Monday, December 6, 2010

The Science of Individualism

There is an amazing article by a great liberal Mr.Nagaraja Rao titled The Philosophy of Individualism. This was written in June 1939 and published in The Triveni *in the same year.

Few excerpts from his article:

  • The Chinese philosopher, Confucius, narrates a very significant incident which gives us an insight into the value of individuality. As he was passing by the Mount Thai, he came across a woman who was weeping bitterly by a grave. The Master quickly went to her and said, "Your wailing is that of one who has suffered sorrow on sorrow." She replied that it was so, and continued, "Once my husband’s father was killed here by a tiger. My husband was also killed, and, now my son has died in the same way." The Master said, "Then why do you not leave this place?" The answer was that there was no oppressive government there. Oppressive governments are indeed more terrible than tigers. Such is the experience of all sane citizens living today under totalitarian regimes, be they of the Left type or the Right.
  • The supreme effort of education and society should be the production of the real and splendid individual and not a mechanically efficient society. "Statesmanship unlike philosophy is the art of the second best." Politics can at best prevent deterioration and not bring about the betterment of the individual. Modern political theories are essentially unspiritual in that they do not respect the principle of the sacredness of the individual. They are out to crush the individual and make him a robot in the community.
  • It follows from this that political organisations should function in such a manner as not to violate the individual or his growth. Neither Fascism nor Communism act in such a friendly manner towards the individual. Fascism identifies the individual with the State and makes him a mere cog in the State machinery. It makes him, through terror and execution, a slave with no life. Justice and Hitler’s will are identified as one and the same thing. They glorify war, adore violence, and delight in rearmament programmes. They think that men are desperately wicked at heart and weak in the head. They speak the language of Burke and refer to the swinish multitude. They distrust the average man and his ability to participate in governmental affairs. So they substitute security in the place of self-government, and active foreign policy in the place of economic competence.

  • Political liberty is a good in itself and it has the supreme value of fostering the individual. It is not an impediment to economic security as many a Socialist imagines. On the other hand, it is the pre-condition of economic security. It is the presence of political liberty that has helped the propagation of the Socialist doctrine and the Socialist movement. But for it the elementary rights present in a democratic State would be nowhere. Thus, in the most wide sense of the term, "Liberalism is not a foe to Socialism but only its ally." Political liberty is the indispensible condition for the growth of the soul.

I highly recommend reading the full article with no prefixation of ideas read/unread hitherto.

* TRIVENI is devoted to Art, Literature, History and Culture. Its main function is to interpret through English the creative writing in different languages in India to the people of all states and to the world outside. Founded on Dec. 25, 1927, at Madras, "TRIVENI" has been the organ of cultural renaissance in India for Eighty years. Devoted to Literature, History Art and to the propagation of idealism in every sphere of public life, the journal has fairly realized its aspirations of drawing together the varied and dispersed lovers of art and culture in the different parts of Bharat and its interpreting the Indian Renaissance in its manifold aspects to the world outside

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