• Over the past few weeks, political party proponents have unequivocally told their members, that they shall have no allegiance to any other political leader, besides their party leaders.
• In a bid to escape their party’s wrath, some of the ‘errant members’ have retracted their once fervent positions and chest-thumping threats.
You shall have no other gods besides me. Exodus 20:3.
This is the first of the 10 commandments that Moses received on the stone tablet when he was atop Mount Sinai.
The exegesis given by theologians on this commandment is that God gave this law to the Israelites because the Egyptians and other neighbouring nations had many gods whom they worshiped. And God wanted the Israelites to cleave to Him and no other gods, either of their own invention, or borrowed from the neighbouring nations.
Through this commandment, God required the Israelites to worship Him alone. It was a command against polytheism. The punishment of failure to heed to this commandment was death.
Over the past few weeks, political party proponents have unequivocally told their members, that they shall have no allegiance to any other political leader, besides their party leaders. Those that have not heeded this party edict have been de-whipped from their plum parliamentary positions. Others that are in Parliament courtesy of their party’s nomination have been threatened with replacement.
In a bid to escape their party’s wrath, some of the ‘errant members’ have retracted their once fervent positions and chest-thumping threats. They have sought forgiveness from their party leaders in the company of their tribal elders, while others have defied their convictions and acted as directed by their party in voting out Senate leadership. This has earned them the labels of betrayers, spineless and unreliable. They have been branded selfish.
Resultantly, many Kenyans have expressed the full spectrum of emotions ranging from betrayal, vindication, anger, jubilation to everything in between. Regardless of where one finds themselves along this spectrum of emotions, the general consensus is that the whippers and de-whippers, the betrayers and the supporters are all egocentric. That their first and only concern is to themselves; not to those that they represent, the Constitution nor to the nation’s welfare.
And this inference at face value is clearly defensible. This is because it is informed by our religious and moral interpretation of the ethics of selfishness versus selflessness. We have unreservedly believed that one is a vice, while the other is a virtue.
Hurling all manner of unpalatable insults with the expectation that the politicos will stop being selfish is like peeing in the ocean, and looking back to see if the water level rose. It is futile
While it is true that one is a vice, and the other is a virtue, I submit a contrarian view that religion and morality have misinstructed us to believe this in reverse order. My submission is that selflessness is the vice; and selfishness is the virtue. Allow me to explain.
The Bible records that we are created in the image and likeness of God. The same Book affirms that God is a jealous God. I posit that this is why He prefixed Exodus 20:3 as the first commandment. The driver of jealousy is the desire for exclusivity. Elsewhere, it is recorded that God created man to worship Him; for His glory; and for His pleasure. He also sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ, as the means to reconcile us back to Himself. The centrality of all this is God Himself. Would it, therefore, be heresy to define this as selfishness?
It can be easily argued that this is in order because after all, He is God. And He has no equal. But isn’t it also true, that He created us in His likeness and image? And that therefore inherently, we are selfish? And if God is good, and He is selfish, then doesn’t that make selfishness a virtue and not a vice?
So begs the question, why do we demonize the politicians as selfish when they recant their positions in a bid to save their parliamentary seats? Or when political parties issue a fiat that allegiance by party members should only be to the party leaders? Are they not simply exercising their inherent virtue of selfishness in their likeness and image of God?
And this is where the interests of the electorate and the politicians collide. It is because we are playing the same game but using a different set of rules. The politicos have understood that selfishness is a virtue, while we still cling to the misguided belief that selflessness is the virtue. They have uncovered the secret.
Selflessness means concerning yourself more with the needs and wishes of others than with your own. It means sacrificing or giving up your values for the sake of serving the needs of others. It means putting others first. Yet, if we are to quote from the same Bible, it tells us that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves. The exegesis of this is that we must first love ourselves for us to know how to love others. And to love yourself first is to be selfish. Like God, it is to desire exclusivity. Now, do you see how you have always been made to erroneously believe this in reverse order?
Sadly, this fallacious reverse thinking is what causes us to unnecessarily vilify one another on social media, and be physically violent towards those we presume are in support of politicians that we do not like. We have become incapable of loving others because we have neglected to love ourselves first; because we have been made to think that selfishness is synonymous with evil. We have exalted selflessness over selfishness. A vice over a virtue.
And this is also why we cannot comprehend the political disinfection that is ongoing. Some call it a betrayal, while others tauntingly claim it is the other side’s turn to taste the bitter pill.
Regrettably, we all do not see it for what it is – purely a selfish act. It is inevitable. And it is not evil. It is a godly virtue. Why don’t you try it? You will be so much happier rather than constantly gripping at those who selfishly profess a contrary view from yours.
Finally, my unsolicited advice is to the interchangeables in the selectorate paradigm. Hurling all manner of unpalatable insults with the expectation that the politicos will stop being selfish is like peeing in the ocean, and looking back to see if the water level rose. It is futile.
To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of love – Ayn Rand