The new Aryans
April 08, 2000
By Selwyn R. Cudjoe
IN The Concept of Law, H. L. A. Hart, a famous English professor of Law, argues that when a social group has laws, two things are true. First, members perform certain external action that can be called habits. Second, a critical reflective aspect (internal) allows us to critique members of the group who deviate or threaten to deviate from standard behaviour. To prevent a society from descending into chaos, there must be legal and moral obligations and social sanctions that restrict negative behaviours. Although such obligations and sanctions are not (and cannot) always be written or codified, a society must insist that some behaviours are antithetical to its well-being and therefore morally repulsive.
Today, the negative behaviour of the new Aryans stands in full glare of the weak and the powerless. Although the latter do not possess the language to castigate such behaviour, they observe and record their actions and tick them away for further reference. I am convinced that the rise in anti-social behaviour and criminal activities are related to the negative behaviours of this new class that serves as a powerful disincentive to the construction of a just and moral society. As they manipulate the rules (social, legal and otherwise) to achieve their ends, they engender disrespect for law and coarsen civil society.
Perhaps, we can begin with the election cases. One always thought that politics was concerned with persuading people about the rightness of a set of ideas and then tried to get them to support them. Today, politics is about the ability to raise millions of dollars to win a court case and to ensure that one party becomes bankrupt in the process. What seemed a simple matter of illegality has escalated into a million-dollar case where money rather than truth is the determining factor. Ordinary citizens cannot understand why the signing of a false declaration has evolved into such a complex matter. To them, signing a false declaration is a violation of the law. Why is it a problem when it involves the new Aryans?
Then there is the case of Dhanraj Singh. The State charges him with murder, a simple enough matter. The AG, acting for the State, prosecutes the case but then something strange happens. A firm owned by the AG's wife defends the accused murderer. To make matters worse, Shastri Parsad, the AG's brother-in-law, turns out to be Singh's lawyer. The ordinary person is left to wonder if husband and wife do not discuss such proceedings around the dinner table or if a stony silence erupts when brother-in-law comes around?
Can the AG truly defend the interest of the public when his wife and brother-in-law are on the opposite side? Can he be a true advocate for the public when he is confronted by what appears to be conflicting interests? Is not the appearance that justice is being done a necessary function of our legal system? Perhaps, we should follow the example of St Vincent and depoliticise the AG's office by appointing a non-partisan AG.
Then there is a Prime Minister whose medical adviser decides he must travel to London for medical treatment, which he does without physical protectors (his bodyguards) or medical protection (his medical doctors). His rationale: he needs a quiet vacation and does not wish to burden the State. Unaccustomed to such uncreative lyrics, the poor bloke in the street can only speculate why a PM's visit is cloaked in such secrecy. Instinctively, he knows there is more in the mortar than the pestle, hence the question: What the PM has to hide from his bodyguards, his doctor, and his public? Tell us Good Friday falls on a Sunday and we are more likely to believe you. Do not insult our intelligence with such transparent nonsense.
In the Senate, the Telecom Bill comes up for discussion. Lindsay Gillette tells the nation that TSTT needs more competition. Disturbed by this optimism, Mary King, an economist, asserts that there are cheaper options. She asks whether "telecom companies such as MCI and Sprint…cannot sit in Florida and supply us without having to interconnect." Gillette responds in some mumbo jumbo about the inability to interconnect. The cellular industry and long-distance telephone services promises lots of profits.
A visitor from Mars would never think that Gillette and his family's company are knee-deep in the telecom industries. Neither would they know that when President Robinson opened up the media years ago it provided for the granting of several cable licences. The same Gillette sold his cable rights to a foreign monopoly. They ask: how can a person whose private company is so deeply involved in the telecom industry represent the peoples' interest? Ordinary citizens remember the fate of Power 102 and Gillette's divided loyalties. They know that when there is a clash between the peoples' interest and the profits of the new Aryans, the former always suffers.
The behaviour of those on top always affects the morals of those below. It is analogous to the truism that "if the priest can play who is me?" In their disdain, the new Aryans manipulate any rule, betray any principle and disregard any convention to achieve their selfish ends. When we ponder why crime is rising, why children have little respect for elders, and why the murder rate escalates, remember that the behaviour of those in authority always redound to haunt those below in diverse ways.
Laws and conventions must always be seen as "purposive enterprises" that cannot exist without a moral dimension. Necessarily, the truth of any rule is connected directly to its purpose and the inner morality of law is intended to serve all the people. If human conduct is subjected to the governance of rule—one definition of the law—then the conduct of the new Aryans can be considered lawless and amoral. The absence of an internal moral mirror reveals the poverty of their ethical convictions.
It may be a vain desire, but I hope the new Aryans come to understand that their behaviour deforms the society in which we live. It might seem far-fetched but the barbarians are here.
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