By Peter Josie
A nimble curious mind may ponder the origin of new ideas: Are these born and nourished in the womb, in isolation of a later dream or, are genes the geneses of ideas from which fervent dreamers come? Is there an education threshold that leads one to become a fervent dreamer or, a realist and practical worker, who can define problems and solve them? Do fervent dreamers only dream or can they also work to produce goods and services and increase national wealth?
Where does political ideology lay within the spectrum of human experience? How early does a child make sense of the world? At what point do questioning and analysis provide him a broad compass which helps navigate the challenges of life? Can he later rebrand that compass as ideology? Clearly these questions suggest that, no new idea can be born, no new ideology developed, no philosophy formulated or embraced without an inner spiritual light. The question on the origin of that light remains unanswered for some.
The difference between the political parties in Saint Lucia is more than differences in personalities. Examined more closely one may discern an ideology, (a body of ideas that guide) and a method of operation to achieve their various goals. Viewed over time the difference between the two parties has become marked by superficiality rather than by ideology.
In times past political dreamers, theoretical revolutionists and Marxist /Leninist pretenders had developed into hard nose socialists, wearing party colours. In their campaigns the non-dreamers, the hands-on practical workers, the realists continued to hit the do nothing pretenders, posing as socialists. The fervent dreamers continued to insist that the State ought to have a larger say and perform a more intrusive role in the lives of the citizen. Of course they never disclosed whether funds were to come from exports or from aid. They argued that the marginalized have been deliberately disadvantaged by slavery, colonialism and neglect and that someone must pay to scrub their minds from the effects of slavery.
Upon closer examination some discrepancies emerge. Fervent dreamers take care of themselves and families first before they help their poor. Afterwards they spread crumbs around to keep the ignorant, ill-informed and deliberately stupid from revolting against them.
Adult suffrage was used by one party to extract more ‘gifts’ from the Colonial Office, in London rather than teaching the new voter to fish. Soon that party began to mouth the jargon of communism, then sweeping over Europe. Over time new voters migrated from the ‘gimi-gimi’ mind set and evolved into workers and doers. The others stayed back and refined their begging bowl even as they continued to glorify words and scheme their way through life. Some shy from working and creating wealth, except for themselves.
The workers took a more workmanlike pragmatic approach to solving social and economic problems plaguing the island while the fervent dreamers fell deeper and deeper in love with the spoken word. Meantime the pragmatic workers, the realist and doers prospered the island. It soon became an accepted truism that workers worked and fervent dreamers continued to depend on handouts from whatever source. As the two parties drifted apart, jealousy crept in and soon the achievements of workers and doers where set upon by jealous eyes whose preference are to talk and to dream.
Rather than complain and wallow in self pity, the doers continued to work and achieve. There is no colour bar to their practical dreams. Their vision drove them to open a housing loan company and an agriculture development bank before political independence. Earlier, the workers and doers built the ‘Penny Bank’ which helped those willing to work purchase shares in that ‘Penny Bank.’ Need I mention that these early workers were all local black men? These early visionaries had learned that the past should not trump their ability to accumulate wealth and build a better life for future generations. These are the workers, the realists, the doers.
In the meantime the fervent dreamers continued to dream. They discouraged people from working the land because it reminded them of forced labour and slavery. The workers consolidated their conservative approach to earning and spending and soon applied these skills to growing the national economy and encouraging farmers to plant and produce.
The dreamers instead, desired to fund social programmes but they are unable to motivate production to help the poor and marginalized. Self sacrifice and discipline are anathema to the new reckless dreamers who feel entitled to ‘free everything’ not knowing or caring where money comes from for the things they need.
There is also a divide between the two parties in their modus operandi in government. One is more likely to impose taxes and levies on its citizens and fritter these away on non productive budget items. The other is more likely to focus on the productive sector whilst investing in social projects that are likely to create employment. That party understands that a country cannot create jobs unless workers produce something of value to sell and earn income. The other seemed emotionally tied to handing out free gifts to persons whom they deem poor and unable to help themselves – a fatal error.
The theory of wealth creation is unfortunately subsumed beneath political smoke screens. Some politicians hide behind election rhetoric while avoiding questions on wealth and job creation. Public platforms are used to vent sad stories and peddle untruths. Mediocrity becomes a convenient road for those who bend facts.
Finally, laziness and aversion to physical work is not an option. A leader who aims to better the social and economic conditions of his people must teach them to work instead of accepting hand outs. Fervent dreamers pile on burdens on the backs of the poor and disadvantaged. The workers, the realists, the doers do the opposite! This is our story. Face it!