Vanity thought #1679. Panama Papers Part II

So my first thought was that it’s democracy going against varṇāśrama, people are fighting for equal rights in front of the law in the world where the rich and powerful can always get away with everything. Varṇāśrama recognizes that and prescribes people to follow dharma of their own class and be punished accordingly.

The king should be beyond reproach, whatever he does IS the law, he can’t break it by definition. Who can punish the king anyway? There’s no law above him and there’s no one to enforce it either. To the modern man it sounds outrageous but why? Because they don’t believe in karma and think they are the upholders of justice? There are plenty of people who do not want to be part of that fight and would rather be left alone.

When you go against powerful people you are not doing it on the strength of the law but on your own. The law is just an abstract in our minds, it’s not a real thing. The only case where it would work is when the power lies with people but most of the time it doesn’t. It usually lies with friends of those who are already in power and it’s them who you need to get on your side if you ever want to challenge anyone. Either that or you’ll have to have a revolution, which might turn out okay for you in the short term but eventually it will become just as unbearable for your opponents. No one lets go of their power easily, not kings, not presidents, not people. Everyone is just as attached to it as the despots they are trying to remove.

In fact, the power does not go to those who do not strive for it. It must be earned and to earn it one must want it very badly and one must make huge sacrifices either in this life or in the previous one. Power does not simply fall in your lap and after everything one does to achieve it he naturally develops an addiction and becomes very protective. It’s an absolute reality true for all times and places, we have different attitudes to it only because of our relative position – with with or against current power holders. Our relativity does not change the fact that power is addictive and corruptive and demoniac in nature. To change that we need to take another approach, the one recommended in varṇāśrama.

In varṇāśrama the brāhmaṇas are supposed to be above the king and there were cases in history where brāhmaṇas forcefully took power from corrupted rulers but, generally speaking, they are not the ones enforcing the law. In varṇāśrama the best guarantor is proper education. We can talk about laws and legal system and all kinds of artificial constructs but the only thing truly keeping one in line is his own perception of what is wrong and what is right. If that line is crooked you’ll get a corrupt king abusing his power and it’s all down hill from there.

These days everyone knows the “law” and what is “right” but politicians do not see it for themselves. For them it’s just the formality of appearances, a game played for the masses. When they break the “law” and hide their assets offshore they do not see is something wrong, it comes completely natural for them and they’ll give you a ton of explanations why it had to be done. They might realize that they have crossed the line in public perception but they feel that the public would understand them if they had a chance to tell their side of the story. Not one of the politicians exposed by Panama Papers so far has expressed any remorse and admitted their wrongdoing, even that Prime Minister of Iceland. From their perspective it was alright and pretty innocent and this perception can’t be corrected by screaming and throwing eggs, they are grown up men, they are not going to re-learn the basics all over again.

My point is that while enforcing the law and calling for their blood seems justified the real failure is in lack of moral principles by the rulers. It should not have happened in the first place, trying to fix it now is only attending to symptoms of late stage cancer, it does not address the root of the disease.

People demanding justice would say that doing something now is better than doing nothing at all and pontificating on how things should be done in the ideal world and they would be right but we are not advocating doing nothing, we, as Hare Kṛṣṇas, implore people to accept higher moral principle of worshiping the Lord from the start. Morality based on anything else but service to God is bound to end up self-centered, and anything else but acceptance God as the proprietor of everything is theft – īśāvāsyam idam sarvaṁ.

It doesn’t mean that people raised on this principle won’t make mistakes and commit selfish acts but at least they would know that they are wrong and it’s the working of the material nature, the modes of passion and ignorance, and that there would be reactions in the form of punishment. This is already a lot more than can be said about current politicians who can’t see themselves in the wrong no matter what we try. Take that Prime Minister of Malaysia, for example. It’s not just stubbornness that makes him cling to his office but complete lack of acceptance that he had done anything wrong. Or take people who led the world into Iraq war – they don’t feel any remorse either. They might realize that it was a mistake but they don’t see themselves as eligible for punishment.

Why? Because of lack of moral backbone, it’s just who they are and they can only pretend to be holier than that. Panama Papers only exposed it once again – our rulers do not have any sense of shame. We can punish them for that, sure, but from varṇāśrama perspective we need to install proper morality first because prevention is always better than a cure. Will anyone listen to us? Not likely, they are too busy fixing things and have no time for making fundamental changes in their hearts. Even worse, in the present climate of atheism a chance for developing an altruistic class of rulers is slim to none.

They all, I repeat, they all fall victim to greed and lust for power and once that happens they do not see right from wrong anymore and think that their way is the correct one and follow no rules but the ones dictated by their addiction, and then it brings us to Panama Papers again. No one feels at fault here. Not the politicians, not the people working for that offshore company, and Panamanian government screams that it is a victim here. A real circus.

When faced with the choice of satisfying their thirst for fame, power, and money on one hand and idealistic notions about public good people always choose the former. Even if there are exceptions they still do not break this general rule. Doing what we are doing now, which is fighting the rigged battle for equal rights, and expecting a different outcome is not very wise and people in power can see that and they are more then ready to take their chances, and they usually win. It’s a risk they are very willing to take but somehow our social justice warriors are blind to this truth, but, truth be told, they are blind to so many other things that it should not surprise anybody. They are, too, driven by the modes of passion and ignorance so it’s not only blind leading the blind but blind hunting the blind as well.

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