This column will focus on ‘The Death of Common Sense’, a book by a former Harvard Law School Dean, and reflect on today’s consequences of such a death of both the idea of objective truth and therefore also, common sense, at one and the same time in Malaysia. What is assumed to be common may not be familiar any more.
The New York Times bestseller summary promotes the book with the following words: “We need a new idea of how to govern. The current system is broken. Law is supposed to be a framework for humans to make choices, not the replacement for free choice.” So notes Philip K Howard in the new afterword to his explosive manifesto ‘The Death of Common Sense’.
“Here Howard offers nothing less than a fresh, lucid, practical operating system for modern democracy. America is drowning – in law, lawsuits, and nearly endless red tape. Before acting or making a decision, we often abandon our best instincts. We pause, we worry, we equivocate, and then we divert our energy into trying to protect ourselves.
“Filled with one too many examples of bureaucratic overreach, ‘The Death of Common Sense’ demonstrates how we – and our country – can at last get back on track.”
My column thesis will argue that the death of common sense will happen, especially because of the death of truth, as questioned by Time about today’s mainstream Republican worldview, especially after their original fake worldview hypothesis with the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMD) or their public lie about the matter.
I do believe that there may be some kind of a newer global liberal conspiracy to lie or promote fake news, and we need to find what it is all really about. I am not sure of its potential origins but Israel and US maybe be colluding; that is only my guess. The son-in-law.Jared Kushner appears to be a link.
United Airlines also became headline news through a misadventure for the world to see and hear. The unfortunate reality is that it also enabled every global citizen to experience the indignity of physical abuse; especially those of us who identify with Asian Americans.
Denial of human dignity by anyone should never be tolerated any more, anywhere in the world; especially now, thanks to modern media information capabilities. Evidence dissemination is today as simple as a click on social media technology.
Now, Corporate Capitalist America (CCA) or Centralist Communist China or (CCC), and all global organisations like United Airlines who ignore basic human rights and related concomitant truths, cannot continue such abuse of human dignity anywhere in the world. That is also why Aung San Suu Kyi is now under the media spotlight; although a Nobel Prize winner.
Whether it is the alleged killing of babies by rogue actors in Syria, or public abuse by security personnel at the Chicago airport, or missing citizens which our police ‘appear to know nothing about’, global citizenship and all mainstream human rightists will not tolerate such ignorance and abuse, any more. We demand full accountability from all publicly responsible actors.
They have to accept responsibility for roles assumed and it is not be merely playing a role; this is real life and not just media entertainment.
Politics as art of the ethically plausible
If objective science-based truth is in fact dead, or can be reduced or limited by one’s subjective interpretative worldviews; maybe then Time’s question is valid and 1MDB objective truths do in fact actually and really matter.,
But, as Time magazine argued that in the world of material reality, objectives truths can quite easily be documented in writing or recorded with sufficient modern forms of evidence-gathering. Let us see what fake or false news is; in our beloved Malaysia.
No Objective Truth, No Common Sense, only lies with these fellas
Therefore, whether it is President Donald Trump, or Prime Minister Najib Razak, or Ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang; objective truths about Malaysian life are already well-documented in our recent political history and lived life. The concerns of most moderate Malaysians is that there is ‘a lot of righteous-type anger rather than forgiveness’ being expressed for careless and human mistakes made by the government of the day.
The fact is that it is only truthfulness which can guarantee good and clean or clear politics, what some call ‘new politics’. Most of these unforgiving critics or ‘so-called political pundits’ appear not to understand one simple fact. They do not put themselves into their ‘objective evaluations’, but instead conduct themselves ‘as white knights on a white horse’.
Or, in even simpler language, these commentators pretend they do not live in glasshouses. Or, to quote Jesus, “Let him who had not sinned cast the first stone.” Or, as quoted on a Dalmatian dog poster, “I am not spotless; only forgiven”.
In fact just this past weeks there was great furore and a lot of political anger against a DAP exco member who “apologised for a badly worded non-Muslim faith codes and guidelines”, which he overlooked and did not review before it was issued. They have since withdrawn it, and in fact their deputy chairperson for Selangor DAP even issued a statement to clarify the matter.
DAP’s Hannah Yeoh,
That truth did not stop the so-called political pundits from turning on and attacking Hannah Yeoh for weighing in on such truth matters within a pragmatic policy-making framework for guidelines or codes of conduct.
Therefore, I find that most black and white purists do not understand the grey areas in between which frame and form much of real-world politics. In their world of actors and clowns, they try to deploy their limited analytical capability (framed and formed with black-and-white glasses) to evaluate pictures with multiple colours.
They fail to understand the newer reality of multiple and merged media from the convergent technologies facilitated by the Internet-worked world as recorded by new media forms and formats.
I say shame to all of them as they fail to realise that if they have not truly and really been involved in the ‘pol-aspects’ of life and reality; they should not be so brazen to comment from their higher grounds of intellectual or academic worlds of ideas and ideals, but without reality.
Politics today is the absolute deployment of power premised upon legal or legitimate authority, but which can be abused or abusing towards all other realities. That is made worse when media begin to take sides or close one eye towards newer evidence and newer modes of communicating with and capturing truths vide evidence.
Politics of strange bedfellows
Similarly, my moral and ethical question to the President of PAS is, why allow yourself to be apparently deceived by the UMNO leadership whom you publicly appear to go into bed with? Is such a cleansing of PAS now almost complete with the ridding of Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s son and introducing of your son as a replacement? Is this a new kind of nepotism we all cannot decry?
To our middle moderate Malaysians – how did we allow PAS to evolve such an ‘agenda-driven, party-dictated and clergy-owned interpretation of Islam’? Does their reason and logic have no place for thinking professionals in our non-secular model of governance?
KJ JOHN, PhD, was in public service for 32 years having served as a researcher, trainer, and policy adviser to the International Trade and Industry Ministry and the National IT Council (NITC) of the government of Malaysia. – Mkini