“ I sat at the back of a man”, wrote the great Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy “choking him and making him to carry my weight; yet, I assured him and I assured myself that I wish I could lighten his burden”.
Why not climb down the man’s back if you are indeed concerned about mitigating the suffering you have inflicted.
In all of the modern history of human conflict, there has not been a war more unjust and more anchored on the power dynamics of tyranny as this nauseating invasion.
Yet, there are some persons who continue to see this tyranny-let-loosed as a fallout of NATO’s alleged promise not to expand eastward.
We are all creatures of emotions, we are as regulated by primordial instincts and idiosyncratic biases as by reason. This is why some folks can, in all honesty, attempt to defend such immoral and barbaric invasion. Miguel de Unamuno , the Spanish existentialist philosopher was right when he argued that reason is not man’s towering crown but emotion. The man who philosophizes is a man of flesh and blood who feels more than he thinks. Reason and logic can never cause him to stray a hair’s breath from his biases no matter the soundness of the logic or the strength of the facts.
There are despots who would have us believe that the era of an open society with its democratic ethos is over. They insist, blindly, that the pace of modern states cannot allow for democratic debates and consensus choices in running a nation. That democracy is inherently weak, time consuming and structurally unsustainable. That is what the Xis and Putins of this world would have us believe.
It was the great Scottish psychiatrist, R.D. Laing that warned us that the “range and extent of the things that we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. That because we fail to notice that we are failing to notice, there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
The danger of liberal democracies today is that inhabitants of the West are failing to notice that the freedom they presently enjoy and the democracy that underpins it, is in grave danger. They fail to see that democracy is a fragile thing and that the condition upon which God has given liberty to men, is eternal vigilance.
Trump assaulted democracy from within and Putin is now attacking it from without and yet , there are good-natured people who would make case for both men. The argument today is that democracy and freedom are out of sync with the realities of modern states. At least, that is the unspoken creed of Xi and Putin and it is sad that some otherwise reasonable folks would strenuously attempt to justify such a brazen bare-faced invasion by a brute on any grounds even when the groundlessness of Putin’s invasion yearns deeper than Grand Canyon. The West may not be as saintly as they claim but I tell you a truth : should the light of democracy be extinguished by the likes of Putin, mankind would spiral back to the Hobbesian state of nature where life was solitary, nasty, brutish and short.
It is sad to notice that were Hitler alive today and undergoing his monstrous pogrom, some folks would still make case for him: blame international Jewry for their perceived greed or America for some perceived mischievous globalization or the Poles for not willingly genuflecting before the German war machines.
“Remove law and justice,” warned St. Augustine, “and what are states but gangs of criminals on a large scale”. It is fidelity to a set of moral code and decency that largely defines a civilised society. President Biden was on point when he described Putin as a thug: is anything more thuggish than sending armed mob into your neighbour’s house without any provocation?
The point here is that America, for its faults and failings, remains the beacon of freedom, justice and opportunity for the world. It is only a fool that throws the baby away with the bath water. Democracy may not be the elixir that transforms base metals into gold, but it is definitely the best platform that guarantees that the light of justice, freedom , opportunity is not extinguished from the midst of men.
Does it not portend universal danger that one man could rally a military power like Russia into war?
Does it not bother a sane man that there are no institutions inside Russia that can checkmate or even mildly regulate Putin?
Should one man possess such powers?
Is it not indicative of tyranny and a failed system that one man should wield such powers?
It is only the most naive amongst us that would readily equate the West with total moral rightness. Frantz Fanon may have his points when he said that anytime he searches for man in the technique of the West , he sees only a succession of the negations of man and a avalanche of murders. However, the institutional guardrails of Western democracies are the best indicators of the survival of the human species.
Absolute power, said Woodrow Wilson, is what precedes the destruction of human liberty. Putin is pure, unadulterated evil and trying to defend him amounts to demons in search of logic and trying cosmos out of chaos.
Osazuwa Osahon Daniels, Esq.