Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Today's 'beast from the East'.

Are these my own ashes or is this snow?
That, in thickening flurries, so furrows my brow
A dog turd encased in ice
Did some urchin throw- it would be nice. 

Envoi- 
Prince! Thy 'beast from the East' is so consummate a Priest!
Twixt Xmas and Easter, must Misery yet feast Her?

Tim Rogan on Amartya Sen


To critique something means to evaluate it in a detailed and analytical way. Critiquing Capitalism entails evaluating financial markets and figuring out why and when they can allocate capital in an optimal manner.

Amartya Sen has never studied financial markets. He has no theory of how to allocate capital. Yet Tim Rogan, a Cambridge historian, believes he has critiqued Capitalism.

Critiques of capitalism come in two varieties. First, there is the moral or spiritual critique. This critique rejects Homo economicus as the organising heuristic of human affairs. Human beings, it says, need more than material things to prosper. Calculating power is only a small part of what makes us who we are. Moral and spiritual relationships are first-order concerns. Material fixes such as a universal basic income will make no difference to societies in which the basic relationships are felt to be unjust.
This is not a critique of Capitalism. It is not based on a detailed and analytical evaluation of financial markets or of capital allocation. It is a criticism of Capitalism of a wholly normative type. It does not involve any knowledge of Economics or Philosophy. A poet or a preacher or a failed prostitute might make this criticism with more conviction than a person who, for better or worse, has taught Economics for far too many years.

Then there is the material critique of capitalism. The economists who lead discussions of inequality now are its leading exponents. Homo economicus is the right starting point for social thought. We are poor calculators and single-minded, failing to see our advantage in the rational distribution of prosperity across societies. Hence inequality, the wages of ungoverned growth. But we are calculators all the same, and what we need above all is material plenty, thus the focus on the redress of material inequality. From good material outcomes, the rest follows.
If Capital is efficiently allocated and financial markets are incentive compatible then though National Income increases, Labour's share is likely to fall. If Capital is inefficiently allocated and financial markets are incentive incompatible then National Income may fall. It is likely that some working class people will fall below the social minimum. In both cases, distributional efficiency has worsened. To redress matters, Human Capital formation needs to increase or financial market mechanism design needs to be improved.
It is certainly possible to 'critique' any given Capitalist regime along these lines. However, Amartya Sen has never done so.

The first kind of argument for capitalism’s reform seems recessive now. The material critique predominates. Ideas emerge in numbers and figures. Talk of non-material values in political economy is muted. The Christians and Marxists who once made the moral critique of capitalism their own are marginal. Utilitarianism grows ubiquitous and compulsory.
This is nonsense. We decided long ago that a lot of markets are repugnant and so we no longer have them. The State provides many merit goods either directly or with some element of market involvement. The Business Enterprise 'internalises' a lot of externalities and has evolved a culture and ethos which is not solely focused on the bottom line. The Law has sometimes taken the initiative in changing the commercial ethos by directly tackling gender and racial discrimination. Economists like Roland Fryer do highly detailed and analytically brilliant work not just 'critiquing' Capitalism but enabling Courts to change it for the better.

Utilitarianism was a silly availability cascade which lost salience long ago. It belongs to the history of Economic thought. No doubt, some stupid Professors can make a living regurgitating worthless courses on it but they represent Credentialised Preference falsification- nothing more

Rogan has hit upon one such savant-

But then there is Amartya Sen.

Every major work on material inequality in the 21st century owes a debt to Sen.
 Yes- but these 'major works' are all worthless. Just because some Professors make money writing shite doesn't mean any actual debt is created when they quote each other. Shite is shite. It isn't worth anything in itself.
But his own writings treat material inequality as though the moral frameworks and social relationships that mediate economic exchanges matter.
Economic scarcity very quickly alters 'moral frameworks' and 'social relationships'.  That is why the State has to step in if there is a food availability deficit. It can't leave things to charity or 'the moral economy'. Every single country in the world learned this lesson during the course of the Twentieth Century.
Famine is the nadir of material deprivation. But it seldom occurs – Sen argues – for lack of food. To understand why a people goes hungry, look not for catastrophic crop failure; look rather for malfunctions of the moral economy that moderates competing demands upon a scarce commodity.
This is shite. Vietnam, Holland and Bengal experienced famines due to food availability deficit during the Second World war. They had different types of 'moral economy' but the outcome was the same. It was obvious that the State had to step in and organise a public food distribution system.
Material inequality of the most egregious kind is the problem here. But piecemeal modifications to the machinery of production and distribution will not solve it. The relationships between different members of the economy must be put right. Only then will there be enough to go around.
This is a crock of shite. Vinobha Bhave had organised 'bhoodan' and 'graamdaan'- but those villages in which the 'moral economy' had become more compassionate and egalitarian suffered even worse from food availability deficit. Only the State p.d.s could tackle the underlying problem. Pi-jaw about putting right 'the relationship between different members of the economy' was a complete and utter waste of time. Lal Bahadur Shastri told the Indian people to skip a meal. Restaurants would shut down so as to make more food available to the poor. Did this help? Nope. It was stupid. India needed to grow a lot more food- ending food availability deficit by using scientific means- and then distribute it through State ration shops.
In Sen’s work, the two critiques of capitalism cooperate. We move from moral concerns to material outcomes and back again with no sense of a threshold separating the two.
Right, because Sen is a worthless pile of shite. While he was in India, his big idea was that poor people should eat less so that the State gets a 'surplus' to invest in factories. This was a very very stupid idea. Indian workers needed to eat more, not less, so as to be more productive.
Sen didn't stick around to join the Planning Commission- he wasn't a complete sociopath- but emigrated to England instead and made his money honestly in the globalised market for Credentialist shite.
Sen disentangles moral and material issues without favouring one or the other, keeping both in focus. The separation between the two critiques of capitalism is real, but transcending the divide is possible, and not only at some esoteric remove. Sen’s is a singular mind, but his work has a widespread following, not least in provinces of modern life where the predominance of utilitarian thinking is most pronounced. In economics curricula and in the schools of public policy, in internationalist secretariats and in humanitarian NGOs, there too Sen has created a niche for thinking that crosses boundaries otherwise rigidly observed.
Right! Sen's worthless shite is useful for worthless U.N/ NGO gobshites. We all now know that these turds never helped any poor people. They were and are a white elephant simply.
This was no feat of lonely genius or freakish charisma. It was an effort of ordinary human innovation, putting old ideas together in new combinations to tackle emerging problems. Formal training in economics, mathematics and moral philosophy supplied the tools Sen has used to construct his critical system.
Critical system? Are you kidding me? Entitlements and Capabilites can't be measured. Sen has no way of distinguishing by an improvement in the H.D.M.I caused by Chavez type policies and one caused by South Korean type policies.
Sen was once a hero in India. Now he is considered a vain little gobshite who always gives the worst possible policy advise and makes the most ludicrous type off argument.
But the influence of Rabindranath Tagore sensitised Sen to the subtle interrelation between our moral lives and our material needs. And a profound historical sensibility has enabled him to see the sharp separation of the two domains as transient.
 Tagore was an artist and the leader of a religious sect. Sen is neither. Tagore condemned credentialised education. Sen chose to be an academic of the most boring and worthless sort. Rogan isn't Indian but even he must know that Sen's verbose shite is the polar opposite of Tagore's lyricism.

Tagore’s school at Santiniketan in West Bengal was Sen’s birthplace. Tagore’s pedagogy emphasised articulate relations between a person’s material and spiritual existences.
Nonsense! Shantiniketan was and is about the living arts of India. It wasn't about 'material' or 'spiritual' existence but about aesthetic excellence.
Both were essential – biological necessity, self-creating freedom – but modern societies tended to confuse the proper relation between them.
Yes, yes- that is the problem with modern societies. They get confused about the proper relationship between 'biological necessity' and 'self-creating freedom'. Which one is the 'top' and which the 'bottom'? If you all  go out to dinner together, do you hold out the chair for the former or the latter? Which one do you ask to carve the roast? If 'self creating freedom' gets up to go the loo, should you pick up your handbag and accompany it? Modern Societies get very confused by this sort of thing.
In Santiniketan, pupils played at unstructured exploration of the natural world between brief forays into the arts, learning to understand their sensory and spiritual selves as at once distinct and unified.
'Unstructured exploration of the natural world' eh? You mean they climbed trees. Cool.

Sen left Santiniketan in the late 1940s as a young adult to study economics in Calcutta and Cambridge. The major contemporary controversy in economics was the theory of welfare, and debate was affected by Cold War contention between market- and state-based models of economic order.
Sheer nonsense. Welfare Econ had been killed off by Arrow's theorem. There was a mathematical theory of growth and choice of technique. Sen was supposed to have gone in for it- but his maths wasn't in the Kolmogorov or Kantorovich class. Anyway, the Planning Commission in India quickly showed itself to be utterly silly. Sen, as a Professor, rediscovered Utilitarianism as a philosophy and then emigrated on the basis of his Social Choice shite.
Sen’s sympathies were social democratic but anti-authoritarian. Welfare economists of the 1930s and 1940s sought to split the difference, insisting that states could legitimate programmes of redistribution by appeal to rigid utilitarian principles: a pound in a poor man’s pocket adds more to overall utility than the same pound in the rich man’s pile.
Fuck off! There were no 'welfare economists of the 1930's and 1940's'. The subject hadn't developed enough for that sort of specialisation. Pigou's name is associated with ideas in both monetary and welfare econ.
No economist during the Depression was hollering about the principle of diminishing marginal utility. Why? It would have been silly to do so. What they were saying was 'let's put people back to work. It's crazy that machines are standing idle while the people who operate them are on the dole or lining up for the soup kitchen'.
Here was the material critique of capitalism in its infancy, and here is Sen’s response: maximising utility is not everyone’s abiding concern – saying so and then making policy accordingly is a form of tyranny – and in any case using government to move money around in pursuit of some notional optimum is a flawed means to that end.
Nonsense! Rogan is quoting a 1979 paper which had zero political impact. Sen had never opposed punitively redistributional taxes nor 'solidarity wages' on the Swedish model nor would he come out against Layard's Tax based Incomes policy which would synthesise the two. Instead he made the point that utility can't be measured. But then neither can capabilities nor entitlements no inequality nor Income nor Capital nor Wealth nor anything else.

Why is 'using (the) government to 'move money around' a 'flawed means'? What is the alternative? Instead of the state paying pensions or other transfers, who will do it? How will they get the money? Where will they get the information as to who should receive it?

Economic rationality harbours a hidden politics whose implementation damaged the moral economies that groups of people built up to govern their own lives, frustrating the achievement of its stated aims.
Utter nonsense! Perfect information was assumed and transfers were costless in the relevant models. That's why the State was conceived as costlessly redistributing income so as to equalise the marginal product of money. There was no 'hidden politics' at all.

Moral economies don't let 'groups of people' 'govern their own lives'. On the contrary, moral economies tell you what you can and can't do with your own resources. The khap panchayat represents a 'moral economy'. It may ban you from cultivating your land in a particular way or prevent you from taking up a specific profession- e.g. tanning- for a purely sociological reason.
In commercial societies, individuals pursue economic ends within agreed social and moral frameworks.
Fuck off! Commerce proceeds in the complete absence of 'social and moral' frameworks. A South African diamond cartel may have believed brown people to be subhuman but still sold diamonds to Gujeratis. All that matters is contract enforcement.
The social and moral frameworks are neither superfluous nor inhibiting. They are the coefficients of durable growth.
Rubbish! Social and moral frameworks change because of durable growth. They are dependent variables, not 'coefficients'. That's why Economics kicked Sociology in the goolies and stole its lunch money.
Moral economies are not neutral, given, unvarying or universal. They are contested and evolving.
And don't mean shit in the final analysis. They are just 'cheap talk' availability cascades.
Each person is more than a cold calculator of rational utility.
'More'? No person is a 'cold calculator of rational utility'. The thing is mathematically intractable. That's why we have 'regret minimization' not 'utility maximisation'.
Societies aren’t just engines of prosperity.
'Just'? Societies aren't engines of anything. They emerge as a cheap talk pooling equilibrium out of the interplay of economic forces. This involves, not 'prosperity but 'scarcity'.
The challenge is to make non-economic norms affecting market conduct legible, to bring the moral economies amid which market economies and administrative states function into focus.
There is no such challenge. Pi-jaw is noise. Ignore it- or, if that's what you are paid to produce, be prepared to be ignored or rendered otherwise ineffectual.
Thinking that bifurcates moral on the one hand and material on the other is inhibiting.
Nope. The rapist bifurcates 'moral' and 'material' but is quite disinhibited about fucking over her victim.
But such thinking is not natural and inevitable, it is mutable and contingent – learned and apt to be unlearned.
Sez you coz that's what happened during the Rape of Berlin. Soviet troops learned to rape German women because...urm... raping the enemy in revenge is not natural and inevitable but mutable and contingent.
Sen was not alone in seeing this. The American economist Kenneth Arrow was his most important interlocutor, connecting Sen in turn with the tradition of moral critique associated with R H Tawney and Karl Polanyi.
Arrow never mentioned Tawney or Polanyi. He was a student of Tarski who was influenced by a wholly different Socialist tradition.
Each was determined to re-integrate economics into frameworks of moral relationship and social choice.
Social Choice is a mathematical theory. Tawney & Polanyi were silly nutters with a romantic view of English history.
But Sen saw more clearly than any of them how this could be achieved.
Sen is a blinkered donkey turning in futile academic circles. He has never seen anything clearly. He does not know how to achieve anything.
He realised that at earlier moments in modern political economy this separation of our moral lives from our material concerns had been inconceivable.
In the past, as now, some writers got paid a little money to pretend that 'moral lives' were separate from 'material concerns'. Thus, even if equality for women or coloured people or Jews resulted in material prosperity it would be wrong to permit any such thing because clearly, women and Jews and niggers destroy the moral economy by reason of their long hair and chrematistic scheming and ginormous dicks.
Utilitarianism had blown in like a weather front around 1800, trailing extremes of moral fervour and calculating zeal in its wake.
Is that what happened? How come no one noticed? Bentham was considered a silly man. The young John Stuart Mill was a fucking clerk. Nobody gave a shit about Utilitarianism then or later. What mattered was Chartism and Trade Unions and so forth.
Sen sensed this climate of opinion changing, and set about cultivating ameliorative ideas and approaches eradicated by its onset once again.
What fucking climate of opinion is Rogan talking about? The fact that Reagan and Thatcher were elected? Sen wasn't part of that. He wasn't part of anything. He was just a Professor of a holier than thou Ivy League type. But he had nothing substantive to say.

There have been two critiques of capitalism, but there should be only one. Amartya Sen is the new century’s first great critic of capitalism because he has made that clear.
Utter bollocks! Critiques of capitalism focus on 'crises'- e.g. the subprime catastrophe and its aftermath. This necessitates studying capital markets. Sen hasn't done so. He is wholly irrelevant. Saying 'let's all be good' isn't a critique of anything.

Then there is the material critique of capitalism. The economists who lead discussions of inequality now are its leading exponents.
Why be shy? Name names. Who are these 'leading exponents'? Piketty? Anwar Shaikh? Who? But they aren't indebted to Sen in the slightest.
Homo economicus is the right starting point for social thought.
Nope. Social thought should begin with mimetic and network effects not by assuming substantive rationality of a cognitively costly type.
We are poor calculators and single-minded, failing to see our advantage in the rational distribution of prosperity across societies.
Which is why families don't exist. Men fail to see that they would be better off sharing stuff with their wives and kiddies and siblings and so forth. The business firm also doesn't exist for the same reason. Instead human beings exist as solitary hunter-gatherers.
Hence inequality, the wages of ungoverned growth.
What fucking 'ungoverned growth' has Zimbabwe or Venezuela seen? Inequality worsened in those countries. Why pretend that something bad is the side-effect of, or payment for, something good? Clearly, there is no such necessary connection. This is not 'moral science' but immoral imbecility of a Manichaean sort.
But we are calculators all the same, and what we need above all is material plenty, thus the focus on the redress of material inequality. From good material outcomes, the rest follows.
Fuck off! We are not calculators which is why our behaviour is mimetic. Very few people- even those with Wharton MBAs or PhDs in Actuarial Science- take positions in the market on the basis of their own calculations. The vast majority behave like herd animals.
Material plenty does not mean 'redress of material inequality' though it may militate for it. Good material outcomes- for example, improved HDI under Chavez- may or may not persist. It depends.
The first kind of argument for capitalism’s reform seems recessive now. The material critique predominates. Ideas emerge in numbers and figures. Talk of non-material values in political economy is muted. The Christians and Marxists who once made the moral critique of capitalism their own are marginal. Utilitarianism grows ubiquitous and compulsory.
What is this shite? Christians and Marxists and Islamists and Greens and every one of us after a couple of drinks talk the same shite that has always been talked. But that shite has nothing to do with the absurd, probably autistic, mummy of UCL- Jeremy Bentham.

There have been two critiques of capitalism, but there should be only one. Amartya Sen is the new century’s first great critic of capitalism because he has made that clear.
The critique of Capitalism is the Economic theory of capital allocation. Sen abandoned that field long ago preferring to pose as a 'Mother Theresa of Economics'. The philosophers think his Econ work holds up and the Economists think he understands philosophy. Actually, he is just a successful moral entrepreneur on the globalised market for credentialized shite. Good luck to him. He pays his taxes and ponces around talking bollocks as a living exemplar of Rothbard's law- 'Economists specialise in what they are least good at'.

What is Sen's alternative to what we have now? Nothing. Just more of the same pi-jaw. The man has achieved immortality through the sedulous pedagogy of premature brain-death. He is as much a mummy as Jeremy Bentham behind his glass display case at UCL.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Spenta Armaiti


Must increasing age diminish my mind's agility?
Or thy Vagina cage my heart's vagility?
Spenta Armaiti from this wet dream
Resurrect sons enow for a hockey team.

Envoi-
Prince! Tell thy Doctors, honorary, Oikos is to Artha as
Sri Devi's coronary to my post prandial gas.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Mary Beard asked the right question.

 Mary Beard is a Classicist. As such she may well believe that 'classical paideia'- i.e. an education in Latin and Greek- can act as a 'cordon sanitaire', to use Canetti's term, against a collapse of moral values and thus promote 'civilised' behaviour under adverse circumstances.

She tweeted- “I do wonder how hard it must be to sustain ‘civilised’ values in a disaster zone,”- and this is certainly a topic which other classicists could weigh in on.

My own feeling is that classical philology by itself has no magical power. However, it could be used as a costly signal for a separating equilibrium of an elite type. Here the 'classicists' would compose a caste with high esprit de corps and a well bred contempt for sexual or financial misconduct. I suppose, the ICS or the Sudan Political Service might qualify as elite castes of this type.

Beard has been attacked by Indian origin women. Why? They think the word 'civilised' is racist.
'There was also that word, “civilised”, heavy with colonial connotations that Beard, being a classicist, ought to have harnessed with more care and self-awareness. (Encasing it in inverted commas didn’t quite cut it.) 
This is rather strange. Either higher education has a moral value- it makes people more not less civilised- or it is a type of barbarism. Certainly, the JNU campus does appear a barbaric shambles but is that a good reason for wishing British Universities to suffer a like fate?

Priyamvada Gopal, in particular, raises the ghost of Adorno in this context.
  As Theodor Adorno shows us with exemplary economy, it is part of intellectual morality to be utterly precise and clear even in the shortest of sentences particularly when it comes to matters of life, livelihood and the dignity of peoples.
Adorno had some absurd beliefs about the economy and the nature of Culture. Surely it is part of intellectual morality to admit that his research project failed? In particular, why quote that Eurocentric racist- who believed Jazz was not just barbaric (because of the complexion of its greatest artistes) but also something machine made and thus not truly creative?


Gopal says she learnt something at JNU. Why is she not in JNU now defending it? The place is being dismantled over the heads of its Leftist incumbents in an unprecedented manner.


As an upper-caste woman from a liberal-ish Hindu family in India, I grew up with whole sets of unexamined assumptions and well-meaning notions that didn’t just magically disappear with my feminist education or my radical university years at JNU. It has taken a lot painful listening and learning from Dalit and other non-upper-caste intellectuals and campaigners for me to even begin the process of unlearning some of my habitual notions, for me to even get to the point where I realise how deeply ‘casted’ my habits of mind can be. It’s not fun and it takes a measure of humility, not something we mouthy women take to very easily. But it has to be done. The hardest thing to learn was that saying I was on the side of the oppressed castes was not enough; that all my progressive and radical aspirations notwithstanding, it was possible for me to be less than sound in some of my analyses and articulations.
So Gopal was a casteist but has become less so. Instead of remaining in India which genuinely does have a caste problem regarding which she says she has acquired some knowledge, why is she here in England attacking a Classicist for asking a question about the moral value of paideia?

Even if Mary Beard is reduced to tears, what great victory has been achieved? There may have been some point in chasing away Adorno- with the slogan 'If Adorno is left in peace, Capitalism will never cease'- but what possible good can come of attacking everybody's favourite Don?

Consider what happened to JNU- which thought it important to praise terrorists and hold beef eating parties. It alienated ordinary people. Now it is being dismantled and no one will speak up for it. Similarly, people like Gopal are feeding a backlash against 'woke' politics on the campuses of privilege.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Spanking it & Spanta Armaiti

Spanta Aarmaiti is the Zorastrian equivalent of the Earth deity which faithfully renders back the dead on the last day. This is the origin of the notion of bodily resurrection in the Semitic religions. There is one twist. No matter where they wank, none jizz in vain. A body rises to glory for every wad wantonly shot.


To my mind this notion enriches the notion of barzakh or antarabhava and connects Onan with the Eternal Feminine.

The Greek word 'oikos' (as in 'eco-nomics' or 'eco-logy') has the meaning of 'true' line of patriarchal descent. The word 'oikonomia' later had the connotation of Divine dispensation of 'moral economy' and was opposed to 'akrebia' or legalistic rigidity. However, for a Manichaean world view- i.e. one based on a good/bad binary- it is important that every possibility is actualised otherwise its books don't balance. Evolution, thankfully, differentiates between wanking and making love.

Rodrik & Mukand's theory of liberal democracy

Rodrik & Mukand have been touting a rather bizarre theory of how liberal democracies originate for a couple of years now.

Does it feature any proper economic analysis or is it junk social science? Let us look-
 We provide in this paper a taxonomy of political regimes, distinguishing in particular between electoral and liberal democracy. We take the main distinctive feature of a liberal regime to be the restraints placed on those in power to prevent discrimination against minorities and ensure equal treatment.
A theocracy may have  a Scriptural injunction against such discrimination. A despot- like Fredric the Great- may prevent discrimination against minorities so as to encourage entrepreneurs and skilled artisans to settle in his domain so as to boost the tax base. He may also wish to attract the best soldiers of fortune regardless of religion.

Avowedly Liberal regimes- like America pre 1965- may have highly discriminatory laws and practices. It is probable that our laws are discriminatory in some manner not obvious to us but which will seem so to our descendants.

In the Seventies, some Liberals argued that laws against paedophile were misguided in the same way that laws against homosexuality were misguided. Cohn Bendit wrote about the 'naturalness' of sex with very small children and claimed it would help 'liberate' society from Capitalist Patriarchy.
The infamous Paedophile Information Exchange (which was exactly as evil as it sounds) was affiliated with the National Council for Civil Liberties.
People with Paedophile tendencies constitute a minority. I'd imagine that most of them find ways to continue to obey the law and avoid harm to innocents. It would be wrong to punish a person for his inclinations rather than his actions. Still, there is a slippery slope here. A guy jerking off to kiddie porn is not accorded equal treatment to one pleasuring himself to wet veshti videos of P.Chidambaram though no direct harm arises in either case. Still, the fact is children were harmed during the production of those evil videos whereas Chidambaram deliberately flaunted his shapely haunches so as to give Dalal Street a hard on.

There may be medical treatments which help paedophiles to overcome the impulse to act in a criminal manner. However, these treatments may have side-effects. Suppose a treatment were shown empirically to have no negative effect. Making the treatment mandatory leads to an Expected Pareto improvement (assume the treatment uses up no scarce resources- otherwise we could still speak of a Hicks-Kaldor improvement). Then a Liberal still could not endorse this measure unless our current notion of 'self-ownership' changes such that sexual preference is no longer a type of 'personal property' that must be respected. This is actually quite reasonable.  We know that what constitutes 'empirical evidence' changes dramatically over time. A 'regret minimizing' reflex on our part has us refuse to let 'hard cases make bad law'. But we could equally call this a conservative or religious scruple. It arises from our fate as sentient beings who evolved on an uncertain fitness landscape.

The common sense view is that 'whatever is best administered is best'. Words like Conservatism or Liberalism are strategic rather than purely alethic. What matter is 'effectiveness'
The restraints can be legal or administrative; they can be maintained by constitutional strictures or self-enforcing agreements. What matters is that these checks, which we associate with “civil rights” for short, are effective in practice. Our focus is squarely on these missing restraints – the relative weakness of civil rights – in illiberal electoral democracies.
So- the 'restraints' are a matter of oversight or interessement by other human beings. That's all that is being claimed. If other people are smart and scrupulous and highly effective then we get one result. If not we get its opposite. However, what will motivate 'other people' to be smart and scrupulous and highly effective in restraining those in power? Obviously, they will do so if they are acting in their own self interest. That's what actually happens when minorities gains civil rights. They organised themselves and made strategic alliances and thus obtained a counervailing power. That is the whole story here. Liberalism does not matter. People do. Sometimes they succeed in building a coalition which protects or advances their interests. Sometimes they don't.

Rodrik & Mukand take a different view-
We argue that the failure to protect minority rights is a readily understood consequence of the political logic behind the emergence of democracy.
Either an emergent democracy wants to fuck over a minority and does so to its heart's content till it discovers that this is a silly thing to do- minorities should be milked not murdered- or else it has no such desire and does no such thing.

'Political logic' is about coalition formation and stability. It isn't about some magical power ascribed to any type of code. Why? Codes are defeasible. They can be read any which way.

Rodrik & Mukand, because they believe in the magic of codes, have an impossible problem- viz. how to account for the 'White Magic' of three different codes coming into alignment in a benevolent way. It seems impossible that Sauron and Saruman and Gandalf should suddenly become univocal and benign.
What requires explanation is not the relative paucity of liberal democracy, but its existence – rare as it may be. The surprise is not that few democracies are liberal, but that liberal democracies exist at all. To make our point, we distinguish specifically between three sets of rights: property rights, political rights, and civil rights. We define these as follows: (1) Property rights protect asset holders and investors against expropriation by the state or other groups. (2) Political rights guarantee free and fair electoral contests and allow the winners of such contests to determine policy subject to the constraints established by other rights (when provided). (3) Civil rights ensure equality before the law – i.e. non-discrimination in the provision of public goods such as justice, security, education and health.
Education and health are merit goods not public goods. There can be- indeed, there must be- severe service provision discrimination, at the margin, in the monopsonistic supply of Defence and Justice. None of the rights Rodrik mentions actually guarantee anything. They stipulate a method of redress which involves its own up-front costs which must be balanced against likely benefits.
We classify political regimes according to which (combination) of these rights are provided. In dictatorships, it is only the property rights of the elite that are protected.
No actual dictatorship has this feature. Even in North Korea, the police will catch a guy who steals your picture of the beloved leader. Why? Small thieves turn into big bandits. Big bandits can seize power. Elite property, however, is up for grabs. Look at Saudi Arabia today. The ordinary Saudi isn't going to lift a finger to protect the property of some Prince. It is the Dictator who decides who is elite and he purposely makes a scapegoat of some of them from time to time.
Classical liberal regimes protect property and civil rights, but not necessarily electoral rights.
Utter nonsense! However limited or unlimited the franchise, classical liberal regimes uphold voting rights in the same manner as property rights. Indeed, in Britain, prior to 1832 many electoral rights were property rights because some Boroughs were 'Rotten'. On the other hand, a 'classical liberal regime' may decide to disenfranchise and ethnically cleanse a particular group. The excuse of war, or the threat of war, or even a perceived threat to the common good, has been used in this manner in Britain.
Electoral democracies, which constitute the majority of present-day democracies, protect property and political rights, but not civil rights.
If a country is a democracy, the minority has a vote. Chances are they will use that vote strategically so it has a high Shapley value. In any case, if the majority is rational, it will want the minority to be more productive and pay more tax to finance public goods and social capital formation.
Liberal democracies protect all three sets of rights. Note that we operationalize the non-discrimination constraint under liberalism as equal treatment by the state in public goods provision in different domains – legal, religious, educational, etc.
Rodrik & Mukand think legal and educational services are non rival. Why not assume they are non excludable as well? Why stop there? Why not say law and education use up no scarce resources? Why do they mention 'public good provision' in the religious domain? Does the US Senate conduct a secret sacrifice to Chthulu to prevent it from devouring the world?
Each one of these rights has a clear, identifiable beneficiary. Property rights benefit primarily the wealthy, propertied elite.
Nonsense. A wealthy propertied elite can hire gun-men to protect their stuff. Poor and cowardly blokes like have to depend on the Police.
Political rights benefit the majority – the organized masses and popular forces.
Not necessarily.
And civil rights benefit those who are normally excluded from the spoils of privilege or power – ethnic, religious, geographic, or ideological minorities.
Any justiciable right favours those with the money and education to appeal for their enforcement. Those wholly 'excluded from the spoils of power' can do nothing. Take Eddie Mabo- the Australian aborigine whose campaign won back some land rights for his people. But for all his courage and eloquence, he could do nothing on  his own. Some big law firm took the case pro bono. The indigenous Australians at that time simply didn't have the money or the connections to get a hearing even though, by then, they did have 'civil rights'.
When the propertied elite can rule on their own they establish an autocracy that protects their (property) rights and little else.
But, if they do so, the value of their own property will be very much less. Why? The workers have no incentive to work hard and accumulate possessions.
In any case, each member of such an elite would have to maintain his own armed retinue to protect himself from the depredations of either disaffected 'social bandits' or else his own peers.
What Rodrik & Mukand are suggesting is 'incentive incompatible' and irrational.
This has been the usual outcome throughout the long arch of history. Mass democracy, on the other hand, requires the emergence of organized popular groups that can challenge the power of the elites.
This isn't true at all. In 1848, there were popular movements in Germany and Britain which failed to achieve anything at all. Why? General Napier explained everything when he pointed out to the 'Physical Force' Chartists that he had canons, they didn't.
The ruthlessness of the elite was plain for all to see. The wealthy could retreat to their castles and unloose vicious mercenaries on the masses. The rich might lose money- but they could make it back. The poor would be killed.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, processes such as industrialization, world wars, and de-colonization led to the mobilization of such groups. Democracy, when it arose, was typically the result of a quid pro quo between the elites and the mobilized masses. The elites acceded to the masses’ demands that the franchise be extended (usually) to all males regardless of property qualifications. In return, the newly enfranchised groups accepted limits on their ability to expropriate property holders. In short, electoral rights were exchanged for property rights.
Parliament can change property rights. In the short run there may be a Legal check, but electoral democracies can change the Law and amend the Constitution. No deal of the sort described above is possible. Why? Even if the leader of the plebeians is an honourable man, there is no guaranteed, under democracy, that he will remain the leader. Someone else may get in and do as he wishes.

What was possible was for the elite to have embraced a 'Corporatist' solution instead of Electoral Democracy.

The defining characteristic of this political settlement is that it excludes the main beneficiary of civil rights – the dispossessed minorities – from the bargaining table. These minorities have neither resources (like the elite) nor numbers (like the majority) behind them. So they do not have something to bring to the table, and cannot make any credible threats. The political logic of democratization dictates the provision of property and political rights, but not civil rights.
Why did the Jews- who were by no means popular- get civil rights during the long nineteenth century? In Tzarist Russia they were scapegoated as they would later be scapegoated by the Nazis.
One reason is that Jews were superb politicians and publicists- almost always of an enlightened sort.
As we formalize in section III, the provision of civil rights is costly to the majority and largely unnecessary for the elite (who can pay for their own collective goods by extracting a surplus from the masses). Therefore the political settlement is one that favors electoral democracy over liberal democracy
Actually, civil rights do matter for the elite. The Earl of Rosebury wants to be able to marry a Rothschild in the knowledge that their son will one day inherit his seat in the Lords; the Junker general who repairs his fortunes by marrying a Jewish heiress hoped (but failed to secure) the same thing ;the Australians were up in arms when the daughter of a prominent Sydney Solicitor married the Rajah of Puddukotai but was not recognised as a 'serene Highness' by the King Emperor.

In business, the desire to exploit economies of scale and scope militate against discrimination and in favour of civil rights. McDonalds doesn't want to have two counters- one for Whites and one for Coloureds. Alfred Sloan, at GM, turned its fortunes around during the Depression by selling cars to African Americans. Later on Detroit came to depend on Black labour from the South.

What is true of the elite is even more true for the poor.  People gain by having a bigger choice set  even in purely personal matters- like marriage or friendship.

Why do Mukand & Rodrik think 'provision of civil rights is costly to the majority'? Mukand is of Indian origin. All Indians have benefited from improved rights for Dalits.  As for America, did Whites really lose from the ending of Jim Crow?

Perhaps they are referring to affirmative action. I suppose that might be resented. But affirmative action is a different kettle of fish from civil rights.
By distinguishing explicitly among three groups and three associated sets of rights, our framework helps explain why liberal democracy is such a rare beast. But liberal democracies do exist, and the question is how they can ever be sustained in equilibrium. We discuss several circumstances that can mitigate the bias against civil rights in democracies. 
First, there may not be a clear, identifiable cleavage – ethnic, religious, or otherwise – that divides the majority from the minority. In highly homogenous societies, the “majority” derives few benefits from excluding the “minority” from public goods and suffers few costs from providing equal access. This may account for the emergence of liberal democracy in Sweden during the early part of the 20th century or in Japan and South Korea more recently.
The theory of price or service provision discrimination tells us that the monopsonist (e.g. the Govt which supplies legal and police services) can segment the market if the barrier corresponds to a signal which it is easy to detect but costly to evade. It is difficult for me to change my colour or gender or to pass myself off as a child. It is easy to identify such signals. In a homogeneous society, only gender and age are easy to detect once a certain material threshold has been passed. Colour or Religion or Class would be easy to disguise and costly to accurately determine.

Japan, since the feudal period, has kept records of a person's class origin. This is why 'untouchability' persists.  It is routine in Japan, but no where else, to employ a private detective to determine the other party's lineage before marriage. Sweden has a very different history. Though it had a proud Aristocracy, it chose a French King who was quite humbly born. It's political development is a tribute to its own indigenous virtues and values.

What accounts for Japan and South Korea's (more recent) 'liberal Democracy' is American involvement. But Abe is an aristocrat and the last South Korean leader was the daughter of a dictator.
Second, the two cleavages that distinguish the majority from the minority and the elite from the non-elite may be in close alignment. In such a case, the elite will seek both property and civil rights as part of the political settlement with the majority. Think, for example, of the position of the white minority government in South Africa prior to the transition to democracy in 1994.
South Africa is a poor example. There has been a huge 'White flight'. It is by no means certain that South Africa won't go the way of Mugabe's Zimbabwe which, by the way, was supposed to have made the same sort of 'deal' and thus been established as a liberal democracy.

The truth is- whether we are speaking of Burma or Idi Amin's Uganda or Mugabe's Zimbabwe- denying property or civil rights to a minority is the first step towards denying those rights to everybody. Rights are interdependent. Taxation without Representation means either fiscal collapse (absent a 'resource curse') or endless rent contestation. Civil rights and property rights are connected by concept of fungibility. If you can't sell or mortgage a given asset to a specific class of agents, then fungibility is affected. An arbitrage opportunity is created in a manner adverse to public good provision.
Third, the majority may be slender and need the support of the minority to mount a serious challenge to the elite.
In which case the elite will buy off the minority to side with it. After all, it is the elite which has the cash.
Or there may be no clear-cut majority, with society characterized by a preponderance of cross-cutting cleavages.
Politics is about the forging of identity classes. Sooner or later a political entrepreneur will find some mimetic 'signal' of the required type.
In these cases, repeated game incentives may ensure that each group recognizes the rights of others in return for its rights being protected by them. Lebanon’s “consociational” democracy may have been an example of this, before differential population growth and outside intervention upset the pre-existing balance of power among different religious denominations.
Lebanon was not an example of 'repeated game incentives'. It was purposely set up by the French as a sectarian state which the Maronites were supposed to dominate. The thing was wholly unsustainable. There was no 'pre-existing balance of power'.

So far I have focused on Rodrik & Mukand's ignorance of history. Let us now look at whether they know Economic theory.

Why Rodrik & Mukand think civil rights impose a cost.
We label the three groups in society with the subscript 𝑖, with 𝑖 taking one of the three possible values e (elite), a (majority), and b (minority). Members of each group derive utility from their (after-tax) income 𝑦𝑖 and from consuming a public good πœ‹π‘–. (1) 𝑒𝑖 = 𝑦𝑖 + πœ‹π‘–. We normalize the economy’s total output to 1, with the pre-tax/transfer shares of the elite and non-elite given by 𝛼 and (1-𝛼), respectively. Total population is assumed to equal a mass of 1+ Ξ΅, where the elite constitute a minority Ξ΅ of the population but control more than half of pre-tax/transfer output (𝛼 > 1 /2 ). The non-elite have mass of 1 and are split between a majority and a minority, with population shares n and (1-n), respectively (n > 1/2 ). 
Either the elite have more than half of output without any public good provision or they need a specific public good to be sure of getting it. Suppose they use the minority exclusively to get it- i.e. only members of the minority are employed in the police and judiciary. Then the majority is only worth doing a deal with if either
1) there is an expected welfare gain for the elite by doing such a deal (perhaps it raises the productivity of the majority which yields a capital gain on the elite's assets). In that case, Elite utility from a specific public good  will be a function of the expected increment in elite income by doing the deal. Notice that utility and income are no longer independent.

2) there is a sufficiently substantial deadweight loss associated with the current arrangement whereby the elite use the minority to shear the majority like sheep. In this case, some underlying mechanism is crashing- otherwise why is the deadweight loss now suddenly so substantial? Notice, this means that something important is happening in the economy which this system of equations don't capture.  Thus the model is under-specified.
In the absence of any taxes or transfers, 𝑦𝑒 = 𝛼 and π‘¦π‘Ž = 𝑦𝑏 = (1 − 𝛼).
WTF? How is the income of the majority equal to the income of the minority? This is crazy stuff! Not only is the model worthless but it is also utterly mad! Suppose the rich employ ten percent of the population to enslave the remainder. This 'Mameluke' caste may be of a different, martial, religion or geographic area, or distinctive ethnicity. It would be a very strange coincidence if their share of income were exactly equal to that of the enslaved majority.

The correct equation for the above is that ya +yb= 1- alpha.
The gap between 𝛼 and 1/ 2 is a measure of the class (income) cleavage.
Nonsense! What matters is income differentials- e.g. minority gets twice the wage of the majority but the elite get a hundred times that, on average.
We model the identity cleavage by assuming groups exhibit differences in the type of public good they prefer. The type of public goods is indexed by πœƒ ∈ [0,1]. The three groups’ ideal types are given by πœƒπ‘–, 𝑖 ∈ [𝑒, π‘Ž, 𝑏]. The utility derived from the public good thus depends both on the aggregate expenditure on it and on the type of public good that is provided. There is a deadweight loss associated with the provision of public goods, which increases with the level of expenditures and the gap (from the perspective of each group) between the type that is provided and the preferred type. Denoting total expenditure on the public good by π‘Ÿ, the utility derived from the public good is thus expressed as follows: πœ‹π‘– = π‘Ÿ − {1 + |πœƒπ‘– − πœƒ|} 𝛾 /2 π‘Ÿ*r, where 𝛾 parameterizes the magnitude of the deadweight loss relative to the direct benefits associated with public goods provision. Note that deadweight loss is minimized, but not eliminated, when πœƒ = πœƒπ‘–. We shall normalize the majority’s preferred public good by taking πœƒπ‘Ž = 1.
There are circumstances where the majority's favoured 'public good' is 'kill elites and enslave minorities'. Doing the killing may itself provide utility. The equation given above is false. Utility from a public good does not depend merely on expenditure on it less the deadweight loss caused by the tax which finances it.
The only situation where the equation would have salience is if it could arise in a non-coercive repeated game with common knowledge etc. But, unless 'elite', 'majority' and 'minority' correspond to different productivity types there would be no income inequality in the first place! But, in that case, the use of these words is misleading.

My conclusion is Mukand & Rodrik are ignorant of economics. This is 'junk social science'. What motivated their spewing up this drivel?
The answer is that they wittingly or unwittingly rely upon racist and sexist and homophobic narratives which historians have long disproved.

Notably
1) British liberalism granted 'civil rights' because....urm... the Brits are just different okay?

The fact that early liberals in the West were in large part the wealthy property-owning elite led to the bundling, in the minds of subsequent analysts, of two kinds of distinct rights: property rights and civil rights. This peculiar, and peculiarly British, history does not fit the experience of other, especially non-Western countries very well. In particular, the elite would often turn out to be interested primarily in property rights. Civil rights were for others, chiefly ethnic, religious, or other minorities.
WTF! Ottoman Turkey gave better civil rights to women and gays at an earlier date than Britain.

It wasn't bleeding heart Liberals who gave civil rights to Catholics- it was the true blue Duke of Wellington & his brother who pushed that through so as to avoid a costly Irish campaign.

What about 'the right to association'? Is that not a Civil Right? Do Mukand & Rodrik really not know that British Whigs fought tooth and nail to deny this fundamental right to Working Men? It is ridiculous to suggest they 'bundled property and civil rights' in their minds.


2) South Korea is different from North Korea not because of who its Super Power protector is but...urm...South Koreans are just different okay?
we would argue that Korea’s liberal democracy has much to do with the relative absence of identity cleavages and the leading role played by the labor movement in mobilizing against the military/industrial elites.
Why did India- with big identity cleavages- remain a democracy wile Korea yo-yoed? D'uh! It was the existential nature of the military threat they faced. There was always a strong labour movement in Korea. Later, during the Gwangju Uprising, students too played a vanguard role. So what? They could be crushed. Soldiers would obey orders to shoot because they knew that if the power of the Army crumbled then there was a good chance the Commies would ultimately take over in which case they would be tortured into signing confessions before being granted the mercy of a bullet in the brain. Their kids, if they survived, would be a permanent slave class of a type familiar from Korean history. The Chinese change in direction and the collapse of the Soviet Union changed the horizon. Even now, we see the Koreans re-pivot as their Northern neighbour's strategic horizon has changed. But then the South Koreans have always known they have to pull their weight- which is why their boys did so well in Vietnam- and, ultimately, sort things out for themselves. Liberal Democracy is part of this delicate dance. Kim the Fat was educated in Switzerland. He knows what is being offered by the new regime. In the end, it seems a piece of pure luck that Park's daughter fell when and in the manner that she did. But, Koreans make their own luck and do it as well as they make the OLED screen on which I am reading what I've typed right now.

3) Lebanon, prior to the civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990, it was a model democracy because...urm...well, it had a lot of Christians and Christians are just nicer okay?

Why did this 'model democracy' need US military intervention in 1958? What sort of model democracy is openly sectarian with the top job reserved for people of one particular religion?

4) South Africa is a liberal democracy because....urm... the financial markets just think its different okay?
Apartheid fell because markets thought its debt was junk. This meant that there was an expected increment in income for a new elite coalition from a particular regime. Now things have come full circle. China will decide what happens next. Rights don't matter. Unless of course domestic financial markets are deep in a certain special sense. But that would only be true if the rights' regime is near optimal in some endogenous sense.

Rodrik & Mukand end with some hilarious value judgments. Thus Greece and India don't have civil rights while the Czechs- who sterilize Romani women and criminalise their men- get classed as 'liberal'. Why? Would Modi or Tsipras be willing or able to deny tenure to a Professor for taking part in a Gay Pride march?




Monday, 12 February 2018

Ramachandra Guha's 'constitutional patriotism'

Is it possible for Ramachandra Guha to utter a single sentence which is neither obviously false or utterly foolish? Let us see- 

Like the railways, electricity, and the theory of evolution, nationalism was also invented in modern Europe.
Hero of Alexandria (which is in Africa) is credited with inventing the steam engine. Benjamin Franklin's famous experiment proving lightning to be electricity was conducted in America. There have been numerous ancient thinkers who proposed theories of evolution. What about nationalism? Was it 'invented' in modern Europe? How is it Jordanes speaks of 'nations' 1500 years ago? What about the Old Testament? It certainly has a concept of Nationalism. Does Guha think it was written in modern Europe?
 The European model of nationalism sought to unite residents of a particular geographical territory on the basis of a single language, a shared religion, and a common enemy.
There is not a single modern European nation which stipulates that residents of a particular geographical territory have to have the same language or religion. The Swiss are a nation. They have different languages and religions and no enemy because they are traditionally neutral. 
Only at a time of war can there be a common enemy. If war has not been declared it is a crime for any citizen to commence hostilities against any internal or external 'enemy'. The law presumes friendship and amity save where an explicit declaration of War has been made.
 So to be British, you had to speak English, and minority tongues such as Welsh and Gaelic were either suppressed or disregarded.
Sheer nonsense! There are plenty of people living in England today- many of Indian origin- who are British citizens and who can't speak any European language at all. Welsh has not been suppressed. It receives official support as does Gaelic.
To be properly British you had to be Protestant, which is why the king was also the head of the Church, and Catholics were distinctly second-class citizens.
How is this man a Professor at the LSE? To be properly British you had to be British by birth or by an oath of  allegiance to the Crown in Parliament as recognised by Law. It so happened that a King who wanted to get remarried broke with the Catholic Church with consequences favourable to certain schools of Protestantism but it was never the case that Protestantism defined Britishness and thus was required of the King. Consider the case of James II. He was openly Catholic. Yet the Church of England itself required obedience to him. It was only after he broke his own allegiance to the Crown in Parliament by waging war upon his own people that he was stripped of his crown. The Act of Succession which was then put in place sought to leave the door open for the Young Pretender to return to the Anglican fold. However, this had nothing to do with Nationalism and everything to do with upholding the law.

Jews and Catholics and Dissenters flourished in England provided they were loyal to the Crown in Parliament and upheld the laws. They suffered certain minor disabilities but were far from being second-class citizens. 
 Finally, to be authentically and loyally British, you had to hate France.
Sheer poppycock! It was when rivalry with France was most intense that the English were most infatuated with its culture. The moment hostilities ceased, they would rush over to soak up French culture. Charles James Fox was notoriously pro-French. This did not stop him from being a formidable Parliamentary antagonist to Pitt.

Now, if we go across the Channel and look at the history of the consolidation of the French nation in the 18th and 19th centuries, we see the same process at work, albeit in reverse. 
This is quite mad. If the same process is at work at the same time in two different places it must have exactly the same effect. 

Citizens had to speak the same language, in this case French, so the dialects spoken in regi­ons like Normandy and Brittany were sledgehammered into a single standardised tongue. 
Quite false. There was no sledgehammer- just a specific administrative and educational policy championed by a radical priest. French dialects have not disappeared- though, because of radio and T.V, they have been eroded in the same way that regional English or Indian or Brazilian dialects have been eroded.
The test of nationhood was allegiance to one language, French, and also to one religion, Catholicism. 
Utterly mad! Catholicism was a universal religion. It used the word 'nation' to distinguish linguistic groups- for example at Universities. However, monarchs and successor states to monarchies did not relinquish territory on the grounds that they were occupied by people of other nations.
Consider Alsace. Germany claimed it because it was German speaking. But the people retained their loyalty to France and were happy when France won it back.
So Protestants were persecuted.
How ignorant is this man? It was the Crown, not the Nation which persecuted Protestants but only when they represented a military threat or by the whim of an absolute monarch. This was purely a matter of elite politics.  
Likewise, French nationalism was consolidated by identifying a major enemy; although who this enemy was varied from time to time. 
French nationalism was consolidated by the slogan 'LibertΓ©, Γ©galitΓ©, fraternitΓ©' that is, the promise of a freer, more equal and fraternal society in which everybody might flourish no matter what their class origin or geographical provenance. That is why the French Revolution is considered an inspiration. France is considered a country of culture because it is not fuelled by hate of any internal or external enemy. Perhaps Guha is thinking of ISIS which was in fact consolidated by hatred for a 'common enemy' and which required its people to have the same fanatical type of Salafi Religion and to give pride of place to the Arabic language.
In some decades the principal adversary was Britain; in other decades, Germany. In either case, the hatred of another nation was vital to affirming faith in one’s own nation. 
Jean Paul Satre fought in the Resistance against the Nazis. Yet he was a great admirer of Heidegger. He was typical of his class. Was this an aberration? No. The French were happy to absorb ideas from countries they were at war with.

This model—of a single language, a sha­red religion, and a common enemy—is the model by which nations were created throughout Europe. 
There is not one single nation which was created on this triple basis in the whole of Europe. Every nation, except those recently defeated and shorn of territory, includes linguistic and religious minorities. No European country is defined by a 'common enemy'. It may be part of a system of alliances- but that is a different matter.

And it so happens that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is in this respect a perfect Eur­opean nation
Nonsense! Pakistan followed the principle enshrined in the Treaty of Lausanne which featured Greek speaking Muslims going to Turkey and Turkish speaking Christians going to Greece. But Turkey is not exactly a 'perfect European nation'. The other time Religion has trumped Language and Culture was during the break up of Yugoslavia. But Alia Izbegovich was influenced by the Pakistani example and received a lot of backing from certain types of Muslim countries. It may surprise Guha to learn that things were not always so. Originally, the assassin of Archduke Ferdinand was supposed to be a Bosnian Muslim not an Orthodox Serb. At that time, linguistic nationalism trumped religion. 

Mohammad Ali Jinnah insisted that Muslims could not live with Hindus, so they needed their own homeland. 
Jinnah did not say that. He said the Hindus would devour the Muslims. Pakistan would exercise a countervailing power over Hindu India through the 'hostage theory'- i.e.  Hindus would not ethnically cleanse Muslims for fear Pakistan would do the same.
After his nation was created, Jinnah visited its eastern wing and told its Bengali residents they must learn to speak Urdu, which to him was the language of Pakistan.
In the age of the Google, it takes just 30 seconds to verify that Jinnah said East Pakistan could have Bengali as the Provincial language. The State language would be Urdu. He never said Bengalis had to learn Urdu.
And, of course, hatred of India has been intrinsic to the idea of Pakistan since its inception.
The idea of Pakistan is Islamic. Guha may think Islam is a religion of hate. I disagree. Pakistanis don't hate India. They readily admit that for tactical reasons they may play up some supposed Indian threat or evildoing. But, the truth is, Pakistan is about getting rich off the State in some corrupt way. So is India.

Indian nationalism, however, radically departed from the European template. 
There was no 'European template'. Prior to 1914, much of Europe consisted of multi-national Empires. The type of Nation Guha is talking about simply did not exist in Europe. There may have been some savage and xenophobic tribe in some wilderness which fits his template. But it has left no imprint in the annals of history.
The greatness of the leaders of our freedom struggle—and Mahatma Gandhi in particular—was that they refused to identify nationalism with a single religion. 
But that identification occurred all the same. You might as well say 'the greatness of the Young Turks was that they refused to identify Turkish nationalism with Islam'. As a matter of fact, some Jews were prominent in their ranks. Yet the Young Turks polarised Ottoman society on linguistic and confessional lines as never before.
They further refused to identify nationalism with a particular language and even more remarkably, they refused to hate their rulers, the British.
Actually, Gandhi did identify the National cause with learning Hindi which is why my grand parents learnt that language. However, this strategy backfired on the Congress in Tamil Nadu where Guha and I are from.
As for hating the Brits- how could we? Annie Beasant and Nellie Sengupta were British and yet both were elected President of the I.N.C at different times. A.O Hume, William Wedderburn, Joseph Cotton- there were many Britishers on our side. Viceroys like Irwin and emissaries like Cripps had great respect for and got on very well with Gandhi and other leaders.

Gandhi lived and died for Hindu-Muslim harmony. 
No. He lived and died in the belief that he had some great spiritual power which was enhanced by sleeping naked with young women. Had he cared about any sort of harmony, as a lawyer he would have campaigned for an overhaul of the judicial system such that the sort of anti-social elements who thrive on civil strife were properly dealt with. Unfortunately, this would have meant locking up a lot of his own hypocritical followers.

He emp­hasised the fact that his party, the Indian National Congress, had presidents who were Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Parsi. 
Yes, yes. But some of those Hindu presidents were also high up in the Hindu Mahasabha. Consider what was happening in Bihar during his sojourn in Champaran. There was a violent campaign against Muslims which caused them to give up cow slaughter. Gandhi chose to remain blissfully unaware of any such development.
Nor was Gandhi’s nationalism defined by language.
In 1918, Gandhi identified Hindi as the national language which must be spread by 'Hindi ambassadors' more especially to the South. He never resiled from this position.
As early as the 1920s, Gandhi pledged that when India became independent, every major linguistic group would have its own province
But Hindi and Hindi alone would be the national language. In any case, it was the Brits who had turned vernacular languages into administrative languages. Thus, ironically, Hindi would never have developed sufficiently to have a claim to be an official language of any State, let alone the Nation, but for the British practice in this regard.
And perhaps the most radical aspect of the Indian model of nationalism was that you did not even have to hate the British.
Why is that the most radical aspect? Surely, the determination to achieve independence through purely non-violent means was what was truly radical about Gandhi and the INC?
Indian patriots detested British imperialism, they wanted the Raj out, they wanted to rec­laim this country for its residents.
Actually, this was not always the case. Many Indian patriots continued to believe that White rule was beneficial but also accepted Macaulay's argument (given in his essay on Milton) that even if the Raj was sugar and honey still its continuance would tend to the degeneration and moral enfeeblement of the people. As a matter of fact, as Naroaji pointed out, British Rule was 'shakkar ki churi'- a knife of sugar- because the exploitation of the productive class was increasing without legal check while the administration waxed lethargic.

Sooner or later, the British would leave- either because their naval hegemony was challenged or because the Raj ceased to yield an operating profit. Indians realized that they would have to run their own affairs or risk falling prey to either war-lordism or an external predator.
But they could do so non-violently, and they could do so while befriending individual Britons.  Actually, the Britons came to the Indians and befriended them- like Andrews coming to Gandhi (Gandhi’s closest friend was the English priest C.F. Andrews).
Andrews befriended Gandhi not the other way round.

Further, they could get the British to ‘Quit India’ while retaining the best of British institutions. An impartial judiciary, parliamentary democracy, the English language, and not least the game of cricket; these are all aspects of British culture that we kept after they had left.
What was the best British institution? It was the Royal Navy ably seconded by the Merchant Marine. Without the Navy, forget about a British Empire, England itself would have been a province of some continental tyranny.
The Indians needed to learn to become a proper maritime power from the Brits. They refused to do any such thing preferring to sip tea and play cricket and talk worthless shite in stilted accents. 
 The second best British institution was its Financial markets and institutions which mobilised savings and directed them to their most productive uses. India could very easily have expanded the role of financial markets and reaped the sort of benefits that Japan did. But India chose to go in the opposite direction. Why? The Gandhian begging bowl was more compatible with incessant moralising than commercial flourishing.

British, French and Pakistani nationalism were based on paranoia, on the belief that all citizens must speak the same language, adhere to the same faith, and hate the same enemy. 
Guha studied in England at a time when he could see with himself that many older Asians with British passports could not speak English and were of alien faiths. Some Asians settled here loved Soviet Russia or Maoist China. They were not deported. 
It is only recently- because of Islamic terrorism- that knowing English or Welsh has become a requirement for citizenship. But, nobody is required to convert. 
I don't know how Guha has got the idea that Britain and France require citizens to hate some specific enemy. I do know that any such requirement would be wholly illegal under British law.

On the other hand, Indian nationalism was based on a common set of values. 
Sheer nonsense! No two Indians have 'a common set of values'. The thing is impossible. Indian nationalism featured 'overlapping consensus' regarding certain limited goals- that is all.
During the non-cooperation movement of 1920-21, people all across India came out into the streets, gave up jobs and titles, left their colleges, courted arrest. 
So what? People also came out for Khilafat.
For the first time, the people of India had the sense, the expectation, the confidence that they could create their own nation.
India should have got the same deal as Egypt and Ireland. The reason it did not was because some Indian leaders- like Gandhi- didn't think India was ready to 'create its own nation'. He said to Hazrat Mohani that Hindus and Muslims were not united and so 'Swaraj' could not be attained.

 In 1921, when non-cooperation was at its height, Gandhi defined Swaraj as a bed with four sturdy bed-posts. The four posts that held up Swaraj were non-violence, Hindu-Muslim harm­ony, the abo­lition of untouchability and economic self-reliance. Three decades later, after India was finally free, these values were enshrined in our Constitution.
Gandhi was wholly wrong. It was a World War which destroyed the power of Western Europe and put an end to Imperialism. There was no Hindu Muslim harmony at all. Instead there was ethnic cleaning or marginalisation. Economic self-reliance is hilarious. India practiced begging bowl diplomacy. The reference to Untouchability, however, isn't funny but then Guha is very high caste and likes rubbing in that sort of thing. The truth is the Constitution provided for reserved seats not separate electorates. This meant it was the higher caste Hindu who decided which Dalit politician got to represent his people. As a matter of fact, Dalit politicians were very able and thus, rather than 'Uncle Toms', we got some excellent people whose achievements caused bigoted people to change their minds.
Gandhi called off the No-Cooperation agitation because he thought that Hindus and Muslims would never unite save by some spiritual miracle. Further he did not believe Indians had the spiritual strength to conduct a non-violent campaign. Untouchability was not yet a big concern for him. As for 'economic self-reliance'- the fact is, his Ashrams were money-pits. Swadeshi required huge subsidies. Gandhian Indian was the India of the bottomless begging bowl. The Constitution was being formulated at the same time that Truman snubbed Nehru's demand for food aid. The Americans could not understand how a rich agricultural country which had been untouched by the war could possibly have a food availability deficit. Later, the farmer's lobby in America secured PL480 shipments for the subcontinent to keep it from toppling over into mass starvation. So much for 'economic self-reliance'.

When the Republic of India was crea­ted, its citizens were sought to be united on a set of values: democracy, religious and linguistic pluralism, caste and gender equality and the removal of poverty and discrimination
Really? If this is true why did Ambedkar dismiss his contribution to the Constitution as 'hack work'?
In what manner did Article 291 of the Constitution, which guaranteed privy purses to Princes, remove 'poverty and discrimination'? Article 343 makes Hindi the official language. How is this 'linguistic pluralism'?
Guha says 'non-violence' was one of the 'bed-posts' which was enshrined in the Constitution. Where?  There is zero mention of Ahimsa in the Constitution. There is a reference to protecting the cow in the Directive Principles, but there was no similar commitment- such as that made by Japan- to desist from wars of aggression or to rename the Army the Defence force or any such thing. Caste distinctions were not abolished by the Constitution. Gender distinctions were. That is why Guha is a hermaphrodite.

They were not sou­ght to be united on the basis of a single religion, a shared faith, or a common enemy
There is no Constitution in the world which mentions 'a common enemy'. Where did Guha get this crazy idea?
No European or American Constitution mentions religion. After all, in a war, chances are they would be fighting people of the same faith.
Now this is the founding model of Indian nationalism, which I shall call ‘constitutional patriotism’, because it is enshrined in our Constitution. Let me identify its fundamental features.
Quite mad! Is paying privy purses to Princes part of 'constitutional patriotism'? Should I take up arms to ensure that some Maharaja gets tax free money from the State?

Guha has been repeating some version of this speech for some time now. He genuinely believes there is something called 'constitutional patriotism'. Guha is completely and utterly wrong. No Constitution is the 'elaboration' of a country's model of nationalism. That's why they all look so much alike. What a Constitution does is say how laws can be passed, when Courts can strike down those laws, how the Constitution can be amended and so on.

We can change the Constitution and have done so frequently. Patriotism, however, is not so mutable.
Either you love and support your country or you don't. I may prefer to live under the American or French Constitution rather than under the laws of India. However, if I retain Indian nationality, then I can't be a patriotic American or Frenchman. I may still be a patriotic Indian though living abroad because my purpose may be to remit money to my countrymen for various socially worthwhile purposes.

Patriotism is not extinguished when the Constitution changes. Suppose India chooses a Marxist Constitution. Many Indians who don't like the Constitution would still be patriots. However, it is not the case that anyone can have an unconditional love and desire to serve a Constitution which, quite legally, can be changed to anything at all. Suppose Mrs Gandhi had not lifted the Emergency and further amended the Constitution appointing herself President for life. Many Indians would have continued to be patriots- soldiers, for example, may have continued to discharge their patriotic duty on the battlefield- even though they didn't like the new Constitution. 

The first feature of constitutional patriotism is the acknowledgement and appreciation of our inherited and shared diversity.
There is no constitutional requirement for any Indian citizen to 'acknowledge and appreciate' anything at all. There is a requirement to obey the law and render allegiance to the State. However, there is a Directive Principles which could be construed as requiring Indian citizens, at least in some states, to acknowledge the cow's right not to be butchered and eaten no matter how much we appreciate the taste of its flesh.
In another speech delivered elsewhere Guha elaborated on this theme-
The first feature is the acknowledgement and appreciation of our inherited and shared diversity.
Can diversity be inherited? Yes, but only in terms of gender. No, in terms of race. White people can't make a black baby.
Can diversity be 'shared'? Can I share my Indianess with my English neighbour? I suppose I could teach her to recite the Gayatri Mantra. But teaching isn't sharing. I can share food with her, provided it isn't too spicy. But I can't share the pleasure I get from eating an idli. To her it is just some mushy substance. To me, it is sitting in my granny's lap being fed by her delicate fingertips.
One can acknowledge and appreciate the essential univocity between my love of idli and my neighbour's love for Yorkshire pud. Vicariously, I get some pleasure when she describes her grandmother's table. Similarly, she may smile and be forgiving to my moans of delight when devouring idli.
However, what we are acknowledging is not diversity but univocity. We are all actually descended from the same ancestral Eve and another ancestral Adam who lived much later.
 I’m going to give you a quote from a person in Tagore’s league, the great Kannada polymath Kota Shivaram, whose bust I have on my table.
Karanth wrote the same kind of shite as Tagore because he was influenced by Tagore. Where's the fucking diversity here? Guha is often quoted as titling Karanth the Rabindranath Tagore of Modern India. This is because Rabindranath Tagore was the Pundit VV Iyengar of Modern India. VV Iyengar couldn't be the VV Iyengar of Modern India because he was the Rahul Sankirtayan of Modern India. Rahul Sankirtayan was the K.S Karanth of Modern India which is why Karanth had to settle on being the Rabindranath Tagore of Modern India though what he really wanted to be was the Ghanshyamdas Birla of Modern India.

 He wrote, when asked about whether we were an Aryan nation: ‘It is impossible to talk of Indian culture as if it is a monolithic object.
Indians don't find it impossible to talk of anything of at all as a monolithic object even if they don't know what 'monolithic' means.  Anyway, being 'an Aryan nation' was not a good idea after Hitler blew his brains out.
 'Those who speak of Aryan culture do not realise what transformations this Aryan culture has undergone after reaching India. 
Oho! So India is a miscegenated Aryan nation which has degenerated into 'cultures' because of intermarriage or intermingling with darkies.
Indian culture today is so varied as to be called cultures. The roots date back to ancient times and have developed through contact with many races and many peoples. Hence, among its many ingredients, it’s impossible to say surely what is native and what is alien, what is borrowed out of love and what has been imposed by force. If we view Indian culture, thus, we realize there is no place for chauvinism.’
The children born in a brothel may make a similar claim. However, they would be wiser to keep their mouths shut and pretend that they know their ancestry. Why? By pretending to be 'respectable' they are more likely to become so rather than be forced into some repugnant trade.

Guha says- No type of Indian is superior or special by language or fate- but he says it in English and then this is translated into Kannada for him.  It is very good of Guha to admit that it is not the Constitution which makes English superior to Kannada and thus the fate of English speakers preferable to that of Kannada speakers. 
What he says next is not so benign-
Indianness is defined by the allegiance to the values of the Constitution.
So, if the BJP amends the Constitution in the manner Mrs.Gandhi did, and redefines India as a Hindu Nation under the leadership of an Iranian style 'Supreme Guide', then Indianess would be defined by allegiance to the values of this amended Constitution.

It is true that during Indira Gandhi's experiment with totalitarianism, the Constitution was amended to list 'fundamental duties'. But that amendment was abrogated. Indianness, as Hindutva, does define itself as allegiance to the country, but the constitution is not the country. The Constitution itself does not require anyone to swear allegiance to it or otherwise promise not to avail of its provisions in order to amend, suspend, or wholly abrogate it.

What is wrong with Guha? Does he not get that it is the BJP, not elitists like himself, who have the power to change the Constitution? By committing himself to 'Constitutional patriotism', Guha is saying 'the moment the BJP changes the Constitution, I will change my tune because my patriotism requires it.'

In any major gathering in a major city—say in a music concert or in a cricket match—people who compose the ‘crowd’ carry different names, wear different clothes, eat different kinds of food, worship different gods (or no god at all), speak different languages, and fall in love with different kinds of people. 
Guha clearly believes that a minor gathering in a minor town will consist of people who all have the same name and who are wearing the same pair of underpants. Naturally, this will constrict their genitals in a painful manner so they won't be able to eat different kinds of food or worship different gods. Just, they will be screaming- not speaking different languages or falling in love with different kinds of people.
They are a microcosm not just of what India is, but of what its founders wished it to be.
It is good to know that the founders did not want all Indians to have the same name or to try to fit into the same pair of under-pants.
For, the founders of the Republic had the ability (and desire) to endorse and emphasise our diversity. 
The ability to endorse something arises simply out of possession of the language faculty. Guha is saying that the founders of the Republic, however challenged in other respects, did possess some minimal linguistic faculty.

Why does Guha think this so important? Do his British colleagues deny that Indian politicians of the period lacked the ability and desire to speak in a human language? Perhaps that is precisely what happens in the faculty lounge at the LSE. I can just see Mary Kaldor nudging Guha in the ribs and making gargling sounds.  'That's your Ambedkar!' the drunken minx says- 'He didn't know how to speak. So he just made gargling sounds.' 

As Rabindranath Tagore once said about our country: “No one knows at whose call so many streams of men flowed in restless tides from places unknown and were lost in one sea: here Aryan and non-Aryan, Dravidian, Chinese, the bands of Saka and the Hunas and Pathan and Mogul, have become combined in one body”.

Oookay. So it was Tagore who put the idea into Guha's head that Aryans and Dravidians and Chinese all have to somehow squeeze into just the one pair of underpants in India. No wonder the country was fucked.
A second quote underlining the extraordinary richness of the mosaic that is India comes from the Kann­ada Tagore, Kota Shivaram Karanth.
Tagore's quote does not impute any 'extraordinary richness' to India. It just says that it is has a miscegenated population. That really isn't a big deal. 
 Karanth had heard demagogues speak of something called ‘Aryan culture’. 
Arya is an Indian word associated with eusebia and noble conduct. There is nothing demagogic about it. It has no racialist connotation.
Did they realise, he asked, “what transformations this ‘Aryan culture’ has undergone after reaching India?”. 
So, Karanth- a fair skinned man- subscribed to a racialist theory whereby he was descended from culturally superior invaders.
In Karanth’s opinion, “Indian culture today is so varied as to be called ‘cultures’.
So Karanth thought that there was a limit to the amount of variation possible within a culture. Was it a sensible view? After all, India is well defined legally and geographically. The Government spends some money on 'Culture'. Is it really the case that 'cultured' productions can't be distinguished from 'uncultured' productions according to some intersubjective metric? No. Not at all. I may not be able to distinguish Yakshagana from Twerking but once I understand that it takes years of practice and dedication to become an exponent of the former, whereas it just takes a little too much indulgence in alcohol to result in an exhibition of the latter, I have no difficulty in accepting the need for State support for Karanth's own art form.
As a matter of fact Yakshagana and Manipuri and Bharatnatyam and Kathak can and should be viewed in a univocal manner. There is a Classical Dance Culture of India which has been continually informed by at least one continuous Aesthetic tradition traceable back to the earliest times. Thus Indian Classical Dance is a Kripke rigid designator as well as a useful heuristic tool.
The roots of this culture go back to ancient times: and it has developed through contact with many races and peoples. Hence, among its many ing­redients, it is impossible to say surely what is native and what is alien, what is borrowed out of love and what has been imposed by force. If “we view Indian culture thus”, said Karanth, “we realise that there is no place for chauvinism”.
Does Karanth think that there is a place for chaunvinism in countries where nothing has been imposed by force? Why? Chauvinism is stupid. It has no place anywhere. Why does Guha think otherwise?

Now, an appreciation of this diversity means that we understand that no type of Indian is superior or special because they belong to a particular religious tradition or because they speak a certain language.
I appreciate diversity. I actually prefer Twerking to Yakshagana. However, I concede to the people of Karnataka the right to collectively put a higher value on Yakshagana than Twerking. Indeed, they may wish to ban the latter as obscene and I can see the sense in that. A young girl who twerks may invite unwanted advances of an amorous nature. A Yakshagana artiste, by contrast, will cause young men to remember their grandmothers.
In 19th century England, Protestants were superior to Catholics, English speakers were superior to Welsh speakers.
This is nonsense. Wealthy Catholics and Welsh speakers were superior to some poor English speakers. After 1832, Catholics could sit in Parliament. By the 1880's the Welsh speaking middle class was better educated than their English neighbours and thus Wales was able to reshape Britain into a Social Democracy under Lloyd George.
 In 20th century India, patriotism was defined by the allegiance to the values of the Constitution, not by birth, blood, language or faith.
The Constitution has a Directive Principle regarding banning beef. An Indian can be a patriot while opposing this ban. The same point may be made about the abolition of Privy Purses. Patriotic Indians were not required to shed their blood so as to ensure Maharajas got tax free stipends. 
The values of the Constitution are reflected in its articles and codicils. It is a legal document. What Guha reads into it has no legal warrant. It is just hot air.


The second feature of constitutional patriotism is that it operates at many levels. 
Patriotism operates at only one level- in the heart of the citizen.
Guha has said in another speech-
The second founding feature is the recognition on the multiple levels on which patriotism can and must be practiced. 
There is no such recognition. The guys who wrote the Constitution were smart. They knew the Law. Patriotism is not something that can be inculcated by coercive means. Lack of patriotism is not an offense in itself. There has to be some overt act harmful to the public weal before the Law gets involved.
Patriotism, like charity, begins at home, by how you treat your children, how you treat those who may work for you; it goes out into the street, the locality, city, the district, the province and the country.
Patriotism means love ad devotion to the Patria- the fatherland. It may require one to attack one's own home town or even kill your own children. The Indian Constitution is more Unitary than Federalist. It does not concede a right to secession. Thus, if there is a conflict between local separatists and the Union  of India, patriotism requires loyalty to the latter not the former.
Catalan separatists are now discovering a similar fact about the Spanish Constitution for themselves. Indians have long known it. Sheikh Abdullah languished in jail for many years while his friend Nehru ruled the roost.
 It operates at different levels and these levels are complimentary and they do not clash. 
Sometimes they are complementary, sometimes they clash. When the clash, patriotism requires siding with the Union.


It is not just worshipping the national flag that makes you a patriot.
Worship of any purely political creation is deeply repugnant. It is idolatry. It endangers the Patria. It is not part of patriotism at all.
It is how you deal with your neighbours and your neighbourhood, how you relate to your city, how you relate to your state. 
Civic Pride is not the same thing as Patriotism. I may be civil and neighbourly and show public spirit and yet lack patriotism. An Indian living in Dubai or Shanghai may be Civil and neighbourly and full of public spirit. Yet, no one expects him to be a patriot of the country where he is domiciled. However, he continues to be bound by the laws of his host country.
In America, which is professedly one of the most patriotic countries in the world, every state has its own flag. 
Only Texas requires students to know how to pledge allegiance to the State flag- though about 12 other States have such pledges. Guha must know that the American Constitution defines patriotism as loyalty to the Union, not one's own State. Why bring this up in the Indian context? Did we have a Civil War over Slavery?
And some states of India also have their own flag, albeit informally. Every November, when Rajyotsava Day is celebrated in Karnataka, a red-and-yellow flag is unfurled in many parts of the state. It is not Anglicised upper-class elites like this writer who display this flag of Karnataka, but shopkeepers, farmers, and autorickshaw drivers.
Guha, like me, is a Tamil Brahmin. He knows very well that the Karnataka flag is about 'sons of the soil' type policies aimed at 'immigrants'. It has nothing to do with patriotism.
Patriotism can operate at multiple levels. The Bangalore Literary Festival (which is not sponsored by shady corporates, but is crowd-funded) is an exa­mple of civic patriotism. 
'Civic pride' is the correct collocation. 'Civic patriotism' would involve fighting off besiegers or expelling interlopers.
The red-­and-yellow flag of Karnataka is an example of provincial patriotism. Like the Shiv Sena flag.
Cheering for the Indian cricket team is an example of national patriotism
Only in the view of Norman Tebbit in this country.
So, patriotism can operate at more than one level—the loca­lity, the city, the province and the nat­­ion. 
No. Patriotism only operates at the level of the heart. It may increase civic pride and public spirit but it remains focused on the patria. India is fortunate in that, at least for Hindus, there is a notion of a heimat larger than one's province. That is the root of Hindu patriotism. Some Indian Muslim thinkers have eloquently expressed a similar concept and linked it to the hadith- hubb al watan min al iman. Historically, first generation immigrants might refuse a land grant on the grounds that India was dar ul harb (as happened in the case of the famous Reza Khan) but those born in India who were known as al Hindi had no similar scruple. 

A broad-minded (as distinct from paranoid) patriot recognises that these layered affiliations can be har­m­o­ni­ous, complementary and reinforce one another.
So, Guha thinks paranoid patriots exist. Why? It is the hallmark of paranoia that love turns to hate and fear. A patriot who begins to suffer from this mental illness will believe that the country he used to love has become utterly evil and that it is secretly trying to poison or otherwise do away with him.

The model of patriotism advocated by Gandhi and Tagore was not centralised, but disaggregated. 
I see. Conventional models of patriotism are about everybody getting together to repel an invader. Gandhi and Tagore's model was of everybody running away in different directions.
And it has helped make India a diverse and united nation
How? According to Tagore, the diversity was there to start with. At Independence, Indians took over the administrative machinery left by the British. No 'disaggregated model of patriotism' was responsible for the shape of India inherited from the Raj. Where borders were threatened, it was a centralised model of patriotism- soldiers obeying orders- which prevented them crumbling altogether. 
Look at what is happening in Spain today. Why have the Catalans rebelled? Because they weren’t given the space and the freedom to honourably have their own language and culture
Nonsense! The thing is purely political and has a lot to do with E.U mandated austerity. Guha must be out of his mind if he thinks Catalans are denied their own language and culture.
And the centralised Spanish state came down so hard that the Catalans had a referendum in which many of them said, ‘we want independence’
Sheer lunacy! The Catalan referendum was an illegal stunt for a shallow political purpose. It backfired.
Had the Republic of Spain been founded and run on Indian principles, this would not have happened.
If Spain had been run on Indian principles it would be a starving shithole. 
Had Pakistan not imposed Urdu on Bengalis, they may not have split in two nations a mere quarter-­of-a-century after Independence. 
Pakistan split because the Bengalis got a majority in the elections. Bhutto and the Army didn't want to answer to Bengalis. Urdu was a side issue.
Had Sri Lanka not imposed Sinhala on the Tamils they would not have had thirty years of ethnic strife. 
Sri Lanka weakened the army because of fears of a Burgher led coup. This made it vulnerable to insurgency- communist (JVP) or ethnic. Buddhist chauvinism was a factor as was some Cold War meddling.
India has escaped civil war and secession because its founders wisely did not impose a single religion or single language on its citizens.
No. The State does not have the capacity to impose very much and thus its 'wisdom' is irrelevant. What matters is if the Army can crush insurrections and seal borders. India could do so because of the 'centralised', not 'dis-aggregated' patriotism of its soldiers.

One can be a patriot of Bangalore, Karnataka, and India—all at the same time. No. If one is a patriot of India, one can't eject other Indians from Bangalore. Previously it was thought one could be a patriotic Britisher as well as believe in a common European heimat. But, it seems this is not so anymore because British politicians have decided that they want to keep some Europeans out of Britain. But the notion of a world citizen is false. Not at all! There are people who believe it is immoral to prevent the entry of exit of anybody whatsoever. The British-born Indian J.B.S. Haldane put it this way: “One of the chief duties of a citizen is to be a nuisance to the government of his state. As there is no world state, I cannot do this.... On the other hand I can be, and am, a nuisance to the government of India, which has the merit of permitting a good deal of criticism, though it reacts to it rather slowly. I also happen to be proud of being a citizen of India, which is a lot more diverse than Europe, let alone the US, USSR or China, and thus a better model for a possible world organisation. It may, of course, break up, but it is a wonderful experiment. So I want to be labelled as a citizen of India”. Why did Haldane and his wife become Indian citizens? It was because his wife was sacked for drunkenness. They were both quite batty. Haldane went on a hunger strike because some Canadian Pentecostal couldn't come to a dinner he'd arranged. The Canadian later converted to the Wicca Religion. All quite mad. 
Why is Guha mentioning Haldane? Being a nuisance isn't patriotism- it is being a silly arse.

A citizen of India can vote in panch­ayat, assembly and parliamentary polls; he or she can make demands on their local sarpanch, MLA, or MP.  Wow! It sure must be swell being an Indian and getting to be a nuisance to so many different people. But how has this helped Indian people? Are they all comfortably off? Do they have no unmet needs?
In between elections he or she can affirm their citizenship (at all these levels) through speech and (non-violent) act­ion. So what? This has nothing to do with patriotism. No sacrifice for the greater good is involved. But global citizenship is a mirage; or a cop-out. Those who cannot or will not identify with locality, province or nat­ion accord themselves the fanciful and fraudulent title of ‘citizen of the world’. How so? A 'global citizen' can harass the U.N Secretary General in addition to harassing his local Councillor or M.L.A or M.P or P.M. Under both British and Indian law, a person who rejects British or Indian patriotism still has the same rights of self-expression as one who loves his locality, province and nation.

The third feature of constitutional patriotism, and this again comes from people like Gandhi and Tagore, is the recognition that no state, no nation, no religion or no culture is perfect or flawless. 
Utter balderdash! Indians are welcome to believe that their revealed Religion or favoured Ideology is perfect and flawless. Some Indians believed that the sun shone out of Stalin's and then Mao's ass. So what? The Constitution accorded them the right to act in a self regarding manner in this respect. Thus 'constitutional patriotism'- were it not an oxymoron- would counsel respecting these nutjobs' beliefs and not offending against them.
India is not superior to America necessarily, nor is America superior to India necessarily. 
India is necessarily superior to America if you are an Indian citizen who can't emigrate to America. Why? Because a country where you can actually live and work and derive utility is necessarily superior, for you, to one where you can do no such thing.
Hinduism is not superior to Christianity necessarily, nor is Islam superior to Judaism necessarily. Hinduism is necessarily superior for me because I can only please my loved ones by carrying out Hindu rituals, not Christian ones, of a specific type. Religious and ideological fundamentalists are possessed by the idea of superiority. They believe that they and only they have the perfect truth. As opposed to you who just gasses on and on saying nothing because you genuinely believe the truth is any old shite you blurt out.

But no state, no religion, is perfect or flawless. And no leader either. The great B.R. Ambedkar, in his last speech to the Constituent Assembly, said that “in India, Bhakti or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship”. That's why Ambedkar thought Gandhi's assassination a good thing.

Ambedkar’s warning was prophetic. It anticipated the rule, or rather the mis­rule, of Indira Gandhi, which came about only because her bhakts placed their liberties at her feet. 
Sheer nonsense! Indira had sycophants. Gandhi had worshippers. Indira's sycophants wanted to get rid of judicial and parliamentary checks and balances so as to enrich themselves. The dynasty too profited- Madam Sonia was the other shareholder in Maruti.

And now, Modi bhakts are blindly worshipping our present prime minister.
But Modi is an RSS man who has to bow to whichever grey eminence runs that body.
In truth, this cult of the great leader which Amb­edkar warned against bedevils not only Indian politics, but also Indian corporate and intellectual life, even Indian cricket. Guha alone still subscribes to the Great Man theory of History. He quotes Tagore's tosh as if it means anything.

Gandhi himself once admitted to making a Himalayan blunder. Why did he do so? It was because Dyer had massacred peaceful satyagrahis. Gandhi had to call off the agitation because the British were prepared to use post-Mutiny tactics. Gandhi's followers would have been massacred and he himself transported, never to be heard off again. Gandhi knew what the Brits were capable off because he knew what happened to the Boers in the concentration camps.  But I cannot recall Narendra Modi ack­nowledging even a minor mistake. Unlike Gandhi, who had no power or official position, Modi has power and official position. If he admits a mistake then there is both criminal and civil recourse against him and his administration. However, it is very important that citizens recognise that like nations and cultures, leaders are not perfect or infallible either. Why is it very important? Suppose citizens are so stupid that they think some leader is infallible. Only if the leader follows a dangerously misguided policy will those citizens suffer any harm. However, even leaders believed to be fallible may do the same thing. Thus the belief of citizens re. infallibility of a Pope or Politician is wholly irrelevant.


The fifth feature of constitutional patriotism is the ability to be rooted in one’s culture while being willing to learn from other cultures and countr­ies. 
Patriotism motivates one to do something helpful for one's patria. 'Being rooted in one's culture' may be unhelpful for it. Japanese people gave up their kimonos and katanas for trousers and rifles. This was beneficial for their patria. Being willing learn things needful for the defence of one's country is certainly patriotic. But utility not provenance is all that matters.
This too must operate at all levels. If you live in Basavanagudi, love Basavangudi, but think what you can learn from Jayanagar or Richmond Town. Love Bangalore but think what you can learn from Chennai or Hyderabad. Love Karnataka, but think what you can learn from Kerala or Himachal Pradesh. Love India, but think of what you can learn from Sweden or Canada. So, true patriots must be rooted in their locality, their state, their country but have the recognition and the understanding that they can learn from other cultures, ­other cities, other countries who have done some things better than them.
If you live in the Majestic area, love the prostitutes there but think what you can learn from the Red Light districts of Amsterdam or Bangkok.
A fourth feature of constitutional patriotism is this: we must have the ability to feel shame at the failures of our state and society, and we must have the desire and the will to correct them. Why feel shame? It is a childish, heteronomous, emotion. Shame causes us to hide things. It is not a rational emotion. Better to have a sense of sin and desire expiation. Even better is to proceed according to a purely rational calculus of Costs and Benefits. This does mean making trade-offs and taking risks. There is a regret minimising strategy of a statistical nature which we should adopt. The most gross and debased aspects of Indian culture and society are discrimination against women and against Dalits. And a true patriot must feel shame about them. Gandhi felt shame, Ambedkar felt shame, Nehru felt shame, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay felt shame. That is why in our Constitution we abolished caste and gender distinctions. Quite true! Indian Constitution abolished secondary sexual characteristics. Yet these distinctions pervade everyday life. Because some people still have dicks and others don't. How shameful! Unless we continue to feel shame, and act accordingly, they will continue to persist. So, if you want your dick to disappear, continue to feel shame. Probably your acting accordingly consists in chopping the thing off.

Two quotes, from the greatest of modern Indians, illustrate this open-min­ded patriotism very well. Thus Tagore wrote in 1908: “If India had been deprived of touch with the West, she would have lacked an element essential for her attainment of perfection'.
Hang on! I thought Guha said we mustn't think any country could be perfect. What's going on here? Does it have to do with chopping off our dicks?
 'Eur­ope now has her lamp ablaze. We must light our torches at its wick and make a fresh start on the highway of time. That our forefathers, three thousand years ago, had finished extracting all that was of value from the universe, is not a worthy thought. We are not so unfortunate, nor the universe so poor”.
Did Tagore act upon his own recommendation? Nope. He went to London in his robes and got Yeats to write an introduction to Gitanjali. From the Imperial point of view, Tagore was a useful idiot. He demonstrated that the East was spiritual, as Yeats demonstrated the mad mystic strain in the Irish mind, and thus India was as unfitted for self-rule as Ireland because spirituality and mad mysticism are marks of political imbecility.

Thirty years later, Gandhi remarked: “In this age, when distances have been obliterated, no nation can afford to imitate the frog in the well. Sometimes it is refreshing to see ourselves as others see us”. Quite true. The world had indeed come to see India as a country saved from starvation and civil strife only by the Brits. Why? Because Gandhi's economic policy was of every village drowning itself in its own well.

As a patriotic Indian, I am delighted that the West has acknowledged the importance and value of yoga. Why? You feel delight at something which doesn't matter in the slightest. How does this make you patriotic?  Likewise, there must be many aspects of life in the West, in Africa, in China and Japan that we can acknowledge, appreciate, learn from. One aspect of life in Africa is a loathing of worthless verbiage. Learn that, Guha. As Tagore suggested, we must find glory in the illumination of a lamp lit anywhere in the world. So, we should all sit up half the night feeling glory because somewhere some guy turned on a lamp. That's bound to be really helpful for our country.


An appreciation of individual and cultural diversity; a readiness to enact one’s citizenship at different levels; the recognition that no religion, nation, or leader is flawless; the ability to feel shame at the crimes of one’s religion, state, society or nation; the willingness to learn from other countries—these, to me, are the five founding features of the model of patriotism bequeathed us by the nation’s founders.
Indians under the Raj were welcome to indulge themselves to their heart's content in each of these five features. What they couldn't do was defend their own country's borders or its interests abroad. This meant that if the British had decided, on the basis of their own self interest, to abandon the North East to the Japanese in the hope that their supply lines would get over-stretched, then this 'five fold' 'constitutional patriotism' could have done nothing at all other than feel some more shame and recognise leaders are not flawless and so forth.
As a matter of fact, when the Chinese invaded, Nehru certainly showed this 'five fold' patriotism in his address to the people of Assam. Far from striking a Churchillian note, the old Harrovian came across as a pathetic old woman. It was felt that he was writing off the Brahmaputra valley. This rankles in their heart to this day.

 This model is now in tatters. It is increasingly being replaced by a new model of nationalism, which privileges a single religion, Hinduism, which argues that a real Indian is a Hindu. 
Not quite. Hindutva is the notion that the real Hindu is a patriotic Indian who will go and fight the Chinese or any other invader. It is also the notion that weeping and crying and feeling shame is quite useless.
This new model also privileges a single language—Hindi. 
But Gandhi did that as did the framers of the Constitution. What's new about this?
It insists that Hindi is the national language, and whatever the language of your home, your street, your state, you must speak Hindi also. 
This isn't true. Did the BJP make Hindi compulsory in Karnataka when they were in power? Has any one from the party mentioned doing so now? What is actually happening is that private schools are fighting compulsory classes in Kannada. Hindi is a red herring.
Thirdly, this model privileges a common external enemy—Pakistan.
Pakistan and China have always been the external enemies which the Army and Intelligence Agencies prepare to battle. There is nothing new here.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, those promoting this new model of Indian nationalism are borrowing (and more or less wholesale) from 19th century Europe
The Constitution borrowed wholesale from the Irish model- e.g. on the issue of constitutional autochthony and Directive Principles. 19th Century Europe was wholly irrelevant.

However, to the template of a single religion, a single language and a common enemy they have added an innovation of their own—the branding of all critics of their Party and their Leader as ‘anti-national’.  Indira's Congress did that in the Seventies. It locked up opposition politicians and independent journalists. That isn't happening now. This scapegoating comes straight from the holy book of the RSS, M.S. Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts. In this book, Golwalkar identified three ‘internal threats’ to the nation—Muslims, Christians and Communists. Gowalkar was right. Muslims did partition the country and ethnically cleanse Hindus. Communists did mount a military challenge to the State. Christian missionaries in the North East did encourage separatist violence. Under Nehru and his daughter, tough measures were taken against all three. Now, I am not a Muslim, Christian or Communist, but I have nonetheless become an enemy of the nation. Why aren't you in jail? Is it because Modi, unlike Indira, hasn't suspended the rule of Law? Because any critic, any dissen­ter, anyone who upholds the old ideal of constitutional patriotism is considered by those in power and their cheerleaders to be an enemy of the nation. You are saying there is at least one person who is in power who thinks you are an enemy of the nation. Has he said this to you himself? If so, why have you not made a complaint to the Courts so that he receives the punishment laid down by law for such a gross violation of the constitution? Where is your 'constitutional patriotism' Prof. Guha? Or are you simply lying? No doubt, that is the real meaning of being a 'constitutional patriot'.