re: Transparency and Paradigms
Mon, 20 May 1996 23:45:18 +0000

Recently, Hemant Desai wrote a very interesting item which sparked off an
equally interesting response from Lois Shawver. I've got a lot from both,
and look forward to further discussion on this thread.

However, I do want to comment on a part of Hemant's item as follows:

>The constructs of justice and freedom were largely ideological creations
>placed by a ruling elite as mythical avenues for conformity from the poor,
>women, and ethnic minorities. The situation in many ways still remains so
>at both organizational and societal levels worldwide.

Cobblers! and I want to do say so as bluntly (and, thereby- don't mistake
my respect for Hemant's posting- as helpfully and in as stimulating way) as

This statement is Hemant's construction, a construction which he chooses to
make, is meaningful to him, but is not necessarily as absolute a statement
as its form of expression implies.

There have been many expressions of "justice and freedom". Clearly, all
have been "ideological expressions", (if the concept of "ideology" is to be
treated as having any meaning whatsoever: after all, ideology shouldn't be
seen as a dirty word per se; there's nowt wrong with "ideology"; what _can_
be extremely problematic is the precise values which a particular ideology
advocates as essential!)

Sure, some ideologies have indeed been the instruments of a ruling elite.
Yet others have been the instruments of people struggling to overcome the
disadvantages they experienced by being excluded from that elite: the poor,
female, and ethnic minorities which Hemant mentions, among others.

It would be bizarre to write off the meaning ascribed to the concepts of
justice and freedom by people who are disadvantaged as due to some sort of
"mythical avenue for conformity". It is _precisely because_ these groups
found their own absolutes in these concepts that they were able to take
action against the oppressions they experienced, developing their own
avenues (and ideologies. of course!) of protest and rebellion in the name
of justice and freedom.

If the constructs of "justice and freedom" are to be eschewed as absolutes
(which we all try to construe in our own, relativistic way, of course),
what alternatives would Hemant offer instead of them?

Kindest regards,

Devi Jankowicz