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Re: how?




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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
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"Is the nation (or the status-quo) the supereme God, or are the people?"

First, let me say that I agree with Sanjeev for the most part, that a
rational discussion of dissent is helpful. Secession is not really a
terrifying idea once you have answered the above question, for that
matter.

Sanjeev, on the one hand, I grant what you are driving at, that if
people are supreme and the nation only "borrows" their authority, then
it must be possible to peacefully dissent and indeed as an extreme, even

secede if one chooses to, all democratically. Whether one sees this as
ideal or naive is besides the point, theoretically it ought to be
possible and is completely within all freedoms we might seek to gather
for ourselves in a democracy.

There is, however, another extreme, which is also theoretical. If we
claim that people are supreme, we must also be able to identify a
threshold to that. Are we individually supreme? Can we build a big
farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and declare our separation from
India, and reject any claim to taxation by the state? This is what
various militia do in this country, they reject the authority of the
government on the principle that it is they, the people, who are
supreme. In Australia, too, there have been isolated loonies who
declated their own land no longer part of the nation.

Clearly, that is not acceptable. We cannot have a billion nations, each
a few hectares or a square feet or whatever. At some level, the
individual is not supreme, no matter what rights are inherent in him.
Any supremacy, therefore, must come at a price. That price, usually, is
the acceptance that it takes a certain number of individuals to assert
the supremacy. I.e., if 100,000 people rally in the streets of Guwahati
demanding a separate state, then their voice ought to be recognized
democratically in a referendum (again, numbers are just examples, as is
location). But if a single guy or a few guys seek that same status for
their own property, it is simply not on.

The question you pose is fair enough, but it doesn't have a simple
answer. OT1H, we don't want a system where the only way dissenters can
be heard is if they are violent. OTOH, we really don't want to hear all
dissenters. The answer has to lie in between. Where we might (as
individuals on this thread) disagree is in finding the line that
separates the acceptable from unacceptable, talking merely in terms of
scale and not content.

Neither the individual nor the state is supreme, as I see it. We must
not, for that matter, see the state as separate from the individual. The

state merely borrows the authority the individual carries, as we have
laid out in the manifesto. When different individuals disagree, we'd
prefer a democratic solution.

As a simple solution, we might propose that any matter can be brought to

a referendum by a signature campaign, as is typical here in the western
US. That has its own pitfalls, but maybe we can iron some of them out.
We need to, in the process, separate constitutionally protected rights,
from other content in the constitution itself. The size and shape of
India is not a civil right, for example.

Dissent isn't nearly as bad as it is made out to be. In principle, it
ought not to be threatening, either.

Ash



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