Saturday, March 31, 2007

Back to the Future

I saw the Sophie Scholl movie last night.

It's about young students in the German resistance movement during the second world war.

Obviously the film was written in the modern Germany I know and love. But in it Sophie Scholl and her brother crystalise the fundamental ideas and thinking that Germany is now built upon.

I know little about the Scholls, however they appear to have been way ahead of their time, and maybe one could say that they were founding members of the Federal Republic of Germany that we have nowadays.

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Suppose you could categorise good and bad people into those which are ahead and behind of their times.

The visionaries such as Martin Luther King, the Scholls, Gandhi, Wilberforce, Deng Xiaoping et al are like citizens of the future. They instinctively see the path to an enlightened, better future, and most importantly they realise it's a future worth struggling for.

The bad or evil like Hitler, Stalin, Soeharto, Soekarno, Mao et al are ensconced with past logic, ideals and morals, their dreams are basically old and antiquated.

Then there are the crazy which fall in between. Those that have dreams of futures now which us lesser mortals can't quite grasp.

I suppose the idea presupposes that the future is enlightened and the past is a more brutal, unjust place.

(Perhaps it's a typical white European view, I wonder would many Africans share my view for example?)

12 comments:

spew-it-all said...

Like what i wrote in my postcolonial essay, people still believe that the motion in history will move forward, progressing towards an enlightened phase.

But who can determine if such condition needs to be progressed? Outsider tend to think that backwardness in some countries should be waned by making significant change. And this benevolent idea sometimes is carried out in the form of 'imperialism'.

johnorford said...

Well I suppose there has to be a certain freedom of expression, belief and ideology - I don't advocate that "progressive" beliefs should be forced on others.

In fact the opposite, one group should never force its beliefs on another. But when you have states like North Korea, Nazi Germany or Saudi Arabia where beliefs are forced on others, then I think one should try to bring about emancipation of thought and speech.

So I suppose, ironically, the one "progressive" ideology that I would force on every society is the freedom of thought and expression.

Angie said...

hey john,
since i cant leave you a message else where
sorry about that time, i just left the mSN, something urgent came up. But we'll talk again. btw, please read my most current entry. I need your point of view.
thank u!

cerebrator said...

Hi, John.

Freedom of thought and expression are not always good.

You need to have some control of the masses for the benefit of the masses themselves.

Gandhi went on hunger strike so the fights that were going on between the Muslims and Hindus in India would stop. This is an expression against unwanted expression!

Look at how Hitler made use of the 'free media' to propogate hate-messages and gained public attention, before he rose to power. No one stopped him!

Look at Rwanda. Look at how lack of policing radio broadcasts made it possible for hate messages to be spread and eventually led to the occurance of the genocide.

You mentioned Saudi Arabia.
Just because people are denied complete freedom of expression does not mean people are suffering and crying. Just take a look at the crime rates.

Take a hard look at America. Take a look at the number of rape cases there. Over 90,000 cases annually. And we only have less than 9,000 hours/yr!

So you see, freedom is not necessarily progressive!

In fact, those names that you have mentioned: MLK, Gandhi, Deng Xiaoping... what is their core idea?

It is the idea of ending segregation and ending abusive authority. Freedom of exppression is just a means towards this goal. It is not an end in itself.

johnorford said...

Cerebrator,

Thx for dropping by! (I really like a good counter-argument :))

I would say that Rwanda and Nazi Germany's problems were the abuse of military/police power rather than a free speech problem.

The slaughter in the Punjab was, I suspect, a due to the power vacuum that occured when the British were about to leave and neither Pakistan or "Hindustan" knew who was in charge of the Punjab.

Basically, if people say something hateful, it should be seen like that, the masses aren't stupid -- they don't need protection.

"Saudi Arabia [...] Just take a look at the crime rates."

You know the Happy Kingdom has the lowest rapes rates in the world? And you know, all the Indonesian women I know that have gone on the Hajj there are real scared being out and about over there. Not to mention the domestic abuse that is more or less condoned by the Saudi govt... -- officially domestic violence doesn't really exist in the Happy Kingdom...

"It is the idea of ending segregation and ending abusive authority. Freedom of exppression is just a means towards this goal. It is not an end in itself."

Abusive authority is that which curtails freedoms which would make me happy but doesn't impact on other's happiness.

It seems you have a view that people are not intelligent enough or too irresponsible to judge what is best for themselves, that is a big mistake.

spew-it-all said...

Celebrator, i got the impression that your fear of what freedom might give is understandable.

Political disaster that you mentioned had nothing to do with freedom of expression. I agree with John regarding Nazi's case.

Freedom will guarantee that equality is maintained as the basic principle. Even redneck idiot should have the same right as the sane ones.

I dont really understand the relation between freedom and crime? Do you assume that crimes rate depends on the level of freedom found within society?

If you think that control of masses is necessary for their benefit, i am afraid that this patronising idea denies the ability of the citizens to understand their own rights.

cerebrator said...

"(I really like a good counter-argument :))"

Yep so do I. But the crap thing is that people are moving away from forum board discussions (phpBB, e.tc.) and instead, each one of us have gone to build our own fortresses in the forms of blogs.

And blogs were never really meant to be mediums for discussions. (not saying it's impossible, just not efficient/effective enough)

And for that, I shall refrain from further arguing my points. Thx for being receptive anyway.
(yeh, you too spew-it-all)

Anyway, I just want to make a standpoint:
Yes, I believe that people are not always readily intelligent enough.

Is that a mistake? I believe no.

You may argue against this, and I will drop by to hear them.

But I won't elaborate on my stand/counter-argue becaue as I said, I don't find blogs as a very efficient medium for discussion.

I look forward to reading more of you john.

:D

johnorford said...

"But I won't elaborate on my stand/counter-argue becaue as I said, I don't find blogs as a very efficient medium for discussion."

I agree with you.

I think blogs are more popular now, because /people/ are more interesting to others, and also they massage blog owner's egos...

I think I will write a post this, you do make some good points.

Denica said...

The bad or evil like Hitler, Stalin, Soeharto, Soekarno, Mao et al are ensconced with past logic, ideals and morals, their dreams are basically old and antiquated.

soeharto is evil? at least he brought a sense of order in this awful nation. believe it or not, most indonesian prefer him to other presidents until now.

johnorford said...

Well as I said, Suharto is either bad or evil.

In '65-'66 0.1 - 1.5m people were murdered, /maybe/ he never directly condoned it, but he sure as hell didn't try to stop it!

spew-it-all said...

# Celebrator

I disagree with you if blog is not sufficient medium for discussion. In fact, it could be very effective as it gives people chance to write a thoroughly insightful analysis. It functions like journal or newspaper. Of course, the obvious obstacle is the comment tool which is effective for short comment. So through blog, discussion will look like article vs article rather than comment vs comment.

# Denica
I understand that people tend to prefer Suharto than any other presidents. But this does not reflect that the desire of bringing back authoritarianism. It implies the hope of a powerful state. What people seem to ignore is that transition is strenous process and most likely leads to frustration. And if people want him to come back is not because they love authoritarianism but they desperately want to see law enforcement being carried out immediately.

johnorford said...

"Of course, the obvious obstacle is the comment tool which is effective for short comment."

Yeh that's what I thought, maybe wordpress has a better system... perhaps I should change to that...