Sunday, 29 October 2017

Julian Go reconciling Social Theory and Post Colonial thought- 1

Social Theory is either the name of of a specific academic availability cascade which has been universally ridiculed for many decades or else it is something everybody has always done in every society that has ever existed.

Colonisation- unless it involves the extirpation or complete indoctrination of a subject population- does not mean that one Social Theory necessarily replaces another. On the contrary, Colonialism might mean the abandonment of a 'metropolitan' Social Theory in favour of the pragmatics of one which is indigenous.

Julain Go disagrees. He says-

This is nonsense. It is not the case that Imperial Portugal or Spain developed any 'Social Theory' at all. Germany, on the other hand, had a lot of Social Theory before it had any colonies.  Britain had a big Empire but that Empire was administered through pre-existing indigenous institutions except in its comprador enclaves. No doubt, at the elite level, there was a type of negotiation which appealed to the tropes of metropolitan Social Theory. However, Imperialists refused to grant any moral or ideological legitimacy to such negotiations unless it suited them to do so. Why? Because the underlying Social Theory was not indigenous and had no genuinely vernacular pedigree or expression. This meant that deracinated barristocrats discarded their Saville Row suits for native costume. But then the American Colonists had dressed up as Red Indians to stage the Boston Tea Party. Thus the 'Indianism' (i.e. corrupt influence of the East India Company) or Westminster, which Edmund Burke descried as a greater threat to the polity than Jacobinism, was defeated by 'Red Indianism'. Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, even Bandarnaike, who suddenly turned Buddhist in the Fifties, gained salience by this 'Red Indianism'.

Social Theory flourished after Imperialism ceased to be economically viable during a period when there was a massive expansion in Higher Education made possible by 'Wagner's Law'- i.e. the State's ability to retain a higher proportion of GNP. However, by the Seventies, this had led to 'stagflation'. Meanwhile Social Theory had degenerated into paranoid fantasy based upon the imminence of some imaginary orgasmic Revolution. Sociology became a joke subject- fit only for budding Parole officers or stupid bureaucrats bucking for promotion. Economics turned its back on Institutionalism, 'Verstehen' based dirigisme, and dropped the foreign language requirement for PhDs substituting Maths and Stats instead. Indeed, neoclassical economics derives from statistical physics. Gossen, Walras, Pareto, Menger, Marshall- not a single Marginalist had any interest in Colonies. Why? They don't matter in themselves. You don't have to turn African people into Europeans to secure a market for your cheese. Make good cheese. It will find its own market. Indeed, the only thing that matters is that, irrespective of who governs what, there is a burgeoning of Trade of a sort which leads to  Technologically innovative Capital formation and knowledge based Social Development.

Thus Marshall warned a brilliant Indian student of his that only a small minority of Indian entrepreneurs were committed to technological progress in the manner of the Tatas. Sadly, India chose a ressentiment based 'swadesi' dirigisme which gave a prominent role to 'Socialists' as enabling a corrupt, rent seeking, 'license permit Raj'. In this context, 'Social Theory' was the legitimating ideology of a semi-feudal type of Crony Capitalism. Thus, Professors would pretend to be Marxist so as to escape a beating and draw their salary while knowing full well that the son of the Marxist C.M was getting very rich without any effort.

Elsewhere, if foreigners or minorities owned profitable assets, stealing those assets for the benefit of a kleptocratic clique motivated a wholly fraudulent 'second wave' anti-colonialism. Thus ambitious young South African Rhodes Scholars might find it useful to pose as 'decolonisers of the mind' tweeting 'Rhodes must fall' because they hope to grab property belonging to minorities. However, they will run the enterprises they seize into the ground and then whine about how the IMF isn't giving them free money to avert the resulting famine.

In India, Post Colonial theory and 'subaltern studies' was nothing but a credentialist fraud or Ponzi scheme, whose reward was emigration to some Western Ivory tower. Ranajit Guha set the trend by taking British citizenship even before Niradh Chaudhri. He is now holed up in Austria- a great centre of resistance to neo-colonialism.

Julian Go, who was enraptured by Dipesh Chakravarty, Gayak Spivak and Homi Bhabha as a Post Grad in the early Nineties, takes a different view. He says-

Postcolonial means 'after colonialism'. What is the point of being against colonialism after it has disappeared? This isn't thought- it is stupidity. Mugabe may pretend that he is defending his people from the return of the British colonist. But it is mere pretence.

What of this notion of 'persistent legacies'? In the case of India, we know that no such legacies obtain. Why? India, like Ireland, has a doctrine of constitutional autochthony. Smart people- like Ambedkar- didn't just know more Social Theory any of Go's stupid professors, none of whom can write a single cogent sentence, they actually put Social Theory into action on a grand scale.

Go asks-
 Can social theory and postcolonial thought be reconciled?
In other words, he is admitting that postcolonial thought has no grounding in social theory. It is wholly irrational.
The task is to consider the possibilities of articulating social theory and postcolonial thought, to see how they might fruitfully engage.
Why perform the task of reconciling paranoid nonsense with a rational discourse? What 'fruitful engagement' will result?
One part of the task is to explore how postcolonial thought might benefit from a direct engagement with social theory. Can it learn anything at all from it?
Wow! Even a brain damaged sociopath can learn something useful if medicated properly. Go questions whether Poco thought can rise even to the level of a retarded maniac.
The other part of the task is to see how social theory might be enlightened by postcolonial thought. How might social theory, and indeed the social sciences more broadly, be reconstructed and reworked in order to better suit the intellectual challenge that postcolonial thought poses to it?
Oh! So Go is asking how a rational discourse can be made user friendly to intellectually challenged nutjobs.
This question is especially vexing for, as we will see in chapters to come, the intellectual challenge to social theory posed by postcolonial thought is potentially insurrectionary. What anticolonial revolutions were to empires, postcolonial thought is to social science. Postcolonial thought is the intellectual equivalent of the anticolonial movements of the twentieth century that birthed it. Hence the question: How might social theory survive the invasion?
Wow! Substitute the word 'Black' for 'anticolonial' and one begins to understand why Go has written this book and why White people teaching worthless subjects might buy it.  Economics, however, is safe. Gerschenkron, at the beginning of the Sixties was worried that the Niggers entering the Ivy League would eat their teachers unless they were properly dosed with German. But, Maths did a way better job. African American Economists have produced some of the best work in the subject in a consistent manner decade after decade- though, as with female Economists, they have often been ignored or condescended to. Maths weeds out the lazier and more egregious types of stupidity. Social Theory does not.
Go's own writing amply demonstrates this.
Consider the following passage- (my remarks are in bold)
In the late nineteenth century, social theory took on an institutional form as disciplinary sociology, nestling within the emerging social sciences in the metropoles of the United States and Europe. So, Social Theory is something which exists in the ether and which takes on different forms. Why? How? Go won't tell us. Dance is something which exists. In recent years, it 'has taken on institutional form' in so far as you can do a degree, or even a PhD, in Dance at some Institutions of Higher Education. So what? There is nothing sinister about this. If people are willing to pay for a degree in Dance, or Astrology or Alchemy, so what? Who cares? We wont watch a dance performance just because the dancer has a PhD. We will, however, start busting out Gangnam style moves at the Christmas party.  
It is here (at Universities) where sociology as we know it today was hatched, and it is here where the imperial origins of social theory become clearer. Go is wrong. Sociology arose out of the expansion of the metropolitan bureaucracy and the manner in which this impacted rent contestation within the governing class. Its most significant contributors were not academics. Imperialism did have a relationship with antropology which retained a certain cachet which Sociology never attained. Thus, it was permissible for the Prince of Wales to study Anthropology but not Sociology which was distinctly plebeian.
For it is precisely at this moment that Anglo-European imperialism began to reach its pinnacle. So what? It could only 'rise to a pinnacle' because the foundations had been laid long before Sociology became a thing.  Increased Wealth meant more bullshit degrees could be marketed. That's all that happened here. 
This was the moment of the “new imperialism” or “high imperialism” (as it would later be called)—the unleashing of violent power as nations like England, France, Germany, the United States, Belgium, Italy, and others mounted new territorial assaults upon Africa and Asia. By 1900, the new empires were ruling 90 percent of Africa, 56 percent of Asia, and 99 percent of the Pacific. By the First World War, imperial powers occupied 90 percent of the entire surface area of the globe (Andersson 2013; Young 2001: 2). Sociology was institutionalized through and within this imperial moment (Connell 1997; Go 2013d; Mantena 2012). America also started awarding degrees in things like Journalism and Physical Education and, a little later, Theater studies and so forth. They had a more market driven educational model and one must admit that it was superior to the European model. American Sociology, at one time, seemed a good handmaiden for big Corporations, and, later on, for overblown Federal Agencies, but that time passed long ago. Why? Because tax payers revolted. They weren't interested in why Society had a moral duty to spend much, much, more money on non-tax payers so that they could become more delinquent yet.  
Sociology abandoned its original mission- which was about using  empirical findings about collective behaviour to run things more cheaply and efficiently- and turned into antagonomic whining.  It was no longer about linking cause and effect, preferring to base itself on seeing paranoid patterns in all things.
In 1893, the first Department of Sociology was established at the University of Chicago and the first doctorate in sociology in the United States was awarded at Cornell. But just as this was occurring, the French were colonizing the Ivory Coast, Laos, and Guinea; the British South Africa Company was invading Matabeleland in current-day Zimbabwe; and Queen Liliuokalani was surrendering her Hawaiian kingdom to the United States.
1893 was the year the Independent Labour Party had its first meeting. This proves that it was complicit in British imperialism in South Africa.
A year later, the same year that Franklin Giddings was appointed chair and professor of sociology at Columbia (marking the first full professorship in sociology in the United States), England took Uganda as a protectorate, France seized Madagascar, and the Sino-Japanese War erupted.
Fuck you Giddings! Why did you make the Japs and the Chinks fight each other? Shame on you!
In 1895, as the American Journal of Sociology published its very first issue, Japan seized Taiwan, Britain turned Bechuanaland into a protectorate and raided the Transvaal Republic against the Boers, and the Cuban rebellion against Spain was unleashed. In 1901, the year that the Sociology Department at the University of Minnesota was established, England was adding Tonga and Nigeria to its empire, and the U.S. government was violently suppressing an anticolonial insurgency in the Philippines, occupying Cuba, and solidifying its colonial regimes in Samoa and Puerto Rico (Go 2013d).
1895 was also the year in which Le Petomane gained world wide fame.  This proves that farting is complicit in the Imperialist episteme. Some years later, Le Petomane was disgraced because he sharted during the course of public performance. That's also what happened to Social Theory. It shat its pants when it took the stage.

Go recognises that Du Bois was a Professor of Sociology. He is not so foolish as to claim that Du Bois was a racist swine. Instead he says Du Bois was the exception that proves the rule. Why? Because Du Bois was marginalised. Why was he marginalised? D'uh- the man was Black in the era of Jim Crow. Also he wrote well and had something sensible to say. He was much more than a pedagogue.

Go thinks a Racist type of Imperialism was inevitable. We wouldn't be where we are today without it. He says-
 Empire—and related processes of colonialism or racism—has been foundational for metropolitan societies as well as colonized societies....it has been crucial for the making and remaking of modernity
There is absolutely no justification for this view in either Economic theory or empirical data.  Nineteenth Century Radicalism, of the Cobden & Bright & the later Manchester Guardian type, continually refuted the notion that 'Trade follows the Flag'. Political Corruption caused the Flag to go where it could capture rents for the ruling class. This meant that Trade could not burgeon because of pure drain. The Empire was castigated a vast system of outdoor relief for the Aristocracy. Indian born writers like Thackeray & Saki continually made fun of the system whereby Colonial Governors were appointed, more often than not, because of scandalous incompetence or adultery or incompetent adultery.
 British Colonies were getting a declining share of Investment and Trade compared to independent countries. Pax Brittania was the peace of the Grave for dynamic businessmen. Shaw and Wells popularised a message which the Fabians painstakingly researched and documented.

Portugal and Spain were a stark reminder of the manner in which Imperialism throttled Modernity. Suddenly, Scandinavia- Ibsen, Strindberg &c- were showing the way for Shavian Man and, more importantly, Shavian Woman.

Consider the LSE. It was far more important than the Uni of Chicago. In what way was its 'episteme' complicit or contaminated by the Imperial project? One could find a genealogy for the LSE in Florence Nightingale and Arthur Hugh Clough's efforts in the 1860's to reform the War Office. Nightingale lived to bless the Indian National Congress and act as guardian, together with Jowett, to Cornelia Sorabjee.

Go is not stupid. He knows all this. Why is he writing such worthless shite? The answer is that he feels that non-stupid people like himself may at any moment be carjacked or cannibalised by stupid nutjobs. He says-
Whereas gender theory treats gender relations as foundational, and Marxist theory treats capitalism as foundational, postcolonial theory treats empire and colonialism as foundational.
Who gives a fuck about gender theory? Certainly not any sane woman not actually paid to peddle that shite.  Marxist theory failed. Get over it. Postcolonial theory is just a self aggrandising academic careerism on the part of deracinated shitheads playing the Race card. Why give them the time of day?

Imperial Power is not about 'Episteme'. It is about firepower and logistics and abstract mathematical financial engineering.  It is not based on any 'Social' process at all. If it is, it ceases to be 'Imperial' and gives way to Creole power contestation.

Sociology had nothing to do with the change in Naval doctrine we associate with A.T. Mahan and with the rise of 'infant industry' Protectionism as an Economic theory. It wasn't infected with anything save pedagogic stupidity.

Go says-
The early sociologists’ own words and concepts bespeak this imperial context of sociology’s institutionalization. Franklin Giddings, who later served as President of the American Sociological Society and was the first full professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at Columbia University, declared in 1911 that among the pressing questions of importance to sociologists were the questions of “territorial expansion and of rule over alien peoples” (Giddings 1911:  580–81). Meanwhile, many of these leading sociologists often affirmed imperialism, heralding it as the necessary and desirable outcome of the “race struggle” and social evolution.
Giddings had a complicated theory of a thermodynamic type such that human beings gravitated to types of reciprocal consciousness which released more 'work'. Marxists may trace this type of thinking to the 'baronised Yankee' Count Rumford. However, for India- where Giddings book 'Democracy and Empire' was read by votaries of 'Harbhat Pendse'- what was really important was its last chapter titled 'The Gospel of non-resistance'. Karl Pearson's theory of 'extra group struggle' showed the utility of in group non-resistance and making common cause against an external enemy. Gandhi's genius was to discover a way to turn even conflict with that enemy into something potentially mutually beneficial and productive.

Go thinks America having Sociology professors is very important. But India had better Sociologists- because they were well versed in Mathematics and Statistics- at that time. Indeed, as the great E.J Hannan states in his memoirs, Indian scholars were ahead of American scholars till the late Fifties. Gokhale was and is important. Giddings is not. Gokhale, being a mathematician, could marshal information and present so cogent a case that he won over a select committee at Westminster. No doubt, American Sociology can claim similar achievements but only in domestic contexts. Imperialism has nothing to do with Social Theory. It lives and dies on the basis of purely military and economic considerations.

Go thinks otherwise-
Sociology in this sense has imperial origins: not necessarily because it was in the direct service of empire (though in some cases it was), but because it was formed in the heartland of empire, crafted in its milieu, and was thus embedded in its culture. 
If Go is right then Modern Dance has imperial origins. So does baseball and chewing gum and breakfast cereal and the electric light-bulb and the Gramophone record and so on.

Phrenology was once considered an academic discipline. It was very popular in Edinburgh at precisely the time that Britain was consolidating its Indian Empire. Thus phrenology must have been embedded in British culture. Yet it disappeared without a trace because it proved to be worthless shite. The same thing might not have happened to Sociology but smart people don't go in for it anymore. It keeps its place only as a soft subject for retards.

Go admits as much-
  It (Social Theory) was part and parcel of the imperial episteme. It was dependent upon and shared empire’s way of looking and thinking about the world, even when  it did not directly contribute to it.Sociologists have been among the first to assert that ideas are shaped by the social environments in which those ideas are generated (Camic, Gross, and Lamont 2011). If they believe their own theories, it should not be too difficult to acknowledge the context of empire within which their discipline was founded and their founding ideas forged.
Sociologists don't believe their own theories because their own theories predict that Sociologists have shit for brains and are incapable of uttering anything save a schizophrenic word-salad derived from some essentially evil episteme that pervades everything.

One goal of this book is to explore how this imperial context more precisely shaped the content of sociology and social theory—and whether it still does today.
The Sociologists Go speaks of had only a second hand and imperfect knowledge of Imperialism. Thus the discipline was shit from the get go because it was far removed from the scene of the action.  But, if Sociology was ab ovo shite then the discipline was adversely selective and every succeeding cohort of Credentialised Sociologists were even more worthless.
Does social theory bear the imprint of its imperial origins? Has social theory extricated itself from this earlier imperial entanglement? How are sociological concerns, categories, frameworks, and research shaped by empire?
Sociologists- like Go- are too stupid to understand that Imperialism ceased to be viable a long time ago. Thus they are incapable of ever 'extricating' their subject from anything. Its concenrs, categories, frameworks and research didn't make any contribution to empire but were passively shaped by it at second hand. It is wholly worthless but Go is not dismayed.
Surely, the explicit racist claims of the early sociologists are not to be found in contemporary theory and research. And few sociologists would praise imperialism as a social good. But as we will see, the legacies of sociology’s early imperial origins persist in subtle yet powerful ways—just as the legacies of empire in our world persist. There are important differences between social science today and social science in the era of high imperialism. But there are also continuities. In chapters to come, we will see how social science still works within an imperial episteme whose pervasive power we have underestimated.
 Algebraic Topology gained salience at about the same time as Sociology. But it weeds out stupid shitheads and so helps create and shape a genuine episteme- not some fake paranoid bullshit about how like Language thinks us dude and we gotta go back and read some shite some Dead White second rate pedagogue wrote a long time ago.

If Sociology- or what Go understands by the term- has always been shite, what of 'Post Colonial Thought'?

Go says-
The earlier first wave of postcolonial thought included writers and activists such as Frantz Fanon (1925–1961), Aimé Césaire (1913–2008), Amilcar Cabral (1924–1973), W.  E. B.  Du Bois (1868–1963), and C.  L. R.  James (1901–1989) among many others. These are the same thinkers in whom the second wave found inspiration. And they wrote amidst the throes of anticolonialism and decolonization in the mid-twentieth century.
This is sheer nonsense. Anti-colonial thought existed from the inception of Colonialism. Moreover, it was thought accompanied by action- not worthless drivel.  India was independent by the time Fanon started writing. He was a French trained Psychiatrist- i.e. utterly fucked in the head. He didn't know Arabic. Only idiots read him. Amie Cesaire wrote some good poems. Cabral was an utter shithead who fucked up his own country down to our own day. Du Bois was a good man but his context was domestic. James was silly but wrote well about cricket. Benoy Kumar Sarkar, whom Go mentions elsewhere, was a promising scholar who is all but forgotten- probably because he favoured industrialisation based on f.d.i and denied any real difference between colonised and coloniser- despite writing voluminously in numerous languages. His Bengali travelogues were quite popular at one time.  Perhaps he had some influence on the Ananda Marg- but the Marg was viewed as just a crazy cult, nothing more. The truth is, none of the people Go mentions had any real importance or political significance. It is useless to pretend otherwise.

By contrast, Edward Said- who could write well and who did have some standing with the P.L.O in its heyday- did have some impact because America genuinely does have a Zionist lobby which in turn influences a particular Israeli political party which sometimes acts mischievously. Indeed, level-headed Jewish American diplomats and statesmen have themselves blown the whistle on some of their crazier shenanigans.
Unfortunately, Said- a Christian peeved that the Episcopalians had turned their backs on their co-religionists in Palestine and Egypt- did not understand the politics of his own part of the world. History marginalised him just when a voice of sanity was required. But then, sanity wasn't exactly his strong suit.
Go thinks Bhabha and Spivak were 'picking up the mantle' from Said and that they constitute a 'second wave'. This is crazy. Bhabha, poor fellow, was stuck at Essex University and, purely by way of camoflage, started writing in an obscure manner. He was a nice Bombay boy- but a Parsee without any deep roots or connection to the sub-continent. Spivak, by contrast, was entrepreneurial and didn't let ignorance stop her rushing in where angels might fear to tread. She took up Subaltern shite in the manner in which she'd taken up Derridan shite. While the Left Front ruled her native Bengal it paid for her, as it paid for Amartya Sen, to appear some high brow sort of Commie without expending any intellectual effort on trying to try to make sense of that brand of tripe. Many Marxists in India and elsewhere faced a similar challenge. However, in obedience to Adam Smith's invisible hand, they retained their Professorships in worthless subjects and devoted themselves to writing incestuous shite.

Thus, there was no actual 'second wave'. There was only opportunism and careerism- Dipesh Charabarty actually has an Ahmedabad MBA!- and a small Globalised niche market for retarded whining about the occult hegemony of long dead white males.
It was the sedulous apes of this 'second wave' which fastened on Go's 'first wave' which had no previous existence.
True, Go mentions something called the Tricontinental Conference held in 1966. But it was an obvious Communist front- Kim Il Sung published an article in its journal!- and had zero impact.

Go doesn't care. He says-
Postcolonial thought, then, was born not only of anticolonial movements seeking national independence and political equality but also of attempts to chart entirely new ways of being and human belonging.
Utter rubbish! It was about a small delusional coterie, some paid by the Soviets, pretending to be intellectuals on the one hand, and, on the other, a bunch of semi-literate retards slogging away to get tenure in worthless Departments. These guys didn't chart 'entirely new ways' of being worthless shitheads. They were fraudulent careerists or adventurers, nothing more.
 This is why their writings—and the scholarly enterprise they helped to spawn— is rightfully referred to as post-colonial thought.
By whom? Nobody reads these shitheads except shitheads teaching worthless subjects. There is no thought going on at all. In the old days, before the internet, it was possible for people like Homi Bhabha, or Gayatri Spivak, or Leela Gandhi (who claims that Becky Sharpe rejected Jos Sedley as a suitor!) to write stupid lies without a young reader being able to immediately confirm, using a Google search, that this bunch of shitheads are pathological liars with zero I.Q. Also, in the old days there was a sort of 'Aesthetic affirmative action' whereby White people were required to be nice to stupid ethnic nutjobs. Now, Brown people can verify for themselves that stupid nutjobs are worthless whatever their colour.
The word “postcolonial” does not connote that the legacies of colonialism are actually over. It does not designate a historical reality after colonialism.
Wow! These guys are too stupid to understand that Colonialism is over! No wonder they can't contribute to the 'historical reality' of their native countries!
In the early 1970s, some scholars had, indeed, used the term “postcolonial” to refer to the historical phase or period after decolonization (Alavi 1972). “To describe a literary work or a writer as ‘postcolonial’,” notes Neil Lazarus (2011: 11), “was to name a period, a discrete historical moment, not a project or a politics.
Nonsense. Dirigiste regimes begging for IMF money spoke of 'neo-colonialism'. This in turn meant that 'post colonial' thought had a particular purpose. However opposition to 'neo-liberalism' was a better bet because it could rely on bad Economics- a discipline which has gained in status through mathematizaion- rather than shite Sociology.

Go is not ignorant of the historical background. He writes-
Not only were many dictatorial regimes propped up by metropolitan countries, neoimperial forms of intervention through the mechanism of finance and institutions like the International Monetary Fund were underway and being perfected: new types of global discipline imposed upon fledgling Waves of Postcolonial Thought. All of this served to squash some of the utopian or at least liberatory visions and hopes of radical decolonization movements. “Postcolonial studies [of the second-wave],” Neil Lazarus (2011) suggests, “emerged as an institutionally specific, conjuncturally determined response to these global developments” (Lazarus 2011: 9–10).
 What Go is not saying is that dictatorial regimes- like Suharto's- were toppled by the IMF, greatly to the ire of people like Stiglitz who thought senile kleptocrats should be given money to provide their subjects with bread and circuses for ever and ever and ever coz that's like Human Rights innit?

However, people like Bhabha and Spivak and Leela Gandhi weren't motivated by opposition to 'neoliberalism' at all. They were careerists simply seeking to minimize their expenditure of intellectual effort while maximising their returns from parodic scholarship and worthless pedagogy.
The meaning of “postcolonial” in phrases such as postcolonial thought, postcolonial theory, or postcolonial studies is different. It refers to a loose body of writing and thought that seeks to transcend the legacies of modern colonialism and overcome its epistemic confines. It refers to a relational position against and beyond colonialism, including colonialism’s very culture. As Gandhi (1998: 4) notes, postcolonial studies is “devoted to the academic task of revising, remembering and, crucially, interrogating the colonial past,” but it only does so in order to overcome the legacies of that past. Postcolonial thought critiques the culture of empire in order to cultivate new knowledges, ways of representing the world, and histories that circumvent or transcend rather than authorize or sustain imperialistic ways of knowing.
What new knowledges has Leela Gandhi produced? Saying Becky Sharpe refused to marry Joss Sedley because he worked for the East India Company is not knowledge. It is ignorance. Similarly, when Gayatri Spivak says India is named Bharat because Bharat was Rama's younger brother, she is not producing new knowledge. She is displaying extraordinary ignorance. It is true that these guys have become Professors at Ivy League. But only in shite subjects. They have destroyed the prestige of the Departments they populate. Their political impact is less than zero. They don't add value to any bandwagon they jump on. They subtract value.

This is not to say that some post-colonial thought has not had a political effect. Rajiv Malhotra type shitting on Western Indologists has raised helped secure technocratic recruits and NRI funds for the Sangh Parivar. But Malhotra and his ilk aren't relying on 'Social Theory'. Rather, they fight (and lose) their battles on the basis of philology and archaeology and DNA studies.

At one time, it might have appeared that Po-Co theory was contributing to Global Literature. This was before it became apparent that Salman Rushdie was just a Public School boy on the make, cracking wise about towel-heads to get 'em good & riled. Now Rushdie is writing shite books about America- which he does know something about- the game is well and truly up.

Go concludes his worthless tome thus-
 As the center of global gravity shifts away from the previous Anglo-European centered empires and toward other ones, and as voices from across the Global South rightfully demand to be heard, social science must cast off the legacies of the imperial episteme lest it crater under the oppressive weight of its own provinciality.
The center of global gravity shifted a long time ago from Western Europe. America wasn't really an Imperialist country. Some 'Social Sciences'- like Economics increased in prestige by adopting mathematical methods. Sociology didn't and turned to shite. There are no voices 'from the Global South' demanding to be heard by professors of a wholly discredited subject. There may be some economic migrants from Africa or Asia who are too stupid to get a proper job and thus want to secure a berth in a worthless Department. So what? Sociology has already cratered because it was adversely selective of stupid shitheads. It didn't get any legacy from 'the imperial episteme' because Imperialism was a business not a charity for the mentally retarded.
Social science neglects the postcolonial challenge at its own peril. At the very least, if postcolonial thought is not the only way to globalize social theory, rejecting it outright forces social science to run afoul of its own self-stated mission to apprehend critically the world that confronts us. This not only would bode ill for social science, it might also be the death knell for postcolonial thought, whose future vitality could very well depend upon the very social science that some of  its proponents mistakenly have underestimated.
In other words, Sociology is shite and will disappear unless it allies with PoCo shite which will also disappear because it is actually Sociology's shite and never had anything to do with 'the Imperial episteme' (stuff to do with Naval doctrine and global specie flows) in the first place.
Although postcolonial thought and social theory emerge from distinct historical genealogies and social contexts, their continued relevance today and into the future requires not their persistent mutual opposition but rather their synthetic elaboration:  a rising third wave of critical post-colonial knowledge that draws upon and elevates both.
 That needful 'rising third wave' will occur when Universities pull the flush on the two equally worthless turds Julian Go describes.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Priyamvada Gopal on 'Literary Radicalism in India''


Priyamvada Gopal is the author of a book called 'Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence.'

India is a big country. The majority of its people are Hindu. They write in languages influenced by Sanskrit. Yet Gopal focuses entirely on Muslim authors writing in Urdu. These authors had no influence on Muslim politics or the trajectory of Pakistan- the country which adopted Urdu as its national language. They don't represent any sort of 'Radicalism' but rather a historical cul de sac.

Gopal writes-


This passages raises a number of questions-
1) Gopal says she values 'diversity'.  Yet in a book on Indian radicalism she only picks Muslim writers.
She considers Zaheer and Chugtai and Manto and Abbas as 'diverse'. They aren't at all. Zaheer was a Communist who emigrated to Pakistan but was thrown out. In India he settled into a comfortable, Soviet funded, gesture political careerism wholly divorced from any sort of 'Radicalism'. Like Zaheer, Rashid Jahan was a Communist who died in Moscow. On the other hand, she was a Doctor and might have had a positive contribution to make to India. Chugtai was a more significant figure than Jahan but that significance lay in giving a small proportion of the old Ashraf elite a way of becoming indistinguishable from an upwardly mobile Khatri Hindu commercial middle class. But, this only occurred in the dream world of Bollywood and the rarefied heights of nepotistic academo-bureaucratic service to the Dynasty. Manto, who had some literary talent, had a different trajectory. He left Bollywood for Pakistan and, not being a programmatic, was left alone there. But his writing turned nihilistic. Abbas was a successful and prolific writer and film-maker. However, unlike Tamil or Telugu Cinema, Bollywood had little political impact. It was a 'dream factory', nothing more. Abbas's 'radicalism' was worthless. It changed nothing.

2) Gopal thinks she is bringing 'wider critical attention' to certain texts. Why can't she understand that those texts had already received the only sort of 'critical attention' that matters for Radical writing? It was the contemporary readers of these authors who judged their work and found them wanting. The great mass of Urdu speakers who had read 'Angaarey' decided to support Jinnah. Is Post Colonial theory something that should be done for its own sake? Why? Physics and Mathematics and Biology may be studied for their own sake because there are spin off benefits for the Economy. PoCo shite is just a careerist Avaliability Cascade for people too stupid to study anything useful.

3) As Edward Said pointed out 50 years ago, people teaching Literature used to have a good reading knowledge of four or five Modern and at least two Classical languages. The over-expansion of the Academy diluted standards. Students became almost unbelievably stupid. Said had to warn his Post Graduate students that Dr. Jonathan Swift was not actually advocating that they stir turds into their coco-pops. He wasn't a Medical Doctor. Gulliver's travels was satirical. Also there's this thing called 'irony'. Look it up.

Gopal thinks it is important to 'reconstellate' an essentially worthless activity. Why? What possible good could it do?

India has had a lot of very successful Literary Radicalism. The linguistic reorganization of the States was driven by Literary Radicalism. Regional parties have created a new middle class- sometimes by using strong arm tactics. Since Marxism is just an elitist con, this Radicalism may not be recognisable as such to an obviously stupid careerist like Gopal. This does not mean it should be studied even by stupid people at the College level. Unless, obviously, they are willing to pay the full cost themselves. 

Friday, 27 October 2017

Suhuni as Hero, Mahiwal as Leander

How, allotted the Raavi, sing of the Chenaab's bitter mouth?
Suhuni such a Hero, Aphrodite yet in drouth.
Whose stroke is Leander's, merely meanders
Mahiwal's defeats the South.




Priyamvada Gopal's vision for India.

Priyamvada Gopal is a Senior Lecturer at Cambridge by way of J.N.U. She says-
my wish for the next 50 years of Indian independence is…’ a full and real decolonization of India, one which has yet to take place.'

This seems odd. There was never a full or real colonisation of India. How could there be a decolonisation of it? 

Gopal appears to be channeling Ngugi, circa 1968, who wanted Nairobi University to rename its Dept. of English and include more African writers on its curriculum. Ngugi had lost family members to the anti Mau Mau campaign and was living in a country where there were still plenty of big White landlords who had acquired Kikuyu tribal land within living memory. He was also on a Marxist trajectory and so his petition wasn't entirely silly.

Ngugi deserves praise because he switched from writing in English to writing in his mother tongue- that too in a complex and difficult way which contributed to improved orthography- but had to continue this practice in exile abroad- which inevitably meant that he lost contact with Kenyan youth. Still, he is a great patriot who has retained his Kenyan passport and who praises the tremendous progress his country has made.
He did pay a visit to Kenya some years after the death of President Daniel Arap Moi, but, tragically, was the victim of a supposed 'robbery' during the course of which he was beaten and his wife was raped.  This failed to embitter or terrorise the couple.

Sadly, Gikuyu or even Swahili literature has scarcely flourished. Kenya has a very young population whose infectious 'creole', called Sheng, has spread across borders. This generation has no memory of the Mau Mau- which was pretty brutal in any case- and they don't read Ngugi or his son, who is also a writer, albeit only in English.

Ngugi, did have some currency in the Eighties amongst American or British people of African descent who had never actually set foot on the mother continent. I recall attending a Swahili Class in Notting Hill but it didn't last long. Our generation settled into a middle class rut and only got back in touch with our ancestral tongues after mid life spiritual crises.

Within Africa, an early English language novel of Ngugi's was translated into Shona by an author who made a direct equation between Zimbabwe's successful Chimurenga and Kenya's failed Mau Mau. Young people in Zimbabwe, thirty years ago, were enthused by Ngugi. They, and those of their children who remain in Mugabe's Marxist paradise, have paid a very high price for that enthusiasm.  'Decolonising the mind' is mischievous nonsense worthy only of Mobutu type kleptocrats.

Kenyans, like Indians, want good governance, an independent Judiciary, and sensible economic policies. They don't want Ngugi's stupid shite.

Gopal, who studied at JNU, does. She says-

I would like to see a country that truly breaks from the legacies and toxic afterlife of empire, and not still deploying economic systems, political institutions and repressive tactics inherited from the British empire. 

One can refuse to accept a legacy. Indeed, it would be irrational not to reject one that is toxic. Empire's don't have an afterlife- nothing does- at least, that is the Scientific consensus. Perhaps Gopal, whose degrees are in worthless subjects, believes in ghosts or zombies or some other 'toxic' type of afterlife. Still, even in comic books, there is always some way to exorcise those ghosts or decapitate those zombies. 

Gopal takes a different view. She believes that India has an economic system inherited from the British. It does not. Even Britain does not have an economic system inherited from the Imperial era. No country does. The world has changed greatly since those bitter post war years.

Gopal wants India to get rid of political institutions inherited from the British Empire. Whatever can she mean? No political institution that existed in 1947 has survived intact to this day. Yes, there were Legislative assemblies- but they weren't elected on a Universal franchise. Perhaps Gopal means the Congress Party. But it has changed out of all recognition.

What about Gopal's notion that some 'repressive tactics' survive as an  inheritance from the Raj? Surely that is well founded? The answer, I'm afraid, is no. After the fall of Indira Gandhi the Judiciary clarified matters such that Raj era repressive measures were judged to be unconstitutional. Thus they were replaced by the wholly un-British jugaard expedient of 'encounter killing', not to mention politically instrumentalized terrorism and rioting and ethnic cleansing. 

Since that time, an activist Judiciary has increasingly circumscribed the power of the Executive in a manner which the Raj, almost from its inception, prohibited. Unlike Pakistan, there has never been a 'doctrine of necessity' or 'state of exception' in Indian Jurisprudence- though, no doubt, certain Leftist Chief Justices in the Seventies thought otherwise.

India does certainly have tremendous capacity and willingness to repress sociopathic nutters but rather than relying on any legacy it is careful to keep up to date with the latest technological and tactical developments in other countries which face similar threats. Indeed, in this field, it is ahead of the curve relative to the British in some respects.

Gopal says-  I would like to see what many who fought for independence did aspire to but were not able to see fulfilled: a community where malnourishment and food deprivation are a distant memory; 
Urm...does Gopal think there was anybody at all who actually wanted to see people starve? Why? What would be their motivation? 
As a species we are all better off if every one of us is well fed and healthy. If some are badly fed their immunity will decline and they will fall ill. Those illnesses may be contagious and may affect us or our families. 
where corporations are not allowed to plunder the environment and natural resources at the expense of adivasi and other communities;
Plundering means stealing. Why would anybody want to live in a world where some plunderers are allowed to get away with stealing? After all, we all have some possessions or entitlements or residuary control rights which we don't want stolen from us.
What does it matter whether it is a corporation or a government department or a religious sect or a criminal gang which plunders us? What's important is that we don't want to be robbed by anybody. That's why we have laws against theft and unjust enrichment and so forth. It is in our collective interest to see those laws enforced no matter where we live.
 where the democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir are honoured as was once promised, 
If the 'democratic aspirations' of the people of Kashmir involve secession from the Indian Union then, under the Constitution, they won't be honoured at all. Gopal may want to see them honoured- perhaps she doesn't like Kashmiris and would like to get shot of them- but in that case she should want to see a fundamental change in the Indian constitution such that a right of secession is granted to every constituent part of India. But, this would mean that if a particular province wants to go in for ethnic cleansing then it can do so. Is this what Gopal wants to see? Well, she can see it already in Pakistan. 

Gopal wants an India
where profit is not the driving force of the economy with a wide gap between rich and poor, 
so she must really hate England and must consider America to be Hell on Earth. No doubt she is packing her bags to leave. But where will she go? North Korea?


Gopal has left India- good for her, she is obeying Adam Smith's invisible hand in a Globalised market- but she still wants something for India. What? It is a linguistic reform such that
 democracy does not mean the sway of the majority religious community
What would she prefer democracy to mean? My own suggestion is that democracy should mean everyone having their own butler who is like a highly trained ninja and has magical powers. Once this happens, no individual would need to belong to a family or caste network so as to hedge against uncertainty.
So caste will not continue to form the basis for inequities and violence-coz our Butlers would just sort everything out between them. In short, I would like to see an India that truly breaks from the hierarchies of power, wealth and violence that the imperial era consolidated
One such hierarchy 'consolidated' by the Imperial era was of Race and Language. Gopal, it seems, would like to see the back of Sonia- who is European- and Rahul- who studied at Cambridge and whose first language is English. It seems Gopal is a Modi bakht who wants 'Congress Mukth Bharat'. 

Gopal, 
 fantastical though it may sound, (wants) a community that is truly diverse in equality, committed to economic justice, and deeply democratic in ways that empower ordinary people not corporations and majority communities.
At a minimum, this involves everyone having their own Butler with ninja skills and magical powers.

Why is Gopal wasting her time teaching English? She should write fairy stories.  I hope Theresa May gives her a magical Butler so that she can fulfil her potential.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Holderlin as pedagogue

With Thamus, off Paxi, Holderlin heard- 'Great Pan is dead!'
& at Patmos, to its Beloved, the Word's Apocalypse dread
Thus do Diotimas die- like a blush without a name
Female Paideia being a Parrando's game.

Envoi- 
Midons! Hermeneutic talk but tends to henosis
 Thy true cock of the walk yet is kenosis!



Sunday, 22 October 2017

Ghalib- 72


Good news!, oh Gospel, that thy Passion now views
That net empty whose Paraclete is caged in ruse.
Thorn crowns, Roods' roots to water, soles scarlet rake
Or my liver's thirst for torment, thou varlet, slake




dām-e ḳhālī qafas-e murġh-e giriftār ke pās

jigar-e tishnah-e āzār tasallī nah huʾā
jū-e ḳhūñ ham ne bahāʾī bun-e har ḳhār ke pās


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

If Adorno is left in peace


T
Like the colliding neutron stars which birthed their wedding bands's precious metals
Cyanean the Sirens who sang, baring their breasts and showering flower petals
Albeit as but Angela's firestone de-Avis-ing Shulamith's disease
'If Adorno is left in peace, Capitalism will never cease!'


Envoi- 
Midons! Marx's laws are as the time release on Oxy
Be thou its Midas or go the way of Mayakovsky.


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Cuz, bridging be a beeyatch.

Danielle Allen- a MacAruthur Genius and Harvard Professor- whose parents bonded across a Racial divide, thinks 'bridging ties', that link people who come from different social spaces, are more important than 'bonding ties' between people who have something in common- like a baby. 
She says- 'Since the 1970s, scholars have been aware that “bridging ties” are especially powerful for generating knowledge transmission; more recently, scholars have argued convincingly that teams and communities that, first, emphasize bridging ties and, second, successfully learn how to communicate across their differences outperform more homogenous teams and communities with regard to the development and deployment of knowledge.'
Every clause of every sentence in the above is obvious nonsense.

1) Since the '70's scholars in shite subjects, more especially at Ivy League, haven't been aware of anything, least of all their own ignorance and stupidity. Mark Granovetter did write a much cited paper- 'the strength of weak ties'- in 1969 and it has been very widely cited. Indeed, he was mentioned in connection with an Econ Nobel. But then Social Networks get pruned by purely Economic forces.

2) 'Knowledge transmission'? What is that exactly? Knowledge is created and destroyed. Where any two create or destroy Knowledge together, a bond- something approaching a vinculum juris- not a bridge is created. Memes may get transmitted just as germs are transmitted. Not so Knowledge. Knowledge involves justifiable trust. It isn't just hearsay. It must pass a due diligence test. This means it uses up scarce resources. Trust is costly. The highest degree of trust involves zero-knowledge proofs. This is something we don't have even with respect to ourselves and the reason we might subscribe to some system of askesis so as to establish ourselves in Truth.

3) No scholar in a shite subject has every argued anything convincingly even to fellow shite scholars- which is why their subject is shite. Availability cascades are a different matter. No team or community ever started off by emphasising bridging ties. If it did, that's all it would do. Teams and communities are held together by the bond of co-creation- stuff like making babies, or money, or pushing forward a scientific research program. Communication can be entirely phatic- everybody high fiving & fist bumping each other. A community characterised by phatic communication might appear to be great at bridging but every, oh so affable!, fist bumping member of it may view every other with dark suspicion and thus bonds may never be created. Communications can be 'cheap talk'. It characterises a pooling equilibrium trapped in a Prisoner's dilemma. 'Costly signals' make for separating equilibria which feature complexity gradients and permit higher levels of organisation. They may also feature far less phatic communication- or indeed no communication at all save through some abstract nexus. A guy in Tokyo may collaborate with a guy in Toronto on a mathematical or programming project without ever meeting or speaking the same language. What is important is that interchange at a given complexity level is reliable, cheap, and convergent to a zero-knowledge proof protocol. Essentially, if we can get confidence regarding the rationality and competence of a counter-party, we don't need to socialise with them to monitor their willingness or ability to keep their side of the bargain. Information from this type of reliable source is knowledge. Anything else is just chit-chat and doesn't alter our behaviour or episteme.

4) No heterogeneous team or community outperforms one which is homogeneous with respect to which ever costly signal gives rise to the needful, complexity gradient based, separating equilibrium. Math has progressed by leaps and bounds because shitheads like me are screened out. Whatever shite subject Allen professes has degenerated calamitously because its screening mechanism is adversely selective. At one time, Classicists would have called foul on a Nussbaum's tolmema. Bad philology attracted the wrath of good philologists. That time has passed because philology took a wrong turn with Buckhardt and, devoting itself to sedulous mendacity, became the purveyor of ignoble but modish lies.

Like her father, William Barclay Allen, the anti affirmative action African American Political Scientist who, bizarrely, believes that the US Constitution granted full citizenship to Blacks ab ovo, Danielle Allen gushes like a school girl over the Declaration of Independence- which rendered void Dumore's Emancipation Proclamation and condemned her paternal ancestors' to slavery- but has some waspish, but utterly misguided, observations, fatal to the amour propre of her own bien pensant class.

This quote from the Guardian captures this contrarian aspect of hers-
Robert Putnam, in 'Bowling Alone: 'The Collapse and Revival of American Community', argued that the US's stock of "social capital" – informal social connectedness and formal civic engagement – had fallen to dangerously low levels. Americans, said Putnam, were far less likely to be members of community organisations, clubs or associations in the 1990s than they were in the 1950s. He argued the causes of this decline were commuting, compulsive television-viewing and 1960s counter culture. Allen says the reason for the decline was more prosaic. In 1987, the US supreme court ruled that 26 of 32 clubs studied by Putnam were illegal because women were barred from membership.
Of course, this is nonsense. The Rotarians and Kiwanis and so on needed to become more family friendly and provide a space for couples to bring their kids because the middle class was increasingly dual-income and featured shared domestic chores and child care. Also they needed to offer recreational drugs and not be as boring as fuck.

Allen has a different take. She believes that the term 'Social Scientist' is not an oxymoron. In the same Guardian article she says
"Putnam has a huge influence on public policy in Europe and the US. But he made an error of significant proportions."
Putnam had zero influence because he was American and a Professor of a shite subject. Allen too is American and a Professor of a shite subject. What impression did Putnam's work leave upon her? The answer is, Putnam left the impression on her that Putnam was talking shite. Shite doesn't influence anyone. It puts them off. Mutatis mutandis, the same thing can be said of her own work. Why? Coz she is a Professor of a shite subject.
Even worse, four years later, Putnam claimed US studies showed trust and co-operation fell as communities became less homogeneous. This led to the idea, propagated in the UK by Demos's David Goodhart and universities minister David Willetts, that there is a limit to how much diversity a welfare state can tolerate – and ultimately translated into calls for a cap on immigration.
Urm...caps on immigration were put in before I was born to stop people like me coming in and stinking up the place with our curries and popadoms. Goodhart and Willetts had a but ephemeral salience. Like Putnam, they influenced nothing and have faded from even bien pensant horizons.
Allen says those who have raised questions over the consequences of immigration – including Miliband – "have missed a step". She says there is no trade-off between diversity and community, it is about people learning to "bridge" cultures. "Diversity plus social competence at bridging relationships leads to far more effective problem-solving. Therapists help us get better at our bonding relationships. Who helps us get better at bridging relationships?"
Graciella Chichilnisky's work shows that if preference diversity is too great, there will be no gains from trade, or indeed communication. But the bar for communication can be pretty low. Pidgin will do fine for most economic and epistemic exchanges and, in any case, will turn into a full fledged Creole within a generation.
What does 'social competence' mean? Nothing very much if you aren't trusted. A morose misanthrope who communicates by means of grunts may yet be trusted and thus can run a roaring trade whereas a hail fellow well met type fails to make an impact as an arbitrageur.
What matters is whether a bond expressible as a vinculum juris arises from observed conduct. No amount of 'bridging', which doesn't terminate in such a bond, can retain salience.

Bridges, we have all learnt, are only important because trolls live under them. Brexit and Trump's apotheosis show that all those wonderful bridges Allen and Obama and Milliband were so busy building went nowhere but did shelter the trolls who have put their Twitterer in Chief in the White House.
The more bridging relationships in a society, the more that society appears democratic, egalitarian and "connected", Allen believes. The opposite happens when small cliques hoard contacts, access to information and, ultimately, power. No society is perfectly connected, she says, and, in the UK class divides are far greater than in the US, where race segments society.
A bridge doesn't just shelter trolls, it also can be used to exact tolls. Coordination games arise where Preference diversity fulfils a 'Goldilocks condition' such that there are gains from trade. Dis-coordination games- e.g. when Allen's Mummy and Daddy got married and raised a family- arise where preferences change and become univocal with respect to at least one thing- like making sure baby gets the bestest start in life. Not all babies. Just ours coz she sure is the bestest baby ever. Discoordination games generate arbitrage opportunities- cultural 'market makers', including pedagogues- who thereby garner a rent and talk each other up like they have some fundamental significance or ontological privilege.
Allen's ideas of connecting people to policy lie behind Obama's success and should be emulated by Miliband's party, she argues. She points out that Obama is slowly morphing his re-election campaign into a non-profit group – Organising for Action – that will build public support through community-organising for the president's policies, including gun control and an overhaul of immigration laws.
This is hilarious stuff. Obama's success had to do with putting a Nigger in the White House so as to scare Wall Street straight. White voters thought he'd go ape-shit on the Bankers. But, no drama Obama- Allen tells us- was busy doing something else- 'Organising for Action' without actually acting at all. Consider Obamacare. It is badly drafted legislation- though admittedly an unforeseen event, the death of Sen. Kennedy- threw a spanner in the works. Still, the fact is it did not create a vocal pressure group able to lock in the program. Rather, much of it remained vulnerable to a stroke of the presidential pen. Arguably, never before has a 'policy wonk' purposely designed Legislation which binds successors so little.

This is the other side of drafting legislation- you need to identify a constituency willing and able to defend the proposed gain. Obama was a superb communicator. He may well have had organisational talents to match. But, the impression he left was of a certain cerebral aloofness, an Olympian fatalism. He had said 'We can' and he meant other Americans had to exercise their own volition. He did not say 'I will'. Thus 'organising for action' appeared diffuse and focused on wedge issues. It was not, as people had expected, a grass roots movement aimed at defending affordable healthcare and other such vital concerns of ordinary Americans.
Embedding this into a party lessens the possibility of politicians talking about community politics in opposition, but practicing technocratic politics in power. "The idea is having lots of local conversations and bringing people's stories to the table when policy is formed. [Organising for Action] is probably what Obama will lead after he leaves the White House."
 So, with hindsight, Allen didn't understand what was happening in the White House under a President she was quite close to. She talked high minded piffle back then. What is she doing now?

The answer is she's jumping belatedly on a Black Lives matter type bandwagon except she is doing it in the perverse manner of her father. Thus, she tells the story of her cousin who, incarcerated at the age of 15, thrived in Jail- finding love, a vocation as a fire fighter, and also getting a GED- but was shot by that same lover three years after being released. The boy had been safer in jail and what's more had known it even at the age of 15. Why? He wasn't very good at shooting people. He was robbing a middle aged man at gun point when the geezer grabbed his gun and shot him in the neck. On Allen's account, it seems the kid immediately realised that the Crips would kill him, as a potential informant, unless he got sent away for a good long stretch which is why he spontaneously confessed to two other crimes in which gang members might have been involved.

If he'd got 25 years under three strikes, he'd be alive today. Indeed, he might have developed into a better writer than Allen.

Allen has a different view- one based on meta-metaphoricity. She takes a figure of speech for a literal fact and erects another figure of speech, also to be taken as a literal fact, on the basis of it.
“To fight back against the War on Drugs,” Allen writes, “the drug gangs who took the business seriously established their own system of deterrence. In short, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, you’re shot immediately. In the knee first. You try to buck again? Then maybe you’re killed. Or maybe someone you love is killed.”
The 'war on drugs' was just a figure of speech, like Nixon's 'the war on cancer'. Breaking Bad fused these two metaphors in an artistic way. What Allen is doing, by contrast, is sophomoric sophistry. Gangs kill people so as to control territory and make money. They do this even in countries where there is no 'War on Drugs'. The Crips and the Bloods predate the 1970 Drug Control Act.

A certain section of African American males had better health and educational outcomes, not to mention lower mortality, if they were incarcerated. Other African Americans voted for longer sentences for such males- though, showing superior rationality, they were less likely to favor the 'Three strikes' proposition, support for which had been fuelled by a horrible case involving a white child rapist and killer.
 No one, not Obama, not Allen, put a better choice on the menu for African Americans. In the case of Obama, we may say that there was a concurrency or McKelvey chaos type problem. Allen is simply naive.

This isn't to say Allen is not a good and virtuous woman- though she writes badly.
She genuinely did a lot of 'bridging' for her cuz- getting him an apartment, a job and a library card- when he came out but that bridging failed because it wasn't a bond. Similarly, her academic work bridges a shite type of Classical studies with saying stupid things about the Constitution and contemporary politics. This creates gains for gesture politics' despicable trade in Academic availability cascades- and as such would happen anyway- but it binds nothing together because nothing unique, no 'apoorvata', is created thereby. Babies- or even the possibility of babies- bind people of the most diverse sort together. Books, too, can serve the same end. Not Allen's books. They testify to nothing but the inutility of a Genius (even if only a MacArthur Genius) dedicating itself to shite studies.

Allen has a curious theory about why her cousin was incarcerated for so long at such a young age.
California’s legislators had given up on the idea of rehabilitation in prison, even for juveniles. This is a point that critics of the penal system make all the time. Here is what they don’t say: legislators had also given up on retribution. Anger drives retribution. When the punishment fits the crime, retribution is achieved, and anger is sated; it softens. This is what makes it anger, not hatred, a distinction recognized by philosophers all the way back to antiquity. Retribution limits how much punishment you can impose.
Anger doesn't soften. If feeds on itself. The guy who gets angry with his wife for burning the roast and who gets away with slapping her will, one day, kick her head in for over-buttering the toast. The victim of road rage will testify that 'retribution' has nothing to do with the quantum of 'punishment' meted out.
No philosopher in antiquity or modern times has ever suggested that anger should be linked to punishment. Moral indignation- perhaps. Not anger.

Why is Allen making such a ridiculous claim? She has  previously told us that half of males in her cousin's cohort, in the County in which he lived, were linked to gangs. They had higher mortality on the streets than in jail. Those lower down the food chain were simply taken out of circulation and warehoused because nothing could be done for them and they could do nothing for themselves. On occasion, it was parents or loved ones who reported these adolescents to the police. No doubt, drugs played a part in dis-inhibiting in-group violence. Certainly, drugs were the a currency but extortion and prostitution and theft and so on also featured. Allen's cousin was arrested for carjacking. That is why he was tried as an adult.
The legislators who voted to try as adults sixteen-year-olds, and then fourteen-year-olds, were not interested in retribution. They had become deterrence theorists.
This is nonsense. A legislator who poses as a 'theorist' won't get re-elected. Folksy is the way to go.

In any case, nobody thought that 15 year olds like Allen's cousin could be deterred from anything. They could only be taken out of circulation till they had passed what Tacitus calls 'Youth's dangerous years'. Nor did anyone feel any rage against these kids. They simply had to be taken off the streets for their own good and be warehoused somewhere where they didn't have access to guns.

Reading Allen's article, we get a picture of a kid with no impulse control. If he had shot his victim, rather than let his victim get hold of the gun and shoot him, he would have gotten better at shooting people and thrived as a gangster, till drugs or a bullet ended his career.

It is true that California's 'three strike rule' was intended as a deterrent. One consequence was that gangsters recruited kids to do the shooting. It is also true that a good lawyer could have got Allen's young cousin a much better deal. But, the boy himself didn't want bail. He felt safer in jail. Perhaps  his mother  wanted him off the streets till he'd matured a little more. She thought he'd get 7 years which might come down with good behavior. He got almost double that. We can't say that was too long. Had it been even longer, he'd be alive.

Allen thinks legislators 'design' sentencing policy in the manner of wonkish Social Engineers. Perhaps they do so in Scandinavia. But California? In the Nineties? Are you kidding me?
They were designing sentences not for people but for a thing: the aggregate level of crime. They wanted to reduce that level, regardless of what constituted justice for any individual involved. The target of Michael’s sentence was not a bright fifteen-year-old boy with a mild proclivity for theft but the thousands of carjackings that occurred in Los Angeles. Deterrence dehumanizes.  It directs at the individual the full hatred that society understandably has for an aggregate phenomenon. But no individual should bear that kind of responsibility.
This is nonsense. If Allen's cousin had been involved in the 'parastate'- i.e. a proper Drug gang- he'd have had a good lawyer. If his family had believed his only problem was 'a mild proclivity for theft' , rather than a habit of armed robbery, they would have done a lot more to keep him out of jail.
His Mum certainly didn't hate him. She wasn't concerned with 'the aggregate level of crime'. She just wanted him locked up somewhere he couldn't get hold of a gun and, in concordance with his 'mild proclivity for theft', try jacking some dude who grabs his gun and shoots him in the neck with it.


Allen has a different explanation. Apparently, her family- for some reason- believes in 'retribution'. They don't beat the shit out of a kid who steals as their grandparents would have done, they expect the State to do 'rehabilitation' for them. Why? Apparently, because they believed American jails were lovely little places where kids don't get sodomized.
“How could it have happened?” is the question everyone asks. Where were the lawyers? What did your family do? I think back to the stolen radio. Michael came from a family who believed that if you did something wrong you admitted it, you fixed it, and you suffered the consequences. Michael was guilty of the attempted carjacking; he was going to have to suffer the consequences. Our family trusted in the fairness of the criminal-justice system. At each turn, we learned too late that this system was no longer what we thought it was, that its grip was mercilessly tightening, that our son would be but one among many millions soon lost in its vise.
Wow! The kid's uncle was Prof. William Barclay Allen-  Chairman of the American Committee on Civil Rights in Reagan's final term. Even if this proves he is an idiot, his sister had no degree and thus must have been relatively sensible. She made a rational decision. The kid had higher life expectancy in jail. Indeed, had he gone to trial and got 25 years- he'd be alive today. True, if trans-gender maniacs with a 'mild proclivity' for shooting their boyfriends had been kept out of male prisons, then, too, Allen's cuz wouldn't have ended up with a bullet in his head. Still, it will be difficult to persuade us that these two wonderful young people- one of whom kept cutting the other who, however, could knock the other out with a punch- with 'mild proclivities' towards gun related crime shouldn't be simply warehoused somewhere where they couldn't shoot each other. Their world may well have been a Dantesque Inferno, but ours is less so without them in it.

Ultimately, Allen herself stopped 'bridging' with her cuz because, it turned out, he had an actual bond with a crazy trangender ex-con who, from the sound of things, was pressurising him to put the bite on his rich, bien pensant, relative. But, underneath the Ivy League veneer, it turned out Allen had shrewd instincts. The following could have been written by a young V.S Naipaul

He had found an apartment, he told me, and was ready to put down a deposit. Could I come and see it? The place was on the fourth floor of a vintage Craftsman-style building overlooking the 101 freeway. It was big and spacious, with gleaming wood floors. As I wound through the rooms, Michael began telling me about how he and Bree wanted to move in.
I had no idea he was still seeing Bree, let alone making plans to move in together. My face must have conveyed surprise, though I tried not to react too strongly. (Learning how to suppress visible emotion is an occupational demand of being a dean.) I told him that I wanted to know what the job situation was. Had he lined up a new gig? What did Bree do—did she have a job? Our voices echoed in the empty apartment. Michael leaned against a windowsill, the sky and the freeway shining behind him.
There was something shamefaced in him as he answered. No, he didn’t have a job. Bree was into hair styling, but, no, she didn’t have one, either. What, exactly, were they thinking? Michael didn’t have much of an answer. Plainly, the plan involved taking advantage of me to some degree.
In that moment, I encountered a different Michael from the one I knew. I saw something calculating, something I’d never seen before. I didn’t ask to talk to Bree, who I’d come to realize was the woman in the gold Mercedes crawling past our homecoming party. All I was able to say was that I couldn’t possibly pay the deposit—plus some number of months’ rent, plus co-sign a lease—when neither of them had a job.
Michael’s face tensed. He said he understood.
This was the day I understood that the idea that I could stand my baby cousin up on his own two feet was a fantasy; it had always had too much of me in it. From this point on, Michael ceased confiding in me. Our phone conversations never burrowed below the surface. I no longer knew how to help.
So, there was never a real bond here- just some amateur bridging of a bien pensant sort which was abandoned once the realization dawned that the thing could be written off as experience- and, if an appropriate bandwagon chanced to trundle by, written down as a type of 'literature' whose worth is not related to anything alethic or aesthetic but which is measured by academic citations of an article, ironically, titled 'The Life of a South Central Statistic'.

What is wrong with Danielle Allen?
What was wrong with her father?
Why is this woman writing- 'Michael ceased confiding in me' when we know he never confided in her?
Why does she blame the 'Drug Wars' and the 'parastate' for her cuz's conviction for carjacking? She herself tells us he only got into drugs a couple of years after his release when he had street cred as 'Big Mike' and had better impulse control and so could be trusted with a consignment.

Why does she speak of anger and retribution when nobody in the Nineties felt any anger towards these kids and their own families wanted them put away in a place they couldn't get hold of guns?

The last question is easily answered. Allen's thesis was on ancient Athenian penal practices or some such thing. It was worthless, but then the Academy had already turned to shit in that respect so no great blame attaches to her.

Allen says of the ancient Athenians-
With rare exceptions, cases of punishment in Athens were directed at resolving a problem that had arisen between two people and that were identified when someone said he was angry.
 This is silly. Wrongdoing was punished. In certain cases, the Ecclessia was urged to feel outrage at the wrongdoing in the same way that a modern prosecutor, or Judge pronouncing sentence, articulates a Civic duty to condemn specific actions as abhorrent and greatly to be condemned.

Take the case of Euthyphro. He is going to Court to charge his father with the murder of a slave. Why? Is he angry at his Dad? No. He is doing what is right. The Court will probably levy a small fine and this will purge the family's guilt and restore their ritual purity and respectable status in their community. Most court cases are of this type but they don't get recorded because they lack drama. Allen has been misled into talking worthless shite by a textual availability cascade.
Anger was so central to the Athenian experience of wrong-doing and punishment that courtroom litigants could describe laws as having been established for the purpose of establishing what levels of anger were appropriate for various acts of wrong-doing.
Rubbish! They were saying that some acts are more outrageous than others.  But, we can substitute the word 'repugnant' for 'outrage' with equal justice. In certain highly dramatic cases, disgust can turn to anger. If some mentally challenged paraplegic loser behaves like Harvey Weinstein, we feel disgust but not anger because the fellow did not have the wherewithal to do any damage. We feel disgusted with Weinstein but also anger because he could and should have acted otherwise.

Allen is talking bollocks about ancient Athenians because she thinks we know nothing and care nothing for them
Demosthenes writes: “Observe that the laws treat the wrong-doer who acts intentionally and with hubris as deserving greater anger and punishment; this is reasonable because while the injured party everywhere deserves support, the law does not ordain that the anger against the wrongdoer should always be the same” . Anger was thus assumed to be not only the source of particular punishments but also at the root of law itself.  Athenians accordingly felt relatively little uncertainty or unease about why (that is, in response to what causes) they punished: they acted in response to anger.
Anger was not at the root of the law for the Athenians. Solon was not an angry man- he was a poet. Thumos- which is 'spiritedness' and corresponds to Sanskrit 'rajas'- does also mean a healthy type of indignation that is protective of honourable conduct and fair dealing. Orge is another type of anger- what in Sanskrit we call manyu- which is dark and brooding and poisonous to the commonweal. Neither term can be translated simply as 'Anger' because English owes most to the Bible which views anger that is provoked (parogismos) in a wholly negative way.

Allen describes the type of punishment Socrates would have been meted out had he not had wealthy friends who could pay a lot of money for the privilege of taking hemlock.
'the convict was (probably) fastened to a board with iron collars around wrists, ankles, and neck, and the collar around the neck was tightened to strangle the wrongdoer.'
This was wonderfully humane because no blood was shed and anyway people only got convicted if someone else was angry with them.
When it came time to punish, the Athenians acted out of anger and to cure anger, but this does not mean that they acted in anger. Rather, they interposed an extensive institutional system between the moment when an angry victim pointed to a wrong-doer and the infliction of punishment. The purpose of this system was to allow the citizens to convert a moment of private anger into a public decision crafted with a view to curing the community through a restoration of peace.
So that's what happened to Socrates. Some guy got angry with him and so he was sentenced to death- not out of anger- but to extirpate wrath from the body politic. Oddly, this does not seem to have worked at all. Socrates's friends were angry at what happened to him. Peace was not restored. Faction and counter-faction flourished.

What Allen is saying is terribly foolish- viz. that ancient Athenians thought anger could be soothed by crucifying some guy who made some other guy angry. This is the sort of thing some worthless, publicity hungry, Anthropologist might say about some remote Amazonian tribe. The Athenians themselves satirised 'snowflake' type indignation or 'ressentiment' based prosecutions. Aristophanes satirises the elderly jury-man who can't wait to get to court to cast a black ball against some blameless defendant.  Allen must know this. But she has a paper to write and she is a Professor of a shite subject, so her task is to promulgate the most obviously and ludicrously false thesis anyone can imagine. Her cuz, by contrast, was truthful. He confessed his crimes and did his time. Yes he was killed. But he was killed by his lover. He had thumos but not orge and, by his death, outlives both, for his readers, in some sunny fields of asphodel where no Fear is, nor Hate, nor privation of the Spirit.  And that is Justice.

The root of sin is lust and the desire to satisfy that lust. . . . Lust only creates wanting and wanting creates greed and greed burns Flesh. It is lust that causes us to believe we have to have something at all cost. This is my suffering, this is my hell. 24 hours all night. There is no day. My soul in its entirety is in darkness.

There are those who await to fulfill their destiny. I see in them a sincere and apologetic heart for their ill misdeeds. They are the one who will change the world positively or positively change someone’s world. Hell cannot hold the latter of the two opposites but in time will only spit them back out into society to do what is right. The hell that I live in cannot hold Dante. Hell can test and try one’s self but it cannot hold Dante and it will not hold me. In the Inferno, the dead are trapped forever. Surely, the biggest and most important difference in the Inferno and my hell called prison, is that I have a way out.
Danielle complains that the preacher at her cuz's funeral descended into 'an anti-Semitic rant about moneylenders and lawyers'. Dante, famously, was kinder  on the sodomites- like Bruno Latini- than the usurers. Jews, of course, were just fucked. Perhaps, Allen's cuz- whose beloved was transitioning, saw a particular 'crime against nature' being reversed by surgery and took this as an outward and visible sign of a Grace which, if it prevails not against wrath in this World, yet descends never entirely in vain. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cinara vs Lyce


Like a poke from the MILF of a, now, but Face Book friend
Or some meretricious Sylph who on Twitter might trend
Interring Cinara in Lycemater saeva Cupidinum.
 So senescence serve Dike, call the stupid dumb

Envoi- 
Prince! From Pindaric palinode, Horatian recusatio therein canonises a Malatesta
 Kairos such Eros as, Galeotto, excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta

Bruce Gilley and the case for his colon.

The Third World Quarterly has withdrawn Bruce Gilley's article 'The case for Colonialism' on the basis of  'credible threats' of 'personal violence'.

Was the article any good in the first place? Let us see- (my comments are in  bold)
For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. Nonsense! A little less than a hundred years ago, the British and the French and the Belgians were given League of Nations' Mandates- later the U.N would do the same thing- over territory controlled by defeated powers. Clearly, at the time, Western Colonialism was considered a good thing, not a bad thing at all. It is true that Colonialism wasn't a particularly paying proposition and ceased to be militarily & financial viable by the late Forties or Fifties. However, Colonialism didn't really have a bad name at all. India's annexation of Portuguese Goa was vigorously protested. Niradh Chaudhri was acclaimed by the Brits as a master of English prose because he said that Bengalis were a pile of shite and needed proper Aryans to rule over them. He hoped the Americans would step up to the plate. 
Later, V.S Naipaul got a Nobel for harping on the same theme. However, once Americans discovered that 'Nation building' was tough- which is why the Army refused to do it- and an excuse for colossal corruption- they too recoiled from it. Colonialism has a bad name today because the thing can't be done profitably & without a lot of body bags. Similarly, Professors of Political Science have a bad name today because everybody can see that the sort of shithead that would take the job under current conditions must be stupider and more ignorant than anyone able to work Google Assistant on her smartphone.
 It is high time to question this orthodoxy. Why? What's changed? 
Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts. So what? The thing was supposed to make a profit or contribute positively to one's defence capacity. In order for that to be possible, obviously, it either had to wipe out or marginalise indigenous people or else it had to 'objectively benefit' them in some way and thus gain some sliver of 'subjective legitimacy'. Otherwise it wouldn't have existed. There would have been no 'Western Colonialism' just a war zone where Westerners kept wasting money and getting killed. 
The countries that embraced their colonial inheritance, by and large, did better than those that spurned it. Nonsense! Countries stable enough to maintain administrative continuity did better than countries too unstable to maintain any sort of continuity.  Why? Was it because of stuff to do with 'embracing' or 'smooching' or anything of that sort? Nope. What mattered was if effective Governance was achieved on an incentive compatible basis. Inheritance had nothing to do with it.
Anti-colonial ideology imposed grave harms on subject peoples and continues to thwart sustained development and a fruitful encounter with modernity in many places. This is sheer stupidity. Subject people are incapable of harming themselves no matter what ideology they espouse because, by definition, they have no power. That's what makes them a subject people.  Perhaps what this idiot Professor means is 'newly liberated people suffered because they did not understand that Colonial institutions were useful and thus they destroyed those institutions because they were motivated by a mischievous anti-colonial ideology.' However, this view is foolish. Why? Because 'newly liberated people' cared about bread and butter issues- not about ideology. Their leaders cared about increasing their own power and revenue. They may have pretended to care about ideology but it was all just pretence. Why? Because ideology is shite. Only very very stupid and ignorant people- the sort who might become Associate Professors of Poli Sci at Portland State Uni- think 'ideology' aint a joke word used only by gobshites and blemmya whose heads are lodged securely up their rectums.  
Colonialism can be recovered by weak and fragile states today in three ways: by reclaiming colonial modes of governance; by recolonising some areas; and by creating new Western colonies from scratch. If a State is weak and fragile it can't enforce its authority even within its own borders. Thus it can't do any of these things Gilley suggests. Myanmar has a pretty impressive army. Yet, it struggles to 'recolonise some areas'. Aung San Suu Kyi would last for about 5 minutes if she tried to 'reclaim colonial modes of governance'- like putting the Army Chief on trial for genocide.  Even if she granted the Americans a naval base in Rakhine, she would still have to flee. China may be able to operate a naval base there, but it would have to turn a blind eye to ethnic cleansing. No Western nation is going to set up a 'new Western Colony' in some 'weak and fragile state'. It wouldn't be profitable for one thing. It also probably wouldn't be legal because of things like the Alien Torts Act.

Gilley thinks Colonialism ended because of 'anti Colonialism' rather than because it was no longer viable.
 I suppose, in the case of Singapore and Cyprus and Aden, there is some truth to this. After all the Royal Navy might have wanted to retain these strategic colonies and the Americans could have supplied the cash to make it feasible. Sadly, anti-colonial demagogues; like Lee Kwan Yew, and that 'Castro of the Mediterranean', Archbishop Makarios; put paid to this dream. True, Britain retains its base in Cyprus- but only because the US insists they stay. The Greek Cypriots know that the Americans will recognise the Turkish breakaway Republic if they make trouble.
 governments and peoples in developing countries (need) to replicate as far as possible the colonial governance of their pasts – as successful countries like Singapore, Belize and Botswana did
Gilley thinks Singapore replicates as far as possible 'the colonial governance' of its past. He must be mad. It is run on very different principles. That's why Mrs. Thatcher wanted to make Britain more like Singapore rather than the other way round. Unfortunately, she was too stupid to understand how the Singapore Financial Sector actually works. Lee Kwan Yew didn't try to explain it to her. British politicians are as thick as shit. Why waste your breath?
Cyprus, it is true, is better than Greece, because of the superiority of British institutions, but those institutions were still shit when compared to Singapore's which is why they are now in a hole.

What about Botswana? Is it replicating 'colonial governance'? Hardly. There was hardly any governance to replicate. It made things up as it went along. Belize has an even tinier population than either Singapore or Botswana. It can either continue in vassalage to some private company or other or else get gobbled up by Guatemala.

Gilley quotes Africans in failed states asking 'when are the Europeans coming back?' The answer is never. The thing isn't profitable and Europe is, in any case, too weak.

On the other hand, it is quite true that stupid shitheads write books about evil colonialists. But only shitheads read those books. The debate is a circle jerk for dickless wonders. It may be that these guys get paid a little for this fluff but it is very very little. Now that they are getting physically threatened, they will drop even the pretence of 'critical' argument and 'peer review' and other such bullshit.

Western Colonialism is as dead as the dodo. Western Poli Sci is as brain dead as that dodo's Uncle wot sexually molested it when it was but a chick. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we create a truly autonomous Academy where sexually molested dodos can speak truth to power and recover memories of having been Bruce Gilley's colon. There is a case for serious debate on only that last aspect of the extinct bird.