Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Future of Democracy in India

Yesterday the Surat City Citizen Council organized a lecture by Lord Bhikhu Parekh on The Future of Democracy in India in the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry auditorium here in my hometown Surat. Since Lord Parekh is a big name amongst the Indian intellectuals - he is a member of the UK parliament house of lords, a Professor emeritus of Political Philosophy at the University of Westminster and Hull, a Padma Bhusan, and, importantly, a member of Overseas Indians' Global Advisory Council which advises prime minister Manmohan Singh - I went to hear him. Below I briefly summarize his lecture with my critical remarks.

Prof. Parekh's lecture was music to my ears, at least till the time he discussed his solutions. Prof. Parekh blasted the Indian democratic system and counted many of its flaws like no deliberations in policy making (e.g., dysfunctional parliamentary system where politicians don't discuss anything and pass important bills), government officials not working for the welfare of masses (e.g., political corruption) etc. He was very melancholic about the future of democracy in India. The audience agreed with Prof. Parekh. The chairman of Surat Citizen Council said that, he thinks, the Indian democracy is not working properly.

One thing is getting clearer to me from my such public event experiences, that many people are getting disillusioned with democracy. Many Indians are slowly realizing that democracy is a system which is failing them time and again; that even after 65 years of independence from the British Raj, there are no big perceptible changes in India; that corrupt politicians are busy improving their own lives instead of working for the general masses. Basically, as Hans Hermann Hoppe said, Democracy is the God that has failed! This is all crystal clear for someone who knows the true nature of the criminal gang, the State. But most people don't understand this thuggish nature of the State, and so they are still groping in the dark about why the democratic system is failing them. They don't understand, including Prof. Parekh, that the democratic system is designed to fail the people! But it is a fantastic success, so far, for the system designers i.e., the State officials themselves. As the French classical liberal economist Frédéric Bastiat said, The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else. The German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer exposed the true nature of politics in his brilliant little book, The State: Its History and Development viewed Sociologically. He said,
There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. Robbery! Forcible appropriation! These words convey to us ideas of crime and the penitentiary, since we are the contemporaries of a developed civilization, specifically based on the inviolability of property. And this tang is not lost when we are convinced that land and sea robbery is the primitive relation of life, just as the warriors’ trade—which also for a long time is only organized mass robbery—constitutes the most respected of occupations. Both because of this, and also on account of the need of having, in the further development of this study, terse, clear, sharply opposing terms for these very important contrasts, I propose in the following discussion to call one’s own labor and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others, the “economic means” for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the “political means.” (full text available here).
The State is an epitome of the use of the "political means". The State and its officials are parasites who live at the expense of the productive class of the society. There is no wonder then the system of Democracy, which is just one form of the State, has failed to fulfill peoples' expectations. It is foolish to allow some thugs to rule over your life and expect them to not loot you! It is foolish to give a monopoly power to these thugs over the use of violence and think they won't use violence against you! It is foolish to give a monopoly of judiciary power to these thugs and expect them to rule in favor of you! It is foolish to think that the State officials are there to work for you! It is foolish to think that they are your servants and you are their master in the democracy of the people, by the people and for the people! Democracy is of the State, by the State, and for the State only. No amount of counter arguments by people like Prof. Parekh is going to change this eternal Truth. And it is better people understand this eternal Truth quickly if they want to change things for better or want to survive the exploitations of the State.

After elaborating how the democratic system is failing, Prof. Parekh discussed his solutions briefly. During his lecture he talked about finding alternatives, but his solution was no alternative at all. He wants to keep the democratic system, but just wants to tweak it a bit. He wants to reform the democracy but not substitute it with some other better system. In fact, he said that there is no better alternative of democracy! When he was saying all these, I was remembering Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! Prof. Parekh must understand that the system of democracy itself is inherently flawed political system. Mere reforming it is never going to work. The problems which are created by democracy are never going to be solved by that same democracy! As long as the status quo is maintained, things won't change for better. Prof. Parekh is a political philosopher and I am sure he must know about the better alternative of democracy: the Anarcho-Capitalist Society. The Hoppean Private Law society is well capable of curing human problems. I didn't get a chance to discuss the idea of a private law society with him, but it is important for people to familiarize themselves with it. To think that without the State society can not be organized is to exhibit one's ignorance of theory and human history. There were and still are many societies around the world without any State e.g., Zomia.

During this lecture, the kind of questions the audience asked also reflected the sheepish behavior of the masses. Most of them were eager to know the name of one politician who can successfully rule over their lives and lead India to fantastic successes. This shows that even after 65 years of so-called independence, people are mentally slave of their governments. They are yearning for a Messiah to come forward and be their savior. People obviously were thinking about Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi when they were talking about that one political leader who can save them. Most were thinking of better to have an authoritarian leader like Modi at the helm of the nation than some dysfunctional democracy! These are ominous signs for India as Prof. Parekh also thought. I was remembering the German society during the time of the rise of Hitler. They were also thinking the same like many Indians today. We must remember, that Hitler also came to power in a democratic way via majority votes!

In the end, Prof. Parekh said that the future of democracy in India is bleak and the country will continue to languish with the same democratic system. He saw no alternative of democracy, but as I said above, the alternative is available: the Anarcho-Capitalist Private Law Society. People only need to understand this system. As long as the idea of a Private Law society is not getting a firm hold in peoples' minds, India will suffer at the hands of dreaded democracy.              

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