Friday, June 06, 2003

It was a bad idea to begin an interesting topic like this with a rant by Varsha Bhonsle. So I'm starting afresh. For now I will simply state the main idea briefly:

In designing a republican form of government, the greatest threat to the underlying libertarian ideals was of the Tyranny of the Majority over some hapless minorities. As per the system, a majority opinion should conceive itself on an issue-basis, i.e. it rearranges itself based on the subject of national discussion. The political representatives should be forced by the system to use their legislative powers only in matters that distil the Common Good from the welter of particular group interests. In particular, it was desirable to avoid the existence of a pre-determined majority, based on criteria other than the mundane political issues.

Greater diversity meant a greater number of factions, and undermined the possibility of one pre-determined majority community. This forced the legislative body to make laws and act in a manner that was least likely to abuse the rights of a particular group in a prejudicial manner. This was considered a mathematically sound theory, and logically, the greater the diversity, the greater the effectiveness.

My contention is that this may not be as simple as this. IMHO, only a "soft" diversity is implied here, and not a more fundamental "hard" diversity. If a hard diversity (based on some ancient historical animosity for example) were to exist, then prejudice would run so deep, that mutual suspicion would stymie a healthy national discourse and cripple the nation from within. An unjustifiably significant proportion of the national energy would be spent addressing this internal cleavage.

It could corrupt the moral tone of the nation, and deprive it of moral clarity. Of course, this brings in the question of what exactly defines a nation in the first place.

This was what was in my head. As you can see, there is much to debate.

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