The Establishment Speaks

Control, so the amartya establishment would no doubt have it, confers legitimacy: when the establishment was able to win elections, then the election was the sacred symbol of democracy and any dissenters were excoriated for illegitimate and perhaps even communist direct action. Then, when Thai Rak Thai proved that winning elections was no longer the preserve of the establishment, suddenly the election was downgraded to just one of the institutions of democracy and far from the most important. Then, public participation suddenly became more important and regular endorsement of policies above and beyond periodic elections should take place (this was supported by the treason of many of the intellectuals whose compromises were revealed as shameful by the change in the political scene).

Above all, the checks and balances then were elevated to high rank: adopting the discourse of American politics (where the ‘checks and balances’ are currently being used by obstructionist rightists to prevent the will of the people being carried out), we were supposed to believe that ‘objective,’ ‘independent’ and ‘non-partisan’ individuals were uniquely placed to be able to judge the legitimacy of the democratically-elected government and should be put in a position of power above the politicians.

From here, of course, it is a very short step to justifying a military coup (which many of the traitor intellectuals were all too keen to do, even in their ‘award-winning’ books).

There is an obvious parallel with the courts. After the judicial coup wrought by the junta before it handed power to the sleazy, repressive and incompetent Abhisit regime, judicial verdicts were more or less guaranteed to follow the establishment line (there are always a few mavericks, for one reason or the other). Hence, in the run up to important and controversial verdicts,* we are urged by all the great and good to respect the courts, told that only courts can make decisions and should by no means make any kind of protest against judicial decisions. As ever, moralistic language is employed to make the distinction that obedience to the rightist establishment is virtuous and disobedience is vicious.

 * I of course have a stake in the most prominent of these decisions, since it might have a powerful influence on my ability to put the rice on the table.  

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JW has been one of the first contributors to this blog before he gave up on it all in April 2010, during a time when Thai society got more and more polarized about political matters because of red-shirt protesters.

One thought on “The Establishment Speaks”

  1. This forced upon obedience and this politicization of religion as well as the “religionization” of politics, society and crown, these are all unique Thai phenomenons in these modern times. Modern?

    Thailand will find her balance, like any other society, one day.

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