Libertarians in Thailand

Promoting Freedom in an Authoritarian nation

A taxi drivers opinion and a Libertarian reflection

While in the taxi from my home to Suvarnabhumi airport I came into conversation with the taxi driver. Or more to say, the taxi driver came into conversation with me as he was very eager to inform me of his views of former PM Thaksin. During this conversation I was met with the repeating of the arguments heard before and somewhere in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but to draw to memory the importance of the taxi radio stations as expressed by others.

It was almost as if he tried to retell, in verbatim, of all the bad things Abhisit, the ‘yellows’ and the army stood for while he, repeatedly, proclaimed that the ‘reds’ was killed by grenades by yellows and never once fight back with violence. By his account, true to his heart, the red was a peaceful movement with a spotless record.

I can recognize the wrong doings the ‘yellows’ has been up to. I don’t have a pony in the game between the yellow and the reds.

Well, that isn’t exactly true. As while the yellows doesn’t stand for something I want they are in themselves neither a direct contender to government in any realistic future while the reds, atleast those that support Thaksin more than they support communistic dreams in general, are fighting to ‘restore’ the dangerous path that Thaksin was on.

I can accept the arguments regarding how the current power setup is wrong, how the military has an overbearingly heavy influence on everything in Thailand and even how the country isn’t truly a constitutional monarchy. What I cannot accept is that Thaksin is seen as some form of Messiah, champion or pioneer in the fight for the poor. It’s to accept that a fox might be less dangerous than a wolf and therefore say that he is the best guard of the chicken kook. It’s just different degree of evil.

There is no doubt that we are drawing near a crossroad in Thai history with the recent events of further strengthening the Lese Majeste laws and their hardened use in actual real cases, as oppose during Thaksin when they were more a slandering tool and never really ended in any harsh jail-times for anyone. That doesn’t mean that what happened back then wasn’t as despicable as the man himself (Thaksin) is, but one cannot look away and not recognize the basic simple truth that Freedom of Speech and Expression is under attack in Thailand today.

But within this realm of Freedom of Speech we have to remember that misinformation, lies and disinformation lays. As I was so shown by the taxi driver, as honest as he understood it in his heart, people are being manipulated each and every day by the endless broadcast of clear and pure propaganda stations throughout our nation. There is no talk about minor infractions of jumbled numbers, quotes being miss-represented or statements made in haste and later retracted. It’s an endless stream of pure hatred of falsified information and glorification’s on the own cause only rivaled by the wartime of the 30’ies. This is no accident; this is a clear and concise campaign to build a grass root movement to pave the road back for another aspiring despot. Thaksins record from his time in office should make it clear to anyone that there is no interest in having any form of Freedom of Speech or Expression from his camp. They loath it as much as the ‘other side’.

So what is a Libertarian to do?

First we have to recognize that there is no path to a solution available as of now. It doesn’t matter if one backs the extreme right, the ultra conservatives, the presumed populists or the emerging left. It will end in the same setup with the only difference being who the head of state is and what the economical path to ruin was called before everything collapsed.

Make no mistake, there lays no salvation working against the world when one is a 3rd world economy and both paths (or ‘all three’, assuming the communists would manage to gain a momentum with Giles PR stunts) have always been actively trying to paddle upstream, against the flow.

Libertarians have to unite under the common angle that personal and economical freedom is the only right thing.

In a pragmatic view it really doesn’t matter what the government calls its rule if the foundation respects this simple principle. And as voters generally can became subjects to misinformation and charismatic leaders’ wishes to subjugate some in the name of others we have to always guarantee that no govern ship is allowed to erode the basic principle. The ‘motto of the state’ must come first to protect the people from disbanding freedoms from themselves or the majority enforcing restrictions on the minority. Or, as it happens in Europe currently, the minority claiming a moral standpoint and subjugating the voice of the majority to enforce it, stifling dissident with emotional arguments and branding opposing people with highly derogatory terms. The ‘dictatorship of the Politically Correct Elite’, as someone called it.

A Libertarian often fights for the principle and never the full enforcement of the dream. This is because a Libertarian knows that anyone in power will do anything they can to maintain it and that power corrupts. That today’s system doesn’t allow for an ideology so without hatred or force against their fellow man as not enough people would subscribe to it. Not enough, until they realized what it really gained them in the long run. People are in general short-sighted and greedy and cannot be fully trusted to understand the importance of long-term decisions. That is why a society under Libertarian rule always must have very effective and efficient checks and balances to make sure that no rules, laws or actions by the state in any way limits or reduces the people’s economical or personal freedom.

A Libertarian knows that this platform is a political suicide to go to election on. Not only will it make sure the power hungry are their enemies it also lacks the short-sighted promises of easy gains for continual promises-for-votes switches that politicians make their living from.

Fact of the matter is that politicians is by large a useless group of individuals of no good use to a society. That is, if the society already had a solid platform it was built upon.

So what is a Libertarian to do?


February 15, 2009 - Posted by | Editorial | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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