Friday, December 29, 2006

Locke - The Social Contract

Here John Locke proposes some abstractions which are unique to the zeitgeist. Locke accepts to a degree that we are in a Hobbessian State of War without Laws and Rights.

He emphasizes the right of a man to rise up against his master forcing him to join him in a civil society. He argues against absolutism, not monarchialism of despotism.

Locke also points out that one has to be a master of his own life, not a lesser tyrant for this equation to work.

As seen from the final sentence, here in the United States, this war continues until this day. We have freedom from our government in degree that we condone the war it makes on our selves with our conscience participation.

He that is master of himself, and his own life, has a right too to the means of preserving it; so that as soon as compact enters, slavery ceases, and he so far quits his absolute power, and puts an end to the state of war, who enters into conditions with his captive.

Sect. 172.

Thirdly, Despotical power is an absolute, arbitrary power one man has over another, to take away his life, whenever he pleases. This is a power, which neither nature gives, for it has made no such distinction between one man and another; nor compact can convey: for man not having such an arbitrary power over his own life, cannot give another man such a power over it; but it is the effect only of forfeiture, which the aggressor makes of his own life, when he puts himself into the state of war with another: for having quitted reason, which God hath given to be the rule betwixt man and man, and the common bond whereby human kind is united into one fellowship and society; and having renounced the way of peace which that teaches, and made use of the force of war, to compass his unjust ends upon another, where he has no right; and so revolting from his own kind to that of beasts, by making force, which is their's, to be his rule of right, he renders himself liable to be destroyed by the injured person, and the rest of mankind, that will join with him in the execution of justice, as any other wild beast, or noxious brute, with whom mankind can have neither society nor security*. And thus captives, taken in a just and lawful war, and such only, are subject to a despotical power, which, as it arises not from compact, so neither is it capable of any, but is the state of war continued: for what compact can be made with a man that is not master of his own life? what condition can he perform? and if he be once allowed to be master of his own life, the despotical, arbitrary power of his master ceases. He that is master of himself, and his own life, has a right too to the means of preserving it; so that as soon as compact enters, slavery ceases, and he so far quits his absolute power, and puts an end to the state of war, who enters into conditions with his captive.

--(*Another copy corrected by Mr. Locke, has it thus, Noxious brute that is destructive to their being.)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Orissa Temple Permits Entry

Caste Hindus Agree to Dalits in Orissa Temple


Dec 27, BHUBANESWAR, ORISSA (THE HINDU) — Backed by a High Court order, which said all Hindus, irrespective of their caste, could enter any Hindu temple, the administration on Sunday succeeded in getting those opposed to the Court's ruling to give up their position on not allowing Dalits to worship in the Jagannath temple. The rituals in the temple were resumed late on Saturday after the erstwhile king of the Kanika kingdom and interim trustee of the temple, Rabindra Narayan Bhanjdeo, visited the temple and held discussions with the opposing group.

They, however, did not respond to Mr. Bhanjdeo's appeal to give up their opposition to Dalit entry into the temple. Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) Suresh Mohapatra and Deputy Inspector-General (Central) S. K. Upadhyaya reached the area and held a meeting with representatives from both sides and an agreement was reached. It was decided at the meeting that the nine holes on the outer wall of the temple through which the Dalits had darshan (sight) of the Deities from a distance in the past would be demolished and a new entrance would be constructed.

In a related article, the Navya Shastra Organization extended an apology for 'utouchability':

Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization, has issued an apology to the Dalit communities of India. The organization issued the apology after consulting with Hindu activists and its own Dalit members. It reads:

We, at Navya Shastra, deeply regret and apologize for the atrocities committed on the sons and daughters of the depressed communities of India, including the tribals, the "untouchables" and all of the castes deemed as low. We shamefully acknowledge that the ideals of varna and its practical manifestation in castes (jatis), promoted and encouraged the notions of inequality, lesser and greater, high and low, superior and inferior among human beings. An ideal that does not aspire for equality of human beings is not worthy of being an ideal.

Caste and varna have relegated many to a degradingly low status. This was a divisive, inhumane and a ruinous social construct. Navya Shastra fully recognizes this and rejects unequivocally as heinous and despicable varna and caste together with all Shastras and theories that endorse them or support the unjust and demeaning social hierarchy that these imposed on the Indian society. Navya Shastra understands that all Hindus cannot be equals when such theories are still amidst us. We ask for forgiveness for what our forefathers did in the past to directly and indirectly contribute to any and all indignities heaped by one human being upon another in the name of Dharma and God, and which some among us continue to do even in this enlightened era.

The depressed and lowest castes have been the keepers and protectors of our oldest and most ancient traditions and wisdom. They have kept in practice the traditions that have become foundational to what we call "mainstream" Hinduism today. Some of the tribal languages, spoken even today, have provided the substratum for many of the spoken and classical languages of India.

Most of our mainstream indigenous medicinal, agricultural, craftsmanship and other knowledge systems owe their origins to the knowledge and practices that have been propagated and retained within these castes over millennia. The folk performing arts were and are the main sources of input into the classical and popular art forms. We want to celebrate and fete all these traditions on this day, and pay homage to them. These traditions form the very foundation on which the Indian civilization stands today.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kazakhstan: USCIRF Denounces Demolition of Hare Krishna Property

by U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Posted December 16, 2006

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan, independent federal agency, is concerned about actions taken by authorities in Kazakhstan that fail to live up to international standards of religious freedom. "Recent steps against the Hare Krishnas and members of other religious communities indicate that the government of Kazakhstan, regrettably, is moving in the wrong direction with regard to respecting the universal right to freedom of religion or belief," said Felice D. Gaer, Chair of the Commission.
"In view of Kazakhstan's deteriorating record of respect for human rights and religious freedom, the Commission calls on the U.S. government to oppose the current bid by Kazakhstan to become the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chair in 2009, and to protest the various actions undertaken by the government of Kazakhstan which fall short of its international obligations to respect freedom of religion or belief." Commission Chair Gaer continued. "Such a bid should only be considered at next week's OSCE Ministerial in Brussels if Kazakhstan takes immediate verifiable steps to implement its OSCE human rights pledges, including on freedom of religion or belief."

On November 21, 2006, Kazakh riot police reportedly demolished 13 of the 66 homes owned and occupied by members of the Society for Krishna Consciousness in their agricultural community outside the city of Almaty. A spokesman for the Hare Krishna community expressed concern that their temple may also be slated for destruction. Although Kazakh officials claim that the dispute is purely economic in nature, only homes owned by Hare Krishna members were destroyed.

During the raid, two buses of riot police closed off all access to the site. Police also launched a news blockade about the action; a camera was confiscated and officials from the OSCE Center in Almaty were prevented from reaching the farm.

This was not the first time Kazakh authorities have tried to confiscate this religious community's land. In April 2006, Kazakh authorities had tried to bulldoze the homes belonging to the Hare Krishnas, but retreated in the presence of journalists.

This time, the houses were demolished, although the Hare Krishna community had been told that no action would be taken before the report of a state Commission set up to resolve the dispute was made public.

The demolition of the Hare Krishna-owned houses occurred on the same day that President Nursultan Nazarbayev was in London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair seeking his support for Kazakhstan's bid to be the OSCE chairman-in-office in 2009. In London, members of Britain's Hindu community protested the demolition of the Hare Krishna property in Kazakhstan.

This action against the Hare Krishna community is the latest in a series of developments over the past two years that signal a retreat from Kazakhstan's previously positive record of respect for the right to religious freedom. These developments include:

In July 2005, President Nazarbayev amended the "national security" law requiring all religious groups to register with the government. Activity by unregistered religious organizations is banned. Although most groups do not report difficulties in obtaining registration, the pre-2005 Kazakhstan Law on Religious Associations did not require a religious community to register with the state. Only 10 signatures were needed to register a religious association.

In February 2005, President Nazarbayev signed new legislation on extremist activity which granted increased oversight authority to a state agency. According to the OSCE, these anti-extremism measures lack a clear definition of "extremism" and could be arbitrarily applied to religious and other groups.

Beginning in late 2004, Kazakh authorities took measures to increase control over mosques and imams in south Kazakhstan who want to remain independent of the state.
Baptists, Pentecostals and other Protestant Christians have been subjected to heavy fines for unregistered religious activity in the past year. State institutions, including schools, actively discourage children from attending religious services, particularly in the case of Protestants.

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Aldous Huxley on dictatorship without tears

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”

Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Death of Pinochet

I am watching Fox News live and reports are in that Augostino Pinochet has died.

His death brings closure for many victims and leaves many unanswered questions. The odyssey of his prosecution began a new era in Universal Law. Spain at first attempted to prosecute Pinochet. Later Chile exercised its jurisdiction and attempted to prosecute Pinochet.

This a fast moving story and hopefuly the reconciliation in Chile will be peaceful.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Demolition of Homes in Kazakhastan

Demolition of Hindu Houses Continues in Kazakhstan

Posted November 26, 2006

The Kazakh government has demolished more than a dozen homes of Kazakh Hindus, who are members of ISKCON. Kazakh officials have claimed that the land was transferred against Kazakh law. ISKCON devotees claim that this is not true and that this is a case of religious discrimination. On 20 November at 6 am, orders were received for the devotees to demolish their homes or to have them demolished by the state at their expense. The next day, government demolitionists arrived.

By 23 November thirteen houses had been destroyed. The houses that weren't yet demolished have had their windows and window frames destroyed, making them uninhabitable in the freezing Kazakh winter.

ISKCON's leader in Kazakhstan, Govinda Swami, who has attempted to raise international awareness of the problem said : "It is snowing in Kazakhstan and these folks are losing their homes. They entered one home where there was a woman with an infant and started destroying her home."

Indian government is yet to register a protest. The BJP president condemned the attack in a press conference dominated by several other issues.
More images and a video of the attack can be found here Click Here

Forum 18 reports: Click Here

With almost a quarter of the Hare Krishna-owned homes in their Sri Vrindavan Dham commune on the outskirts of Almaty already destroyed, community members are afraid that the rest of the 66 homes - including their temple - could be next. "The community is in shock, but they are determined to defend their homes and place of worship," community member Govinda Swami told Forum 18 News Service. He says destruction of the temple would be "devastating". Neighbouring houses owned by non-Krishna devotees have not been touched.

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