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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Position Vacant: Conservative Democrats need apply – Part2

Having previously looked at H.L.D Mahindapala’s primary thesis, before further examining his ideas, arguments and views, we should examine HLD's self-expressed principles and values in regards to Individuals, Ethnic Groups, The Democratic State and the relationships between them.

The individual and the state

The rights of individual are universal.

.... universalities and commonalities in the rights of individuals transcend the rights of group ....

.... a state that recognizes individual rights can resolve those rights non-violently, through principles of justice implemented by its democratic institutions, which can ease and alleviate the grievances and aspirations of groups .... [

.... those who seek to make a difference to this world are not morally entitled to fold their hands and remain neutral[link2]

On multiculturalism

.... universalities and commonalities in the rights of individuals transcend the rights of groups ....

.... group rights in multi-cultural societies tend to clash head-on causing multiple and irreversible injuries to individuals and groups. The proliferation of multi-cultural societies in the modern world, leading to the rise of competing claims within nationalities dominated by established majorities, demand a fine balance between the rival groups. Invariably the redressing of historical imbalances is at the core of group conflicts. .... [link1]

The liberty of individuals and limits

... liberty has limits. Liberty without limits is chaos. In fact, liberty is enhanced when its limits are defined ....

.... one man’s liberty ends at the point where the other man’s nose begins .... [link1]

The morality of using violence

.... violence cannot be left to the whims and fancies of individuals. It must be restrained by law and morality. The politics of violence is all about who has the right to use violence against whom and under what circumstances. It is the moral content in political violence that distinguishes it from other kinds of mindless violence ....

Political violence must be strategized and used only as an extension of a valid morality......Violence not justified by morality loses its validity either as an instrument of political power or as a base in a political discourse ....

.... if a society has co-existed for a period of time, maintaining an estimable record of harmony and balance between competing communities, and also if it has shown a willingness to accommodate the reasonable claims of minorities to preserve their identity, cultural and political rights then the use of violence on mere perceived injustices, or on a manufactured political agenda would be inimical to the stability ....[of] any democratic polity .... [link1]

Violence and threats outside the parliament have destabilized and dehumanized society. .... [link2]

Democratic politics

.... in a democracy, however defective it may be and however tardy it may in introducing changes, it is immoral and a threat to the life, liberty and security of all individuals if any one group/s resort/s to violence based on exclusive claims that negates the rights of all others concerned ......

.... Democracy by nature is not geared to instant or radical changes. Incrementalism is the hall mark of progressive democracies. And as long as any political system has shown the capacity and the willingness to accommodate changes then those in a hurry have no right to resort to violence .... [link1]

.... In a democracy, cutting deals behind doors, or self-serving manoeuvres by the elected parliamentarians should not derogate the expressed will of the people ....

Unless any party .... can make pure morality the basis of all political actions, circumstances dictate....that the best option is to go for the lesser evil in the hope of guiding politics, step by step, for greater good in the future.

Parliamentary democracy triumphs over other political systems because of two invaluable fundamentals: (1) the transferring of power non-violently and (2) the granting of unfettered tolerance to opponents who act non-violently within the democratic process.

.... there is no rationale for violence and threats to be brought into the House.

Some parliamentarians, no doubt, entertain illusions about their omniscience and omnipotence. As a counter to this there are sobering checks and balances in the parliamentary system like elections, for instance, which give the people the decisive opportunity to bring them down to earth .... [

After shifting aside the oft-repeated rhetoric and the statements of obvious political intent, I believe that it's these ideals that come to the fore in HLDs writing in regards to SL. Thus, in the next blog, it's with these in mind that I intend to look at the views expressed in his writing. Such statements as
Restoring the lost rights of the oppressed people .... [link]

.... in these condemnatory terms was the notion that only minorities had rights, aspirations, grievances ....[link]

....1) the inherent pacifism, liberalism and openness in the Buddhist culture and 2) the fact that the monks were in politics without being an integral part of running its day-to-day affairs.... [

....our people’s efforts to preserve this island as an undivided multi-ethnic nation, protected by democratic liberalism and pluralism, with respect for rule of law and human rights....

That's it for today, more in the next blog.

I've come across some very "thada singhala" migrants in the diaspora with pro-JVP views and most of them tend to disagree with the '87-'89 period of violence. However, I have never really spoken in depth with them about this but HLD seems to have some info on the current support-base for the JVP amongst the diaspora.

JVP today is the most disciplined and the best organized party operating effectively at the political, grassroot and trade union levels. Unlike all other parties of south, it is the only party which has direct and powerful links to the Sri Lankan Diaspora. It has a substantial base in Italy and its branches are spreading their tentacles in Australia, Switzerland, France etc. ..... [link]

A few years ago while I was at my parents a SL lady rocked up for some signatures. Initially I didn't really understand what was going on but it turned out she was canvassing for votes (don't know about the party) for a SL election where her brother was running as a candidate. WTF?

BTW, HLD has a sense of humour too (I am not familiar with some of the mentioned)

The equivalent of my amateur analysis here would be asking a political science major to write software in C++ so feel free to critique, comment and discuss what’s been written. No hate speech please there are plenty of other forums for that, otherwise open a damn blog yourself.

Note; Multiple quotes from the same article are grouped together with one link at end of the last quote.


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