Sunday, 29 September 2019

Why Karan Thapar is wrong about Nazi Germany

Why did Hitler become all powerful in Germany? The answer is simple. The German General Staff believed that it could grab territory from its neighbors and thus enrich itself and Germany. It felt it could have won the First World War, strenuously denied war-guilt and wanted people to believe there had been a 'stab in the back' by the Civilians. It suppressed the Communists easily enough using demobbed soldiers but it was determined to have a 'force multiplier' in terms of 'freikorps' disguised as a political movement. Towards this end, soldiers like Hitler were ordered to join Right Wing outfits like the fledgling Nazi Party. General Ludendorff led the Munich Putsch. But Ludendorff had gone batshit crazy. He was denouncing the Catholics with as much venom as he denounced the Jews. But Bavaria is Catholic. The thing was a fiasco. Ludendorff refused to go to jail and also fell out with Hindenburg, whom he considered a senile fool.

By contrast, Hitler was happy to spend a little time in Jail. He wrote quite a useful book which shifted war-guilt onto the Hapsburgs, while making himself out to be a simple country lad who had seen the seamy side of life in the cities. He was actually slightly less crazy and repellent than some of his associates. Hindenburg had become President, but Ludendorff, his old colleague, was too batshit crazy to hold office. General Schleicher, who had the same agenda as Hitler, had fallen out with General Blomberg. Thus once Hitler slaughtered his own radical fringe and also killed Schleicher and his wife, Blomberg was happy to get the Army to take the oath of loyalty to Hitler. However, Hitler later used the excuse of his marriage to an ex-prostitute to get rid of him. Still, the Army was firmly on side- their maximal program was being pursued by a popular leader of great ruthlessness.

This begs the question, why did the Army allow the Weimar Republic, and its pretense of Democracy, to exist for a short period? The answer was that Germany was dependent on foreign loans- which is why it was pretending to pay reparations. Once the net inflow of foreign cash stopped, there was Presidential rule with the Army running things behind the scenes.

What does this story remind you off? India under Modi? No. The Army has zero role. Pakistan under Imran Khan Niazi? Bingo. That's an army with a country, not a country with an army. Because it is deeply in debt, it pretends to be a Democracy under the Rule of Law. Once the IMF stops bailing it out, it will dispense with any such hypocrisy.  It has already mastered ethnic cleansing and genocide and pursued WMD and exported craziness. Im the Dim may have been elevated by the army- but he has the same vision, or lack of one. He has married  a crazy clairvoyant and believes her prophesies. Hitler, too, thought he was a 'Man of Destiny'.

Like Bhutto, whom Historians like John Keay blame for starting the '65 war as well as the genocide against the Bengalis, Imran is an Brown Sahib more at ease in Mayfair than the Madrasa. He may yet precipitate Pakistan's final war if his crazy rhetoric at the UN is anything to go by.

Karan Thapar, who- like Im the Dim- has an Oxbridge degree- takes a different view. He writes in the Hindustan Times-
Look out for the BBC’s three-part serial “Rise of the Nazis”. It concluded last Friday in London. It reveals how easily Adolf Hitler came to power, and the extent to which the German establishment facilitated his rise. And running through it is the call of nationalism.
Hindenburg was president, and von Schleicher and von Pappen, the immediately preceding chancellors. They knew the Nazis could destroy the Weimar Republic but naively thought they could use Hitler to tackle what they considered a greater threat, the communists.
There was zero Communist threat. Thalman, a committed Stalinist, had worked with Hitler against the Social Democrats. He created the first 'Antifa', but it spent its time attacking the SDs who, according to the Comintern orthodoxy of the time were 'Social Fascists'. After Hitler took a Stalinist line, the Communist rank and file quickly became enthusiastic Nazis. Why? Everybody could see what had happened to Russia. They weren't crazy enough to want to slit their own throats. The Communists felt their true enemy was the Social Democrats which the Army and Catholics like Von Pappen had always hated. But the Depression- which meant the drying up of foreign funding- had pulled the rug from under the feet of the Weimar Republic in any case. The death of the Republic was a foregone conclusion.
Alas, they had no idea of Hitler’s appeal.
Nonsense! Everybody knew the appeal of Hitler's oratory. What they had no idea of was his superior tactical skill and greater ruthlessness.
His promise to make Germany great again and fix its broken economy made him look like the saviour of the German people. Meanwhile his Stormtroopers ruthlessly dealt with dissent.
Hitler massacred his own S.A nutters in the night of the long knives. The reason he prevailed was that he had no rivals within his own fold.
In January 1933, Hitler became chancellor after von Pappen stepped down and agreed to be his deputy. In the next six months, Germany changed rapidly.
But it had changed more fundamentally three years earlier when the Army did not think Hitler's outfit could amount to very much.
First, in February, Hindenburg agreed to Hitler’s Reichstag Decree, giving the Nazis emergency powers to arrest and imprison without charge, and restrict civil liberties. In weeks, 25,000 were arrested.
So, the fundamental change was that Hindenburg had given himself power to do whatever he liked. General Schleicher could have been the guy doing this stuff but he'd made enemies within the Army. Hitler had outclassed the Generals and was proceeding to fulfill their maximal vision. That is why Blomberg could get the rank and file of the army to swear personal loyalty to Hitler even though President Hindenburg was still alive.
Then, on the March 23, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act. Democracy was suspended and Hitler could govern without Parliament’s approval. Yet, all the while, Hindenburg, von Schleicher and von Pappen thought Hitler was their man and willing to do their bidding!
They knew Hitler was not doing their bidding because he had out-maneuvered each and every one of them.
Tucked away in Bavaria, was Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Schutzstaffel (SS). His organization saw itself as Hitler’s most loyal soldiers. They were anti-Semitic, anti-Left, anti-democratic. 
& Goring wasn't?
They invented the concept of “protective policy custody” to arrest opponents of the Nazis. 
Really? Did Mussolini learn this from the Nazis by going 'back to the future' in a De Lorean?
Hundreds of thousands were locked up without access to courts and the first concentration camp to “re-educate prisoners” set up in Dachau. Himmler brought every state in Germany under SS control, making it one of the most powerful institutions of the Nazi State. He also knew how to read Hitler’s personality, and played on Hitler’s dislike of judicial and bureaucratic constraints and his fear of assassination.
By contrast Mussolini and Stalin loved judicial and bureaucratic constraints. Hitler was a very unusual man who- unlike normal people- feared being assassinated. The wily Himmler somehow discovered this secret and used it to gain influence over Hitler. What a great historian Karan Thapar is, to be sure! It must be genetic. His cousin is Romila Thapar.

The German system had many opportunities to reverse what was happening.
No. Power had been concentrated in the hands of the President. But Hindenburg was very very old. His son, and 'gatekeeper', dreamed off vast estates in Poland which the new Reich would give him. Thus, there was zero chance to reverse what was happening. Why? The country endorsed the General Staff's crazy dream of conquest.
But the establishment failed to respond.
What fucking establishment? The country was impoverished. Foreign loans had dried up. People thought the Army could grab territory in the East and thus restore prosperity through loot and plunder.
Hans Litten, a lawyer, petitioned the courts against the thuggish Stormtroopers but they would not support him. Josef Hartinger, then deputy national prosecutor, discovered the truth about Dachau but his bosses would not listen. At every turn, the system gave Hitler the benefit of the doubt or looked the other way.
This is sheer stupidity. We know that the great intellectuals of the period- Carl Schmitt- the jurist- Heidegger &  even Frege- the philosophers- most Historians and even Economists, everybody- except Jews and 'ordoliberals' thought the Army knew what it was doing. True, after Germany lost, everybody pretended to have been duped but what else could they say?
So, in 180 days, Hitler decimated the opposition, subverted the legal system, created the Gestapo, expanded the SS, opened Dachau, and beguiled the German people with Nazi nationalism. Hindenburg, as president, was the only man with the power to sack him. Instead, he fell victim to Hitler’s charms.
Thapar, idiot that he is, does not say Hindbenburg was the only person who could put Hitler in power. He couldn't sack him once he did so. Why? Hitler was popular enough to defeat him in the next ballot- if he lived that long- and so he was already a 'lame duck' President.
By 1934, he was dead and von Schleicher and von Pappen killed.
Von Pappen wasn't killed. He died in 1969.
Hitler celebrated the Night of the Long Knives by inviting his Cabinet and their wives to a party. Champagne was served and everyone behaved as if nothing had happened the day before. Hitler now had supreme control. He had cajoled, coerced and manipulated his way to dictatorship whilst those who could have stopped him helplessly watched.
I guess the BBC’s intention is to show how easily the rise of the Nazis happened and, perhaps, prevent it from occurring again. It was not inevitable and it could have been checked.
By whom? Once Hindenburg concentrated power in his own hands it was inevitable that some Army guy would carry out the maximal program. Hindenburg didn't want it to be an 'Austrian Corporal', but the Corporal had already shown himself to be less crazy than Ludendorff. He subsequently showed he was a better tactician than Schleicher. When the Social Democrats tried to get Hindenburg to see sense, he berated them for the 'stab in the back'. In other words, that senile fool had always been a true believer in the General Staff's maximal plan- which Hitler put into action.
There were several warning signs. They just weren’t heeded. This is, therefore, a story worth retelling. Democracy is fragile. In order to be open and inclusive, it leaves itself vulnerable to being taken over by anti-democratic forces. This is why democracy should never be taken for granted. It needs vigorous defence.

At the end of the third episode, when the screen turns to black and the credits roll, there was only one thought in my mind. If it could happen so easily to Germany……
It will happen to Pakistan. Why? Like Weimar Germany, Pakistani's Democracy is very fragile and only about ten years old. Opposition leaders are in jail- no doubt because they genuinely are corrupt, but then so are the incumbents. Everyone knows it is the Army that is calling the shots. It has some crazy plan which is based on a Nazi type ideology. The Pak Army committed genocide against Bengali Pakistanis because they thought they were slightly fairer skinned. Like Weimar Germany, Pakistan is bankrupt. Imran Khan, like Hitler, has a crazy belief in himself as a 'Man of Destiny'. Now he is talking off launching a nuclear war. Sooner or later, this ex coke-head will go off the rails. Then the Army will have to step in. Recall that the Army brought in Bhutto, then hanged him. They brought in Navaz Sharif, then turned against him. Imran Khan's turn will come soon enough. Either his country will go up in flames along with him or else the Army, which unlike most Pakistanis, has something to lose, will put the fellow in a strait jacket.

Can anything similar happen in India? No. Why? Because it is a mainly Hindu country. Hindus don't think they can grow rich by conquering other countries. Muslims may do so. There is a material incentive to join a jihad because you get to keep a portion of the loot. Anyway, if you are killed, you get a one way ticket to a paradise stocked with lovely virgins. Hinduism can offer no similar perk. What you do in this life determines what reward or punishment you will get in the next. This is dis-spiriting- but it does keep us safe.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Justice Sawant on Article 370

PB Sawant, a 90 year old former Supreme Court Judge, writes in the Indian Express, to support the contention that the abrogation of article 370 is illegal
The J&K state was never a part of this country, before Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on March 17, 1948, which gave this country a legal access to that state for the first time. This Instrument of Accession was conditional and was given a constitutional status by incorporating it with the conditions, in Article 370 of our Constitution, when the Constitution was in the making.
That Instrument of Accession may have been mentioned conditions. But, it is an indisputable fact that all the Instruments of Accession signed by various Princes contained provisions which were subsequently breached by Acts of Parliament. Under Article 245,
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India, and the Legislature of a State may make laws for the whole or any part of the State
Both houses of Parliament have passed the J&K Reorganization Bill. There can be no doubt that what has happened is perfectly legal.
What is more, sub-clause 3 of the Article 370 makes it abundantly clear that the provisions of the said Article will not cease to be operative or modified without the previous recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the J&K state. This process of amendment of Article 370 is special to the said Article, and hence prevails over Article 368 of the Constitution, which is the general power of amendment of the Constitution.
That Constituent Assembly was dissolved long ago and the Supreme Court accepted that its power had passed to the Governor. Thus, it was easier to amend the constitution for J&K by Presidential order than it would have been for the rest of India. It is no wonder the Center thought it worthwhile to keep up its 'special' status.

The non-obstante clause with which the Article begins also makes that clear. It should, therefore, be clear to all that when the present government and Parliament purported to declare that the said Article shall not be operative, they did not follow the procedure laid down in Article 370.
However, the Supreme Court had confirmed that Presidential Orders could alter the Kashmiri constitution any which way.
Hence, the said Article remains in our Constitution intact without any harm to it.
Quite true. The Article has been used to nullify whatever it signified to its votaries.
The propaganda carried out by the government that the said Article has been repealed is, therefore, obviously misleading.
No. The propaganda was accurate. The Muslim majority of the Valley can't dominate the State anymore.
Much irresponsible comment is being made on the temporary status of Article 370, without realising that the Article is changeable, unlike other provisions of the Constitution, on the previous recommendation of the Constitution Assembly of J&K state, acted upon by the President of India.
However, that power of the Constituent Assembly passed to the Governor if the Legislature was in abeyance.
Those who clamour for the abrogation of Article 370 unilaterally by this government, forget the elementary fact that this country got legal right to enter the state only because of the conditional political pact of accession.
Much good this 'legal right' did it in the case of Pak or Chinese occupied portions of the State. The law may be an ass, but even an ass understands the stick.
If the Article is abrogated unilaterally, assuming the action is valid, the legal right of this country to remain in J&K will be jeopardised.
So what? Either the army can repel invaders or it can't. If it can't Indian rule in the area will collapse irrespective of 'legal rights'.
It is unfortunate that this government, for reasons best known to it, has indulged in the present misadventure which is bound to boomerang.
How? Will Pakistan launch another War which it is bound to lose? What about China? Do they really want to risk being nuked?
We should realise that with all the leaders of the Kashmiris under house arrest, the communications closed, seething discontent of the people fermenting every hour, the people of Kashmir cannot be suppressed with force for long.
Sure they can! Just ask the Tibetans. Those discontented with Indian rule may amount to at most half a percent of India's total population. History and common sense tells us that the frustration of even five or ten percent of a population has zero effect. Compared to what the Pakistani Army faces in Balochistan, India's task is a peace of cake.
Both history and common sense dictate against it.
There is still a scope for an amicable political settlement, by which the affection of the Kashmiris can be won.
Nonsense! If you make your money by being a nuisance, you have an incentive to maximize your nuisance value.
For this, however, our government has to shed its macho image and come out with realistic measures to win the confidence and trust of the Kashmiris.
The BJP will do that and fail in the Valley. Ladakh and Jammu, however, will do well.
To our brothers and sisters in Kashmir, we should appeal not to mistake the government for the people of this country.
Why? Will the people of India start stone-pelting in solidarity with the deranged youth of the Valley? Kashmiris know very well that their kids get attacked if they express seditious sentiments on campuses in the rest of India.
They should believe in our goodwill and fraternity for them, notwithstanding the damage done to it by the present misadventure of our government.
But if they are so credulous, why should they not believe that the Islamic Caliphate will soon conquer India and America and China? Furthermore, martyrdom in that cause will get them lots of virgins in Heaven.
Our Kashmiri friends should remember that their destiny lies with this country, which has proved its democratic credentials, by and large. They will be safe within our fold.
It is true these Kashmiri friends of the ex-Judge got away with ethnic cleansing of Hindus. But, they won't be safe if they target the Indian Army. They will be killed. Why try to delude people who have delusions enough of their own?
There is no other option for them. Complete independence without the protection of this country, will invite forcible occupation by other countries as has already been experienced by them.
If you get paid money for stone-pelting and no other jobs are available because of the terror tactics of the militants, why not throw stones? The only reason can be- not getting paid while being blinded by pellet guns.
A merger with Pakistan will land them under military dictatorship from which the Pakistanis themselves have been suffering, from the country’s inception.
How is this 'merger' supposed to happen? Pakistan is too weak to take the area by force. India would rather change the demographics of the valley than hand it over.  Kashmiris know this. However, they are heavily dependent on money from the Center, precisely because of their nuisance value, and naturally resent their inability to rise up by their own efforts.
We consider Kashmiris as our integral part. Their life and culture are a precious jewel in the crown of our cosmopolitan culture.
The trappings of the American way of life and European origin science and culture are precious jewels in the crown of our cosmopolitan culture. Chinese and Japanese martial arts too are admired and imitated in every town in India. Kashmiri or Manipuri or Tamil or Bhojpuri culture are material for vulgar comedy. Why? India is, by and large, very very poor. Those who are poorest are those whose crowns are adorned with the precious jewels of indigenous culture. That is why we make a point of pretending not to know our own mother tongues. A Pakistani Professor of Punjabi Literature once said to me that he and his wife raised his children to speak Urdu, not Punjabi. They in turn were raising the grandchildren to speak English not Urdu. In my turn, I described an orthodox neighbor of my grandmother's in T.Nagar, Madras. The cup of their joy overflowed when at last they were visited by a grandchild who spoke only demotic American and who treated them like shit because, so she said, that's what they smelled off.
There are strong affinities between us, and we love and respect them as our brothers and sisters.
OMG! Is this senile cretin quoting one of Modi's speeches?
They have nothing to fear or lose, and everything to gain being with us. Let bygones be bygones, and let us start a new chapter in our relationship which should be permanent and ineffaceable.
Is it just me, or does reading shite like this make you want to secede not just from the Indian race but the entire Human Species?

Thursday, 26 September 2019

UK Supreme Court vs Indian Supreme Court

A Scroll.in columnist writes-
The manner in which the British court dealt with the case (viz the legality of proroguing Parliament) offers a great lesson for India’s own Supreme Court, which has failed to rise to the occasion at a time when a majoritarian executive has mounted an unprecedented attack on the country’s institutions and constitutional scheme.
This is foolish. There has been no 'unprecedented attack' on India's institutions and constitutional scheme. The Indian Supreme Court has signaled this. By contrast, in the UK, membership of the European Union caused British law to become subordinate to European Law. This necessitated the 2005 Constitutional Reform Act  which created the British Supreme Court (which came into existence in 2009) and which also substantially reduced the powers of the Lord Chancellor who would no longer be Head of the Judiciary.

India can't learn anything from a country which only created a Supreme Court ten years ago and only did so because it was ceding sovereignty to the European Union.

The UK has a completely different system of law in Scotland. An English High Court said prorogation was legal but the Highest Scottish Court said it was illegal. Thus, as a matter of urgency, the Supreme Court had to step in. It has upheld the Scottish verdict.

BoJo's present predicament arises out of the Fixed term Parliament Act of 2011 which was brought in to reassure the Liberal Party when it entered a coalition government with the Conservative Party. He can't call a General Election because Labor's Jeremy Corbyn won't be goaded into accepting such a challenge at this time- though he did permit Theresa May to call an election in which she suffered an unexpected reverse.

The Indian situation could not be more different. We have a strong government which has a solid majority. It is the Opposition which is in disarray. Parliament is already sovereign in India. Modi's power comes from Parliament. By contrast, BoJo no longer commands a majority in the British Parliament. The Speaker is an open enemy. The British Prime Minister has been vilified and, in turn, has vilified others in a manner which have had no parallel in recent British history. By contrast, Modi's ascendancy over the House is comparable to that of Jawaharlal Nehru in his prime.

The United Kingdom, it is sad to say, has never been more disunited. Scroll.in, with typical fatuity, thinks that Britain is showing the way for India.
The United Kingdom’s top court listed the matter within a week of the case being filed and formed a 11-judge bench, the largest possible.
Why did it do so? The answer is that Scotland's Highest Court had disagreed with an English High Court. A fault-line between Scottish law and English law had appeared. Moreover, European Law- till Brexit actually occurs- has to be respected. That is why the British Supreme Court, which was only created ten years ago so as to comply with European Law, had to take swift action.

In India, by contrast, Amit Shah had acted perfectly in accordance with Indian law and practice. Parliament is solidly behind his action. Some stupid people filed illiterate briefs which were prima facie absurd. Had the Indian Supreme Court rushed to judgment, it would have been obliged to rubber stamp the Government's action.
Dates for arguments were quickly set. The matter was concluded in just over two days. The judgement was delivered on Tuesday, when the court struck the prime minister’s decision down in a brief but powerfully articulated order.
The unprecedented nature of the British situation could be compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s decision on August 5 to hollow out Article 370 of the Constitution. To begin with, the special status for Jammu and Kashmir was removed in a matter of hours. No proper debate was allowed on the matter, strangling the life out of the parliamentary system.
What proper debate could there have been? A minority could have screamed and shouted. But the majority could have shouted even louder.

Unlike Britain, where the Tory party is deeply divided on this issue and the PM can't command a majority for 'No Deal', India has a strong and stable Government which is completely united on Article 370.
In addition, Kashmiris were shackled by severe restrictions on movement and communications, some of which continue even 50 days later.
But this has happened very frequently! What is different this time around is that there have been no casualties.
This violation of parliamentary tradition and the trampling of the fundamental rights of a large section of citizens should have forced an immediate, elaborate hearing from the Supreme Court.
'A large section of citizens'? The Valley has less than half a percentage of the Indian population! Anyway, this same thing has been happening repeatedly for decades.
This has not happened. In habeas corpus writ petitions challenging the detentions of political leaders and others in Kashmir, the Supreme Court refused to examine the legality of the matter immediately.
Sheikh Abdullah passed the Law which is being challenged. The habeas corpus petitions are prima facie infructuous. The fact of the matter is that Kashmir Valley is subject to both external and internal terrorism and insurgency. Pakistan is threatening a nuclear war on this issue. If it chooses, the Government could declare a State of Emergency because of this clear and present danger. The Supreme Court is right to treat any petitions filed in this connections purely as a matter of law rather than take an alarmist view not supported by the facts.
On the constitutional questions that have been raised by the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the court does not seem to think this is a matter urgent enough for a swift hearing. It has scheduled a hearing for October. Instead, a five-judge bench continues to hear the title suits in the Babri Masjid case, showing great eagerness in completing the arguments.
The Babri Masjid case has been dragging on for years. It is perfectly proper for the Court to finish with it. It must not waste time getting diverted by topical, but infructuous, petitions. Cretins who write for Scroll.in don't represent anybody save their paymasters.
As the highest constitutional court, the Supreme Court has the discretion to decide what matter needs its urgent attention. But this discretion must be exercised with public good as the driving force. In this, the UK court has set an example that the Indian judiciary would do well to emulate.
The 'public good' has a quantitative aspect. The Babri case is important to hundreds of millions of Indians. Kashmir Valley is important to only a very small fraction of that number.

The UK court was only set up ten years ago to comply with European Law. If Brexit goes ahead, it is likely that there will be another Constitutional Reform Bill the next time a party with a solid majority commands the House.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Samar Halarnkar on Ayush Chaturvedi

Samar Halarnkar write in the Scroll of the 'marginalisation of Indian Muslims' and of how 'the indifference of Hindus can be stemmed by those who defy the tide'. Clearly, this man believes that Hindus have super-powers. If they stop being indifferent to something, then it ceases to be a problem. 

This is not the view of the Indian Muslims. They quote Scripture to the effect that a community must change itself to rise up. One aspect of this involves making mutually beneficial agreements with other communities. Successful Muslim countries may make non-Muslims feel safe and able to enjoy the fruit of their enterprise and initiative because this benefits all the people of the country. Non-Muslim countries, similarly, may make Muslims feel safe and confident that they can rise by hard work and enterprise.

By contrast, hysterical or histrionic behavior can't make the country safe for anybody. It is a nuisance simply. Consider the trajectory of Gandhian politics in the Indian sub-continent. Yes, it got rid of the British minority but it did not make any other minority safe save by that minorities own efforts. But even the Parsis, being better placed to do so, emigrated en masse

Samar takes a different view.
My friend was one of those Indians who proudly waved the flag, sang the anthem and believed there were – despite its obvious infirmities – few better places on earth to raise his daughter. The first shock to a lifetime of patriotism was delivered this year by a child who taunted his six-year-old.
You are a Muslim and a terrorist, said the child, who was unlikely to have understood what a terrorist was. But children only parrot their parents, so it was obvious where these accusations came from. Many Muslims, especially in North India, will tell you taunts like these are not new. At some point, they have had to endure the tired but hurtful trope of Muslim, Pakistani, terrorist. But these encounters were largely regarded as exceptions and tolerated because their country and its large majority of Hindus embraced the idea of a diverse, secular India – or at least so we thought.
Hindus get taunted as Kaffirs who will inherit Hell fire. They are not taunted as terrorists unless they are mistaken for Muslims. Why? Samar may not know this, but there's a lot of Islamic terrorism in the globe today. It gets reported on TV. A kid may watch TV and ask 'who are those bad people? Why are they killing innocents?' The answer, I'm afraid, is that these terrorists believe they are advancing the Islamic cause. Television News Channels, not the kids' parents, has caused the child to equate Islam with terrorism.

Now, people like my friend cannot recognize their country.
Why? It is because Islamic terrorists and their 'overground' networks don't believe that India should remain as it is. They want a 'Caliphate'. They think kaffirs should be killed or enslaved. They also think Indian Islam should be 'purified'. They don't recognize it as properly Islamic.
Friends and neighbours are radicalised, buying wholesale into the idea of one nation, one leader, one culture and a host of other imaginary unities, designed to exclude other histories, realities and identities.
What idea should they buy into instead? That India is many nations? It has many Prime Ministers and Presidents? If so, why should young Muslims not fight for a Caliphate or seek to ethnically cleanse their neighborhoods?

Samar may think that India ought not to exist. But it does exist. Perhaps he should emigrate to some other country where there are many cultures and many Presidents. But no such country can be found on the face of the earth.
This is a time when India threatens to universalise the chaos, prejudice and injustice that currently characterizes the drive to prove citizenship in Assam. As the government builds its first giant detention camp – as large as seven football fields, we hear – it is apparent that the bogey of the Bangladeshi is a thinly veiled witch hunt against Indian Muslims.
How? Either a person comes from Bangladesh or she does not. Most countries enforce immigration laws. Where can Samar emigrate to such that his sensibilities will not be offended by the sight of detention camps for illegal migrants?
Fear grows every day among minorities about what is and what is coming.
Why? It so happens that the country I live in has been detaining and removing Hindus who illegally overstayed their Visas for as long as I have been alive. Yet I feel no fear that the same thing will happen to me. Why? It is because I can prove my legal right to reside here.

Why does Samar think that Indian Muslims are stupider and more ignorant that I am? Why does he say that a Tamil Muslim is afraid of being deported to Bangladesh? Is he utterly mad?
In daily life, caution is a common leitmotif: many North Indian Muslims I know tell their children to avoid packing meat when leaving home – who knows where a mob may coalesce and pronounce judgement on the content of their lunch boxes.
Many Christians that I know tell their kids to avoid packing pork in their lunch boxes because if the school they attend is majority Muslim, they may have their heads kicked in.
For the first time in his life, my friend says, he sees no future in his once beloved country.
Millions of non-Muslims saw no future in their beloved India and migrated.
In his neighbourhood in Kanpur, a former industrial city with a now-devastated economy, the talk among anyone who has money is to flee.
This is as true of Hindus as Muslims. But we know why Kanpur turned to shit. Governments need to pursue sensible economic policies.
Eight families, he tells me, got together, identified a town in Canada as their new home and moved.
Good for them! Lots of Hindus are trying to migrate to Canada. They do well there.
In my friend’s state of Uttar Pradesh, a state that leads every other in hate crimes against minorities over the past decade, Muslims have been particularly affected by a host of central and state policies, from demonetisation to the shutting of slaughterhouses. Businesses have collapsed, the chief minister is a militant Hindu nationalist, his administration is seen to be openly pro-Hindu and those in authority feel empowered to flaunt prejudice, as a Hindu college principal recently did, standing at the gates with a stick, which he waved at young women covered in burkhas, demanding they remove the garment.
Canada, by contrast, has tried to ban the burqa a couple of times and will probably succeed soon enough. Interestingly, Canadian Governments tend to be pro-Canadian, not pro-Muslim. Something similar happens in all other countries. They favor their own majority community. Uttar Pradesh is a Hindu majority state. Samar may find it very strange that it is now led by a 'militant Hindu' as opposed to a Muslim. He may also scratch his head at the spectacle of a world-wide upsurge in Islamophobia. No doubt, he thinks it is because of some malady peculiar to non-Muslims which causes them, for no reason at all, to view Muslims with suspicion.

As overt discrimination against Muslims gathers pace, their growing depression at the state of affairs and a declining willingness to see them as equal citizens is more evident across India’s great northern plains, the cow-belt so to say, than the rest of India, but a general inclination to accept an anti-Muslim narrative is apparent in most states.
But this same 'anti-Muslim narrative' can be found in China and America and Europe. No doubt, Samar thinks, this is all Modi's fault.
It has been all too easy for the radicalised Hindu mind to accept the tripe that they, the majority, were discriminated against over the centuries and their concerns made subservient to the minority’s.
Manmohan Singh, as Prime Minister, said in 2006- ' We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources," he said in his address at the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) here.

Of course, he was lying. What he meant was 'henceforth the dynasty and its cronies must have first claim on the Nation's resources'. Still, his actual words are on the record. The Samajwadi parties, too, were so busy competing for the Muslim vote that they neglected the majority community. That's why the BJP was able to come to power in the 'cow-belt'.
The carefully constructed canards of historic bias and the partiality of post-independence secularism towards minorities are plainly without basis.
These canards were carefully constructed by politicians serving one or other of the various vote-bank based dynastic parties- not that the Commies were any better.
If there were any truth to the allegations of generational oppression against Hindus – now propagated through billions of WhatsApp forwards as the incontrovertible truth – Muslims would not still be a minority, languishing on the lowest rungs of India’s economy, society and polity.
No. They would be a majority- as they have become in parts of West Bengal and Assam. But this has led to a reaction in favor of the BJP. Who would have predicted that ex-Communists would vote for Modi & Shah so as to be saved from the violence of Mamta's goons? Her own nephew- a junior Doctor- spoke against her policy of letting Muslim hooligans beat up hospital staff.
The truth is not just relative in new India’s post-truth world of fake news and myth, it verges on fantasy, and, so, it is easy to weaponise every absurdity offered about India’s minorities, especially Muslims.
Samar and his ilk have been trying to weaponise fake news and myths about the RSS and the BJP for decades now. What good has it done them?
From the far, dark fringes of social media, ideas once regarded as lunacy – or close to it – have witnessed the light of legitimacy: vedic planes, love jihad, ghar wapsi, cow rights, support for criminals based on religion.
Samar may not like to admit it but the fact is that 'Vedic planes' were a feature of some Congress politicians' rhetoric. The Communist Government of West Bengal drove a Muslim teacher to suicide because the target of his supposed 'love jihad' was a girl from a wealthy Hindu family with solid connections to the nomenklatura. Mahatma Gandhi himself gave his imprimatur to Arya Samaj 'shuddi' ceremonies in Kerala after the Moplah riots. Why is 'ghar wapsi' bad if sponsored by the BJP but good if done under the auspices of the Mahatma? Cow rights are enshrined in the Directive Principles of the Constitution. Support for criminals based on religion is a feature of Mamata's regime. 50 prominent Muslims from Kolkatta have written an open letter to her asking her to crack down on Muslim criminals and to give sensitivity training to Muslim youth.
Emboldened by leaders willing to support the lynch mob, biased administrators willing to manipulate the law, courts willing to subvert the Constitution and compliant or complicit media, the once – and still – insecure, radicalised Hindu believes his time has come.
Hindus in U.P and Bihar became radicalised in 1917 when they went on a rampage and succeeded in ending cow slaughter. The India that became independent saw ethnic cleansing of Muslims from the cow-belt. In the Sixties, the Custodian of Enemy Property made life very difficult for the few Muslims who retained some ancestral wealth. Peak political Hinduism was represented by Lal Bahadur Shastri and Gulzarilal Nanda. Indira Gandhi, in the Eighties, revived it. She made the Jan Sangh look like pussycats. The Congress Seva Dal, under Jagdish Tytler, organized a pogrom on a scale that has never been surpassed. Rajiv Gandhi was projected as Lord Ram. V.P Singh who tried to jail Advani to take the wind out of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was brought down- much to the relief of the Corporates whom he was pursuing for tax evasion- by 'Secular' parties.
This is not to say all Hindus are radicalised.
Why does Samar not mention 'Hindu terrorism'? Rahul Baba spoke of it, to the Americans, as a great thereat to India- as per Wikileaks. A Hindu nun was arrested for giving her 'gold motor-bicycle' to some supposed terrorists. Why is Samar silent on this? The answer, I suppose, is that nobody believes there were any Hindu terrorists. The accused nun won a parliamentary election against the Congress leader who put her behind bars because voters believed she was innocent.

Telling stupid lies won't bring down the BJP. Still, I hope Samar gets paid a little money for writing this shite.
But the question is not how many are aghast that fellow citizens are judged by their identity, appearance, food habits and that a mob – online or real – could decide their fate. The question is how many are willing to be resist the subversion of justice and the Constitution and the roiling tide of majoritarianism.
Why stop there? Why not ask how many are willing to resist the subversion of Social Democracy by the Fascist forces of Neo-liberalism as orchestrated by the Elders of Zion and the Lizard People of Planet X?

Hong Kong, a city with fewer people than Bangalore, sent out more people to protest a proposal against liberty than all of India could muster for Kashmir – a metaphor for the subjugation of Muslims – where liberty was locked up.
The people of Hong Kong acted rationally against a real, not an imaginary, danger. They did not want to be extradited to China and sent to a Gulag because of something they posted on Facebook.

What happens in the Kashmir Valley represents no threat to the liberty of anyone who does not live there. We want terrorists to be killed. We don't want stone pelters to get money for trying to wound our troops. J&K was a metaphor for the subjugation of non Muslims to corrupt and incompetent Muslim dynasties. The Valley can't be a metaphor for Indian Muslims because they are nowhere in the majority and can't do ethnic cleansing in the same manner.
Currently, there are too few prepared to serve as bulwarks, too few willing to go against their leaders and too few willing to challenge the ideology of the era and stand against the mob.

There are also too few who will come out onto the streets to protest against the subversion of Humanity by Lizard People from Planet X.

Hope can only come if India hears from more Hindus like Ayush Chaturvedi, the teenager from the prime minister’s constituency of Varanasi.
Very true! Hope can't come from hearing about successes scored by Indian scientists or entrepreneurs or soldiers or administrators. Hope can only come from listening to some Brahman teenager who made a speech about Mahatma Gandhi. Why? Making speeches about Mahatma Gandhi- something which even I did at School- is what will make the country great- great at being utterly shite, that is.
Hope there obviously is, buried somewhere in this vast land, because until last week who had heard of Chaturvedi?
But who will remember him next week?
He is the young man who stood up at a school event and declared there was no Hindu bigger than Gandhi, but the Mahatma’s “Hey Ram” did not scare any community because it was a symbol of secular India.
Actually, it was what the guy said when he was shot. If I get shot, I'll probably go 'Jeez!', not coz I'm Christian but because that's the normal verbal reflex around these parts.

Samar may think getting shot is a symbol of secular India. Others may think it was the violence and arson unleashed upon the Chitpavan community in places like Pune, by Congress goons, which was the hallmark of Indian secularism.
Said Chaturvedi: “Kaun kehta hain ki main aandhi ke saath hoon? Godse ke daur mein, main Gandhi ke saath hoon.”
“Who says I am with the storm? In a time of Godse, I am with Gandhi.”
This line is from an Urdu poem by Imran Pratapgarhi- a Congress politician who failed to get elected earlier this year.  Being a Muslim, it may be that people said he might be on the side of the 'storm'- i.e. ISIS type radicalism. But he denies the charge. At this time of suicide bombers and assassins, he says he is on the side of Gandhi.  The trouble is Gandhi was a supporter of 'Khilafat'.
Imran Pratapgarhi, despite having received a valuable award from the previous SP regime, stood for election as a devotee of the Gandhi dynasty. Perhaps, Chaturvedi- a Brahman- hopes to follow in the footsteps of this poet. He may resent the fact that his constituency- which has a very high percentage of Brahmans- is represented by the 'low caste' Modi.

What does it mean for a Hindu to say he lives in the times of Godse? Godse was hanged by Hindus. People of his sub-caste were subjected to arson and assault. No doubt, many Indians- especially Congress ministers- were relieved that Gandhi was dead. But that did not mean the cult of the assassin gained traction in India. The thing was self-defeating- but that had been obvious right from the start. Swindling people, not getting hanged by the neck, was the proper way to do politics. But swindling people was not enough. One also needed to sermonize in an incontinent and contentless manner. Ayush Chaturvedi seems to have got the sermonizing down pat. What is scary about his speech is its ignorance. He thinks Gandhi was in India when he was thrown off a train by a British guy. Gandhi got revenge by throwing the Brits out of India. Chaturvedi quotes Louis Fischer as saying, that the Britisher wouldn't have thrown Gandhi off the train if he'd known what it would lead to. The trouble with this story is that it didn't happen. A South African threw Gandhi off a train in South Africa. After the Boer war- in which Gandhi had served the British- the defeated Boers forced the Indians to pay a poll-tax and carry a Pass. Gandhi did not win the South African struggle. A General Strike forced Smuts to compromise. Gandhi let Smuts off the hook. His stupidity caused an avenue of emigration for desperate Indians to be closed. Gokhale himself was aware that Smuts had hoodwinked Gandhi. He warned his colleagues against an uncritical acceptance of Gandhi's crack-pot ideas.

Chaturvedi seems to believe that Gandhi's Ahimsa drove the Brits out of India. This is quite false. Japanese aggression sounded the death knell for European imperialism in South and South East Asia. Clement Atlee- a great friend of India- said that Gandhi's 'Quit India' movement had a 'minimal' effect. The Naval ratings Mutiny, on the other hand- which was economic in nature- concentrated minds in Whitehall. But, Wavell had already said that India was ungovernable and made plans to evacuate the European population. This had nothing to do with Gandhi. The weapon of 'non violence' was always useless no matter who used it. After the 1962 Chinese invasion, India stopped bleating about Ahimsa.

Ayush says 'It does not matter if there is no God. What matters is dreams'. Sadly, dreams don't matter either no matter how wet they get. The trouble with Gandhi is that though he talked a lot about God, his cult was essentially godless and meretriciously political. It is a shame that kids are still being taught nonsense and are being forced to parrot it on Independence day. They will go through life believing in fairy tales and, very sadly, end up writing shite of Samar's sort.

Imran Pratapgarhi was given a 'Yash Bharat' award in 2016 by Akhilesh Yadav. The prize money was 11 lakh Rupees plus a monthly stipend of Rs 50,000 per month. But Imran was Muslim. Ayush can hope for no similar munificence from some future State Government. Tokenism is a one way street.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Pankaj Mishra's hysterical incontinence

Pankaj Mishra writes in the Guardian-
Anglo-American lamentations about the state of democracy have been especially loud ever since Boris Johnson joined Donald Trump in the leadership of the free world.
Perhaps, Mishra means the lamentations of immigrants, like himself, to Britain and the U.S have been especially loud since the native populations of those countries rebelled against their own marginalization and impoverishment by wave after wave of immigration as well as the deleterious effects of 'neo-liberal' globalization. In America, the election of a half Kenyan former 'Community Organizer' set off a great wailing and a gnashing of teeth. The 'Tea Party' bitterly contested the manner in which the globalized financial elite bailed itself out while betraying the working class in the 'rust belt'. Brexit's crusader was Farage, not BoJo who is probably soft of immigration. Anger against Trump- the only U.S President who had never previously received a Government pay check- arises out of fear of Democracy and its capacity to liberate the tax-paying sheep from the wolves who fatten upon their flesh.
For a very long time, Britain and the United States styled themselves as the custodians and promoters of democracy globally, fighting a great moral battle against its foreign enemies.
This is nonsense. President Wilson, very briefly, claimed that America was fighting for Democracy, but only for White people in Europe. A similar claim was made by FDR and Truman during the Second World war. During the Cold War, both the Communists and the Capitalists propped up Dictators while gassing on about the superiority of their brand of Democracy.
From the cold war through to the “war on terror”, the Caesarism that afflicted other nations was seen as peculiar to Asian and African peoples, or blamed on the despotic traditions of Russians or Chinese, on African tribalism, Islam, or the “Arab mind”.
This is still true. Mishra is strangely deluded if he thinks everybody does not consider foreigners to be evil bastards with perverse forms of Government and cruel or ridiculous laws and customs. His own value on the globalized market for stupid shite arises from his being a brown man who incessantly bleats about how his native country is an utter shithole ruled by evil cunts.

But this analysis – amplified in a thousand books and opinion columns that located the enemies of democracy among menacingly alien people and their inferior cultures – did not prepare its audience for the sight of blond bullies perched atop the world’s greatest democracies. The barbarians, it turns out, were never at the gate; they have been ruling us for some time.
Did Mishra's worthless shite really not prepare his audience for his big reveal- viz. the West was just as evil and shitty as the India he had left behind? If all he could see was Nazism in India, was it really a big surprise if he came to see nothing but Nazism in England and America and wherever he next emigrates to?

People who babble about barbarians at the gate will, quite naturally, find them under their beds and in their closets and within their padded cells.

All that Mishra is remarking is the stupidity and paranoia of his ilk of scribblers.

The belated shock of this realisation has made impotent despair the dominant tone of establishment commentary on the events of the past few years.
Mishra may be part of an Establishment- one for cretinous narcissists who get paid to shit on their own country on demand- but it isn't the Establishment because it can't establish anything save its own imbecility.
But this acute helplessness betrays something more significant. While democracy was being hollowed out in the west, mainstream politicians and columnists concealed its growing void by thumping their chests against its supposed foreign enemies – or cheerleading its supposed foreign friends.
So what? They were stupid shitheads paid to write shite which everybody else ignored. However, it was also the case that people in power- busy enriching themselves- also ignored disquiet at immigration and the loss of decent jobs. That's the whole story here. Ignoring reality led to politicians talking like Mishra. But that sort of hypocrisy is, like kissing babies, required of professional politicians. Still, they got their comeuppance at the polls not because of they shite they talked but because of the policies they pursued. No doubt, some of these idiots, tried to harangue Trump using that type of pi-jaw but Trump's tweets answered those fools according to their folly and thus they have been dis-intermediated.

Mishra writes feelingly of their distress and sense of disillusion at this salutary outcome.
Decades of this deceptive and deeply ideological discourse about democracy have left many of us struggling to understand how it was hollowed from within – at home and abroad. Consider the stunning fact that India, billed as the world’s largest democracy, has descended into a form of Hindu supremacism – and, in Kashmir, into racist imperialism of the kind it liberated itself from in 1947.
In 1947, directly ruled Muslim majority areas separated from non-Muslim majority areas to establish the state of Pakistan where Islam was supreme. This state did splinter after its army indulged in racist genocide to neutralize the outcome of that country's first proper democratic election.

Mishra turns the facts on their head. Islamo-fascism is a global problem. Hinduism is not. Kashmiri Hindus belong to the same race as Kashmiri Muslims. Yet Mishra speaks of 'racism'. Why? Does he believe Muslims belong to a different race from non-Muslims? He also speaks of 'Imperialism'. Yet India has not conquered any territory. It is defending territory it already has. Perhaps Mishra thinks India should let go of the Kashmir Valley. But, if so, it should have done it decades ago. There has been no material change in the political situation there.
Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government is enforcing a seemingly endless curfew in the valley of Kashmir, imprisoning thousands of people without charge, cutting phone lines and the internet, and allegedly torturing suspected dissenters.
But the same was said thirty years ago when Mishra was beginning his career. Nothing has changed.
Modi has established – to massive Indian acclaim – the regime of brute power and mendacity that Mahatma Gandhi explicitly warned his compatriots against: “English rule without the Englishman”.
English is the language of the Judiciary and Bureaucracy. It would be perfectly proper to call Indian Democracy 'English rule without the Englishman' because India follows the Westminster Model and English is one of the languages used in the deliberations of its Central Parliament.

Mishra grew up in India. He should know this. Why pretend that Narendra Modi is actually a toff from Harrow or Eton who has suddenly parachuted from the Skies to recreate the British Raj in India?

All this while “the mother of parliaments” reels under English rule with a particularly reckless Englishman, and Israel – the “only democracy in the Middle East” – holds another election in which millions of Palestinians under its ethnocratic rule are denied a vote.
Mishra, it seems, objects to 'English rule' even in England! No doubt, he thinks England should be ruled by Belgian bureaucrats. Why does Mishra mention Israel? It gave citizenship and the vote to Palestinians who remained under Israeli rule. Neither Egypt nor Jordan did anything similar for those Palestinians who came under their rule.

The vulnerabilities of western democracy were evident long ago to the Asian and African subjects of the British empire.
If this was so, why did India adopt the Westminster model?
Gandhi, who saw democracy as literally the rule of the people, the demos, claimed that it was merely “nominal” in the west.
Gandhi considered it a great scandal that women in England could be seen walking on the streets to get to their place of employment. He believed this would inevitably lead them to become prostitutes. He linked this phenomenon to the Suffragette movement. He considered Parliament to be a harlot because it gave itself to a new master- i.e. a Prime Minister- every few years. No wonder English women- having taken the first step to become street-walkers by pursuing education and employment- were clamoring for the vote so as to participate in that form of harlotry.
It could have no reality so long as “the wide gulf between the rich and the hungry millions persists” and voters “take their cue from their newspapers which are often dishonest”.
British parliaments put an end to a situation where 'hungry millions' persisted. Mishra must know this. Voters may or may not take their cue from 'dishonest newspapers'. But so may despots. Indeed, dictators often become prey to their own propaganda machinery and thus lose all contact with reality. 

 Looking ahead to our own era, Gandhi predicted that even “the states that are today nominally democratic” are likely to “become frankly totalitarian” since a regime in which “the weakest go to the wall” and a “few capitalist owners” thrive “cannot be sustained except by violence, veiled if not open”.
Gandhi was wrong about a lot of things. So what? He got to sleep naked with young girls and pretend to be a Mahatma. That was all he really wanted.

Why did Capitalist states not become 'frankly totalitarian'? The answer is that totalitarianism is inefficient and uses up costly resources. Moreover, the Commissars will fleece the industrialist and dispossess the farmer. The 'few capitalist owners' will take their skills and flee to countries under the Rule of Law where their energy and enterprise enables them to flourish.

Gandhi had strange views about violence. Lord Bhikku Parekh tells us that he ordered his wife to cook mutton curry for his pal Maulana Azad. His wife said that she believed in 'ahimsa' and considered it a sin to prepare meat dishes. Gandhi told her that Azad liked mutton curry and thus it would be an act of violence to deny him his favorite dish. Since Gandhi had previously established his ascendancy over his wife by beating her remorselessly, she did his bidding. We may well wonder whether Gandhi's successes- such as they were- did not represent the victories of a veiled type of violence. Dr. Ambedkar certainly thought so. He was blackmailed by Gandhi- who went on a hunger strike- into settling for reserved seats for Dalits such that the Caste population could choose 'Uncle Toms'. Ambedkar knew that if Gandhi died during his hunger strike, Dalits would be massacred in the villages.

Inaugurating India’s own experiment with an English-style parliament and electoral system, BR Ambedkar, one of the main authors of the Indian constitution, warned that while the principle of one-person-one-vote conferred political equality, it left untouched grotesque social and economic inequalities. “We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment,” he urged, “or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy.”
Ambedkar said this after Stalin's Soviet Union had prevailed over Nazi Germany. In India, the younger generation of intellectuals was moving to the Left. Ambedkar had studied at Columbia University and the London School of Economics. What he was saying was echoed by leading Professors at both seats of learning.

Today’s elected demagogues, who were chosen by aggrieved voters precisely for their skills in blowing up political democracy, have belatedly alerted many more to this contradiction.
Trump has not 'blown up political democracy'. Nor has Boris Johnson. Neither have the capacity to do so because of constitutional checks and balances.
But the delay in heeding Ambedkar’s warning has been lethal – and it has left many of our best and brightest stultified by the antics of Trump and Johnson, simultaneously aghast at the sharpened critiques of a resurgent left, and profoundly unable to reckon with the annihilation of democracy by its supposed friends abroad.
Why the fuck should any American or Englishman listen to a guy from a shithole of a country? Ambedkar never pretended, unlike Gandhi, that he had any message for technologically advanced countries.

Mishra speaks of 'our best and brightest'. He probably thinks he himself is bright. Nobody else does. The 'sharpened critiques of a resurgent left' are nothing but what Obama calls 'circular firing squads'.
Modi has been among the biggest beneficiaries of this intellectual impairment. For decades, India itself greatly benefited from a cold war-era conception of “democracy”, which reduced it to a morally glamorous label for the way rulers are elected, rather than about the kinds of power they hold, or the ways they exercise it.
India gained no benefit from being considered a 'democracy'. Both the US and the UK 'tilted' to Pakistan. That country received more aid per capita while it was a Dictatorship. Nixon supported Ayub Khan, sending the Fifth Fleet into the Bay of Bengal and threatening to 'nuke Calcutta', despite the fact that US consular officials in Dacca stated that the Pakistani Army was carrying out a genocide. Incidentally, the reason this happened was because the Pak Army had conducted the first democratic General Election in the country. Since the Bengali majority would have got to form an Administration, the Army turned genocidal. 
As a non-communist country that held routine elections, India possessed a matchless international prestige despite consistently failing – worse than many Asian, African, and Latin American countries – in providing its citizens with even the basic components of a dignified existence.
Nobody gives a fuck about 'prestige'. A shithole is a shithole even if it has Democracy and Human Rights and so forth.
It did not matter to the fetishists of formal and procedural democracy that people in Kashmir and India’s north-eastern border states lived under de facto martial law, where security forces had unlimited licence to massacre and rape, or that a great majority of the Indian population found the promise of equality and dignity underpinned by rule of law and impartial institutions, to be a remote, almost fantastical, ideal.
Fetishists don't matter. They have no power. Whether they masturbate into ladies shoes or jerk off to talk of Democracy and Human Rights is wholly irrelevant. 
The halo of virtue around India shone brighter as its governments embraced free markets and communist-run China abruptly emerged as a challenger to the west. Modi profited from an exuberant consensus about India among Anglo-American elites: that democracy had acquired deep roots in Indian soil, fertilising it for the growth of free markets.
Anglo-American elites don't matter to India and vice versa. On the other hand, as India rises as a military and economic power, it will make alliances to safeguard its interests. But that's how diplomacy has always worked. There may have been a brief moment when some stupid hacks could gas on about a 'rules based international order', but that was long ago. Obama- 'the deporter in chief'- had Osama kidnapped, murdered, and dropped in the sea. He was a sensible man.
As chief minister of the state of Gujarat in 2002, Modi was suspected of a crucial role – ranging from malign inaction to watchful complicity – in an anti-Muslim pogrom of gruesome violence. The US and the European Union denied Modi a visa for several years.
They did this because the UPA Government- being unable to find concrete evidence against Modi- saved face by asking them to do so. India was a rising economic power. Once it became clear that Modi would win, everybody got terribly pally with him.
But his record was suddenly forgotten as Modi ascended, with the help of India’s richest businessmen, to power. “There is something thrilling about the rise of Narendra Modi,” Gideon Rachman, the chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times, wrote in April 2014. Rupert Murdoch, of course, anointed Modi as India’s “best leader with best policies since independence”.
Nobody in India has ever heard about 'Gideon Rachmann'. Few know who Murdoch is. Their opinions don't matter. Indians think Mishra is a cretin. So what? He lives in England and writes only in English. On the other hand, Indians are thrilled with Modi. He is our best leader since Independence. But he is not the only one. Amit Shan is now seen as the successor of Sardar Patel. The dynasty, by contrast, is 'dying nasty'. 

But Barack Obama also chose to hail Modi for reflecting “the dynamism and potential of India’s rise”. As Modi arrived in Silicon Valley in 2015 – just as his government was shutting down the internet in Kashmir – Sheryl Sandberg declared she was changing her Facebook profile in order to honour the Indian leader.
In the next few days, Modi will address thousands of affluent Indian-Americans in the company of Trump in Houston, Texas. While his government builds detention camps for hundreds of thousands Muslims it has abruptly rendered stateless, he will receive a commendation from Bill Gates for building toilets.
So what? American and European leaders are behaving rationally- India is a rising power and must be placated. Mishra is behaving irrationally. If he really hates Modi so much he should be writing in Hindi and roaming around his own natal place giving speeches against the BJP. What good can he possibly do writing nonsense of this sort in the Guardian?
The fawning by Western politicians, businessmen, and journalists over a man credibly accused of complicity in a mass murder is a much bigger scandal than Jeffrey Epstein’s donations to MIT. But it has gone almost wholly unremarked in mainstream circles partly because democratic and free-marketeering India was the great non-white hope of the ideological children of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who still dominate our discourse: India was a gilded oriental mirror in which they could cherish themselves.
Really? Do 'ideological children' of Reagan and Thatcher spend a lot of time thinking about India? Perhaps they also learn Hindi and put on funny head gear and dance the ras garbha. 

The truth of the matter is that there are analysts who look at India's government policies. This in turn affects India's credit rating. Since analysts think India is doing smart things to tackle its problems- e.g. deporting illegal migrants and killing terrorists and disrupting their overground networks- they are bullish on this aspect of Modi's Sarkar. On the other hand, when it comes to the economy, they are more skeptical.
This moral vanity explains how even sentinels of the supposedly reasonable centre, such as Obama and the Financial Times, came to condone demagoguery abroad – and, more importantly, how they failed to anticipate its eruption at home.
The Financial Times is concerned with Finance. India under Modi scores well on Internal and External security. However, the FT is critical of some economic policy decisions. Obama was himself a demagogue who, to the disappointment of his enemies, turned out to be a cautious statesman who 'sweated the small stuff'. It remains to be seen whether Biden can cash in on his prestige or whether the 'circular firing squad' of the Left- to which Mishra now wants to promote himself- will damage him sufficiently to give Trump a second term.
Even the most fleeting glance at history shows that the contradiction Ambedkar identified in India – which enabled Modi’s rise – has long bedevilled the emancipatory promise of democratic equality.
What enabled Modi's rise? The answer is simple. As C.M of Gujarat he put an end to the political instrumentalization of communal rioting which was economically damaging. He then went on to do a deal with the farmers by which they paid for good quality electricity. He also worked with farmers to gain land for industries on terms they were happy with. The result was that Gujarat experienced unprecedented agricultural and industrial growth while also curbing criminal activity. In Delhi there was a horrendous rape and the C.M, Shiela Dixit, confessed that her own daughter would not be safe on Delhi's streets after dark. Meanwhile, on TV we could see footage of girls in Ahmedabad moving freely, and with perfect safety, on the streets at eleven o'clock at night.

There is no 'contradiction' between encouraging economic development and upholding the rule of law. Democratic equality does not have any 'emancipatory promise'. Only fools would believe that a shithole where everybody gets to vote will, by some magic, cease to be a shithole. The Rule of Law matters but what matters even more is sensible economic policies- not stupid virtue signalling.
In 1909, Max Weber asked: “How are freedom and democracy in the long run at all possible under the domination of highly developed capitalism?”
Weber was stupid. Sociology is a shite subject. Freedom is possible long run if countries pursue sensible policies with respect to Defense and Law and Order. The German General staff did not pursue sensible policies. Thus Freedom ceased to be possible in Germany. Capitalism was irrelevant. 
The decades of atrocity that followed answered Weber’s question with a grisly spectacle. The fraught and extremely limited western experiment with democracy did better only after social-welfarism, widely adopted after 1945, emerged to defang capitalism, and meet halfway the formidable old challenge of inequality. But the rule of demos still seemed remote.
The Nazis had adopted 'social-welfarism'. Indeed, Keynes- in the introduction to the German edition of his General Theory- said that the Nazi system was better adapted to Demand Management.

The Second World War saw an enormous expansion of the State's bureaucratic capacity which was re-purposed for Keynesian purposes. However, this experiment ended in 'stagflation'.

Interestingly, Herbert Hoover was an early 'social welfarist' who got industries to adopt minimum wage policies so as to get rid of 'repugnancy' markets in Labor. Sadly, Hoover did not understand price and wage stickiness being in thrall to what was then the consensus among mathematical economists. Mishra, being an ignorant fool, does not understand this. He thinks Capitalism is a beast which must be 'defanged'. He lives in the world of fairy tales.
The Cambridge political theorist John Dunn was complaining as early as 1979 that while democratic theory had become the “public cant of the modern world”, democratic reality had grown “pretty thin on the ground”. Since then, that reality has grown flimsier, corroded by a financialised mode of capitalism that has held Anglo-American politicians and journalists in its thrall since the 1980s.
Dunn had some marginal importance back in the Seventies because he denounced Marxist revolutions back when a lot of kids thought Che Guevara was cool. Since then, he has zero influence. There is a Chinese saying 'Science students look down on Arts students. Arts students look down on Poli Sci students. Poli Sci students look down on their teachers.' When was the last time any parent got naches for saying 'My son has a Doctorate in Political Theory'? What they say instead is- 'My son used to be my daughter. He has married a goat and lives on a commune. Personally, I blame his Professors at the Dept. of Political Science.'
What went unnoticed until recently was that the chasm between a political system that promises formal equality and a socio-economic system that generates intolerable inequality had grown much wider.
Wow! Mishra thinks that people in Communist countries did not notice that there was a chasm between the way the majority of the people lived and the luxury enjoyed by the nomenklatura. He also thinks that poor people in America or Europe did not notice that they had real shitty lives while all sorts of swindlers were making out like gangbusters. 
It eventually empowered the demagogues who now rule us.
Which demagogue rules us? Obama? No. He has gone. Trump is not a demagogue. His limited vocabulary is better suited to tweets at mid-night. What about BoJo? The man can't open his mouth without putting his foot in it. Bercow has him on the ropes. It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court finds his prorogation of Parliament to have been illegal. He may yet go down as the worst and shortest lived Prime Minister in modern British history.
In other words, modern democracies have for decades been lurching towards moral and ideological bankruptcy – unprepared by their own publicists to cope with the political and environmental disasters that unregulated capitalism ceaselessly inflicts, even on such winners of history as Britain and the US.
Like Mishra, I live in England. What 'environmental disasters' has 'unregulated Capitalism' unleashed on me? None at all. I can't even add an extension to my house without filling out a thousand forms and paying for all sorts of surveys and architectural drawings and so forth.

What about Brexit? Surely that's a 'political disaster'? After all, the real exchange rate has fallen by about 15 percent. My wealth has decreased. On the other hand, a lot of young people in poorer parts of Britain can now more easily gain employment. Their life-chances have improved because they are no longer priced out of the global market. 
Having laboured to exclude a smelly past of ethnocide, slavery and racism – and the ongoing stink of corporate venality – from their perfumed notion of Anglo-American superiority, the promoters of democracy have no nose for its true enemies.
The promoters of democracy, like the promoters of Gravity, are wholly deluded if they think they are achieving anything. But the same is true of people who criticize these promoters. 
Ripe for superannuation but still entrenched on the heights of politics and journalism, they repetitively ventilate their rage and frustration, or whinge incessantly about “cancel culture” and the “radical left”, it is because that is all they can do.
So what? Fuck them. They don't matter. Mishra is himself a journalist of the 'views' not 'news' type. He may or may not be entrenched on the 'heights' of his profession. But, it is a silly profession. Why would British people listen to some Indian dude with a crap education from Goodhulia Gornmint Collidge? Does he run a hedge fund? Has he found the cure to Cancer? No. The fucker is an intellectual coolie employed under some sort of affirmative action program.
Their own mind-numbing simplicities about democracy, its enemies, friends, the free world, and all that sort of thing, have doomed them to experience the contemporary world as an endless series of shocks and debacles.
So, Mishra is railing against some cretins who are constantly getting spooked by stuff they read about in the papers. Why can't we just put them all into padded cells where their incessant incontinence won't pose a public nuisance?

Friday, 20 September 2019

Nahar Dinur

So low in the West the arrest of my Solar Noon
To caves of frost, lost, our Autumn Moon
For Life is Thirst & Time its River
Not Lethe laves Love's first mirror.


Envoi
Prince! Proletarian sweat being as but petroleum to Heaven's horseless chariot
Thy heart's houseled yet, sucking off the concierge at Gehenna's Marriott.


Thursday, 19 September 2019

Ratik Asokan looking for 'Reason' in all the wrong places

Reviewing Parwardhan's film 'Vivek' in the NYR, Ratik Asokan writes


(Dabholkar, Pansare, and, to a lesser extent, Kalburgi) are presented as classic figures in the tradition of the Enlightenment, promoting rational thinking to fight Hindu superstition, and the hierarchy of caste.

Dabholkar was a Doctor who sponsored a bill against black magic and fake 'healers' which was passed after his assassination in his native Maharashtra. He belonged to a long established 'Rationalist' tradition in India. 
Pansare was a Communist politician though of declining influence. Kalburgi was a Lingayat who favored separation from the Veerasaivas. 

It is likely that they were killed because they were easy targets who, nevertheless, had enough prominence to generate publicity for the perpetrators- thought to be influenced by a self-proclaimed God-man who used to work in the UK as a hypotherapist. 

All this has nothing to do with Narendra Modi. The murders occurred under Congress rule. Yet Asokan titles his piece 'Looking for 'Reason' in Modi's India'. Yet, it is scarcely reasonable to blame a politician for things which happened under his predecessor. 

Similarly the following incident occurred before the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh. A man was, probably falsely, accused of stealing and killing a calf, and then his family was attacked. But, this sort of incident has been common since much before there was any BJP or RSS. 
In the second section Patwardhan visits two places that have become infamous for religious violence. He speaks to the family of Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim man who was lynched by his Hindu neighbors in the village of Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, for the alleged crime of consuming beef (this crime sparked huge protests)
By contrast, Gujarat was firmly under the BJP when the Una atrocity occurred-

 Later, with the Dalit parliamentarian Jignesh Mevani, he travels around Gujarat on an inspiring civil disobedience march sparked by a gruesome incident in the town of Una, where seven Dalit men were beaten in public for skinning a cow carcass.

What was the BJP's reaction? The CM resigned, though citing old age. 4 policemen (all high caste) and all the perpetrators (except perhaps two Dalit boys) were charged and the trial has been expedited. Mevani did well out of this atrocity but he is still only a Legislator, not a Parliamentarian. Rajesh Chudasama kept the seat at least partly because the BJP pulled out all the stops in placating Dalits in the constituency.

It is plausible to suggest that the BJP is behind attacks on Muslims- because only 8 per cent of Muslims vote for the BJP. It is not plausible to suggest that they will tolerate attacks on Dalits because they need their votes and, in any case, their Hindutva ideology requires the elimination of this invidious distinction.

This is the central problem with Patwardhan's film. Its narrative contradicts common sense. It is reasonable to believe that Trump is against Mexicans, it is unreasonable to believe he is also against New Mexicans or Hispanics in Florida. Similarly, to say Modi is anti-Muslim is plausible. But to say he is also anti-Dalit is crazy. His party will become un-electable.

Asokan next writes something yet more absurd-
 The final section is set at two premier Indian universities. Here the Hindu right’s fear of rational thinking is given its purest expression. At the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, the BJP’s student wing harasses progressive students and teachers who question the basis of Hinduism and its caste order; at Hyderabad Central University, they launch a smear campaign of such ferocity against the Dalit students’ association that a brilliant scholar, Rohith Vemula, is driven to suicide in what has been labelled an “institutional murder.”
JNU is a bastion of the senile Left which is incapable of rational thinking. Its 'jhollawallahs' are a godsend to the BJP. Why? They are similar to the 'circular firing squad' represented by the fringes of the Democratic Party. Their antics get a lot of media exposure and generates a huge backlash in favor of the BJP. Look at Kanhaiya Kumar- the JNU's rising star. He helped the BJP to gain the Begusarai constituency by splitting the Opposition vote.

What about Rohith Vemula, who blamed both the Communists and the Ambedkarites for his suicide? His grievance was that the Left wanted to use the Dalits for their own ends while the Dalits would not recognize him as one of their own because his Dad was OBC. Moreover, he had given up a STEM type subject- which could have got him a well paying job on the basis of his skill-set- for Sociology, which is useless and where his belonging to the wrong caste meant he couldn't become a Kancha Illiah type icon.

Even when he'd done what every sensible student leader does- viz. bash up his opponent- he had not gained money and prestige as an extortionist because his opponent had gone running to his Mummy who had filed a court case against him! To do well, he'd need to actually kill a few people and spend some time in jail so as to gain recognition as a 'made man'. But, what the poor fellow actually wanted to do was write books like Carl Sagan! No wonder he killed himself when the payment of his stipend was held up. Still, his Mum and brother got Government jobs out of it. Incidentally, JNU is located in Delhi which is not ruled by the BJP. Vemula too did not study in a BJP ruled state.

Asokan says Hinduism is very evil and represents a threat to Democracy. Perhaps he is thinking of Tulsi Gabbard. The fact is India is a Democracy only because it is so largely Hindu. Why? Well, we need Democratically elected politicians to slowly change our personal laws and institutions. If this does not happen we get trapped in caste restrictions. Wealthy people can defy these but the middle sort are afraid to be the 'first mover' in breaking a taboo because of the risk of ostracism. That is why we have a Tardean mimetics mediated by Parliamentary elections. Hindu Law itself says that tradition overrides Scripture when it comes to Laws and Conventions. However, these can change where there is consensus that the 'best people' are changing the relevant 'achar' (righteous behavior).

Asokan says- 'On the whole Vivek leaves little doubt that political Hinduism is a dangerous threat to Indian democracy. In scene after scene, we witness how dogma is manipulated by cynical godmen and politicians, and how in turn the forcefield of faith pushes us to indulge our worst instincts. This menace isn’t new—in fact, it has been building for decades. To understand the rise of modern Hindutva, we have to look at Patwardhan’s older films.'

Patwardhan is an old fashioned sentimental ;useful idiot' to the Communists who thinks 'Religion is the opium of the masses'. He does not understand that Communism is the enemy of Democracy. In India, it was too cowardly or weak to actually kill off all opposition and establish single party rule. Furthermore, in the mid-Nineties, the CPM politburo refused to let Jyoti Basu become Prime Minister for some silly ideological reason. It then doubled down on the Comintern's failed 'Popular Front' strategy of the Nineteen Thirties and ended its 'Long March through the Institutions' in near total Political Oblivion.

Asokan, despite his Indian name, is completely ignorant of India. He writes 'In a narrative poem written in Sanskrit a century later, Tulsidas popularized the idea that this town is the birthplace of Lord Ram—who, until then, was not really a major Hindu god.'

Wow! This guy can't even look up things on Wikipedia! No wonder his 'looking for 'Reason' in Modi's India leads him to a senile cretin like Patwardhan!

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

BhuVai- a Tambram Chemist's Utopia

Bhuloka Vaikuntham means Paradise on Earth. Vaishnavites don't want Heaven or Gnosis. They want to remain on earth serving 'Daridra Narayan'- the God amongst us who is lonely and poor. Though, strictly speaking, they reject the notion of a jivanmukta (one who has achieved liberation in this life), yet the True Vaishnavs appear to have this quality. Though in the world, they are not of it. Though their cares and worries are the suffering of others; by taking on those cares and worries, they diminish that suffering. They represent 'Economia'- a type of management which is mutual, accommodative, merciful and joyous- as opposed to rigid, rule-enforcing, 'Akrebia'. These Greek concepts have a corollary in every Spiritual tradition. The Japanese 'peasant-sage' Ninomiya fused Confucianism, Shinto & Buddhism into a practice of agricultural economics which Christian Missionaries found inspiring. They translated a book about his work into many languages. A copy of this book is to be seen in Mahatma Gandhi's library- though it is not known if he read it. Perhaps he did and was repelled by the story of a Buddhist monk who takes up fishing to provide the poor with a source of protein. I mention this because 'Akrebia' when it comes to 'Ahimsa'- i.e. the Indian reluctance to violate the prohibition on taking even the life of a fish- constrained Hindu 'economia' from ever actually lifting the great mass of the people out of Malthusian poverty. Similarly, though Sufi savants like Fariduddin Attar had shown how Nishapur had been turned into a 'workfare' Utopia, Islamic jurisprudence reacted to the shock of the Mongol invasion by embracing beggary. Attar was saying no one should be a dervish. Everyone should be enabled to work and rise up. Rumi- who ran away to Anatolia (hence his sobriquet)- thought it was safer to be a dervish, preferably one who was completely insane, because otherwise you just end up being the slave of some genocidal Great Khan or the other.

In recent years, Hindus and sub-continental Muslims are increasingly influenced by our highly educated and successful diaspora in America. Unlike us, they have shaken off the miserabilist Akrebia involved in becoming a 'Sadhu' or a 'dervish'. Moreover, in contrast to British trained Indian intellectuals, these Americanized Indians aren't holier-than-thou elitists interested only in 'playing the race card' and leveraging their connection to a vast, seething, 'subaltern', mass of suffering, into personal advancement or sinecures in various Universities and NGOs and UN organizations.

As a case in point, l may mention Venkat Venkatasubramaniyam- whom I assume, on the basis of his sonorous name, to be a Tamil Brahman by ancestral origin- who is a Professor of Chemical Engineering concerned with the problem of economic inequality & distributive justice. He has coined the term 'BhuVai' to signify an ideal society whose members are equal in ability. Is there a way to also render them equal in happiness? Venkat believes so and he sets out his theory in a well-written, well-researched, book titled 'How much Inequality is Fair?'

In the Past, the basic problem for 'distributive justice' was thought to involve the theory of Value. The problem is that the Knightian Uncertainty of our fitness landscape means Value itself is Uncertain. Moreover, co-evolved processes defy the mathematics of complexity, getting rid of hysteresis but at the price of rendering ergodicity 'anything goes'.

 Breaking up ensembles by means of 'dis-coordination games'- spatially, this happens in 'Tiebout sorting'- permits mimetic, or bandwagon, effects to have a stabilizing, rather than runaway, effect. Incidentally, this would yield 'proportionate growth' in line with Gibrat's Law and hence generate a log-normal Income distribution. But, this does not mean such a distribution is 'fair' or 'natural'.

An alternative way of looking at this is to use the theory of congestion, or potential, games- indeed, this is what Venkat does. Here the Muth rational solution is to have an Aumann signaller dividing up the population. Thus, to reduce congestion, we may have a public signal- e.g. all those born in the first half of the year can use the congestible resource at such and such time. Those born in the second half of the year get a different time-slot. My point is that correlated equilibria based on public signals reduce the price of anarchy like nothing else and therefore we must expect them to arise and to 'partition' the relevant configuration space. This militates for a Schutzian 'ideal type' theory being heuristically useful or even approximating to the Muth rational solution.

In any case, from the point of view of Mechanism Design, there must, by the Spilrajn extension theorem, be a 'Revelation Principle' such that a Regret-minimizing, Hannan Consistent, multiplicative weight update algorithm exists which is 'natural'- i.e. similar to the sort of algorithms we believe Nature itself uses. This allows us to demarcate Nomos from Phusis. We can then create 'positional' goods to reflect the spread between the Imperative and the Alethic- i.e. Values and Facts- so this turns into a 'mechanism design' problem. However, doing nothing is an even better option. This is generally the case for any armchair exercise. Catatonics and Corpses are the most suitable candidates for conducting this type of research. At any rate, this is the common sense view. Nevertheless, there are elderly mathematical economists who have been discovered to be wholly useless and who are neither catatonic nor cadavers. A sense of 'there but for the grace of God goes I' militates for letting these pedagogues pretend to be Prophets of a new dispensation.

When I was 16, I attended the lectures of Professor Morishima (who had been chased out of Japan by his students) at the LSE. He thought he had solved this problem- thus reconciling Karl Marx and Adam Smith- with a 'rational distribution of Income' based on 'shadow prices'- i.e. the scarcer 'ability' gets a higher reward. The problem here is that 'Shapley values'- which factor in 'bargaining power'- are not aligned with 'shadow prices'. In other words, a Sociological 'Game theory' is at odds with the Production Engineer's view of the World. In 'Mechanism Design' (which is a reverse Game Theory) there is a trade off between incentive compatibility and efficiency. The theory of incomplete contracts is now the cutting edge of this type of research. However, from a historical point of view, this conflict simply recapitulates Pareto's own trajectory- he started off as an engineer (discovering power-laws in Income distribution in the process) in the laissez faire tradition before transitioning to Sociology with its sticky 'residues and derivations', thus becoming an intellectual pillar for everything from Mussolini's Fascism to post-Pigouvian Welfare Economics.

Interestingly, back in the 1950's in Venkat & my native India, two White savants, both Leftists, came up with what is known as the Goodwin 'Class Struggle' model- a predator-prey model in which Workers are the Wolves and Capitalists are the Sheep!

Turning to Venkat's 'Bhuvai' which is more in the Econophysics vein, it would be interesting to compare it to the recently published magnum opus of Anwar Shaikh (whose Mum was South Indian) and his Marxist analysis of 'turbulent flow dynamics' in Capitalism. Both Venkat and Anwar are good and decent men who write clearly and whose motivation is entirely good. However, in this branch of scholarship it is vain, worthless, hypocrites- people like Nussbaum, Piketty & Sen- who win the jackpot. Thus has it always been. Consider the notion of entropy and its possible application to economics. Venkat quotes Samuelson derisive comments on any such possibility. Yet Samuelson must have been aware that smart Jewish emigrants to the US- like smart Russian or German or even British emigrants- had used such notions to critique Capitalism. Their motivation was moral. In general, these guys worked hard and did quite well for themselves and for society. Anwar and Venkat have certainly done well by their students and made a very positive contribution to America. But, to hit the jackpot and advance themselves, they'd have been better off writing hypocritical, holier-than-thou, shite and playing the race card at every convenient opportunity. Thus, the reason their books on Econ aren't making them very rich is also the reason that Income and Wealth inequality has burgeoned. The good guys lack sociopathy. Yet, it seems to me, they populate an ontologically dysphoric 'BhuVai' which enriches our own world.

Venkat writes-
we study a competitive, dynamic free-market environment in BhuVai, comprising a large number of utility-maximizing rational agents as employees and profit- maximizing rational agents as corporations. Let us assume an ideal environment in which the free market is perfectly competitive, transaction costs are negligible, and no externalities are present. 
If no externalities are present, then there can be no coercive service industries- e.g. Police services or Armies. Also, there would be no corporations because there would be no Coasian need to 'internalize externalities'.  Thus, the solution concept is the folk-theorem, or Myerson general feasibility theorem, of repeated games. There may be Aumann 'signallers' permitting better correlated equilibria. However, Venkat proceeds to rule out this possibility by stipulating that there is no way to discriminate between signallers. Thus, either everything is 'common knowledge' or else there is no way to extract signal from noise.
There are no biases due to race, gender, religion, etc. We assume
that no single agent (or small group of agents), whether an em-
ployee or a company, can significantly affect the market dynamics;
i.e., there is no rent seeking or market power. In other words, our
ideal free market is a level playing field for all its participants.
However, under these circumstances, there would be no market. Society would be a wholly non-transactional repeated game- like family life. Mummy does not demand payment for nursing the baby. Daddy does demand money from Mummy for sexual services so he can go to the pub and get drunk, but Mummy beats him and makes him get a job as a Cost & Management Accountant instead.
We also assume that neither the companies nor the employees engage
in illegal practices such as fraud, collusion, and so on. We also as-
sume moderate scarcity of resources.
So, Venkat is describing a situation where a purely relationship based Society could thrive. History shows us that such Societies break down when there are exogenous shocks in demand or supply. That is why Venkat & me aren't living happily in some rural Agraharam.

Relationships are 'incomplete contracts'. The Market is a way of turning some 'incomplete contracts' into complete contracts of adhesion. However, there must be 'missing markets' unless complete fungibility- i.e. interchangability between commodities, but also agents- obtains. But, in that case, distributive justice is easily achieved by 'antidosis'- i.e. letting any agent swap places with any other agent. In ancient Greece, if your tribe decided you had to bear the expense of a liturgical duty, you could get out of it by offering to swap estates with some other guy in return for his discharging the duty. This is like the solution to the cake-cutting problem. Clearly, this is impractical. When Mummy beats Daddy for wanting to go to the pub, he says 'okay, let's switch places. You go be an Cost and Management Accountant. I'll stay home and breast-feed the baby. You just see, after a miserable day at the office, you too will need to go to the pub to relax and blow off steam.' Mummy beats Daddy some more because she knows nipples on a man are as useless as Amartya Sen as Chancellor of Nalanda University.
In our ideal free market, employees are free to switch jobs and move between companies in search of better utilities. Similarly, companies are free to fire and hire employees to maximize their profits. We also assume that a company needs to retain all its employees in order to survive in this competitive market environment. 
WTF? Why make such a foolish assumption?
Thus, a company will take whatever steps necessary, allowed by its constraints, to retain its employees. Similarly, all employees need a salary to survive, and they will do whatever is necessary, allowed by certain norms, to stay employed. 
Venkat has clearly never had to supervise an ordinary bloke like me. Elsewhere he says- 'The intrinsic properties of an employee are innate attributes that are exactly the same for all employees.'
If this is so, employees are 'fungible'. This means there can be an open market for them. But this means you buy their labor service on a just in time basis, you don't employ them. Thus there are no enterprises. Everybody buys and sells labor services on the open market in a frictionless manner.

Venkat's motivation is different. He thinks he is solving a deontological problem- 'These are the fundamental rights, such as the right to life and liberty, to a discrimination-free, healthy work environment, etc. 
Why employ anybody if you have to provide remedies for any breach of their right to life, liberty etc? You can just buy the labor service you need on a just-in-time basis.

These ought to be guaranteed to be absolutely the same for all the employees, and all employees are to be treated equally in this regard. This requirement in our theory corresponds to the first principle, the liberty principle, in the Rawlsian framework, where every individual in a civil society has equal basic 
liberties. Rawls arrives at this fundamental principle of equality through the application of his “veil of ignorance” concept to a group of rational agents in the original position. In our theory, we arrive at this by using the maximum entropy principle, which we discuss in chapter . 

The maximum entropy principle says ' the probability distribution which best represents the current state of knowledge is the one with largest entropy, in the context of precisely stated prior data.' Given the data Venkat has chosen for his gedanken, we know that maximum entropy is achieved when nobody is an employee. Labor services are fungible and sold on a frictionless open market. Everybody is his own employer and must safeguard himself from sexual harassment by himself- a full time job for wankers like me. Yet, I don't get paid to do it so I have gone on strike and thus am sexually harassing myself even as I type these words with one hand.

Venkat offers me some encouragement for my view that the Government- not of any existing State, but perhaps that of 'BhuVai'- will pay me for protecting myself from sexual harassment by me because it is only fair that I be adequately recompensed from my labor in this regard.

Venkat says-
It is important to emphasize that the free market itself, ideal or otherwise, is a human creation and “does not exist in the wilds beyond the reach of civilization”
Actually, the reverse is the case. Free markets only exist on terra nullis- i.e. 'in the wilds'. If there is a civilization, then there is a coercive contract enforcement mechanism. There is no 'free market'. All you have is a regulated market from which Manorial (or Tiebout) rents are drawn either by a 'Stationary Bandit' or by a Municipal Authority representing Civil Society.
(Reich 2015, 4). As Reich (2015, 3–5) observes, “Few ideas have more profoundly poisoned the minds of more people than the notion of a ‘free market’ existing somewhere in the universe, into which government ‘intrudes.’…A market—any market—requires that the government make and enforce the rules of the game.
Utter nonsense! Which government is enforcing 'the rules of the game' when it comes to drugs or prostitution or bribing senators?
In most modern democracies, such rules emanate from legislatures, administrative agencies, and courts. Government doesn’t ‘intrude’ on the ‘free market.’ It creates the market.” 
Sheer poppycock! Markets are created by Supply and Demand. Governments can't create a Supply of 18 year old virgins who want to sleep with fat, middle aged, very poor, men like me. On the other hand, if I had 'effective demand'- i.e. lots of money- I probably could find a girl ready to make this deeply repugnant sacrifice so as to rescue her family. This is why, I personally don't want a laissez faire utopia. Repugnancy markets- like the prostitution of innocent young people- would burgeon. I want cops to come and beat the shit out of pimps. I want a social welfare safety net, so young people can pursue their dreams. I also want good people, who have done useful work, to think about how to make 'BhuVai' a reality. Even if their general scheme is silly, they may have a practical 'mechanism design' type suggestion which improves at least one existing market or non-market mechanism.

Venkat, nice guy that he is, describes an ideal company which compensates workers according to their transfer earnings (which, in his model, would be their shadow price). He does not get that being required to simulate sociopathic behavior imposes a high psychic cost on non sociopaths. Most people don't want to be the guy who fires people. But, some people like firing people because they are sociopaths. Repugnant but necessary activities- e.g. firing the drunken Accountant who keeps bringing his baby to work and then tries to breast-feed it- get delegated to the sociopath who therefore commands a higher 'threat-point' independent of his shadow price. This is a story we have seen play out on a thousand TV shows and Movies since the time of J.R on Dallas or Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

I recall my first job as a shop assistant. Suddenly the Assistant Manager- a weedy looking specimen- ordered us all to take off our shoes. He then came and searched us and looked at our socks. Why? He had found the discarded plastic wrapper of a pair of socks and assumed one of us had stolen the pair. Thus, for the theft of a measly pair of socks, this guy was keeping us in after work and treating us like criminals! I was fuming with anger at this humiliation. Some of my co-workers were tough guys who carried knives. I asked them whether they were going to teach this Assistant Manager a lesson. They averted their eyes and explained that his bonus was directly linked to 'stock shrinkage'. His anger was justified because money was coming out of his own pocket. He had 'skin in the game'.

Mechanism Design can get us to behave like sociopaths but sociopaths still have the advantage because they do the thing naturally and for pleasure. The same is true of risk-taking and telling lies and being a Nobel Prize winning Professor of Economics. Behavior we normally have to be compensated for, comes naturally to sociopaths. The smarter among them work out how to sell this ability of theirs to the highest bidder. Be it under Capitalism or Communism or Gandhian Socialism- the scum always rises to the top.

Venkat gives a brief account of Game theory and mentions that it can be found in the Talmud as Aumann has described. However, like most Indians, he is unaware that the first text to explicitly state that the 'Just King' (Dharma Raja) must study statistical game-theory to overcome his 'vishaada' (mental malaise involving choice theory) was the Mahabharata. Just as the 'Bhagvad Gita' helps Arjuna overcome his 'vishaada', so to does the Nalopokhyanam (along with the Vyadha Gita) help Yuddhishtra to overcome his fatal addiction to skill-less gambling.

Venkat may not know the work of the Jain polymath Umaswati. However, his ontology features an entropic end state or heat death wherein all beings attain kevalya. This concept was developed in parallel with Vaishnav notions of 'BhuVai' and is complementary to it. Umaswati, Nagarjuna and Sankara have different, but 'observationally equivalent', ontologies and epistemologies. Vaishnavs are not backwards in this respect. In other words, there is a synoptic Indian tradition in such matters and it can work very well in promoting the common-weal save when it runs up against the narrow Akrebia or deontological principles like 'Ahimsa'. But Indian jurisprudence has a workaround for this. The problem is that Hindu 'public intellectuals' are completely ignorant of Indian thought. They are credulous and naive when it comes to shitheads like Rawls and Dworkin. They also believe, against all the evidence, that Amartya Sen isn't a complete waste of space.

Is there anything valuable in Venkat's book? Yes. It is well written and sincere. Students should read it. I may write another post about some specific aspects of his model, but his quest is futile- its Grail is a crock of shit. On the other hand, if we regard it as what ethologists call 'displacement activity', then we should measure its worth by the other things Venkat and his colleagues are doing in their lives. I imagine these things would be very good and worthwhile in themselves. The same could be said of Yoga. The thing doesn't help others directly, but- if practiced by good people- it makes them better at serving others, which is their true path to 'Union'- which is what the word Yoga means.

I am not saying that there is no 'Revelation Principle' such that a Grothendieck Yoga of Mathematical Economics might not have univalent foundations. We know, a priori, that this must obtain and that is sufficient to create Schelling focal solutions which are 'indicative', not substantive or computable. That's good enough. A smart guy could write a long book describing this but the map would be larger than the territory. Why? Co-evolved processes get rid of complexity faster but less robustly than it can be generated. There is 'anti fragility' but the release of evolutionary capacitance depends on the future fitness landscape- so the underlying process is ergodic in one sense but not memory-less at all. Currently, the socio-technological landscape has become more uncertain. Thus, non-sociopathic Muth Rational agents, behind the veil of ignorance, would prefer a more skewed Income and Wealth Distribution because (1) they are only concerned with Friedman type 'Permanent Income' and (2) they are regret minimizing. What I mean is this. For an ordinary bloke like me, it is more difficult and depressing to suddenly become poor and lose my customary life style than to live high on the hog in good times and return to penury during a down-swing. So, it is regret minimizing for me to prefer that asset bubbles affect only sociopaths or 'lucky gene' legacy holders. Both may find an ordinary life more satisfying than their enjoyment of a tawdry type of wealth and privilege.

One final point. Venkat is a Professor of Chemistry. Yet his English is excellent. Why is it that our Professors of English Literature write like shit while our Chemists and Doctors write beautifully and clearly? The answer is that Higher Education in STEM subjects is not a Credentialised Ponzi Scheme. Mathematical Economics, sadly, can make no similar claim.