Friday, 31 December 2021

Pratap Bhanu Mehta on Hindus vs Hindutvadis

Arvind Sharma has remarked that there is an academic 'cottage industry' which bangs on about the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva. If so, it is an entirely wrong headed enterprise. Hindutva is the tattva, or essence, of Hinduism. Thus, it is merely the ecumenical version of the Religion which focuses on what everybody can agree on. Sadly, some people still believe in Caste and hereditary entitlement though they no longer try to justify such notions by appealing to Scripture. One reason for this is that traditional Hindu Law clearly states that these very people who are claiming to be 'twice born' are no such thing. They are acharabrashta. They have lost caste- which is no big deal if your have faith in the Grace of God. However, it does disqualify you from speaking about Hinduism as if you actually are a Pundit just because you have a Hindu name and are descended from Pundits.

Sharma says-' the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva would be to recognise that Hinduism is a religion (however defined) while Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, is a political ideology, whose relation to the religion of Hinduism could be considered analogous to the relationship between Christianity and Christian fundamentalism or Islam and Islamic fundamentalism.'

This is false.  Ecumenism is not a political ideology though Nationalism may benefit by embracing it so as to overcome sectarian divisions. 
Just as an ecumenical British Christian may be concerned with building bridges between the sects prevalent in Britain- e.g. Catholics and Protestants in Ulster- whereas ecumenical Christianity in Ukraine may concentrate on improving the relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox Church- so too Hindus living in different places may have different types of ecumenism. There is no necessary link with Indian Nationalism unless one is actually an Indian citizen. For non-Indian Hindus, Hindutva is useful if it breaks down caste barriers- particularly when it comes to marriage or the provision of 'club goods'- e.g. temples or community centres. 

Fundamentalism is a completely different kettle of fish. It may feature violent attacks upon fellow religionists on the grounds that they are not 'true' believers.

Rahul Gandhi- whose religious identity is unclear- claims that he has special knowledge of Hinduism (though he can't possibly be, as his party claims, a Brahmin of the Dattatreya gotra) and that this knowledge enables him to discern that Modi is not a Hindu. Worse, Modi is something else which is antithetical to Hinduism. This could be considered a type of fundamentalism in the sense that it is shit that a moon-calf pulled out of his fundament- i.e. asshole. However, it is scarcely worth discussing at any academic or serious level because the thing is simply hilarious- the equivalent of saying 'I know all about Catholicism coz my Mummy is the Pope.' 

Sharma displays his ignorance of Abrahamic Religion when he goes on to say-

There is, however, one key difference. Hinduism is a plural tradition, as compared to Christianity and Islam which possess well defined universal creedal formulations that are largely absent in Hinduism according to most observers. 

This is false. Christianity and Islam are just as plural as Hinduism. Indeed, they must be more plural because sectarian conflict is much more consequential in both. Where 'henotheism' obtains, there is no question of plurality. There is merely a nominal difference which does not preclude univocity in any way. 

Any given Hindu sect has just as well defined a universal creed as any Christian of Muslim sect. However Hinduism embraced ecumenism a very long time ago whereas in Christianity ecumenism really only takes off in the second half of the Twentieth Century. In the wake of the Darwinian challenge to Faith, Christians could agree that there was an essence to Christianity which did not entail foolish doctrinal fights or sectarian carnage. Indian intellectuals were influenced by the ecumenism they found in the London where they studied law and thus there was a similar literature on the 'tattva' or essence of Hinduism. This was particularly important because of conflict between the orthodox and the Brahmos or Arya Samajis etc. Thus some social and political formations featured ecumenical Hindu practices of various sorts. However, the really important aspect of this type of activity was that it could break down caste barriers and get rid of untouchability. That was the unique aspect of Hinduism. Its ecumenism could incorporate the combat of a social evil endemic in, but not unique to, the subcontinent. 

Sharma gets hold of entirely the wrong end of the stick.

Therefore, Hindu “fundamentalism” is remarkably thin in terms of religious content as compared to Christianity and Islam.

This is utter bullshit. Sharma's grandfather and my grandfather would have had personal recollections of a common 'fundamentalism' which would have gravely restricted their life-chances. They found the Indian independence struggle to be very helpful in diluting that fundamentalism so they could rise in secular professions. Once again, ecumenism played a useful role. It curbed a wasteful type of status competition based on being holier than thou and claiming to be stricter in the observance of various quasi-scriptural injunctions. 

Like Sharma, Pratap Bhanu Mehta fundamentally misunderstands the ecumenical nature of Hindutva. However, writing in the Indian Express, he warns against...some stupid shit he just pulled out of his arse.

In the aftermath of the overwhelming ascendancy of Hindutva,

where? Kerala? Rajasthan? West Bengal? Fuck is the cunt talking about? 

there is a temptation to counter it by juxtaposing Hinduism to Hindutva, the virtuous Hindu to the nasty Hindutvavadi. 

Tharoor, Pavan Varma and the moon calf have indeed succumbed to this temptation. I suppose they are trying to burnish their own religious credentials. But, at least in the case of the moon calf, the thing has backfired. 

Rahul Gandhi has been harping on this theme. But this is also a new cultural zeitgeist. The temptation is understandable. It is better to align Hinduism with moral values than the discourse of blood and soil that Hindutva represents.

It is better not to tell stupid lies- e.g. Modi is Hitler and he is constantly foaming at the mouth and banging on about how we must invade Poland. 

 Better to reclaim Hindu traditions as a way of gaining political legitimacy.

Why not simply stop being shit at politics? Wouldn't that improve 'legitimacy'? 

 But this temptation is historically myopic and morally confused.

It is foolish. Why not simply say 'I'm a Catholic coz Popeji is my Mummy and I'm a Brahmin of Dattatreya gotra coz my granny's daddy inherited that status from his father' ?

This approach seems to want to settle the problem by definition. A true Hindu, you see, can never be intolerant or be tempted by power. 

This is the 'no true Scotsman' fallacy. Either the word 'Hindu' is meaningless or else it can veraciously denote a fallible mortal being who can certainly be intolerant and tempted by all sorts of things. 

The greatest Shiv bhakt of all time in Hindu tradition was Raavana.

No. That is merely a manner of speaking. Raavan wasn't a jivamukta so he couldn't have been the 'greatest Shiv bhakt'. We could say that he was samrambha yogi or that he possessed virodha bhakti. He may have received a boon from Shiva but he is said to have received a greater boon in that death came to him at the hands of Vishnu. 
 
His Shiv Tandav Stotram is a most erumpent expression of both vikas and virasat:

No it isn't. 'Erumpent' means erupting out of a substrate. The context of the Tandav Strotam is Shiva easily suppressing Raavan's attempt to overthrow Kailas. This has nothing to do with vikas (development) or virasat (heritage). Why is Mehta pretending otherwise? Has he forgotten basic Hindi? The fact is this is a devotional composition praising the Lord and seeking salvation entirely by his gift of Grace. 

 Glittering temples, the beneficence of Kuber, along with great yogic powers and insight.

Does this silly man really not know that Ravan defeated Kuber? Furthermore, you actually have to perform austerities to gain 'yogic powers' though no doubt the Lord can bless you with the fruits of such tapasya. But that is not what happened here- as most Hindus have known from childhood. 

 But he also engaged in adharmic acts, and let his ahamkara (ego) dominate everything else.

Like many others. However, this was in an Occassionalist universe- i.e. the Lord was the only efficient cause of all the actions and thus this was simply a case of Divine Lila or play. No doubt, a popular preacher might be able to make something of this but Mehta is not a popular preacher. He is simply an erumpent asshole. 

 Did it make him any less of a Shiv bhakt? No. 

Yes. A devotee can't put his own ego first. The thing is a contradiction in terms. Only if you say that God was the sole efficient cause- i.e. he inflated Ravan's ego and caused his adharmic acts so that Ravan would gain the highest boon of annihilation at the hands of the lord-  only then can you hold this view. But Mehta is a Grace-denying Jain with a pluralist ontology, not a theistic Advaitin. He has written puerile, half-baked, nonsense. 

Did being a Shiv bhakt prevent his adharma? No. 

This shithead knows nothing about Saivism. If Ravan is considered as a Shiv bhakt, it must be the case that Shiva caused his adharma. Occassionalism works that way. Thus, in the Coptic Church, Judas is a Saint because the Lord caused him to betray Christ so that the Divine Plan for Humanity's salvation could be set in motion. 


The tradition understood this complexity. You cannot define people away by saying they are not a true Hindu. 

Nonsense! A guy who says he is a true Hindu but who is employed as a Bishop by a Christian Church is probably lying. Similarly, I'm not truly Beyonce, 

Courts face no great difficulty in deciding who is truly Hindu and who isn't. Mrs. Gandhi fought a court case which established her sons were Hindu. 

Both Gandhi and Godse are Hindus, just as Osama bin Laden and Mulla Sadra are both Muslims, 
Osama was Sunni. Sadr was Shiah.

just as Francis of Assisi or Pope Pius XI are Christians. 

Is this stupid cunt equating Pius XI with the murderer Godse or the terrorist Bin Laden? Fuck is wrong with him? 
Religion enshrines the highest beatitude. 
No. The highest beatitude is martyrdom which must be inflicted by guys who are against your Religion.

But it can also give succour to terror and violence.

while sucking off Mehta? Is that what he is getting at? 

 As any religious thinker knows, the same eros that pulls you towards the good can easily take a pathological form.

Agape may pull you towards the good. Eros may cause you to ask to be pulled off or, in Mehta's case, fisted. 

 You cannot get rid of Godse or Raavana by saying they are not Hindus. 

But you can get rid of Mehta by saying he is not a Hindu because he is a Jain. Still, unlike Aurangazeb- who was Muslim- Mehta hasn't actually destroyed any Temples, much though he may lament the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. 

In fact, it is a cheap gesture of saying they are not our collective responsibility as well.

Do we have a collective responsibility to tell Mehta he is a worthless piece of shit? No. Not unless we get paid to do it. 

 And exactly who is this “Hindutvavadis are not Hindus” meant to persuade?

People who think Rahul Baba is a real smart dude.

This approach requires sincerity, moral credibility and a grammar of action. 

Which approach? Mehta sincerely doesn't know. He just pulls this shit out of his arse and the Indian Express publishes it so as to give the rest of us a chance to laugh at the illiteracy of a guy who studied at prestigious colleges in England and Amrika. 

The spouting of a claim “real Hinduism is tolerant” has become an easy meme. It has to be enacted in its exemplarity. Ramkrishna Paramhansa enacted this, living out several religious lives without contradiction or sacrifice of his devotion to the Mother.

So Rahul should demand to be made Pope coz his Mummy was Pope and then he should declare himself Imam-ul-Hind coz he once ate a nice biryani, and then he should become President of Pakistan and show great tolerance to any Army General who shoves his boot up his arse. 

 Gandhi could stand in the middle of unspeakable violence and exercise moral force, not just understanding but bearing the pain of others. 

As did everybody else affected by the violence of partition. The difference is Gandhi had the power to expel Congress Members who, he said, had killed Muslims. Sadly, he refused to do any such thing. He just collected money and moved on. 

Even that benighted Hindu, Jawaharlal Nehru, could jump into a crowd and admonish communal hate mongers.

But he passed a law preventing Muslim refugees who had fled from returning to reclaim their property. How many people did Nehru put in jail for killing Muslims? None. He did threaten to 'bomb Bihar' but- let's face it- that's a sentiment not uncommon amongst people from U.P. 

 But who performs that role now? Week after week, namaz in Gurgaon is being disturbed.

Sadly, some people find namaz disturbing. I wonder why. Dom Moraes once complained about namaz being offered at his neighbor's house. He had to get police protection. 

 Let us be clear that the Hindu hooligans disturbing it have no interest in public spaces or principles. 

Let us also be clear that Mehta is as stupid as shit. The fact is those Hindus do have an interest in public places- viz. they want them for themselves. They have their own principles. 

They use these as pretexts for exercising a vile kind of hegemony. 

Whereas Mehta resigns from anywhere he has 'hegemony' or leadership because he is a vile man who does not give a shit about his students.

Would the true Hindu have the courage to come out and say to this crowd, face to face, “What kind of warped imagination sits around thinking whose prayer can I disturb on Friday?” 

The true Hindu needs only to reflect on the recent history of that region to immediately acquit anybody of having a 'warped imagination'. Only a virtue signaling cunt would pretend otherwise. 

Where are the “tolerant” Hindu leaders who would show their brethren a moral mirror, or protect those praying? 

Where are the Jain Professors who would show Mehta that resigning mid-term is a shitty thing to do to your students? 

This whole “a true Hindu cannot be intolerant” is just a moral evasion, if you don’t risk anything for saying it. 

Whereas resigning mid-term is not moral evasion at all. 

Following the “Hindu trope”, our leaders manage to show their cowardice more than their leadership.
Which leaders? Rahul? But we already know he is a coward. He didn't become P.M because he didn't want to meet the same fate as his Daddy and Granny. 

We have tried this “true Hinduism” route before. 

Mehta hasn't. He is a Jain.

That was the generation of Vivekananda, Gandhi and Vinoba,

Gandhi and Vinoba belonged to different generations. 

 and countless others. But by the 1930s that project of recasting Hinduism’s spiritual foundations could not prevent deep and widespread communalisation. 

Which had already existed for centuries.

Nor for that matter did debates in Indian Islam on “Indian Muslimness” prevent that communalisation. 

Plenty of European and American Muslims have waged war against their own countries in recent years. Why pretend that the Hindus cause 'communalism'? 

Historical memories are short, but Rajiv Gandhi more opportunistically, and PV Narasimha Rao more sincerely but deviously, tried to occupy the “let us engage with Hinduism” ground. 
But it was Indira who truly devout. Still, it was her Daddy who presided over the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and their exclusion from any type of affirmative action. 

In America you have seen “moderate” Christianity make its peace with violent Trumpism.

When were they at war?

 Who draws these lines between a true believer and a fake one?

Who draws lines on Mehta's face using her own turds? Seriously, I'd like to know. I want to nominate the chick for a Magsaysay Award. It is vital that we increase female participation in such activities as part of a wider commitment to gender equity and environmental sustainability. 

The attempt to publicly draw these lines between good and bad believers does not enlarge toleration; it intensifies the conflict over who has authority. 

No it doesn't. The thing is simply silly. 
Once you prefix any public moral argument with “speaking as a Hindu or as a Muslim…” you have probably already lost the plot, where identity will colonise reason.

Nonsense! You have added contextual information of a useful kind just as when you say 'speaking as a Medical Doctor' or 'speaking as a Barrister'. 

 All that will remain is the reinforcement of identity, not the enlargement of moral sympathies.

There is no reason that 'reinforcing identity' should be incompatible with enlarging moral sympathy. 

 It also encourages this cuckoo land thinking that if everyone simply retreated to their “true religion”, harmony would ensue.

But no one has made any such assertion. Mehta just pulled it out of his arse. 

 In a metaphysical sense, perhaps.

No. Metaphysics is concerned with what is true in all possible worlds. It is simply not the case that harmony necessarily arises where identity is heterogeneous. The reverse is the case.  
But that kind of thinking does not help thinking about actual disputes in politics: How is representation to be organised within communities?

What's wrong with letting those communities worry about it themselves?  Why not worry instead about how turds should be ground into Mehta's face?

How will public spaces be managed? 

In a manner decided by those tasked with their maintenance, 

How does one handle contested representations of history?

In whatever way one likes or finds convenient.

 How do we create institutions that treat people equally?
We don't. Institutions may be reformed with that purpose- but then again the reverse may happen.
 Whose nation is it?
That of the majority- unless they are feeble. History has shown this pretty clearly. 

 Can we take a consistent stand against all blasphemy laws? 

Sure. Why not? Consistency merely means holding the same position. Mehta, because he has shit for brains, may think that it is inconsistent to be for a blasphemy law which protects your own religion and not any others. This is because one can consistently hold only your own religion to have a divine commandment in this respect. 

These are the kinds of political disputes on which blood is spilled. By returning to “true religion” or metaphysics, you have left the political world vacant. 

No you haven't. European history features wars of religion, which did have a metaphysical component and which certainly did not leave the political world vacant. Mehta is talking nonsense. 

The debate over Hinduism also creates exactly the distraction the BJP wants.

Stupidity on the part of cretins like Tharoor and Rahul and Mehta is advantageous to the BJP. But there is no debate here. 

Finally, this plunge into religious metaphysics evades calling a spade a spade. 

Why? There is no evidence any such thing has ever happened. Consider the various schisms in early Christianity which had geopolitical ramifications. Nobody who participated in them 'evaded' anything of practical import.

The problem with people who spout bigotry or disseminate vile prejudice is not that they are “bad Hindus.” 

Yes it is. You are a bad Hindu if you use your Religion to disseminate vile prejudice of a casteist, misogynist, or merely politically partisan type. 

Seriously, who cares?

People who wish the country to progress and grow stronger. 

 The problem is that they have let their collective narcissism come in the way of basic human decencies, and are prepared to violate the terms of the social contract that honours the basic dignity of the individual. 

Mehta is certainly a narcissist. He and his colleagues- who plume themselves on teaching a worthless subject- are collective narcissist. Mehta and Subramaniyam violated their employment contract by quitting mid-term and maligning their student's alma mater in a manner which hurt those students. 

 The claim that India is a nation of Hindus generates more questions than answers.

No. It answers the question as to which parts of India have no secessionist movement. Hinduism is what holds the country together. Improving Hinduism, improves what the country can coherently achieve. 

 In a trivial factual sense, it is true that this is overwhelmingly a Hindu nation. But that is simply a background fact. 
No. It is a foundational fact which determines the trajectory of the nation. 
What follows from that? That this is not a nation which also has Muslims, atheists, communists, liberals, and even Hindutvavadis?

No. What follows from that is that those Muslims, atheists, communists, liberals etc. have to deal with Hindus, not Christians or Confucians. 

 It is also their nation, and they do have rights, and a voice to shape it.

The problem is that exercising one's rights, or one's voice, might lead to death which extinguishes rights and voice. 

 The challenge is: What are the basic norms of reciprocity that govern this conversation?

If the conversation involves talking to a virtue signaling cretin, the basic norm of reciprocity involves accusing the guy of being a Nazi who is killing billions of Jews and Homosexuals by sticking their heads up his arsehole. 

 Who defends those with credibility?
Credible people don't need defending. It may be that Mehta needs being defecated upon. I am incredulous that nobody has not already and very copiously done so. 
In the great churning of our politics, a lot of poison is being generated.

But some 'elixir' too must have been produced- right? Perhaps Mehta thinks he can get a taste of it and thus become immortal. Oddly, he is right in this matter. I urge Mehta to eat Rahul Baba's shit. He will then become 'Amartya'. 

 Since Kashi is in the air, we can meditate on Tulsidas’s glorious Rudrashtakam, Shiv as the Bliss of Pure Consciousness. 

Why not chant it no matter what might be in the air? 

It defines the highest end of life. 

No. That is beyond definition.

But I suspect Mahadeva is also whispering: Don’t expect the metaphysical project of defining a true Hindu to bell the political cat of building a decent society.

Mehta's suspicion is wrong. The person whispering that gibberish must be at least as stupid as Mehta himself. You could say 'we are like mice trying to build a decent society but there is a cat- viz religious dissension- which can disrupt our activities. We must bell the cat of religious dissension so as to build a decent society.' This is clumsy but meaningful. It is meaningless to speak of the activity of building a decent society as itself being a political cat. Why the fuck would you want to put a bell on it? Let it do its job and go on its way. 

 Definitions don’t absorb communal poison.

But Mehta's face could absorb a lot of feces. This is just a hint for anybody in his vicinity who requires a place to relieve herself. 
 Who will do that, is an open question.
I suggest that the first lady to shit on Mehta's face on TikTok receive the Magsaysay Award. In the interest of promoting communal harmony, I hope a Muslim lady will come forward to do the needful. Mehta would not dare protest for fear of being called a Hindutwadi. Thus a good time will be had by all.  

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Is TM Krishna stupider than Pratap Bhanu Mehta?

How low has Pratap Bhanu Mehta's stock fallen? Very low indeed. The Indian Express now considers TM Krishna an appropriate interlocutor for him. The Princeton scholar is now on a par with a Carnatic warbler.

TM writes- 

 Mehta rightly highlights the dangers of constructing a dichotomous relationship between Hinduism and Hindutva, where associating with one purifies, the other pollutes. But I will cut Rahul Gandhi a little slack because this positioning is today an electoral necessity.

Nope. Hinduism can be toxic because it is associated with caste. Banging on about how you are a Brahmin is a bad idea coz some soi disant Brahmins were, and are, as arrogant as fuck. That's only okay if you are a Marxist and attended Cambridge. On the other hand to say you are Hindutvadi is fine because you might be an RSS type who actively works to break down caste barriers- in particular, the evil that is untouchability. 

Non-BJP parties are struggling to find a vocabulary that allows them to remain connected to the Hindu universe, and they desperately need the vocabulary to convince Hindus to reject the BJP.

The Hindu universe wants good governance and economic growth not endless intrigue punctuated by virtue signaling bullshit.  

Whether this strategy will work, I don’t know.

Everybody else does. It isn't a strategy. It is stupidity. Only where one Hindu caste is dominant- e.g. Nairs in Tharoor's Kerala- would it make sense to play up the distinction. But Tharoor is also igratiating himself with the Communist C.M because he knows Congress can't form a Ministry there and, even if it does, there would be incessant intrigue against the C.M till the administration collapses. The other point is that plenty of Keralite Hindus and Christians live in the Gulf. It makes sense for them to keep Indian Nationalism at an arm's length. 

There is only one needful strategy for Congress.It needs to stop undercutting its own C.Ms. Also it needs to get Rahul to shut the fuck up. That's it. That's the whole story.  

But I would suggest that our present struggle is not a confrontation between the vile Hindutva-vadi and the tolerant Hindu.

TM is from Tamil Nadu. The confrontation there was between Brahmins like himself and everybody else.  

Our situation is far more precarious because these two personas exist within each one of us.

Wow! Is this imbecile really saying everybody in India is 'by nature' Hindu and that all other religions are false? 

In other words, the Hindu is also the Hindutva-vadi and vice versa.

What about Jains, like Mehta? No doubt the 'tattva', or essence, of Hinduism is something all Hindus would aspire to have. But the devout have to struggle to attain or maintain that essence. It is never the case, with any Religious faith, that it exists spontaneously. There can be 'synderesis'- i.e. an innate turning towards the good- but that isn't enough to establish oneself within a Faith- any Faith. 

On the other hand, if 'Hindutvadi' is taken to mean 'BJP supporter', then again it is simply false.  

Similarly, within the liberal Muslim lies the bigot and the chauvinist lingers beneath the all-embracing Christian.

That's all very well but the fact is that some old fashioned 'Hindus' believed that caste hierarchy was part of their Faith. This was a delusive and mischievous opinion. Nevertheless, when one says 'I'm a Hindu but not a Hindutvadi' the political meaning is 'I'm proud of my caste but think Hindus belonging to other castes- more particularly those who were discriminated against- are shit. Why can't they just convert to some other religion?' 

Rahul's grave error is to bang on about his being High Caste in a country where OBCs hold the balance of power. Essentially he is saying 'Sanskritization isn't enough. Either the thing is in your genes or you are beyond the pale of the 'twice born'.' 

This is an utterly false doctrine which, to my best knowledge, has been properly refuted by genuine savants and spiritual preceptors in simple to read books written in every single Indian language. On the other hand, I have to admit that there is no volume written in English which communicated the same message simply and effectively- at least, to me. 

The atheist is not immune to this virus; she too is infected and simply uses ideological frameworks to perpetuate hate.

This is nonsense. Either you are saying 'x is hateful' or you aren't. If you aren't then there is no 'infection'.  

The frightening part is that this is not hypocritical.

There is nothing frightening about nonsense. It is not the case that there is some inherent vice or original sin in our species.  

We are truly both, and have evolved sophisticated ways of rationalising the coexistence of these opposites.

No. Some people may be as shitty as TM but we aren't amongst them.  

With every rationalisation, the Hindutva-vadi ascends.

TM thinks his enemy is super-rational. Everybody else thinks he is as stupid as shit. 

Decency and morality are twisted to defend the sectarian inside.

TM benefits by shitting on Modi because his State is ruled by a guy named Stalin.  This has nothing to do with morality or decency. It is what any whore would do. 

Religion survives because of its contradictions.

A religion perishes when invaders destroy its Holy Places and massacre or forcibly convert its adherents. Contradictions don't matter. That is the plain fact revealed by Indian History.  

On the one side it recommends compassion even as it promotes hegemonic consolidation.

It can recommend any shit it likes but it will surely perish unless it can defend itself- which entails making its adherents more productive and capable of concerted action.  

The implied understanding is that to share love within the community, we need to hate the “outsider”.

There is no such understanding. It is not the case that Mummy tells baby to hate the neighbor so as to feel more affection for Daddy.  

The faithful are participants in this constant philosophical tug of war.

Nonsense! Faith has nothing to do with philosophy. It is a gift of Grace- at least for Hindus. 

In the past, to some extent, the spiritual ethic subsumed our hatefulness;

But being as weak as shit subsumed that spiritual ethic.

today, intoxicated as we are with fear and anger, there is no space for such sublimation.

Fuck has this guy been drinking? What is he so afraid off? TM ko gussa kyoun aaata hai?  

Maybe harping on a better past is also unsubstantiated nostalgia.

Either it is substantiated- i.e. it actually happens- or there is no nostalgia.  

Religion has always been weaponised, but there is a difference in what we are witnessing today: Othering as a nationally accepted action plan.

Clearly the guy never heard of Partition. But then, as Gandhi said in 1939, Congress was a Hindu party. Nehru presided over the biggest ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Indian history.  

The resentments of the past were constantly fanned,

Sadly, there are plenty of resentments of the present.  

a simmering volcano just below the surface. When, on occasion, it erupted, it was quickly suppressed; the genesis ignored

Not in Modi's Gujarat. The guy ended the cycle of communal rioting which began in 1969. Locking up bad guys is the sine qua non.  

And as silent onlookers who inhabit shared cultural spaces

We might well wish that TM would keep silent in 'shared cultural spaces'- e.g. Concert Halls- we might get dragged to from time to time.  

and perpetuate the foundational negative values that lead to violence, we too are culpable.

TM is culpable for writing this hate-mongering shite. But since he is doing it in a State ruled by a guy named Stalin, he profits by it. 

Through all this, the powerful who lived outside the realm of faith have refused to engage with religion with respect.

Unless it increased their power to do so. 

If we seek conversation with, and a change of heart among, Hindutva-vadis, we must find a way to begin these sincere conversations within our hearts.

If that fails, TM will begin talking to his belly button before finally settling for a cozy chat with his own flatulent asshole.  

We have always been afflicted by the disease that idealises both the good and the evil, and hence we paint characters monochromatically. Mehta is right about Ravana; he was dharmic and adharmic.

Ravana gained the boon of death at the hand of the Supreme Lord.  

Do we have the courage to say the same of Rama?

TM mistakes courage for stupidity. Ram is an unconscious incarnation of the Supreme Lord. However, by onomatodoxy, a superior soteriological property attaches to his name.  

The separation of the Hindu and Hindutva also comes from our inability to critically perceive the one we worship.

Hindus, Christians and Muslims agree that one can't 'perceive' the one we worship save by a gratuitous gift of Divine Grace. Remember the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Our eyes and faces would melt right off if theophany occurred. 

When faith is just a metaphysical illusion for affirmation and internal gratification,

which it can't be without ceasing to be faith. 

Hindutva is a necessary antithesis.

Oh dear! Has TM been reading Hegel? 

Hindutva was necessary to get rid of superstitious and casteist practices and thus enable Hindus to get rid of their British protectors without fearing a Muslim knife at the throat. Later it became the one bastion against the hereditary claims of a Brahmin dynasty which, sadly, is now represented by a moon-calf. 

But if faith is a challenging space for reflection,

It can't be that because the object of faith is invisible to it. 

we don’t need a separated identity for our ugliness.

Which is why people don't go to their plastic surgeon and say 'my nose is real ugly. Kindly create a really ugly body and graft my nose onto it so it can have a separate identity as a Carnatic singer.' We may wish to cover over or remove a blemish. We don't wish for that blemish to go off and have a life of its own.  

Even if some of Rama’s actions are unacceptable to me, my bhakti does not diminish.

Because it was bullshit, not bhakti, to begin with.  

If anything, Rama becomes the truth, reality.

To a liar and fantasist. 

Similarly, Rama Rajya must not be paraded as a flawless archetype, because it opens the door to the Hindu/Hindutva separation.

So Mahatma Gandhi was an evil bastard who opened the door to some shite only Rahul and TM believe exists. 

The other problem with Islamophobia being seen as synonymous with Hindutva is that it allows for the evasion of any discourse on casteism and gender discrimination.

Hinduism, in its essence- i.e free of historical accidents- has no type of discrimination. That is why Hindutva is preferable- even for purely practical reasons- to any particular sect which, no doubt, some other sect has denounced in the recent past. This type of ecumenism needs no alterity. On the other hand, Islamophobia has indeed greatly increased in recent decades. But that has nothing to do with any other religion or ideology- though, no doubt, some are now fighting back.  

As for discourse produced by cretins like TM, the best way to evade it is by telling him to go fuck himself. The guy is a Carnatic Vocalist not a fucking Black Cat commando. 

Where will they be placed: Under Hinduism or Hindutva? There can be no honest solidarity with Muslim citizens without the recognition of caste and gender discrimination of Hindu citizens.

Why not recognize caste and gender discrimination amongst Muslims? Should we ban the burqa like the French?  

Many who speak of the evils of Hindutva are often casually casteist and misogynistic.

TM should know.  

There also exists the anti-caste Islamophobe who wants to do away with casteism so that Muslims can be cornered more effectively. Is such a person a Hindu or Hindutva-vadi?

She may be a Christian or a Communist. However, a sensible Hindu will know that doing sensible things is sensible in itself. Islam has survived because Muslims do sensible things to avoid being cornered. 

It must be said that Hindus are very happy to live in well run Muslim countries. All we ask is that the Hindu majority in India take responsibility for improving Governance and State Capacity in India. Muslims- including the Saudis, etc.- want to see that happen

There is another point of contention, and this comes from a different quarter: Ambedkarites. The argument is that Hinduism and Hindutva are one and the same, and there is only one possible solution to the problem they pose: Demolition of the Hindu faith.

By converting to Buddhism which spread untouchability to Japan where there are no Brahmins. By contrast, Bali has Brahmins but no Dalits. Still, the Hindutvadis are happy because they consider Buddha an incarnation of Vishnu. Mayawati's grand pilgrimage complexes in U.P have turned Boddhisattva Ambedkar into a Hindu god.  

While I understand this point of view, I do not see it as a solution. This stance shuts the door on any conversation with the savarna Hindu.

Nonsense! Savarnas have a soft spot for Buddhism which, after all, broadcast Sanskrit all the way to Mongolia and Japan.  

For our society to change, this thorny conversation has to happen over a sustained period of time.

But who wants to talk to this cretin?  

The savarna bhakta has to undergo socio-spiritual realisation, for which he has to listen to Dalit voices.

Like that of, former speaker, Meira Kumar. Why pretend Dalit voices aren't already listened to by smart people precisely because Dalits have to be smarter than average to achieve an equal outcome. 

But if that voice brands every savarna Hindu as beyond redemption until he rejects his faith, it terminates all possibility of creative transformation.

I have never met an Ambedkarite who demands that non-Dalit Hindus give up Hinduism. This actually makes Buddhism more attractive because clearly these guys want their own kin to convert and thus get ahead. 

The faithful are part of a structural design that is inherently hierarchical and many unthinkingly participate in oppressive group action.

TM unthinkingly participates in a boring group action. 

Ambedkar gifted us Navayana Buddhism, but we also need Navayana Hinduism.

That was the Arya Samaj which, like Ambedkar, rejects worship of Ganesha, Hanuman etc. The joke is that Mayawati's plentiful statues of Elephants has associated Boddhisattva Ambedkar with Ganesha in the popular mind.  

There are many who have been indoctrinated into believing that the aggressive, vicious and bullying Hindu is the need of the hour.

But none who have been indoctrinated into believing TM has a brain.  

We need a discourse that acknowledges the existence of Hindutva within every one of us and convincingly points to the dangers it poses to our very existence.

In other words, we need a paranoid discourse about Original Sin or some shite like that. Hindutva exists within every member of the RSS. The pose no danger whatsoever to my existence or the existence of anyone I care about. On the contrary, some- like Modi- are clearly playing a highly beneficial role.  

Our country stands at the edge of a cliff.

No it doesn't. It stands next to Pakistan and China against both of which it needs to be vigilant. 

We cannot afford to tip over, remain stationary or step back.

Fuck is wrong with this cretin? Does he not understand that it is sensible to step back from the edge of a precipice? Perhaps he thinks he doesn't have enough money to pay the 'stepping backwards' tax. But no such tax exists.  

We need to build bridges that take us across to the hills and valleys that surround us.

So if you are standing on the edge of a cliff, instead of stepping back, you should start building a bridge to Australia or Antarctica or whatever is at the other side of the ocean. That's T.M's big idea. Is he stupider than Pratap Bhanu Mehta? Yes. But the Indian Express has decided that he is the only man in India who can properly pay back that once vaunted scholar in his own cretinous coin.  

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Amia Srinivasan abolishing Feminism

A right only exists if a remedy exists. Fighting for universal rights is foolish for all but virtue signalers or those who gain by gesture politics. Stipulating for specific remedies to be made available in an incentive compatible manner- i.e. such that the remedy provider gains by enforcing the right- is sensible. However, such rights don't come for free though, no doubt, some free riding might occur short to medium term.

This is commonsense. Philosophers, however, make a living by lacking any such thing. Consider Amia Srinivasan's 'Right to Sex'. It isn't really about Rights or about Sex. It is actually about Srinivasan, who hasn't studied Academic Feminism, deciding on the basis of ignorance and wishful thinking, that regurgitating nonsense of that sort is way cooler than the warmed up sick she herself imbibed and got paid to proliferate.

This is her recent interview with Guernica. 

Guernica: Where did the idea for the book come from?

Srinivasan: The positive response to my essay “The Right To Sex” in the London Review of Books made me think that there was a broader appetite for

warmed up sick from the Seventies. This was because the notion of a 'rules based global order' had collapsed. The Communist Party of China turned out to be the most powerful and effective political entity on the planet. Thus, just as the supposed miracles achieved by Maoism caused Libtards to go crazy in the late Sixties and early Seventies, so too has Virulent Wokeness of a Stalinist type gained an evanescent market. 

 the kind of thing I was trying to do, which was speak about feminist issues in a way that was broadly accessible while taking them on in their full complexity and ambivalence.

This is foolish. Feminist issues are economic, political and legal. They aren't philosophical. This is because women actually do exist in reality. Unlike the proletariat- which won't gain at all if it gets to mismanage the means of production- women can actually run things better and more cheaply than a bunch of conceited dickheads. If women are better off and more secure and happy then everybody gains whereas simply eating the Rich worsens outcomes for all. No doubt, there is an ideographic 'mechanism design' aspect to bringing this about. However, nomothetic theories can help- provided they aint paranoid shit.

 When I sat down to think about it, I realized that I had a set of particular interests in feminism that were all united by this broader theme of thinking of sex as a political phenomenon.

But sex isn't a political phenomenon. Politics supervenes on biology and sex is biology. It is foolish to think that Nature isn't the noumena and things like Economics and Politics aren't phenomena which arise from and are constrained by Nature.

One may say that politics has a sexual dimension- power is an aphrodisiac, competition for status may help you propagate your genes etc.- but these aren't particularly interesting observations. 

Guernica: You argue that we need to take a more nuanced approach to consent as a means to women’s liberation. Why?

The law does take a nuanced approach to consent of any type where there is great inequality in the bargaining or other power of the parties involved. This is certainly part and parcel of any struggle for greater freedom for weaker sections of society. This is possible because the essence of the Law is defeasibility. Thus authority or immunity relinquished under an existing contract can be regained through a more 'nuanced approach to consent'. 

However, the philosophical concept of consent is not about liberation. It is about relinquishing some authority in a sphere of concern in which one's sovereignty ought otherwise to be respected. Unlike the Law, Philosophy does not accept defeasibility as its own essence. Instead it regards defeasible reasoning as lacking deductive viability. Because the Law is 'buck-stopped'- i.e. there is a Supreme Court which can change the meaning of terms of art- defeasible reasoning has deductive viability. Indeed, there may be a Judge Hercules who can give a 'harmonious construction' of the entire body of the Law. It may be that Mathematics can make a priori judgments regarding constraints on its own univalency- perhaps at 'the end of time'. But Philosophy, as currently practiced, can do no such thing. 

Thus, it can't take a nuanced approach to anything. It can merely talk paranoid bollocks. 

Currently, some people have a remedy if they feel they were 'used' in a sexual transaction. However, since employers, or other concerned parties, may be legally or otherwise liable just in case of such a rights violation, it follows that they will try to lower their exposure in various ways- e.g. 'consent training'. However, the underlying right is not universal or freely available. On the contrary, it is limited and ideographic. It is likely that, going forward, enterprises will be reconfigured such that compliance costs related to this type of liability are driven down by competitive pressure. In other words, there is only a brief window for Philosophers and nutters of various stripes to pile on to this issue. 

Srinivasan: I think consent has an important role to play in any conversation about sexual injustice,

No. Where there is an injustice, consent is irrelevant. It is a different matter that the Law may not currently provide remedies for any given type of injustice- e.g the fact that I'm as ugly as shit whereas my tennis partner, who is my age, still has a full head of hair and a hot young g.f.

 and consent training is all to the good. But consent is also a very blunt tool. 

But it is a tool which lawyers believe will reduce the Enterprise's exposure to a certain type of risk. The thing is costly and is rationed by the market. It is likely to disappear altogether as competitive pressure increases. 

Sexual consent involves a ritual performance of either verbal or nonverbal agreement; 

No. It would be sufficient to be able to show that the parties involved had been given this type of training. The only justiciable matter would be its adequacy. On the other hand, no 'ritual' can create consent if the thing is per se illegal- e.g. sex with minors. 

it pictures sex as a form of transaction or negotiation. 

No. It pictures it as an interaction of a type which could give rise to a tort or even a crime. 

The contractual model points to something pathological about how we sexually relate to each other.

Only if there is an actual contract for sexual services. However, it is likely that such contracts are null in law- at least in England or America. 

 Think about any kind of standard contract: one person wants something that the other person might not want to give, and so that’s why you need this formal agreement. 

Nonsense! We get and give all sorts of things, with or without consideration, without any sort of formal agreement. Moreover, a court may find that a contract existed even if neither party considered they were entering into any such thing at that time. 

Each party comes to the negotiation trying to max out the satisfaction of their own preferences.

No. That may be an assumption of an Arrow-Debreu contract but because Knightian Uncertainty exists, agents are likely to enter contracts for regret minimizing or other prudential reasons.

 But what if young men weren’t socialized to want sex

This is a matter of biology, not 'socialization'. No doubt, you could torture and brainwash a kid to not want sex but he might stab you or beat you to death. 

 with women and girls who don’t want to have sex — what if that weren’t a turn-on?

This is equally true of men. I play hard to get all the time. True, it hasn't been a hugely successful strategy but the only times I've got laid it was because the woman concerned thought I was very shy and scared of sexual intimacy. 

Mathematically, it must be the case that if there are risks associated with sexual promiscuity then a percentage of the population gains by displaying high aversion to fucking anything with a pulse. 

So, it’s not that I think we should drop consent entirely.

But consent gets dropped when the remedy becomes unprofitable to apply. 

 But we can learn from other ways we relate to each other where we don’t have consent practices. For example, think about the way you relate to your best friend when they are grieving. You don’t ask for consent before comforting them, and it doesn’t mean you have permission to do whatever you want.

Sadly, this is untrue. Take my best friend- Beyonce. She has a restraining order against me even though I just wanted to support her emotionally when she was grieving over the fact that it was my milkshake, not hers, which brought all the boys to the yard. 

On the other hand, my handsome tennis-partner friend is much in demand to comfort grieving widows with his dick. 

Constitutive of real friendship is a kind of sensitivity to the needs and wants and identity of the other person.

Nonsense! It often turns out that your real friend is the insensitive jerk while the touchy feely guy turns out to be a virtue signaling tosser. 

 Now what would it be like to cultivate a similar kind of ethics in sex?

I may be pretty sub-par in bed but even I know that you have to be sensitive to the needs and wants of the other person. Also you should be sensitive to their identity- or at least not call out their sister's name when climaxing. 

Still, if Amia feels that she needs to 'cultivate' an ethic which enables her to distinguish a sex-partner from a household appliance, then good luck to her.

That said, I think we should be very cautious of pathologizing forms of sex that don’t conform to the bourgeois ideal of loving, mutual, monogamous sex.

The bourgeoise had mistresses. Even Karl Marx got his kitchen maid preggers.

 It’s not only unrealistic, but problematic to think that all sexual interaction must be analogous to what you do with your friends,

friends? Okay Monica did get it on with Chandler but Rachel and Phoebe were not invited. 

 because there’s got to be room for anonymous sex, promiscuous sex and regretted drunk hookups.

Why stop there? What about necrophilia? 

 I don’t think everyone has to engage in that, but we certainly want a world in which people are permitted to engage in that. I think there’s a kind of difficult balance to be found here between not being puritanical and allowing a range of sexual expression, but also acknowledging there’s a lot that’s quite pathological about the way that we sexually interact with each other, especially across gender lines.

Amia may belong to a section of society whose sexual behavior is pathological. However, for purely biological reasons, this is likely to be a minority. Pathology is a biological term. Biology itself restricts its range otherwise the species goes extinct.

More mundanely, there are lots of cases familiar to us where people, usually women, consent to sex, but where that sex nonetheless seems problematic on its face. 

The same thing happens to older men with younger partners. Why can't an invitation to Netflix and chill just mean Netflix, pizza and chilled beer? I blame Sex and the City. 

To offer one example: I think many (though certainly not all) sexual relationships between professors and students are consensual, even according to a stronger, “affirmative consent” standard. 

That may or may not be the case. However so long as the University has a legal or other liability, then it is entitled to impose any rule it likes on its employees. 

And yet they are intuitively — and, in my view, actually — problematic. But the reason, I think, isn’t because women students don’t or can’t consent.

Because they are too stupid- more especially if they are studying worthless subjects like Philosophy. 

Guernica: I found your essay “On Not Sleeping With Your Students,” fascinating. Your discussion of its overall wrongness doesn’t hinge on a failure of the student to consent to sex with their professor (though in some cases, you acknowledge that this is the case), or on a critique of the professor’s sexual desire to sleep with a student. Rather, you write that the problem lies here: “When the teacher takes the student’s longing for epistemic power, and transposes it into a sexual key, allowing himself to be, or worse, making himself the object of her desire, he has failed her as a teacher.” When I read that, I wondered why more people aren’t talking about the issue from this angle?

Because most people think 'teachers' have shit for brains. They don't have epistemic power because they are as stupid as shit. If their credentials conferred any useful knowledge they would be billionaires. There may be girls who have an irresistible urge to give beejays to homeless dudes. But that does not mean hobos have 'epistemic powers'. 

Srinivasan: There’s partly a historical reason for this. Most of the regulation on teacher-student sex in the university context has happened in the US. 

Because of Title IX. But this raises compliance costs for Universities which take Federal money. What students really want is debt forgiveness and lower fees. This means that the present model will collapse. But this also means that worthless subjects like Philosophy get canned or relegated to Community College. 

There, sex on campus is generally treated under the heading of sexual harassment, which has been legally tied to the notion of either nonconsensualness or unwantedness.

Unless the College had made it a firing offense for employees to have sex with clients.

 Those working within the consent paradigm who sense a problem with teacher-student sex understandably reach for a consent-based explanation: the difference in power between professor and student, they say, makes it impossible for a student to consent.

This is foolish. It is obvious that a student may be very much more wealthy and influential then some elderly pedant. It is a good idea to ban employees from having sex with clients- even if we are just speaking of Pizza Delivery guys or Plumbers.

The 'consent paradigm' is cool only if you are a lawyer hoping to make a lot of money. But the market will find ways to get around this type of parasitic interessement. 

I think this notion is problematic. It infantilizes women students, 

while steadfastly refusing to change their nappies

which a lot of feminists said when these regulations first started appearing in like the 1980s and 1990s in the US.

Some women have indeed traded sex for career advancement. Thus a substantial number of women may want 'wriggle room' in this matter rather than a blanket ban on employees having sex with clients or colleagues or the guy who came in to fix the photocopier not to mention the horse he rode in on. 

 It’s also just descriptively implausible. Sure, there are cases where professors use their coercive powers to get sex from their women students. 

And cases where students seduce their teachers so as to get a better grade.

But there are lots of cases — I mean, academia is full of professors married to their former students — of young women who love and consent to relationships with their professors. I don’t think anything is gained by denying consent here.

Why does Amia mention marriage? Either there is consent or there isn't. It is repugnant to suggest that consent is conditional on subsequent marriage.

Once we acknowledge that you can consent to sex and that there still might be something problematic at work, then you can see the actual phenomenon clearly: in cases of genuinely consensual professor-student sex, there is still a pedagogical failure. 

No there isn't unless the Professor is a celibate Priest teaching trainee celibate priests. If a lady teaching you air-conditioner maintenance has her wicked way with you, it is not the case that she has failed as a pedagogue. On the other hand, if every air-conditioner you service subsequently blows up, she is indeed a shitty teacher. 

There is an implicit agreement as part of the practice of what it is to teach, and what it is to learn, and to be in a university setting, that is being undermined when a professor sleeps with his student.

No. The College may have explicit provisions in this respect. However, if it is obvious that they are not enforced then no such 'implicit agreement' exists. 

Guernica: It was interesting how you turned to Freud to underscore the ethical obligations a professor has to their students.

It is indeed interesting that students are on a level with neurotics who enjoy handing over their cash to obvious charlatans. 

Srinivasan: Many people who want to defend professors sleeping with their students will invoke the Freudian notion of transference, which is the tendency of the analysand to develop intense feelings of love and infatuation for the therapist. 

This is mad. Freud was against fucking patients. Jones may have had different ideas- but he was a randy bugger. 

It is obvious that it is wrong to fuck people who have transferred feelings of trust and veneration on to you because they need help in improving their lives. 

But this is to crucially miss Freud’s own warning to the analyst, which is you’ve got to actively manage transference. If you’re any good as a therapist, transference will happen. You’ve got to anticipate it and use it as a tool in the psychoanalytic setting, Freud says.

Freud realized that it paid better to treat healthy people. But the disease he claimed to cure is no longer accepted as a genuine malady. 

Similarly, nobody now believes that studying Philosophy makes you smarter or more a better human being.

 I think there’s something analogous in teaching. If you’re a good teacher, and you have the right kinds of connections with your students, you’re going to arouse strong feelings in them.

That strong feeling should be to get the fuck out of the Academy and start making one's way in the real world. 

 A good teacher expects this and turns it into something that becomes ultimately productive for the activity they’re engaging in, rather than siphoning it off and diverting it for their own ends.

Quite true. It is wrong for teachers to get students to aim to themselves get into teaching- unless they are teaching at a Teacher Training College. 

Guernica: If we assume our unconscious is shaped in the psychosocial world of patriarchy, as you say, then

we are as stupid as shit.

 I wonder what you think about the moral regulation of sexual desire. For example, can subordinate sex ever be morally permissible for a feminist, let alone be a feminist ideal?

No. On the other hand, Feminists are welcome to hold that women should be decapitated during sex. Anything else would be horribly immoral. 

Srinivasan: The phrase “feminist ideal” is interesting here. Are you asking, would such sex take place in the feminist utopia where we have dissolved not just patriarchy, but gender? Would people still want to be subordinated or act out fantasies of subordination? Maybe. I think they wouldn’t want to be subordinated under the sign of gender. In the feminist utopia, you wouldn’t have one gender that’s coded as dominant, and the other one that’s coded as submissive, but you still might have some playing out of complex psychosexual dynamics.

Women should build guillotines into their headboards so that they can decapitate themselves during sex. Obviously, this would be easier if they were in a 'bottoms' rather than 'tops'. 

When we’re thinking about the non-ideal world, the world in which we live, I think it’s extraordinarily dangerous to ethically legislate against people having the kind of sex that they say that they want to have so long as it is with consenting partners. 

Rubbish! We should legislate against any type of sex which leads to horrific injury or death. Also you shouldn't be allowed to interfere with me when I'm asleep or in a coma. 

There’s a long history of that notion being mobilized against LGBTQ people.

There is a longer history of that LGBTQ having a good time despite anything the prudes say or do. 

 I also think that the human psyche is extraordinarily complex, and we don’t necessarily know what it’s doing for any particular woman or any particular man to act out a certain kind of fantasy. And there is an important distinction between fantasy and reality. For example, some rape survivors find it salutary to fantastically participate or reenact their own subordination — what is sometimes called “consensual non-consensual sex.” 

There is nothing unethical about any successful therapeutic practice. It is a different matter that some might find the thing distasteful. 

Of course, people’s rights to participate in such sex (or sexual kink more generally) shouldn’t and needn’t rest on the fact that some people find it a useful way of addressing trauma. I think you need a sexual ethics that’s both feminist and also open to the complexity and the weirdness of the human unconscious.

Thankfully, the thing can be bought from Amazon with free delivery for Prime Members. 

Guernica: You discuss the Me Too movement and its limits, and how white feminism has used it to privilege white voices. 

Whereas Amia is privileging her own voice- which however is not that of brown women back in India. 

Can you say more about this?

If it helps sell my shitty book- sure!

Srinivasan: Me Too was this incredibly powerful rallying cry that took its power from the fact that just about every woman has experienced some form of sexual harassment.

It was so powerful a rallying cry that a pussy-grabber got elected. He was succeeded by an even older White dude who was accused of inappropriate touching and fondling.

 It was this moment of mass consciousness-raising where lots of women — across race, class, nationality, and so on — who had felt that they had had a highly individual idiosyncratic personal experience, observed that almost every other woman had experienced this as well.

But they don't want their husbands or sons to get fired for that sort of behavior. Still being able to Me Too a dude is almost as good as being able to have him Swatted.

I had to resign as Director of the Institute of Socioproctology after I was Me-Too'd for sexual self-abuse. That is why I have been demoted to Assistant Director while my accuser has got my old job. 

At the same time, there is this brutal fact that for many women — even if we just concentrate on the US in particular — being sexually harassed is not the worst thing about their lives.

Having to work for a living is the pits. But this is equally true of fat ugly men whom nobody wants to sexually harass. 

 Consider the focus on workplace sexual harassment. For many women, the worst thing about their jobs is not that they are sexually harassed at them, but that they have to do their jobs under the table because they’re undocumented immigrants, or their work is precarious, physically unsafe, back-breaking, or doesn’t pay enough to be able to support them and their families.

Whereas men in a similar position think it great fun. Amia has just shown why sensible women don't give a fuck about Feminism. 

 What makes their lives the worst work lives there are in the US are not things that all working women have in common.

Indeed, non-working women don't have those issues whereas men doing similar work share the same concerns. Sadly, for 'working lives' for the unskilled to improve, lots of undocumented people have to be deported. 'Deporter-in-Chief' Obama understood. 

So, when we focus on the things that all women have in common, it obscures what makes many women’s lives, and the worst-off women’s lives, truly miserable. 

So poor people, or those concerned with the poor, should tell Feminist Academics to fuck off. 

It’s true that sexual harassment makes poor women’s lives bad, but it’s not the only thing. That’s why any movement like Me Too, that in large part has been premised on the idea of what all women have in common, will only serve the most privileged women.

No. It won't serve the most privileged women because they don't have to work and also their body-guards can beat the fuck out of any guy who gets fresh with them. On the other hand, in as much as Me-Too reduces Corporate Profits and undermines US competitiveness, the most privileged women should let nutters like Amia run around talking bollocks because this scares the majority of American women- who are White- into voting for Trump. 

Guernica: You write that many of the men implicated in the Me Too movement don’t deny their wrongdoing. What they do deny is that they deserve to be punished for what they did.

I think those guys want sympathy for their heroic struggle with an addiction for getting their dick out every other second. 

 What I find interesting is that you also wonder whether they should be punished,

As John Stuart Mill finally realized, 'responsibility' means 'punishability'. Where this is lacking every virtue signaler under the Sun can go around apologizing for not having lifted billions out of poverty and invented perpetual motion coz they just couldn't spare the time from counselling God on his glue sniffing problem. 

 and if so, what form their punishment should take. You dig into punishment as problematic for feminism.

Reading Amia would be punishment enough. 

Srinivasan: The question isn’t so much whether these men deserve to be punished or not, but what forms of social sanction do we want to reflectively get behind, endorse, and put into practice? 

We are already 'behind' a type of 'social sanction' implemented by Courts and Prisons. True, one could also use boycotts or other such measures. However, in a Democracy, it is the Legislature which has most authority in defining social norms and punishing transgression. On the other hand, in some jurisdictions, an activist Bench may be able to go beyond what Legislators find expedient.

Who should make those decisions, after what processes?

The guys we vote into office to spend our tax money. 

 Instinctively, I think they should be democratic. I’m wary of heightened state power to coerce and punish.

So, stipulate for a strong independent Judiciary even if you might not like the current composition of the Bench. 

 But it’s not that I think we should necessarily just take punishment off the table entirely, especially if you are thinking about punishment in this broad way.

Amia & Co have no power to take anything off the table. 

I think it’s important to distinguish between different kinds of punishment. You can be skeptical, as I am, for example, that incarceration — especially of the kind that you see in the US, which disproportionately targets people of color and poor people — is a productive system of punishment. 

But there are sound reasons to be skeptical of this skepticism. The fact is, many families do better, not worse, if a family member is put away for a long long time. 

You can be skeptical of carceralism while still thinking that there need to be forms of punishment to have social change.

You can be, and are, as stupid as shit if you think shite like this represents thinking of any utile sort. 

For example, restorative justice programs could be thought of as non-punitive, because they’re supposed to be an alternative to prison. 

But they are backed up by the threat of prison for non-compliance.

Nonetheless, the perpetrator needs to sit and listen to what he has done, and he has to acknowledge it. If it goes well, it’s extremely psychically painful. You can think of that itself as a form of sort of social punishment. 

If ordered by a court, it is a legal punishment. 

In one of the footnotes of the book, I talk about the Gulabi Gang in India. 

Whose thuggish leader was removed from the organization after claims that she was demanding money in return for interventions by her goons. However, the salience of such vigilante groups has declined because the Chief Minister of U.P is now a Yogi who believes in shooting bad guys not bending over while muttering 'Ahimsa! Ahimsa!'. Women, as opposed to Feminists, have no difficulty with the notion that rapists should be strung up by the bollocks and then slowly beaten to death. 

It started out as a group of poor, low-caste village women carrying large sticks, and acting as vigilantes, stopping men from beating their wives, going home drunk, and so on. 

Anna Hazare took his first step to becoming the Mahatma Gandhi of his generation by tying up drunkards in his natal village and beating them with his Army issue belt. 

Here you’ve got the threat of punishment, but it’s not a state-sponsored form of punishment.

One reason men don't want to get sent to jail is because they flatter themselves that they will be sodomized incessantly. That's not state sponsored, but it is very effective. 

 I’m not proposing that we generalize this particular practice, but I think it’s very interesting.

Because Amia is as stupid as shit. We don't speak of 'punishment' if the other party hits back. Then it's just a fight. 

 There’s also the question about whether something like being publicly shamed on Twitter is a form of social punishment. My instinct is to think of all of these, conceptually, as forms of punishment.

Where the State has much more power than any coalition of citizens, punishability arises. At the margin, however, it has to be circumspect precisely because what starts out as punishment ends up as a knockdown drag out fight. The outcome is that 'punishable' behavior is ignored in certain precincts. 

Guernica: At the same time, you encouraged me to think more deeply about my wish to punish individual men for harms against women. For example, with the publication of the Shitty Media Men List and the public shaming that followed, I admit to feeling relief, as if some sort of justice was finally being served to men who normally got away with treating women so poorly. But you point out that justice in this form isn’t necessarily feminist in principle. Why not?

Because it is perfectly sensible. 

Srinivasan: For centuries men, or at least a certain class of men, have been able to use the coercive apparatus of the state and their own physical might against women.

Very true. Big muscular dudes would get drunk and then come home and scream loudly till the police turned up to beat their wives for them. 

 I think it’s completely understandable that, when given the opportunity, women want some of the same.

Women have beating each other since time began. But this does not benefit them anymore than wife beating benefits husbands. 

 It’s this terrible paradox of being a member of an oppressed class that, when empowered, you have to be better than the oppressors.

How is that a paradox? Obviously, the guy doing the oppressing must have superiority of some sort. Once that superiority has been overturned, there is no more oppression. But, if the formerly oppressed go back to being shit, then they will also go back to being oppressed. 

 And that means setting aside some of the very real satisfactions that propped up the system of oppression originally.

Either those 'satisfactions' were economic- in which case they could pay for their own props- or they disappeared. Setting aside relevant economic considerations is a recipe for talking nonsense and getting your ass kicked in perpetuity. 

There is satisfaction to be had in wielding power against people, especially people who have harmed you. 

Tit for tat is so eusocial that failure to retaliate itself triggers retaliation.

I’m not saying that no power can be wielded — absolutely not. But first of all, power should be democratically dispersed and distributed.

Urm...isn't that what universal suffrage means? 

 And then, we need to have a critical and honest conversation about how it should be wielded.

A critical and honest conversation with Amia would consist of saying 'Why are you so fucking stupid and ignorant?' again and again. 

The fact is, thanks to Wikipedia, we can all easily determine whether or not a particular question is open or closed. If it is open, then there is no sufficient reason even the lengthiest dialogue can hit upon. If it is closed, the thing is ab ovo a waste of time. 

I think what’s dangerous is when members of oppressed groups deny that they actually have power. 

Other people think toddlers with guns are dangerous. To each his own. 

Everything that’s been happening within the Me Too movement suggests that certain feminists have an awful lot of power. 

Then Trump became President. He had actual power. If Amia goes and pulls the hair of some feminist, the Secret Service won't pump her full of lead. 

We have to have difficult and fraught conversations about what it means to wield that in a way that’s genuinely consistent with feminist principles.

Especially if you are a woman living in Kabul. Since the Taliban won't let you go out to work, you may as well have a very difficult and fraught conversation with the cat. 

Guernica: If woman is a being formed in patriarchal society, as I take you to suggest, do you think that woman is something to be overcome or transcended?

No! Woman must be underdone or, if they happen to be a staircase to the wine cellar, descended.

 Another way to say this is, can you be a woman and be free?

As opposed to 'can you be a woman and not be as stupid as shit?' 

Srinivasan: What a great question. Maybe I’ll set that as an exam question next year.

To sit such an exam, you have to be as stupid as shit. That lets out almost all women.

 I don’t think any individual is free until we are all free.

Just as nobody takes a shit unless everybody takes a shit. The existence of even one constipated person anywhere on the planet means Amia is full of shit. 

 While I think it’s true that there are lots of women, cis and trans, who don’t experience their identity as a woman to be oppressive,

Very generous of Amia, I'm sure

 I think nonetheless they exist under a system in which gender itself is structured hierarchically. 

By whom? God? Shape-shifting lizards from Planet X? The Jewish Freemasons who run Hollywood? 

My own instinct is that in the feminist utopia, there will be no gender, or there will be so many genders as to be fairly meaningless.

So feminism would be meaningless in the feminist utopia just as, save in a 'Law & Econ' sense, it is meaningless in the real world. 

 I would like a totally arbitrary relation between people’s bodies and how they perform: how they dress, how they act, with whom they partner, how they choose to have families, and so on.

Zuckerberg will make this possible in his meta-verse. Alternatively, you could just take a lot of drugs and migrate to Imagination-land. Still, the fact is, even if I call my Vacuum Cleaner Brenda and get married to it, we still won't have any baby vacuum cleaner-human hybrids whom we could send to Amia to get a Credential.

And there’s another philosophical question as well: in that system, do you still have women and men? Not recognizably. You could imagine us using those words “woman” and “man,” because they take on a new meaning. But I think it’s important to note that it can be a very important step towards liberation, and I think towards that utopian possibility, to allow people to insist that they are women or that they are men now. 

Why stop there? Why not let rapists claim their true identity is that of the rape victim? Should a murderer be excluded from taking over the property and children of the woman she killed just because our concept of identity is rooted in biology not Amia type crazy fantasy? 

I’m thinking most obviously of trans people. When a trans person insists on being of a gender that, by many people, they are not recognized as being, this too is a blow against the gender system, which seeks above all else the security of fixed categories.

Nonsense! A person may want to be recognized for what they are for a specific purpose. This does not overturn that purpose. When the Ayatollahs of Iran approved gender reassignment it was because they could see that the applicant wished to live in the manner Shiah Islam considered normative for that gender. This was not a blow to the gender system at all. 

In Nazi Germany, some people were able to get themselves reassigned as 'Aryan' by providing spurious documents showing that an ancestor was cuckolded or adopted or something of that sort. This type of reassignment didn't weaken the Nuremberg Laws at all. Rather it showed their power and efficacy. 

In the case of affirmative action programs, it is important that 'reassignment' isn't too easy or on the basis of self-certification. But this is equally true of Citizenship or voting rights or other such entitlements. 

 It is no surprise that, the world over, the forces that most fiercely array themselves against trans people are also those forces that seek to repress and control non-trans women and other queer people. 

Fuck off! J.K Rowling isn't trying to repress anybody. She is pushing back against a stupid type of bullying. 

There are various forms of gender dissidence.

But like me dressing up as Margaret Thatcher, they are simply silly- if not sad- unless the person doing it is cute or has thespian talent. 

 Being a non-trans woman who works for the eradication of the gender system is one. 

If that is paid work- cool. If it isn't, you might as well be a Socioproctologist. 

But it can also be that attachment to gender realism, paradoxically, will be an important step towards the ultimate dismantling of gender.

Gender won't be dismantled any more than Sex will be dismantled. Steps taken towards stupidity aren't important at all- unless talking nonsense is what you get paid to do.