Sunday, August 2, 2009

She’s Definitely Not My Type

Being not very smart, I decided I needed to educate my self a bit more. You see, I have been especially intrigued that the BN and Umno cronies seem to do a good job of masquerading and disguising themselves as committed to democracy. Yet, for some strange reason, I have had this lingering feeling that they not only don’t defend democratic values, they are actually actively enforcing authoritarian control.

But that got me wondering: What exactly are the central hallmarks and characteristics of an authoritarian regime? I mean we all have some rough ideas, right? But exactly what does it take for a regime to be characterised as authoritarian? Do I know? I had to be honest with myself; as I said, I had some idea but I could not confidently say I fully grasped what makes a regime authoritarian.

So I thought I’d get a little fancy and look it up. Here’s what I learned and you can go to this link for a more detailed description. For now, here are ten especially revealing characteristics of authoritarianism:

  1. Centralisation of power to enforce a repressive system that excludes potential challengers
  2. Rule of men – not the rule of law that prevails
  3. Rigged elections
  4. Major political decisions made by unelected officials behind close doors
  5. A non-accountable bureaucracy staffed by the regime
  6. No guarantee of civil liberties and no tolerance for a meaningful opposition
  7. Repressive control of civil society, such that civic and political groups are heavily regulated and controlled – which would reflect the lack of free speech and a free press
  8. Control is maintained through the support of the security apparatus and through control of the opposition and internal dissent
  9. Creation of conformity and allegiance through intense propaganda
  10. Marked by indefinite rule by a single party.

The next time anyone – especially some Umno/BN puppet - claims we’re a democracy, perhaps it would be worth reminding them of the above. There is clearly no doubt that our system – in very explicit ways – exhibits each one of the above ten traits.

Of course, as we see with our experience, authoritarian regimes can disguise themselves and dress themselves up as “democratic.” After all, we hold elections! We have a parliament! I’m reminded of the fact that Iran recently held elections, and I don’t think anyone with even bird brains thinks Iran is a democracy. Besides, even a dictator like Saddam Hussein held elections in Iraq and it had a sitting parliament.

If rouge states like Iraq under Saddam and the North Korea regime can hold elections and have a sitting parliament, imagine how easy it would be for a party such as Umno to pretend it leads a democratic government.

Well, think about it this way: We all know Samy Vellu disguises his actual appearance – what you see is not what you get, right? Sometimes, it really is not difficult to see something for what it is.

And what Umno/BN is dressed up as is obvious and transparent to me. Like a bad seductress trying to manipulate, scheme and even act out arrogantly and abusively while disguising her actual nature, she’s definitely not my type.

But looks can be deceiving - so beware.

G. Krishnan