Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

American Arrested in Thailand for Criticizing the King

It is deeply disturbing that such occurrences can still take place in the year 2011:

 BANGKOK – Thai authorities said Friday they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country’s monarchy, in part by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation’s ailing king.

The man is also suspected of translating, from English into Thai, portions of “The King Never Smiles” — an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej — and posting them online along with articles he wrote that allegedly defame the royal family, said Tharit Pengdith, who heads the Department of Special Investigation …

Regardless of what is taking place behind the scenes in Thailand, it is absurd that anyone can be arrested for something as petty as “criticizing” a public figure.  Of all people, those in positions of leadership are precisely the ones who need to be criticized most.  What we see taking place in Thailand is a blind devotion to a man who has been elevated to god-like status.  He is, according to an antiquated way of thinking, beyond all insults.

The taboo that exists in Thailand against insulting the monarchy is precisely that taboo which still exists around religions.  And it is this pseudo-spiritual quality of both monarchies and organized religions that allows them to propagate so effectively.  After all, how could any brutal monarchy have maintained its power if the people were free to analyze and critique their actions?  In the same manner, how could any organized religion, with all of its inherent preposterousness, ever have flourished on such a massive scale if not for an impenetrable ban on any and all rational analysis?

In both religion and monarchies, faith is considered the supreme virtue:  faith that your god is the one true god, faith that his mercy will save you, faith that your king is righteous and just.  To think for oneself is considered a sinful action, as it implies a lack of faith.  In religion, a lack of faith leads to eternal damnation – spiritual death; in a monarchy, imprisonment or execution – physical death.  The idea behind both monarchies and religions is for those in power to retain their power, and the most effective means to do so is to simply prevent people from thinking.

To create boundaries on what a person is allowed to critique is to discourage the very act of critical thinking.  If we are not allowed to criticize a political figure or an organized religion, we are essentially barred from utilizing the unique traits that distinguish us from the animals:  reason and logic.  Absolutely everything – every last detail of society – should be open to critical analysis.  When people stop thinking, society flounders – as we have seen, to our chagrin, here in the United States.

The fact that Thailand still has a monarchy is pitiable; the fact that they still enforce lese majeste laws is utterly reprehensible.  Any thinking person should be enraged by this arrest, as the right to think and speak freely should be considered above all others the supreme universal human right.

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One response to “American Arrested in Thailand for Criticizing the King

  1. Anonymous December 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    The writer’s grasp of faith leaves a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, he fails to see that faith itself goes beyond religion or how we have come to institutionalize same.

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