Friday, 6 March 2015

Where has LIBERALISM landed us ?

Though in paper modern world still claim her tag of being open,free and liberal,the ground reality tells a very different story ! Due to economic and political fetters around their neck,people are not able to assert their rights,liberty and individual dignity.So, they live wretched lives,with NO knowledge of any escape route.

It was unprecedented - -the tenet of human-freedom and liberty emerged suddenly in the West,despite her past dubious history of occupying other's lands in acts like Colonialism, making other human-beings under institutionalized Slavery etc ! Its first, most visible public appearance was in the American Declaration of Independence document, that stated,"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". ( Obviously we should not ignore Magna-carta treaty etc. of the previous periods!)

Why such an out-spoken declaration of the RIGHTS of man was short lived in modern world ? How the later-day ancillary developments in modern-world such as industrialization, capitalism etc, instead of nurturing the Spirit of human-liberty for betterment of mankind, had let it remain a only a paper reality ? Why Democracy like illustrious Freedom and Liberty oriented political institutions have turned a meek hand-maid of Capitalism, adopting its values, and self-defeating the purpose for which she was born ? Why world can not be called truly a free,open and liberal place for majority of her citizens ? The recent OCCUPY like up-rising of American citizens alleging that its the rule of 1% now, over the 99% happened if the world was truly free and open ? It is a serious subject to be analysed in detail.This is a short attempt to delve some-deep into the said question.

It was the most-serious misfortune that had happened to mankind, that the ideal of the celebrated European Liberalism has ended-up in a rat-race for individual success, whether it is in its direct field of commercial-entrepreneurship, political power-market, academic competition for upper-hand in the knowledge market, or in the simple social-leadership field.

Despite all the strong-emergence of the ideals and fundamentals of the rights of man, and the need of keeping the centrality of individual and his dignity as the very purpose and goal of every-human institution, the future developments in Europe could not keep and sustain its spirit !

We can say, world was a rightist-dungeon in the past, wherein it was firmly held that hegemony of the STRONGEST was natural-law, and every-one under the authority of such strongest, irrespective of such STRENGTH and its POWER coming from either physical,moral or economic source, it was the duty of those who were under the AUTHORITY to blindly obey them, their laws,whims, and wishes.

With same confidence we can say it about today also that, despite all the unprecedented emergence of the great STORM of HUMAN FREEDOM and LIBERTY in the enlightenment era Europe,it has almost totally lost its sheen today! Man, though he now know that he is supposed to be FREE and EQUAL, is not in a position to ascertain it easily without the risk of being booked under any of the hundreds of laws of modern-States. These Power-States are so concerned about internal&external SECURITY threats, that they can not let even the slightest of dissent that question their authority&sovereignty.

Or, if he is an employee under any private or Govt.master,he can not assert his freedom and liberty,or even his upright sense of self, without the risk of losing his job under some guises, like insubordination,non-loyalty, inefficiency,or dereliction of duty !

Thus, even though world boast about it as free,open and liberal, its inhabitants are not able to assert such freedom today due to the above explained inevitable, livelihood, personal-security and other compulsions.

How did all this up-side-down happen ?

If you wish to have FREEDOM from not to be bothered by others, or from not coming under the disturbing use of their will, or that of their collective institutions like governments, one need to isolate himself from such realms of life and society. Such planned isolation only will enable him afford to be independent of others, and the whims of their above said collective institutions. For gaining such independence from others and their collective institutions, one simply has to rise above every one in 'success', in whatever field he was in. At such levels of material or conceptual success, he definitely gains freedom of the kind that he had been seeking.Rousseau was very specific about personal-freedom, and its relation with being from interdependence:
"bonds of servitude are formed merely by the mutual dependence of men on one another and the reciprocal needs that unite them; it is impossible to make any man a slave,unless he is first reduced to a situation in which he can not do without the help of others" ( quoted from his long essay, ' on the origin of inequality)

 At such levels of success, he could interact at an equal footing with other equally successful men, and at the same time, stands escaped from the acts of judgment and botheration of the ordinary folks and their collective institutions !

It is impossible for someone dependent on some others, to be free by any standard. His freedom would be conditional to the wishes, likes and dislikes of such others whom he is depended upon, for leading his life ! In this sense, some degree of success was an inevitable feature of the liberal principles of old Europe.

Let us listen to what Paul Verhaeghe, senior professor at Ghent University, who holds the chair of the department for psychoanalysis and counseling psychology says :  

“Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, “make” something of ourselves”
(  Ref’ link:

Or, if you want to be free without the above condition of success, you could do so by abandoning not only success, but also the very kind of society that keeps those standards; the Hippie movement of 1960’s was such an attempt to have freedom without being a part of the above rat-race; these men and women made a failed attempt to be ‘free’, by abandoning the very society that insisted on certain ‘standards’ to be one among them. 

From the above seen pre-condition of ‘success’ behind the tenets of European Liberalism and its singular goal of ‘freedom’ of the individual, it becomes obvious that it was the Libertarian  tendencies that had paved way for modern capitalism. Free-market has become synonymous with ‘freedom’ in the European world ! When the community or the State ‘leaves alone’(Laissez-faire)  the entrepreneur, for his fullest expression of the creative wealth-creating acumen, such community or country started gaining the reputation of being a ‘free-society’. Of course, this model of economy, society and polity had paid its fruits of plentiful-ness to Europe: wealth had poured in abundance into that region of the world !

Such States and communities that put restrictions on national and international free-trade have been accused to be ‘closed-markets’, with 'socialistic' tendencies. Concept of Freedom started gaining its symbol and meaning exclusively on the basis of the freedom of its entrepreneurs. Universal freedom of human-being as an essential political and metaphysical element has lost its centrality from the modern world, and from the prime-priority status of political establishments, in an extremely unfortunate turn-out !  

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarized the paradox of our era as: “Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless.”

Not only powerless, but people are also get accused ( especially the ones who could not make it to the top) that they were ‘losers and scroungers’’

Prof. Paul Verhaeghe continues in his article referred above:

We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers”

In a social and economic struggle by every one to become successful, it would end-up in a logically inevitable mathematical pattern : in the strict hierarchical order such growth takes place, no two persons can be at the same slot of the chain of success. One always has to be in a bottom number from the other ! This series of successful men should inevitably leave a lengthy bottom tail of unsuccessful men too, or those who could just make it NOT to get extinct from the race to survive ! Every authentic research outcome shows that, this hierarchy-line is getting thicker and thicker at the top-stretch, leaving the bottom part of the line thinner and thinner, in an increasingly distinct and clear pattern! These studies and statistics shows that more than 55% of the wealth and resources of modern world is snow-balled into the hands of the top 1% ( or even less than 1% ?) most successful, or say, the most FREE men ! Or in other words, as in USA’s OCCUPATION agitators allege, modern world is the reign of 1% over the rest 99% ! 

The slots of Freedom are open to everyone, but unfortunately, the very system of Liberalism lets only the ones at the top of the hierarchy to be more free than the ones at the bottom.

What liberalism had at bottom aspired and stood-for, has lost its element and purpose in the modern world.

In its practical application also, a truly liberal-minded man, well conscious of his rights and dignity, was more a burden and a liability to his new class of employers, and the new class of professional political-class who played around with the ideal of Democracy to occupy the seats of RULER that the old Kings had once abandoned.For the new Employer-class, what was more important to sustain his business was obedient and loyal 'order-executioners' than creatively-empowered new man. For the new States too, which was certainly in the same line of old States of the King with regard to principles of authority and power,a passively law-abiding citizen was more in need than a rights-conscious,liberty-seeking independent beings ! 

This twist in priorities of modern-world had proved detrimental to the SPIRIT of human-liberty and centrality of individual-dignity. A man with his sense of Reason intact was, thus lost his demand in modern-world. This tragedy may be seen in more detail, at following blog-post:

Author: Abraham J. Palakudy
Author is a seeker,researcher and writer in fields of philosophy,mind,Faculty of Reason,spirituality and polity 
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