Indonesia’s 72nd Year of the Five Principles

Selamat Hari Pancasila dan tetap berpikir merdeka!

This section is aimed to review a book authored by David Bourchier entitled, “Illiberal Democracy in Indonesia: the Ideology of the Family State.” In short, it is said that the book examines to the extent to which the history of how Pancasila was arbitrarily interpreted and utilised as an ideological means to foster the hegemony of authoritarian government.

One lesson from this book, ideology would be just a symbol and rhetoric instrument as long as the nation is built based on corporatism, or even Pancasila is the reason to legitimate corporatism? In the context, Indonesia has lagged in term of democracy due to the sacralisation of Pancasila itself; we may claim it was just pseudo-democratic Indonesia which means democracy outside but autocracy inside.

Following what so-called family principle means that state should be considered as father and citizens are deemed as children. To this view, there should no boundaries between ruler and ruled, by providing very limited human rights. Such concept comes from the reason that the life of the nation is based on indigenous values coined by Savigny as volksgeist or the spirit of people. Yet, does it truly work?

In the history of the nation, Pancasila was the rhetoric agenda and used as the powerful weapon to attempt an authoritarian government. Given that Pancasila is deemed as the ideology of Indonesia, the New Order ended up indoctrinating the citizen, distorted, sacralised, monopolised, and used it to legitimate violences in order to defend the power.

It clearly asserts that Pancasila which was previously considered as an open ideology but in practice it was (and it is) lack of criticism. However, It was just an adverse impact of making Pancasila as an ideological weapon to silence anyone who wanted to think critically. In conclusion, the Indonesian ideology unlikely avoids transformation of a new identity of the nation, especially toward the current complex and fast-changing globalised world.

Leave a Comment