This study shows “that the ostensibly ‘soft’ phenomena of culture have moulded the ‘hard’ realities of political power throughout Thai history.”1

Defamation-based laws and their adjudication have created a series of oppositions that define Thainess and Thai culture. This structure of meaning was cemented into place and strengthened in the ahistorical, half-century-long “state of the exception.” It was sustained by the notion of Thai uniqueness and resulted in degradation of the truth, which might be better viewed as a narrowing of social and political imagination

First, this work has made the argument that the emphasis on intention so prevalent in Thai defamation cases comes from pre-existing Thai Theravada Buddhist cosmology. This view of human nature and society remains largely unchanged by Western colonial depredations and changes since. Historians agree that the arrival of Western science shook the foundations of Thai society. Cosmological and philosophical pre-scientific claims were marked as incorrect and rather unceremoniously tossed aside to make way for scientific claims to the truth. One gets the impression the traditional Thai Theravada Buddhist worldview collapsed. That is largely true for the empirical sciences, which were appropriated wholesale from the West.