There are no scientific laws governing normative or psychological behaviour of human beings. There are no scientific principles that inhere in the movement of history.
One great historian once wrote that: “History is just one damned thing after another,” varying that now famous statement by the American writer Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915), who originally used the word “life.” It is for this reason one should avoid descriptions like “political science,” substituting instead, “political studies.”
A rose is fated to die, no matter how we love it. Not so in the world of human behaviour. Mario Barry was convicted of a crime while he was mayor of one of the most important cities in the USA, District of Columbia. He served his time and was voted back by the electorate as mayor.
A BBC documentary proved that Benazhir Bhutto stole money and bought properties in the UK that bore the name of her husband.
The Swiss provided evidence of corruption that convicted her husband. He was jailed. If Bhutto wasn’t killed, she would have become the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. Her husband is now the key political player behind the Pakistani Government.
Deng-Shao-Ping was put in a labour camp and publicly paraded with a dunce cap on his head. He reemerged in the Chinese Communist Party and became the modernizer of China.
In human society, while there are no scientific guidelines that determine the nature of its inhabitants (citizens), there are broad trends that emerge if certain fundamental principles of politics are adhered to by the population.
Perhaps the most priceless of these principles is the need to check the use of power because, if left unsupervised, rulers will turn into emperors. One can say, then, that there are laws in society that allow for predictability and some degree of determinism, although they are devoid of scientific elements.
If, within a population, there aren’t voices to criticize unjust, unfair, unprincipled, unsavoury, unkind, unlawful policies of the rulers, then, though there is no science to it, the predictable and deterministic outcome is arrogant, pompous and dictatorial government.
It would be stupid (to use a harsh word) for anyone to think that if there weren’t the PPP, Catholic Standard, the WPA, GHRA, GUARD and other forces, the PNC Government from 1968 onwards would have remained permanently strong. By the time of his death, Forbes Burnham’s rule had become brittle.
When he was succeeded by Mr. Hoyte, the era of rigged election was over, because there were too many influential condemnatory forces urging changes in Guyana.
It was a feeling, an angry one, too, of irony I got when I read that President Jagdeo told a press conference in New York last week that if ‘decent people’ (his words) do not speak up against charges of ethnocracy, racial discrimination and African marginalization made by those who do not like his government, then, after a while, such a fiction will begin to be accepted once it is often said.
The Chronicle took up the charge of Mr. Jagdeo (unfortunately for Mr. Jagdeo, his advocacy fell on deaf ears since no “decent citizen” has voiced any support for the President in the local media) and must have got into serious trouble with the Ethnic Relations Commission (but African Guyanese groups fuming at the Chronicle editorial will have to decide if it will give recognition to the ERC against the background of the alleged unconstitutional continuation of its life).
In coming to the defence of the President, the Chronicle offered its readers a menu of ethnic slurs that cannot be repeated in this article.
But Mr. Jagdeo is the Minister of Information, and he either has to be incensed at, or frustrated with, what the Chronicle did. Instead of exhorting Guyanese not to see the country and each other in racial terms, the Chronicle went on a rampage of race accusations.
Such an editorial will definitely have a backlash among those that make charges against Mr. Jagdeo’s Government. But let us return to the role of decent people.
I made some critical remarks against Father Rodrigues after he broke his 15-year silence on what the PPP Government is doing. Then I observed that, in the 20 years that Mr. Ian Mc Donald has been doing a Stabroek News column, he has given his opinion only once on a bad policy of the Government – the withdrawal of state advertisements from the Stabroek News. Both gentlemen are very decent human beings.
If “decent people” had spoken up years ago, after Cheddi Jagan died and they saw what was coming, we would not have had an elected dictatorship. It is not too late for “decent people” to save Guyana.
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