Each day Khemraj Ramjattan moves further and further away from the man people saw fight the autocracy of the Jagdeo/Ramotar partnership. Khemraj is making some terrifying mistakes that I could remember telling my philosophy students that they must avoid throughout their lives.
One essential philosophical warning a teacher gives his philosophy students is to denounce as a legitimate action in life the ends justifying the means.
No teacher should encourage students to think like that. No politician should ever entertain that thought. And no lawyer should. Christopher Ram, a lawyer, quoted sections of the law where police can stop a vehicle if and when they want. Ram completely overlooks context. So according to Ram, we have no rights as drivers. Police can order you to stop if and when they want to. I am not interested in Ram’s ramblings but in the minister’s position.
Dick Cheney, former Vice President under George Bush, perfected the torture techniques of his administration. In May this year, speaking to Fox Business News, Cheney said the US should reintroduce torture techniques. He said he knows torture works because he was involved in the composition of the manual from which it was used to interrogate terrorist suspects.
Cheney went on to state that the water-boarding techniques among others yielded valuable information. For Cheney, the ends justify the means.
Ramjattan produced an identical emulation of Cheney. Ramjattan said that random stops by police have produced success. He stated that the police found many illegal weapons through random interceptions. This perception is coming from a politician who sued the police and won when the police burnt the private parts of an underage boy to get a confession of murder.
According to Ramjattan, if on the application of torture, you give the police incontrovertible details of your crime, then torture works. This torture analogy fits his random search reasoning perfectly. If Khemraj and the rest of society did not intervene and denounce the torture of the little boy and the police had continued to physically brutalize him by burning other parts of his body and he confessed then the torture was worth it, I suppose.
Let’s look at some ugly examples where the ends justify the means. One is vigilante justice. Vigilante action is mob rule. A society must not encourage it but if it brings success, then according to Ramjattan and Cheney it has utility value.
So car engines are being stolen in a village. The villagers suspect Sunil and Michael. A group is formed; they storm the houses of Sunil and Michael, search them and find stolen engines. They then kill the two men. Engine stealing stops so the group’s action was logical.
Villagers want the local tax on mango rescinded by the NDC. They say it hits the economy of the village hard. The NDC says that the village’s export trade in mangoes brings in handsome profits and the NDC needs the revenue. The villagers are angry. They burn the vehicles belonging to the NDC. The NDC agrees to stop the tax. All ends well. The ends justify the means.
If random halts have resulted in the seizure of illegal weapons so have many other actions of the police. In every country in the world, there are nocturnal lovers’ hideouts where couples make love in their vehicles. Random searches of some cars on the sites have yielded drugs and other illegal things.
What this means is that while you are in the private circumstance in your vehicle with your lover, according to the thinking of Ramjattan, nothing is wrong if the police knock on the window and see you and your lover’s private parts because the police are doing their work and they may find ganja in the vehicle. If they do find ganja then the invasion of your privacy was justified.
The security minister intoned to the press that citizens must understand that “law enforcement ranks should be allowed to carry out their duties unhindered…” I will end with an example where the citizens of this country may have lost their right to peaceful travel.
I was heading for the airport with my daughter and wife two Tuesdays ago. The ranks at the Madewini outpost were stopping drivers at random.
I slowed to intervene. It was overbearing. People were heading for their flights. My wife demanded that I drive, insisting that she has her daughter in the car. I looked back in anger. Did some folks miss their flight? If they did, Ramjattan would say the search was right if they had found an illegal parrot in one of the suitcases.
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