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Ritu's institutional power vs. individual freedoms

[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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Ritu Ko wrote:

> To take the example of the country you so much admire, this is precisely what FDR
> did in the 1930s to steer US out of economic depression. You see, there are
> times when the nation as a whole is facing danger and that is the time when
> the patriotism of each individual is tested.

    Could you please be more specific.  Because I don't think FDR has violated
individual freedoms even then.  What do you mean by this?  If I am not mistaken the
right vote for women was achieved during that era or right before it!!  While the
society then didn't value individual freedoms as much as the society now, I don't
think any steps backward were taken in the name of the nation.  That is, individual
rights were being liberated or put forth at a much rapid rate, if not.

> You are expected to think of
> more than your personal interests and freedoms [if the soldiers on the front
> choose this moment to protect their interests by striking for better pay, it
> would not be a pretty picture].

    I have no more interest in your freedoms than the person next to me.  That is,
more clearly stated, I view everyone's freedoms equally.  There is something
fundamental at stake here.  We assign a nation, which is a institution, and everything
under the Government is also an institution and advocate a special privilege for it
when we clearly know that nations or such institutions do not exist outside our
awarness.  That is, they are created by our "imagination".  For them to have more
power and privilege than the individuals that bring about their existence will lead to
a paradox that an overtly obedient/submissive mind would simply dismiss.  The fact is
that an individual is the basic building block of any society and empowering this
basic element will lead to a more civilized society than where institutions are
wielding majority of the power.  Unless we come to terms with this simple dictum, we
will continue to see abuse of power by powerful institutions and there will certainly
be some of us who will justify such abuse by saying "it is necessary".  How selfish
and arrogant of us to justify or write-off anyone else's freedom?

    I believe it is within our mental capacity to realize that we create institutions
and their power must be limited and inferior to the power of the people that make up
these institutions.  Only then will have a chance at building a civilized society.  I
am afraid India is far from realizing this.

>       We have been saying 'Bhaarat Maata ki jai' for hundreds of years [not
> just 50 yrs]. Hopefully this will be said for hundreds of years more.

    I have created a computer program which can sythesize voice and utter the same
phrase for a much longer time and it doesn't even care about its own rights.  It will
do what I tell it to do.  It is very obedient and I think it will make a good citizen
- much more so than Gandhiji was.

Vamsi M.

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