Monday, 29 February 2016

Valuing Freedom And Civil Liberties

Malaysia is beginning to look bad.

Of course, some may refute my statement and say that it's always looked bad in the eyes of the world. But you've got to remember that human beings have short memories and in politics, things change in the blink of an eye.

As an example, Madey has been speaking out against the internet block on The Malaysian Insider, to the extent of comparing it to North Korea.

I totally support his views, but it has not escaped my attention that he was the one who began the decline of our civil liberties. It is notorious behaviour for someone who was alleged to have left the political stage over 12 years ago.

I find it particularly amusing because you and I both know that he still holds political sway and his views will not get him arrested or roughed up.

And yet, he's not the only one. Good ole Fahmi Reza has been making headlines again for his portrayal or Najib as a clown, not just in Malaysia or on Facebook, but on Slate, which is a somewhat progressive, left-wing American magazine.

I can understand why Slate is intrigued. America is not without its own issues.

For a country that waxes lyrical about freedom, authoritarianism is becoming vogue in America. A great deal of that explains why Donald Trump, who no normal person should take seriously (even if he, on a rare occasion, makes good points) as a person, is so popular.

Politico says:

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.

I am surprised that the West; people who claim to be civilised and democratic, are turning away from the values that they once held dear.

They are adopting a barbaric way of life, which we assumed they had shed a century ago. Who would have thought the KKK are alive and strong today - and in modern California, of all places?

It is becoming starkly obvious that the American economy and civilisation is at the end of its cycle. Some new superpower will assume the mantle. People predict it will be China, but who knows for sure?

But it's startling for me to witness these changes and see how Malaysians are beginning to value their freedoms and rights, while Americans are beginning to exchange them for security and what they perceive to be a better quality of life.

It's startling, but as a Malaysian, it's also exciting.

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