Mitigating menaces

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.

Thomas Jefferson, third US President

Reported history for the purposes of developmental political science accepts the fact that the politics of government in nation states began with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 when the all-powerful Church decided not to dabble in affairs of state anymore in a vastly fragmented Europe.

National self-determination took centre stage with principal aims of ending wars through diplomacy; peaceful coexistence among sovereign states as the norm; maintained by a balance of power among sovereign states and acceptance of principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other sovereign states.

As the Church began focusing on matters spiritual, nation states decided to strengthen their positions and roles with the establishment of police power complete with a standing army in the interests of maintaining peace!

Socialism, guided democracy, parliamentary democracy, republicanism, authoritarianism, fascism, and constitutional monarchies began plucking the chords of citizens’ choices made clear and certain by leaders of nation states offering Hobson choices.

The vast array of political beliefs, systems and inclinations evolved into subterfuge, false premises, broken promises, veiled threats, secret government (deep state), erosion of human rights and fundamental liberties under the assurance of the rule of law.

American journalist H.L. Mencken reminded us that “all government, of course, is against liberty.” A lorry load of unnecessary laws will suffocate liberty as sure as they guarantee them in a convincingly written constitution.

Earthquake politics, shady governments with self-serving leaders and conspiratorial legislation complete with a compliant judiciary leave the voting citizens in endless frustration till the next elections.

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden practise a rare breed of socialism which combines free-market capitalism with extensive public works, including free healthcare, free education, a comprehensive welfare state, and a high percentage of unionised workers with private ownership and competitiveness of capitalism.

Fifty nations today are run by military dictatorships while some enjoy absolute monarchies. Iran is a theocracy where clerics reign, rule and control matters of state. Some nations openly practise a bizarre concoction of kleptocracy, democracy and kakistocracy that surprisingly maintains a vibrant economy where the poor remain poor, the rich get richer, the middle class pays all the taxes while the plunderers make hay.

It cannot be unpatriotic to ask for a better government based on a people’s referendum prepared by powerful grassroots organisations. Must citizens accept the status quo of an incumbent government that seems to be concerned only with itself and its power-grabbing proclivities?

“Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other,” assured Thomas Jefferson who teased and mocked the US Constitution as he amassed vast amounts of lands originally belonging to Native Americans, but gradually belonged to France before he consummated the “Louisiana Purchase”.

“The right to be let alone” is accepted as the best forms of governance. The concept was first mooted by an unorthodox American lawyer, Louis Brandeis, before he became an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. George Orwell’s 1984 threw a planet-load of anti-establishment fertiliser into this emerging concept.

Mankind, at peace with nature, earned the right to be let alone long before civil society, laws and constitutions were conceptualised. Your chin ends where my nose begins was the foundation of wise and mature governance becoming a secure form of frontier justice which indigenous peoples practised to the peril of the invading occupier.

So, can you be let alone, left alone to mind your own business without diversionary politics, warped law and shady government? Can a court of law and equity assure you of these fundamental rights? The answer came from a Malaysian court which hopefully seals the fate of rogue nations and failed states.

Articles 5, 8, 10, 13 and 160(2) of the Malaysian Federal Constitution does not envisage a law that is unjust, arbitrary, unreasonable or disproportionate, said the Federal Court in Alma Nudo Atenza v. Public Prosecutor & Another Appeal [2019] 3 MLRA 1.

Alma Nudo refined and defined liberty of the person, equality, freedom of speech, assembly and association, and rights to property under the supreme law of Malaysia. We, the people, should preserve, protect, perpetuate and propagate its potency and power.

It’s the People’s Oath and sworn patriotic purpose, duty, right and obligation to enforce these divinely bestowed rights made sacrosanct in the Constitution.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.