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#3861: Antoine comments : A fine line between authoritarian and democratic government (fwd)
From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>
So, judging from Poincy and Mark's replies, it would seem to all
come down to a matter of semantics. My advocacy for a strong
democratic government is not all that different from their advocacy
for authoritarian control. If that is in the case in political theory,
would be happy to leave it at that. In the end, it's not whether I
am right or whether Mark or Poincy is right that matters in the least.
I have other worries, and I will cede the semantic battles to them.
Whereas Poincy sees a fine line between a strong democratic
government and an authoritarian one, I see IN PRACTICE a fine
line between the adoption of an authoritarian government and the
advent of a full-fledged dictatorship. Regardless of the semantics
that you use, one is either pulled up by his commitment to democratic
ideals or pushed down by a desire to establish control to the point
where no dissent is allowed. We have nearly 200 years of History
that speak to this. "Kaka je pa linčt".
Mark Gill has asked a question of fundamental importance. I have
acknowledged it. I have not responded to it. I assume some have
already figured out the answer, but will not venture to give us the
answer, perhaps for political reasons. The issue still needs to be
debated. However, am I the only who feels that when Mark Gill
asks the questions: "How will he...?", "What can he...?", "Does
Haiti have...?", etc... there is not much of a margin for answering him
because he already hints at, or either implicitly or explicitly provides
a debilitating answer to his own questions. I am not saying this out
of disrespect, Mark . This is simply the way you come across.
You always appear to affirm the INEVITABILITY of your answers
to all the questions that you raise, based on your experiences in
Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc, and your access to sources
in the financial world. If you already are so sure you know how it
will all turn out, where's the need to debate? Just tell us, and those
who want to keep a scorecard will tell you a couple of years down
the road how right you really were. You provide such finality to
your answers that it should not surprise you that those much less
experienced than you are do not have the energy to even try to
imagine solutions contrary to those that you have already advanced.
I could say more or less the same about Poincy. He is not only
a Professor of political science, let's just say plainly that he is the
GOD of political science.
But, on my end, this is what I am saying: The Haitian people
need to find their own answers, irrespective of the gods. We
can take Mark's question, if I can paraphrase it correctly:
How can any head of government take control of the great
historical destabilizing forces in Haitian society, without
himself reverting to "breaking bones" ( "kraze zo yo", "kraze
grenn yo" ?) Is entrenched authoritarianism the inevitable answer?
Will the police force of tomorrow behave identically to the
army of yesterday, not providing security to the Haitian citizenry,
but answering only to the political whims of an ultimate enforcer?
If it is, where will you draw the line in the exercise of power,
once you have abandoned your democratic ideals?
Perhaps not to worry, because Poincy concludes:
"Necessarily, this form of government is benevolent since its
ultimate function is to promote well-being of the collectivity."
Thank you, but in my entire life and understanding of the world
around me, I have never encountered a form of government that
was necessarily benevolent, and not even the great democracies
of the United States or those of the most economically and
militarily successful democracies of Europe.
"Necessarily benevolent" does sound to me like an oxymoron.
"Benevolence" can only be achieved by a system of checks and
balances, and by the unmistakable pressure from intelligent
grass-root movements. You suppress the voice of the people,
and you end up with an elitist government that will not give a
damn about anybody else's interests. We should NEVER
EVER stop pushing for our democratic ideals, regardless of any
I am sorry, Mark, that I still do not have an answer to your
question. But, then again, why are you even asking?
I am truly baffled, so I retire from this futile exercise, and beg
others to continue it with their own insights.
Guy S. Antoine