Sunday, May 22, 2005

Vinasha kale viparith buddhi

"Vinasha kale viparith buddhi" means that when one's doom approaches, then one's mind, one's intelligence works perversely. One may know how to dodge the bullet; but all one's wisdom becomes ineffective. One becomes like a moth attracted to the flame, unable to reverse course, even when one knows better.

This is my sense of America today, in its politics and its economics. One example will suffice.

The US Senate is about to destroy 200 years of its traditions. The genius of the American system of governance lay in the fact that political minorities can have more clout than their numbers warrant. The electoral college system for the election of the President and the Senate with its two members per state, tend to discount the large states. The rules of the Senate itself typically make it necessary for there to be more than a simple majority for decisions to be made. Thus consensus is promoted, and the center is strengthened, the influence of extremists is limited. Now, while the Senators undoubtedly know better, they seem powerless to prevent a dismantling of those traditions. The balance of powers between the Senate and the Presidency is about to shift in favor of the Presidency; and via judicial appointments, the power of judiciary will be lessened. Most people know that something precious is about to be lost, but the calculations seems to all center around the short term gains of an exercise of raw power.

Vinasha kale viparith buddhi.

Postscript: May 24 : It looks like doomsday for the Senate has been postponed. Perhaps indefinitely?