Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Savitri Era Party favours a free market place of ideas

[It exposes an inherent hypocrisy in our political system where in spite of an embrace of the free market, we still feel a need to bow before the altar of socialism. It’s time we shed these double standards. -- TODAY'S EDITORIAL: We're All Socialists The Times of India 15 Jan 2008]
[We are a ‘liberal’ newspaper in the classical sense of the term. Our job is to offer you a wide variety of opinions to help you reflect and form your own views...
Yes, we have a motive. It’s to stick openly and steadfastly to liberalism. Unfortunately, the poli-tical landscape in India leaves little room these days for the play of liberalism as we understand it. Our liberalism compels us to be socially tolerant and economically as well as politically ‘free to choose’. That’s why we are neither socialists nor extreme nationalists. And that’s why we support market forces, which are all about choice, while continuing to believe in an effective role for the state as regulator, facilitator and provider of security for life and property so that, with good governance, we can lead peaceful and prosperous lives in an interconnected world.
Strangely, in an age when you might presume it’s improbable in a modern democracy, it’s actually difficult to belong to our bandwidth in the Indian political spectrum. It isn’t only because the extremes of a fiercely Hindu nationalist right and an obtusely Neanderthal left, with the Congress party being a muddle in the middle, leave little space for reasoned debate along classically liberal lines. In fact, a party professing market-oriented liberalism can even be termed unconstitutional. As we have argued in an editorial next to this article, you cannot under the Constitution register a party that debunks socialism or, for that matter, secularism...
All that Goldberger wanted to emphasise was that freedom of speech must be defended, even when the beneficiaries of such defence were not the kind of individuals we would associate with out of choice. And that’s the kind of liberalism we in the Times subscribe to. So, we defend the right of Taslima Nasreen to write what she likes, perhaps angering Muslim fundamentalists, as well as M F Husain to depict Saraswati as he wants, infuriating Hindu bigots, while impressing upon the state not to interfere by banning expressions of art, which are viewpoints. -- Gautam Adhikari LEADER ARTICLE: Where We Stand The Times of India 15 Jan 2008]
Savitri Era Party wholly agrees with Adhikari's impatience with the "Hindu bigots" and the "Neanderthal left." But when he complains of "little space for reasoned debate along classically liberal lines," we disagree. The Times of India, under the aegis of "the gang of four," has systematically banished intellectual discourse from its pages. A book like, A Secular Age by Charles Taylor should have stimulated wide ranging debate in our media. Savitri Era Party favours a free market place of ideas. [TNM] 3:58 AM

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