I was traveling to Berbice in a car packed with Alliance for Change members. During the long trip, one passenger began to talk about his love life. Another passenger asked that he desist because he strongly believes that talk about sex is idle and waste of time. He was visibly annoyed.
I responded directly to him by saying if he was so concerned about values why does he smoke so regularly. I made a case for tobacco being a deadly killer. He conceded. I told him the problem I have with people is that they arrogate to themselves what they think are negative values and positive ones, and that philosophically such a discourse is a minefield.
I was shocked that as soon as we reached the AFC’s Head Office in Georgetown in the midnight hour, the very first thing he did was to put a cigarette in his mouth. I accosted him but he totally ignored me. He felt that it was right to denounce negative values of others while practicing his own negative values. Here is where my annoyance with people begins when it comes to a delineation of relative and absolute values.
I think he is right about the talk about who had sex with whom etc. But he should not be the one to pronounce on values and their meaning since he does not set an example. That was all I emphasized to him. How is it acceptable for you to discriminate against people because of their race but you dismissed the coffee lady for stealing the milk?
Enter Wesley Hicken. I don’t know this gentleman though he said we were contemporaries at UG during our student days. He referred to himself as a former lecturer at the University of the West Indies. Mr. Hicken published a letter in the Kaieteur News in which he wants the editorial management to reprimand me over a column I did on Elisabeth Harper.
The column is captioned “Is Elisabeth Harper the stupidest person in the world.” (April 10, 2015). It was an analysis of Harper’s reaction when the news broke out that her son was sued for three million American dollars which he took from investors and for which his mother stood guarantor.
Mrs. Harper’s defence was that APNU and the AFC were out to vilify her. Her evidence was the publication of an e-mail to her in which the letter-writer informed her she must cooperate because APNU+AFC is willing to pay as much as US$5 million ($1.1 billion) to expose her.
Surely Mrs. Harper deserved the title of the stupidest person in the world for telling the nation that was her proof. The mere idea that the opposition could pay a person $1.1 billion to get at Mrs. Harper is so bizarre that it calls into question how rational is Mrs. Harper.
Hicken took Mrs. Harper completely out of the picture, was totally oblivious to the fact that this woman was running to be the Prime Minister of Guyana and made me the villain. He wrote; “His (Kissoon) ad hominem attack on the prime ministerial candidate is unbecoming of a newspaper columnist and academic.”
There isn’t one word about the outlandish, eerie, insane claim by Mrs. Harper that the opposition is willing to pay $1.1 billion to tarnish her reputation. There isn’t one word that Mrs. Harper’s son took the money and is being sued. There isn’t one word as to why Mrs. Harper would stand guarantor for $1.1 billion.
All Hicken could see is the unbecoming conduct of Kissoon in his capacity as a columnist. I have committed a cardinal sin. Mrs. Harper has done nothing wrong. The real wrong here is the contorted, convoluted, selfish way of Wesley Hicken in looking at values. Mr. Hicken’s relativity of values is frightening and such an approach has caused endless debate among the great philosophers.
Would it not have been a more decent intellectual approach if Hicken would have pontificated on the stupidity, absurdity and irrationality of Harper in trying to deflect her son’s involvement in an investment imbroglio and Harper’s own involvement by lamenting on the fictional $1.1 billion?
If Hicken wanted to blame me for rude academic language he would have been on safer ground if he had chastised both of us. But he exposed himself as being as silly as Harper because he neatly compartmentalized values and chooses them at his convenience. Hicken ends his letter by saying if Harper is a stupid person so is he, so am I. Mr. Hicken, please speak for yourself. You may be as stupid as Harper. Not me.
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