Sep 30, 2023
Sep 30, 2023
Most ideological zealots are idols with feet of clay, even more so than skeptical cynics like me, who are clay yet to harden or project a reverent image. Take the great Shiite religious leader espousing an agenda of theological Shiite martyrdom. What does he do when his life is on the pan of a balance? He has no hesitation in compromising his principles to seek advanced medical care from an enemy country responsible for a brutal occupation of the nation of his believers. I remember from years ago, the famed and principled Jyoti Basu doing the same thing to get advanced cardiac surgery in America and accepting a capitalist bounty after retirement, in complete contravention to his communistic philosophy. The rabid market philosophies of the ignorant, if not retarded Bush are further classic examples of ultimate hypocrisy, when he slaps convenient tariffs on steel or insists on obscenely undeserved subsidies for agricultural commodities like sugar, cotton or other staples. History is rife with similar demagogues who masqueraded under the banner of justice, equity and other false slogans to surreptitiously advance their personal financial agendas or those of their unprincipled greedy backers as the current status of so-called Communist China and Democratic Russia under the crooked and drunk Yeltsin proves.
They can do this only because the bulk of the people are ignorant, time constrained and susceptible to brainwashing by a suborned, subservient and manipulating media that has sold outs its guardian role for pecuniary, popularity and fame benefits for the owners and reporters. Historically this is how democracies fail and are hijacked by special interests to become acquiescing tyrannies or manipulated dictatorships with a false odor of free choice to numb the idiotic and ignorant electorate, either intoxicated by flattery and patriotism or lulled and subdued by fear, hate and paranoia. The history of America is replete with such phony leaders with a hidden agenda, who incited the populace to rebellion to achieve their goals. In fairness, occasionally their cloaked agenda led to genuine benefits, which makes America the El Dorado of myriad immigrants from all nations. The sad fact is that not part of their intentions and is an unintended consequence of an invisible hand due to the bountiful natural resources of the vast land and the inventive genius spurred by greed that is the backbone of humanity. The genius of the founding fathers, especially Madison and Hamilton was foresight with a clear understanding of the past failures of human governments and the lack of a vision of the futility of any system due to the clouding of their minds due to their personal corruption by property and affluence. This is not an extolment of the virtues of communism, which is antithetical to human nature, but an indictment of the folly and blindness of extremely smart and knowledgeable people who should have known better to temper and guild the universal human weaknesses by giving them the added strength of an impermeable and incorruptible outer layer like the 'Tun' of bdelloid rotifers. It is unjust to blame our forebears for the evils of our corrupted present and convenient to blame the dead incapable of defense, while escaping responsibility under the banner of circumstances, nature or nurture like many ignorant social anthropologists conveniently do.
What is interesting that these false prophets often are able to recruit genuine committed fools like Michele Malkin, a Philippino woman, who has written a book partly defending the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2. It is difficult for me to decide whether it is her lack of intelligence and thought or her new conversion to a Neo-con theology that dictates her thoughts, until she writes a definitive tome extolling the humanitarian virtues of McKinley in his genocidal slaughter of the rebellious insurgent Philippinos after the brutal American occupation of the Philippines following the Spanish-American War, a conveniently justified myth like the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the green light for the current American debacle in Iraq by a craven Congress that has abdicated its responsibility, like most other American guardians of democracy.
The folly of hope, the only redeeming content of Pandora's box or the inexhaustible content of Draupadi's 'Akshaya' utensil are equally available to addicts, non-addicts, believers and infidels, so long as they do not become a delusion or obsession. Its munificent bounty is unsustainable without an honestly vigilant press and an informed and intelligent public. In the absence of these two critical ingredients, the only recourse for sustaining a decent democracy are the Draconian tyrannies laid down by Plato in his restraints for guardians, the Lakshmanrekha laid down for Brahmins by our ancient sages and the harsh restraints by the Catholic Church on priests, and we all know what historical disasters they have all been!
More by : Gaurang Bhatt, MD