In Summary
  • Our specialty is drama, and it is about to play out with Supreme Court Season II – Everyone v. IEBC.
  • Ethnic radicalisation warps the understanding of politics; it distorts the views one is capable of listening and responding to.
  • In 2004, two of the world’s greatest contemporary thinkers, Jurgen Habermas, a Neo-Marxist social critic and philosopher and Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) met in Munich, Germany.

Horror has been playing for a while in the world with the Syrian War. Syria, according to WikiLeaks’ damming reports, is not just engaged in a civil war.

It is a cruel fratricide, fuelled by the economic and resource interests of Russia, a few Middle East countries and the United States, which trained and armed ISIS before the group went out of control.

Elsewhere, the Paradise Papers, a chilling thriller, were released last week. This mega off-shore tax evasion scandal involves unsuspecting leaders, from the Queen of England to Shakira, from President Santos of Colombia to the former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and the former mayor of Barcelona and current councillor, Xavier Trias.

The Paradise Papers are several tons of confidential papers leaked from the off-shore law firm, Appleby, to a German newspaper, and published on November 5, 2017.The Boston Consulting Group claims the amount of money involved is around $10 trillion.

Kenya has not been left behind. Our specialty is drama, and it is about to play out with Supreme Court Season II – Everyone v. IEBC.

Thrillers stem from unchecked ambition, greed and blurred reason. As the plot progresses, they degenerate into dramas, and then horrors. We stop thinking, we stop talking and we cannot tolerate disagreement.

‘The Dying Art of Disagreement’ was the title of a lecture delivered by Bret Stevens at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, 23 September, 2017. A sizeable number of ‘liberals’ complained bitterly and called for Stevens’ talk to be suspended.

DISINVITED SPEAKERS

I consider The New York Times reproduction of that lecture one of the most illuminating newspaper pieces on freedom of thought and democratic debate.

Truth be told, many of Stevens’ ideas are controversial, but he wonders about the fate of countless individuals whose views are increasingly shunned in American university campuses: excluded from public discourse. It is a:

depressing trend on American university campuses, where the roster of disinvited speakers and forced cancellations includes former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice, former Harvard University President Larry Summers, actor Alec Baldwin, human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, DNA co-discoverer James Watson, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, filmmaker Michael Moore, conservative Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will and liberal Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Anna Quindlen, to name just a few.

Disagreement, Stevens says, is central to a decent society as agreement is. Its role in a democracy is crucial to the sustenance of a functioning society:

every groundbreaking idea is in opposition to yet another groundbreaking idea and the oscillation between ideas has marked the epochal evolution of knowledge.

Harvard guru Michael Sandel has also been pushing for the need to rediscover the art of democratic debate. He says it is pointless to pretend that any truly democratic debate is devoid of certain underlying moral principles, religious convictions and philosophical questions.

IRRATIONAL POSTURES

We have undermined rational democratic debate in two ways. First, some people have emptied their thinking of any philosophical, moral and religious convictions in an attempt to become ‘objective’. However, this objectivity is a philosophical position in itself.

Second, other people have made use of philosophical, moral and religious convictions to hide behind irrational postures and manipulate decision making, justifying discrimination and intolerance.

People are not judged by the quality and depth of their thinking;

the primary test of the argument is not the quality of the thinking but the cultural, racial or sexual standing (I might add ethnic) of the person making it.

Manipulation is not sustainable, and sooner or later thrillers turn to dramas and then horrors.

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