From Systemic Illiberalism to Organic Liberalism: The Indian Inspiration After All

Unsplash / Morning Consult illustration by Czarina Divinagracia

Now, it is an inevitable theoretical saying that liberalism centralizes the orgasm and structure of what rights and privileges really are. Historically, from the French Revolution till the Second World War, we have been in a dichotomous Machiavellian fashion of elite-street system, amidst which Conservatism and Socialism too transformed along with evangelism in various continents. The Cold War period was significant in the history of neo-politics because this period enabled us to understand how and why our systems need proper fixing. Since the 1990s, the world was obsessed with globalization, which fostered global capitalism, with certain movements of socialism/democratic socialism in some third world countries. Interestingly, the same people — Thatcher, Reagan, Blair, Narsimha Rao, Kofi Annan, and the rest in the global leadership lot, endorsed neoliberal economic reforms for a hyperglobalist society, were also responsible for a more open world, in matters related to thought leadership. Earlier, in the 20th century, we had the moderate wave of the same East-West dichotomous thinking, coupled with the same libertarian-conservative, individualist-collectivist thought ideas. In reality, since the start of the identity politics, we have still not transformed ourselves, with utmost humility, and I would point out some important issues through this article with respect to the limited dichotomous nature of Western Liberalism (more or less American/European), which can be cured by some inspiration from an Indian approach I would intend to propose.

Liberalism has to act with the mettle of change, and while conservatives and traditionalists preserve hierarchies, liberals have to ensure that the framework of competence of such hierarchies is reformed, one by one. This is the simplest and affordable schemata of what liberalism and conservatism not as ideological religions, but as relevant institutions or faculties of human action can be.

In this article, the following propositions will be covered, in order to explain why the dichotomous approach of Liberalism has been desperate, limitedly arduous, but a catastrophic failure at all costs. The propositions are provided as follows:

The article therefore covers examples from Indian politics and society, and therefore will explain the propositions further.

Why Liberal-Conservative Thinking is not Dichotomous: the Indic Examples — Modern and Puranic

Often it is said that in case of the liberal, conservative bloc, which is created within European politics and now disseminated from the Europeans to the Americans, the Africans and so forth.

In Asia, we have actually seen the outcome of this glorified experiment in a completely different manner. We see the usual slogans of global conservatism and global liberalism/global progressivism/global socialism, and so forth. But the problem is that while the conceptions like conservatism, liberalism, communism, socialism, nationalism, and for that matter, populism (which is a political tool, not an ideology), this differentiation is somewhere down the line, a very important issue because nobody cares to even think about them.

In fact, many media outlets and politicians forget to realize that there are certain boundaries and limitations of the ideological constructions. In general, a consensus of ideologies can make ideology religious - they can have an Abrahamic/Brahmic understanding, and that itself is very acerbic and dangerous, because if ideology itself forms itself like a religion, then lack of clarity can be a dangerous motive met.

Also, the problem is that first - recognizing an ideology and its religiosity is not a problem. But if the basis of the same is not clear, then the historical understandings of the ideology can never be fixed unless an intellectual infiltration really happens. That actually is the problem with any world religion, anywhere you go. And this would be there because world religions, despite their own perfections and imperfections, have their problems, which is still okay to a limited extent. However, at a larger level. It doesn’t help out.

For example, Sanatana Dharma is a relevant term used for describing the Hindu faith and cult. Now, within Sanatana Dharma, you can find various schools of thought, which differ amicably and respectfully. However, when we study the narratives and meticulous obscuration of the problem of caste discrimination, which exists and the coloniality notions, which are imposed upon Hindus, we can understand how the concept of Jati itself was degenerated and converted under the very garb of ‘babucracy’ and feudalism, with an Indian character amidst the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’s pitfall. Sadly, the quadrilateral social structure of Gotra-Jati-Varna-Jati in the Indic civilization was trampled and decayed, in terms of its preponderance and the quality of life that Dharma demands to India — which must be regarded as a civilizational duty, in an ethical sense.

That is the reason why the notions of white supremacy and ‘Global Jihad’ are equitably misplaced and under is overestimated upon Hindus.

Paradoxically, this actually is also seen within the liberal fora. So for example, liberals are typically those people who are open to criticism and open to change. In fact, conservatives are also open to change, but the main noticeable difference between them is here, in this case, is that the conservatives focus on more incremental long term changes and liberals resist the status quo. The problem is, that for centuries, the notions of liberalism and conservatism in the West have been poorly managed because while the liberals think that short term deforms can just make us too much advance, while it does not work out in reality because anthropological issues exist, conservatives have to counter that.

And many times, the ‘Liberals’ are quite equated or misplaced with socialists and communists.

Today, unfortunately, a new category has emerged (which is due to identity politics), known as Cultural Marxism. Cultural Marxism is something which is not typical Marxist in the sense that it is not the general historic anaesthesia of what Marx’s followers would impose, but it’s more related to a practitioners perspective, which is very dialectical and beyond dialectic approaches, it’s too much destructively synchronous with the common problems, which America and India face.

Unfortunately, Cultural Marxism, since the beginning of identity politics in post-colonial states like India, degenerated many things — the Indian Cinema, Indic Literature and Culture, For example, which we call as woke liberalism, often due to the appropriation of identities and cultures, leads to the fall of secular values in any democracy wherever it is necessary, or not.

And that also leads us to the second question related to Indian politics as to why secularism fails.

Nevertheless, let us be clear about the very problem that liberal and conservative thought models must be jointly appreciated and should never be isolated or dissected on the basis of ideological positions. In fact, the harmonization of ideologies is a better way to cause solutions and think about long term problems because short-term reforms are necessary. And that’s what liberals aren’t good at. However, in general, the conservatives can actually embrace the liberals and protect the institutions at the same time, and liberals can also contribute in the same through a constructive and reasonable approach. And if that is understandable, then it is properly solvable.

I’ll give an example in comparison to what happened in India recently which was a Twitter spat. An event was organized by three advocates who had written a book on Delhi Riots and Bloomsbury India, after enormous reactions on Twitter, pulped the book because many questions were raised by various lawyers and the so-called liberal mob. However, we must be clear that this issue is not related to freedom of speech because it is particularly an issue of hate speech. However, it still doesn’t establish a ground, that this mob, which actually went against that particular book had done a good job. So, in no way, it was a liberal approach. In fact, it’s a cultural Marxist approach because you are imposing your understanding of freedom of speech, and the same question of first principles and then come again and again and again.

Nobody ever decides what the first principles should be, because when one side, does that - there is sensual hypocrisy that the side itself is compromised to sometimes and then the other side also fails to adhere to it. So, in that scenario, we must be very clear with what should be the first principles, but at the same time, we must understand that liberalism and conservatism are not bad political ideas, but they can be embraced and improved in no time.

Let me end the propositions via discussing the essential ethos of Lord Vishnu and the mortal positive legal embrace of the concept of life, individualism and Dharma.

Narayana, or Lord Vishnu, embraces the idea of optimistic pedagogy and self-learning.

In the presence of a void, where salvation is should not be a superficial idea. And you must conserve your values. So when it comes to individual ideas. Shri Ram is a very liberal person as per the mainstream folklore of Valmiki Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas when it comes to individual rights, dignities and liberties. But when it comes to a collective fora, he is moderately conservative about it, where he fosters rule of law and epitomizes the need to affirm order and values. But, yes, it must be acknowledged that if you find various versions of Ramayana, then there might be certain startling differences. Nevertheless, more or less, the concept of Karma comes here, which actually connotes liberalism and conservatism together.

However, it is just not reasonable to concur that Dharma is a combination of liberalism and conservatism, but we can at least say that liberalism and conservatism both are important and they must come out of the Western cocoon and legacy because now the western roots are not the absolute roots anymore and if we really wish to internationalize the conceptions of liberals and conservatives, then we really need to see it in a different way in India. And that is why considering the purpose of the article. I certainly believe and strongly suggest that the concept of Karma and the moral notions of Vishnu Purana itself, the ideals of positive law which are embraced by Lord Vishnu and his incarnations reflect such hazy but discoverable and congruent and polite similarities.

And you know, the better way to establish understandings towards what liberalism and conservatism for a new India can be and how the world can learn to be decided on the basis of the joint libertarian-conservative perspective which we can find in Russia and Israel.

But the problem is that Russian Sadism and Masochism is incompatible to the whole world. We can’t adopt them, because it is civilizational different and incoherent to Europeans, Americans and so forth. And at the same time - the Israelis’ approach towards Liberal and Conservative values is not a proper idealistic source either. So, there is not a divide, but a reality-check that at first, civilizations would be an essential part of any nation’s character, and its people and their aesthetic development. And at the same time, we must understand it very clear that in case of the rest of the people who are in Europe or Asia, they also have their civilizational goals.

So, India’s example is not a perfect one. But yes, if we actually transform and remove the notions of a dichotomy between power and competence, then, we can actually make Dharma and Karma, better global concepts, which direct people, but let the iris of the direction and its end-destination as sanely complex, real, individualistic, optimistic and real as possible.

And instead of internationalizing it heavily and imposing it on people, we can just moderate it so that civilizational values are preserved cum rejuvenated & the libertarianism-conservatism model exists a part of civil society discourses and the need to seek what modernity can or cannot be. So, in general, it’s a proposition to bind liberal and conservative thought leadership models together, which is actually making civilizational modernity and civilizational heritage intact and not divided in the guise of some dichotomy, and so forth.

Why the binary classification of libertarianism and conservatism has been unreasonable forever?

So, the binary classification of liberals and conservatives in the western circle or the Anglosphere has been a common practice. I must say it is an aesthetic yet superficially imposed and degenerative practice, which has been there because of the fact that most of the mainstream and non-mainstream democracies have been following the concept of majority-minority, wherein you have, the leader of a house with a ruling party or a ruling party coalition, and you have an opposition coalition or an opposition party against. So, more or less, the very imposed notions of democracy based on classical liberalism-conservatism in the West (degenerated by the notions of ethnocentrism, colonialism and the White saviour complex), have been there for long. And we know the paradoxes of the current, which reflect the failures of what a democracy can be according to ‘civilized nations’ of Europe and the Americas.

For example — the current engagement between Taliban and Ashraf Ghani government in Afghanistan is a very interesting example where we can see that the parties would have to adopt a different take towards democracy and the majority of Pashtuns in the Taliban, who have been militias before actually needed representation. Therefore, it is very important that we do not see geopolitics like as it always has been, and a proper negotiation forum is created, even if the resort is not based on the principles of multilateralism.

Therefore, the question of ethnocentrism also comes into being because of the white saviour complex notions developed by NATO, the US and Europeans.

And this was an issue of some notions of civilizational superiority, which the French, the Dutch, the Portuguese, and for that matter, the UK, under the guise of colonialism imposed on India, Asia and the rest of the world. The very notions of civilizing the civilizations and their aftermath must be crumbled. So it’s an issue of embracing de-coloniality as well because binary politics has been a part of the colonial culture too. At the same time, binary politics is acerbic because, not just because it is the issue of opposition versus ruling party, but it’s also a big problem it actually divides people, and the international media, in the 21st Century is the most responsible institution in this regard because either you have Breitbart or CNN or New York Times, or Washington Post, or, for that matter, Fox News or any of the international media including Al Jazeera BBC. A+, Brut — all these have been directly or indirectly responsible for inciting and influencing people. In fact, if you see how Facebook’s algorithms work with regards in infinite scrolling, then you will find that the users who have a particular political take on anything or have certain political interests, from any politician to ideology to anything, the Facebook app or website will share artificial content based on the conception of dopamine rush, and then influences the people so badly that they actually become divisive because the issue is that the preferential model of procedural regularity manifested by AI systems is dangerous and caustic. And here we must understand that AI is not just a bunch of algorithms - we can say the AI infrastructure in terms of aesthetics to a limited extent — is corruptible because, the algorithmic systems, cannot understand that humans are not just collectivists - they’re individualists too. So individualism is as much important as collectivism because it’s a common thing, and this must be understood very carefully that collective rights and individual rights are not dichotomous to each other.

So, the binary classification itself stands for failure because the real manifestation of something called a real opposition may exist in a democracy. So either we are against the idea of a majoritarian dictatorship, or either we are against the model of majority-minority because there is no third alternative to this for mainstream democracies for now. One example I will mention here, which is of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and you can check it out, how bad their democratic systems are.

The constitutional system in Bosnia-Herzegovina is completely a disbalance. It’s dysfunctional. And despite the European Union, NATO and US’ efforts, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia are in a weird situation. So it will take time for Central and Eastern Europe to reform that particular region in Europe. Thus, we must understand very carefully that the model of binary thinking is very esoteric and must be avoided at all costs. It is flagrant, unreasonable and torturous, as well, because, in very simple language, the metaphysical thought behind dialectics itself is self-defeating. And therefore, a step by step dissection between short-term reforms and long-term anthropological changes and reforms must be undertaken. Thus, better scientific studies must be done. A sense of trust and reliability must be embraced. And if that happens, where politicization itself is normal, but not obscure, then the so-called notions where everything is inherently political or not, will be just completely ripped off and defeated, because of the simple reason that these notions have an inherent agenda to cause a social inertia among the people and impose obscure notions of social control for whatever blind or wild reasons. This is also the reason why liberals exist in the political left and the political right anyways. For example, left-liberals and centre-right liberals or right-wing liberals are different people because the right-to-the-centre liberals respect civilizational sovereignty, national security issues and so forth, while the left-liberals are less near to socialists Marxists and hard-left communists. But still, they have this ultra-sceptical approach, which is very acerbic. And that is why this extra-scepticism, extra-antagonism and extra-accelerationism (as also accepted by philosopher Slavoj Zizek, a philosopher of communism and a fan of Stalinism) is dangerous. Let’s be honest about it.

Is Ideology a Religion as an Institutive Construct?

I would like to make it clear that ideology is a religious institution because it has a cult. It has certain godfathers. It has certain theistic understandings, where you make your own void out of it. And the practicality of religion is also very important, because it may be challenged every time. For example, the practicality of Sanatana Dharma has been challenged for centuries, whether it is the invaders from Persia and Greece or it is the Christian missionaries for that matter. However, the problem that the Indic people face today is different because what they face is about civilizational existentialism and Indian exceptionalism they have not realized that civilizational humility and a liberal understanding of the Hindu culture itself, which is Sanatana Dharma has been not Abrahamic and has not been dichotomous wherein we have so many examples which prove that in a collective Hindu society, you can find individual liberties existent. And the best examples, you can find are perhaps the Indus Valley civilisation and the Vedic scriptures. There is enough evidence that exists in the case. However, let us understand the perspective of ideology as a religion differently here.

We can find the traits in India also.

For example, the notion of oppression was created by the left and the Islamists who misrepresent Muslims, and the socially underprivileged people. The bigger problem is that the notions of social control created within the fora of the oppressed (or the so-called oppressed) have been aligned with the feudal mindset of the left and Islamists in India, which actually made socialism and left-liberalism, which is not liberalism, but a centre-left ideology, a degenerate leftist vision of liberals became a religion. Liberalism itself must be reformed organically anyways. Societies change, but it is recommended that they don’t leave their civilizational roots. And at the same time with their traditional acumen, they must keep up with their liberal understandings towards realities to help it out in a perfect manner possible. In general, societies have such common anthropological issues and it is, therefore, necessary that liberals and conservatives acknowledge that such practical issues do not require ideological accusations and obscurations.

If there is no need for ideological obscuration, then it is pretty clear that socialism and jingoism should not exist. And liberalism and conservatism, along with values of secularism, or patriotism or nationalism must exist, together with conformity and harmony. This could also be a good alternative, and options must always be opened.

Much can be discussed, but this is all I propose for now. Suggestions and dissent are always appreciated.

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