Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting By In The Kaliyuga #2

Human life is all about regulation. Morality means regulation. Children and young people getting an education requires regulation. Married life requires regulation. And driving safely on the road requires regulation. Why shouldn’t this apply to businesses? After all, as some proclaim, “businesses are people too.” So why do some politicians insist that de-regulation, or absolutely no regulation, is the easiest and best way for big business to move forward? It's like a child in the store crying and demanding. It’s a lot like the hippies back in the 60’s clamoring for a lifestyle of “free sex” and “free drugs.” And today’s big business wants a free and easy ride as well.

The Vedic system is one of order and opportunity. Both Narada Muni and Grandfather Bhisma taught Yudhisthira that the fruits of a civilized culture are Justice, Profit, and Happiness – this is echoed in the Declaration of Independence which proclaimed our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Narada and Bhisma explained that this system of order and opportunity only works if Justice isn’t abused to generate Profit; and that Profits are never to be used to influence the workings of Justice; and that no amount of Justice (liberty) or Profits can actually bring about Happiness, because real Happiness only comes about by an internal process.

Time and again, like a child, big business is eager to run recklessly after quick profits to secure some immediate happiness, casting good sense to the wind. Imagine the chaos if this unregulated dynamic were allowed to be played out by drivers on our roads. It would be pandemonium, and death.

To govern properly, and to live peacefully, requires training and education. People need to be educated so they understand and identify the qualities of proper leadership. What is the value of uneducated voters electing unqualified leaders. It becomes a case of the blind then leading the blind.

In the “Light of the Bhagavat,” (verse 2) Srila Prabhupada explains that education of the citizens is the most important ingredient if democracy is to thrive. The citizens, he writes “should be honest in the payment of taxes to the state and should have honest representatives to look over the administration. In the modern setup of democratic states the citizens can have no cause for grievances, because the whole administration is conducted by the people themselves. If the people themselves are dishonest, the administrative machinery must be corrupt…. if the people are not good they cannot have good government, regardless of which party governs the administration. Therefore good character in the consciousness of the mass of people is the first principle necessary for a good government….”

Actually, the Vedic approach amalgamates the best of what both the Republicans and the Democrats have to offer: that everyone assume personal responsibility; that the leadership provide a fair playing field so all citizens have the opportunity to thrive; that the leadership assumes the greatest responsibility and makes the greatest personal sacrifice in time of hardship; and that they also offer protection, or a safety net, for the most vulnerable citizens. And if the leadership were remiss in giving proper protection, they would practically be embarrassed out of their posts.

All to often the so-called political and business leaders find ways to exploit their positions for their own personal gain. If they are not brought to task, then everything becomes spoiled. The panacea (and this is what the Vedic system is about) is for citizens to be educated in the principles of self realization, and in what real leadership is, and in what real responsibility is, and how to live a good and honest life.