After reading the post Why Not to Pay Taxes, one of the readers asked me, “What is the solution to this problem?” The same issue was raised on the Facebook page “Indian Libertarians” where, a commenter asked,
“How can we take this message of liberty to masses is the moot question. Can there be revolution by the libertarians or the capitalists? Can they take up the cudgels and give direction to the people? Simply speaking, can they also be political leaders?”
Obviously, libertarians in India have a difficult task at hand. Libertarianism isn’t a political philosophy in strict sense; rather, it is a philosophy that suggests individual freedom against the political clutches of collectivist government. A libertarian can be a student, an engineer, a housewife, a businessman, but can he or she be a politician, a mass leader? However, that is not the actual issue. The actual struggle of a libertarian in India is to find out a way to fight against ever-increasing socialist government and its inflationist policies. It is a huge task and every second day, as the government announces some other social welfare program, the struggle becomes more intense. Current economic scenario of the world is suggesting the failure of Keynesian economics and liberal politics in the U.S., Europe, and in Asia. However, there hardly is a sign that things will become any better. Indian economy is also going through a difficult phase and the government is busy in announcing ‘Education for All,’ ‘Free Healthcare,’ Free mobiles for BPL people and so on (How India is Becoming a Totalitarian State).
The difficulty for libertarians in India increases because of the fact that there are very few libertarians here and hardly anybody knows about them or their ideas. Practically speaking, Indian society is economically and philosophically illiterate and there is no organization actually offering any kind of education for the masses. We Indian libertarians aren’t equipped with organizations like Ludwig von Mises Institute, Ayn Rand Institute, Cato Institute, Foundation for Economic Studies, or International Society for Individual Liberty. In absence of such institutes, the idea of individual liberty is still unknown in Indian masses.
Hurdles against Libertarians in India
India is a socialist country with mixed economy and to protect the remaining threads of individual liberty, libertarians will have to fight at an enormously high number of fronts while the true libertarians willing to raise their voices are practically negligible in India. The state is engrossing every aspect of our life through ever increasing interventionists, welfare policies and it is necessary to fight against all those policies. However, hardly any libertarian in India has enough time, resources, and knowledge to oppose interventionists at any subject in a significant manner. People say that there are very few libertarians in the United States; however, there are enough to make a Libertarian Party, to initiate a Free State Project. Here, in India, libertarians can be termed as the smallest minority. If we try to think about a Free State Project in India, there will hardly be 10-12 people actually working for it and we have to face a grave problem here in India.
The biggest hurdle for libertarians in India is the Indian bureaucracy. Indian government has employed around 1,622.8 government servants for every 100,000 citizens1 . I don’t think there is even a single libertarian for every 100,000 citizens in India. It is the army of government and a simple libertarian hardly has a chance to confront these bureaucrats and discuss about the issue of individual liberty. Even if a libertarian takes a stand and works for attacking the wrong of a particular issue, there hardly will be anyone to hear him while there is a huge hill of issues to be raised as a libertarian. However, it is not only the bureaucracy that we have to face; our biggest opponent comes from those citizens for whom we try to raise the issue of individual liberty. Every now and then you will face a statist zealot forcing you to accept that government is necessary and nationalism is the highest value.
Furthermore, there is hardly any base of supporters for libertarians in India. While we keep debating for capitalism, laissez faire, and free market, we cannot expect Indian businessmen, entrepreneurs, and capitalist to encourage or help us. On the other hand, there are a number of socialist groups in India that keep raising frivolous issues of welfare and ask for higher governmental interventions. The recently passed bill of Education for All and proposed bill of free healthcare are the results of these social organizations and NGOs. The Civil Society of India raised a huge platform of “India Against Corruption” with an agenda to increase the bureaucracy to check corruption at the expense of taxpayers.
The situation is so grim that many Indian libertarians, who have enough resources to escape, prefer to drift away from India to settle in the U.S., obviously, they may try to be a part of the Free State Project of the U.S. However, that is not a solution and things won’t change in India until we a few libertarians actually try to raise our concerns and to propagate our ideas. Internet is obviously a great tool for us because it will let us propagate the idea to a significant number of people. Education and proselytism is the only way for libertarians in India as it will help them to increase their intrinsic strength. Without actually educating more and more people about the libertarian principles, we cannot prove that libertarianism is actually an exoteric way towards development of individual and the society.
We Need Specialists
The very first task for Indian libertarians is to gather enough number of true libertarians to make a group of Individuals committed to raise the voice of Individual liberty. However, libertarians aren’t looking for just another club to enjoy parties and have fun. Libertarianism is a serious matter as it directly puts a person against the state which is nothing less than omnipotent in current situations. Lack of resources and unwillingness of businessmen and entrepreneurs to help us to gather resources is a grave issue because even a libertarian needs to look after his own life while he will have to invest his time and resources for libertarian studies and for spreading the idea of libertarianism in masses.
However, there is only one way to change the scenario in a positive manner and that is to attain libertarian specialists taking a stand about various libertarian subjects and issues. It is obviously very beneficial to continuously assert the basic principles of libertarianism in public through internet and through public meetings. Yet, we cannot stop only to that. We need to develop specialist libertarians taking a stand against specific economic and social problems. This is very necessary to actually show that we can apply libertarian principles in specific fields. These specialists will have to learn and explore the ways to counter attack various governmental policies in specific fields such as education, agriculture, healthcare, electric power, petroleum and mining, transportation (roads, railways, and aviation), NREGA, Defense (necessity to reduce defense expenditure), judiciary, police, government spending and fiscal deficit, governmental grants (subsidies, economic stimulus, and economic free zone), property rights (to be established as fundamental right in Indian law and constitution), minimum wage control and other interventions in private sector, high taxes, interest rates, quota, corporatism, consumer protection laws, feminist laws, gun control, and various other issues.
Benefits of having Specialist libertarians
Trying to develop libertarian specialists taking a stand against specific field of governmental control will make our voices and concerns more audible and impressive while we will have proper data and information to make people realize about what is wrong with the system and how libertarian principles will improve the situations. Obviously, it will help libertarians in India in raising the number of students willing to learn about individual liberty and importance of free market. Education is the only way to increase the number of true libertarians.
Another advantage of having specialists taking stand against specific fields of government intervention will be in form of patronage and support from businessmen, entrepreneurs and private organizations that we libertarians may attain in future. However, not all of us can really devote ourselves to be specialists in any particular field. Yet, all of us need to keep repeating and asserting the general aspects, axioms and principles of libertarianism. More importantly, we will succeed in intiating a libertarian culture in India.
No matter a libertarian succeeds in attaining speciality in any specific field or not, it is very necessary for every libertarian in India to take a stand and raise their voice at every possible avenue and if he fails to find favorable opportunity, he needs to create them. Indian libertarians are certainly not in a position where they may say ascertain complete success; however, whatever struggle we will face, we will certainly succeed in raising a culture of freedom in India and a better future for our upcoming generations.