Democracy is defined as the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In practice, however, all three conditions are seldom satisfied. Many democratic governments at present are of the people, but by the corporations and for the corporations. Some puppet governments are of the people but by a foreign power, and for the foreign power. Many governments are of the people, by the people, but for themselves. Finally, in some cases, there are governments of the people, but by the corporations, and for themselves. All these contradictions are the result of liberalism, namely, that everyone acts in their self-interest because the collective is unreal.
As liberal democracies begin to crack due to their inner contradictions, they are replaced by autocracies that reverse the definition: The state comprises people of the ruler, by the ruler, and for the ruler. They might even be called people of the nation, by the nation, and for the nation. This sometimes is called conservatism or nationalism and it opposes liberalism. An autocracy can be stable if the ruler is benevolent—i.e., treats citizens as his own family, making them the family of the ruler, maintained by the ruler, working for the ruler. Autocracies collapse if this benevolence is lost because then the people are no longer family of the ruler maintained by the ruler, although they are forced to work for him. That collapse can take people back to liberalism, repeating the cycle from democracy to autocracy and vice versa.
This post discusses the nature and origin of this cycle, and its solution.
Table of Contents
- Numerous Failures of Rationalism
- Liberalism Follows Collapse of Rationalism
- Beliefs Emerge from Self-Identity
- Universalizing Contextual Truths
- The Collapse of Modernism
- Liberal vs. Conservative Democracy
- The Need for Social Segmentation
- The State as a Guarantor of Liberty
- An Alternative Idea of Government
- Liberty Equals Selfishness
- Conservatism and Nationalism
- A Rational and Egalitarian Society
- The Laws of Dharma or Duty
- The Definition of Right and Wrong
Numerous Failures of Rationalism
Democracy originated in Greek times because people could not determine the nature of right and good rationally. Aristotle is given the credit for creating a divide between theoretical and practical wisdom. Theoretical wisdom deals with questions of arithmetic and geometry, and truth was confined to these questions. Everything else—e.g., what is good, what is the goal of life, what is the duty, what we must do in our lives—were practical matters which had no rational answers and everyone had to decide it for themselves.
It is ironic that so many people today pride themselves on the use of reason, when the fact is that if rationalism was truly working, then democracy would not be needed because every question would be answered objectively using reason, without relying on people’s opinions. Quite the contrary is true. All truths were confined to arithmetic and geometry even during Greek times and everything else was a personal choice. These could be collective choices, or they could be accepted based on faith. But they were never rational.
Subsequent developments showed that even geometrical truth isn’t objective. The axioms Euclid had chosen during Greek times aren’t universally true; they seem true because of limited observations of the world around us. If we expand our observations to the cosmos, then we have to replace Euclid’s axioms to create non-Euclidean geometries. The discovery of dark energy and dark matter has put even non-Euclidean geometries into question because they don’t explain 95% of the universe. Thereby, neither Euclidean nor non-Euclidean geometries are truths; they are merely approximate interpretations of the world around us. These interpretations of observations create axioms, and we are free to choose these axioms, making them our choices.
The final nail in the coffin came with Gödel’s Incompleteness. It showed that no axiom set can answer all the questions of arithmetic. We can choose some axioms to answer some questions, but every choice will make some other arithmetic claims undecidable. We choose those axioms that make claims like 2 + 2 = 4 true because we need them for practical matters. However, if someday we wanted to decide the presently undecidable claims by using different axioms, then 2 + 2 = 4 could become undecidable and arithmetic would be useless. Therefore, even arithmetic is practical and not theoretical wisdom, because we have chosen axioms that make mathematics useful to us. Rational truth is not true in all possible worlds. It seems true in our world because we have chosen those axioms that work for our needs.
Rationalism collapsed completely as a result of Gödel’s Incompleteness because it became evident that all rational claims depend on the choice of axioms, and each axiom-set solves mutually exclusive problems. Hence, what you consider true is based on which problems you consider important. If you gave importance to other problems, then you would also consider something else true. People can therefore believe in alternative truths simply because they are facing different problems, or trying to achieve different goals.
Liberalism Follows Collapse of Rationalism
Socrates was rationally trying to find the nature of beauty, justice, goodness, righteousness, etc., but he never got far because every rational claim became irrational in another context. Then Plato tried to maintain rationalism by positing another world of forms that had to be grasped intuitively to bring this world as close to the perfect world as possible. It was practically useless because intuitions weren’t converging. Then Aristotle separated theoretical and practical matters, restricting reason to arithmetic and geometry. But it later turned out that even these are not rational truths. They too are choices we make to solve the problems that we consider important.
Liberalism became inevitable with the collapse of Rationalism. You cannot decide everything rationally, and you must hypothesize different beliefs to solve a subset of problems that you consider important. That requires personal choice; hence, all that you consider true, right, and good, is subject to your choices. Now, a universal truth is possible only if some arbitrary truth, right, and good is enforced as the word of divine authority or the rule of an autocrat. People don’t want that. Hence, liberalism arose along with the rejection of the divine authority of the Pope during the Protestant Reformation and the rejection of the divine powers of the kings during the Enlightenment. People remember the rejection of divine powers of the Pope and kings but are unaware or ignorant of the collapse of Rationalism.
The Protestant Reformation gave people the freedom to practice their chosen religion, which put an end to the bitter rivalry and conflict between Catholics and Protestants. Religion was made a private matter, or a personal choice because the truth was not universal. Likewise, autocracy was replaced by democracy making even social reality the choice of a certain population. Then, academia was divided into many departments, such that each academic department had a different view of reality, which was that department’s view but did not agree with other departmental views. Finally, each department broke into many theories, that endorsed different views of reality.
The standard claim after these divisions is that empirical observation will decide which idea is true, which means that your answer depends on: (a) which realities you are facing and (b) which problems in that reality you are trying to solve. The realities, and the problems of that reality, are not common for everyone. Hence, truth, right, and good are different. Nevertheless, this practical truth is treated as if it is the universal truth. Just because it worked here and now, it must be applied everywhere as the sole truth.
Beliefs Emerge from Self-Identity
This problem has a very precise formulation in Sāñkhya philosophy, where the intellect judges the truth, right, and good, based on a “memory” of all the beliefs (which is one of the five aspects of the intellect). The intellect, however, is produced from the ego, or self-identity. The ego itself can be understood in terms of the following three aspects: (a) how we are connected to other things and people in the world, (b) which goals we consider important and which problems we prioritize over others, and (c) how we see the self or define our nature. Our ego or self-identity changes all our beliefs and then alters all our judgments about what is true, right, and good.
The intellect tells us what is true, but to decide any truth we need some assumptions, beliefs, axioms. Those are not universal. Rather, our assumptions, beliefs, and axioms depend on our ego—i.e., our worldly relationships, goals, or problems we wish to prioritize, and who we think we are. Therefore, there can be no universal truth unless there is a commonality in the ego. There can still be contextual truth if many people collectively share commonalities in their three-fold ego aspects. For example, there can be context-sensitive cultural, religious, and social truth, if that culture, religion, or society is homogeneous. If you remove the homogeneity, then nobody agrees on anything. Moreover, the irony will be that (a) each person will judge others based on what they consider true, (b) find it irrational that others hold different views, and (c) others will be regarded as stupid or inferior.
Universalizing Contextual Truths
This was also seen after the dawn of liberalism when Europeans went all over the world, believing that—(a) scientific truth is universal, (b) their religious truth is absolute truth, (c) their social and cultural values must be universalized, (d) those who don’t accept it are stupid and/or inferior.
To convert all people to liberalism brute force had to be employed, which means they did not have liberty. Liberalism thus transforms into its opposite—illiberalism. They did not know or did not want to accept that all their ideology was a byproduct of their ego, rooted in European-Christian values and ideologies. Some people accepted these values and ideologies as universal truth, making them liberal toward those who accepted the same ideologies and supremely illiberal toward those who rejected them.
The Western attempt at universalizing European values is so intellectually naïve and ill-conceived that it failed to anticipate what it was going to do to the West, as it tries to universalize its ideology. For example, just as Western values were penetrating the rest of the world, non-Western values started penetrating the West. By continuous mixing of people as the result of trying to integrate everyone into a single worldview, liberty came to be viewed simply as the freedom to hold your view, even if it is contrary to Western ideology.
This is the beginning of the pain. Each culture has a different ego identity. By mixing people from different cultures, a very large number of ego-identities are created, which never agree on any truth, right, and good because these are dependent on different ego-identities. They will cite the liberty to uphold their own viewpoint. The immediate consequence of these disagreements is that numerous gender identities, racial identities, hyphenated national identities, and religious identities, lead to what we now call identity politics because each identity has a different set of beliefs about what is true, right, and good. You cannot call anything inferior because of liberalism, namely, that everyone is free to choose whatever they want to consider true, right, and good. And you cannot accept everything as true, right, and good.
The Collapse of Modernism
Modernism was the European idea that there is one truth, right, and good, obtained rationally. Postmodernism is the new European idea that there is no truth, right, and good, because everyone is free to choose their version of the truth, right, and good, based on their personal identity. The problem is: How do you constitute a functional society out of disagreeing individuals?
A society can function only if it has a homogeneous culture, values, and norms because these create commonality in the ego, which then creates a broad consensus on the truth, right, and good. If a society mixes identities—in the hope that it will homogenize the world—the result will be paralysis.
Moreover, you cannot overturn liberalism overnight. Free speech, liberty to practice your religion, freedom to propagate your ideas, and numerous other kinds of liberties are enshrined in national constitutions. Liberals will say: This is how our nation was constituted by our founding fathers. They don’t know that as you mix identities, you can never agree on what is true, right, and good. You will rather produce your own truth, right, and good, based on your ego-identity. By giving equality to all claims, you can never arrive at any consensus. Similarly, each view will consider the other’s as hubris, stupidity, and irrationality, and itself the absolute truth. Society will be marked by constant conflict, inability to make any decision, and hasty decisions disputed by others, that are overturned, later on, to create cyclical change.
Liberal vs. Conservative Democracy
Democracy can be dated back to 2,500 years in Greek times, but it was not liberal democracy in that people of different cultures, races, and values were not intermixing. Those differences over which people were previously arguing—e.g., Protestantism vs. Catholicism—are nothing compared to the racial, cultural, and social differences that people are quarreling about today. Both Protestants and Catholics, for instance, agreed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Bible is the only true book, whites are the supreme race, and God has empowered them to conquer, exploit, and control the rest of the world. All those assumptions are now in question due to the mixing of people.
Democracy is different from liberal democracy because the latter involves far greater racial, cultural, ideological, religious, and aspirational diversity than the former, which paralyzes society by disagreements. There is hence a call towards conservative democracies, to take each society back to their former homogeneous cultural, religious, and social construction, overturning the idea that Western values must be universalized. That attempt to universalize has led to intermixing resulting in inner societal strife. This is in principle correct because each society has to be homogeneous to believe in some truth, right, and good. But you have to overturn liberalism to achieve that outcome.
The conservatives are thus illiberal toward others with radically different viewpoints, because they can only be liberal toward those who hold the conservative viewpoint. As long as people agree on the conservative ideology of homogenization, minor disagreements on other issues can be entertained.
Liberalism was always about minor disagreements. In Europe, minor disagreements between Catholics and Protestants were permitted. Similarly, in India, Hindus and Buddhists coexisted liberally. They spoke different languages, had different social, cultural, and religious norms, and aspired for different things. However, Hindus and Buddhists agreed on some very fundamental principles like karma and reincarnation, dharma as a natural law, the imperative of liberation from this world, the natural superiority of monks and being guided by them, different social roles of men and women, etc. All Indian religions—Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Hinduism—agree on these societal principles. Hence, liberalism worked in India due to the agreement on these cultural, social, and moral values. Most Indians consider all of these “dharmic religions” even today because of that basic agreement.
They, however, significantly differ from Christianity and Islam, which is why the conservatives in India say that they are liberal because they are talking about the peaceful coexistence between dharmic religions, whereas democratic liberals will argue that the conservatives are illiberal because they want to extend liberalism to Islam and Christianity. Western liberal democracies often accuse India of illiberalism, trying to mold India in their image although their conservatives are trying to reverse it as society enters new conflicts.
The Need for Social Segmentation
The problem is that liberalism is about accommodating minor disagreements. It works only if there is broad agreement on values, ideology, and principles. To discuss any topic rationally, you have to agree on some axioms. Society needs a discussion, which means agreement on axioms, which requires commonalities in the people’s ego-identity. If that commonality disappears, then it will end the rational conversation and will be replaced by accusations of discrimination, identity politics, and neverending disputes.
Therefore, the Vedic social system always segregated people into different societies, cultures, and ideologies. People with the same goals in life, moral values, and social norms lived together. But they did not mix with others who had different goals in life, moral values, or social norms. They also encouraged the segregation of people with different goals, morals, and norms. The result was that every society was at least functional because people could collectively agree on something. It may not be a perfect truth, right, and good. But at least people agreed on how to move forward based on their ideology.
Liberalism opposes this segregation and wants to mix everyone. I’m sure there is a history of discrimination behind many such attempts, which should be corrected. But one must also realize that you cannot mix people with different ideologies. The result will be paralysis, in which each side will accuse the others of illiberalism, stupidity, irrationality, and arrogance. The correct position that avoids these extremes is segregating people by their ideologies, values, and goals, rather than based on their skin color, gender, financial status, or the place they come from. This is very hard. But if you want to mix people without conflict, this is the only way. The minds have to be similar even if the bodies are different for people to coexist peacefully.
The State as a Guarantor of Liberty
Liberalism is predicated on the ignorance of the truth, right, and good, and the inability to find it rationally. It gives each individual the freedom to decide their truth, right, and good. However, because people will likely come up with different ideas about truth, right, and good, which cannot be discussed rationally because they are based on different axioms, therefore, there is a huge potential for societal conflict and violence. The state or the government is required to prevent that conflict. Thereby, the idea of the state as a guarantor of freedoms by preventing societal violence arises. Likewise, since everyone has to find their individual truth, right, and good, therefore, all such pursuits must be protected in a democracy as individual freedoms.
Thereby, a government is constituted based on a set of rights, like the right to education, healthcare, employment, old age security, unemployment benefits, reservation in jobs, and so forth. By this definition, the government is saddled with huge problems. People are not educated? That’s a government problem. People are unhealthy? That’s a government problem. People are unemployed? That’s a government problem. People are old? That’s a government problem. People are homeless? That’s a government problem. The economy is down? That’s a government problem. Inflation is up? That’s a government problem. Someone has a monopoly? That is a government problem. Literally, anything happening anywhere to anyone becomes a government’s problem.
How many problems is the government going to solve? And when you ask it to solve so many problems, won’t the government bloat, become inefficient, corrupt, and slow? Won’t all of these problems in turn increase the taxes on everyone, such that the dutiful citizen has to pay not just for the lazy citizens but also for the inefficient government bureaucracy, which exists to serve the lazy person’s rights? The idea that the government exists to protect rights naturally leads to enormous taxation on honest people, while the lazy, inefficient, corrupt, and slow people live off the labor of hardworking people.
An Alternative Idea of Government
In Vedic philosophy, the idea of government as the guarantor of liberties is rejected. Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-Gita 2.47: “Performance of your duties is your only right”. The job of a government is therefore to protect the citizen’s duties rather than rights. It is also the protection of dharma.
For example, if a student wants to learn, then he can approach a qualified teacher, and the teacher will select the student based on his ability to learn. The government has no business interfering in this process because education is not a right. However, if someone is preventing a qualified teacher from teaching, or a qualified student from learning, then the government can intervene and allow them to perform their duties. Thereby, unqualified students are not forced on qualified teachers (dissuading them from teaching), and a student is not forced to learn unnecessary subjects (dissuading them from learning), just because the government wants to ensure that everyone’s right to a standard curriculum is fulfilled, disregarding the needs, interests, preferences, and abilities of teachers and students.
Likewise, healthcare is not the government’s job. If you want to be healthy, then lead a healthy life, control your mind and senses, and restrict your desires to prevent anxiety, depression, and other illnesses. If you fall sick anyway, then approach a qualified doctor, and receive his advice. The government has no business forcing a lifestyle on people, sending them to doctors, or ensuring that they take the medicine. This is because healthcare is not a right, and the government doesn’t exist to guarantee your rights.
Similarly, limitless private property is not a right, because there are no rights. Whatever you need to perform your duties, can be taken to the extent needed to perform your duties. Running a mega-corporation that sucks the life out of nature, and people, and triggers strife in other places, is not your duty. Hence, you cannot hold limitless property and call it the right to private property.
Likewise, there is no right to free speech. If a person is qualified, then it is his duty to speak. If he is prevented from his duty, then the government can protect it, since he is qualified to speak. Otherwise, every fool is not qualified to speak, and the government is not required to protect his “rights”. Everyone rather has to be educated before they are permitted to speak.
Every single problem of modern capitalism, socialism, and politics is born from the singular idea of liberalism leading to individual rights. This may be the worst idea ever created in history. But everyone considers it to be true.
The government exists to guarantee that you are not hindered in the performance of your duties. If you don’t want to perform your duties, that’s fine. But you cannot stop others from doing their duties. If you are making it hard for others to do their duties, then the government can kick you out.
The problem begins from the idea that there is no rational way to decide what one’s duty is, because there is no objective determinant of truth, right, and good. Since nobody really knows what is the truth, right, and good, and there is no rational way to decide, therefore, we can never determine if they are speaking the truth, right, and good. Therefore, how can we determine if they are dutiful or not? Conclusion: Everyone must be given the freedom to do whatever they want, and the government must protect their rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as the US constitution puts it.
All the problems of liberalism begin from the near certainty of people’s ignorance and the absence of a rational method to determine the truth, right, and good. If we solve that problem by presenting the truth, right, and good in a rational manner, then liberalism doesn’t need to exist. Then, people don’t have any rights other than their right to perform their duties. Then the government is very minimal, and it doesn’t interfere unnecessarily in people’s lives, because it is small. Then, the taxes on the people are very low.
In the Varṇāśrama system, for example, the government is almost exclusively soldiers and policemen, and they are called Kshatriyas. There are no hospital and school administrators, economists, teachers, statisticians, and dozens of other senseless departments and their bureaucracies. The administrative part of the government is minimal, and therefore the taxes are minimal. This forces people to be responsible and dutiful, or suffer because there is no backup, and if you hinder others in the performance of their duties, then you will be banished from society and your situation will be worse thereafter.
Liberty Equals Selfishness
When society is deprived of an objective criterion to decide the truth, right, and good, and everyone is given many birthrights along with the individualism to decide for themselves, then the entire society is plunged into selfishness, immorality, and stupidity. People vote for the government to fulfill their rights, rather than their duties. Thereby, you get a government of the people and by the people. However, the politicians elected by that process are as selfish as the voters. So, they are not going to think about the people who elected them. They are going to think about themselves because that is their right.
Hence, after you get a government of the people and by the people, it is not for the people. That government comprises politicians and bureaucrats who only act in their self-interest, rather than the citizen’s interest because they are guaranteed the freedom to selfishly think for themselves. Democracy is a self-contradictory idea in which the voters are selfish and the politicians are altruistic. Of course, since people are equally foolish, selfish, or immoral, they fail to see the obvious contradictions. They think that democracy works.
These contradictions have transformed democracies in different parts of the world in different ways. In some places, the government is of the people, but it is decided by the corporations and works for the corporations. In other places, democratic puppet regimes are installed by foreign powerful regimes such that they are the government of the people, but by the foreign regime and for the foreign regime. In some dictatorial or autocratic societies, there is a seeming government of the people, but it is financed by corporations, while it exists almost exclusively for extending the ruler’s self-interest.
All these things constitute government corruption and betrayal of democratic ideals. But we shouldn’t act so surprised because that betrayal has always been built into the liberal ideology that allows each person to only think for themselves. Why should a corporation, politician, foreign regime be altruistic when everyone is encouraged to be selfish? The net result is that you cannot get a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
When a regime becomes too corrupt, then people reject it—i.e., it is not a government of the people. They might elect another government, but things don’t change, because people remain selfish. Change is possible only if we give up liberalism, and the idea of individual rights, and replace them with the single idea—you have a right to perform your duty, and nothing else.
Conservatism and Nationalism
There are times when democracies invert their principles by invoking national good, whereby people have to stop thinking of their interests and think of the collective interest. John F. Kennedy famously said: “Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country”. People might clap, but it is not the liberal democratic idea of each person thinking for oneself.
There is instead a far older idea of autocratic rulers, under which all the democratic principles are inverted. Under this idea, a country is defined as people of the ruler, by the ruler, and for the ruler. People of the ruler means that the ruler treats them like his family. People by the ruler means that the ruler has organized the family. Finally, people for the ruler means “ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country”.
There are some nationalistic countries at present that embody this ideal. For them, it is people of the country, by the country, and for the country. Even communism started out with the same ideal, although not as well articulated.
The problem is that very quickly, the rulers violate the first principle of people of the ruler. The ruler separates himself from the people. He starts appointing administrators who subjugate rather than care for the people. The people are no longer family. Then, the society is reduced to people for the ruler.
A little careful thought shows that in both democracy and autocracy, the rulers have to be dutiful, moral, and compassionate. The difference is that in a democracy the citizens are entitled (ruler for the people) and in an autocracy, the ruler is benevolent (people of the ruler). The fact is that in a functional democracy, the rulers cannot give people everything, which is why they keep losing elections, because no matter how dutiful the ruler is, everyone’s whims in the family cannot be satisfied equally. Remember that in a democracy, the government has so many responsibilities that it can never fulfill everything. Things would be much better if those so-called liberties and entitlements were given up, and people focused on their duties. Liberalism prevents that because the people cannot stop demanding and behaving entitled.
Then the rulers realize that to survive they cannot rely on the wisdom of the people. They have to act in their self-interest. That’s when democratic corruption begins and the government is no longer for the people. As democratic liberalism collapses and is replaced by an autocracy, the people may relinquish their entitlement, but the rulers are quickly corrupted either because people are not demanding, or the ruler has gained so much power that the people’s demands simply don’t matter to the ruler.
This is the basic cycle of political systems in which society oscillates from one extreme to another. Society gets tired of autocrats and demands rights and freedoms, and makes the government responsible for so many things that the government crumbles under the weight of its own commitments and the rulers decide to save themselves rather than fulfill their promises. Then, looking at this corruption, an autocrat arrives and promises to fix things, citing the excesses of liberalism, and proposing conservatism and nationalism to consolidate his power. However, he quickly starts misusing that power.
A Rational and Egalitarian Society
The Ramayana describes Lord Ramachandra as a moral and benevolent ruler. His morality and benevolence go so far that His needs are less important than the needs of the citizens. If a citizen criticizes Him, He takes it so seriously as to make the greatest personal sacrifices. We can agree that it is impossible to expect such morality and understanding at present. It’s too high a bar.
But we can also agree that liberalism and democracy don’t solve any problem because they begin with the assumption that people are ignorant and there is no rational method to determine truth, right, and good. Every individual gets equal freedom that is not based on their qualification. This drowns out the voices of the more qualified, who either leave, or shut up, and stop trying to improve things. Even if the rulers were moral, liberal democracy always declines progressively because people have been given so many rights that their demands are limitless, while they are not performing their duties. They rely on changing the rulers rather than changing themselves; they blame the government rather than blaming themselves; they keep increasing their demands, rather than improving the supplies. Repeated changes to the government worsen all problems, and politicians now work for themselves.
We can also agree, based on history, that autocrats, dictators, and fascists have never worked. They say that they are working for the national cause, but they are only working for themselves. They oppress the people, kill them, enslave them, and torture them to maintain their position of power.
This is why I don’t wish to endorse the extremes of democracy or autocracy. I envision an alternative that begins by saying that there is a rational method to determine the truth, right, and good. Philosophy and science are exceptionally important for a social organization because democracy begins by saying that there is no objective truth, and autocracy begins by saying that the truth is what the ruler says it is, or whatever a priest says it is. We have to avoid such extreme positions. Truth is rather determined by a rational method.
The rulers have to know this method of reasoning. They have to be able to use it to make all their decisions. They have to be able to explain their decisions rationally if questioned about them. And the people must be educated to understand those explanations. We can call such autocrats philosopher-kings. Alternatively, there can be autocrats who are completely guided by philosophers of the above kind. These two are equivalent systems, neither better nor worse than the other. They all depend on knowledge.
This is not a liberal democracy where people keep changing rulers frequently, or even periodically, per their whims. It is not an autocracy in which the ruler is not required to explain his actions. It is not constituted based on a set of liberties and rights, with the government saddled with the responsibility of protecting universal freedoms. It is not a demand for everyone to give up their duties to serve the ruler. And it is not reliance on the morality and benevolence of the ruler where he treats all the citizens as his own people.
It is hard rationalism under which a decision is based on a system of perfect reasoning to decide the truth, right, and good in that situation, for the largest number of people, namely, that which protects their duties. In simple terms, people can elect an intelligent ruler, but there is no need for periodic elections if the ruler is doing his job well. People can demand answers from a ruler if they are capable of understanding the nuances of how to decide the truth, right, and good under a given situation. They don’t have to put their blind faith in the benevolence and dutifulness of the ruler, because his explanations have to be rational and convincing. However, the ruler is not saddled with the job of protecting rights, liberties, and freedoms, greatly increasing taxation, then chasing everyone to collect taxes, worrying about black money and money laundering, and so many other problems.
By drastically minimizing the job of a ruler, large countries can be governed efficiently, because the ruler doesn’t interfere in people’s choices unless they hinder other people’s duties, and doesn’t crumble under the pressure of too many responsibilities. That also alleviates high taxation on people.
We cannot call this pure democracy, autocracy, liberalism, conservatism, or anything in between, at least not in the sense they are defined at present. It is a system of an egalitarian society in which the ruler is only the first among equals. But the ruler is properly educated and intelligent to make correct decisions, and the model of society has completely rejected liberalism, and its starting premise of abject ignorance and absence of a method to know.
The Laws of Dharma or Duty
How do we decide our duty? The answer to this question requires a four-fold distinction between objects, actions, roles, and purposes. All these have to be described in terms of qualities, rather than quantities. Modern science acknowledges only two of these categories, namely, objects and actions. It also reduces them to quantities. For example, a particle is an object, and motion is an action. The universalist laws of particles and motions preempt contextualization based upon the role because every particle simultaneously acts in relation to all the other particles in the universe. This is contrary to human actions, which are contextualized to their family, employer, society, and country, and cannot be universal laws. To articulate this contextualization, we have to accept that the objects and their actions are simply potentials. They are activated by our choices into actions, and they can be chosen based on the context of family, employer, society, and country. That choice is right or wrong because the truth is a set of potentials that can be enacted selectively in a context. The definition of right and wrong is context-sensitive. It cannot be universal government laws or God’s commandments.
That law of choice and responsibility says: If you do something wrong, then you will be punished; if you act righteously, you will be rewarded. This is non-sectarian. The reward is that which leads to pleasure, which is good, and the punishment is that which leads to pain, which is bad. Pleasure and pain are not universal; they are unique for each individual. Therefore, for the same righteous action, the reward is not universal; it is rather individualized.
Thereby, pleasure and pain are first-person realities, duty is a second-person reality, and objects and actions are third-person realities. Modern science reduces everything to third-person reality, then quantifies this third-person reality, and then discovers that it cannot answer all the questions. That incompleteness results from two types of flaws: (a) neglecting first- and second-person realities, (b) converting third-person reality to quantities. The result is also that the questions of right and good are definitionally outside science. And even the question of truth is relativized to a person’s context and individuality, reinjecting the importance of context and individuality into a rational system that programmatically rejects its existence. Thereby, science becomes permanently incomplete and incapable of rationality.
The law of nature is the logical relation between possibility, choice, and consequence. The possibility is true or false; the choice is right or wrong; the consequence is good or bad. The choice selects a possibility, but it is not free as it is constrained by the context, and by our desire to obtain pleasure rather than pain. This relation is hence a natural law called dharma.
The Definition of Right and Wrong
There is much more to the issue of right and wrong, and it relies on defining the ideal. For example, disabled people may not be able to perform their duties perfectly, but they are not wrong if they try to do their duties as best as they can within the constraints of their disabilities. When our choices attain the limit to the ideal that can be attained in a given context, subject to the constraints of our abilities, then it is perfect although it may not be ideal. That perfect action is right. Anything less than that perfection is wrong.
Then, we have to define the meaning of perfect, and that definition is how God would have acted in the same situation. God is the definition of ideal, and if we always think of God, by thinking about how He would have acted in this situation, then our actions will be perfect. Thereby, right and wrong are tied to God, but not in the sense that God delivers universal commandments. Instead, they are tied to God in a deeply personal sense that we always think about how He would have acted in this situation. As we understand God better, we also understand how to act perfectly. Thus, right simply means perfect action, and perfect action is simply how God will act in a given situation.
When we act just like God, then we become as good as God, although not identical to God, because our actions are our choices, not God’s. However, there is no perceivable difference between our actions and God’s activity. That godly nature is righteousness. It is also God’s nature. Hence, righteousness can never be defined by atheists, humanists, secularists, or liberals. By rejecting God’s existence, they are also rejecting perfection and idealism. They will then endorse some non-ideal action. That is factually immorality.
Hence, a government exists to protect duty. Duty is defined by perfect action. And perfect action is what God will do in a situation. Therefore, a good government cannot exist unless we know God’s nature. The science of God is also the science of government, therefore, if we understand that science of God, or how He acts, then we can also organize the perfect society.
Then, all the debates about good government are debates about God’s nature. What does He do? How does He do it? Why does He do it in a certain way? Thereby, we can mix religion and politics, because we are thinking about what God will do, why He will do it, and how He will do it, even as we are talking about the nature of the government. The debate about the nature of government is also a debate about God’s nature. That debate, discussion, and understanding about the nature of God is the perfection of human life.