Arguments against arguing
Look around and see if truth is anymore admissible in our daily lives or does it carry any weightage in any serious argument anymore? Examine the ebbs and flows of international affairs or domestic politics and see if truth or logic is even considered as benchmarks for fair play. Most importantly, see if there was any space left for arguing about any idea, law, legislation, conspiracy, form of government, people’s will, morals, rights and obligations. Paradoxes within paradoxes will be encountered and found working in various directions to make matters even more difficult to understand. Read any newspaper or listen to any TV talk show or start a discussion on any topic anywhere and you will come across a plethora of arguments put forth in favour or against any event or idea. From politics to poetry to health issues to economic problems to diversity in cultures to climate change complexities, you would find some experts offering opposing hardcore arguments with utmost honesty and sincerity. All have opinions that they can substantiate with arguments. True that sometimes, sheer power of knowledge and eloquent expression win an argument. But to what end?
The question is: what is the sense in arguing if winning an argument does not translate into practical terms?
Providing safety and security to its citizens is the primary duty of any state. Education for all is a popular slogan. Basic health facilities should be available with easy access to all. All these are winning arguments. But has any one of them translated these into reality? Nelson Mandela argued for promoting harmony in diversity. He won the argument but do we see any harmony in diversity anywhere in the world? Is Narendra Modi’s India following Gandhi’s principles of truth (Satya) and non-violence (Ahisma)? In any parliamentary debate, all are on one page to address poverty and vehemently argue to eliminate it from the face of the planet. Do we see poverty in the world decreasing or increasing? The issue of protecting human rights is being handled in the realpolitik grounds and it conveniently comes to the fore when some political leeway is perceived in promoting the idea. The argument of having equality amongst all classes of society would win with overwhelming majority. Can any society on Earth claim to have equality within all its spheres in the true sense of the word?
Another question is: if there is no point in arguing, why do we insist on our arguments to be heard and accepted?
The US came, stayed for two decades and left Afghanistan on its own terms leaving behind a hellishly confusing chaos. The Taliban came to power against America’s wishes. The US refused to acknowledge the ground realities, went ahead and put some stringent rather unreal conditions on Kabul while freezing Afghanistan’s assets worth billions of dollars. The UN is muted. The champions of human rights are not paying any heed to the humanitarian crisis. However, we are arguing for justice to prevail and insist on being heard. On the other hand, all arguments against Islamophobia hold water. However, even a Muslim forum like the OIC could not come up with a practical way to effectively address it. From the Earth Summit of 1992 to reaching Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to the recently concluded COP26 Summit, the world has heard hundreds of arguments to accelerate actions towards the goals of previous commitments and ideas. Has the world seen any tangible results except for incurring millions of dollars on holding such gatherings?
Yet another question is: if might is still right, what is the point in coming up with well argued, evidence-based and well-researched papers and surveys issued by government-owned or non-governmental organisations every other day?
Change is the real constant and they know it. All government-based and non-governmental organisations are aware of the results of their ‘hard work’. It is widely believed that such ‘authentic’ documents are carefully prepared after receiving or knowing the instructions and objectives from the ‘employers’. Propaganda is an age-old tested tool to convince large segments of society of the truthfulness of the well-thought out narratives and get the desired results. Bribes or threatening postures and devices are also used to lure and hook the wanted fish. In the process, the arguments change diametrically to aptly suit the newly emerged desired situation. Hence, very conveniently, an erstwhile blatant lie is turned into a logical corollary of the needs of the hour and indeed in the larger interest of a society. Truth is anything which is true and in accordance with fact or reality. People soon forget how that lie transformed its nature and became a reality through reasoning conducted according to principles of validity.
Last question: if a predicament can neither be changed nor left as it is, would ‘silence’ be the best possible response?
Accepting the undesirably created facts leads to silence that ultimately culminates in indifference, perhaps the most lethal way of killing humanity. Recall the enthusiasm shown on August 15, the weeks that followed and the celebratory mood on the change of government in Kabul. Call to mind the great expectations and the logical end thereof and how an unprecedented victory eventually turned into business as usual in a matter of weeks. The victors have become victims and the so-called vanquished have gotten away with every folly it admittedly committed during the past over twenty years by simply putting others in defensive mode while meekly arguing on their good intentions. No one agreed with the argument but everyone had to accept it. The diverging or opposite views have died down unnoticed. Silence seems to be the best possible response.
It is not the compelling reasoning, truth and logic in an argument that matters or works in the contemporary world. Who is arguing is what matters the most…!!!