[The apology and the moral significance of guilt from Faith and Theology
A guest-post by Scott Stephens > Like many Australians, I watched today’s carefully staged media drama unfold... – the whole ordeal reeked of kitsch, empty ceremony and pretence. Quite frankly, I thought it was an overblown PR exercise for the new Federal Government, and that it verged on pandering to latent racist feeling in this nation... Because, in the immortal words of The Princess Bride, I don’t think this apology means what they think it means..., this apology (like so much of the moral tokenism we perform today, superficial acts of charity designed to make us feel better about ourselves) seems to me to have been internally corrupted by wanton self-interest and political expedience. In this instance, it is particularly important to remember Immanuel Kant’s assertion that the moral worth of an act lies not in its commission but in its intention. So, what was the motivation behind the apology? Or, to put this question another way: for whom was this apology intended? ... The true recipients of the apology were those white Australians who watched and wanted to be made to feel as if they had taken part in something good. Rather than being left to listen and grieve and celebrate in private, these indigenous Australians were made to take part in a kind of emotional pornography for the benefit of thousands of white Australian viewers who wanted to feel, as Noel Pearson rightly put it, “the warm inner glow that will come from having said sorry.”]
[Agression in the Air
from Around and About by shantanu dutta > Certain kinds of aggression can be liberating in that they set you free to pursue the goals of Citius, Altius, Fortius." "Swifter, Higher, Stronger which are of course the motto of the Olympic movement but can be used else where to pursue any noble goal in life. But the bottom pinching , high speeding, vulgar speech driven aggression visible in North India and even more so in Delhi where I live and read some of these things in the morning paper, experience a few in the course of the day, and then come back to watch some more in the news channels on television is no customized meritocracy to move society to upward levels. this leering, domineering aggression is all about getting ahead not by raising the bar for myself but by lowering the bar in general by brutally crushing self esteem, and then crossing over the lowered bar in a crude wild westfashion. It is easy to cross the finish line by lowering the bar and then crippling the opposition, so that there is no legitimate opposition left in the race but there is little pride of achievement in such a victory, only the shallow gloat of the winner of the rigged race.
So deeply embedded is aggression, that it has been appropriated by the State even, and often no symbol of authority is so disgusting than the sound of the police lathi banging menacingly on the street, bazaar or the railway platform as the constable signals his presence and authority by dashing his stick on the ground as he moves clearing space for himself. The lathi of the police man is not even a semblance of safety and security as much a tool of undisguised aggression and dominance. Desicritics - Feb 22, 2008]
[Feb 23, 2008 Politics and the Law from The India Uncut Blog by Amit Varma
Raj Thackeray is priceless. Writing an open letter to Sudheendra Kulkarni in the Indian Express, he says:
"[D]o political movements need to obey the law? Political history learnt by me tells me that breaking the law, getting arrested, braving lathis and getting jailed are symbols of a principled agitation.
In recent times, the rulers and opposition parties indulged in movements of political compromise, in which morchas are taken out, the share of benefits of the government and opposition parties are decided. Then the protesters and their companions go home and sleep peacefully! This is called todbazi (compromise). The word political movement is an equivalent word for breaking the law!"
Most Indian politicians would surely agree with Thackeray that politics in India has become all about “the share of benefits of the government and opposition parties”—though few would state it so openly. Our politicians treat this country as government property, theirs to use as they please when they come to power, and theirs to bargain for when they are in opposition, using the threat of violence. For them, the law is a tool to oppress the common man, and not something that their activities need to be subject to. No wonder they ask, do political movements need to obey the law?
And really, what’s the difference between them and the British Empire we fought to overthrow. That was just timepass, or did we really want freedom?
Also read: Nitin Pai’s astute take on the subject, and my earlier essay, The Republic of Apathy.]
It’s all question of ethics but expecting superior conduct in the political and economic arena is a chimera. Only the Savitri Era spiritual approach can convince people to become gentlemen in order to guard their self-interest. "Be SELFish" is the slogan. [TNM]