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May 31, 2013

Politico-economic conservatism and the ‘surreptitious subliminal subjugation’ syndrome

Fri May 31, 2013

Editor: When Jesus was on earth, he told a parable to his disciples. He likened the kingdom of heaven to a master who was about to take an extended trip to a foreign country and divided up his goods among his servants. The story is well known (Matt: Chap. 25). When he returned the servant who was given one talent had decided that he would be “conservative” and did not invest his master’s money, but instead had dug a hole in the ground and buried it. He returned it to his master with no interest. The other servants invested their talents and were able to give dividends to their master upon his return.{{more}} The master rewarded those servants, but he ordered that the “wicked and slothful servant be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

Nineteenth century British Prime Minister Benjamin “Dizzy” Disraeli defined Conservatives as “An unhappy crossbreed, the mule of politics that engenders nothing”. It is important to note that the reference here to “mule” is not from the perspective of the strength or usefulness of the mule, but rather from the perspective of the mule’s genetical and physiological inability to reproduce. The mule being a crossbreed between a donkey and a horse; whose offspring are monogenically masculine. Politics is defined as “the art of the possible” or as United States politician Robert Marion LaFollette defined it: “economics in action”, as distinct from “economic inaction”. When one therefore juxtaposes the definition of a “conservative politician” against this definition of “politics”, an oxymoron is discovered. How do you reconcile the “conservative”, “the mule of politics that engenders nothing” with “politics”, “the art of the possible”, “economics in action”?

The servant in the parable was indeed a conservative; therefore, he did nothing with his talent. There is also the subliminal element of his envy, hostility and grudge against his master: “Reaping where you have not sown”. Conversely, his fellow servants were other than conservative and put their talents to work and were able to derive dividends. How. does all this jibe with our Vincentian peculiarity? If, for instance, you are a “conservative politician”, and descendants of an indigenously ethnic demographic and others are separated from the rest of the country by a dry river which floods without warning and have been known to take lives. You see the need for a bridge, but you do nothing about it. A socially conscious member of the party, taking a cue from the government’s policy of building low income and no income homes, attempts to rebuild a home for a destitute old lady whose home was damaged by a storm.
Her “conservative political leader” reads her the Riot Act: “When you do that, everybody is going to expect us to do that”. True to “conservative values” he was “concerned” about the kind of “moral hazard” that President G.W. Bush was worried about if the Federal Government bailed out a few thousand homeowners in 2007-2008. An intervention which could have prevented the global economic downturn and subsequent world recession and double dip recession, the effects of which the world is still feeling five years later. A mockery indeed of their “kinder, gentler society”. Your country needs international air access. You see the need. You engage in the pretense of proactivity, by a “paralysis of analysis”; you conduct multiple feasibility studies ad infinitum, but you do absolutely nothing to alleviate the situation.
 When the government in office commences the building of the airport, the conservative politicians criticize and oppose it at every opportunity and every turn. Only 40 per cent of your primary school children had access to secondary education. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals mandate that all children ought to have access by the year 2015. The government in office decides to be proactive and by virtue of an “Education Bill” in parliament seeks to implement access 10 years ahead of the United Nations mandate, but the “conservative politicians” vote against the bill.

The government announces an initiative and goal of having a university graduate in each household by the year 2025 and designs a “Disadvantaged Student Loan Programme”, to facilitate underprivileged children, who otherwise may not be able to access a university education. The conservative politicians oppose the initiative, ostensibly because they do not believe in the honesty and trustworthiness of ordinary people’s children, claiming that they will not repay the loans. The real reason for the objection comes to the surface when you read between the lines as they speak.
What they are really worried about is that ordinary people’s, poor people’s children will now be qualified in great numbers at the tertiary level and may therefore compete with their children for jobs locally and in the region; previously the exclusive preserve of the children of the conservative politicians and other well-to-do and upper-class folks. And besides, when all these poor people’s children obtain university degrees, who will be left to labour, toil and sweat on the banana and other plantations of the conservative politicians and their bourgeois friends?

By now you get the picture; conservatism is about maintaining the status quo when it is skewed in the favour of the conservative politicians. It is about not rocking the boat. Not upsetting the apple cart. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. If you have a competitive advantage in the marketplace, why would you want to run the risk of changing the rules? An economic and academic apartheid and monopoly favours the conservative politicians, so why change it? Reparations for slavery are being pursued by the government, in conjunction with other regional governments, and in the context of the reparations gained by other groups who suffered genocide and economic deprivation at the hands of colonial and other powers.
The conservative politicians refuse to participate and blatantly oppose the initiative, using as a pretext that there are other pressing problems that need attention; as if to say only one thing can be done at a time. When in fact the real reason may be that the conservative politicians do not want to offend their former colonial masters, for whose patronage they are secretly nostalgic and are at their most gleeful and effulgent when a visit is paid by an heir of such colonial power, as they jostle each other for a pride of place from which to curtsy and genuflect.

Please don’t be “conned” by the “servile” shenanigans of the “politico-economic conservative politicians”. It is all about “poly” (many/multiple) “tricks” used to maintain their advantaged place in society and to keep “ordinary people” in a state of subservient servility and abject poverty. After all the conservative politicians are bent on emulating the caste system handed down to them by their colonial masters.

Having accomplished their diabolical scheme, they will even use scripture to keep their “subjects” in line: “Servants, be obedient to your Masters.” No to Education! No to Reparation! No to decent housing! No to Rabacca Bridge! No to International Airport! No to Petro-Caribe and ALBA initiatives! “I will unsign them.” Doesn’t matter that Congressman Joseph Kennedy of the state of Massachusetts, through his non-profit philanthropic organization Citizens Oil have also negotiated with the Venezuelan Government to supply discounted and in some cases free heating oil for over two hundred thousand poor families on the eastern seaboard of the United States, over the last seven years, family members who may otherwise freeze to death, in the winter when the temperatures hit subfreezing levels. But, incredibly, a local conservative politician is more concerned about “What will America say?” I recommend American abolitionist and novelist Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe’s book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” for a more satirical and paradoxical understanding of the mindset and psyche of the post-emancipation Caribbean’s, so-called “Politico-Economic Conservative Politicians” and those of their ilk.

Benson Feddows