Thoughts on political strategy in a democracy

The other day I jotted down a few thoughts on political strategy. Let me share these, and invite comment.

These thoughts outline my approach to liberty in India, and to what should perhaps be FTI's approach, as well. It is about recognising that although democracy is crucially needed, being a necessary expression of equal political liberty, it is in a very fundamental sense inimical to PERFECT liberty. We can only achieve a reasonable, not perfect level of liberty in democracy.

But it is crucial to keep pushing the frontier in democracy, else liberty can be totally crushed by unchecked democracy – as has been the case with India, where socialism has not been politically checked since Rajaji's death. Eternal vigilance is indeed the price of (a modicum of) liberty.

Change is never ending, so we should not aim to change everything. There will always be need for more. We should do the best in our lifetime, and let our societies evolve All people are different and have different knowledge and experience, so we should not expect that everyone will see things our way. It is crucial to stay very close to the median voter – for that is an iron law of democracies. Anyone who ignores the median voter is destined for oblivion. But the median voter can be nudged. Nudge the voter towards liberty each time, through persuasion. But don't expect a major uptake of all your ideas of liberty all at once. The median voter will change, but you must persist. Don’t try to radically change everything. That will fail and your effort will be wasted. Pick only a few key changes each time, and really do them well. Understand the existing system and its institutions thoroughly. All change is path dependent. You can't escape history. History is made by humans, but once made, it becomes a powerful force in its own right.