Qaddafi's Soliloquy Amid the Summa Academica...!
It's been said over and over again that no one individual can mold history's course to fit into his/her vision without the complicity, explicit or tacit, of the multitude, the acceptance, willy-nilly, by the many, and the collaboration of the scores. From colonial conquerors to later-day's dictatorships, all have relied, by allure or cooption, on swarms of local collaborators and suck-up careerist charlatans to run their systems. Whether invading troops or coups-d'etators' numbers were never big enough to force walking-stiff, not only to acknowledge their presence but also to do their biddings. Thus, for the new order to assert itself, in one way another, there was a need for folks who're willing to act as go-betweens, Trojan horses, willy nilly, so the occupiers or plotters could continue their plans. But, if it's true there's no society without rotten apples, it's also true, if the majority were unwilling to go with new order, there'd be no amount of force, and no form of oppression, that will force them to accept their subjugation. "Give me my liberty or my death." The numerous revolutions and the ragtag militias that had defeated mighty colonial empires, were tangible testimonies to the limits of collaboration and powers of defiance.
On March 2, the Colonel's had basically slapped, his rubber-stamp GPC hard in the face. Without much ado, he's just deconstructed what he's been constructing for a long time now. The dismantling of the old order started by dismissing some of the minions and piling up of the failure, of his acrobatic schemes, on their shoulders of what not long ago had been advising as the solution, to not Libya's problems but to the rest of humanity too. The failures of those who were appointed to run the day-to-day affairs of the country have come to signal the failure of the people to rule themselves. As the Messiah has declared. Though, notwithstanding such blatant admissions, however, the play, which he'd scripted awhile ago, is still on. Only its mechanics and modalities are in need of revision and perhaps renewal. Away with the so-called "government," as he defined it, and on with a new design which still to be conceptualized.
Last week Qaddafi, again, gave a long talk to the 14 universities' presidents and their professors. As usual any bounds to the freewheeling roundabout gibberish the Colonel couldn't trudge on. The topic was, changing the whole education systems in the country. From centrally controlled, to something still to be worked out. This comes, on the heel of his admissions of the failures of all the existing systems now running the country. Therefore, they've to be scrapped. As part of the search to remedy the malfunctioning, corrupted, etc., plagues brought by the 'people's ignorance'. Once again, another of those shakes! Ruling by fiat, is still the tragic fact to endure in the ongoing saga of a society and a country which apparently have only the geography and name to their credits.
The Colonel is no fool either? Nor his vanity would have allowed him to admit perhaps exhaustion, if not total bankruptcy, of the regime he leads and be ready to head for the sunset. Rather he wouldn't let go and go down in history without one of those shattering events that would shake society to its roots. In a big way and with a Big-Bang! But Libya, unlike other societies whose conceptual schemes also were in need of correction, is lacking the infrastructures and tools necessary to effectuate the transition. Others had labored long to prepare the ground not the least by changing their leaderships. Among other things these societies had also known well in advance the implications of the adage that says partial reforms are sometimes worse than none at all. So they went with sweeping changes which included the overhauled of most the existing systems - remember China's Deng Xiaoping's slogan, "Poverty is no socialism. To be rich is glorious," which has started the "Socialist market economy"! Or, Gorbachev's "Glasnost and Perestroika" which had brought down the Soviet Union! But Qaddafi, as usual, wants it both ways, to be critical and ruler, an intellectual and pragmatist, and to change the system and stay in power! So he came up with his own, a sui generis, slogan, "You should all be rich!"
If these hallucinations, or pure blathers, been fireside chats wouldn't have mattered much but they're far more encompassing ranges that reach the whole political and economic set-ups. Not only to correct what went wrong, but more importantly to affect another radical turn around of the whole country: Back to square one of free market economy! Chance or Fate have that Qaddafi, as Moses and his flock, has needed 40 years too, of roaming -or just pitching a tent!- literally in the desert, to come to the conclusions that the bridge to the promised land passes over "the hidden hand" It remains to been seen if the new creed will have any traction with the flock, but unlike Moses, Qaddafi will ever lead his diaspora to the target land?
Is it new wisdom or just a new tack for the day? Has Qaddafi come to the conviction on his own, or been persuaded, that centrally planned economy was a very hot-potato for the touch of a bedouin society as that of Libya, and its complicated apparatuses were hard to master even for far more developed and better equipped societies as those of Eastern Europe or China? With Libya's pace Hell will freeze before Libyans will be able to run such a system correctly! If Qaddafi is reckless enough to not go about his failures with the necessary cautions by maneuvering the boat slowly and carefully he'd risk of turning it on its keel or wrecking it. Going at it with full speed is formula for turning it upside down, on its head! But will the new position be much different from the old one? No probing for this new path in the darkness, was preceded the vaulting over Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, etc. straight to the Libertarian's credos, in one jump? The question: how could a country, which historically had little knowledge about the market laws and their workings and its experience with capitalism didn't go beyond the bartering stage, be expected to cope with the intricacies of these names and terms overnight? Perhaps desperate times demand desperate measures! If even ' people's governments' have failed miserably, then what's left except the elimination of bureaucracy, as the logical consequence. Government controls money. Distributing oil revenues directly to people will put an end to bureaucracy.
The country must change its way of running itself. Straight to the Wild Wide West and market capitalism. Called Libertarianism or organized anarchy. [Maybe he's just finished reading Ivan Illich?]. The one who's been holding it in his grip for so long has decided finally to liberate Libya from its bureaucracy and the dictatorship of the State -except, of course for what counts: Defense, Foreign, Interior, and Justice Ministers! Plunging it in yet undetermined future. It's all simple and as limpid as pond in the desert. If each family gets LD 1,000/month per member then will fend for itself the way it sees fit. From now on Bu-m3erqa has no more State oppression and no more compulsory anything. Exception, of course, fealty and loyalty to the Colonel! No more universal education or healthcare, freeways, and any other service etc. Libyans can charge for the sidewalks in front of their houses. Before that they must muster and master, fast and in haste, what took others generations to learn, that's how to form firms, companies, and corporations and run them?
As to higher education, Qaddafi will 'give' the universities to their students and staffs to own and run as they please. Presumably, these institutions will be free to teach what they want and charge accordingly! But it's also a fact, such poppycock, coming from Qaddafi, first doesn't surprise anyone anymore. And, second has to be taken with a grain of salt? Will they be free from restrictions and will they be allowed to charge what they want? However, what's more perplexing, was how this gathering, of an august and respected group, of higher institutions' presidents and professors -which supposedly was made up of the learned and erudites- has reacted to the proposal of turning their institutions upside down? Qaddafi, in addressing them, was basically delivering an ultimatum: tow the line or else!
It makes you want to puke reading some of the presidents' comments! With loads of suck ups and plenty of praises. Oh Master, Lord, Leader, etc., What a great idea it was. What a great genius you're. Our teacher, philosopher, prophet... It's amazing how far down some folks were willing to go? How such a learned group was willing to crawl down on their faces for crumbs to survive? Is it possible for a country to trudge on under the power of sycophants, fools and cowards? These presidents and professors were not embarrassed and didn't hesitate a bit in their sycophantic, obsequious, and kowtowing behavior in front a semi-literate soldier? They not only were an embarrassment to Libyans but to the self-respecting part of the human race. The wretched professors seemed to have not heard of the value of "Truth to Power' instead of bestowing such hypocritical horse manure on Qaddafi! These folks must have broken world records in their flatterings and fawnings to the dictator?
The Learned-Summa, after the habitual singsong refrains to the Colonel and his New-brave- world, put a question that was pro forms rather than a serious quest. The timid prattles consisted of: Great but give us sometime to adjust to it! None asked: how is this going to work and whether is it right to dismantle what many have worked on without a well-studied, clear, and agreed upon alternative(s)? None has dared to challenge the premises of a fallacious train of reasoning: How could one individual do away with what many have toiled on to build?
Some questioned how could society allow universities to decide curricula without supervision. By whom? Presumably the government! But government's duty, in the best, is to ensure those it licenses to carry on and perform certain tasks and responsibilities were qualified. Thus rather than advising higher institutions on how to carry on their tasks, Government efforts should instead be put on how to check and ensure the outcomes of their training courses.
Qaddafi and his regime, so far, have been politically chaotic, culturally impoverished, socially calcified, and economically primitive. Whether any of these went against Libyans' grains and grits is hard to assess since no one knows, for sure what Libyans' grains and grits are! For, in a world and age more and more coming to depend on knowledge, putting the education system in jeopardy, of complete chaos, is truly a crime of a first degree and of an unmeasurable magnitude! Changing any level of the education systems, even in the most developed countries, is no joke. It takes years and years of trial and data collecting to have some idea what possible outcomes to expect. Education is not only part and parcel of society's identity and consciousness of itself, but also the pillar that props its economy. Thus any society which cares about its future wouldn't let the future of its progeny in the unknowable possibilities, and wouldn't give up on the education of its children without a fight.