Don't let it become fascism
I am unable to understand the concept of national pride. I mean a person can be proud of something he did or achieved by his actions. What is the point of pride of something that happened by the accident of birth? Is someone proud of having a mole on his cheek? Then why are they proud of being born in a particular country?
I don’t find nationalism bad, but in many cases it disables us to question authority. And sometimes, in extreme cases, becomes the defining characteristic of fascism. Not that it always leads to fascism, but fascism always contains national, religional or ethinic pride.
I am fascinated with anti-nationalist and anarchist ideas; and have grown cynical enough to draw a parallel between any authoritative body with V for Vendetta and George Orwell’s 1984. And recently I have been surrounded by literature and films of anti-authoritative nature. So it might be that I am obsessed by the horrors of fascism, and have an extreme opinion.
While watching V for Vendetta a week ago, I was subconciously connecting how Chancellor Sutler came to power with how Narendra Modi is coming to power. Sutler got crazy with that power, let us hope that Modi stays sane.
Sutler’s reign had all of these defining characteristics of fascism:
- Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
- Obsession with National Security
- Religion and Government are Intertwined
- Corporate Power is Protected
- Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
- Controlled Mass Media
We shouldn’t really wait to see all of these factors coming up all together to tag a regime to be fascist. I see hints of most of these factors in what possibly will be our new union government. And I feel that we need to be cautious. Powerful state governments mostly come out to be nice, but if the union government became too powerful, it can create havoc and render federalism futile. (Indira Gandhi and The Emergency of 1975-77)
Maybe we got too tired of a weak leader, who never speaks up when he should, that we are seeking for a supremo leader, a messiah, to cure away the country of the inflation, corruption, and gender inequality. First this happened with Arivind Kejriwal, and now with Modi. We should realize that one person alone will never be able to fix all these issues by casting a magic spell. But one person can definitely grow crazy proportionally to the power we give to him.
I am afraid of anybody gaining too much power, and too much followers; be it a religious teacher, a politician, or a pop singer. I feel that we need to keep power in check, and that is why I do not like the concept of national pride. Not that we should not respect what our nation’s freedom fighters did for us. What I seek is that we should never stop questioning the powerful. Power should keep flowing from one group to another. The instant a person or a set of persons get too powerful to stop this flow of power, democracy and liberty will be dead.
To solidify the centrist position I have today, I believe that totalitarianism in general could very well be initiated from non-religious or non-ethnic roots. Peak Soviet is a good example of class-based victimized pride devolving into totalitarianism.
With that said, India right now is sowing the seeds for classic nationalistic-religious fascism, and not its equally abhorrent brother on the other end.