“Peur without morality is a dehumanizing weapon. Freedom without morality is dangerous for human development. This quote from Dr. Chia Thye Poh, the political prisoner from Singapore known for his socialist leanings, is most relevant in contemporary Pakistani politics where morality has been mostly banished instead of power and pelf.
Today, morality and ethics are treated by many as mere clichés when it comes to the pursuit and exercise of power. Pakistan offers the most striking illustration of individual interests being shamelessly prioritized over national or collective interests.
For many Pakistani politicians, the morality and freedom of the country are only abstractions without much importance. It’s disgusting to see so many people acting like puppets in our political circus. Are we really living in 21st Century where, according to Francis Fukuyama, the story was to end?
Maybe not; maybe we Pakistanis live in another time. Loyalties would be exchanged at the behest of an imperialist power, so freedom here is only an illusion. The awareness that freedom is the most cherished human value that must be preserved at all costs is lacking. Any viable moral system is based on freedom. For all intents and purposes, we are a slave society, suspicious of freedom because being free requires facing the truth. Facing the truth is not an easy task.
Talking recently about freedom to some young people, I said that Pakistan will only be literally free when we start producing our own knowledge (meaning self-advocacy), formulate a foreign policy suited to our national interests and that our leaders will stop buying property in the developed world.
Many young people felt that was too much to ask. But the fact remains that until then, we are only harboring an illusion of freedom. We are not friends but lackeys of the faraway based superpower whose interests in our region are best described as neo-imperialist.
The condemnation by a superpower of our Prime Minister-elect is ample testimony to this. Simply put, this superpower treats us like a lackey who is forced to do whatever it wants.
Freedom means being responsible for every act, for everything you do and don’t do. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.
The next government should consider giving up this illusion of freedom altogether. It will absolve us of the price nations are supposed to pay for acting as free entities.
freedom is not manna; It must be earned. This point needs to be understood by opinion makers operating primarily through the idiot box. These people are a big part of the problem. Let’s accept the truth that we don’t deserve to be free. When I started reading about freedom and the processes it involves, I realized that many of our legislators probably didn’t know what freedom is. Many would be all at sea when it comes to its connection to morality.
freedom is sine qua non for the optimal realization of human potential. Therefore, it is imperative that students of history and politics be clear about freedom and its connection to morality and ethics. It is the most important value for individuals as well as for communities and nations.
Freedom means being responsible for every act, everything you do or don’t do. Thus, freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. The idea of freedom is inseparably linked to that of autonomy and to the idea of a universal moral law.
Emmanuel Kant said: “Freedom is independence from the forced will of others and insofar as it can coexist with the freedom of all, according to universal law, it is the only original right, innate right belonging to every man by virtue of his humanity. At least that should be part of the necessary instruction for those who represent us.
Ideally, moral law is the foundation of all rational activity, just as the laws of nature serve as the foundation of everything we see. Freedom is the ability to set your own schedule, decide what work you do, and make independent decisions. Accountability is held accountable for your actions. This can involve figuring out how to get paid for your work, acknowledging your mistakes, and making others count on you.
There is a long-standing position in philosophy, law, and theology that a person can only be held morally responsible for an action if they have the freedom to choose and act otherwise. Thus, many philosophers regard freedom as a necessary condition for moral responsibility.
John Stuart Mill asserted that “the only freedom worthy of the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not try to deprive others of theirs or hinder their efforts to obtain it”. So freedom is our right. The sovereignty of our nation is sacrosanct. The superpower must be informed of this in clear terms. The question is: is there anyone among us who has the courage to do this apart from the Prime Minister against whom a resolution of no confidence has been proposed? I don’t see any.
The author is a professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts, National University Beaconhouse, Lahore