Friday, 2 October 2020

Ramin Jahanbegloo on Gandhian imbecility

The Iraqi Shi'a scholar, Baqir al-Sadr, developed a concept of the Prophets' line of spiritual savants as 'shahada' (witness, martyr, overseer) who enable 'khilafa' (government) to evolve democratically till the occultation of the Imam ends. This was in contrast to the 'velayet-e-faqih' (rule by jurists) concept of Ayatollah Khomeini which may be considered more 'theocratic' than 'democratic'. 

Prof. Ramin Jahanbegloo, a Sorbonne trained philosopher who was falsely imprisoned by the Iranians for 'espionage', appears to be equating Gandhian Satyagraha with a universalist, cosmopolitan, version of Baqir al-Sadr's conception of 'shahada' which rejects both traditional Shia quietism as well as Khomeinism. What he doesn't get is that Gandhi was relatively ignorant of Hinduism. Khomeini & al-Sadr were great scholars of their Religion and were directly descended from the Prophet. Gandhi was a 'bania'- his hereditary occupation was making money and brokering deals. Thus Jahanbegloo misunderstands Gandhi's role. Gandhi could not be a 'shahadha'. Sure, he might have developed super-natural powers by retaining semen and so forth. But, equally, he might just be an attention-seeking politician with Messianic delusions- like Annie Besant. 

Ramin writes in the Indian Express-

For Gandhi, violence was a sign of the failure of a legitimate political power.

Thus, when his wife refused to cook mutton chops for Maulana Azad, and he accused her of perpetrating violence, he meant that Kasturba''s tearful protests was a sign of the failure of a legitimate political power- presumably that of the King Emperor. 

Gandhi, like many children, thought violence, which is very evil and wicked and totes naughty, occurs when their demands are refused.  

At the core of Gandhi’s political theory is the view of politics as shaped by internal moral power, rather than from the standpoint of rational violence.

'Internal moral power' is what kids assert when they demand ice-cream rather than spinach. 'Rational violence' has to do with grownups saying 'if you don't eat your spinach, you don't get to watch cartoons on TV' which is like totes unfair. 

Consequently, for Gandhi, the modern state contained forces that threatened, rather than enhanced, liberty.

Everybody knows that the 'modern state' has prisons where your liberty will be curtailed if you break the law in a sufficiently egregious manner and have the bad luck to get caught. 

Therefore, he did not consider democracy as a political regime but as a value, which needed to be created and cherished.

So Gandhi thought democracy was like Niceness. We must create and cherish Niceness coz it's nice to be nice. God is so nice. Be nice. Don't be naughty.  

His defence of institutions of the liberal constitutional state did not mean that he justified them in terms of his political philosophy.

The poor fellow was obliged to pretend to want Democracy so as to maintain his position as the leader of the Congress Khilafat combine. But he surrendered quickly enough. 

To the contrary, politics for Gandhi was an act of consciousness, not a mode of living taken for granted.

Yet Gandhi's mode of living depended on financial subventions which only came his way by reason of his political role. Incidentally all political acts are acts of consciousness, not unconsciousness, or sleep walking.  

Gandhi did not see the goal of political action as the immediate capture of office.

But he did take a lot of money from those who wanted to capture office or influence how power was exercised. However Gandhi's goal was to get yet more money for his crackpot schemes. Also he liked sleeping naked with girls.

According to him, the basic condition of political action was the elimination of violence.

Gandhi thought that if a person with more power makes an offer then that offer must be rejected because it represents violence. He argued that the more powerful party must first make unilateral concessions before negotiating. However, this argument would only be accepted if Gandhi was in the stronger position. There were times when he appeared to be in command of the Indian masses. Thus this ploy made sense. But Gandhi would lose his nerve and throw in his hand. Why? The truth is the alternative to the Raj may well have been anarchy- which is only cool from a philosophical point of view. Gandhi had crackpot schemes which were money pits. If anarchy prevailed, his donors would have no money. 

His principal aim was to civilise modern politics from within, by shorting the circuit of resentment, hatred and coercion.

Sadly, his stock in trade was sedition- creating resentment and hatred of the Government- and the method used by his supporters was to coerce the public into boycotts and hartals and burning foreign cloth. To be fair, this had been happening before Gandhi appeared on the scene but, as Tagore had warned, this tactic alienated the Muslims. 

His politics of non-violence was a method to mobilise collective power in a manner that attends to its own moral education in an exemplary and innovative way.

But that 'moral education' was an indoctrination in magical thinking. It was not exemplary or innovative.  

Excellence is the end that we have to set before ourselves as political beings.

No. The best is the enemy of the good. Politics is merely about improving mechanism design so as to increase Social Welfare.  

Gandhi showed that a life of excellence is an agency and a transformative force, an experience of conscience underpinning the harmony between ethics and politics.

Yet he failed utterly. Every Gandhian scheme turned out to be foolish and a waste of resources. Still, some of his backers did very well. But they would have done even better if they had financed a less crazy coot.

An “ethic of responsibility” underlined Gandhi’s non-violent politics.

Sadly, Gandhi was always committing 'Himalayan blunders' because he could not foresee that the consequences of doing stupid shit was that stupid shit would go down. This was highly irresponsible. Still, it beat working for a living. 

He argued for a dedicated and committed political ethos, which did not accept the necessity of “dirty hands” in politics.

Yet, the 'Gandhi cap' would come to symbolise corruption.  

As he affirmed on July 3, 1940, “I have always derived my politics from ethics or religion and my strength is also derived by my deriving my politics from ethics. It is also because I swear by ethics and religion that I find myself in politics. A person who is a lover of his country is bound to take a lively interest in politics.”

The 'Holy Fox', Lord Halifax, was terribly Churchy. In Britain, he is remembered with revulsion. Gandhi's genius was to unite all the minorities of India against the Congress Party. That was the upshot of the Second Round Table Conference. Gandhi's meddling in politics ensured that the British, and the British alone, decided how and when to transfer power. This was an extraordinary achievement.

Gandhi was thinking in terms of long-term social stability among nations.

Britain was stable. Imitating Britain was what, as a lawyer, Gandhi should have been trying to do.  

So, he wanted to put his hands on the wheel of history through non-violent politics.

Though history shows that such magical thinking is useless.  

Ultimately, what was important for him was to move from violence to politics.

Every reasonably long lived State, however violent its origin, moves from beating and killing people to a political regime where coercive means are only used when laws are violated by those without much power.

This transition could not take place without the intervention of the ethical in the political.

Yet, it actually does take place for purely economic reasons.       

In a speech at All-India National Education Conference on January 13, 1930, he observed: “There are some who think that morality has nothing to do with politics. We do not concern ourselves with the character of our leaders… If swaraj was not meant to civilise us, and to purify and stabilise our civilisation, it would be worth nothing. The very essence of our civilisation is that we give a paramount place to morality in all our affairs, public or private.”

Plenty of politicians make speeches of that sort. But so do smarmy school kids.  

The Gandhian appeal to the ethical in politics was not only a way to seek Truth, but also of coming to know oneself in ever-greater depth.

It was based on coming to believe one had magical powers- gained, in part, by sleeping naked with young girls.  

The Gandhian effort for non-violent politics was a cultivation of one’s capacity for ethical citizenship.

By sleeping naked with young girls and doing stupid shit the rest of the time. 

That is to say, Gandhi considered politics as a work of the heart and not merely of reason. This recalls French philosopher Blaise Pascal, who said: “The heart has its reasons which reason itself does not know.”

That was in the context of knowing a God who had a son who was crucified for some reason. The heart of a paedophile may well believe that little kiddies want to have sex with horrible perverts.  

In the same manner, Gandhi believed that the heart, and not reason, is the seat of morality.

A morality which involved sleeping naked with great nieces.  

He wrote in Harijan (June 8, 1940): “Morality which depends upon the helplessness of a man or woman has not much to recommend it.

What about the helplessness of a young girl pressurized by her parents and the rest of Gandhi's stupid acolytes into sleeping naked with a toothless nutter?  

Morality is rooted in the purity of our hearts.”

Gandhi's heart was not pure. It was full of conceit. But he succeeded in his aim- which was to make a great name for himself without actually achieving anything constructive. But then the same could be said of those who  

Gandhi believed that next to constructive work,

Work, to be constructive, must be based on meeting real needs. Indians needed more food, more clothes, more education and more nice shiny stuff to motivate them to do smart things. Gandhi offered them holier than thou bullshit. Khaddar and Nai Talim were expensive frauds. This is not to say that handloom weaving can't be economically viable. It can, provided it concentrates on the high end of the market and uses the best yarn- which may have to be imported. But Gandhi opposed this type of weaving. His own homespun was, more of then than not, of such poor quality that it couldn't be woven at all. Similarly, Educational Reform could have been a good thing. But that isn't cheap. It is sheer magical thinking to say 'kids will earn while they learn. Thus there will be no need for taxes on liquor to finance them. We can kill off the economy by banning anything which people like paying for or working for without hurting Education. Similarly, why spend money on the Army when Ahimsa can prevail over invaders? Why bother with Hospitals and Medical Schools? Just rub a little mud on the affected part of the anatomy and sickness will disappear. 

a society needs also to be inwardly empowered, since human beings are capable of love, friendship, solidarity and empathy.

Who does not know this? But only cretins think love is enough. You also have to do useful stuff. This means being smart- not Gandhian. 

On January 5, 1907, Gandhi wrote in Indian Opinion: “It is the moral nature of man by which he rises to good and noble thoughts.

To think that some thoughts are good and noble is not itself good or noble. It may be useful. It may not be. The big problem with the 'moral nature' of man is that, throughout history, morality has counselled the same sorts of crimes as immorality. 

The different sciences show us the world as it is. Ethics tells us what it ought to be.

No. Ethics is about what we ought to do. The applied sciences are about making the world a better place for us. Ethics may or may not approve of this. But then it is widely known to be shit.  

It enables man to know how he should act.

No. It may consel one course of action over another. But that course of action is determined by what is known to have worked before.  

Man has two windows to his mind: Through one he can see his own self as it is; through the other, he can see what it ought to be.”

Gandhi was wrong. There is no 'Momus window' into the soul. Nor is here some Hogwart's type 'sorting hat' which tells you what you should study or which type of research you should pursue so as to find a cure for cancer.

Consequently, Gandhi insisted on the autonomous nature of the moral act.

The act isn't autonomous at all if there is some magical window or mirror which tells you to do it.  

His view of morality was not a denial of politics.

It was a denial of reality. Lord Krishna says dharma is difficult to know. Gandhi thought it was whatever stupid nonsense popped into his head.  

On the contrary, Gandhi’s moral idealism was completed by a political realism, which sought the construction of a democratic society.

He only endorsed democracy when he took over leadership of the Congress Khilafat combine. Prior to that he compared the British House of Parliament to a brothel. By changing Prime Minister every so often, Members of Parliament were no better than prostitutes. A good woman only has sex with one master. Also if a rapist comes along, her daddy should immediately kill her. Gandhi said he would offer himself to the rapist by way of restitution. This is like Lytton Strachey reply to the question 'what would you do if a German came to rape your sister?' His answer was that he would try to get between them.  

He wrote: “I feel that political work must be looked upon in terms of social and moral progress.”

Who the fuck looks upon political work as a way of setting back society and morality?  

From Gandhi’s perspective, non-violence was an ontological truth that followed from the unity and interdependence of humanity and life.

This is unfair to Gandhi. He may have been stupid but even he understood that human beings are alive. It is not the case that some human beings who are walking around are actually dead. An 'ontological truth' is a truth about being. Being human means being alive. Everybody knows this. Suppose we didn't. Then we would not bury the dead.  

Therefore, he advocated an awareness of the essential unity of humanity.

No he didn't. He said that India was different from the West. It wasn't just Western technology that was evil. Any intercourse between the Brits and the Indians was bound to be bad for both parties. This was in line with Racist thinking of the time. It was believed that 'miscegenation' meant the combining of the worst qualities of two different races. Indeed, fucking women was just as bad. To retain one's manly virtue one mustn't let those evil succubi get hold of one's precious bodily fluid. Hear that bitches? You aint getting any of my yummy baby batter though, if you're real young, you can sleep naked with me. Indeed, I insist on it. 

That awareness called for critical self-examination and a move from egocentricity towards a “shared humanity.”

Plenty of people go in for this shite. But their 'shared humanity' remains shite. It is a different matter if they simply mimic the useful stuff smart people do. Then they may not be wholly worthless even if the gas on about 'shared humanity' and the great ontological truth that Humanity is Alive. Corpses are not human and should not be entrusted with mission critical tasks.  

This “shared humanity” cannot exist if it is not aware of its shortcomings.

It does not exist because it does not enable me to become aware of where the cunt who stole my mobile is currently residing.  

It needs to strive to remove its ethical imperfections in order to be able to live with global challenges.

It needs to exist before it can start striving. But it doesn't exist. One may as well speak of the collective unconsciousness or the Galactic Oversoul which incorporates all sentience in the Milky Way. 

In an age of increasing “globalisation of selfishness”, there is an urgent need to understand and practise the moral leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and re-evaluate the concept of politics

for purely selfish reasons. Why? Because some Professors of worthless subjects can gain a little money or reputational benefit by writing this type of shite.  


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