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Faults of the Current Political Models

            140 - “The Ideal is that the best should rule; but how to find them, that is the problem. Every one of us who studies must try to solve this problem, and the suggestions I am here making may perhaps give some hints for the solving. But you will not try to solve it, until you realise the hopelessness of the present line of rulingor not rulingand accept the Ideal that the best should govern.” (A. Besant, The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 30)

            In order to obtain a better understanding of the way in which the world’s problems are related to the erroneous concepts of the human being as they are presented by both Liberalism and Marxism, we need to make a closer examination of the models of the social organization derived from them.  This becomes necessary because, as we have stated, these erroneous concepts relate to the concrete problems of humanity through the mediation of the principal institutions that organize social life.  These institutions are the practical application, or model which defines the structure to our daily lives, which, in turn, directly derive from these abstract premises, or from these premises with regasrd to the human being.

            If we wished to be a little more precise, we should say that this mediation occurs on the first hand through the effect on the behaviour of the elite as this behaviour is affected by a certain world view.  Because the elite is so dominant, it is its behavior which inevitably reflects on all of society, shaping its principal institutions or models of social organization (political, economic, and others).

           The Importance of the Models of Power Organization

            The structure or model of power organization and distribution within this social body is the central and most vital among the principal institutions of a society brought about through the behavior and the ideas prevailing among the elite.  It is obvious that all great institutions within a society interact with and influence each other; and, therefore, the importance of none of them must be slighted.  However, all major laws that to a great extent define the existence of these other institutions depend mainly on the power structure, as does, also, all decision taking involving great quantities of resources.

            This is necessarily so because it is the political structure that regulates the way in which most of the law givers or rulers will be chosen.  And they are the ones who will decide not only on the major constitutive laws, but also on the practical application of gigantic amounts of resources.  In her book, Theosophy as the Masters See It, Clara Codd described the importance of political institutions:

            141 - “Because politics are the engine by which social reforms are finally brought about, and in the sphere of government, as crucially as in the departments of economics and social reforms, guiding universal principles are as sadly lacking, and the effects of that lack still more disastrously apparent. Still more so, because Government is the final synthesis of the State, and the organ of national and international relations. Shall this field alone remain unlit by the light of the Ancient Wisdom, and shall we deny the truth discovered by the trades unions that political power is the paramount physical power?” (Theosophy as the Masters See It, p. 103)

          The Evaluation of Political Models Depends on
the Universal Brotherhood

           The structure or organization of power, therefore, is crucial for the welfare of any society.  It is perhaps not difficult to understand this point, which may even be relatively well known.  However, even at the level of the elite, people find it very difficult to understand that major institutions that organize and distribute powerin other words, the great institutions of Liberalism and Marxismare not very consistent or satisfactory, or even competent in fulfilling their basic role of organizing power in a society.  Therefore, most of the elite fail to perceive that it is precisely the lack of capacity of these institutions that is directly responsible for a great part of the serious problems confronted by these societies.

           This overall difficulty in becoming aware of the failure of these models can be explained by the fact that such awareness is possible only when one takes into account the enormous differences in psycho-spiritual maturity in the population and, consequently, in mental and moral capacity (or character).  In summary, this clear understanding of the lack of ability of the dominant structures is only possible when they are analyzed in the light of the law of universal brotherhood.  Because of this, it is logical that only a few people are able to see the lack of capacity of these models since, unfortunately, as Annie Besant stated in a previous quotation, “And yet brotherhood is but so little known.”

            That is the reason that the prospect of humanity as a universal brotherhood becomes so important.  It is also the reason that we are so concerned in presenting a trustworthy and clear profile of these differences in the light of the Perennial Philosophy.  As we stated earlier, not even in the TS, whose principal ideal is the universal brotherhood and whose main object is to create a nucleus of this brotherhood, do the members have a reasonably clear view in this respect.  This difficulty is still reinforced because, as we have seen, universal brotherhood is not usually seen as a law which includes both Unity and Diversity as the basic aspects of human manifestation.  There is a very interesting passage by Annie Besant regarding these difficulties in understanding and applying the law of brotherhood among the members of the TS:

            142 - “But to understand Brotherhood, we must remember that evolution proceeds by reincarnation under the law of the karma.(...) Now most of you believe these two great teachings and in your individual lives they play a mighty part. Why do you not apply them to nations as well as to individuals, to social problems as well as to the helping of your own personal development? As the ideas of reincarnation and karma make their way in the western world, which has the habit of applying principles to practice, I think we shall find this Ideal of Brotherhood under the law of reincarnation and karma will solve many of the problems under which the western world is groaning, in our time.” (A. Besant, The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 21)

           Functions of a Political System

            When we take these differences into account, we can clearly see that a competent political system must satisfy the two great needs which relate to the organization of power in a society. The first of these is the proposal of a process of electing the chief law givers and rulers; this would make it possible for these positions of the highest responsibility within a society to be filled by the most capable  individuals both in ethical and technical terms. The second is the guarantee that these rulers have appropriate means of coercion or sufficient power to make themselves respected within the law.

            It is imperative that the great importance of these two roles of a political system be fully understood, not only to facilitate a proper diagnosis of the faults of the current systems and how the problems of the world come to pass, but also to give a glimpse of the possibility of the building of a harmonious social order.  We shall now analyze each of these roles.

            Concerning the importance of an election process that would really choose  able people for the positions of greatest responsibility, let us look at some quotations from N. Sri Ram which address this aspect:

            143 - “What Plato said remains as an interesting study. But the main idea of matching function with capacity and qualifications is so unquestionably right that it cannot be ignored with impunity.” (On the Watch Tower, p. 94)

            144 - “Politics, which involves the welfare and progress of all who constitute the State and affects other States, is a serious business which calls for the best heads with a disinterested spirit, and should not be a game of power played with the stakes of personal and group interests.” (On the Watch Tower, p. 82)

            145 - “(...) the problems of a country like India, where the variety of languages, customs and other differences, being deeply rooted, cannot be dealt with, as they should be, except by a wise understanding and distribution of political power. It must be distributed among such personshow to discover these is the real questionas will wield it with the necessary capacity, experience and understanding.” (On the Watch Tower, p. 87)

            These meaningful quotations from N. Sri Ram address the crucial aspects of the matter.  An efficient process of selection is imperative because the questions which concern an entire nation, as well as its relationship with others, are so vast and complex that only a few people, only “the best heads with a disinterested spirit” may be able to address them properly.

           If we analyze the much simpler problems of a business concern, it will be easier to understand that huge resources are squandered when those who most capable are not placed at the top.  What shall we say, then, of States, which are much more complex and generally larger?  In these cases, not electing those few qualified people to these positions and responsibilities does not only result in massive squandering but in physical and moral catastrophes, and this is the picture confronting us today.

            With regard to the second needthe existence not only of capable people but also of sufficient power of coercion in their hands which would enable them to carry out their decisionsthis is also fundamental because of a basic attribute in today’s world, which is the presence of gigantic public and private organizations which wield enormous power and use it to achieve their private or corporate endeavors.

            The public organizations themselves develop an esprit de corps or corporate interest and use their great power to favor these interests. In this scenario, if the State’s rulers did not have enormous power of coercion there would be no chance that these gigantic interests could be contained and brought into accord with the welfare of the whole community.

            Requirements for an Efficient Selection Process

            It is obvious that the socio-political organization of Liberalism, the so-called liberal democracy, offers most unsatisfactory solutions to either of these two needs.  On the one hand, it offers a selection process for the highest offices which hardly ever elects those few that are really able to handle such enormous responsibilities.  On the other, it generates a weak public structure which is completely at the mercy of the great corporate interests, the huge public and private organizations whose existence, as we have seen, is one of the most outstanding characteristics of today’s societies.

            Let us attempt to understand why this occurs.  Let us begin by imagining any election process in, for instance, a public competition.  If we wanted it to be a serious, economical and efficient process, if it were really to have the chance to elect the best from any given population, what conditions would be needed?  In the first place there must be freedom for anyone to participate so that no one is excluded.  If a portion of the populationthose whose skin was dark, for instancewere excluded a priori, we should have no guarantee that there might not be someone highly qualified among this dark-skinned group, whether large or small.  This means that freedom is an indispensable ingredient of a fair and efficient process of election.

            Secondly, there must be no privileges in the election process; in other words, there must be equality of opportunity in the dispute because if anyone had the chance to know beforehand the questions to be asked, this person would certainly obtain first place, but this would be worthless and would prove nothing.  It would completely invalidate the election process, make it unfair and inefficient in its fulfillment of its true purpose which is the election of those most capable.

            Finally, there should be a certain equalization between the degree of difficulty of the examination, the office for which it has been chosen, and the qualification of level of understanding of the population in question.  If, for instance, the examination were for an office job, there would be no point in an examination consisting only of questions on integral calculus.  On the one hand, this subject matter is not appropriate for this degree of difficulty, for the kind of position and its responsibilities; on the other, the target population would not understand the questions, thus invalidating the process of selection.  This means that there must be an equalization between the level of difficulty and responsibility of the position and the level of understanding of the population.  These conditions affect nearly any process of selection of human resources in the universe, and in the case of a political system that wishes to be fair and efficient there is no exception to these rules.

            Failure of the Liberal Model:  Poor Selection of Leaders

            Freedom of participation and expression is a universal benefit inherent in human dignity, and any a priori restriction of a person’sor a group’schance of taking part in the political process will limit the population’s choice.  In general terms, in liberal democracies this freedom of participation, expression, organization, and so forth is usually pretty much guaranteed.  This condition does not, however, pose any major problem in this kind of model of socio-political organization.

            But what shall we say of the second condition, which is that of equality of opportunity in the dispute for the positions of greatest political responsibility in the country?  Will there be this equality in the liberal democracies in the great mass elections that distinguish the voting process for the highest political offices?  Of course not, it will not even be close.

            The great mass voting processes which generally include millions of people – sometimes many millions – demand costly campaigns which involve great resources of all kinds (human, material, financial, etc.) and, obviously, access to organs of mass communication.  Well, the majority of the population have few resources, and the organs of mass communication are generally in the hands of private groups!  What really happens in this unfair scenario is that the great majority is totally excluded from any genuine chance for success in such a flagrantly unequal dispute.

            And the result of this is self-evident.  The overwhelming majority of those who are elected belong to a few categories that are only too visible.  Chiefly the rich are elected or those supported and financed by great material resources; others are elected who appear frequently in the organs of mass communication, in other words, artists, athletes or mass spokesmen of various kinds.  To reiterate, since the media is made up of private business concerns, the private interests of these companies practice a “natural” censorship not only of the media but, even more strongly, of those they employ as their spokesmen.

            Has anyone ever seen the spokesman of a great communication network critize the economic, political or any other kind of interests of the network owner?  On the contrary, what we can see are instances of spokesmen, artists, etc., who lose their jobs because they disagree with the decisions or ideas of their superiors.  What is equally well known is the overwhelming power of the media, whether television or radio networks or major newspapers and magazines.

           Besides these two, the final category that has a good chance in this system is that of all kinds of demagogues. They are the ones who, whether consciously or unconsciously, deceive the population with promises they cannot fulfill.  Obviously, some manage to combine two or even three of these categories, which leads to extraordinary results.

            This discriminatory picture is further aggravated when we consider the third of the conditions of a good electoral process, which concerns the  equalization between the level or responsibility of the position and the level of consciousness of the population. The information contained in the chapters that deal with the prospect of human brotherhood in the Perennial Philosophy has shown us the true profile of the evolutionary levels and, therefore, of the social consciousness of the population. These chapters have clearly shown the enormous limitations of a great part of the population. Without a clear view of that profile and of the enormous differences in social consciousness of the population no serious diagnosis is possible of the discrimination and incompetence of the election processes in the liberal democracies.

            Let us look at a specific example.  What sense is there in compelling all of the population to elect the members of the Constituent Assembly through direct universal and compulsory suffrage when, according to a survey by the well known IBOPE Institute,  published in the well known newspaper Zero Hora (07/05/86), a few months before the elections, 70.5% of the population of Rio Grande do Sul, one of the states with the highest educational level in Brazil, did not know even the meaning of the words “Constituent Assembly”.  At the same time, the Institute IBOPE informs that this percentage reached 90% in the Northeast, and that of the national average 82% did not know the meaning of the words “Constituent Assembly”.

            Is it surprising that this kind of population should elect a corrupt president?  That he in turn should nominate a drug dealer to the post of federal congressman, and so forth?  Nor should it be said that this happens only in Third World countries. One look at the recent example of Italy suffices, with all its corruption scandals.  And that of Japan, where more than one premier has been deposed because he turned out to have been bribed by large business concerns such as Lockheed in the USA.  And the case of Nixon in the USA. The examples are so many that they become boring. And these are only the ones that are known.

           The following table concerning the credibility of politicians clearly shows the result of this electoral process in a liberal democracy.  It refers to the credibility of those who should comprise the best the country has to offer because they hold the highest offices. The survey was made by the IBOPE and was published in Zero Hora on 09/08/87.  This is the question that was posed:

     146 - “Do you agree or disagree with the statements given below describing the performance of the politicians ?” 

                                                              (The table indicates percentages.)        

----------------Statements-------------------Agrees---------Disagrees-----Does not know


           -> Only defend own interests . . . 80% . . . . . . . . 17%  . . . . . . . . . 3%

           -> Are concerned with the

                 people’s welfare . . . . . . . . . . 30   . . . . . . . . . 67   . . . . . . . . . . 3

           -> Even the honest ones

                 become corrupt . . . . . . . . . . 66  . . . . . . . . .  26  . . . . . . . . . .  8

           -> Do not fulfill their

                 campaign promises  . . . . . . 89   . . . . . . . . .   9  . . . . . . . . . . . 2

           -> Only support those who

                  helped elect them . . . . . . .  73  . . . . . . . . .   23  . . . . . . . . .4

           -> Have many privileges . . . . . . 92  . . . . . . . . .    6  . . . . . . . . . . . 2

           -> Only remember the voter

                   at election time . . . . . . . . 93   . . . . . . . . .    6  . . . . . . . . . 1


            This table bears evident testimony to the incompetence of this system for electing political rulers.  Perhaps the picture of social exclusion, of poverty and violence that we consider characteristic of the social organization of a country such as Brazil bears even clearer testimony to the failure of this type of political organization.

            Failure of the Liberal Model:  Inherent Weakness

            However, the incompetence of this model is not proved only in the election of its rulers.  It is also proved in the measure in which its rulers do not have the strength of coercion when they need to confront the huge power of large organizations.

            What makes these large organizations so powerful?  It is, in the last analysis, their ability to bring together cohesively the efforts of thousands, sometimes even millions, of people.  It is thanks to this amalgamation of effort, even though it is for private profit, that these organizations seize enormous amounts of economic resources, finance, bribe political rulers, and so forth.  And these achievements are made possible because their personnel departments, among others, apply their knowledge of the different capacities with great efficiency.

            Could anyone envision a large company, with tens of thousands of employees, that chooses its chief executives, its board of directors, even the holders of its most responsible positions, through a process of direct election where every employee had a vote?  No!  Or an army choosing its generals through the direct vote of every member of the force?  No!  Not even the Roman Catholic Church, which from the standpoint of mere organization is one of the most successful examples in history, and whose bishops and cardinals, WHEN OUTSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, support liberal democracy, applies such an inefficient system to its own household.  Its faithful do not elect the Pope, nor do the priests, nor even all the bishops.  Only the cardinals take part in the election of the head of the Church!

            Obviously the problems of a great nation are much more complex than the administrative problems of a large company, an army, or a religious organization.  But the same business, military, religious or other leaders, who outside their own organizations preach the wonders of liberal democracy, would never consider applying it to the much less complex reality of their corporations!  This is the failure of the elites.  In other words, it is the poverty of the ideas that reign in the elites and through them become the great institutions of countries and of the world, as brilliantly summarized by Annie Besant:

            147 - “For it is thought that builds nations as well as individuals; that which the thinker conceives, that which the prophet declares, that which the poet sings, that becomes the life of a nation, and is worked out in social organization. (The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 33)

            The weakness of the State organized as a liberal democracy has been shown time and again in the recent history of Brazil and of so many other Third World countries, even of Latin America.  Why have there been so many state coups, and why will there be so many others in the future?  Because the structure is that of a weak State, one that is impotent before the might of the large organizations, whose puppet the State largely is under the model of liberal-democratic organization.

           We have seen that the strength of these corporations lies in the fact that they have been able to bring together thousands of people or to organize them in a most cohesive form.  And the only force that might prevail before their colossal power is that generated by a well-organized population.  And it is precisely this that the liberal-democratic structure does not achieve because in all mass elections the population remains weak and fragmented because of the great abyss that separates the rulers from those they rule.  Because it is good organization, cohesion, or unity that generates strength, not a fragmented weakness.

            When millions of people elect a ruler by direct vote, be he legislative or executive, this same process creates an abyss, from which springs the weakness of this kind of State before the huge private or public corporations which develop an esprit de corps and private interests which such a weak State is unable to control.  Needless to say that this weakness is only intensified by the structure of checks and balances of the three powers since their separation does in fact erode the central power even further.  As we have seen, this erosion is really the desired object, a wish that is coherent with the concept that all power corrupts and with the ideal of a “minimal state” that is the consequence of this concept.

           In summary, the failure of the liberal structure resides in these points.  As this text is intended especially for the members of the TS, before we proceed to analyze the marxist structure, let us look at some excerpts from the writings of the leaders of the TS, which emphasize some aspects of this critical analysis of the liberal structure:

            148 - “Undoubtedly each man is competent in his own sphere, to say what he wants for his town or village and who will serve best it among those he knows. But when it comes to a question of deciding intricate issues of national and international import, it is but common sense that only those should exercise a vote who have some knowledge of what the issues are. Therefore it was that Dr. Annie Besant urged consistently, while she was concerned with these matters  in Indian politics, that India should not, in shaping her Constitution, adhere to the fetish of mass suffrage without any qualification whatsoever. (...)
            “She did not think that the rule ‘one man, one vote’ was good for any country, at least of all did she favour it for India.” (N. Sri Ram, On the Watch Tower, pp. 81 e 86)

            149 - “A peasant may be wise in the concerns of his village, but his opinion on the complex situation in Persia is not likely to be illuminative. He should have a voice on the one, not on the other.” (A. Besant, The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 25)

            150 - “What about politics? On the detail of that, frankly, I have naught to say, for I am concerned only with principles. (...) Go back in history and you find the Kings ruling, and that built up the one nation of England. Then the Barons ruled, and they did not on the whole do so badly, for England was called Merrie England then, and certainly no one would dream of applying that name to it now. Then there came the England of Parliaments, getting duller and deader and deader; then the England of Commercialism. And who is our ruler now? Neither King nor Lords nor Parliament altogether, but on the one side King Purse, and King Mob on the other. Neither of those is a ruler who is likely to make this nation great. Liberty is a great celestial Goddess, strong, beneficent, and austere, and she can never descend upon a nation by shouting of crowds, nor by the arguments of unbridled passion, nor by hatred of class against class.” (A. Besant, The Changing World, p. 101)

            Failure of the Marxist Model:  Lack of Freedom

            Further to our analysis of the liberal model, let us see how the marxist model addresses the essential necessities of a fair and efficient electoral process:  (1: freedom; 2: equality of conditions in the political dispute; and 3: equality between levels of responsibility and levels of understanding or capacity) and let us see as well whether it generates the power of political coercion needed for the rulers’ efficient performance.

           It is not hard to see that the subject of freedom, which is the strong point of the liberal structure, is most critical in that of the marxists. Generally speaking, those who most disagree with the ruling ideas are not allowed even to take part in the political process. They are automatically excluded.

            Failure of the Marxist Model:  Unequal Opportunities

            The equality of opportunity disappears as well, at least on the side of all those who oppose this model, since usually only the members of the Communist party have the opportunity to participate.

            Concerning the aspect of the equality between the level of responsibility of the office and that of understanding by the individuals, this model is clearly better than that of the liberals, although this may seem contradictory at first glance since we are speaking of a model derived from a philosophy that preaches the equality in capacities, at least potentially, of all human beings. The reason for this is the fact that its structure for the representation or election of the rulers (shaped like a pyramid or “inverted tree”) guarantees, on the one hand, a greater equality of opportunities since elections are always held by much smaller groups than in the case of mass suffrage – although this greater equality of opportunities is only relative when we take into account that it only occurs within the party.  On the other hand, this system allows offices and abilities to become adapted to each other since the elections for successive levels of responsibility gradually increase not only these levels but also the qualification of the population involved, without, however, what is more important, becoming mass elections.

            And, finally, it is exactly because this model does not use mass suffrage, that it obtains a better organized population involved in the political process, mostly due to this structure of staggered representations where a greater proximity exists within each of these levels.  Therefore, it tends to create a much stronger social cohesion than the systems of direct mass elections, which only weaken the cohesion of social organization because of the abyss between rulers and ruled.

            Since it is, however, a rigid system which does not grant freedom of participation or anything else, it ends up excluding a portion of the elite and thus creating damaging resistence and conflicts, as well as so great an inflexibility that it undermines the creativity and, therefore, the vitality or dynamism of the system as a whole.

            Be this as it may, it is a fact that this system, although paying a completely unacceptable price where freedom and equality of opportunities are concerned (which in the long run will decree its collapse), it does generate a better adaptation between offices and capabilities in comparison with the liberal system and, for some time at least, creates a social cohesion which guarantees a great power of coercion to the rulers.  Historically speaking, this fact made it possible for the experiments made by this system to implement deep socio-economic changes which would have been impossible within the environment of a liberal system.

           We shall end our brief analysis of the limitations and positive points of the marxist system with two excerpt from Maurice Duverger, certainly one of the greatest political scientists of this century, which would tend to confirm it.  Duverger makes it clear at the end of the second quotation that he, as well, holds strong reservations about this system as a whole, but that he must recognize that it has merit in its organization, and he states this of the marxists:

            151 - “(...) they developed a yet more original structure, resting upon very small groups (a factory, a neighborhood, etc), strongly united by the processes of the ‘democratic centralism,’ and yet closed due to the technique of vertical connections: this admirable system of organizing the masses has contributed more to the success of communism than the marxist doctrine, or the poor standard of living of the working classes.” (M. Duverger, Os Partidos Políticos, p. 40)

            152 - “We may think many things of the Communist Party: but we must recognize that the mechanisms it developed are of remarkable efficiency, and that we cannot deny them a democratic character, due to their constant care in keeping in touch with the bases, and of always ‘listening to the masses.’ (...) The strength of the Communist Party is that of having structured a scientific method that is able to achieve these results, with the double advantages of the scientific method: greater accuracy and availability to every one after satisfactory training. More deeply considered, the value of this method comes from the fact that its strength is not purely passive; it does not limit itself to registering the reactions of the masses, but permits acting upon them, orienting them gently, prudently, but in depth.  We may regret the application of the tool, but we have to admire its technical perfection.” (Os Partidos Políticos, p. 93)

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