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Sakmongkol ak 47

Monday 9 May 2011

The coming political renaissance

Each year, I refresh my memory by reading the immortal words of Milton Friedman. He is arguably one of the greatest minds in Economics and sees himself as a public intellectual. The joke people make is everyone likes to debate with Milton Friedman, especially when he is not around! He is a formidable debater. He has a rapier sharp intellect and does not shy away from arguing his stand. His conversations with Phil Donahue and in later years with Charlie Rose are must watched recordings.
What makes Friedman special is that he can vary his arguments to for the level of understanding of society. That makes his social writings more understandable and accordingly absorbable. His wrings meant for the more intellectually serious are formidably technical > go read his Monetary History of the United States written with Anna Schwartz or even Money Mischief intended for the technically inclined layperson.
His position as a public intellectual, elaborating and laying bare the main issues of society is perhaps best summed up by the feelings of 1 commentator( American) : I f*king love Friedman because he makes things seemed so easy to understand.
I hope the same understanding is reached among the socially aware here in our country. The core of Friedman's philosophy must forever remain his assertions that government must have a limited role. There is a political interest for use here- get rid of government from business and you get rid of the little and not so little Napoleons.
Applied to local conditions here, it must also include calls for the government to stay out of business. The government should not see itself as Father Christmas continually dishing out goodies and freebies to its parish members. The government can't position itself as an all knowing and omnipotent entity, running the lives of people.
So what the writings of Friedman do I hope, is to enervate the imagination of as many people at large as possible. The exertions of sophisticated urban voters are good indicators that Malaysia is traveling on a promising future. The emergence of the socially aware or emergence of members of society with heightened awareness is a good signal for our society. It marks the beginning of the rise of society which is becoming more conscious of their own power. People have power. Government does not. People have real power. Ministers only borrow them temporarily. We shouldn't be afraid of government and ministers. We decide our destiny. We are responsible for ourselves.
So let us remind us of the significance of what Friedman wrote by looking at it again:-
"In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic "what your country can do for you" implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, "what you can do for your 'country" implies the government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary.
To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive.
The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather "What can I and my compatriots do through government" to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect?
Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp."


OneMalaysian,  9 May 2011 at 10:05  

Dear Sakmongkol

“The exertions of sophisticated urban voters are good indicators that Malaysia is traveling on a promising future. The emergence of the socially aware or emergence of members of society with heightened awareness is a good signal for our society. It marks the beginning of the rise of society which is becoming more conscious of their own power”.

This is indeed a timely article. It comes at a time when our country appears to be slipping backwards, not going forwards. The event that seems to have triggered this retreat into chaotic and benighted politics is the recent state elections in Sarawak. There the better-informed urban voters – Chinese, Malays and Ibans – comprehensively rejected the state BN coalition because of allegations of widespread corruption. The BN was no longer a party of the people, but had become a party unto itself, serving its leaders, enriching them while the people, especially the rural poor, were neglected. The urban folks understood this, but paradoxically, the rural poor, isolated and kept in ignorance were easily bought with some cash and more promises of a better future.

This big urban swing in voting, completely wiping out the SUPP, the long-time Chinese party sidekick of the state BN, frightened the Federal BN, especially UMNO. The Federal elections are near. If this trend in urban and Chinese voting continues, the omen is not good for both UMNO and BN. The charisma of Najib is not going to be good enough.

So we are seeing very ugly speeches being made about the decline of Malay power and the rise of Chinese power. It is also said that the Christians want to replace Islam with Christianity as the official religion. It escapes the thinking person how these two events might come to pass when the Chinese or non-Malay seats are in the minority, and the Chinese cannot possibly form a majority government on their own. They don't even have one third, let alone two thirds, of parliamentary seats needed to change the constitution. Even if they by some unexplained magic or trickery could achieve this in parliament, no change to the constitution can possibly occur without the Agong agreeing – and he is advised by Malay MBs in the Rulers’ Council.

Rational and honest politicians understand all this. Yet the Utusan and some extreme Malay NGOs say that plots are being made against the Malays and Islam. The orderly rise of our society is under threat. It is far from certain. We, like Freedman, should rightly be wary of government being in business, but we should also be wary of a government that appears to support one group of citizens against another group in order to cling to power.

Anonymous,  9 May 2011 at 12:52  

Maaf Pak, saya orang Melayu kampung tak paham apa yang tuan hendak sampaikan. Mungkin orang bandar macam Tuan paham maksud Friedman tapi bagi kami orang kampong, apa yang kami mahu ialah teruskan dengan apa yang di buat oleh Najib sebagai pemimpin. Kami tak mahu negara dijual sebab nak tunjuk pandai konon.

Anonymous,  9 May 2011 at 12:58  

"Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power."

I am already 50 years old and all my life I have voted for the opposition. Simply because I believe a vibrant democracy needs a strong opposition.

My friend once asked me if I would ever vote for BN. I asked that I would certainly vote for BN when it is in the opposition !!

rance,  9 May 2011 at 13:58  

Dear Dato' Sak, I am avid reader of your blog. At times i have to ask myself are you for real,an UMNO Dato' so aptly writes in his blog the core problems that is ailing our country. Like you Dato' they know but none have the courage to admit or do the right thing.All is done in the name of race,religion n country.

Anonymous,  9 May 2011 at 15:47  

Dear Dato Sak,
is the long awaited political renaissance truly on its way, or will it be suffocated in its journey and we'll be left out in the cold? More fearful, is there a future for all of us?

Anonymous,  9 May 2011 at 22:09  

Anonymous 12.52 sangat bodoh sebab percayakan najib yang dok jual negara!

Quiet Despair,  9 May 2011 at 23:22  

Yes indeed Friedman was a nobel laureate who was an alumnus of U of Chicago and once taught at the University.
His books are required reading for economic studies at U of C and elsewhere in the US.
Friedman fervently believed that the government should stay out of the economy as much as possible, the economists who followed his lead was called the Chicago School.
There are many economic nobel laureates like him at U of C.
But a plan by U of C to honor Friedman by naming a new research institute after him was opposed by dozens of their collegaues who are unhappy that the honor could be interpreted as a whole-sale endorsement of Friedman's free-market ideology.
Yes we may graduate from U of C. But can we apply all his teachings when we return home to serve the country?
Anon 10.52 says it all. Yes we still have poor people especially the Malays in the kampungs.
They expect the government to help them economically in every way.
So like Tun M said we must tailor our economic policies according to our mould.
Like it or not we are still a nanny state. When a leader visits an area, the people expect some announcements that wil boost the economy of their towns.
It's the same situation with us. If you visit your kampung folks, the relatives expect you to at least give some cash to them or any buah-tangan. The right thing to do isn't it?
So what Najib and our leaders are doing is very right and appropriate to the needs of the people.
They must be wholly involved in the economy of the country.
As you know, UMNO will be celebrating it's birthday this Wednesday with the Team UMNO - The Protector of the people.
So that is the coming political renaissance.
I don't want anyone to start bringing in Singapork and glorifying their leaders.
Yeah, their Cabinet member salaries are above a million and their task of upliftng the people's livelihood is not as great as our leaders.
Isn't the hefty pay-check one of the issues of the just-finished election?

P.S. I see very few
responses these past two postings.
But with my entrant,I bet many will join in. Not to offer their opinions, but to lambast me.
Just wait and see.

bumi-non-malay 10 May 2011 at 08:56  

Actually the REAL new realities that Malays need to think deeply is why they live a LIE everyday and enjoys being manipulated by their own kind in the name of UMNO using their own kind resources and power of the Media, police, judiciary they control.

52+ years of shouting that other races have taken your share of the PIE and still have no pie to eat is an Insult to Islam.

Seriously do you really think Agong and Sultan is the defender of Islam or are you using these Malays Mythological Icons as another tool to only reinforce UMNO Corruption and greed? Meanwhile 99.99 Agong, UMNO Leaders send their children to ENGLISH private schools and overseas in English studies...while at the same time shouting the rest of malays should fear losing their mother tongue in also an insult to Islam!! Allah Bukan Buta and we will continue to be Disobedient to Racism, Corruptions, ISA and Murderers!!

Anonymous,  10 May 2011 at 11:13  

Dear Dato Sak,
the comments here, except for a couple, are refreshingly good and provokes the thinking man.

For once also, Quiet Despair 23.22 started off on a real note and could have continued, but tapered off quite disappointingly. He always likes to play the devil's advocate, but the way he goes about it sounds false and forced and invites knee jerk responses. It's a pity because he can rise above these games of tit for tat

pak yeh 15 May 2011 at 19:57  

On Milton freidmans videos :
This is a one sided devils opinion of Capitalism and minimum wage. of capitalism.Its not adebate at all You should read Karl Marxs "Das Capital" to understand about the history and evils of Capitalism.

All revolutions against Monarchy Capitalist had give rise to Super powers,eg China,Rmericaussia,America,Britain,France,Germany etc,etc.
The were Socialist first, until they got corrupted by the corrupt and fraudulent paper money economic systems.
Milton Friedman is a Jew that supports greed economics and enslavement of 3rd world countries via the no minimum pay enslavement policy.

pak yeh 15 May 2011 at 20:30  

Dr m Sakmongkal.
I do hope you read Karl Marxs Das capital and Socialist economics.

All former colonial countries are being enslaved by Capitalism.
The only way to be free fron Capitalist who have become the colonisers is to implement Socialist/Comunist economics.
Islamnomics however is Socialist plus gods money(gold,silver)and is the best economics.
Please read my articles titled "islamnomics',kafirnomics",Duit Cina mampos = duit Yahudi penipu","Ekonomi Kami","The enemy of your enermy is your friend" etc,etc.


Anonymous,  3 June 2011 at 21:21  

Friedman avoided "greed" but preferred "self-interests". As a discipline for human causes you can't run away from the ethical moral issues as general demands of governance would have it. Many would have it that economics would be largely barren if steeply vertical returns on meagre assets, as with the Gemilang UMNO Malaysians, have against all odds proven! thus the shithouse we're in;)

In any case Robin Hood would not have needed to rob had they been nice. That aside, even robbery spurs people in pursuit of their "better" interests for the need to rob the robbers and fix things.

for what its worth, it's not "unalright" to make reasonable or geater returns on a broader base than kill the market.

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