Professor Lewis then points out that between 1935 and 1940 defense expenditures absorbed 17.3 per cent of the national budget, dropping to 8.1 per cent in the period 1953‐ 1956.
These figures are admittedly tenuous, and probably err on the low side, of course.
Indonesia's Political Symbols and Their Wielders
The great prominence of political symbolism in Indonesia is sometimes explained in historical and psycho-cultural terms, with references to the religious character of kingship in pre-colonial days, to the country's long history of messianic movements, or to the continuing importance of status and ceremony in Indonesian society generally. 1 Alternatively (or complementarily) it is said that the government's concentration of attention on symbolic activities results directly from the experience of social and political change. Where economic life is rapidly becoming more market-oriented, cities and towns are growing fast, and more and more men are acquiring modern education, and particularly where old patterns of social relations have been destroyed by war or revolution, many individuals are confronted by the challenge of new values and cognitive patterns and consequently thrown into psychological disarray. Such men, it is argued, can often most easily
resolve the conflicts within themselves by accepting a schematic ideology and participating in an expressive (non-instrumental) form of politics, a politics of heroes and villains, of "the movement" and "the enemy," of utopias and betrayals (compromise being a form of betrayal) and of multifarious sacred emblems.
Each of these two types of explanation contains elements of validity, but it would be gross oversimplification to use either of them, or both together, to supply an overall explanation of the prominence of symbolic activity in Indonesian government practice. To do this would be to assume a one-way, "reflective" relationship between government actions and the attitudes and expectations prevailing in society. The Indonesian government is certainly limited in its choices of action by prevailing attitudes, perspectives, and demands in Indonesian society, and by the psychological needs of key groups of that society. But it also plays a major part in creating these attitudes and needs. Hence historical, psycho-cultural, and sociological explanations are of great importance in accounting for the limiting conditions within which the govern____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Political Sociology:A Reader. Contributors: S. N. Eisenstadt - Editor. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1971. Page number: 603.
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