Executive authorities who flirt with armed gang leaders. Parliamentarians who turn Parliament into a hotbed of blackmail, bargaining and a boxing ring. Members of the judicial system who release against payment of kidnappers and criminals. As if it were a ransom share. Leaders who take fanciful and ineffective measures instead of implementing coherent public policies that can improve the living conditions of the population. The fact is clear: most Haitian leaders are out of place. There is a crucial question: who should we elect as leaders in Haiti in the next elections?
In La Republique, the most famous and influential work of Plato's philosophy, one finds a pertinent answer to this question: to govern or direct, one must hold a proven expertise. It is acquired after a long process of training and experience acquisition in which the applicant learns to master a field of knowledge, but also to cultivate the wisdom to recognize that he does not know all. Thus, in areas that he does not control, he is obliged to consult real professionals.
Plato went so far as to think that only philosophers should rule the city. At that time the philosopher was the one who possessed knowledge and wisdom, two skills necessary for the optimal management of public affairs. Today, as a philosopher, we would speak of experts or specialists: professionals who have real expertise.
Plato did not have much esteem for the sophists, those masters of fallacious discourse and manipulation. The sophists caress rather the animal in the sense of the hair, they tried to go in the direction of the public opinion while privileging their particular interest. While the philosopher (the expert), he is wary of the opinion of the crowd, this majority is not always right. The author of the book entitled "The Laws", his very last dialogue, gave more importance to the opinion of the expert. An equation not always easy to maintain in a democracy where the law of the majority is imposed too often.
"The idea that we could rely on as many people as possible to change the world would have seemed to Voltaire perfectly incongruous," writes Benoît Melançon, professor at the Department of French Literature at the University of Montreal (1). It is certainly not the opinion of the crowd that will leave Haiti the rut of underdevelopment. It is rather expert knowledge, to use a term dear to my friend Yves Lafortune, CEO of Consultations and Results and founding member of the Institute of Public Policy (IPP). But this expert knowledge must also not be completely detached from the reality of the crowd.
Thirty-three years after the fall of the dictatorship of the Duvaliers, we must evaluate the progress made in the struggle for the establishment of democracy. The long-awaited democratic era for which so many prominent activists have sacrificed their lives has not yet yielded the desired results. The economic conditions of the vast majority of the population have not improved significantly. One of the reasons for this failure remains unquestionably the choice of bad leaders. Worse, during the last election, there was a real auction that benefited the wealthiest, with no regard for competence, integrity and political morality.
An interesting exercise would consist in counting the fields of competence of our elected officials. What do they really master? What percentage of elected officials have a university degree? A professional degree? Some know-how? The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) must not be content with only conducting the electoral games and publishing the results. As soon as candidates are registered, they must design a questionnaire that will allow the socio-demographic profile of candidates and then elected officials to be drawn up.
Citizens must be able to draw up and analyze the profiles of candidates who aspire to govern them. As is the profile of elected officials. What do the choices of the population reflect in relation to all the candidates who took part in the race? On what basis do Haitian citizens elect their leaders? The electoral database should be used for in-depth research in sociology, psychology, political science, public economics and economics. Voting is the act of economic development par excellence. The economic decline seen today is largely the result of poor political and economic choices from leaders who are often incompetent, sometimes competent but dishonest. The voting system and the mechanisms of choice of candidates by the political parties and the population are thus very important.
A rather telling exercise is to compare the profile of Haitian leaders and those of the Dominican Republic over the last 50 years. It is easy to see that there is a huge difference in favor of the neighboring republic. Instead, it chose expert politicians and ideologues where the Haitian people elected people without much expertise or experience in the management of public affairs.
We are complaining about the haircut of the gourd in recent days. It is difficult, however, to make it clear to a leader who has never taken an economics course in his life, which had never been introduced to scientific reasoning, that the budget deficit could be one of the causes. Talking to him about the expectations of economic agents becomes even more abstract.
Economics is a science of nuances and abstractions that requires a certain level of reflection. With leaders of very low level, the expert integrates, particularly in economics, is perceived as an annoyance. Only the great boasters, experts in sycophancy, will find their place among incompetent leaders. Unsurprisingly, economic policy decisions lead to the country's decline.
In the elections of November 28, 2010, a political sector made believe that the graduates had failed and that it was necessary to choose people without diplomas. The results in 2019 show that if the diploma is not enough to guarantee conclusive results, without the least diploma or expertise, it is the insured catastrophe. How can so-called organized sectors support such choices? It's even harder to understand.
In the next elections, it would be necessary to elect, as advocated Plato since antiquity, experts and specialists integrity. The more the Haitian population elects amateurs, the more it will wade into misery and underdevelopment for a long time.