TACKLING TRICKS AND TRAPS
"The most dangerous trap is the one that tricks you with light"
– Mehmet Murat iLdan, Turkish playwright
Truth be told, there is no escape from being assailed, influenced and affected by tricks and traps designed by unselected peers. It’s a fact of life; an unwanted inheritance. We are born into it. No escape. Like being caught in a circle and told to sit in a corner.
The first pre-meditated and pre-planned governmental persuasion is education. This is the grand scheme of things as none escapes the programming and conditioning throughout the peer-induced mandatory educational journey.
Michel Foucault saw the education trick and trap as the dispensing of knowledge that is governed not by a theory of knowledge, but by a theory of discursive practice – like the loyalty of a butterfly.
In law, we are persuaded that there is an ideal, a reality, a corporeal fact reinforced by the abstract called an ‘absolute right’ which can be summed up as the acronym FOTCAR (Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion). Sounds hypocritically promising.
Article 4 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution (FC) guarantees FOTCAR, but government policies dictate otherwise using parliamentary supremacy that blurs constitutional supremacy jurisprudence in the Malaysian context.
The law has developed into the ultimate trick and trap rolled into one supreme bully whose only match is mercy. The word ‘law’ supposedly came from old Norse for ‘things laid down, or firmly established.’ It doesn’t identify, determine or pinpoint the source leaving it open to both mild and wild imagination sprees.
That absolute right in the FC is fettered by grammatical minefields, tautological teasers, limitations, exemptions and exclusions (read: tricks and traps). So, it’s fair to deduce that the ideal of the absolute right does not prevail under the Malaysian sun. But we are reminded that we are a democracy.
‘Absolute right’ is set out in the European Convention on Human Rights as a right that cannot lawfully be interfered with, no matter how important the public interest in doing so might be. Individual and collective rights become tricks and traps in the collective consciences of lawyers and judges in their quixotic quest for justice under the law.
The management of elections involving the public trust is a gargantuan sensitivity solely controlled by government. Where is the absolute right of the public in making suggestions and recommendations as to how election fraud can be eliminated? Article 10 FC is roasted alive, but never toasted as a veritable freedom in the supreme law of the land.
Tricks and traps manifest in multiple doctrines, maxims, adages, aphorisms, edicts and proclamations by the Executive condoned and conditioned by the legislature and the ever pliant and compliant judiciary under the dubious ‘separation of powers’ prevarication – another quintessential trick and trap that tries being a treat for an intellectual feast.
There is the Cabinet headed by the prime minister which collectively gives ear to the supremo’s thoughts and ideals. For 22 years, one supremo did it ‘his way’ so outrageously that the 3-R rage he created as government policy continues to hunt, haunt, harass, and humiliate Malaysians today by terrorizing goodwill and harmony into a national pathos.
Meanwhile, the citizenry has not concocted tricks and traps to trick and trap the government at its patented zero-sum game. The citizens have every trick and trap at their disposal to trick and trap government into total submission. The fact that they don’t speaks volumes for a responsible citizenry and an irresponsible government that takes the public for granted.
Thomas Jefferson had an answer for the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict: ‘Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other.’ Meanwhile, the grabbing and guzzling of Gaza continues.
The finance and banking industry is another susceptible target for tricks and traps. Ludwig von Mises, the innovating advocate of praxeology, aptly suggested that ‘every government intervention in the marketplace creates unintended consequences, which lead to calls for further government interventions.’
The 1-MDB drama showcases government intervention in all the wrong places. This is one trick and trap that continues to terrify and torture the perpetrators. One is still at large. Quit extradite punire localiter should apply to him – if you don’t extradite, punish him locally where he’s residing and hiding. That’s an edict of law.
But the law is as effective, selective, and defective, as its purveyors want it to be. The law is nothing but a clever potter’s clay. He can shape it anyway he wants. There is nothing to stop him from fashioning any one-sided and lop-sided law that he desires – read: legislation.
The citizens have an absolute right to resist and tackle tricks and traps carefully set by their leaders. They should resort to cruel and unusual punishment by demanding IQ tests for selected and elected leaders!
Highway speed traps are tricks used by an irresponsible government lost in its own self-inflicted stupor of silliness. Why sell vehicles that can exceed the speed limits as imposed by law? Is it road safety, or the collection of revenue as fines? Or both?
John Steinbeck made a telling point that man is the only kind of varmint that sets its own trap, baits it, then steps into it. As we sow, so shall we reap, and refuse to grow.