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physical versus economic force



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Economy
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> I was in particular very concerned with the apparent failure to
> distinguish between use of physical force and the use of economic
> temptation. This is with reference to Ash's comments, who I thought
> had helped me out on the Free citizen piece and therefore understood
> the answer himself.

Don't patronize me, Sanjeev. I could say the same thing about you. The 
issue is not whether I "understand" something, that attitudes 
presupposes that you are right. Let's look at the content under debate 
instead.

> Please believe me, Ashwin, this is one thing which should be VERY
> easy to draw a line on: that is why we have government in the first
> place. The non-use of force by a citizen against another. 

I agree completely. But my whole point that there should be some 
agreement about what constitutes force. You seem to imply that only 
physical force is to be counted, whereas I see that economic force can 
be just as devastating. Also, since you did not respond to the earlier 
conuters I offered, I'm going to re-iterate them here.

<< Religion has no external damaging effects >>

To this I said that I like living in a tolerant society, and I have an 
interest in preserving that tolerance. I doubt anyone here on IP will 
disagree with that. My point of view (where others may disagree) is that 
this tolerance is best preserved when we are not vested with the right 
to try to change each others' faith. The minute you claim the right to 
try to change my faith, I am disinclined to treat you as an equal member 
of my society. It's that simple. If we must be tolerant, then we must 
both be. Proselytization is UNFAIR to me, (remember that we continue to 
put off debating what fairness is).

<< separate civil laws should not matter >>

To this I said that separateness breeds intolerance, although I admit 
that over time the cause and effect are not separable. I have a vested 
interest in being one among many so that what applies to me applies to 
all, it is from these numbers that I draw strength. Also, the civil laws 
are not so judiciously drawn, they serve the explicit political purpose 
of alleviating concerns among specific minority groups, note that not 
all minorities have separate civil laws. Why is that?

> If an economic crime is committed, its penalty is ALWAYS much milder
> than if a physical assault is committed. In all societies, and based
> on all principles.

So what? I couldn't care about other societies. For that matter, in 
Malaysia proselytization and conversions are not allowed. In Arab 
countries, penalties can be grotesque. Surely you are advocating the 
extension of principles applied elsewhere? 

<< Remember we said in the free citizen piece: ... >>

I tell you this again (and it is the strongest opinion I have offered to 
IP yet) that whatever we define in this piece is irrelevant if we do not 
determine who it applies to. Every social organization must have its 
boundaries, so that it is very clear who the laws apply to, and which 
persons agree to abide by the rules of organization set forth in the 
society. It must first be clear who WE are. We encountered this problem 
with language and with religion. In both cases, you offered the opinion 
that the groups bound by the existing laws of the union of India 
constitute the "we", I pointed out that it is the very nature of these 
laws that lead some groups to say that certain others are not part of 
their society. 

I propose we step back and thrash this out before going on to more 
topics. These differences will keep coming up. 

Ash



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