Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Democracy vs Corruption: the Thanathorn debate

Apr 16. 2019
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By Tulsathit Taptim
The Nation

As expected, the fight between angelic Democracy and demonic Corruption in the aftermath of the Thai election has intensified in terms of ferociousness, irony and paradox.

The “Angel” has pointed to the fate of Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as proof that he alone embodies the best political system, whereas the “Demon” insists that the Thanathorn controversy is being muddied by the holier-than-thou camp, which is unknowingly killing its own argument.

Corruption has identified the presence of Western diplomats and activists monitoring legal action against Thanathorn as hypocrisy of the highest order. As usual, Corruption has asked Democracy to stop pretending, and make a pact with him in order to rule the world together.

The following is a record of their latest verbal showdown:

Corruption: Would America allow non-American observers to be 

present during its investigation of Edward Snowden?

Democracy: That argument is starting to bore me now. Don’t you have anything else to say?

Corruption: When one says he is tired of one line of argument, chances are he can’t beat it.

Democracy: It’s different. Edward Snowden has been and will always be interrogated under a democratic system. Thanathorn is being persecuted under a dictatorship. Shall we move on?

Corruption: Because Snowden is in a democratic country, his interrogation can be private? And because Thanathorn is being interrogated under a dictatorship, the legal action should be transparent? I’m confused. Are you saying that a democratic interrogation does not need to be transparent, while a dictatorial interrogation does?

Democracy: I’m saying that we have less to worry about when it comes to a democratic interrogation.

Corruption: Let me rephrase my question, then. What would be more democratic – the closely monitored Thanathorn interrogation or a behind-closed-doors questioning of Snowden?

Democracy: You want to trap me and make me say the closely monitored Thanathorn interrogation, right? Why don’t you give credit to the Western observers for making the Thanathorn action more transparent than the Snowden affair? 

Corruption: Why should I give credit to the people who don’t give a damn about the Snowden affair?

Democracy: Why are you so thick? The Snowden case has been taken by elected authorities or those appointed by elected authorities. In other words, the action is according to the will of the American people.

Corruption: I’m pretty sure a lot of actions taken by elected representatives did not accord with the American people’s will. Did they want them to invade Iraq? And don’t be rude. I may be thick, but I’m not delusional. I never pretend to be good or try to put other people down to achieve my goals.

Democracy: Sorry about the “thick” slip. All I’m saying is I may not be perfect but I’m the best you can find.

Corruption: All I’m saying is if hypocrisy is the best people can get, then they will sooner or later try to find something else. I’m giving you a solid chance of survival. Join me, end all doubts about your pretentiousness and we can rule this world together. Trust me, people love “sincere” bad more than “fake” good.

Democracy: Are you saying I will be better off by proclaiming I can cheat, kill and jail or torture people on national security charges?

Corruption: You have done much of that already, albeit under pretexts or blatant lies that are unravelling with each passing day. Go on pretending and you will crumble like the Roman Empire. Stop pretending and both of us will have a good chance.

Democracy: You can’t just go and tell the world that elections will facilitate cheating and the killing or torture of innocent people. The world order will come tumbling down.

Corruption: The world order is a mess already. We just go and tell the world what it really is. We can start by informing the world that the United Nations is a farce.

Democracy: Wait a minute. Don’t tell me you want to make a deal with the UN, too?

Corruption: Why not? It’s the most undemocratic organisation ever to take on the guise of democracy. Tell me one thing: If the UN is a democratic institution, why do a handful of countries hold veto powers?

Democracy: But there would be anarchy unless countries with the greatest firepower have some sort of control.

Corruption: Is that kind of thinking being applied in many parts of the world? That to prevent an anarchy, people with firepower should have some sort of control? Just for argument’s sake, what is the difference between the veto power and the Thai Senate’s ability to block or endorse a prime ministerial nominee?

Democracy: As I have told you. There are more eyes at the UN. Moreover, the system may not be perfect but it is currently as good as we can get.

Corruption: So, which one is more democratic and as good as we can get – the many-eyed UN trying to block America’s planned invasion of Iraq, or America ignoring the UN and invading Iraq anyway? If one side is democratic, the other must be the opposite, right?

And the World, Heaven and Hell 

continue to hold their breath…

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