The Bohica Syndrome

Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger of oppression.

– James Madison, 4th US President

“Since mankind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We’ve seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse,” observed Alan Moore in his ‘V for Vendetta’.

The syndrome has developed, flourished, sustained itself in a concerted effort to reign supreme over all our lives by our own choice, neglect, ignorance, and fear.

Bohica became inevitable as mankind was getting civilised, and then organised religion came into the picture to enable the syndrome to get defined and refined. Now, the syndrome is synonymous with theodicy (God’s judgment).

Karl Marx explained the syndrome adequately: “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

Soon, inevitable government arrived on the scene competing for reckoning and recognition vis-a-vis organised religion. God’s law and man’s law came to a compromise, and mankind became cannon fodder to the syndrome from two agents of control.

Advertising is another manifestation of this syndrome. Mankind is afflicted by and addicted to advertising and its twin pimps — sales and marketing. People buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like.

The professions play an active role in relying on this syndrome which brings in revenue without much ado. Commerce must flourish and business as usual is good for the economy.

Academia too is a major proponent of this syndrome because the future labour pool is determined by who exhibits the propensity to pass examinations. Megabucks enter academia’s coffers while being subsidised by government and enjoying tax exemption.

Employers fit in easily in the syndrome’s calling for an all-inclusive people-friendly approach at keeping the economy buoyant. The labour pool is easily attracted to earning after a spell in learning.

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe,” observed Frederik Douglas.

The Bohica gene does not spare any human unless he or she is beyond the conscious and the sub-conscious. It is a subtle part of human nature, and unlike a bad habit it cannot be easily got rid of.

Bohica happens in the United States every four years when the career politicians make fresh deals, new alliances, renew old acquaintances, and a whole lot of nod-nod-wink-wink agreements.

The judiciary labours on wanting the citizenry to believe that it is a bulwark against government high-handedness — another name for oppression. Litigants prepare to polish their dices before they roll them.

There is a huge growing group of dissidents in the United States who are ardent adherents of the teachings of the great Henry David Thoreau, the father of civil disobedience who motivated MK Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

These dissidents do not oppose government but stay “off the grid”. They obey the traffic laws, seldom get stopped, hardly ever write to the government to complain about issues, never vote, make their own electricity, grow their own food, and literally mind their own business to happily overcome Bohica.

The indigenous peoples of the world are never afflicted by Bohica because they know nobody can steal their land whether the government has codes, ordinances and laws to defectively determine land ownership.

But, watch out when the oppressor comes after you regardless of the condition, situation or circumstance. The predator does not wait for the prey to be in a vulnerable state of affairs. You got to have the cunning of Brer Rabbit to frustrate the predator.

Civil wars and world wars have raged in an effort to defeat this syndrome, but the victor and the victim is easily identified in its aftermath. That is the order and nature of things. It is already carved in stone.

Oh, lest I forget, BOHICA is the acronym for Bend Over Here It Comes Again. It is a regular call-sign in the American “black ops” manual.

Change the dynamics to stay ahead of the curve and you contain Bohica. “V” is for victor, not vendetta.

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.