On Human Nature

By David Wesonga

“One can make this generalization about men: they are ungrateful, fickle, liars and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit; while you treat them well, they are yours. They would shed their blood for you, risk their property, their lives, their children, so long, as I said above, as danger is remote; but when you are in danger they turn against you.” Niccolò Machiavelli

I have never taken time to read in between the lines of Machiavelli, but trust me, yours truly knows a thing or two about human nature. A thousand and one people can’t be wrong. Lessons in humility are best learned in nobility. And it has really been humbling – the journey, I mean.

As for momentum, human nature dictates every single bit of it. On my arrival in South Africa, I was at a loss to explain my decision to shun my notoriously public life for something albeit hidden, but true to self. I wanted to live “the boy next door” and just be him. But I also wanted some real heroes. The historian Walter Bagehot would deny me were he to learn of my moralizing Gordon Brown’s failed prime minister-ship, liberalizing David Cameron’s Blair- like abilities and just plain labeling him another Blair. But look at Obama. A major gain in health care reforms, where Hillarycare failed in the Clinton era, another huge gain in the stimulus plans and the bailouts – I still believe most of the banks bailed out would have ruined me, but what the heck, I don’t need a bank account now! And here’s another scoop in international relations – human nature just handed him and my favorite speaker of all times, Nancy Pelosi, a staggering defeat in the mid-term elections.

Shakespearean tragedy would have labeled it nonpareil on political fronts, but the world is devoid of understanding, patience and ignorance. Ignorance? Yes! Remember where ignorance is bliss? Sometimes, we shed so many tears trying to retain what in reality should be ours, legally, that we forget the little things that matter in life.

Social commentary is riddled with arcane tales of 40 under something and Forbes this and that, but has one ever stopped for a minute and given a thought to the darling princes and knights out there, standing amidst false innuendo and friendships, to gather enough momentum to propel oneself forward? The odds are usually stacked against the one who leads the clarion call, but it is usually worth it.

Back home in Nairobi, I am told the world is scared stiff of one man, Senor Luis Moreno Ocampo, who is coming after leaders of the post election chaos in that country. I have no problem with that, but pray, the biggest supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the U.S., who, amazingly, is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that binds countries to the ICC! Talk of fickle – there you have it. Ditto Ocampo.

“And that prince who bases his power entirely on…words, finding himself completely without other preparations, comes to ruin.”
Niccolò Machiavelli


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