The reign of error

The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.

Milton Friedman, American economist

There are some strangely structured governments whose outlandish policies shockingly define the electorate’s naiveté and gullibility coerced, cajoled and guided by open-ended laws, rules and regulations meant to tacitly confuse and confound.

These reigns of error are assiduously studied and dubbed fragile states before becoming failed states or rogue nations. Political theories suggest that a failed state is one where bribery, corruption and political warlocks function as a covert police state with total control of every judicial decision and its meticulously planned favorable outcome.

Acts of “errorism” have become a growing menace that has gone unwatched, unabated and unsolved. Wildcat governments continue to make diabolical errors in judgment that acrimoniously affect national policies often sidelining and disenfranchising many to favor a few. It’s usually justified as pragmatic democracy.

The reign of error is subtle and invisible to the unwary blurred by gleaming skyscrapers, ultra-modern highways, rapid mass transport systems, a bustling economy and bristling social edifices acting in a sustainable conspiracy to hide the ugly truth.

Plunder, malversation and illicit flight capital define many reigns of error. Some experts claim that it is rampant in every fragile state no matter how sturdy and stable it manifests itself in the global geopolitical stage.

Some governments claim they pay huge attractive salaries to their civil servants which is a damper on corruption. Enraged doubts linger. Enough is never enough for the greedy who prey on the needy. Lackluster attention is paid to finding lasting solutions.

Denmark, New Zealand and Finland are said to be the least corrupt nations, but the global Corruption Perception Index does not say with certainty that corruption is unheard of, unreported or unknown in these three nations. It’s there, but just a wee bit. You can’t see it, but its stench cannot be concealed.

The United States perfected the art and science of corruption and malversation following the infamous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), a US Supreme Court decision which forbade government restrictions on political campaign finance. The reign of error in the United States of America gets stronger and subtle every four years.

The Philippines is planning to re-introduce the death penalty for corruption and malversation like North Korea, China, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. The reign of error could dissipate and disappear with the rule of terror imposed by a mandatory death sentence that is screaming to be a permanent deterrent.

Governments that hide behind the humane need to abolish the death penalty are said to be living under an illusion. Death comes to everyone regardless of reason or season. What difference does it make whether one dies of old age, medical reasons, or as a result of a juridical punishment. Death is inevitable.

Anti-corruption agencies do not seem to be effective in discouraging, stemming and eradicating the cancer. Instead of doggedly digging for the smoking-gun evidence, these agencies exhibit weak eyesight like that of a mole.

Loud wails of reigns of error occur when laws and written constitutions are ignored and avoided as it is perceived to be in the way of progress and political solutions created by an unsolvable political equation. There is the quintessential, ubiquitous, highly-paid and highly motivated master manipulator who plays to the gallery.

One can witness and experience a reign of error when discriminatory practices are legislatively guarded, preserved, propagated and protected to destroy cherished national values for every citizen. A vitriolic anti-establishment media attack will spell agony with charges of defamation or sedition to court the conscience of the perpetrator in a court of law.

There was a recent media report that medical marijuana in Malaysia may pass legislative muster to combat and alleviate some medical ailments. Doesn’t take a genius to next approve legislation for unlimited political donations from any source. We are still engaged in a democracy of hiccups, and thus not quite ready for any quantum leaps of futuristic political experiments.

Reigns of error can be stopped by an electorate ready, sentinel-like, and prepared to take control by demanding morally acceptable, economically right and socially popular government policies that keep poverty muzzled. This is absolutely necessary to prevent moral bankruptcy and uplift democracy if it still means anything.

Alexis de Tocqueville’s warned that “the most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform”. These smokescreen reforms are band-aid solutions when major surgery is sorely required.

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