Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Libertarian Paradise?

Recently, a well meaning reader of this blog sent me a message, in which he asked me why I did not write on national and political issues. Issues, that concern the future of this country.

If I had to give him a short answer, I would say -- I used to.

But then, somewhere down the road, I realized that I did not enjoy writing about politics. And so, I stopped. I still write about national and international issues, which can be called political -- issues, that I strongly feel about. But now, I try and avoid commenting on specific people and parties.

Today, there is a lot of uncertainty about where India is headed. In the last few months, our national growth rate has been projected downwards, and that too, quite a few times. People have lost faith in public institutions. Senior politicians, have openly questioned members of the executive and the judiciary. The legislature has stopped legislating. And the so called "free press" has neither made us proud of its freedom, nor has it started printing or broadcasting anything that provides the reader with a sense of satisfaction.

So, perhaps I should ask the well meaning reader of "The Peanut Express" -- what should I really write about?! 

As a Libertarian, I would say though, that there is one specific thing in these depressing times, that makes me happy. The fact, that people are slowly realizing that a government is generally incapable of doing anything properly. So, the fewer the number of things it is asked to do, the better it is for the country.

(Picture courtesy : bradyreports.com)

In the sixty five years that have passed since we became an independent country, we have dabbled with socialism (the preamble to our constitution still includes the world "socialist"), and a rudimentary free market economy. Sooner or later, each one of our politicians, from the left, right or center, tries to publicly exude confidence in the government's ability to deliver to its people. And, regardless of the political ideology that they follow, they have been quite consistent about their stand that it is the government that needs to deliver.

And that is where I disagree.

I don't think the government should be in the business of delivering anything. Other than complete freedom from it -- for ordinary people and small businesses. A freedom, that is long overdue.

Somehow, in the last few months, I have found the popularity ratings of our ruling coalition going down, and that of the opposition going up. That, does not surprise me, since India has slowly transitioned to a "two-party" system in the last decade or so. But,  replacing one group of corrupt and inefficient people with another, has never appealed to me. And so, as impending as they might be, elections do not excite me.

During these troubled times, when people have lost faith in most government institutions, perhaps, it is time to let go of some of them. For any political party, on the left or the right, it is time to come out in the open and say that they will start reducing big government and deficit spending.

For some reason, I feel that the current political right in India is a little better positioned to do that than anyone else. To them, I have a small suggestion. It has come out in recent opinion polls that there exists a  perception amongst the people of India that the right-of-center coalition is just as corrupt as the left-of-center coalition that currently rules the country. Clearly, corruption alone, cannot be made the distinguishing factor between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. 

The political right needs to come out in the open and own up to the fact that there is a fundamental flaw in the way we let our government govern us. And so, they need to go after big government, because that is what puts layers of inefficiency between the desire to deliver, and actual delivery.

A long time ago, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with a small time Desi farmer, in one of our small time Desi states. He had not heard of anything that the urban elite took for granted. He did not know what the constitution was, what rights he had and who he could vote for. He still thought of the political leaders of the country as his masters, who he called his maaliks (owners).

But then, he told me in simple terms that he did not care about who ruled him. One thing that impressed him about free India was that generally no one bothered him, no one asked him to pay taxes and everyone, including the government, left him alone. To fend for himself.

I should have told him then, that he was living in a Libertarian paradise. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a few more?!


  1. Sir you can write on what you want to express. Since you have not replied to my tweet. I have some questns. 1. Are you from IIT? 2. What made you to write a blog. 3. What you are looking throug blog writing. 4. Plz tel your name and profession. I hope you wil reply. . . . Peace

    1. Dear Krishna. Thanks for your kind words. I did study in an IIT a long time ago, not that it matters any more. I like my anonymity, because it lets me be myself. I hope you will understand. Looking forward to many more comments and visits by you.


  2. You can write all that you want. And yeah, politics doesn't interest me :(, but I love your blog :)

  3. In libertarian paradise there won't be accountability and that will be invitation to lots of advesaries