St Michael North East MP desists from personal abuse – Letter from Neville Clarke

Writing in the mid 19th Century, the German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said: “There is something festive in public displays of cruelty.” Students of European history may recall Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass when Germans wantonly destroyed Jewish property and synagogues.

Accepting Nietzsche’s argument, it can also be argued that there is something festive and on occasions bordering on the sadistic, the personal abuse that has over the years been hurled at political opponents from platforms in Barbados.

One notices with some concern, the rapt attention being paid to most speakers who skirt around the main economic and social issues of the day, but demonises his opponent in the most vicious manner.

Addressing man’s seemingly insatiable thirst to hate others, the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, said: “Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation or creed.”

He has been further credited with saying: “Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power.”

This writer recalls that columnist, the late Dr Jack Leacock, once observed that in politics hatred was more powerful than love, and he identified Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin as two political personalities who exploited hatred to achieve their political goals.

Surely Dr Leacock had studied the machinations of these two evil geniuses who sought world domination by any means possible.

Hitler, more than any other dictator recognised the use to which hatred can be put when he said in his autobiography, Mein Kampf: “Hatred is more powerful than love.”

He is reported to have noted with some scorn that the leaders of the Weimar Republic had done nothing whatever to cultivate the most valuable of all political qualities: “wanton hatred.”

Hitler promised that under his leadership “ hate would become a single fiery sea of flames.

It is worthy of note that even though throughout her political career former Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley, has been the victim of some of the most vicious rumours she has never engaged in personal abuse.

In her first platform speech during the St John by-election, Mottley steered clear of personal abuse but dealt with such issues as rising unemployment, the high cost of basic food items and utilities, the average head of households living from pay-cheque to pay-cheque and the delivery of adequate health care to every Barbadian.

Mottley has taken this course of action during her political career even though she is familiar with the literature which advises politicians to appeal to the emotions of their audiences.

Scholar that she is, Mottley must be familiar with Gustave Le Bon’s publication: “The Crowd- A Study of the Popular Mind” in which the author said: “The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduces them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master, whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.”

Fortunately for Barbados, Mottley does not subscribe to Le Bon’s thesis but has taken the high ground and sought on all occasions to educate her audiences at all times.

Neville Clarke.

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