Written By Kwame Asiedu - Isaac Asimov, in I, Robot opines, “It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say 'It's as plain as the nose on your face.' But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?”
As a Santaclausian, one of the school rules I can never forget is, “Boys should exercise common sense at all times. A breach of common sense is a breach of school rules.” This rule was all encompassing and epitomized the requirement to be circumspect in one’s dealings with students and staff. To be on the right side of this rule, it was important that empathy and attention to the feelings of the larger Santaclausian family was always at the forefront of choices and behaviours.
Suffice to say, all of us were being educated in an institution of excellence to uphold these attitudes when the world was at our feet. I have found out that this rule is common in many schools that friends of mine attended locally. I was therefore taken aback when Daniel Vroom, a Santaclusian of no mean standing posed this question; “does knowledge and intellect reside at the same place?” This was after I had opined that, “the notion of the NDC being intellectually bankrupt was a misnomer since many of us were in the same secondary schools and universities both locally and internationally with many leading members.
Consequentially, I began reviewing my writings and that of many centrist commentators on social media over the last four years. In them, I found to my amazement a trove of information that was disregarded under the guise of “hate can’t win” by the governing NDC. I concluded that in retrospect the NDC may just find out that they dug their own graves awaiting their mass execution. In fact, many of these commentators did the government so many favours and could have made the path to victory of the NPP more tedious had the government just listened.
Rather, those in charge of the executive sought to bury their heads in the sand playing to the gallery and appealing to their core vote in a manner that bred apathy and disdain amongst their partisans and energized the core of their opponents. They had forgotten that, a key requirement for a government that governs for the good of the entire nation is intellect and that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” This was when I realized that knowledge was perhaps in abundance but intellect and astuteness seemed to have deserted the thinkers in the NDC. In fact, I had begun moving towards a view that the interface between knowledge and intellect was common sense and a listening ear without which baloney became the order of the day.
To convince myself that my postulation was plausible, I began looking at the behaviours, decisions and machinations of the President John Dramani Mahama. I did because, there is a proverb that, “every fish rots from the head down.” This is poignant because, a rotten knowledgeable brain would lack the intellectual ability to make a common-sense decision. This was made manifest many times by the decisions of His Excellency. His tendency to move ministers accused of maleficence to the seat of government was repugnant to say the least. It was as though he had been deceived by a deranged statistician that all he needed to do to retain power was the core partisan NDC vote. He was totally mindless of the fact that the road to the Flagstaff House was not through Ketu South in the Volta Region or Bantama in the Ashanti Region but through the costal belts of the Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions plus the Guan speaking constituencies of the Brong Ahafo Region. Sadly, these were constituencies that the NDC had won in the past, but thanks to a lack of intellectual astuteness conceded them all in a rather meek and spineless fashion.
Then there were the unbridled attacks on the intelligence of many middle-class thinkers with extremely partisan decisions that smacked in the face of the integrity of institutions of state. This started with the government’s shenanigans in the Woyome judgement debt saga and the pussyfooting of the Attorney General. It was as though an assault on Woyome was an assault on the NDC voter. Intelligence was thrown to the dogs and the government in certain instances became antagonistic to the overwhelming will of the people to support Martin Amidu. Yes, they had many knowledgeable people but strangely, they had conspired in a weird way to ensure knowledge and intellect were not in sync.
Then there was the Montie III saga. Even the most infantile brain knew freeing people who had spewed vile expletives and threatened judges was an assault on the judiciary. The only arbiter entrusted by our constitution to settle all things. Yet, under the guise of pressure from the partisan grassroots and with many ministers of the executive sheepishly marching to sign a petition requesting for a Presidential pardon, The President acceded to the madness of the minority. By this time, knowledge and intellect were poles apart. The silent majority on the other hand were busy looking for their voter ID cards, proxying their votes and rubbing their thumbs.
As if that wasn’t enough, the commentary from those who spoke on behalf of government became nauseating by the day. It was as though the president had gone on a suicide mission replacing his Babies With Sharp Teeth (BWST) with others with an acid tongue and acrid smell. They regurgitated lies as if they were remote controlled parrots, deceiving their foot soldiers in the process and allegedly pocketing the campaign funds. It was as though they felt shouting on air and being disruptive was the panacea to torpedoing the message of the main opposition and now government elect. Whilst the NPP used their knowledgeable men to push their message and to energize their campaign base, these acolytes of the President were busily lining their pockets and in the process lining their graves.
Daniel in conclusion, I would argue that the path to victory and success requires knowledge and intelligence to reside in the same place. The minute intellect deviates from knowledge the writings of failure are boldly on the wall. In my research, I came across this quote that sums up what I now believe, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
Clearly the NPP by making sure knowledge and intellect were in sync ensured that the graves the NDC dug up came to good use. What the NDC should do is to soul search the hearts of their thinkers and jettison many who have become poisonous to their brand. By so doing, they may one day sink their knowledge base with their intellect and begin to understand why I advised them ages ago to set up a “Department of Common Sense.”