By Dr Velon John
Philosophy has been dethroned and enlightenment and naivety embraced in a grotesque dance for survival in the politics of the absurd. That is Lucian politics.
While lying on my bed of sleep this past Thursday evening March 11, 2021, my mind was assailed by a multiplicity of questions that shot out of the Richard/St Rose TV exchange. It was interesting, revealing and somewhat perplexing. It screamed for questions to be answered by the conspicuously absent Choiseul “constitutents”.
What was the mechanism used to facilitate the emergence of the hitherto unknown Dr Prospere? Was there a run-off? Was there a poll? In what way “700” became the magic number and representative of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) voting electorate? Whatever the mechanism was it predicated on the principles of democracy and transparency?
I do not have the answers which at this time and stage would have enabled me to accept or reject the conflicting positions of the good and aspiring doctors. With that level of ignorance staring me in the face; I must necessarily address my mind to the seemingly principled posture assumed by the good male doctor.
Is he right to stand on principle whatever that principle is? The answer of course is yes.
One must always hold on to principle particularly in the resolution of conflicting issues. As have been said, principle is either wholly kept or wholly sacrificed and that the slightest concession on matters of principle implies the abandonment of principle. And the doctor is a principled man – principle indeed makes the man or woman and its derogation facilitates the slippage into venality and opportunism.
And so, these questions arise:
- Contextually speaking, is it pragmatic for the good doctor to stand on principle?
- Can principle and pragmatism co-exist?
- Where do ethics and integrity come in? Is situational ethics the cop-out in this contrived drama?
- Is it the solution to this existential conflict?
- And can the good doctor’s honour survive?
- There is so much that is unknown.
Is the good lady also standing on principle? If that is indeed the case, then the truth in this drama of ambition is being sacrificed or compromised. Who is being economical with the truth and therefore is motivated by greed in the commission of the sin of hubris?
Assuming that what the good doctor is asserting is indeed the truth then the process of choice was flawed. And if that is indeed so, then the party including its leader were complicit in the selection process. Then that puts to question the individual and collective of so many. A very frightening situation.
I do not know the good doctor: but I think I know Philip J Pierre. I am prepared to accept that which he supported and gave his blessing. And in fairness to the good doctor, I am prepared to accept the very real probability that he was mistaken or misled.
As has been said, politics is the art of the possible and the core mission in this enterprise is to assume the governance of a country. To win a general election is the primary raison d’etre of a political party and the second is to effectuate plans, programs and policies to the satisfaction of the electorate. It is a collective endeavour that embraces the collectivity. No one person can achieve that goal whether in terms of his constituency or the country as a whole. And the passion that drives a man or a woman to enter the realm of politics is not self-interest, enlightened or otherwise, but patriotism.
“Not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
In this erudite, talented and empathetic doctor I see (and others do) an excellent minister of health; apart from finance, the most important portfolio in government. From my vantage point, I see a certain probability: almost certainly. That should be considered by him not in terms of his own personal elevation or aggrandisement but in terms of the noble impulse (patriotism) that has propelled him into the arena of politics.
Again as I see it, the good doctor has an important contribution to make in the development of this country and its people. His present course would be tantamount to a betrayal of all of us and a condemnation of all of us; for we would be condemned to languish in a society, on an island, where criminal political mismanagement would be the order of the day, the month, the years, the decades – a frightening and alarming situation for my grandchildren and theirs.
The best amongst us have concluded that for you a three-cornered fight would be suicidal in terms of who and what you are, in terms of your potential and also in terms of what would constitute the justification of your existence. You would have two opponents to defeat: two institutions. The winner in this three-cornered fight is he or the entity that controls the policy-making mechanism in this insular political sphere. You do not feature … regardless.
Indeed you are an honourable man and so it behoves you to do the honourable thing that takes into consideration your very human fallibility.
Seven hundred Frenchmen could be wrong
What pellucidly must be understood is that life in its unfolding mode and evolution is not linear. It is at times convoluted with its highs and lows evidencing situations of righteous and valid conflicts, that give rise to what may be termed as the hierarchy of values that constitutes and defines the principles that guide and guard the incidents of living as we as human beings explore our varied action space. In terms of the hierarchy of values what the good doctor needs to address himself; is that which can be perceived as the greater good. That which is in the best interest of the totality, the whole.
A certain validity and justification may be perceived sectorally but then what does the big picture indicate? And is the part greater than the whole?
The optimal manifestation or expression, of principle, can only be in terms of its holistic consequence and not in relation to a constituent part of the whole. What the good doctor must do, and as he has intimated, must be consonant with principle and in the circumstance of humanity, since we all expect him to do the honourable thing for the greater good.
In closing, I reiterate the admission that in relation to this matter, I know essentially, nothing except the fact of my ignorance which highlights in my litigious and disputatious mind, the obvious requirement of evidence.
This is not a matter of contradictions and conflicts that assail us: that punctuate our daily lives. It is a matter of principle and morality. A defining but simple choice between that which is right and that which is wrong.