught them - living on the empty pride that they are masters of the land, while begging for handouts (coming from taxpayers) and envying the success of others.

Even if there were to be a change of govt, there will be a lot of discontent among the Malays, should they not understand the reality they are faced with - and this would create a lot of instability.
In a nation of easily hoodwinked, unthinking, gullible masses, and impotent instruments of state created by authoritarian rule, it is something that's sure to happen. It would create chaos in the delivery system that has for ages been infiltrated & controlled by Umno - and they know how to play the game of sabotage.
That is why TDM boldly says that race-based politics is still relevant. He knows that many (rich & poor) are paralysed without it. He knows that the independence we celebrate is actually hogwash. What we have today is a people who gladly enslave themselves to the elite, for the privilege of crumbs - the sellout of Mahathir for RM200 is one good case.

A free media would definitely help alleviate this situation - however in the current situation, I guess there should be controls in content, where one shouldn't use the liberty to subvert it (just like some politicians who use democracy to impose religiosity that curtails it). This ignorant public, is an excuse which authoritarian govts use to suppress freedom - and it can only be done by emasculating the other pillars of state with popular support (as TDM had done).

The only way out of this predicament is through education - until and unless the system roots for meritocracy (with need-based affirmative action), things will not change. Students today are taught to fear the unknown & feel insecure without their privileges. The students of today hold the future in their hands. It is they who need to awaken and rage against the system.
UUCA together with the ISA, needs to be repealed. Abolishing the ISA alone won't unshackle their minds or cut out the rot.

With a liberal education and healthy debate, BN would long ago have been history - which is why BN ensures "indoctrination of the educated".
This would encourage people to think about and accept philosophically sound ideas from various schools of thought - instead of seeking solutions and a safety net in race-politics, privileges, religiosity and mindless "God-talk".

Only then can the idea of freedom & Malaysians as one people take root.


"Ty" has correctly suggested the words "Critical Pedagogy". Here are some links ....
Further Reading:-
Critical pedagogy
What is Critical Pedagogy?
What is Critical Pedagogy?