Monday, March 23, 2015

Educated UNPiers may come out of their closets

A political ideology must be about a collective no? What else could it be based on? For the typical SLFPier, that collective is his family, tribe, village, and the nation; in that order. These are groupings that he is intimate with and ones which can be considered real. Typically, UNP has nothing much to do with ideologies. But the educated among them like the idea of ideologies. They find comfort in such concepts as democracy, nationalism, good governance etc. Of course these are abstract ideas based on abstract collectives unlike the real collectives that SLFPiers based their ideologies on.

So when the SLFPiers are concerned about their collective (say the nation) they sound down right tribal as if they feel it in their guts whereas when the UNPiers talk about such things (the educated do) they sound “sophisticated”. But on the other hand since the collective is something imaginary to the UNPiers they can do bad things to the real collective with a clear conscience….and invariably they do.

In 1983, my recollection is that majority of the mob that came to loot and burn Tamil homes in our neighborhood consisted of UNP supporters, (except for that one guy who was known to be some sort of a leftist who was later chased out of the mob apparently because he had suggested looting the Cooperative Society outlet) probably because they knew that they could get away with it. It does not mean that all UNPiers are racists; not by any chance. But not having a political ideology that flows from a real society that one can identify with, does not instil discipline. This deficiency runs through the UNP hierarchy. It is not a secret that JR, yes the one venerated by the venerable Rathana, ran what was then considered to be the most degenerate election campaign ever; in 1977. Come to think of it, the one ran by Ranil-Sirisena this time around doesn’t smell of flowers either. I guess it runs in the UNP family. But it does not contradict them from paying homage to abstract concepts like human rights, good governance, etc, precisely because these concepts are not based on real collectives, like the one they are looting.

During the past decade, because UNP was out of power, UNPiers (at least the educated among them) were forced to pay lips service to SLFP ideologies. So when SLFPiers talk of Sinhala nation, UNPiers did the same, when SLFPiers spoke against the betraying of national integrity, UNPiers approvingly nod their heads. But the difference was that it felt more real to the SLFPiers than to the educated UNPiers. This is again because while the SLFPiers were thinking of the society in which they lived, the typical educated UNPier had to substitute an abstract society.

Finally.. finally now that the dictator of ideologies has been sent home, the UNPiers now do not have to pretend that they agree with SLFP ideologies. That means they no longer need to be saddled with unsophisticated tribal feelings of the SLFPiers, which is good. But wait… what about those “sophisticated” abstract ideas? In reality weren’t they poor substitutes that UNPiers had adapt to under the dictatorship? Why not get rid of them too. Then they can be as free as the 1983 rioters.

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