Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Corrupting Morality

If I tell you to give $100 to a third person because then I will give you $200, are you being moral or corrupt? For this is how NGOs are financed by western donors. This is the final corruption: the corruption of morality.

Suppose, then, I tell you to preach democracy, and you get a further $100, are you sincere in your preaching? Psychologists call this 'cognitive dissonance' and it has been found that the lower the reward for lying about your true feelings, the greater the stress. No wonder donors pay handsomely to reduce stress.

What is at work here is that you never internalise the morality: it remains external and your whole life a sham. This is what western donors and we have done to ourselves.

Then I say, if you say anything about Palestine in public, you will lose all your $200, then naturally you clam up about Israel and Palestine. This is what has, in fact, happened: there is never any public discussion on Palestine in Bangladesh, according to the Palestinian Embassy. The anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat goes unmarked and unnoticed, year after year, while the death of a democracy activist the preceding day in 1987 is regarded as a holy event.

Of course, there are subtler forms of corruption. I might tell you that if you speak about Palestine (in public), I will not give you a scholarship to a prestigious western university, or finance a junket abroad, or I'll blackball you from all academic events.

Thus, the finest part of our society - the thinkers - are the most corrupt.

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