How to Bring Government under Full Control
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education,
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich
Throughout history the government always tended to be viewed as the most powerful element in a nation. This may be due to the fact that the elements of destruction are always in its hands. Such elements are the military and the police force, both of which carry weapons of devastation that are often used abusively. In general, they are hardly ever held accountable for the destruction of the infrastructure of cities and the incarceration of even law-abiding citizens.
Means of People’s Control
The said two elements are generally used to bring entire populations under full control. Under such circumstances the concepts of justice and democracy tend to become meaningless for all practical purposes. As a result, people often experience a kind of tyranny that forces them to rebel fearlessly, as we have observed in many nations since World War II was over in 1945. Recent examples were those in Libya, Egypt, and Syria in addition to others. People may tolerate abuse even for a long time until they draw the line by all means.
When people lose the concept of fear they become defiant. Nothing would then stop them…. no military, no government, and no police force as seen in Vietnam and Tunisia. In 1966, General Westmoreland, Commander of the US military forces in Vietnam, gave an address at the University of Kansas, where he pointed out: Our US military forces cannot conquer Vietnam easily unless we have the native population behind us. He then said: “But this cannot be easily achieved since the people there view the US military forces as their enemy.”
This explains why throughout history, every world power has been mostly afraid of its own people. In fact, just a brief glance at history will enable us to see clearly many people in a variety of nations overthrew their government when they felt the time had arrived. This shows that the government could be fully brought under control either through violence or through constructive dialogues. Such dialogues could take place when they are based not on “who” is right but on “what” is right, that is, on what is mutually beneficial.
In view of what has been stated, it is quite obvious that every responsible citizen, who is highly concerned with the promotion of justice, has the ability to provide needed leadership to bring a government under full control. There are many instances in history, which prove that whole nations were changed and transformed through the efforts of initially just one person. Among others we may enlist merely at random such individuals as Gautama Siddhartha, Lao Tse, Confucius, Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, Francis of Assisi, Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Oscar Arias, and the list goes on and on.
Importance of Courage
The only one vital qualification needed in an individual to assume national and/or world-wide leadership is phenomenal courage revealed especially in the complete absence of fear. I am here referring to the fear of not assuming responsibility to promote and implement the concept of justice everywhere. At this stage, we need to distinguish between those who reveal to be fearless out of arrogance and those who reveal to be fearless out of a sacrosanct felt duty to defend and promote the human rights of all people.
The best way to solve a problem we encounter is simply to go to its source. Once such a source is discovered then appropriate remedies are provided and the problem is solved sooner than later. The corporations that manufacture and produce beneficial items in the best interest of all people without exception should receive our wholehearted support. However, those corporations which are in the business of manufacturing weapons and of promoting wars should be viewed as dangerous and we should take constructive steps against them.
When we are faced with a danger we have the option to ignore it and then suffer the consequences, or to bring it into the open while exploring effective approaches to bring it under full control. This is of paramount importance because, as Socrates said some 2,500 years ago, we can solve every problem we encounter if we were to take the first step. What would be this first step? This Greek philosopher indicated that this first step would be to bring the said problem into the open for everyone to see.
He then explained saying: Unless we are fully aware of the existence of a problem we can never take drastic steps to eliminate it. Hence, the importance of people of all nations not to remain silent when encountered with problems that are being created by government officials. Let us keep in mind the traditional saying: To err is human, to forgive is divine. This means that since all members of the government are humans they are all liable to make mistakes. Of course, we all know that prevention is better than cure.
Hence, it is our sacrosanct duty to support the government when carrying actions that are beneficial to all people and to oppose the same government when performing actions that are detrimental even to quite a few. In our effort to create a better world, characterized by peace and justice, we should develop the habit to do what Jesus of Nazareth had advocated: Do to others as you would like others do to you. If this wise statement were to be observed by all government officials, permanent peace will soon be around the corner. Maybe we should listen to what US President Eisenhower told the US Congress in his Farewell address.
People’s Goal is Lasting Peace
He stated clearly to the members of the US government: Remember that all people of all nations want peace, only their government wants wars. This is verified by the fact that every nation would rather deprive its people from the necessities of life while pouring more and more money on the manufacture of weapons and the promotion of wars, than the other way round. Also, throughout history the real strength of a nation on a permanent basis was not measured by the amount of military weapons such a nation may possess.
On the contrary, the real strength of a nation has been measured by the kind of people it has in terms of good health, quality education and adequate housing facilities for every family. Throughout history, every world power tended to measure the strength of a nation by its so called military strength. This explains why the bulk of the money was hardly ever allotted to the health, education and housing facilities of the native population. It explains why every big power disintegrated and collapsed at a time least expected.
Confronted with this reality, why is it that the military-oriented nations cannot seem to learn from the mistakes of the past? The big corporations, headed by the weapons industry and the military industrial complex, view their financial success in proportion to the sales of their respective products. This explains why such corporations may have type of secret agents whose job is to stir in a variety of nations as much trouble as possible. This would enable them to convince their government to keep on pouring money for wars without limit.
Although there seems to be no two governments that function identically the same way, we may, for all practical purposes, classify the governments of all nations as follows: (1) those that are democratically oriented and (2) those that tend to be dictatorial in their structure. Either way, when people decide that they cannot take it any longer, they will eventually take drastic steps to bring the government to an end. Those that are democratically oriented may have political figures replaced, while those that are dictatorial may simply be overthrown.
What Pope Pius XII said to both the United Kingdom and Germany on the eve of World War II, still applies today and will continue to do so till the end of times. He told these two nations: Remember that in a war everyone is a loser and no one a winner. In fact, Germany lost the war. People were poor everywhere and the German economy collapsed. On the other hand, the United Kingdom won the war. But even here, people were poor everywhere and the British economy collapsed along with the disintegration of the British Empire. Besides, millions of innocent people on both sides were brutally massacred.
Source of Problems Exposed
In view of what has been stated, we may begin to see clearly that the real source of the bulk of human problems could be traced to government officials who put all their energy and money not on the dire needs of the people but on weapons and the promotion of wars. They develop a kind of machismo that resorts to a sort of an unwritten slogan: Do what I say or you will be wiped out. We forget completely that one can catch more flies with honey. This has been witnessed by several nations in times of war.
I recall when during the forties the Germans blocked the Island of Malta for three years and could not capture it, they came with an ultimatum: Surrender within one week and we will re-build the island and give the natives shelter and food…. or continue to resist and we will obliterate the entire nation. Until then the Maltese were always full of fear not knowing as to whether or not they would survive another day. But when confronted with such a threat, the answer came fearlessly from all the natives within 24 hours: Death but not surrender.
From that moment all fear disappeared. During the air raids instead of going in shelters people remained outside in the streets to defy the enemy while watching air fights between the Germans and the British. Children played the ladder-game. It consisted of climbing on the shoulders of each other and while they hold to the wall with their left hand and with the other they would write on the wall: Death but not surrender. The strong will of the people could not be conquered and the Germans could never capture the Maltese Island.
Numerous episodes of history along these same lines reveal that when people stick together against the tyranny of the government without giving in, they will eventually bring the government fully under control. This has been witnessed in history periodically and systematically. We need to cooperate with the government in all of its actions that are conducive to the welfare of all people. At the same time, we must resist the government by all means when its actions may not be conducive to the welfare of the entire native population.
Let us keep in mind that every government is composed of people like all of us. Some tend to be good, strong, determined and mean well while others tend to be malicious in a number of ways, morally weak and seek always to have the last say, regardless of being beneficial or disastrous. If we were to examine all people from every walk of life, we would soon find out that those that may be viewed as a real source of inspiration are those who had been blessed with a strong character and pleasant personality. These individuals are usually blessed with the ability to instill inspiration, justice and a keen sense of responsibility.
Recognition of Good Government
Which would be the best way for people in every nation to find out what type of government they have… as to whether it is in the long range really beneficial or detrimental? The answer is simple. Just find out where the bulk of the nation’s money is being put. If it is put on the good health care of the people, the education of all natives from the cradle to the grave, and the procurement of adequate home facilities for all families, then we can be reasonably sure that such a nation has been blessed with a genuinely good government.
However, if the bulk of the nation’s money is being put on the manufacture and sales of weapons, along with the promotion of wars, then we may be certain that such a government is dangerous and should not be trusted. Once this is evidenced, all those who feel concerned with the welfare of the nation and the world at large, should draw the line and take all needed peaceful steps to reverse the trend. Several steps then could be taken including that of making people aware of their government’s misguided policies.
This may not be easy as it sounds in nations that are fully controlled by big corporations that would include the tight control of all news media…. radio, press, and television. But even here, nowadays we have access to the internet, which may be used to reach hundreds, thousands and even millions of people. Once more, we may here go back to Socrates: The first and most important step to solve a problem is to bring it out into the open for everyone to see. This is not a prerogative of those in power but it is a privilege we have at our disposal.
He explained that once people become aware of the problem then they begin to see how such a problem would affect them. Once this is seen, then action is taken and the problem is solved. In plain language, the government is then brought under full control. If people everywhere become more and better organized many crucial problems will be eventually solved at both the national and global level before we even know it and faster than possibly anticipated. All we needed is just to realize that each one of us can make a real difference.