19th December 2010
FTI is a journey of intellectual leadership, not just political representation
One other reasons why FTI is not meant for everyone is that FTI is a philosophy-based organisation. It is founded on the principle of classical liberalism, and not, say, on the idea of communism or socialism. That means a lot. It means a fundamentally different way of looking at the world.
The idea of freedom underpins the Freedom Team. That is crucial point. The word "freedom" is not used in an idle sense. It is used in the sense that is underpinned by centuries of discovery and conceptual evolution.
It is crucial that all FTI members (and potential FTI members) fully understand the foundational principles of classical liberalism.
They must actively seek to read and understand the work of the thinkers of liberty – thinkers such as Locke, Adam Smith and Hayek. Not actively reading up these thinkers would amount to being a communist who refuses to read Marx or refer to Marx. Not having a very sound understanding of the foundational ideas will ultimately lead to severe policy disagreements, and diminish the potential of FTI. By all means customise and tailor these fundamental ideas to India's needs, but without a rigorous understanding of the meaning of freedom, we will lurch across self-contradictory policy positions. We will then be asked to take resort to our "gut feelings" and that will lead us to 1500 different world-views on every topic under the
I've written BFN to elaborate the policy impacts of this ideas. I'm now writing an entire book, DOF, to explain this idea. If I had ever thought that "everything goes" and that my intuitive thought is enough for India then I would not have bothered to do a PhD and thereafter read up hundreds of books and articles to understand the functioning of the world at a level of detail needed to offer a well-considered opinion.
Learning is a lifelong process, and we should not offer India half-baked ideas. Being masters of the philosophy of freedom is our first obligation. We must build on what has been achieved. Surely we have value to add, but we can't be presumptuous enough to claim that we know intuitively whatever there is to be known on this topic.
FTI is above all an intellectual movement for freedom.
It is not a reckless unthinking effort to impose our "views" of the world on others – or even to adjust our views to the demands of the people of India.
We are here as friends, philosophers and guides to India, not merely persons wanting to be its political representatives. A true leader guides the entire nation. We are not aiming to be mere representatives. We offer India a totally new vision for its future: and that can't be articulated by repeating what the people say. We have to raise their vision about India as well.
There is a huge risk that without obtaining personal clarity on fundamentals, many FTI members will leave after years of working on FTI – when they find that classical liberalism is not what they thought it is. For instance, those who want to impose their religious views on others, should not join FTI in the first place. FTI is not for them.
FTI members must use a trained and tutored mind, not an intuitive mind, to drive policy.
We should each be reading at least 20 books on freedom and related topics each year. Without that we'll face the problem that Swatantra Party soon faced: that except for a couple of people, no one knew what it stood for. When Rajaji died the effort collapsed, since he had not built strong theoretical foundations among his party members.
I've provided a starting point for the resources on freedom through a link at the top of this page. Please explore these initial resources, and then go well beyond them. Good libraries are our dearest friend.
Let us FULLY UNDERSTAND the concept of freedom. We owe it to ourselves and to India to offer it the best ideas.