Fear is the key

September 01, 2016 10:05
Donald Trump (right), shown with running mate Mike Pence, is embroiled in character flaws. The duo, known as Trumpence, has the ring of worthless coinage. Photo: Reuters

Do you ever get the feeling that the world is losing touch with reality?

I confess to experiencing this with alarmingly increasing frequency. Ah well, you say, that is just the effect of getting older, to which I respond yes and no.

Undoubtedly, one’s perceptions adjust with the passage of time but that cannot explain the ballooning incidence of absurdities which echo the 17th century play, It’s A Mad World, My Masters.

On the world stage, the two nominees for President of the United States are entangled in both real and suspected character flaws, though "Trumpence" does have the ring of a worthless coinage.

Erdogan is laying about him with the destructive profligacy of a modern-day Caligula, Mugabe believes himself a god, Najib Razak has a David Copperfield talent for disguising his affluence, Putin is an anthropomorphic Teflon and Kim Jong-Un thinks he is Toad of Toad Hall.

Legislatures are behaving no better than the autocrats; the US Congress and Senate display all the accrued wisdom of a kindergarten for obsessive-compulsive retards and Hong Kong’s Legco is peopled with self-serving egotists locked in vacuum-sealed pockets of irreconcilable conflict.

No wonder the electorates have no faith in their representatives and their abject failure to provide competent governance.

It is this sense of frustration that gives rise to the Trumps, Farages, Le Pens, Corbyns et al.

Closer to home, is it any wonder that young people in Hong Kong advocate independence?

A less responsive administration than the denizens of Tamar would be hard to find anywhere in the civilized world.

To one’s consternation, contrary to responsive government, confrontation on every front seems to be the operative mantra of the Tamar Handbook.

Each so called "public consultation" eventuates in both policy and action which blatantly flouts the tenor of people’s hopes and wishes.

Ordinarily, such a combination of acquired myopia and auditory impairment would require urgent medical attention.

Leave aside misgovernment, blinkered selfishness is the hallmark of too many of Hong Kong’s tycoons.

The relentless increases in commercial rentals are killing the indigenous businesses. Traditional shops disappear, replaced by yet more retail outlets for the multi-national chain stores, all selling exactly the same things.

Restaurateurs almost dread becoming successful because their landlords will price them out of the market.

The proliferation of gold shops, almost one every 50 metres, which coincidentally just happen to be subsidiaries of the big property developers, is an obscene excrescence. The old family jewellery businesses cannot compete.

The gravely misnomered Department of Justice appears to have lost all sense of balance.

Drivers involved in the most inconsequential of bumps, almost imperceptible damage and no physical injury, minuscule errors of judgment are prosecuted for careless driving.

Such incidents lack any quality of criminal culpability but once the prosecution is commenced, magistrates go into auto mode and convict.

A teenager selling something he bought on eBay is prosecuted and convicted for breach of copyright by Customs and Excise.

Discussion of an independent Hong Kong is not only banned in schools but characterised as criminal.

What is there to fear from informed debate curated by sensible, disinterested teachers?

As every rational thinker appreciates, open discussion reveals the inherent flaws in any proposition.

No responsible teacher, irrespective of his or her personal opinion, would try to bend the will of the students to one persuasion or other.

Wherefrom all this disproportionality?

As with so much in human relations, fear is the key.

Fear of the unknown by the ignorant, fear of something foreign by the insecure, fear of wisdom in others by the foolish, fear of knowledge by the unlettered.

Each of these pernicious character flaws is on florid display in countless politicians, senior civil servants and property magnates.

Megalomania inspires the leader who fears loss of his or her power to the relentless pursuit of those whom they apprehend will wrest power from them.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So it is that societies governed by egregiously flawed individuals lose their inherently balanced values and become prey to self-destructive factionalism.

Next time you watch a politician on TV, contrast the words -- which are only so much roughage -- with the facial expressions.

Some of them have acquired an emotionless mask behind which to hide their contempt for the hoi polloi electorate, others, less skillful, wear an expression so much at odds with their speech that the brain can only be marginally engaged.

These soi disant "leaders" have neither the ethical or cultural standards required for such responsibilities.

Driven by a primordial fear of losing such power as they have, they no longer respond to the dictates of civil society.

When, one asks rhetorically, will they be replaced by individuals in whom it will be safe to repose trust and confidence?

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Queen's Counsel