Slavery – Part 2

Anarchy, the wiki states, “is a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body.” The word could also mean, according to the Merriam-Webster, “a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority” but I use the word in its literal sense as “without ruler.” I do not need nor want a ruler.

I am a political and philosophical anarchist since I reject being ruled by anyone. I am an autonomous, self-directed being who is committed to being free from the arbitrary will of others. I believe and act in accordance with the simple principle which Abe Lincoln elegantly stated: As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.

(Read the first part of this post here.)

I find it curious that the Hindi word for government is ‘sarkar’ which means master. It appears to be a plain admission of the truth — that the people are slaves of the master, the government. Bharat Sarkar — the master of the people of India. The people of India did reject (finally after nearly a century) their British masters but are quite content to be slaves of Indian masters.

There’s disagreement among political philosophers about the nature of, and the need for, governments. As an economist — a worldly philosopher — I favor a minimal government a la Nozick. To the question of what should the government do, I reply, “only to protect the individual from force, fraud and theft.” That frees the individual to get on with his “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” — in the words of the American Declaration of Independence.

Nothing comes for free. Even minimal governments need to be financed. Therefore taxes are necessary to pay for the protection that individuals need. If we were all super wealthy, perhaps we could hire our own private protection agency. But  since we all are not super wealthy, we figure that collectively we can pay for protection and that agency we call the government.

The government is the watchman who keeps us from being robbed. The watchman has to have some weapon. So, OK, let the government have guns. But that does not mean that we should not have guns. We do need to have guns because the guard outside our door has guns. If for whatever misguided reason we allow the government to disarm us, we have become complicit in our own debasement. We have surrendered our freedom and become slaves to the government.

To various degrees, different countries have become slaves to their governments. At the extreme is North Korea, where the people are clearly enslaved by the state. I would estimate North Koreans to be 95% slaves. On that scale, I would estimate Indians to be around 60% enslaved; the OECD countries to be 40% enslaved; the Islamic countries around 70%.

The wealth gap between the masters and the slaves is one way of estimating the degree of slavery. The greater the wealth and income disparity between masters and slaves, the greater is the degree of slavery. Indian masters (politicians and bureaucrats) have roughly 1000 times the income of the Indian slaves. The top politicians count their wealth in billions of dollars; the average politician is worth perhaps a few million dollars; the average Indian’s wealth is a few hundred dollars.

In the Western European countries, the wealth and income disparity is significantly lower than in the Third World countries — most of which are socialist. Socialism is a good proxy for slavery. Let’s not forget that The Great Leader Mrs Indira Gandhi, Bharat Ratna, declared India to be a socialist country.

It’s all karma, neh?

Author: Atanu Dey


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