This is not an opinion on Christian Democratic belief. In view of centuries old evidence, ascribed by historical and political philosophers, that there is a strong relationship between Christianity and democracy. This piece discusses the sources that oblige the actors of political society to consistently display a high moral political legitimacy. Wherever this most important credential is conspicuously absent, by intent or as imposed in a contagious cultural equation, a democratic society is legitimately entitled to seek redress.
The demand for moral political legitimacy by a democratic society, that Rawls describes “as a fair system of cooperation between citizens who are regarded as free and equal”, calls for a well-ordered basic structure that refers to a political and social justice in terms of justice being considered as fairness. Therefore, an unjust basic structure may lead to unregulated division of advantages within society.
A governing body of state that fails and purposefully fails to deliver the will, the thinking, the aspirations of all in equal measures; a governing body that carries out its business discriminately accommodating the moneyed elite through the usurping of the state institutions and the transgression in the actuation of law, inclusive of natural law- the heart of democracy, while subjugating the rest of society to a disguised benign servitude; a governing body whose strategy includes abetting criminal acts even if involving its own politicians and fails its duty to enforce the rule of law is unfortunately a governing body that has lost its moral political legitimacy. Faced with such evidenced premeditated acts of transgression a democratic society is legitimately entitled to seek redress.
Political legitimacy need be appraised in the light of its same origination. Natural law while establishing that human beings are born free and equal also acknowledges that human beings can be evil. In itself natural law is not sufficiently specific to rule a society and cannot enforce itself when violated. (Rawls – 2004) The solution was the evolution of a social contract, an agreed arrangement among a society on how persons may exercise their freedoms and rights in an organised community. This required societies to transfer political authority to a civil state that can realise and secure the natural law.
The social contract thus does not create authority. Political authority is embodied in individuals and pre-exists in the state of nature. The social contract transfers the authority they each enjoy in the state of nature to a particular political body. (Locke)
“The failure of the modern democracies to realise democracy is the fact that this realisation inevitably demanded accomplishment in the social as well as in the political order and that this demand was not complied with. The irreducible antagonisms inherent in an economy based on the self-propagating power of money, the selfishness of the moneyed classes, and the secession of the proletariat raised by Marxism to the mystic principle of the Revolution, all prevented the democratic tenets from being incorporated into social life, and the importance of modern societies in the face of poverty and the dehumanisation of work, coupled with their inability to transcend the exploitation of man by man, have been a bitter failure for them.” This quote is by French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain in 1942 when populations were endeavouring to overcome the evils of fascism, Nazism and Marxism.
A quote that could be interpreted as a truthful description of Malta today when opposition to an autocratic government is still coming to terms with itself.
Months back I had opined that if our political society, including political parties that, together with the party in government, are themselves responsible for the problems of the country, fail to organise their political action credibly in their opposition to government, society in general and civil society in particular would take over this mission. This transcends from the time-honoured political thought that authority is vested in the people and not in government or in political parties.
Recent socio, economic and political history of the islands and all that that a democratic society would consider evil, including transgressions involving the bestowing of public concessions enshrined in corruption, the permitted practice for money laundering and fraud, the impunity afforded towards government agents and individuals in general, the usurping of public institutions that would ordinarily keep a government in check, the appointment of individuals in government posts that pay lip service to the party in government and indulge in making a buck, the neutralising of the civil service and the public sector, the subtle silencing of free press that led to the assassination of a journalist; all this could be considered as a works in progress in accordance with the dictator’s handbook that would require a government to implement its vertical and horizontal strategies involving co-optations with the elite and coercing individuals who could be a threat.
This is scandalous and evil. It is evil due to the fact that such strategies do not simply seek to neutralise materially the character of a democratic society and its centuries old traditions and beliefs, it seeks to annihilate a society’s most important cardinal value: a society’s credence of faith that calls for a code of ethics and moral values as experienced in today’s multicultural and pluralistic society where faith is also a characteristic of a secular or temporal conscience.
Irrespective of one’s religion, culture, nationality, standing in society a democratic society nurtures the values of the individual who living in a community seeks his fulfilment in solidarity and dialogue with his fellow citizens. The authority mandated by the people to the government exists also with a view that he who errs is subject to the law of the land. Government too is subject to the law of the land. A democratic society is legitimately entitled to seek redress on a party in government that has lost its moral political legitimacy.
Quoting again Maritain “… (the inspirational) work of history, the secular conscience has understood that in the misfortunes and suffering of our existence, crushed by the iron laws of biological necessity and the weight of the pride, injustice and wickedness of men, a single principle of liberation, a single principle of hope, a single principle of peace can stir up the mass of servitude and iniquity and triumph over it…”
Malta had fought an enemy with Faith, Hope and Charity. Today it is asked to fight the enemy with Liberation, Hope and Peace. While these words are the essentials of a modern democracy, civil peace is achieved through freedom, respect and dialogue that according to the Italian politician and philosopher Aldo Moro would emerge spontaneously in a democratic society.
These days’ critical developments should be interpreted as a call for a co-ordinated action that shall prepare for a socio-political initiative that a democratic society, in good faith and convincingly, is mandated to embark upon to dismantle this entangled and often imposed suffocating web of an immoral regime on a society that had been led to believe to individually focus on one’s personal materialistic needs irrespective of the resulting deterioration of all that is spiritual and moral.
The writing seems engraved deeply on the wall. Anecdotal scrutiny of decisions and actions taken respecting the police and court proceedings relating to the passing away of the journalist are representative of a proclamation by government, now personified in the isolation of a prime minister, that there could be a dim light at the end of the tunnel even if I consider this to be just an episode in a theatre of the absurd. Absurd is the surfacing of information, absurd is the understanding of this vast complex web, absurd is the frame of mind of a disgraced leader who, possibly himself grabbed in this same unfathomable web, has now chosen to establish himself as the sole executive arm of government. Absurd is his heroic loyalty to despicable dramatis personae acting as their bastion when the government palisades are effectively crumbling. This drama shall last until the domino effect of the abandonment stampede kicks in.
The challenge for all opposition to government is huge. The most onerous hurdle is not the government but to ask society in general to be part of this reform. A united credible front in an ambience where all are equal, where irrespective of differences, freedom, respect and dialogue shall emerge spontaneously and naturally. Today’s citizens are better educated, better informed, more independent of politicians than ever, and at the extreme asking for direct and immediate democracy need to themselves believe in what side they are siding with. Possibly most have in good faith succumbed to submissiveness as misled by this politically immoral regime. This calls for a society that considers itself the source of any alternative authority.
Political authority is embodied in individuals and pre-exists in the state of nature.
It is an opportunity for political society, civil-society, constituted bodies and individuals to join forces and put an end to a delegated authority that has lost its moral political legitimacy.