The need for Political Knowledge

Politics holds a wide horizon of theory under its shade. A proverb states that when not sure about the problem, go back to the fundamentals. Hence, with so much of complications arising all around us, we will go back to the basics of politics.

I define politics as, a system or framework within which all the activities concerning the decision-making for the welfare/pretension of welfare for the social unit involved is performed. Any political activity is aimed at creating a bias. In fact, any political activity is defined when one or more person or group are actively involved in making a new or modifying an already existent scenario to serve the interests of one party over another. Such an endeavour may involve the development of a new ideology (eg; communism) or rise of a new political entity such as any terrorist organization.

Common sense may question terming terrorists as political entities but they are as instrumental in shaping the national policies of a government as the ruling and opposition parties themselves. The argument being that the money spent on defensedefence is directly proportional to the extent of threat to national security and in the process the funds available for civilian development and hence the public policies are hugely impacted.

Of all the reasons why one should take up the study of political systems, the primary is that of selfishness. As quoted by Bertrand Russell, the greatest and most significant moments in a human life are individual. They are not concerned with any group objective or action. The policy created by those in power impacts how the people of a country see the themselves and their neighbour, extrapolating this to the entire society, it is not difficult to conclude that individual happiness is dictated to varying degrees by the political system and practices of a nation depending upon the level of exposure of one’s profession to the government machineries. Ultimately every human either goes towards pleasure or away from pain. We all do this in various forms without even realizing it but when such pursuits clash with that of the others,others; we see the origin of competition.

Competition in itself a very neutral concept. It is the nature of the goal and the ethics upheld by the competitors that defines the scenario. When such a competition tends go beyond the ethics defined by common sense and mutual respect for one another’s right to the fruit of their own effort, laws and rules of a state come in to the picture. Every law of a nation is tool for conflict resolution.

While some laws are aimed at prevention such as rights and duties of a nation, the others are concerned with the post-happening scenario of the crime, such as the penal codes. Every state professes to attain the best living conditions for its populace by providing the most loop hole-less legal system. But as appealing as it may sound, every legal system has its own flaws as we know.

Also till the early 70s the ideals and standards by which a nation was governed depended upon the ethics and value system which it had inherited over generations of culture that has existed and evolved in that geographical area. But with the advent of globalization, the need for a legal system that serves the interests of global citizens with a centralized ethical system is becoming the need of the hour. Such an attempt towards the theory of a world government was developed by Rawles in his book, Theory of Justice.

Although the idea of a just world government could be seen as a plausible solution to the prevailing environment of war and destruction, the needs to attain such an objective are highly diversified. As an example, the language barrier between the great nations is the greatest barrier for world peace. Trivial as it may sound, language is the primary means of communication for humans. Language and culture are the greatest personal possessions of a nation. Every conflict is rooted in one of these. It follows by logic that every problem arising due to religious discrimination has its roots in how the respective cultures evolved over time and has eventually shaped the mentality of the people involved.

Not digressing from the topic, the difficulties involved in creating a world government was rightly highlighted by Amartya Sen in his book, Idea of Justice. Taking all this into consideration, we arrive at the conclusion that creating a common legal framework for the entire humanity is not feasible in the near future. It is possible only when the current scenario of humanity’s existence changes and it is faced with a common peril.

So the focus now shifts to making sure that at least the people in a nation are assured of safety within their native realm. Such an assurance may in future progressively lead to world peace. The study of politics is an attempt to design systems and decisions that accounts for the ever changing global scenario and hence assure the rightful existence of every citizen at least according to the governing laws of the concerned state.

Arvind Ilamaran