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“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Monday, July 19, 2010

Socialism Is Tyranny

The Supreme Court dismissed as withdrawn a writ petition challenging the insertion of the word “Socialism” in Indian Constitution. According to the constitution, every Indian political party should swear allegiance to Socialism. The court said that it will consider the petition when the situation comes. Earlier the application of Swatantra party was rejected because it failed to do so.

No one can claim ignorance of the consequences of Socialism, theoretically or practically. There were warnings against socialism, even in works written in the first half of the Nineteenth century (See Frederic Bastiat). Ayn Rand wrote half a century back: “Fifty years ago, there might have been some excuse (though not justification) for the widespread belief that socialism is a political theory motivated by benevolence and aimed at the achievement of men’s wellbeing. Today, that belief can no longer be regarded as an innocent error. Socialism has been tried on every continent of the globe. In the light of its results, it is time to question the motives of socialism’s advocates.” Half a century has passed since then, and India still clings to the Socialist ideal. Surprisingly, the cry of leftists is that India hasn’t lived up to that ideal.

Words do not matter, collectivists allege. People are unable to realize the harm certain words can do when they have positive or negative connotations. The image of a mindless brute evoked by the word selfishness has led to people rejecting the whole concept itself. The aversion to dogmatism has made people intolerant to anyone with strength of conviction. The same is true of words like egoism, altruism and humility. The case of socialism too is no different. It has a positive connotation in the minds of people which make them forget all the torture, mass murders and slave labor enforced in its name.

The chief justice said this while rejecting a petition in the past: "Why do you take socialism in a narrow sense defined by the Communists? In a broader sense, socialism means welfare measures for the citizens. It is a facet of democracy. It hasn't got any definite meaning. It gets different meaning in different times." This is worse than nonsense. Words are not to be used loosely, without assigning any proper meaning. In the words of Ayn Rand, “Every word of man’s language, with the exception of proper names, denotes a concept, an abstraction that stands for an unlimited number of concretes of a specific kind.” The word Socialism means a politico-economic system (If it can be called so) in which all property is centralized in the hands of the state. If words are used without assigning proper meaning, it will assume meanings some scoundrels want it to assume. People(Even non-Marxists) look at it benignly only because they haven’t given it much thought or think that Socialists won’t venture to go that far. They foolishly believe that it is a system which favors welfare of the common man.

To make it mandatory that every political party should swear allegiance to socialism is to prevent people from choosing the political system people want. It is an assault on individual liberty and Capitalism. This would mean that anyone who wishes to fight the brutality of socialist policies would be prevented from doing so at the outset. It proves that even the pretense to “democracy” is a sham. It shouldn’t escape our attention that the 42nd amendment was passed during the emergency period. So, the intentions behind it should be evident for everyone to see. People should see the word for what it is and act upon their knowledge if we are to move towards a society which respects individual liberty.


  1. Good post. To make people swear allegiance to *any* system of values is to attempt to coerce the mind, a denial to the right to freedom of thought and of speech. To make them swear allegiance to the brutal, stagnant, despotic system of socialism is a mockery of rights.

    Ayn Rand was right: not only the political system of socialism but the morality of sacrifice that underlies it are evil.

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  3. This is a very well written & informative article. However, it doesnt come as a surprise to me that such a significant amendement has not been protested nor corrected post the emergency as the correct role & relevance of the constitution is scarcely understood by the large majority of indian citizens.

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  5. This is clearly a frivolous fight over semantics. Eventually any word can have both positive and negative connotations and quibbling over a word makes little sense either way.

    Frankly, if one reads the constitution in greater depth, its clear that it is inherently discouraging to the concept of laissez-faire capitalism and clearly socialist in nature. Make no mistake on that.

    So making one word a moot point is clearly to completely ignore the larger issue. Removing a word from the preamble will not change the character of the constitution.

    The oath should be not to the constitution of India but simply to the advancement and development of man. Of the potential of the nation perhaps as a whole.

    The 42nd Amendment that Shanu A mentioned should be repealed. Cosmetic changes wont do.

  6. If only we are able to define the meaning of a word precisely, will we be able to move from being semantic to substance. This was surely one of the reasons why Ayn Rand had insisted on using the word "selfishness". Likewise, we have to define "socialism" precisely, if we are to effectively combat the ills of socialist policies.
    Judges usually have to define words precisely, in order to be able to deliver a meaningful verdict. But on this issue of "socialism", the judges hearing the case in the Supreme Court, said that this word could be defined broadly, and need not have any specific meaning!

  7. Barun Mitra has an article on The Wall Street Journal on this issue. He writes:

    "During the height of Indira Gandhi's Emergency Rule in 1976, policy makers passed the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution, which added the words "socialist" and "secular" to the preamble. Then in 1989, the Representation of People Act, the law which governs elections and political parties, was amended to make it mandatory for all political parties seeking registration with the Election Commission to affirm not only the general constitution but also socialism. Since then all political parties have sworn to socialism without any hesitation, without bothering to define what it means."

    "These are more than just semantics. Political parties are plentiful in India, with around 50 parties represented in the national parliament, and hundreds of parties operating at state and local levels. Yet, the political ideals on offer are very limited, and there are no avowedly liberal political parties. The "socialist" pledge, as it turns out, has created a serious legal anomaly and a damaging precedent."

    Here is the link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703977004575392521877896304.html