Besigye, the fox and hedgehog



By Philip Matogo

Former Discussion board for Democratic Change (FDC) social gathering president Kizza Besigye was as soon as quoted as saying, “The worst group of Uganda that I’ve a problem with are the educated elite. They’re probably the most ineffective individuals now we have in Uganda.”

Lots of the elite felt laborious carried out by when Besigye pulled out that bazooka. A lot of them forgot to duck and had been subsequently hit sq. between the eyes.

What Besigye was speaking about was a breach between fashionable and conventional societies, collectivism and individualism. The elites have a tendency be fashionable and individualistic, unburdened by the collective issues of a nation in want of a collective response to these issues.

Prior to now, society was constructed upon the masonry of communalism. That is why African socialism was a robust battle cry among the many elite at independence.

Right now, such collectivised will and thought are a distant reminiscence. This example invokes William Whyte’s 1956 ebook, The Group Man. This ebook highlighted the divergence between two ethics continuously at battle in American society.

Whyte wrote about Protestant Ethic, the concept that the “pursuit of particular person salvation via laborious work, thrift, and aggressive battle is the guts of American achievement,” and a Social Ethic: “of himself, [man] is remoted, meaningless; solely as he collaborates with others does he turn out to be worthwhile, for by sublimating himself within the group, he helps produce an entire that’s higher than the sum of its components.”


He concluded that the Protestant Ethic was dropping floor to the Social Ethic.

In Uganda, the reverse is true. The elite are pursuing particular person salvation. They’ve good jobs, property and are cushioned by snug values which extoll the virtues of individuality, continuity and stability.

Besigye is asking them to show their backs on private beneficial properties to collaborate with the city dispossessed. And thereby, obtain one thing higher than themselves. But, in a capitalist financial system, the dominant ethic is individualism. This protects particular person rights to protect customary of livings and earnings.

However, Besigye’s socialist-leaning strategy, like every collectivist ideology, relegates particular person rights under the privileges of the collective. The elite disagree, and so give up increasingly more of their freedoms to become profitable as authorities clamps down on activism.

Being self-sufficient and understanding how you can manipulate the system of their favour, our elite don’t care about social programmes. Until they arrive within the form of entitlements. So irrespective of the federal government, they shall stay soundproof to activist chants as soon as their individualist advantages stay untouched.

This speaks to the 20th Century Oxford thinker Isaiah Berlin’s 1953 essay titled, The Hedgehog and the Fox.

It targeted on the view of historical past that locations individuals into two distinct classes.
Hedgehogs, who view the world via a single central imaginative and prescient, and foxes, who chase scattered concepts pursuing many ends. Basically, hedgehogs are simplifiers and foxes are multipliers.

Besigye and his less-than-merry band of activists are hedgehogs who current a grandiose imaginative and prescient on how you can appropriate Uganda. It’s sweeping and easy: take away the “dictatorship” and all the things shall be added unto you. The elite in Uganda are foxes.

They have a look at the main points with a view to gathering the items to resolve a jigsaw puzzle. They’re distrustful of grand visions for change. Since they heard about “basic change” from Besigye’s earlier boss, and all of it appeared to go to smash.

In order that they search to position their inventory in gradualism, not radicalism. And, apparently, Berlin concluded that the 20th Century and past would belong to them.

Whereas Besigye, in line with the regulation of attraction, turns into what he judges as what he condemns impacts him. To make sure, oddly, that he turns into the ineffective one.

Mr Matogo is a digital advertising and marketing supervisor with Metropolis Surprises Ltd



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