Our wonderful quotocracy

There is a constitutional revolution underway. It has long been in the making. But its full logic is unfolding now. This new type of regime it will beget defies classification. It cannot be captured by the categories bequeathed by those who understood different regime types: Plato or Polybius, Aristotle or Kautilya, Montesquieu or Madison. This new regime is not a monarchy, aristocracy, republic or a democracy. It has its distinct identity, values and institutional frame. Behold all, the rise of Quotocracy! Experience the bliss that is this new dawn.

The principles behind quotocracy need to be carefully understood. It arises out of a democracy and often gets confused with it. But make no mistake. Quotocracy is distinct. A democracy values choice. Voters are free to elect whoever they wish. In a quotocracy, voters by turn are obliged to vote for someone with particular ascriptive characteristics. In a democracy, a general will is possible. In principle people can reason in terms that take all relevant reasons into consideration and are good for all. In a quotocracy, by definition there are only particular reasons and interests: men for men, women for women, caste for caste. A general will is a conceptual impossibility.

Montesquieu said each regime has a principle that sustains its best form. In despotism it is fear, in aristocracy it is honour, in republics it is virtue. Quotocracy has its own principle: victimhood. No quotocracy can be sustained without it. The currency of new claims is the narrative of hurt. The axis of competition is also victimhood: those who do not get that status are left most aggrieved. The identification of each new victim group escalates the race for identifying the next.

Democracies occasionally make exceptions to redress gross injustice. In a quotocracy, the exception is the norm. OBCs want quotas for themselves, but not for women. Women want for themselves, but not for OBCs. And no one wants for Muslims. Some say, "Why do women need quotas? Why don't parties give tickets?" But in a quotocracy this question is not legitimate. However, those who deny the legitimacy of this question use this same argument when the demand for sub-quotas is made. "Why not give OBC women tickets under the quota?" But don't confuse this with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy can exist only in a democracy, when ideals do not match reality. In a quotocracy, exception is the norm.

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