The yearning to know is a basic human yearning. All human beings opt for what makes sense and not nonsense, what is true and not false, what is good and not bad, what is beautiful and not ugly, what is of more value than of less value. Experience, knowledge and understanding are concomitant with human growth from infancy to advanced age. Individually and collectively human beings also desire to improve themselves and be virtuous.

While many wish even to transcend the temporal order and go beyond earthly life, they also strive simultaneously to bring a deeper meaning and sense to life by struggling intelligently to improve the condition of man’s life on earth. This is what makes us human and move progressively towards greater authenticity.

An achievement of progress (in experience, knowledge and understanding, authenticity and the pursuit of values) that come with adulthood and maturity are required to rule the people with their cooperation.

Today ruling means facilitating and coordinating the activities of all citizens in a manner that devolve to their freedom and qualitative interpersonal and intercommunity connectivity. Those who present themselves for the positions of president, prime minister, one eligible to be elected to the legislature, to be a minister, are those who should have had a good education and acquired sufficiently wide knowledge and experience about communities of people and human affairs through professional engagements, so that they are able to value and appreciate the people, mobilize their capabilities and collaborate with them in enhancing the relationships among the people and improving the conditions of life of them all to live serenely.

The sovereign people should vest with power only those with sufficient intelligence, knowledge, competence and skill and sense of altruism to rule them without oppressing them. It is indeed paradoxical that the sovereign people have to be concerned about being oppressed by their servants manifesting their low quality and indifferent attitude.


A ship’s captain who navigates a ship should know his ship, the condition of the sea – the waves and the tides, the ocean depths, the rocks, the ice bergs, the winds – the seasons, the stars as well as many other things so that he could sail confidently with all those on board the ship, without neglecting the safety of anyone, towards the port they desire to go to. In his task, a captain is assisted by a well trained and experienced crew that coordinates and carries out all their activities as a competent team according to the captain’s professional direction which is never bizarre or capricious.

If a captain, while he is dining with some important people, is informed that a fire has broken out in a small cabin, the captain stops his dining, excuses himself and goes to direct the extinguishing of the fire. Dousing the fire becomes more important than dining.

Just so a head of government who leads a team of collaborators should know the manner of government, the social environment of his land and be able to understand the evolving ways of the world in order to successfully manage the internal and external affairs of his country in a well-coordinated manner so that with the willing collaboration of all the responsible citizens the country continues to develop to provide an acceptable way of living for all citizens.

The majority may have vested the governing party with power. However in a modern state, democracy also means that the minorities, the weak and voiceless are protected and cared for that they may live with their human dignity, rights and freedom intact.


Genuine patriotism that cares for all people is not evident among present day politicians. A defect or even a wrongful act of a citizen needs to be corrected by appropriate authority. It may need corrective punishment.

A person so corrected could be rehabilitated and reintegrated to family, community and society because a person need not be totally discarded due to a single or a few aberrations which could be remedied.

How many legislating politicians are there whose highly offensive acts of corruption and public misdemeanors are well known? They are not only not subject to proper investigation and punishment when found guilty, but treated frivolously and facilitated to creep into the mainstream of political activity and even hold on to powerful and lucrative positions? Though the members of the government and the opposition seem to engage in arguments and heated debate over many of these matters in which the peoples’ money is pilfered, all of them together forget about it after the debate.

A peculiar political logic comes to prevail. Due to an intellectual deficiency and an entrenched and unremedied selfishness most politicians are unable to give themselves over to duties that call for concentrated attention over extended periods of time in order to be concerned about the common good. Their self-absorption makes them prioritize their personal preferences and neglect the well-being of the people. They neglect their duty and become highly irresponsible. Matters of importance to society are consigned to a political indeterminate state or a political limbo. The tax-paying citizens are made to pay for the political upkeep of mischievous scoundrels who remain a public social menace.


In a democratic society, people elect their representatives to legislate and execute the democratic society’s affairs, for a myriad of reasons. And all of them – the representatives and the represented – should acknowledge the values of the dignity, rights and identity of the human person, his legitimate community and society and human relationships so that the laws that are enacted reflect, uphold and promote these values for the benefit and well-being of all.

These values are social values implicating marriage and family, religious and social community, material, moral, ethical and spiritual values based on truth, justice, freedom and equity. The whole system of government summons all the members of democratic society to an acceptable standard of right social conduct, avoiding all wrong-doing that mess up relationships. Generally speaking, each and every person is summoned to a fulfilment of personal, family, community, social and global living integrated within the many dimensions of human existence.

It is a summons to a qualitative living, professional competence, skill in an avocation, a pursuit of fraternity, happiness in community and social graciousness. Such qualitative citizenship could be within the reach of all with proper upbringing, character formation and integral education. A system of democratic government that summons the people to such a human endeavour should have the capacity to also provide the possibility and the space for it.


When these should be the goals and aims of governance, the reasoning of today’s politicians and their logic seem topsy-turvy. This is due to many of them prioritizing their entrenchment in power, their opportunism, deviousness and dishonesty unacceptable in a legislator or executor. Many of them are culpably ignorant, that is, they are guilty of not having the knowledge they should have to do their job.

No one could ignore the fact that the country is in a dire state. All will need to adjust to a more frugal way of life. Those used to many comforts should sacrifice them today to assure all a safe and secure life tomorrow. But the people cannot be summoned to sacrifice by a band of selfish politicians who abandon all social and moral values and try to exploit every opportunity for self-aggrandizement, palatial residences, luxury vehicles and petty gains. The politicians not only need an interior conversion of heart, mind and spirit, affects and emotions, they need to perceive and recover the common sense of the intelligent majority of people.

Each one of us as we begin life activate our relationship with others and to things. A practical intelligence or common sense helps us in this. We are thereby changed and transformed and we also change and transform persons and things. The primitive and rough are refined and updated. We achieve an intelligence and a capability to manage many a growing set of complex personal, community, social and global affairs.

Common sense is at the base of all knowledge and opens itself to understanding including self understanding, science and technology, philosophy, politics and economics, religion and culture, community, relationships and many other things. Politicians, even some prominent ones, seem to have abandoned or derailed their common sense to establish a logic of their own. Their actions contradict their beliefs. The people with common sense judge the politicians to be living in another world and out of touch with the reality of people’s lives. All politicians in every opposition have easy solutions to the problems the country faces. But when they are vested with power, they suffer a strange amnesia. They are attracted to the easy ways of living and making money. They get corrupted. They add more intractable problems to the State and the country continues to slide down the slope.

Politicians in public proclaim their dislike of alcohol while helping their kith and kin to obtain licenses to open liquor shops. Rather than helping the landless to buy government owned lands at a reasonable price, politicians acquire them at a ridiculously low price and sell it to the people at high prices and make huge profits. They also engage in business transactions with the government, against the law. While frowning on NGOs, politicians threaten them and obtain various facilities to be patronizingly given to their supporters. They worship in the temples of other denominations even while being ignorant of and unfaithful to their own. Presence that is symbolic of fraternity and solidarity with all need no participation in acts of worship.

The politicians think that sophisticated arms and modern weapons, spies and informants recruited at great cost can provide the security of people’s lives. But it is genuine fraternity and trust instilled into every citizen that will ultimately be the guarantee of security for all. Social security that is reliable and stable could and should be built on the building blocks of healthy relationships, mutual understanding and fraternity of brothers and sisters of all the diverse communities in our land. They are stronger than the highly developed arms and weapons.

Corrupt politicians who collect money from terrorists to finance their election campaigns and their political projects cannot provide the people protection from terrorists. Only leaders with authenticity and humanness who consistently uphold democratic social values could build healthy relations, promote reconciliation and assure unity, peace and security to every community and every person in Sri Lanka. 

from daily news

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