13th October 2016
There are two key points about freedom that need to be clearly understood.
- MANDATING FREEDOM
The ONLY way to protect freedom is to prescribe it; to mandate it.
But one may well ask: how can authoritarian action (rules) make us free? Is that not a contradiction in terms?
To understand this is critical for anyone who wishes to promote freedom. The end goal of all political action to promote liberty is to mandate it through the laws.
And this is why: because otherwise we are going to depend on the whims and fancies of whoever is the “ruler”/ “decision-maker” at a given point in time. And since “rulers” are short lived, we become dependent on interpretations of judges – who are more often than not busybodies and inclined to impose their views on the general public.
Locke was only partly right. There may well be a concept of “natural liberty” but it is entirely meaningless without the protection of the laws.
In the real world there is only that much liberty which is “prescribed” in the laws. And laws are “mandatory”.
The best example of this point is the USA. The only reason the USA will survive socialists like Obama/ Clinton/ Trump is because its Constitution prescribes freedom. The best example is the First Amendment. This amendment forbids the imposition of any limitations to speech. It says that no matter how wise you are, the House of Representatives or the American President can’t do anything about what you may choose to say.
The key point here is that it was the founders of America who deliberately constrained themselves through this process. They were extremely wise people but they said that neither they nor anyone else in the country would prevent people from saying what they wanted. Only if they harmed others (e.g. libel, criminal intent such as shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre without there being an actual fire, etc.) could the govenrment do anything about it.
Some people argue that a Parliament is “supreme” and so should have the ability to prescribe – based on the situation – whether something can be said or not, or how free the people can be.
But that’s the whole point about freedom: for the people to mandate that no one shall restrict their freedom.
2. THERE ARE NO “WISE” MEN
The sub-text of the above point is that there are no wise men.
There is clear proof that consulting a group generally leads to a better and more informed decision.
On the other hand, there is a huge issue with group think. Also, the opinions of members of a group can be extremely wrong.
Extensive evidence abounds that “experts” in human affairs make no better forecasts than anyone else. There are no “experts” in human affairs.
Given this fundamental constraint, it is crucial that no group of people constrain other people’s freedom of thought/ action.
Groups must mandate freedom.
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE OF A LIBERAL PARTY
This post is closely related to my previous point about there being absolutely no scope for prior consent in a liberal party. The only way to ensure that is to MANDATE that the NE will not stop party members from acting.
It requires rules to be established to ensure freedom. It requires the NE formally constraining itself, just like the founders of America constrained themselves. No person or even group, should have the power to stop members from acting.
Only after an action has occurred, and it is found incompatible with the party’s manifesto or the general ideology of liberalism, should the party have a role in the matter.
12th October 2016
In 1998 I started a draft article, called “From Economics to Action“. I never got to review/ finalise this article due to many reasons. But the key question remains: how does one get from the theory of liberty (economics) to actual liberty. This is something for which there is no manual, no guide, not even preliminary thoughts on how it can or should be done.
Over the past 18+ years I have done many things and learnt a few things in this direction. One day I may finally finish that article.
But this one can say: it is no trivial task to bring liberty to any country. The task of bringing liberty to the a country like India involves – at a minimum – the following skills:
- high level of knowledge of the principles and policies of liberty, and of liberal governance. This basically means having an open mind to innovations from across the world; it means having a research bent of mind. The liberal has an mind that is constantly open to new learnings. Most “liberals” do not understand the basics of governance; they have an extremely shallow level of knowledge and do not pay attention to detailed incentives of the democratic/ bureaucratic system. Their policies amount to hand waving, and are essentially worthless for ensuring real change.
- high level of communication skills. This involves the ability to write/ speak and otherwise explain ideas to the general public, including to the experts. The range of messaging is quite vast and diverse; but there needs to be high level of proficiency in these skills, if an liberal political movement is to take root.
- high level of management skill and attention to detail. This is a key requirement which involves the ability to creating various organisations and ensuring they are compliant with relevant laws. It involves attention to the detail of how funds are managed, audits/ tax compliance, etc., and how website/ social media is managed, etc.
- high level of respect for others. This involves complete trust in others unless they prove to be untrustworthy. This also involves the commitment to building democratic processes and institutions, but being careful not to disable individual enterprise in this process.
- working towards a long term goal – of building the kind of DNA that will grow the organism (e.g. a liberal party) into a viable outfit for the future. This involves building systems that will foster innovation and initiative at all levels, even as everyone is held to account for their actions. It involves finding and building leaders.
The package of skills needed to start and run a political liberal movement does not exist in any single individual. So the key skill involved is the capacity to find and bring together people with the relevant skills, so the organisation, as a whole, has the relevant skill set and capability.
ROLE OF NATIONAL EXECUTIVE OF A LIBERAL PARTY
In this post I will raise a few points regarding building the DNA of a sustainable liberal political party.
A party usually will have a representative body at the top, a National Executive (NE). The role of the NE is to oversight the development and growth of the party. Its job is to ensure that overall systems are in place.
It, however, has no business in the day-to-day affairs and actions of the party or its members. It is like the Board of Directors of a company, that meets periodically to agree to the broad principles, but after that the company acts. It doesn’t revert to the Board for advice. There is no micro-management by the Board. There can be no micro-management by an NE.
For instance, the NE must retain total control over the party’s ideology and manifesto. It must set systems in place for the selection/ election of office bearers. It must have a system to investigate disciplinary matters where any member acts in violation of the ideology and manifesto.
But it can have no role in prior approval of political actions taken by any individual member.
In any event, we are talking about a party of liberty, not a “high command” where everything is micro-managed.
The way of liberty is to fully empower all members to act. Members should not be held back with a leash, even on a matter that potentially violates the party’s manifesto. NE members can raise any concerns or provide advice, but they cannot pre-approve (“licence”) any action. They have no preventative role, only a punitive role should an action violate the party’s constitution or manifesto.
The NE are not puppet masters, and individual members are not puppets. They are free citizens who must be free at all times to act according to their best understanding of a particular situation.
Liberty involves experiments. It involves taking risks. No one knows what will happen when someone takes an action. Even the best laid plans of people can be laid waste; and totally unexpected success can be achieved from unplanned and random action. This is the nature of the world. We can never know in advance about the results from any action.
NE members cannot be a control freak who want zero risk. They cannot start imagining consequences and risks and block action. They are not Gods. They do not know the future.
The liberal party’s constitution must allow total freedom of voting to its parliamentary members except on a few critical bills.
This freedom must seep into every part of the party’s operational DNA. No one is required to seek any prior “approval” to act. By all means people should feel free to discuss their idea and seek improvements/ inputs. But EVERY individual member must be respected and treated like an adult.
Each action is an experiment. Let there be an infinity of experiments – each of these consistent with the party’s ideology and manifesto. Let there be freedom in the party that claims to bring freedom to the people.
Freedom also implies accountability. Therefore, every member should be accountable for his/her actions. But there is absolutely no scope in a free society for PRIOR CONSENT from any “wise” people.
Only through internal freedom can members of a liberal political party understand freedom and bring freedom to the people. If they become control freaks then the party will never grow.
Growth is ALWAYS related to the level of liberty.
Of course, if any FINANCIAL implication arises, there is a need for prior consent. But for saying something or doing something that doesn’t involve taking money from the party’s kitty, there is absolutely no need for prior consent.
11th October 2016
As usual, a superb short talk by Sanjay. Time for India to listen.
10th October 2016
Sanjay Sonawani shows how the corrupt socialist system of India has severely restricted the opportunity for jobs. The idea of reservations/ quotas is pointless in a system that can’t create jobs.
6th October 2016
6 October 2016 – for immediate release
Chikangunya / Dengue = Mosquitoes or misgovernance?
Only Swarna Bharat Party’s liberal policies can save us from mosquito-borne diseases: Alok Kumar, Vice President
Alok Kumar, Vice President of Swarna Bharat Party, regretted the reported deaths from chikungunya in Delhi and added that till the government is busy running shops and banks, citizens can never achieve a healthy lifestyle.
While the precise number of deaths by chikangunya and dengue is disputed by the experts, at least some people have died from these diseases. Many thousands have been racked by severe pain. Many have had their health permanently damaged.
Mr Alok Kumar said that these diseases are ultimately diseases of misgovernance. Political parties across the country are clueless. The Supreme Court has blamed the BJP and AAP. These parties are, in turn, blaming each other, at the cost of lives and livelihood of the people.
The need of the hour is to build world-class drains, sewerage system and roads and public places that do not allow water to collect. Town planning can also reduce the scope for stagnant water. Mass education is needed so the people use mosquito nets and remove all open containers from their gardens where water could stagnate. Fogging can complement these solutions, noting that it leaves the larvae unharmed, adult mosquitoes not directly hit by the fog remain alive, it pushes mosquitoes into people’s houses, and it can lead to allergic reactions in some people.
Further, Mr Alok Kumar said, we need a website like that of the American Centre for Disease Control, along with SMS alerts to keep the people informed. The government must also directly target the parasite/virus. Sri Lanka depleted the parasite reservoir by promptly treating malaria cases. It is now free of malaria. Early notification and isolation in mosquito nets can reduce the chikungunya and dengue virus reservoir. Transgenic sterilisation methods can also reduce mosquitoes. The government also needs to fast track research into vaccines.
Mr Alok Kumar said that unfortunately, socialist policies have brought India to its knees and the people are dying and in pain. Socialist parties neither know how to govern nor are professional and scientific in their approach. He said that so far the people had no choice. Now, however, Swarna Bharat Party has arrived. It has a clear plan of action and policies of freedom and accountability that will rapidly take India out of the mess and filth created by the socialists.
Notes for Editors
SBP is India’s only liberal party, committed to defending liberty and promoting prosperity.
Alok Kumar (Ghaziabad), National Vice President and President UP State Unit, +91 9999755334
Sanjay Sonawani (Pune), National President, +91 9860991205