SYNOPSIS [Day 13]: TLP 2020- UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. Loyalty to country always, loyalty to government, when it deserves it. Comment.
Demand of the question:
It expects students to ponder upon idea of loyalty to country and loyalty to the government and whether it is possible to have these loyalties separate from each other with examples and philosophical arguments.
Loyalty, in general use, is a devotion and faithfulness to a nation, cause, philosophy, country, group, or person. The definition of loyalty is the fidelity of an individual to a nation, either one’s nation of birth, or one’s declared home nation by oath.
It talks about unquestioned loyalty to the sovereign country and qualified loyalty to the rulers. There is individual test based on his/ her morality to offer devotion to the government. Country is something on which loyalty cannot be debated, however if government fails to fulfil its duty of social contract, people may not and should not remain loyal to government.
Loyalty to the country is like the heart of all the virtues, the central duty amongst all the duties. It exemplifies the willing and practical and thorough going devotion of a person to a cause.
The statement of Mark twain is often seen in the context of conflict arising from dual loyalty. Where some chooses to believe loyalty to the country and government is one and the same:
- In scenarios like if country goes to war with other nation, nationalist view of foreign policy or pandemic emergency like present COVID-19 crisis.
- There are constant efforts to blur the line between the loyalty to the country and loyalty to the government. May it be democratic country like India or United states or may it be communist dictatorial country like China. Government prefers to consider both loyalties as one and the same.
- Governments often apply sedition charges to the dissent and doubts loyalty of dissenters to the country.
- Recent incidences of protest against government policy are seen by governments as distrust in the idea of country. E.g. protest over racial discrimination in US, anti-CAA NRC protests in India, discontent over spread of virus on Chinese social media.
- Calling peaceful protestors as rioters, agents of enemy nations or anarchists highlights discomfort of rulers over lack to loyalty to them.
However, People in the matured democracies often prefers to ask question to the highest authorities of government, demand apology for failed policies and chooses to change government after specified interval of time which are examples of differentiation between two loyalties.
- Even though, loyalty is an essential ingredient in any civilized and humane system of morals. Loyalty can be either exclusionary or non-exclusionary; and can be single or multiple. Exclusionary loyalty excludes loyalties to other people or groups; whereas non-exclusionary loyalty does not.
- Not only between country and government, people have multiple loyalties to the family, to religion and in country like India to caste, language and region. There might be multiple incidences of conflict of morality and right kind of priority or moral test helps individual to reduce the opportunity cost.
- At the same time if the governments are doing right things with transparency and accountability then people should trust the efforts of government and support the government with devotion for the betterment of country.
- Peaceful protest may not be disloyalty to the country but use of violence surely underlines disloyalty to the country along with government.
Loyalty to the country is best described by feeling of patriotism, love for idea of nation, belief in the foundational ideals with acceptance of diverse reality. Loyalty to government follows when government would leave no stone unturned for the betterment of country.
2. Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. Elucidate.
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write about the nature of education imparted and need to bring reforms to inculcate emotional intelligence with proper examples and arguments.
Aristotle highlights the importance of educating heart along with educating mind in process of learning. Education should not be limited to impart employability to individual but it should help in creating civilised society with character and morality.
Educating only mind is incomplete education:
- Educating the mind is like training to the students about various fields of knowledge to survive in modern world.
- Education remains incomplete without educating heart. Recent approach to learn things relevant to career or interest indicates utilitarian approach.
- It is more like imparting skills which will help in creation of new things for material prosperity and betterment of human life. Educating mind focuses on building rational thinking and scientific temperament which is absolute necessity but only preference to reason in the absence of emotional understanding will bring mechanisation in human relationship at every level.
- Ignorance towards educating heart may lead to creation of less sensitive society. There are many harsh realities like poverty, hunger, inequality, gender/caste/religious violence in the world.
- Lack of focus on educating heart may create generations who will lack empathy towards disadvantaged sections of society and in way will reduce possibility to bring positive change around them.
Incomplete education can be dangerous for society,
- Educated mind is like knowing the way of doing things however educated heart has the capability to identify whether it is right or wrong to do particular thing. Even mahatma Gandhi stated that knowledge without character is sin. E.g. Industrial revolution brought material prosperity but insensitivity towards environment created reality of climate change and mass extinction.
- To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. It has been often visible in India. E.g. use of letters of understanding and manipulation of SWIFT system by employees of bank and Nirav Modi to defraud Punjab National Bank.
Education which cannot bring human welfare and at time prove dangerous is worthless. Long held belief in the intelligent quotient is shaking which distances human feelings.
- Educating heart will imbibe emotional intelligence which is ability to perceive, understand and manage our own emotions and recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others. It will help to motivate society in right direction.
- Values like tolerance; belief in diversity, altruism can be only inculcated through the educating heart right from the early stages.
- Indian philosopher Gautam Buddha believed in change of heart as solution to bring desired change rather than punishment.
- Educating heart will eventually act as check on the human greed for materialism and consumerism and will reduce toll on planet earth.
Educating heart brings more human aspect in decision making which can be seen in ideas of sustainable development. It tries to bring compassion which can reduce hatred and violence in society. Behavioural competence of human can be achieved through educating heart along with educating mind.
3. Does ethics change with technology? Critically examine.
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write critical analysis about whether ethics change with progress in technology or evolution of new technology.
Ethics is set of foundational values or established values of human life, which evolved throughout human civilised history and evolving with changing time and needs of human development. Rapid development of technology has created new ethical isssues.
Ethics is about quality of human character and conduct with an aim to achieve summum bonum by application of reasoning, rationality, thinking and analysis in day to day behaviour. Ethics is not a matter of taste; it is a self-evident truth akin to the reasoning of mathematics or logic. Therefore, ethics is a matter on which there are objectively right and wrong answers.
Changed ethics with technology:
- Technological divide: There has been continuous debate about whether pace of technological innovation is benefiting the humankind or not. Increased divide between technological haves and have-nots has increased inequality in the society. Intellectual property rights restrict egalitarian benefits of technological evolution which are justified as righteous returns for years of hard work.
- Surveillance and monitoring: Collection of information like biometric prints, DNA data bank are justified as issues of social security and law and order respectively by government.
- Privacy issues: Technology has opened ways to look into lives of people. Ease of communication technology, free mobile apps has been used to collect consumer data for prediction of behavioural nature and to influence buying options. It has been justified that ease and free nature of services need to be compensated with the use of data for advertising.
- Technology has provided social media tools to people to express their opinion. It has led to increased validation to hate, violence and prejudices. Social media platforms cannot regulate or qualitatively improve the nature of content as it acts against the market principle of profit.
- Technology led consumerism has become ethical standard in market based economy as it is basis for economic growth and prosperity while it continues to generate tonnes of waste.
Even though, technology has challenged ethics in many spheres, it remains to be seen whether it could change ethics.
- Egalitarian nature: Free nature of internet has actually empowered the sections of population who lacked access to information before. It as availed ways to gain knowledge, market for goods and services and improve once own life.
- Common people now has more efficient medium to voice their political opinions, which has increased accountability of governments towards people. People continue to have right to not share biometric prints if they surrender social scheme benefits.
- Online education and telemedicine has improved reach of socio-economic benefits and provides equal opportunity. Technology driven markets continues to work on values of trust, honesty, quality, free and fair competition.
- Strengthening of data protection laws, increased scrutiny of social media giants, opposition to the technologies like gene editing over prospects of designer babies indicate refusal to change ethics under rapid changing technological innovations.
- Despite of nuclear war threat, efforts for universal peace and disarmament continues.
There are significant concerns about impact of artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain technology. However change is the only constant and technology will certainly bring change. But ethics as set of foundational values need to be protected.
There are many questions facing us as we march toward new technological future. And there are many uncertainties. There is need to use technology to bring about a better life for all in a more egalitarian way that helps those who are worst off. That is where we can do the greatest amount of good.