Wednesday 30 March 2016

Why Black American Philosophers are so few in number

Thomas Sowell has pointed out the paradox that worsening discrimination in Federal Employment faced by African-Americans led to very highly educated Black women being employed as School Teachers with the result that Du Bois's 'talented tenth' got a head-start.
As an economist, Sowell knows that information asymmetry can lead to signalling failure- as happened when 'busing' was introduced and ordinary African Americans thought their children would be better off being taught by under-educated Whites rather than highly educated people of their own background.

Few American philosophers were adept in Continental philosophy, back in the Sixties, and fewer still had the impact or visibility of Angela Davies whose Doctorate was from East Berlin. Yet, her example encouraged women not to lose themselves in the couvade maiuetics of the Socratic tradition but, rather, to acquire the practical skills of an Agnodice who helped actual women give birth to real babies, not Platonic Ideas. Agnodice was acquitted of corrupting the women of Athens because she could lift her skirt and thus disprove the allegations against her.

If it is really the case that only 40 Afro-American women have been given PhDs in Philosophy since 1965 then the question arises whether there was something wrong with the subject ab ovo.  Either, as Nietzche said of Kant, it seeks to use arcane arguments to support popular prejudices- this is like Bergson or Putnam arguing that Theories like Relativity or Quantum Mechanics don't really mean what they say they mean, even though this has been empirically confirmed- or else it cashes out as paranoid ranting directed at some long dead pedant who, supposedly, poisoned the wells of thought for all eternity- or till the Revolution ad kalendas Graecas or some Fuehrer's final Final Solution.

It is noticeable that a J.D who adds a Philosophy PhD to her skill-set can have an impact on Public Policy and, to my knowledge, there are black female Economists and Area Studies Specialists whose Doctorate could easily have come under the purview of the Philosophy Dept. but for the fact that this might have lowered the value of the Credential.

Kathryn Gines, at Penn State, has taken a different tack- one reminiscent of Agnodice who went to Egypt to acquire medical knowledge- by linking Philosophy once again to Healing, Self-Actualization, and restoring Sanity to Society.

 However, incentives have to be created and maintained, perhaps by fostering links to Enterprises outside the Academy (which has proved such a benefit for STEM subjects) so that the Social Value of what is being created is properly recognized and rewarded.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Why my style is so baroquely bad.

(The following is excerpted from an Email exchange with someone who thought a comment I'd made on an article in the Guardian was well written)

My ancestors were poverty stricken Priests in South India. The only luxury they could afford was indulgence in an ornate literary style. To the extent that such 'euphuism' displayed a purely technical mastery of an arcane subject- e.g. Paninian Grammar, or Hindu Theology, or Mathematics or Astronomy- my ancestors could hope to be called to the Court of a Prince and given some lucrative bureaucratic post.

However, this created a tension between the 'haves' and the wannabe 'have nots'. The former, already comfortably ensconced at Aristocratic Courts, pretended that their labored lucubrations captured the artless raptures of rustic shepherdesses whereas parvenu Pundits displayed a merely technical virtuosity.
Thus, in India, what Pareto called 'the circulation of the elites', has always been characterized by bloodless Classicists claiming to be Naturalistic Romantics fighting a rear-guard action against the Euphuism- i.e. the complex mannerism- of genuine rustics with a proto-scientific or technical bent.

This gives rise to the stock figure of the Brahmin 'vidushak'- the comedic boon companion whose boastful erudition is Scholastic merely though disclosing a shrewd knowledge of the World.

After Hindu India was conquered, Persian and then English came to be treated as dead languages in which a merely bookish erudition could be displayed in a more or less bizarre style. The Iranians complained of the otiose, baroque and pitilessly metaphysical 'sabak-e-hindi' Indian style while the, more materially secure, Victorians relished the comic incongruity of 'Babu' English.

Since, in Sanskrit aesthetics 'rasabhasa'- i.e. the use of a high style for low matter or what Pope called 'bathos' or the art of sinking- is considered the hallmark of 'hasya'- the comic mode- and since 'hasya' is said to contain all other modes, the 'Babu' Indian, generally from a very poor, provincial, background, took pains to adhere to this stereotype believing it represented a metaphysical 'merging of horizons'. Thus the Indians, prior to Independence, were addicted to high falutin nonsense, which nevertheless, on examination, was highly amphibolous and speculatively metaphysical.

If all this seems rather vague, as I suppose it is, consider this vignette from a book by a Oxford educated English School Master in India-

Reading through what I've written- and so punitively linked to- it occurs to me that I do indeed, like a benighted provincial, magnify more or less obscure authors- in this case Rene Girard, the Proust scholar who ignorantly discovered that satire means 'goat song', the lament for the scapegoat- but then 'rasabhasa', bathos, demands precisely this sort of sacrifice.

One point I should make, Indians of my class and level of intelligence- i.e. garrulous but low I.Q retards with nothing original to say- is that we have been well enough schooled in a sort of sham Oxbridge maieutics to run with the hounds when Upper Class English Paideia gives tongue to its foundational puzzlement at really simple things- 'but what do you mean when you say 'mean'. I'm sorry, no doubt I'm being terribly dim, but I really don't understand'- while still running with the hares of Continental phenomenology such that no Indian will deny that some oxymoronic collocation like 'the Transcendental turn in Neo-Liberalism's project of nakedly singularising its own crisis' isn't something they thoroughly grasped and 'depassed' while in Grade School.

In this context, I may mention that Socratic maiuetics was but a couvade midwifery- no men got pregnant and the totemic animals, or Platonic Ideas, thus delivered into the world for the Academy to hunt, didn't actually exist. By contrast, Agnodice- who was indicted for corrupting, not the youth, but the women of Athens- was able to lift her skirts and gain acquittal because she was a genuine midwife and her pursuit of medical knowledge had saved the lives of many of her sisters.

This, no doubt, is why Tagore writes- 'I sit like a beggar maid, drawing my skirt over my face, and when they ask me, what it is I want, I drop my eyes and answer them not.'

India has contributed to the comedy of the Humanities declining into sub-Humanities through the pseudo Leftist whining about being Bengali or Parsee- a bit like Anthony Burgess or David Lodge initially whining about being R.C- of such Academic giants as Gayatri Spivak (vide, Homi Bhabha ( not to mention Amartya Sen and... actually practically everybody with an Indian name who has a penchant for self-publicity.

There are some genuine scholars- Anwar Shaikh (actually Pakistani, but his Mom was a South Indian Christian) for example has written a good book about Capitalism's Crisis which has just come out- but they write simply and convey useful information and make falsifiable predictions and offer substantive prescriptions.

I'm sorry, I've written at too great a length- cacoethes scribendi is a terrible, for terribly lower middle class Indian, affliction- and that too in my typically turgid and tortuous style. Thank you for your kind words. I am in fact thinking of putting together a book called 'Meta-metaphoricity & Ontological dysphoria' in which the introductory chapters at least are written in a plain unvarnished style such that all references are clarified. I wonder whether you'd be interested in glancing at such chapters and giving me your opinion?


...I used to listen to the BBC before, at 14, I finally got to watch it. My parents, of course, worshiped at Lord Reith's altar. For me- I'd been warned against anything American as essentially tawdry and lacking in what F.R Leavis called 'cultural continuity'- the over-drawn shadows I saw upon the screen were infinitely more real, more meaningful, than the squalid tragicomedy of my troglodyte adolescence in a dormitory suburb.

I wasn't alone. A lot of working class lads or 'ethnics' or displaced Scots and so on in the Sixth Form felt exactly as I did. The Beeb was the arbiter of taste and what embittered our enjoyment of such youthful hi-jinks as we permitted ourselves was the knowledge that, as comedy sketches, they were irremediably ITV.
Recalling one such adventure to a young Eng Lit Prof from Preston, I wrote the following poem-
When I was 17
Back then tanning salons were the last word in hi-tech; their receptionists, glacially blonde & remote
I appeared a 2 'O' level Bank Clerk, she, a PhD, in her lab coat
'Help me, for Christ's sake! That sun-bed set off a chain reaction- I look a nigger!'
Like a headless chicken she ran, Career blown, my finger on the trigger.

As Graham Greene said 'Pity kills. No one is safe when Pity is prowling around.'

...Genuine insights in Economics and Philosophy are best, or most usefully, served by as sparse, easily digestible, finger food. I hope you will share yours with me...

What I am doing when I write in an otiose manner is 'critical philosophy'- or as I prefer to call it 'Socioproctology'. A genuine insight, baldly expressed, is productive of new ideas- i.e. has a direct link with a cognitive action whose valency is 'high entropy' (i.e. something unpredictable or novel) and thus all genuine thought has this self appointed pooper-scooper who thus legitimates holding its leash. My point is that this genuine insight is now embedded in something which neuters its fecundity.
Still, so long as we readers settling down with a big book, cease to be but flatulent grazing animals and turn instead into 'persistence hunters' then, the questing fewmets of Academia are turned to a good purpose.

This is a topic I explore in a book (cannibalised from my blog) whose pdf is available here

BTW, there's a novel I'm about a third of the way through- it isn't about India and so might be somewhat more accessible. I could send you the first bit, if you think you might have time to glance over it. Essentially, the theme is relevant to Econ & Philosophy because there is a certain amount of pessimism re. the possibility of a Mathesis Universalis, or Gibbardian 'Revelation Principle' or Muth Rational saltation to truly democratic Social Welfare optima which is actually unwarranted by the underlying Maths.
Basically, outside one's narrow specialism, we all (Leftists as much as Bleeding Heart Libertarians) believe nonsense like
1) Godel and Tarski proved no language can consistently contain its own truth predicate- though, Kripke provided a workaround long ago.
2) Non Dictatorship, or computational  non verifiability of an 'NP' Oracle, means Crises are inevitable. Hysteresis rules. Actually, results in this field- e.g. Razborov Rudich militate to the opposite conclusion.
3) Problems of Reflexivity and Preference Revelation hollow out Rational Moral Science so we should go back to bogus Virtue Ethics or Sen & Nussbaum type pi-jaw. Once again, the Math says otherwise.

It's not easy making Maths the main character in a novel about 12 young people attending a Seminar and falling in love with and betraying each other. Still, it's worth my time writing this novel coz it motivates me to- not keep up with the Math, I was always too stupid- but the poetry of Math.

Saturday 12 March 2016

Why Rohan Murthy should stick with Sheldon Pollock.

Rohan Murthy, scion of Infosys founder, Narayan Murthy, has been asked to drop Sheldon Pollock from a prestige project to translate- I need hardly say, more stupidly yet- Indic texts which are already familiar to us in more scholarly or sensible form- or else are untranslatable simply save idiosyncratically by drunken scum like me.

The ostensible reason quoted by Pollock's enemies is his support for 'anti-National' forces but, the truth of the matter is, Pollock has only incurred ire because he has said some very stupid things about Hinduism and Hindutva which, but for the exculpatory circumstance of his ultracrepidarian career of unrelenting cloth-eared doltishness, might otherwise be evidence of a truly Anti-National, for Hate Speech based, agenda.

I have said Pollock is stupid- I will add that he suffers some aesthetic and hermeneutic cognitive incapacity or deficit- yet there are solid reasons why Murthy should stick with Pollock. These have to do with the fact that Murthy is a South Indian (Karnataka, Madhva) Brahmin whose Dad was forced to work abroad back in the Seventies when racial prejudice was rife. Thus, at that time, White guys who cooed to us about how our Vedic ancestors were also the nursemaids of Caucasian Culture and Civilization, counted among the nice guys- as opposed to noxious gobshites.

Thus Pollock says- 'At one end is an old and still dominant axiology foundational to Europe’s interest in Indian knowledge that assigned ultimate value to the ultimately archaic (India after all represented for many the cradle of Western civilization)'.

Nobody doesn't know Pollock is wrong- has always been wrong, that too longer than I've been alive.

I was born in Bonn- 'Benares on the Rhine'- in 1963. My parents, who spoke French and German (Dad had also studied Spanish and Russian) traveled the continent. Nobody- but nobody- believed the India 'was the cradle of Western Civilisation'. Instead they believed things it was useful or confidence-building for their young people to affirm.

German Indology, almost from its inception, rejected this too coarsely silvered Schelling or 'Sarmatian' delusion just as the German people rejected the less than golden liberties of mediatized Princelings.

Yes, an emaciated and bespectacled blackie like me, back in the Seventies, might be welcomed to dinner and encouraged to eat by an elderly, Almanach de Gotha, host by some flattering reference to my 'Brahmin' status and the notion that Sanskrit was older than Greek- but this was just Polite 'Preference Falsification' nothing more.

 People knew that India, thanks to Pundits like Nehru, was with pedantic precision, getting poorer and poorer. Even the persecuted Gypsies were loath to return to their status as Scheduled Caste Doms and decided to forget that India really was their ancestral cradle.

A lot has changed since then. Sub-Saharan Africans- unlike ugly South Indian males like me- have been a big hit with the opposite gender, or indeed, the same gender, wherever they have gone. But sexual jealousy has diminished because Women have thrown off their shackles and can be nobody's property. We have a better 'Preference Falsification' equilibrium because we are all better served by emphasizing our common African origin and forgetting that 'Aryan' bullshit- more especially, for Indian Brahmins, because it divides us from Jews and Dravidians and Khasis and so on. Still, Rohan should stand by this elderly Jew because his own grandparents may have taken comfort from the 'Aryan Brother' theory at the time they were first entering the Civil Service or the learned Professions under the Raj.

Pollock, unlike Witzel, is a nice guy- stupid, yes, but not intent on mischief. Since Rohan's PhD is in something worthwhile, he loses nothing by supporting this bankrupt and mendicant Research Program of this loquacious and elderly Jew who genuinely loves Kannada (though incapable of understanding the true greatness of the amazing Scholar-Saints of that region).

In any case, Rohan is a 'phoren' educated South Indian Brahmin like me. People like us have a duty to do the stupidest thing possible, if not in our business life, then certainly in the realm of cultural politics. Thus, if we have a good PM- like Modi- we should attack him on spurious grounds because high I.Q Brahmins of good character are incapable of recognising what is good for the common-weal- which includes themselves- instead always choosing to champion the most foolish and mischievous possible ideology or academic availability cascade that happens to be current.

After all, if Brahmins don't fuck up the Economy- forcing us to pray to God even for a little bread and clean water- then the only other way they could serve Soteriology is by actually practicing their ancestral profession.
Here again, Pollock comes in useful. He is the only person who still believes that Purva Mimamsa was and is the correct Hindu hermeneutic of Scripture. My ancestors were udgatrs. They knew from the Chandogya that no udgatr ever actually believed that God didn't exist but that rituals were efficacious anyway. No doubt, from time to time, an Atharvin or Tantrik or some other species of Sociopathic Swamy, claimed to possess Magical powers or God like abilities. So what? This is true of all Religions and personality cult based Ideologies. South Indian Brahmins, of whom I can speak from personal experience, are well inoculated against any such idiocy though no doubt they fall victim to charlatans from time to time same as everybody else.

There is a final reason why Rohan should stick with Pollock. Infosys, if it survives and evolves on the relevant fitness landscape, will essentially be about Knowledge Systems. But what are Knowledge Systems?
Godel has a compelling argument as to why a categorical answer to this question must be, to quote Pollock, 'the null set'. If Knightian uncertainty obtains- i.e. the relevant market isn't repugnant or rent extractive simply- then Knowledge systems can't be cybernetic or regulative and thus the notion itself is only useful if adding entropy.

Still, Rohan Baba, nil desperandum auspice deo- It is easy to say what Knowledge Systems are not- and here Pollock's bollocks about 'Indian Knowledge Systems on the eve of Colonialism' comes in useful.

Essentially everything Pollock thinks is a Knowledge System is no such thing and everything he finds problematic isn't at all.
Consider this introductory passage- 'At all events, the precise nature of the division of intellectual labor and associated forms of sociality among Sanskrit, vernacular, and Persianate intellectuals is almost entirely unclear to us at present. In fact, our ignorance of the Sanskrit knowledge systems themselves is hardly less complete, and this despite the dominance they exercised over scholarly life in seventeenth-century South Asia, and the intensification of intellectual production that, as just noted, marked the epoch.'
Why is this fucked? Well, start with 'division of labour'. Henry Ford, a barely educated farmer's son who worked for Edison, certainly created- or synthesised from pre-existing sources- a 'Knowledge System' based on the division of labour. He could do this because he was running a Coasian firm which 'internalized externalities' and displayed horizontal, vertical and lateral integration in a punitive and ruthless fashion.
Nobody- not even Akbar who introduced a new, syncretic, Religion based on 'sajda' to the throne- did anything similar in South Asia- even for its clerical 'ars dictaminis'  to what Henry Ford and his ilk accomplished for the global manufacturing 'Knowledge System' of which Indians were already a part.
Contra Pollock, Seventeenth Century India featured no relevant Intellectual 'division of labour'. Rather there were multiple co-ordination and dis-coordination games with Tiebout sorting and arbitrage opportunities of an essentially 'long tail' type. That's why printing didn't take off. In so far as 'Supply was creating its own Demand', it did so by increasing preference diversity- which by itself reduced systemic risk and was Muth Rational for that reason.

Pollock thinks 'it is unclear to us at present' why, for example, some Riti poets who knew both Persian and Sanskrit wrote in a particular way and not any other. This isn't true. Virtually any Indian of average- or below average- intelligence, like yours truly, can figure it out with a couple of Google searches or a chotta peg or two.

Pollock pretends the burgeoning of 'Knowledge Systems' is endogenously determined. This permits a certain faux Foucauldian stripe of rhetoric which, however, cashes out as nothing but ignorant Orientalist pi-jaw.
 Pollock, like everybody else, knows that Credentialized Systems consume resources and serve Ackerloff signalling functions. They may also be 'Knowledge Systems'- i.e. alethic and productivity raising- but only if they retain fitness with respect to exogenous constraints. Otherwise, they crash or survive only as satire or sociopathy.

Pollock, credulous dupe of the Foucauld-for-fuckwits 101availability cascade, says ' European knowledge claims for itself the infrangible aegis of science—social science, political science, and the like—and such a claim entails that all other modes of thought are mere forerunners (myth, magic, religion, pensée sauvage).
This isn't true.  European 'Knowledge Systems'- like that of Foucauld- were the paranoid rantings of tenured Professors who were either ignored or laughed at.
'Race Science', it is true, experienced a brief moment of Foucauldian 'Power' but it ended up with some blonde, blue-eyed Germans killing other blonde, blue-eyed speakers of Germans while recruiting dark skinned Senegalese and Socialistic South Indians, like Nambiar, into the S.A.
Marxist 'Knowledge Systems' met a similar ignominious fate as did the Straussian episteme. Contra Foucauld, all Societies- as opposed to fossil sects or antagonomic cults-  at all times, consider univocal 'Knowledge Systems' to be no better than Voodoo and consider Punditry to be fucked in the head.
Pollock says-
'At the same time comparison is essential because we cannot adequately grasp the fate of Sanskrit knowledge systems without understanding the character of the European counterparts and the conditions enabling their growth.'
 If this were true, then 'European counterparts' can't be adequately grasped without understanding the character of its Islamic counterparts and so on in an infinite regress.
. Having run more or less in parallel to those of India for a millennium or more, the European forms began to diverge dramatically in the seventeenth century.
Some European and Indian forms diverged, others didn't. Some of Pollock's Ashkenazi ancestors embraced Haskalah- their numbers have dwindled because the general rise in Mathematical knowledge means that the average Seventeen year old understands why Maimon was right about Kant being krap- others, destined to be more numerous, stuck with Haredi Halachah.
It was never the case that extinction events, as opposed to convergent epigenetics, characterised the relevant fitness landscape. 'Knowledge Systems' may self-consciously add entropy, they are never univocal or endogenously determined.

Pollock, like a broken record (I'm ashamed to say I'm ancient enough to remember record players) keeps repeating boo hoo! I iz Bleck, poor me! Po Co shite as though Ashenazis really are a 'pariah people' or Red fucking Indians or whatever.
 Hereby a very different, uncompromising modernity was produced that, disseminated by colonialism, would eventually contest and undo the Sanskrit intellectual formation. Obviously the very possibility of framing the end of Indian knowledge systems as a historical problem derives from the fact that European modernity in some way ended them.
Framing things as 'a historical problem' is what crap but sedulously careerist historians do to try to make out they aren't doing. pr pretending to do, donkey work. Such problems don't exist except for donkeys. In the case of the 'Sanskrit intellectual formation'- far from having been 'undone', it did well and spread to diverse continents thanks to the technologies and trade patterns productive of 'modernity'. Unfortunately, once Pundits like Nehru took charge, India got saddled with a soi disant Hindu rate of growth that permitted an apparent hiatus valde deflendum in which every Convent educated shithead too stupid to do Science ended up with a PhD in Pollock Bollock lifting.

Rohan Murthy is a bright guy- he'd have failed even the J.N.U MPhil in any Indological discipline,- and I read that he's putting a million into 'the first robotic laser adaptive optic system' which is cool coz it's Hannan Consistent or Regret Minimizing from the p.o.v of Social Choice because there genuinely is a 'Knowledge System' underlying the project which gains whether it works or fails- but, the question remains, should he break with Pollock on the basis that the latter's Research Program is bollocks?

Fuck no! Shite Availability Cascades ought to be advertised as shite because it improves Tiebout sorting and computational costs re. Schelling focal solutions for young people under information asymmetry. Not only is Pollock shite but so is Sen and Nussbaum and every other fucking soi disant savant dedicated to similar Sociable Sciences of Stupidity.

Henry Ford, knowing History to be bunk, did help found a 'Knowledge System' which isn't an availability cascade simply. But it wasn't Western, Eastern or any fucking thing other than itself. Knowledge is like that. Gobshittery, however, is never itself but always dressing itself up as 'X qua Y  post-Z' where X is what is shat upon, Y is the shittiest availability cascade and Z was never a genuine climacteric.

Pollock says- 'And it should go without saying that, absent a sound understanding of how Sanskrit knowledge functioned—its presuppositions, methods, objects of analysis, networks of exchange, and the rest—any account of the victory of colonialism as a form of knowledge will be seriously flawed.'

 America, like Britain, was colonised. No doubt, Pollock believes that 'absent a sound understanding of how Autochthonous American or British knowledge functioned- its presuppositions, methods, objects of analysis, networks of exchange and the rest- any account of what currently obtains as a form of knowledge will be seriously flawed.'
Pollock lacks a 'sound understanding' of how autochthonous American, British, European, Hebrew, Indian etc, 'knowledge functioned'. Thus his work is seriously flawed. But we knew that anyway coz he writes shite and is clearly as stupid as shit.
The fact is that if a country is colonised it is because one set of guys are better at killing than another set of guys. This has to do with weapons technology and incentive compatible organisation- not shite to do with epistemic 'presuppositions, methods, objects of analysis etc.'

Knowledge Systems do exist but only in so far as they evolve on a fitness landscape. The same is true of Corporations.  I don't suppose Infosys will be around as anything other that a pure comprador rent extractor in a decade or so. It is entirely proper, indeed it is Muth Rational, that Rohan advertise this by continuing to support Pollock because the fucker really will end up anti-national and rent-extracting which is also anti-Hindu, anti-Brahmin and totally in line with Pollock Bollocks and Witzel witzelsucht & c.

Pollock says- 'At the other end of the spectrum lies the epistemological consequences of the victory of colonialism itself, which not only marked the actual end of the Indian knowledge systems and the slow but steady erosion of scholarly competence in them, but produced a counter-critique in postcolonial (more exactly, postorientalist) thought. This latter moment has entailed extravagant, even absurd claims about the epistemic break purportedly marked by colonialism and orientalism (colonialism’s specific form of knowledge of Indian history and society), and the impossibility of attaining any secure precolonial knowledge whatever—claims that derive their strength from our very ignorance and serve only to reinforce it.'

So, kids, what have we learnt today? Pollock knows that postcolonial or 'postorientalist' thought is worthless shite yet he also believes that Indian 'Knowledge Systems actually ended even though they didn't but got a shot in the arm coz British Colonialism explicitly subsidised and valrorised those of which Pollock himself has knowledge. Indeed, in the case of Sanskrit and Pali, the Raj saw an enormous increase in the geographic spread of the underlying availability cascades.
Had this not been the case, Pollock would have had no Professorship.
Had there been no 'Pax Brittanica' certain 'Indian Knowledge Systems' would have diminished diversity and salience today.
Still, it is the higher rates of growth we have been experiencing for the last two decades- thanks to our abandoning Pollock's own regulative 'Knowledge System'- which has permitted the greater currency of the genuine and utile fruits of indigenous Knowledge Systems, like our Avadhani tradition, which Pollock is too fucking stupid and illiterate to grasp.

Is there any Hindu or Jain who can point to a single fucking foreign professor as having preserved or advanced the ethos of their sect? (White people employed by the Govt. of India don't count as foreign any more than Brown people employed by foreign Governments count as representing autochthonous knowledge.)

On the other hand, every Hindu or Jain can point to egregious and insulting errors perpetrated by soi disant foreign savants and their too sedulous, for deracinated, Indian disciples.

However, it was only with the rise of the BJP- and the Anti-National outcry against this- that such insults became obligatory and acquired the ring of sacred Shibboleths.

Rohan Murthy is quite  right to back Pollock. His own business model is likely to be equally rent extractive and of a comprador nature.

No wonder he wants to be valorised as a magical 'Brahmin' in blatant defiance of his ancestral Theism.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Congress intolerance of Nehru's masturbatory appeal.

As per a F.I.R lodged by the Congress Party against a remark inscribed in a Visitors' Book at the Cuttack Bose museum, accusing Nehru of denying due recognition to Bose, the mention of Nehru's name causes erotic arousal and leads to obscene acts.

Thus, if I say 'that cunt Patel fucked up Bose's legacy', no offence would occur, but if I substitute Nehru for Patel, then ordinary people start jizzing in their pants.

At least, this is the only logically possible inference we can draw from the fact that the Congress Party's F.I.R cites the section of the Criminal Code covering pornographic publications-
Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code.
 For the purposes of sub-section (2), a book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation, figure or any other object, shall be deemed to be obscene if it is lascivious or appeals to the pruri­ent interest or if its effect, or (where it comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items, is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt person, who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

I suppose a nitpicker could point out that Orissa and Tamil Nadu have amended the relevant act as follows-
292A. Printing, etc., of grossly indecent or scurrilous matter or matter intended for blackmail.--
(a) prints or causes to be printed in any newspaper, periodical or circular, or exhibits or causes to be exhibited, to public view or distributes or causes to be distributed or in any manner puts into circulation any picture or any printed or written document which is grossly indecent, or in scurrilous or intended for blackmail; or
(b) sells or lets for hire, or for purposes of sale or hire makes, produces or has in his possession, any picture or any printed or written document which is grossly indecent or is scurrilous or intended for blackmail; or
(c) conveys any picture or any printed or written document which is grossly indecent or is scurrilous or intended for blackmail knowing or having reason to believe that such picture or document will be printed, sold, let for hire distributed or publicly exhibited or in any manner put into circulation; or
(d) takes part in, or receives profits from, any business in the course of which he knows or has reason to believe that any such newspaper, periodical, circular, picture or other printed or written document is printed, exhibited, distributed, circulated, sold, let for hire, made, produced, kept, conveyed or purchased; or
(e) advertises or makes known by any means whatsoever that any person is engaged or is ready to engage in any Act which is an offence under this section, or that any such newspaper, periodical, circular, picture or other printed or written document which is grossly indecent or is scurrilous or intended for blackmail, can be procured from or through any person; or
(f) offers or attempts to do any act which is an offence under this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both:
Provided that for a second or any subsequent offence under this section, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than six months and not more than two years,
Explanation I.-- For the purposes of this section, the word scurrilous shall be deemed to include any matter which is likely to be injurious to morality or is calculated to injure any person;
Provided that it is not scurrilous to express in good faith anything whatever respecting the conduct of--
(i) a public servant in the discharge of his public functions or respecting his character so far as his character appears in that conduct and no further; or
(ii) any person touching any public question, and respecting his character, so far as his character appears in that conduct and no further,
Explanation. II-- In deciding whether any person has committed an offence under this section, the court shall have regard inter alia, to the following considerations--
(a) The general character of the person charged, and where relevant the nature of his business;
(b) the general character and dominant effect of the matter alleged to be grossly indecent or scurrilous or intended for blackmail;
(c) any evidence offered or called by or on behalf of the accused person as to his intention in committing any of the acts specified in this section

Since Nehru is dead and can't be blackmailed or be defamed or injured by any scurrilous imputation, and since, furthermore, the relevant remarks against him- whether or not labeling him a catamite, cunt, or cocksucking cunt of a catamite- arise only respecting his conduct as a politician or public servant in the discharge of his public functions; it follows that such remarks can't be prosecuted under the Statute unless there is some additional salacity over and above the use of vulgar terms of abuse which might have a tendency to deprave or erotically inflame ordinary people who are exposed to the relevant material. What could that additional source of salacity possibly be? The only feasible answer is it is the word 'Nehru'. I'd write more but I just jizzed my pants.

Friday 4 March 2016

Grow old with me

'There's something familiar about that face
'It's the dick I can't place'
Droller to me, dear, in dementia
Your wit e'en in absentia

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Amartya Sen and Constitutional Autocthony

Amartya Sen believes that 'unfreedoms' were 'heaped on us by our (British) rulers'. In other words, the British destroyed India's potential for Development by imposing the Rule of Law.

He thinks that the Indian Constitution could have removed those 'unfreedoms'. Yet they persist. Why? His answer is that 'we have been too tolerant of intolerance.' 

  Thus, some people were intolerant of homosexuals which is why homosexuality continued to be criminalized even after Alan Danielou complained about this to his good friend Prime Minister Nehru- who vehemently denied that Indian people got up to any such shenanigans. Now, if only some homosexuals had expressed intolerance of heterosexuality, then heterosexuality too would have been criminalized because, Sen tells us, Indians are just too tolerant of intolerance for their own good.

  The laws against Hate Speech and Sedition and so on, too, are just examples of excessive Indian tolerance.

  Sen says' It is... often overlooked that the putting on a pedestal of the sentiments of any religious group — often very loosely defined — is another remnant of British law, primarily Section 295(A) of the penal code introduced in 1927.'

  It will be news to British lawyers that British law put 'on a pedestal the sentiments of' every religious group'- loosely defined or otherwise.  The Govt. of India did pass a law of the said description in 1927, but it was only applicable to India, not to Britain, and, moreover, was mooted by Indian Legislators, not British officials. Thus it was an Indian Law, not a British Law, mooted by Indians not Britishers, and retained by Indians even after Independence.
  An example of Indians using this Indian law to combat racism against Indians was the banning of Katherine Mayo's book 'The Face of Mother India' in the Nineteen Thirties. Interestingly, 'radical' academic Feminists like Mary Daly, but also American journalists like Elizabeth Bumiller, have proudly disclosed their indebtedness to Mayo's scurrilous project which, it should be remembered, had been aided and abetted by white officers of the Raj intent on destroying American support for Indian independence. 
 The question arises, have Western women really made progress thanks to a paranoid Feminism which views Men as Robots programmed to rape? Is it not rather the case that Women have come up by rejecting foolish ideologues and concentrating on constructive, if piece-meal, reform? Do female refugees from the Arab Spring gain anything if their men are depicted as fanatical sex offenders? No. They lose whatever slim chance they have of gaining asylum because, even if single, they are potentially the mothers of Arab sons. Do Indian women gain anything by the depiction Indian men as libidinous monsters? No. They would be deservedly shunned for birthing and nurturing such bestial creatures.
  African American Women never made the mistake of accepting the Racist conception of the over-sexed Black male. White Women who wanted equal opportunities, like Alice Paul, far from demonizing men, Black or otherwise, found a way to remove a patriarchal measure 'protecting' women from 'unpleasant' jobs (actually excluding them for better paid low skill jobs) by getting White Women covered under the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Clearly Katherine Mayo type racist stereotyping of males was rejected by those American Feminists who genuinely helped their sex to advance. By contrast, 'Academic' Feminists writing Paranoid garbage, have achieved nothing, if not actively hindered their supposed cause.

   Sen, of course, has a long history of hurting poor Indian people- about whom he supposedly cares so much. His very first contribution to Development Economics- the Dobb-Sen strategy- proposed freezing the real wages of the working class to invest the surplus yielded by productivity gains in expanded capacity. Since working people in India were malnourished and in poor health, their real wages had to rise for their productivity not to fall- a fact Sen could have verified for himself just by taking a rickshaw and opening his eyes to look.
  What about his work on Famines, which was cited by the Nobel Commitee? Did he do something to avert or alleviate the famine in Bangladesh? Nope. He wrote a stupid book claiming that, thirty years previously, Bengali workers in the Cities, gaining higher real wages because of the War boom, greedily ate 5 times as much rice as they had been accustomed to, thus causing their cousins in the countryside to starve. 
 More recently his proposals include banning private tuition, homework and the sort of schools which poor people enroll their kids in so as to get a shot at a brighter future. Meanwhile he presided over the snatching of land from Bihari peasants and demands not just autonomy for the white elephant Nalanda University, which had only 13 students, but also American scale salaries and Diplomatic Immunity for its staff- even those holding Indian passports. 

   Sen uses the term 'unfreedom' to mean something which stands in the way of Development. But the 'unfreedoms' he now wants Society to abolish are all that stand between India's poor and utter chaos.
  How do 'deliberate and malicious acts' intended to outrage the religious sentiments of a class of people help Development? If I stand on the steps of a synagogue shouting 'Zieg Heil' how is anyone made better off? If a riot breaks out and lives are lost and the neighborhood goes up in flames, what great benefit accrues to Society? Rich people can retreat into their well guarded compounds or sterile gated communities- what about the poor?
  Indian lawyers gave up lucrative careers to join the Freedom Struggle. Many suffered torments in Jail or received severe injuries from the batons of the Police. Such lawyers, within and without the Legislative Assembly, saw the need for a Law punishing malicious attempts to sow Communal Strife and framed and passed such a Law.  In no sense was it an 'unfreedom heaped on us' by our erstwhile rulers. 

  Sen believes that- 'A person can be threatened with jail sentence for hurting the religious sentiments of another, however personal — and however bizarrely delicate — that portrayed sentiment might be.'

  Is he correct? Suppose I were to claim that Sen hurts my religious sentiments by refusing to worship my neighbour's cat at Shashthi-avataram, does Sen really believe he would be 'threatened with a jail sentence?' If so, why does he visit India from time to time? It is a crazy country where people are so tolerant of intolerance that, simply to placate a lunatic, who thinks his neighbour's cat is the incarnation of Shashthi, they might put a Nobel Laureate in Jail!

  Sen goes on to say- 'The Indian Constitution, despite claims to the contrary, does not have any such imposition.'
  Yet successful prosecutions under Section 295 (a) continued to be brought even after India asserted Constitutional autocthony- i.e. the notion that all valid laws sprang from the soil and were not 'unfreedoms heaped upon Indians by foreign rulers.

   Article 395, following an Irish precedent, repeals the Indian Independence Act,  thus breaking the chain of legal validity by a revolutionary sui generis & self constitutive assertion with no legal warrant in what went before. This was done deliberately and in accordance with the theory of the legal philosopher Hans Kelsen such that the basic legal ethos, or 'grundnorm', of the previous Colonial regime was violated and overthrown. It follows that no chain of legal validity stretches from the Indian Constitution to the previous enactments of the Crown-in-Parliament.

  Thus it is clear that, at the present time, the Indian Constitution, on the basis of declared autocthony, not inheritance from the British, does indeed have the imposition Sen says it doesn't.

  But Sen has a yet more obviously specious argument to advance. We all know that the internet did not exist in 1950. Online freedom of speech was not an issue. Yet Sen says- 'In a judgment on March 3, 2014, the Supreme Court in fact gave priority to the fundamental right of the people to express themselves, as enshrined in the Constitution.'
   This is utterly misleading. The context was the over-broad Section 66 (a). The Court wasn't concerned with Section 295 at all.

  Sen says 'The Constitution’s insistence on “public order, decency or morality” is a far cry from what the organised political activists try to impose by hard-hitting kick-boxing, allegedly guided by delicate sentiments.' 

  What does he mean? A reasonable guess would be that Sen is referring to Article 19 (2)
 Nothing in sub clause (a) of clause ( 1 ) (which lists various freedoms- like that of expression) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence

  Notice that the Constitution does not enjoin a positive duty to observe public order, decency or morality. It merely says that reasonable restrictions on freedoms can be made for reasons of public order, preserving the sovereignty and integrity of India, etc. Sen may think that 'hard-hitting kick-boxing' is a far cry from something in the Constitution but so is his rhetoric from anything resembling a reasoned argument.

  Sen now says something rather remarkable- 'The Constitution does not have anything against anyone eating beef, or storing it in a refrigerator, even if some cow-venerators are offended by other people’s food habits.' 
The fact is, Article 48 explicitly states 'The State shall ... take steps for ... prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.'

  This is a Directive Principle, on the Irish model and carries an imperative charge such that beef eating is stigmatized in the same manner as drinking alcohol was stigmatized by Article 47. If Sen had said 'The Constitution does not have any explicit provision against etc' he would have been correct in a certain narrow sense but still wrong as a matter of law.  As things stand, State laws criminalising the sale of beef, which amounts to its bare possession (because the burden of proof falls on the accused), are perfectly Constitutional- indeed, they are in line with a Directive Principle. What is more, these can be cognisable offences- i.e. a police officer who has no private animus against beef-eating would still have to prosecute any offence that came to her notice. There is no question here of someone's 'delicate sentiments' triggering action by the State.  

  It is a matter of dispassionate Law.

  Nevertheless, Sen says- ' The realm of delicate sentiments seems to extend amazingly far. Murders have occurred on grounds of hurt sentiments from other people’s private eating.'

  Murder is a crime heavily punished by the Law. 'Delicate sentiments' are not germane.

  'Children have been denied the nourishment of eggs in school meals in parts of India for the priority of vegetarian sentiments of powerful groups.'
   Children have also been denied the nourishment of venison and the flesh of the wild boar. Vegetarians argue that their own type of diet is more healthy and nourishing. 
  Indeed, it should be remembered, Muslim members of the Constitutional Assembly asked for the cow-slaughter ban to be explicitly linked to Religious Sentiments. Its advocates refused because they genuinely believed that there were sound Nutritional and Economic reasons for the ban which would be clarified with the progress of Science.

  Sen moves on to the Wendy Doniger affair- 'And seriously researched works of leading international scholars have been forced to be pulped by scared publishers, threatened to be imprisoned for the offence of allegedly hurting religious sentiments.'
  The publishers could have brought a test case if the book in question really had been 'seriously researched' in which case they had a defense in Law. They didn't because it hadn't.

   Sen says- 'Journalists often receive threats — or worse — for violating the imposed norms of vigilante groups.'
  Quite true. However, Journalists can report these threats to the Police and secure protection. The late Dom Moraes had a falling out with his Muslim neighbour regarding loud communal prayers in the latter's residence. Rightly or wrongly, the poet felt threatened and got Police protection.

  It is thus not surprising that, as Sen says- 'The Indian media has a good record of standing up against intimidation, but freedom of speech and reporting need more social support.'
  Why? What good is 'Social Support' if thugs turn up on your doorstep and chop your arm off? What you need is Police Protection. You can approach the Court and the Judge can issue an order that such protection be granted.
   Sen concludes his remarks by pointing out that they didn't mean anything in the first place- 'To see in all this the evidence of an “intolerant India” is just as serious a mistake as taking the harassment of people for particular social behaviour to be a constitutional mandate.'
  The problem here is nobody, not even Sen, thought the Constitution mandated 'harassment'. Indeed, only Sen has brought up the matter. 'Intolerant India' however is a popular slogan. Sen explains that it is equally and utterly mistaken. However, everybody already knows this- except perhaps for some impressionable foreigners. The whole thing- like Sen's speech- is just an exercise in windy rhetoric and senile gesture politics.

   Sen admits that 'Most Indians, including most people who are classified as Hindu (including this writer), have no difficulty in accepting variations in food habits among different groups (and even among Hindus). And they are ready to give their children the nourishment of eggs if they so choose (and if they can afford them). And Hindus have been familiar with, and tolerant of, arguments about religious beliefs for more than 3,000 years (“Who knows then, whence it first came into being? … Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not,” Rigveda, Mandala X, Verse 129). It is a serious insult to Indians — and to Hindus in general — to attribute to them the strange claims of a small but well organised political group, who are ready to jump on others for violations of norms of behaviour that the group wants to propagate, armed with beliefs and sentiments that have to be protected from sunlight.'
   A small but well organised group of politicized academics have been uttering serious insults against Indians in general and Hindus in particular for more than two decades. Sen and his protégé Nussbaum were happy enough to jump on that bandwagon so as to appear to be bravely combating Fascism in India, not to mention some supposed Hindu Terrorism which would throw that of the Islamic variety into the shade. They cried wolf till they were hoarse, but no wolf materialised.

   'The silencing of dissent, and the generating of fear in the minds of people violate the demands of personal liberty, but also make it very much harder to have a dialogue-based democratic society.'
   Oddly, this isn't actually true. People will risk their lives to hear and speak the Truth. Stupid lies, however are what undermine democratic parrhesia.

   'The problem is not that Indians have turned intolerant. In fact, quite the contrary. We have been too tolerant even of intolerance. When some people — often members of a minority (in religion or community or scholarship) — are attacked by organised detractors, they need our support. This is not happening adequately right now. And it did not happen adequately earlier as well. In fact, this phenomenon of intolerance of dissent and of heterodox behaviour did not start with the present government, though it has added substantially to the restrictions already there. M.F. Husain, one of the leading painters of India, was hounded out of his country by relentless persecution led by a small organised group, and he did not get the kind of thundering support that he could have justly expected. In that ghastly event at least the Indian government was not directly involved (though it certainly could — and should — have done much more to protect him). The government’s complicity was, however, much more direct when India became the first country to ban Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.
   The real problem facing India is Poverty, which means inter alia not enough policemen and too few Judges to enforce the law. Rushdie didn't get a lot of support from the Paki-bashing British public. He did get first rate British Police protection because Britain was rich enough to afford it. India, dependent on Iranian oil, would in any case have banned his book under the provisions of Article 19 (b) re. 'friendly relations with foreign states'.
   As an Economist, Sen should understand that Economic Growth, not 'Social Support' for prancing ninnies like Rushdie, is what the country needs. In this context, what he labels an 'unfreedom' is actually a salutary measure necessary for the flourishing of individuals and social groups. Students at University need to study hard so as to be able to get good jobs. They don't need to be harassed with demands that they violate the customary morality of their people by attending beef and pork parties or to be put in fear of celebrating their customary festivals- like Durga Puja- because of some baseless claim that it is offensive to worshipers of Mahishasura. Will a Physics student become a better Physicist by getting into fights on issues as infantile as these? If so, we must shed a tear for poor old Einstein. He would surely have found the 'Theory of Everything' if only the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton had featured such luminaries as Prof. Kancha Ilaiah and Amaresh Mishra.

Let us now look at Sen's prescriptions-

'So what should we do, as citizens of India who support freedom and liberty?' 

1)' First, we should move away from blaming the Indian Constitution for what it does not say.'
  Actually, an Indian who supports unrestricted 'freedom and liberty' should 'blame the Constitution' because it does in fact place restrictions, which Sen himself finds unreasonable, on freedom of expression and mode of dietary sustenance. Sen does not mention the fundamental right to property, so let that go.

  Sen has misread, or not read, the Constitution. Thus this prescription of his is a mere nostrum concocted out of his own fantasy of himself as a second Ambedkar.

2)  'Second, we should not allow colonial penal codes that impose unfreedoms to remain unchallenged.'
  The Indian Constitution proclaims itself to be autocthonous in the manner of that of De Valera's Ireland. Indian jurisprudence holds all Laws currently upheld by the Supreme Court to issue from the soil- not any foreign invasion. A constitutional argument can be made for changing such Laws but that argument's premise can't be itself unconstitutional- viz. it can't deny Constitutional autochthony.
  Sen had previously linked 'unfreedom' with something that hinders both individual flourishing and Socio-Economic Development. Now he equates 'unfreedom' with negative liberty (like the right to offend, no matter how much social discord and economic dislocation it might produce) without producing any intellectual warrant for this sleight of hand. Thus he condemns his own Research Program as meaningless pi-jaw. Indeed, his argument here militates for a Libertarian Anarchism where the strong and powerful can disintermediate the State, relying instead on their own hired goons, and use Hate Speech maliciously and deliberately to divide the weak and poor to keep them in a permanent state of fear and insecurity.

3) 'Third, we should not tolerate the intolerance that undermines our democracy, that impoverishes the lives of many Indians, and that facilitates a culture of impunity of tormentors.'
  Wow! We should be intolerant of intolerance- unless it is our own- because that undermines our democracy. What sort of Kantian maxim is this? 
   What actually facilitates a culture of 'impunity' for 'tormentors' is inadequate resources, considering our large population, for the enforcement of Law and Order. Economic Growth- which Sen has only hindered- is the solution not 'intolerance of intolerance' or some other such non sequitur.

4) 'Fourth, the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, have good reason to examine comprehensively whether India is not being led seriously astray by the continuation of the rules of the Raj, which we fought so hard to end. In particular, there is need for judicial scrutiny of the use that organised tormentors make of an imagined entitlement of “not to be offended” (an alleged entitlement that does not seem to exist in this particular form in any other country). '

  So, Judges who actually know the Law should listen to a guy who does not know the law. Why? What great insight does Sen have to offer? It is that Judges should be careful that defendants don't claim rights which are imaginary. What does Sen think has been happening in Indian Courts up till now? Perhaps he thinks Raj Kapoor says 'Your Honour, under Section 420, my moustache entitles me to be tried as a cat. Miaow, Miaow!' and then Chief Justice Prithviraj responds 'Not guilty by reason of being a cat!'

  Sen knows that there is no Legal entitlement to 'not be offended'. What there is, is a sanction against malicious offending. Sen is inveighing against something he knows to be imaginary- in Sanskrit this sort of rhetoric is dismissed as 'rasabhasa'- i.e. getting emotionally worked up about something known not to exist. Sen is satirising himself in a manner too stupid and obvious to even potentially rank as wit.

5) 'Fifth, if some states, under the influence of sectarian groups want to extend these unfreedoms through local legislation (for example, banning particular food), the courts surely have to examine the compatibility of these legislation with the fundamental rights of people, including the right to speech and to personal liberties.'
The Courts already do this. Why is Sen pretending otherwise? 
   'As Indians, we have reason to be proud of our tradition of tolerance and plurality, but we have to work hard to preserve it. The courts have to do their duty (as they are doing — but more is needed), and we have to do ours (indeed much more is surely needed). Vigilance has been long recognised to be the price of freedom.'

   Stupidity is not vigilance. Sen-tentious prattle is not a duty but a senseless indulgence. Indians need to work hard to rise in the world. But to rise in the world is to have an increased interaction with, and understanding of, the Law- as opposed to tea-shop bromides- as well as to pay more, in taxes, towards the upkeep of the machinery of Justice. Vigilance against external threats and internal subversion is indeed the price of freedom but it's a price best discharged collectively. To engage in a paranoid surveillance of one's own chowkidar- i.e. night-watchman- is to purchase a one-way ticket to the Lunatic Asylum. Yet, this is what Sen's ignorant prescriptions cash out as.

  There is a reason our Constitution declared itself autochthonous- i.e. arising from the soil of the motherland. It permits our Jurists to simply ignore stupid people with swollen heads who live abroad but visit from time to time to say- 'India should change its laws because (a) they were invented by the Anglo Saxons and (b) the Anglo Saxons now approve something else' .

Sen is famous for preferring 'nyaya' (substantive outcomes) to 'niti' (procedural integrity) but his prescriptions, in this instance, amount to little more than adopting a fashionable rhetorical 'riti' more suited to drug addled adolescents experiencing paranoid fantasies of persecution by a secretly Totalitarian State.