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Monarchy An Antidote To The Poison Of Maoists

Monarchy An Antidote To The Poison Of Maoists


By Laba Karki

Kathmandu, 22 April: The major issue facing Nepal today is not whether our King Gyanendra should restore parliament but rather whether we as Nepalese should be united strong as a nation under God against the Maoist terrorists and the foreign bullies.

In the present-day political crisis in Nepal, monarchy is not just a unifying force but a purifying antidote needed against the poisons of Maoists to permit the highest level of individual freedom without anarchy. Humanity has always looked to philosophers and thinkers for moral guidance during all major political crises. In the world history, we find one prominent philosopher, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who greatly impacted the English political, social, and economic theory. Nepal’s political crisis echoes a similar political overtone like that of the Seventeenth century England (circa 1637 A.D.) when King Charles I and the English Parliament were in a heated struggle. Thomas Hobbes developed his political theories during those turbulent times, and therefore, revisiting Hobbes’ teachings may provide answers to Nepal’s current political deadlock.

Thomas Hobbes said, “All mankind is in a perpetual and restless desire for power…that stops only in death.” Further, Hobbes claimed that Man is naturally a selfish hedonist guided by unenlightened self-interest. Accordingly, Hobbes argued that the best government was one that had the great power of a Leviathan (sea monster) to keep society in a state of peace and prevent political turmoil. This Leviathan was the State whether in the form of Parliament or a strong King. Hobbes believed in the rule by a powerful King because he felt that a country needed an authoritative figure to provide direction, leadership and protection from internal and external threats. Importantly, Hobbes social contract worked in a way that gave the State (King) a monopoly on authority in return for the State (King) to exercise its absolute power to maintain a state peace and order (by punishing the deviants).

Hobbes appears to be darn right on the issue of Nepali politics because Nepali party leaders are generally known to be selfish and wicked who cannot be trusted to govern. Because of party politics, Nepal became divided among various factions that mirrored ethnic divisions. As a result, the poor were left out and Maoism gained grounds in the hilly regions. The natural tendency of the herd, said Nietzsche (1844-1900), was to combat progress...and when it rose out of its rut and attempted experiments, it nearly always made mistakes…and got hopelessly bogged in error and imbecility. Therefore, giving away power to the party herd at this time by our King is premature because it would create a dangerous situation that would unleash the same party feud and rampant corruption of yesteryears and make every Nepali’s life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

Importantly, a powerful State (King) is needed to deal with the Maoist (terrorists) who have breached the peace in Nepal and plagued and terrorized ordinary Nepalese lives. John Locke (1632- 1704 A.D.), an ideological theorist of present day American capitalism, said that the central function of the government is to protect private property and that all humans were equal and free to pursue “life, health, liberty and property.” Unless a powerful Monarch can deal with the Maoist insurgency, we Nepalese individuals will not be free to pursue our own “life, liberty and property.” The Maoist insurgency has abridged our fundamental rights and therefore this current crisis justifies King Gyanendra’s royal move to usurp power and exercise this power for the sake of quelling the Maoists.

Hobbes’ teachings also resonate deeply in the modern day twenty first century political systems of the world. For instance, King Bhumibol of Thailand is revered as the central unifying element in the pillars of the nation. Although the King has little direct power under the constitution, the King commands enormous popular respect and moral authority, which he has used on occasion to resolve the political crises that have threatened national stability. Likewise, Jordan’s King Abdullah II exercises immense influence in the politics of Jordan and his authority exceeds that of a constitutional monarch. Jordan’s economy has improved and the King has been credited with generating Mid-East regional stability. Therefore, a strong Monarch is much needed during national political crises for solidarity and stability in the nation.

King Gyanendra has said that he took power in February 1, 2005 only to restore democracy and to bring order to the political chaos. Thus, this move is congruent with the Hobbesian principle of returning the King’s promise to exercise power to maintain peace and stability in the nation. In his Nepali New Year’s speech to the nation on April 14, 2006, the King has again called upon all political parties to join in a dialogue, “to bear the responsibility of and contribute towards activating the multiparty democratic polity…” Accordingly, as a necessary and preliminary step to restoring democracy, the King has called for participation of all parties in general elections to initiate a “meaningful exercise in multi-party democracy.” Thus, the King has meaningfully exercised his power for the sake of Nepal’s peace, stability and democracy.

Finally, democracy or no democracy, a multi-ethnic groups of people in a small nation like Nepal needs a strong and powerful leader-like the Hobbesian Leviathan-one who can unify and deal with the evil Maoists terrorists and wicked opportunist demagogues of Nepal including the big bullies of the South Asian region. The King’s exercise of authority, especially during this national emergency, is an antidote that may save the nation against the fatal consequences of Maoist terrorism and foreign takeover. Only when there is political dialogue between the King and the political parties under the right environment, and only when parties participate in general elections, then power should be vested in the representative assembly (not constituent assembly) that is chosen (by vote) as the “voice of the people.” Therefore the King should increase his stance and not yield to the pressure of the party herd at this critical juncture.

*************

(The author is Ph.D., J.D.)

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