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Let’s ask couple of questions 

By Don Aguiar

Mumbai: Most of us may have watched the program on Republic TV on May 21 and 22 where the Christians of India were directly in the line of fire. It was noted that on this program the saffron brigade was bent on creating controversy on a letter from the Archbishop of Delhi, for the 2019 General elections and quoted the letter out of context.

Along with this they came up with a lot of other things which are so vitriolic on the Christians and finally they pitched the Vatican directly against the current government. Needless to say the Saffron Brigade just pounced on the Fathers and Christian leaders on the debate along with the moderator, as seen by all was partial to them, which gave no chance to the Fathers and Christian leaders on the debate to counter them effectively.

The issue of conversion and the hold of the Church in the North East which asked Christians to vote for secular forces and the letter of the Archbishop of Gujarat asking people to vote for secular parties in the 2016 Gujarat elections were all being quoted by these Hindu leaders of the Saffron Brigade in support of their arguments.

Reasons that seems to have provoked them seems to be the Archbishop of Delhi felicitating Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi belonging to Italy is a connection they are using for Vatican interference in the Indian States internal affairs.

Unfortunately politicians (out here the saffron brigade) understand what sells (like advertisers) better than us armchair pundits critiquing them. Just like sex does sell in advertising the reason religion and other divisive issues work in getting votes is because that’s what gets human beings excited to go to the polls.

If the public is dumb enough to be fooled by politicians it deserves to be fooled by politicians. But politicians are supposed (if only putatively) to be elected for bettering the lot of those they serve. It opens up another larger problem; is it right for the stronger to take advantage of the weaker?

In the case of politicians they whip up the religious sentiments of the gullible Indian masses for votes, etc. and the gullible Indian masses can’t see through the deceit.

Politicians find the palliative to assuage the Janta and the mass is appeased it seems to be. It is actually the bureaucrat that decides, cranes policy and actually rules. They tell the politicians what to do. I have dealt with many of them so have first-hand experience. 30 percent of India does not even vote. Both the politician and the bureaucrats don’t come from city bred schools with upscale backgrounds. They are street fighters and have come up the hard way; it’s a career like any other.

The “disease” is that the difference between the haves and the have-nots has been widening for decades and the latter’s disenchantment with their leader who promises much but delivers little has been growing and being taken advantage of in the class warfare.

Populations of most countries work hard but are shortchanged. It’s not their fault they’re being shafted. It is very easy for a strongman to step in to ostensibly clear the rot. Except, they don’t. Also, it’s no coincidence they’re sprouting. They take each other’s cues, see their chances and take them. It’s easier to be a strongman when there are others out there (partners in crime) than when not.

Is the public to blame for the above? The public is naïve, gullible, weak, disenfranchised, etc. Should the public therefore be taken advantage of by politicians or bureaucrats or technocrats or policy makers or whomever? Is that good? Right? Fair? Moral? Ethical?

But if we want democracy and freedom of speech then the question is; does a naïve, gullible or weak populace deserve the higher responsibility free speech places on it? When we changed news from “push” to “pull” was the populace ready to parse the nonsense from the sense?

Did the guy transition from reading a “pushed” newspaper to “puling” a radio station, TV show, internet domains with balanced appreciation or did the guy give into base instincts (race, religion, color, etc.) which were dormant and the “pull” news gave a life and voice.

It is believed that the populace shares blame in its ability to parse the news: more so if it succumbs to its worse demons by its addiction to channels that support its vile basic instincts. When I look deeper, it is found that the populace was never ready to handle free speech in a connected world where ‘news” was a ‘pull” far different from the fact. I believe that where the disconnect started a decade ago the scumbag politicians took advantage of it.

It’s is never morally right to dupe any human being. It is also morally unacceptable for people to live under dictatorship or oppression, hence the triumph of democracy.

Let’s ask a couple of questions

Is it then morally right for a gullible, naïve, dupe, brainwashed majority to oppress the minority only because they cannot handle free speech and are led astray by political jargon? What gives the multitude a pass we would not give an individual?

As for “non-secular morons” the religious became religious not in a vacuum. The church and state have known the value of blind faith, and have been perpetuating it and thereby milking it for millennia. (Of course the above is over simplistic and another force is at play); when there is nobody to seek help from in the material world (such as it is), there is always recourse to the non-material world (god, etc.) for help succor, etc.

To quote political theorist Michael Ignatieff, “Politicians need to respect the difference between an enemy and an adversary. An adversary is someone you want to defeat; an enemy is someone you have to destroy.” In a democracy, destroying the opposition or minority through questionable means is a destruction of the norms of democracy itself.

Gandhi constantly emphasized that the means are just as important as the ends. When your methods are doubtful, said the Mahatma, you cannot get good ends. A majoritarian democracy which focuses only on ends irrespective of means will always use fraud and violence, coercing voters and legislators to achieve power.

These attempts are aimed at creating an illusion of a majority and only pretend to adhere to democratic norms when in fact they are creating a majoritarian democracy. Because a majoritarian democrat overthrows all norms, such a breakdown soon degenerates into the rule of a single populist autocrat like Turkey’s Erdogan, Poland’s Kaczynski and Russia’s Putin.

An anti-democratic majoritarian view of democracy where a naked power grab is justified, will first lead to illegality, then criminality, then to loss of life on the streets because this kind of politics has the potential to rapidly degenerate into all-out war. When rulers seeking supreme power lose all moral credibility, it’s a recipe for social mayhem.

Real existing democracy, not what our present leaders palm off on us and pay lip service to, is very rare and found but in few countries (the Scandinavian countries come to mind) and from time to time in history.

Greed (and its concomitant, wealth) and power, public and private, are pernicious forces that, once attained, are not given to easy relinquishment by its aquisitors. And with that one could say that the present government who smart similar symptoms will stretch by using foul means to maintain whatever they have attained. And with that one could say that the present government who smart similar symptoms will stretch by using foul means to maintain whatever they have attained. The minorities need to strategize accordingly.

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