At the outset of this study of political science, we concluded that citizens of every state, voluntarily ceded their inalienable rights [the elements of their freedom] to the state, with the guarantee that the state would protect these rights for them and that this essentially meant that the state promised equal justice to all.
But, now we seem to have concluded that, despite Rousseau and other’s assertions, in real life, no state can provide equal justice or absolute freedom to its citizens. They can merely provide relatively more or less than other states. Then where does this leave us? Why should individuals cede rights to the state if they are not guaranteed equal justice and, what can the state then guarantee the people instead?
While the foregoing question was partially answered in the last article on this subject, it deserves a more comprehensive address. But, it is essential to point out that philosophy, whether political or focused elsewhere, seeks perfection. It is not necessarily pragmatic and, this fact is emphasized by the use of Utopia/utopian as an adjective.
“Absolute freedom will result in chaos”, predict wise minds. Since absolute freedom has never prevailed, we cannot be certain that it will result in chaos but, it sounds reasonable. And, we do know that wherever the state has failed in providing some vestige of governance, however flawed or faulty, chaos has preceded revolutions. And, revolutions are usually preceded by insurrections and rebellions as the state organ begins to crumble.
So, perhaps this is a more complete answer; “The state is essential, because it provides governance, and without governance there will [probably] be chaos”. Does that imply that, the state is to be accepted, whatever it does? No; were that so, there would be no rebellion. But, there have been rebellions, successful or otherwise, throughout history.
The English revolted and executed Charles 1, the most devout of rulers, in 1649 because he dissolved their [useless] parliament so as to impose tax by royal decree. Americans revolted against King George on the cry, “No taxation without representation”. The French soon followed for similar reasons. East Pakistanis revolted to create Bangladesh because of a host of reasons; unequal use and distribution of wealth being predominant. The rebellion of our TTP hasn’t quite ended yet.
What triggers such events?
A question, both easy and extremely difficult to answer. If we are consciously aware of the conclusions that we are reaching, as we proceed on this search, then we are now aware that neither justice nor freedom, which we began with as our end, are attainable in absolute and, therefore, the best compromise is what we must make do with.
What this implies is that all citizens of all states suffer [more or less] at the hands of the state but must continuously continue to seek better and better governance so as to be more contented with their lot; which is the underlying concept of Civics—on which, more on another occasion.
Revolutions occur when a discontented people turn into malcontents. What turns them from ‘dis’ to ‘mal’; depends on the collective level of tolerance of bad governance of the peoples. Our level of tolerance for all sufferings resulting from injustice, and bad-governance seems especially high.
We have allowed generations of our rulers to do with us as they will in all matters. No government, including this one has performed its policing functions satisfactorily. Religious fanatics can deny our children polio drops and, not only distort laws unchallenged, they can deprive us of the very basics of science of moon-sighting not merely with impunity but challengingly.
Is it because we are less intrepid and daring? Perhaps that is also why we are not sea-faring. If so, does that have something to with the climate and food here? I don’t know but; maybe. Certainly the bad governance of the past seventy two years has continued to worsen and increasingly brazenly; and we have only a few malcontents.
Let it be absolutely clear that this article is merely another clog in the study of political science and not a call to revolt. Currently, the entire globe is faced with a situation which can pose an existential threat to mankind and, we must, all of us, do what we can to that end. To repeat JFK’s words, this is the time to, “ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”. But, we must, all of us, also be aware of our rights and duties as citizens and, while we must endeavor to do our duties as best we can, we must also demand our rights. We must demand in forceful words and, if we must, protest forcefully. If we don’t, the elitists will continue to be increasingly unjust in governance as well and then blood will have to be shed; someday.