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Political word games

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Last week acting Prime Minister Errol Mc Leod warned Winston Duke, the PSA and wider society that “violating the Industrial Court’s injunction is violating the rule of law and could lead to anarchy.” COP leader Prakash Ramadhar did not use the word anarchy but agreed the strike was an attack on law and order.


“Anarchy” is one of those apparently straightforward words. Most people understand it as a descent into chaos and disaster. And politicians deploy it because it sparks a dark image of the rule of law giving way to a primordial battle of all against all. Not to mention it’s a popular word many citizens use to lament everyday life.


One of the ironies of this descent-into-anarchy meme is it never applies to all citizens equally. For example, when elites ignore the rule of law, say in corruption or fraud cases, politicians never evoke the moral panic of a society-wide descent into lawlessness. To cut a long story short, to the acting PM and probably most other incumbent political figures in any government, anywhere in the world, the anarchic are people who threaten the status quo as defined by the powerful and elite.


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