An Overview on the Western Political Thought Shiva Kant Jha (the author of On the Loom of Time (see on www.shivakantjha.org)

Under the Western political thought power of the Government is derived from ‘contract’. The divine right to extract obedience of people yielded place to the idea that the political power to receive obedience emanated from some assumed contract between people and the sovereign. Hobbes held that the sovereign was not a party to the contract: hence he had no obligations to the people: he had only rights and powers. This led to the tyranny of the absolute rulers. Great advancement towards democracy was manifest in the ideas of Locke. He believed that the sovereign was himself a party to the contract: hence he was subject to the obligations which emanated from the contract. The objective to be pursued through the contract was to promote ‘public good’. Locke had great impact on the framers of the US Constitution. His doctrine ‘is limited by the view (implied rather than expressed) that those who have no property are not to be reckoned as citizens.’ Locke declares that: ‘The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent.’ The shared idea in the Western thinking as to ‘public good’ constituted the basic philosophy of capitalism. I have dealt with this issue in detail in Chapter 22 of this Memoir. The philosophy of Locke is still assertively present at the heart of the present-day neoliberal thinking.

But the neoliberal thinking of our days has fundamentally altered the Lockean perspective by altering the content and reach of ‘contract’ that justifies state powers, and determine the incidence of obligations on people and government. Now this neoliberal paradigm, that the West has passionately adopted over the recent years, contemplates a tripartite agreement involving three parities: the State represented by the government, the people of any political society, and the Big Business represented by the MNCs, the TNCs, and the mega rich creatures. This protocol contemplates a compliant government which can work Janus-faced: placating the common people with strong democratic pretensions; pandering to the interests of the corporatocracy by endearing the MNCs and the Rogue Finance. The people of a nation provide the structure of power whereon to ascend to wield power; the corporations and their mentors do many things to reap more and more profits without any moral, social, and national considerations. We see around us the evident trends driving our world towards the Hobbesian model of ‘contract’ that would lead to the tyranny of the exploitative and extractive tyranny of the corporations, and to the emergence of the senate of the foreign investors. This horrendous situation emerges when the government grant great powers to the Big Business, and functions as the facilitator of the interests for which the institutions of the Economic Realm work.

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When crooks shake hands: The macabre Dialectics that delight the crooks

When crooks shake hands: The macabre Dialectics that delight the crooks

We have seen at work dialectics illustrated in the struggle that goes on between the forces of Good and Evil about which we have read a lot in our classics (also see Chapter 24) . Understanding them in right perspective would equip us to come out with greater vigour and healthier vision for public weal. When we critically examine the state of affairs ( their dynamics and vectors), we notice how two groups of criminals, even if at logger heads, turn friends and happy collaborators when they find themselves driven to protect themselves from some common enemy. Through their amity and collaboration, they present a common front to fight against the forces which impede, expose, or prohibit their corrupt ways, or even do anything that counters their ways to enjoy their unjust enrichment. But the friends in crimes can comfortably turn adversaries again when their common threat goes. They know how to bury the hatchet, and yet again to be on the greed-driven game.
How the dyslectics amongst the criminals and fraudsters operates can be best known on reading what G.K. Chesterton had written in his essay on Voltaire. Practical prudence counsels me not to interpret Chesterton’s ideas of the collaborative craft, and not to put focus on the fraternity of the crooks, criminals, fraudsters, money-launderers, and tax-evaders who are becoming the most inglorious dramatis personae of the morbid melodrama that is seen being enacted in the present-day political and economic realms of our country. But I am sure my intelligent readers would surely catch what I leave unsaid. I would quote a few lines from G.K. Chesterton leaving to your moral imagination to draw their meaning and ascertain their referents: to quote—
“All Christian history began with that great social occasion when Pilate and Herod shook hands. Hitherto, as everybody knew in Society circles, they had hardly been on speaking terms. Something led them to seek each others support, a vague sense of social crisis, though very little was happening except the execution of an ordinary batch of criminals. The two rulers were reconciled on the very day when one of these convicts was crucified. That is what many people mean by Peace, and the substitution of a reign of Love for one of Hatred. Whether or not there is honour among thieves, there is always a certain social interdependence and solidarity among murderers; and those sixteenth-century ruffians who conspired to assassinate Riccio or Darnley were always very careful to put their names, and especially each other’s names, to what they called a ‘band’, so that at the worst they might all hang together.”
“It sometimes seems to me that history is dominated and determined by these evil friendships. As all Christian history begins with the happy reconciliation of Herod and Pilate, so all modern history, in the recent revolutionary sense, begins with that strange friendship which ended in a quarrel, as the first quarrel had ended in a friendship”

To help you understand what Chesterton has written, I must tell you something about the allusions. The Supreme Jewish Tribunal was against Jesus as he had worked with a messianic zeal to change the corrupt political and economic system of his day. Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea who had ordered the crucifixion Jesus. He had sinned in many ways, and was disliked in Judea. His sin visited him when he killed himself on orders from Emperor Calgula in 39 AD. Pilate obtained the consent of the ruler Herod Antipas. Pilate and Herod were not good friends. In the eyes common people both were derelicts. Herod had divorced his wife, and married Herodius, his brother’s wife. This act annoyed his Jewish subjects. These two bands of criminals, earlier not on very good terms, became friends as their crimes imparted them lessons in practical prudence: when it is good even for crooks to come together. The allusions to Riccio or Darnley are richly revealing. It is good to know what these two allusions mean. I think it enough to quote a few lines as we get them in the footnote of the Chesterton’s Chapter on Voltaire:

“Lord Darnley, orig. Henry Stewart (1545-1567). English nobleman, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and father of James I. A pretender to the Scottish throne, Henry wed his cousin Mary in 1565 despite the opposition of Elizabeth I. He played a sinister role in the murder of Mary’s secretary, David Riccio, but was himself murdered at the instigation of Earl of Bothwell James Hepburn. The Earl thereafter soon married Mary”
It seems to me that our greed-driven neoliberal world is fast illustrating the establishment of a cordial bond between the present-day Pilates and the present-day Herods.

When our Republic comes to an edge (by Shiva Kant Jha

Shortly before his death, the great President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865 ), the 16th President of the United States, expressed his dread on account of witnessing some sinister forces developing to imperil his Republic: he said on Nov. 21, 1864 –
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
What he said with agony has overtaken the U.S.A., and many of its client states, despite its continuing high decibel assertions pretending to be the promoter of ‘democracy’ at home and abroad. And the state of the affairs of the great country can be well understood by what Noam Chomsky said in his Failed States (at p. 238):
“One predictable result has been a “new, higher level of corruption.” Corruption includes extensive gerrymandering to prevent competition for seats in the House, the most democratic of government institutions and therefore the most worrisome…. More generally, there have been “profound” effects on “the way the country is governed….. Not only is legislation increasingly skewed to benefit the richest interests, but Congress itself has been changed,” becoming a “transactional institution,” geared to implementing the pro-business policies of the increasingly powerful state.”

Finding things worse in our country, revealing the same pathology that is manifest in the hegemonic U.S.A., I reflected, while observing the Anna’s Anti-corruption Movement in our country, on what seriously ails our polity and governance, and what jeopardizes most our ‘democracy’. If you cast your searching glance, you can easily notice at work the triple entente of ‘corporation’, ‘corruption’ and ‘democratic and moral deficit’. What Abraham Lincoln has apprehended in the USA, has overtaken our country over these years. Our posterity’s agonising verdict on us might be: ‘You are one of those that will not serve God if devil bid you ( Shakespeare, Othello I.i.108).
I understand that the greatest thing that Anna has done is to demonstrate that our country needs a re-structuring of its polity and governance by providing a good political alternative to arrest the rot that has set in our polity. History through its long vistas has drummed in our ears that our indifference and lack of vigilance would only help the democratic Republic of India to stink, and get caught in the octopus-grip of surging ‘corruptions’ which are making our polity ‘corporatocratic’, and turning many of our t leaders shockingly kleptocratic.

Introduction: When our Republic comes to an edge (by Shiva Kant Jha)

Shortly before his death, the great President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865 ), the 16th President of the United States, expressed his dread on account of witnessing some sinister forces developing to imperil his Republic: he said on Nov. 21, 1864 –
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
What he said with agony has overtaken the U.S.A., and many of its client states, despite its continuing high decibel assertions pretending to be the promoter of ‘democracy’ at home and abroad. And the state of the affairs of the great country can be well understood by what Noam Chomsky said in his Failed States (at p. 238):
“One predictable result has been a “new, higher level of corruption.” Corruption includes extensive gerrymandering to prevent competition for seats in the House, the most democratic of government institutions and therefore the most worrisome…. More generally, there have been “profound” effects on “the way the country is governed….. Not only is legislation increasingly skewed to benefit the richest interests, but Congress itself has been changed,” becoming a “transactional institution,” geared to implementing the pro-business policies of the increasingly powerful state.”

Finding things worse in our country, revealing the same pathology that is manifest in the hegemonic U.S.A., I reflected, while observing the Anna’s Anti-corruption Movement in our country, on what seriously ails our polity and governance, and what jeopardizes most our ‘democracy’. If you cast your searching glance, you can easily notice at work the triple entente of ‘corporation’, ‘corruption’ and ‘democratic and moral deficit’. What Abraham Lincoln has apprehended in the USA, has overtaken our country over these years. Our posterity’s agonising verdict on us might be: ‘You are one of those that will not serve God if devil bid you ( Shakespeare, Othello I.i.108).
I understand that the greatest thing that Anna has done is to demonstrate that our country needs a re-structuring of its polity and governance by providing a good political alternative to arrest the rot that has set in our polity. History through its long vistas has drummed in our ears that our indifference and lack of vigilance would only help the democratic Republic of India to stink, and get caught in the octopus-grip of surging ‘corruptions’ which are making our polity ‘corporatocratic’, and turning many of our t leaders shockingly kleptocratic.