The debt of promises
There is an institution of promise-keeping in our society; therefore one ought to keep promises. But in many societies, including our island states, there is also a huge ought-is gap; promises ought to be kept, but reality is quite different.
During election time, lying by candidates seems to be permitted. Elections are much like carnival, everyone wears masks and is in disguise, but after the intoxication fog clears up, reality takes over and promises made, have to be fulfilled.
In the end, political motives or party affiliations are unimportant, only consequences, decisions and laws passed of any one political rule will count.
In a democracy it is the chief duty of government to make the majority of their population happy. And again, no matter how vulgar it may sound, in the most utilitarian way, laws should be passed only if they maximize pleasure and minimize pain for the majority of people. Considerations have become far more complicated though, since we realize, more that ever before, that we are members of a complex biosphere whose stability, health and integrity it is, in our interest, to preserve and not to threaten. And that may not be all together what politicians promise their constituencies during carnivalesque election times.
So consequences, decisions and laws passed must be more that just a reflection of the personal whims of power-drunk, aspiring politicians. Democracy, also on the islands, too often means chaos and rule by an ignorant drunken mob, easily swayed by corruption, bread and games. Politicians can, and often do choose to be wicked, as we all witnessed, and carry out their evil deeds in the most rational manner, mostly out of pure self-interest.
Morality, they will argue in defense of themselves, is privatized nowadays. No one can point to universal ethics any more. Anyone has the right to shop around for any moral set and values that he feels are appropriate for him at any one time. Situational ethics are the moral code of our time.
As recent historyon Curacao shows, psychological egoists will steal from each other and even show no hesitation to conspire to murder. The Helmien Wiels’ murder is still fresh in the people’s memory. In the island society no-one will get any sleep and will continue lead lives of continual fear and danger of violent death as long as conspirators and their gangs of executioners are not arrested.
The present Minister of Justice, who was appointed as a technocrat in a bizarrely concocted compromise coalition-government, made a solemn promise to the people that he would not rest until matters concerning the brutal political assassination were brought out in clear daylight. But nearly 22 months later, conspirators still enjoy their freedom and the sweet fruits of their bloody crimes.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker, opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle.