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Subtle shibboleths


If nominated, I’ll not run; if elected, I shall not serve.

– American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman


In politics, the inevitable shibboleth (buzzword, password, catchword) is prosperity, liberty, unity, stability that wins votes and keeps the citizenry convinced for a spell. In religion, it’s abiding faith and belief in the hereafter. In economics, it’s land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship translated as voracious demand. In geopolitics it’s the belief that long wars achieve lasting peace. In science, facts, proof and evidence jostle for recognition.


These linguistic spins will assail and entertain even if insulting with its hype, hubris and hypocrisy. “Politically correct” is another shibboleth that spawned “physically challenged” to sweeten “handicapped person,” and “visually impaired” for the blind.


To torpedo and sink shibboleths, media consultant Emma Goodman remarked that “if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” The economist Milton Friedman observed that if the American government was in charge of the Sahara Desert, there’ll be a shortage of sand within five years.” It is clear that government forced its way into the shibboleth list.


The elected should be wary of the electorate on a 24/7 basis to expose political shibboleths that bake and make fake news. The fact that they are being watched, quoted, and required to be totally accountable will encourage, and entrench meritocracy post-GE15.


Parliament (talk show) is another shibboleth where personal styles, fashions, attitudes and mannerisms take center stage, not the Standing Orders, the rule of law, or constitutional supremacy. Principles of policy-making through necessary, needful and proper legislation is a promise waiting to be fulfilled. Eastminster’s sun has not appeared as yet. We await the disappearing sun of Westminster.


The savant Khalil Gibran remarked that life without liberty is like a body without a soul. But does the electorate, and the elected, for that matter, genuinely know what liberty really means? Like merdeka of choice, merdeka from unjust laws, merdeka from silly economic policies, merdeka from suspect discriminatory rights and privileges, or merdeka from political terrorism.


Incidentally, “merdeka” is derived from the Sanskrit maharddhika meaning “rich, prosperous, and powerful”. Imagine when the rakyat is free and independent with wealth, prosperity and power. Wonder if the Tunku knew.


When facing shibboleth inflation, the entire gamut of economists and politicians come up with no real solutions except to quote President Ronald Reagan who said that inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit-man. And, sheeple get convinced that this macabre description offers lasting solutions.


The government seems to convey the message that sheeple are...


https://www.newsarawaktribune.com.my/subtle-shibboleths/

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