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Solved Exercise for Precis writing “Liberty and Democracy” for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Liberty is, in my view, inalienably bound up with democracy. When democracy has been strong, as in ancient Athens or in England before the War, citizen: have enjoyed a large measure of liberty. Moreover, fresh liberties were constantly being gained. When democracy has declined or has been superseded by other forms of government, liberty has declined with it. Under a dictatorship, liberty disappears. Hence the circumstances which have produced the decline of liberty are in large measure identical with those which have led to the decline of democracy. It is these circumstances which I propose to examine.

Pre-eminent among these is the growing size and complexity of the modern State. So vast are the contemporary political and economic fields, so far-reaching the forces which determine the course of history that far from controlling, statesmen seem unable even to understand them. Reflecting upon the history of the past twenty years, one is driven irresistibly to the interpretation of the phenomena with which Hardy’s philosophy has made us familiar, and contemplate, as he does in the Dynasts, events moving to their predestined conclusions unaffected by the celebrations of statesmen in council. Of the major events of this period-the War, the Coal Strike, the General Strike of 1926, the growth of unemployment, the economic collapse of 1929, the financial crisis of 1931-few have been such as human beings have willed. Most have taken place in direct opposition to human will and intention.

This seemingly determined’ appearance is worn by human affairs when the factors which condition events are mainly economic. Economic actions are the results of the freely operating wills of individuals. They occur because some persons or body of persons believe that by acting in a particular way they will improve their economic position But, though economic actions are willed, their consequences are not indeed, their consequences are often precisely the reverse of what their agent wants. Let us suppose, for example, that it is announced that a bank is about to fail. Immediately there is a run on the bank by depositors anxious to withdraw their money. As a consequence the bank fails. This acting solely with opposite of what up in a theatre, there is mad rush for the exit. As a consequence the exit is jammed and number of audience may be stifled, trampled or burned to death. The theatre example illustrates the same principle. Everybody having freely acted solely with a view to his own advantage be cumulative result turns out to everybody’s disadvantage.

The conclusion may be generalized as follows: The effects of economic actions spread out beyond the immediate intentions of their agents producing results on people unknown to the agents which neither they nor anybody else had intended. As the world becomes increasingly a single economic unit, the area affected by the consequences of economic actions grows more extensive. An old lady living in BourneImouth is unable to pay her bills because a strike in a Japanese silk factory has wiped out her dividends. The waning of the Victorian taste in mahogany furniture has brought economic collapse to British Honduras, whose prosperity largely depended on the export of mahogany, while coal-miners in South Wales are thrown out of employment by the tapping of oil-wells in Persia.

Because of this blindness of economic actions, a historical period in which events are determined largely by economic factors tends to discourage the politically minded individual. Every politically conscious human being desires to play some part, howsoever, small in the direction of the affairs of the community. He wishes to feel that he counts, that his will can be made effective, that his desires and purposes matter. Nor should this attitude be deplored. To quote Dr. Arnold: “The desire to take part in the affairs of government is the highest desired of well-regulated minds.”

It is upon the existence and the alertness of precisely this political consciousness that democracy depends for its successful working. Nobody has realized this more clearly than Mill. As he pointed out in s Political Economy, it is the direct and continuous exercise of the actions of citizenship that generates public spirit. It is the citizen 10 actively engages in the participation of affairs, who “feels that, side the interests which separate him from his fellow citizens, he has interests which connect him with them, and that not only the common Is his will, but that it depends on his exertions.” When, however, feels that the futures not only of himself, but of the community mined by forces over which he can exert no control, his political consciousness is frustrated. To the extent that citizens cease to shape the ends of the community they cease to be citizens. In a modem democratic community the ordinary man tends to lose all but the move remote contact with the State. It impinges upon him only when he has to pay taxes, serve on a jury, or cast his vote. Of these functions the first is as little likely to arouse his enthusiasm as the second is to engage his interest; while, as for that third, that highly valued suffrage which used to be regarded as the foundation of democracy, it is found to amount in practice to no more than the right to reject the slightly less unsuitable of two or more wholly unsuitable persons who descend upon the citizens once every five years or so from the clouts of the party headquarters in London. To this situation the politically conscious citizen finding himself politically negligible, reacts in one or the other of two ways. He either becomes apathetic or turns his back upon politics in disgust, or he becomes frankly revolutionary and works for an abrupt and if need be, violent change in a system which has squeezed him out. Both moods are inimical to democracy and destructive of that alert and intelligent interest in the concerns of the community, coupled with the will to co-operate in those concerns which democracy postulates.

(1058 words)

Precis

Title:- Liberty and Democracy

Liberty and democracy are so closely interlinked that the rise or fall in the degree of one means a corresponding rise and fall in that of the other.  At one time as in Athens or in England before the War, when Democracy was strong, the citizens enjoyed a great deal of liberty and the field of liberty was constantly enlarged but the circumstances leading to the decline of liberty resulted in the consequent decline of democracy. The growing size and complexity of the modern State is particularly responsible for this state of affairs. The human constitutions have become so vast and complex that statesmen are unable to understand them; far less controls them. Most of the recent events that happened prove that they have taken place in direct opposition to human will and intentions. In the economic field, particularly, the consequence of our actions is the very opposite of what we wish it to be. Will scientific advancement the world is shrinking into a single economy unit with the result that the happenings in one part of it affect the economic balance in other parts. The economic factors are also responsible for killing the political consciousness of the individual

Naturally a citizen wants to play his part in the direction of the affairs community, but his enthusiasm is crushed when he finds himself neglected except when either he has to pay taxes, act as a jury or to exercise a vote which too is decided by the party and not by his choice. This frustration turns him into a revolutionary, or he loses all interest in politics. This is harmful to the cause of democracy.

 (289 words)

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