Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The politician & His Satan

There he sits, surrounded by strategists, pollsters …..

Look, one of them is saying, these are the facts of life ….. there are millions of voters, who will decide the outcome. These you must attract. So don't say anything unusual or radical.

You must tell them the things they want to hear, the second chimes in. …

Anything definite will push away votes, a third insists. Every principle will upset somebody, so please don't go into details. Just stick to vague generalities which appeal to everybody. […]

In Goethe’s great drama, Faust sells his soul to the devil for success in this world. Every politician has a Satan of his own, who offers power in exchange for his soul.

You have principles, this Satan whispers in his ear. They are very nice, but if you don't win the elections, they are good for nothing. You can realize them only if you come to power. So it's worth giving up some principles, making some compromises, in order to win. Afterwards you will be free to do whatever your heart desires.

The candidate knows that this is true. In order to fulfill his plans, he must first of all be elected. To get elected, he must also say things he doesn't believe in and give up things he does very much believe in.

And the question is again: Where is the limit? Which concessions are permissible on the way to the aim? Where are the red lines?

The Devil knows that the small compromises will lead to larger compromises, and so on, on the slippery slope to the loss of the soul. Without the candidate noticing, he is sliding downwards, and when he opens his eyes, he finds himself in the filthy political swamp.

This is the first big test for the aspiring leader: to know the difference between the permissible and the forbidden. Between the "art of the possible" and the "end justifies the means". Between the stubborn insistence on his principles and the total surrender to those experts, who turn every new program into a mishmash of empty phrases.

Since the beginnings of democracy in Greece, it has been bedeviled by a question: can the people, the demos, really be relied on to make the right choices? How can the public choose between different solutions for problems of which they have no real understanding? After all, the millions of voters lack even the most rudimentary knowledge about matters of the budget, the complexity of foreign relations, military strategy and the thousands of other matters that a head of state has to decide about.

Which leader is being discussed above?


UPDATE - 16 October 2008 @ 5:11 pm

Last night when I popped across to my fave Israeli website Gush Shalom – Israeli Peace Bloc I read an article titled Satan’s Counsel and was struck by how some of the paragraphs could gnam gnam be discussing the behaviour of a Malaysian politician.

;-) I am sure you know who I have in mind. So I extracted relevant paragraphs and edited out the ‘giveaways’ which would have indicated its non-Malaysian context.

Yes, I know I was being mischievously naughty wakakaka, and was waiting for the usual mob to lambast me for talking bad about our ‘Great Man’ again.

When that happened I would then reveal it was in fact Uri Avnery describing Barack Obama – with an innocent ‘what, me?’ - wakakaka.

Of course I had to present it in such a manner without giving the game away by the usual acknowledgement until at least this evening once I had ‘snared’ wakakaka a few ‘acolytes’.

I did it in a manner where there would be a demarcation between my sole question and the article. I even left standard markers as such [...] in the 4th paragraph which implies there were more to the 'extracts'.

And 'extracts' have to mean they were taken from a much longer essay, which therefore couldn’t have been mine (or the whole essay would be posted).

I usually used yellow or prominent coloured fonts for articles written by someone, though as kittykat asserted, those could be just any editor's way to highlight parts of a posting – (was it a Freudian slip on kittykat’s part to use the term ‘editor’ implying he agreed with me that - wakakaka).

Now, what he meant was it could be the blogger’s way to highlight parts ... (aiyoh, kittykat, the whole article was highlighted in yellow lah, not ‘parts’ – another Freudian slip – wakakaka).

My only input has been just one line in my standard white fonts "Which leader is being discussed above?"

But anon of 9:49 am gets 1st prize for preempting my evening revelation – kind of spoil my 'trap' - wakakaka.

I do not expect my detractors to accept my true fun-motive and I accept them to lay it on thick with their plagiarism accusation – aiyah, must let them have their occasional victory lah – wakakakakakakaka

Poor kaytee just has to wear it ;-)


  1. Badawi.

    That guy made lots of promises to the people to clean up the government, back in 2003. Because of that, folks gave him the vote and he won big time. And I mean BIG TIME.

    After that, he backtracked with his promises of reform. Few, if any, of his campaign promises were actually attempted.

    But to his credit, he somewhat gave us what little freedom we needed... albeit accidentally.

  2. I would argue that the more pertinent question would be 'which leader ISN'T being discussed above?'

    You want to play the game successfully, you have to sell your soul to the system unless you wish to change the system.

  3. bos, typolah in your title-politician, not politican.

  4. This was plagiarised from Uri Avnery's column (without due acknowledgement).

    Shame on you Ktemoc...

    By the way, the candidate being discussed was Barak Obama..

  5. Ktemoc the plagiarist ?

    Aiyoyoh...shy-lah...but I will give Ktemoc the benefit of the doubt.

    Let the reader decide.

    Here's the original "Satan's Counsel" article by Uri Avnery on the it and decide yourself.

    Look out for Paragraphs 10, 11, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30 in the article..more...

    I do occasionally cut and paste articles from the internet myself, but always acknowledge the author and the website, like I'm doing here.

  6. No doubt the c&p statement is plagiarised as stated by anon9:49!

    Ktemoc has learnt something for been at DownUnder, no waste!

    Wondering whether this one got the nerve to admit?

    Anyway, this piece is more for Bijan, a give away ( ...guruji..)

    Look like there is another rockybru in the making. WCW prepared to give way......

    Talk about moral high ground, tsk, tsK, TSK.

  7. Ktemoc "The Plagiarist" better gulung tikar....

    Your "high principles" just went down into the sewage tank where they originally came from...

  8. anon of 9:49 am gets 1st prize for preempting my evening revelation ;-).

    But beforer you accused me of plagiarism please note the standard markers as such [...] in the 4th paragarph which implies there were more to the 'extracts'.

    And 'extracts' mean they were taken from a much longer essay, and not my own work.

    I used yellow fonts to demarcate the extracts from my own input of just one line "Which leader is being discussed above?"

    I deliberately removed those parts which has been why the extracts show the markers [.....] because those were the parts which would signal their origin and spoil the fun of making Malaysians wonder who that leader being described is ;-).

    I was trickled pink by Uri Avnery's article as (with the deliberate deletions) they apply gnam gnam to someone back at home wakakaka, and have intended to reveal all, especially the description of Barack Obama, but was only waiting for someone to take the bait wakakkakakakakakaa.

    Don't get too orgasmic yet at kaytee's being a plagiarist. But I am glad to see kk46 has dared to show his face here again, being excited (and probably ejaculating) about shooting kaytee down wakakakakakakakkaa, though I am still waiting for his apology - will he have the honour to do so? wakakkakakakakkakakakakaaa

  9. Ktemoc, I do not apologise for what I write based on my understanding of what you wrote.

    I you choose to split hairs and tap dance, that's your right, but I also have a right to my opinion.

    By the way, you Did NOT disclaim that the post is not your writing..which makes you a possible plagiarist.

    The markers you used are standard editing markers to indicate that words in between have been removed, but have absolutely no connotation that you are the author.. or not.

    Yellow fonts ? Just any editor's way to highlight parts of a posting. Again, no meaning in that direction....

  10. kk46 ;-) yes, I don't expect you to accept what I say here re your plagiarist accusation - must let you have your wee victory wakakakakakakaka and I just have to wear it.

    But the reality is I know you know I have been always true to my standard of propriety. You just won't acknowledge this wakakaka

    But accusing me of blaming TUDM pilots for every Nuri crash has been too reckless, and refusing to apologise for such a wild accusation only refelcts on your honour.

    I recall once when you caught me with a (chronological) mistake and demanded that I apologise, I did unhesitatingly as I accepted I was wrong.

    But alas, I see we don't share the same value of honour - too much false pride leads to a fall, my dear chap ;-)

    I won't demand the apology from you anymore, not because you don't need to issue one, but I see it as being a pointless exercise.

  11. KT just committed an all too frequent faux-pas in the literary field: He didn't cite his source.

    Unintentional or not, this sure has brought suspicions of...

    P _ A G I A R _ _ M

    ...upon him. Most writers worth his/her salt who had unwittingly committed this act would have apologized for such a grave mistake.

    But then, KT takes us on a long-winded spin to deflect, and when that didn't quite work... justify his failure/mistake (whichever you want to think) of not quoting his real source.

    Nice try, but I'm not buying it.

  12. ;-) brighteyes, as I said I hardly expect people in your camp to accept what I had said about my true fun-motive - enjoy your moment - it's not everyday you guys get the upper hand over kaytee ;-) - & in upper case too wakakaka

  13. I'm quietly chuckling at this turn of events...what an irony.

    Ktemoc wanted to have some cheap fun at the expense of the usual fanatical acolytes of a certain unmentionable Political Cult in Malaysia.

    Ends up, HE becomes the central issue...kekekekek...

    As they say...Every Dog has his day...

    Cheers !

  14. wah ktemoc..
    ppl here just can't wait to see u fall... kekeke.. nice bait.. luckily i'm trained not to jump the gun and stop awhile to reconsider.. apala u ppl, if ktemoc extract the article n claim credit from it or any benefit from it then u can suck his blood dry.. drang ni suka personal attack la.. mcm ler ada org paksa buka blog ni..isk

    most despicable is the most feared... almost.. ;)