…and then there are the independents

There are those that do not belong to either party but care nonetheless about the country. To them, to fight for the country does not necessarily mean automatically aligning to either party. No party has a monopoly over the country and these people know it. These people are the independents.

Hafiz Noor Shams, The Malaysian Insider

The concept of duality is helpful in understanding the context a particular issue is set in.

Without the idea of cold, how does one define the idea of hot? Without evil, how does one appreciate good? Without tyranny, how does one taste the sweet nectar of liberty? While such monochromic perception has its advantage in rationalising the world, one must not take it too far lest one becomes a victim of false dichotomy.

To commit such elementary fallacy is especially easy in a highly politicised environment with heightened blind partisanship.

Blind partisanship begins with prejudice taking over as the prevailing sentiment while trust and assumption of good faith vanishes.

With humanity’s amazing ability to selectively accept evidence only when it is convenient to one’s purpose, our capability to confirm our prejudice even as we are unaware of our own effort at the confirmation bias should not be underestimated.

However fallacious the process is, the so-called evidence provides the foundation for paths to the mind be shut.

So strong the foundation becomes that criticism, along with evidence to contrary become a squash ball to a wall. The ball bounces off and the wall stands so proudly, rightly or wrongly.

So strong they hold to their prejudice – and emboldened by their confirmation bias – that everything now is coloured in only black and white in the dullest of manner.

But dullness is of no concern when one is right or, rather, when one FEELS that one is right.

It is a kind of intellectual arrogance, except that intellectual arrogance is a property of those who are rigorous – slow, perhaps, for all evidence has to be considered objectively and mental model has to be set out right but rigorous nonetheless – in their thinking process.

Intellectual arrogance is no property of simpletons who resort to logical fallacies just because fallacies are easy. That arrogance is no property of those who seek to merely confirm their bias.

As their colourful world turns monochromic, it is all about us versus them. The like-minded people versus the different others.

Close as I might come, fret not for I am here today not to burst into a raving lunatic recluse that I am sometimes as I sit in a corner embarking on a soliloquy amid a world which at times appears beyond saving.

I am not here today to expound organic politics and to soil divine rights despite the enjoyment that I derive from doing so.

No. No.

I am here today to celebrate valiant individuals and to ridicule dronish collectives.

I am here today to demonstrate as arrogantly as I find possible why my arrogance will trump monochromic arrogance.

I am here today to admonish those who horrendously, unjustifiably, adopt arrogant monochromic worldview that there are only two groups in the world; Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

Yes, today is not all about abstract idea while the mind wonders in the clouds. Today is about a very real issue.

While BN does exhibit some waning in terms of arrogance, only a blind cow would think BN is finally beginning to adopt a humble outlook.

Ignore the slogans from the top echelon of BN leadership because the true measure of an organisation’s sentiment is to be seen at the grassroots. No sincerity from the leadership in advocating change can supplant the signal from the ground level.

And the grassroots of BN, specifically of Umno, are unambiguous. As the Democrats in the United States used to say prior to November 10, 2008, they want more of the same. The grassroots of Umno still have not learned enough lessons to comprehend that globalisation is here and that globalisation is going to dismantle their precious affirmative action, by hook or by crook. The time is up and to hide behind that crumbling wall is folly.

When Reagan said out loud in Berlin in 1987, “Mr Gorhachev, open up this gate. Mr Gorhachev, tear down this wall!” the communists understood that the end was near.

If somebody were to say the same thing today to the grassroots of Umno, do they understand it at all?

Whatever arrogance BN has managed to dust off its back, Pakatan has regretfully picked up. Many in Pakatan feel that they are beyond criticism.

Even if the criticism is justified, they implicitly assume that voters really have no choice but to stay with Pakatan simply because Pakatan is the lesser of the two evils.

Oh, the arrogance is so suffocating that I just wish a general election to come quick for me to prove that the Sophie’s choice rationale is but an eroded disk brake of no use any longer.

Pakatan does not get a get-out-of-jail-free card any more. The time for a free ride is over. No more handicaps. It is time for free and fair competition that is the essence of a proper democracy.

For far too many, in BN and Pakatan as well as their sympathisers, this environment of heightened blind partisanship has encouraged them to adopt a monochromic worldview; a worldview of us versus them.

So strongly do they hold on to their view and so paranoid are they that any opposition towards their position is automatically categorised as “them” and “the other”.

It is all about us and them. The other is Pakatan if they are BN; the other is BN if they are Pakatan.

I say this from personal experience. Every time I criticise Pakatan, I am called a BN lackey and everything I criticise BN, I am called a Pakatan apologist, or something to the same effect.

I cannot accept this outrageous accusation for I am independent of Anwaristas and Umnoputras.

No. I will not take that for since when this country of over 26 million Malaysians is cleanly divided between BN and Pakatan?

There are those that do not belong to either party but care nonetheless about the country. To them, to fight for the country does not necessarily mean automatically aligning to either party.

No party has a monopoly over the country and these people know it. These people are the independents.

The independents are known for swinging. They shop around for options and buy only when they are satisfied with the goods, very unlike blind partisans who will continue buy the same old good from the same vendor, even when faeces rests peacefully on top of the good.

Yes, sir. The independents shop around and the independents are no blind partisans.

Hafiz Noor Shams blogs humbly at maddruid.com.