Thursday, May 7, 2009

Confessions of a Parabolic Anarchist.

Why I did not VOTE.

Do you think that I am ignorant? Do you think that I do not understand the permutations, ramifications, or its importance? Do you think that I consider my vote inconsequential to the bigger picture? Or do you think I'm just plain lazy?

I am none of the above. I am an educated individual with a conscience, and deep concern for her country. I am one who, on turning 18, wielded her voter ID card with pride. I am one who waited years to have a say in the working of things. I am one who believes that every vote counts.

I stand for certain things. I have ideals and objectives that I will not compromise upon.
Here is what I stand for :
  • I will not vote for a party that bases its manifesto entirely on populist agenda.
  • I will not vote for a party that intends to impose reservations on the private sector.
  • I will not vote for a party that has lost the vision to look ahead, in its efforts to drag the past along.
  • I will not vote for a party that draws all of its propaganda on communal lines.
  • I will not vote for a party that promises so much, that if it ever even considered taking itself seriously, it would be crushed under its own weight.
  • I will not vote for a party that actually intends to drag India back to the proverbial dark ages, because it believes that technology leads to unemployment.
  • I will not vote for a party that promises decentralization of power, towards a "free", "socialist" India. What you really mean is a communist farce with little or no rights to the individual.
The above conditions rule out the INC, BJP, BSP, SP, CPI, CPIM, and any others you may care to add. Speaking in terms of the United Progressive Alliance, or the National Democratic Alliance would not change the context.

Yes. I have seen it all happen. I patiently sat through all of those speeches, tirades and charades. I've diligently read every single party manifesto, and pondered over each consequence. I am also aware of Article 49-0 and the concept of negative voting.
I am angry.

I want to see my country prosper. I want poverty, hunger, illiteracy, terrorism, insurgency, casteism, communal friction, discrimination, gender inequality, and corruption to be a thing of the past. I don't want to feel unsafe traveling alone because I am not trained in the martial arts. I want to be able to use public transport without having to prepare myself mentally for whatever it entails. I don't want to spend an hour going through the crime-reporting section of the newspaper everyday, purely because of its sheer length. Most importantly, the next time I step outside of my house, I don't want to fear never coming back.

So, will you still call me ignorant, uneducated, naive, stupid and lazy?
Yes. I am an idealist. I am proud to be one, and will never make an apology for it. And I am angry. So excuse me while I seethe in my anger and take the John Galt approach to things.
Thank you.


Mer-curial-maiden said...

How realistic is the Galt approach though? I do not disagree with a word you say. And although an idealist myself, I don't see things changing unless the few "good people" who are left, start getting *really* involved. Does abstaining change anything? :(

Arnab said...

I agree. Everything you said up there is true, through and through. But unless some people...people like you, with a definite set of ideals in mind, take steps to see things do take a turn for the better, I'm afraid you won't be voting for quite some time.

lemon girl said...

I can't exactly say that you have the wrong idea about the political parties coz you do have the right approach. But then again, if we vote and use article 49, we could probably sensitize the political world that although we vote, we would rather not have them in power at all. They need to step it up for actual trust.

Then again, that is another idealistic dream.

And atleast you could have voted. The EC refuses to give me a card anytime before June. :)

My Evil Self said...

@ Mer-curial-Maiden : Abstaining does not change anything, but it saves me the feeling of having done something just for the heck of it. I don't do things just for the heck of it. Besides, "to abstain" is to stop oneself. I was doing quite the opposite. Not doing something that taxed my conscience.

@ Arnab : I see that. But do I lose the right to my conscience and the right to be angry because I chose a vocation for myself on the grounds of my aspiration, instead of politics? (Can't help but notice that your comment is in rhyme. :) Glad you dropped by..

@ Lemon Girl : The Article 49-O thing was a hoax. An internet meme, if you prefer.It allows a person to cast a negative vote to prevent his vote from being misused. It does not mean there will be a re-poll, or anybody will be barred from standing for elections. Sad but true. :) Post June, I'd really like to see your take on it.

Mer-curial-maiden said...

You're right, of course. It's just that I've always thought that doing what you *can* and hoping for the best eventually works out. Not for politics in our country, though. I suppose 'doing' here has to be more direct than just exercising your right to vote and help in forming the govt.

And they didn't enlist my name, anyway. Gah.

loser said...

I am assuming that u never checked with the profiles of the candidates standing for your constituency because you believe that a candidate who stands for a particular party makes himself incapable of appealing to your conscience as he is supporting the same manifesto.
But i guess thats a wrong supposition u have made because sometimes in order to change the system one needs to become a part of the system. The candidate might be fighting under a party symbol but he might have been an idealist like you, because just as u are a part of a flawed education system similarly he is a part of a flawed political system n just like by being a part u do not become flawed himself, the candidate is not flawed.

Secondly I guess as we are less than 25 years of age we all should have tried convincing a person whom u n others believe to be an idealist to fight the elections n help reduce poverty. As a person who understand the ills of the society but fails to use his knowledge for finding a solution to the problem is equally guilty to a person who is causing those ills , in this case the politicians.

My Evil Self said...

@ Mer-curial-maiden : If only optimism was the silver bullet.

@ loser : A candidate who works under a particular party, openly acting against its very ideologies? Openly voicing his disagreement? If not openly, how is he an idealist? I notice your use of the past tense in "might have been". Which begs the question.

A party, by definition, is a collectivist institution. Citing that, I won't say my assumptions are very far-fetched.

As for the education system analogy, how much of what you are would you attribute to your formal education? I would like an honest answer, not a strike-point.

And even with the supposition that it is true, I'm more than willing to learn. Name a few. Name one. Enlighten me.

loser said...

The answer to your first questions lies in the very definition of an idealist . An idealist is an individual who gives his work the utmost importance and in case of politics therefore i deem an individual who tirelessly works for the benefit of his/her country an idealist.
Thus their are many such people who are already in the system n are idealists in my eyes. The prime minister himself is one such person and then you do have individuals like somnath chaterjee ,jagmohan ,jyoti basu to name a few others. Their have always been people like lal bahadur shastri, sardar patel who can be labelled idealists.

If you are looking for a howard roark to run a country i guess you are looking for the wrong sort of individual.We are looking for human beings who are willing to work to their 100% capabilities and have the ability to think about a group of people rather than only about individual ambitions .

As for the education system I believe the most important lesson i got in life was from my teacher in class 10( not to be a "YES MAN") and hence did find the education system useful. Post class 10 though have been a part of this system as i am flawed myself and was never able to get the courage to rebel against the established order.
I do not dream of getting up and finding this world transformed into an ideal place but yes do have faith that we have individuals who are idealists and are working to make our civilization a better place.

P.S. Humans are meant to make mistakes and even idealists do that and so have my ideal politicians but i still have faith in them.

My Evil Self said...

Idealim (1): a theory that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena
(2): a theory that the essential nature of reality lies in consciousness or reason
(1): a theory that only the perceptible is real
(2): a theory that only mental states or entities are knowable

Source : Merriam-Webster.

An idealist is one who believes in the state of the "ideal", and refuses to settle with anything else. The people you mention, in your words verbatim, "can be labeled idealists". Quite forcibly. You're not all that sure yourself, are you?

Running a country means concerning yourself entirely with the state and lives of the citizens. Other people. Why would a rationally selfish Roark ever even want to do that? The Roarks of the world are those who refuse to settle. They also know that it is, by no means, their moral obligation to take up politics. They have a problem, they will deal with it. They will fight for what they know is right. But they won't pretend to support an ideology that essentially to them, is bullshit.

And that lesson you learnt was again, not part of your formal education. As Oscar Wilde said, education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught..

I think perfection is very much attainable. Mistakes are frailties. Holding that belief close to my heart, I admit that I tend to steer towards misanthropy towards most. But I know that perfection exists. Men of honor exist. And I admire them in a way that comes close to worship.

I don't find them in politics. They don't bother themselves with such time-consuming, unproductive expeditions. My friend, THAT is where intelligence kicks in.

loser said...

U quote webster which states that ultimate reality lies in reason and yet at the very end you ridicule governance and politics.
Given that mankind has always followed the pattern of civilization which has in turn propogated governance should i not term the denial of the importance of politics as irrational and thus being the opposite of idealist.

U have correctly seen my reluctance to use the term idealists for my choices but since i recognise that governance is a reality I am willing to put my faith in the so called labelled idealists.

Politics is not at all an unproductive expedition instead it is the most powerful tool for implementing the most productive policies, the greatest challenge which can be posed to an idealist. I believe the desire to ridicule the profession arises from your inability to accept the challenge of facing the challenges which this profession offers for an idealist.
However I admit I disagree with certain decisions of people like Manmohan Singh( he is as close to an idealist ) and hence the reluctance . He might have explanations but at present i do not have the ability to seek those answers and thus i did not advocate him as an idealist.Thus politics has equal if not higher probability of having idealists.

As for education both of us seem to have completely different views on this regard , i consider teachers to be a vital source for guiding me to search for new paths n this is how I define education.

I have a question can you name an idealist to me

My Evil Self said...

Reason, is to use of your cognitive and evaluative abilities to guide your actions and justify your beliefs.

Parabolic anarchism is not, as one may be led to believe, favoring anarchy over governance as a preferred condition. I am led to favor anarchy to the state of governance in our country.. A state only mildly less pithy to me than that of China. Throughout the course of this discussion, I never criticized governance. I criticized inept governance.

And "labeled idealist", from where I see it, is an oxymoron.

As for the probability of idealists in politics.. well, let me put it this way..
How many does it take to screw a light bulb?
;) I think you get my point..

As far as education is concerned, all I say is that all the important lessons I've learnt have never come from our textbooks. The teachers I have learnt the important things from were about 3 in my 15 years of school, out of the hundreds I have known in 5 different schools in Delhi and Mumbai. And all of that, in all honesty, were during the course of conversations having nothing to do with our prescribed curriculum.

The people worth mentioning in this regard are the ones I have personally learnt from. Not public figures. I would name them, but what would be the point?

loser said...

Your decision not to name the idealists seems to be quite apt. Secondly we finally might have one common chord about governance being an essential work in life.
Now as for the 1 rotten apple n screwing light bulb concept :I am unwilling to give up my ambition of trying to mould my environment according to my ideal desires just because there are 10 other individuals who are trying to corrupt it. Probability points out that their is still .1 % chance of success and i am willing to take it , atleast its a far higher probability of getting into the top b-schools . Since nothing hinders us from trying for the latter nothing should encumber us from attaining the former goal too.
Similarly the case of education u did find 3 good teachers and again trying to equate curriculum with education would be naive. The former is just a small part of education.

My Evil Self said...

I genuinely think that what you uphold is a noble endeavor, and for reasons that are more of my own, I hope you succeed.

I'm rationally selfish that way. I'm here to do my job, do it well, and gain a good deal of materialistic success in the process. I don't believe in charity, and I don't find that immoral. I believe altruism is a choice, not a social obligation or duty. And it serves it's own purpose for those who indulge in it. I'm not here to change the world. I'm here to work with it, work around it, to get things done to the best of my ability.

Of course, I agree when you say that curriculum is just a small part of education. Which is why I had referred to it as "formal education" in the first place.

loser said...

I guess u have said it all i have nothing more to add , their is nothing as u stated which is a charity or a noble endeavour , we are all indulging in aims which we need to achieve for our own joy n not for the benefit of mankind (that is too sanctimonious an ambition to be plausible).
Your pun of formal education is understood n will be well remebred.

My Evil Self said...

"Self-sacrifice in the name of charity is too sanctimonious an ambition to be plausible."

Agreed. In entirety.