National Journal – RON FOURNIER – Apr 21, 2012
Muncie is a microcosm of a nation whose motto could be, “In Nothing We Trust.” Seven in 10 Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track; eight in 10 are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed. Only 23 percent have confidence in banks, and just 19 percent have confidence in big business. Less than half the population expresses “a great deal” of confidence in the public-school system or organized religion. “We have lost our gods,” says Laura Hansen, an assistant professor of sociology at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. “We lost [faith] in the media: Remember Walter Cronkite? We lost it in our culture: You can’t point to a movie star who might inspire us, because we know too much about them. We lost it in politics, because we know too much about politicians’ lives. We’ve lost it—that basic sense of trust and confidence—in everything.” Go to story
BACK TO GODHEAD MAGAZINE: But in the Western world we have a working class and a capitalist class, and there is always warfare going on between the two.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. The capitalist class is required, and the working class is also required.
BTG: But they are fighting.
PRABHUPADA: Because they are not trained up; they have no common cause. The hand and the leg work differently, but the common cause is to maintain the body. So if you find out the common cause for both the capitalists and the workers, then there will be no fighting. But if you do not know the common cause, then there will always be fighting.
BTG: Then the most important thing is to find the common cause that people can unite on?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, just like in our Krishna conscious society you come to consult me about every activity, because I can give you the common cause. Otherwise, there will be fighting. The government should be very expert to know the aim of life—the common cause—and they should train the people to work for the common cause. Then they will be happy and peaceful. But if people simply elect rascals like Nixon, they will never find a common cause. Any rascal can secure votes by some arrangement, and then he becomes the head of the government. The candidates are bribing, they are cheating, they are making propaganda to win votes. Somehow or other they get votes and capture the prime post. This system is bad.
BTG: So if we don’t choose our leaders by popular election, how will society be governed?
PRABHUPADA: You require brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras. Just as when you want to construct a building, you require engineers. You don’t want sweepers. Isn’t that so? What will the sweeper do? No, there must be engineers. So if you follow the division of varnashrama, only kshatriyas are allowed to govern. And for the legislative assembly—the senators—only qualified brahmanas. Now the butcher is in the legislative assembly. What does he know about making laws? He is a butcher, but by winning votes he becomes a senator. At the present moment, by the principle of vox populi, a butcher goes to the legislature. So everything depends on training. In our Krishna conscious society, we’re actually doing that, but in the case of politics, they forget it. There cannot be just one class. That is foolishness, because we have to engage different classes of men in different activities. If we do not know the art, then we will fail, because unless there is a division of work, there will be havoc. We have discussed all the responsibilities of the king in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The different classes in society should cooperate exactly as the different parts of the body do. Although each part is meant for a different purpose, they all work for one cause: to maintain the body properly.
BTG: What is the actual duty of the government?
PRABHUPADA: To understand what God wants and to see that society works toward that aim. Then people will be happy. But if the people work in the wrong direction, how can they be happy? The government’s duty is to see that they are working in the right direction. The right direction is to know God and to act according to His instructions. But if the leaders themselves do not believe in the supremacy of God, and if they do not know what God wants to do, or what He wants us to do, then how can there be good government? The leaders are misled, and they are misleading others. That is the chaotic condition in the world today.
BTG: In the United States there has traditionally been the separation of church and state.
PRABHUPADA: I am not talking about the church. Church or no church—that is not the point. The main thing is that the leaders have to accept that there is a supreme controller. How can they deny it? Everything in nature is going on under the Supreme Lord’s control. The leaders cannot control nature, so why don’t they accept a supreme controller? That is the defect in society. In every respect, the leaders are feeling that there must be a supreme controller, and yet they are still denying Him.
BTG: But suppose the government is atheistic…
PRABHUPADA: Then there cannot be good government. The Americans say they trust in God. But without the science of God, that trust is simply fictitious. First take the science of God very seriously, then put your trust in Him. They do not know what God is, but we do. We actually trust in God.
They’re manufacturing their own way of governing. And that is their defect. They will never be successful. They are imperfect, and if they go on manufacturing their own ways and means, they will remain imperfect. There will always be revolutions—one after another. There will be no peace.
BTG: Who determines the regulative principles of religion that people should follow?
PRABHUPADA: God. God is perfect. He does that. According to the Vedic version, God is the leader of all living entities (nityo nityanam chetanash chetananam). We are different from Him because He is all-perfect and we are not. We are very small. We have the qualities of God, but in very small quantity. Therefore we have only a little knowledge—that’s airplane, but you cannot manufacture a mosquito. God has created the mosquito’s body, which is also an “airplane.” And that is the difference between God and us: we have knowledge, but it is not as perfect as God’s. So the leaders of the government have to consult God; then they will rule perfectly.
BTG: Has God also devised the most perfect government?
PRABHUPADA: Oh, yes. The kshatriyas ruled the government in Vedic times. When there was a war, the king was the first to fight. Just like your George Washington: he fought when there was a war. But what kind of president is ruling now? When there is a war, he sits very securely and telephones orders. He’s not fit to be president. When there is war, the president should be the first to come forward and lead the battle.
BTG: But if man is small and imperfect, how can he execute God’s perfect orders for a perfect government?
PRABHUPADA: Although you may be imperfect, because you are carrying out my order, you’re becoming perfect. You have accepted me as your leader, and I accept God as my leader. In this way society can be governed perfectly.
BTG: So good government means first of all to accept the Supreme Being as the real ruler of the government?
PRABHUPADA: You cannot directly accept the Supreme Being. You must accept the servants of the Supreme Being—the brahmanas or Vaishnavas [devotees of the Lord]—as your guides. The government men are kshatriyas—the second class. The kshatriyas should take advice from the brahmanas or Vaishnavas and make laws accordingly. The vaishyas should carry out the kshatriyas’ orders in practice. And the shudras should work under these three orders. Then society will be perfect.