Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Shyam Ranganathan's startling stupidity- part 1

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an entry dedicated to the Bhagvad Gita where I found this oxymoronic gem of nescience-  

Just War and the Suppression of the Good

This shite appears to be the work of one Shyam Ranganathan- a handsome young American of truly startling stupidity. York University employs this moron. 

The Gītā and the Mahābhārata have garnered attention for their contribution to discussions of Just War theory.

The Mahabharata is set in the Dvapara Yuga which ended long ago. Nothing in it helps us decide what is or isn't a Just War now in Kali Yuga. 

Indeed, Justice is merely a service industry or 'conventional' (samskari) solution to a coordination game. If you are paid to fight in a 'Just War'- do so. But what is or isn't Just is a game theoretical matter involving 'uncorrelated asymmetries' and Shapley Values and degenerative Nash equilibria and so forth. 

To be clear, War is about winning. It is never just to go to war if you are bound to lose. The question of morality only arises to the extent that it may attract or deter allies or affect the morale of the other side. 

Yet, as most accounts of South Asian thought are fuelled by an interpretive approach that attempts to understand the South Asian contribution by way of familiar examples from the Western tradition, the clarity of such accounts leaves much to be desired.

Because the people giving such accounts are as stupid as shit. A smart guy can always give a good enough account. But no smart people study or teach Ranganathan's stripe of shite. 

Explicated, with a focus on the logic of the arguments and theories explored as a contribution to philosophical disagreement—and not by way of substantive beliefs about plausible positions—we see that the Mahābhārata teaches us that the prospects of just war arise when moral parasites

in this context, a 'free rider' or agent who takes advantage of the superior moral commitment of others. However, if War is a possibility, no moral parasite can exist precisely because the people you are trying to take advantage of are on the point of killing you and grabbing your cool stuff. 

inflict conventional morality on the conventionally moral

who, conventionally, kill them of threaten them till they fuck off 

as a means of hostility.

Nothing of the sort happens in the Mahabharata. There is a dice game where one party cheats but the fact remains that the cheated party had a weakness (hamartia) for gambling. He overcomes this by learning statistical game theory.  

Gambling is immoral. So is taking drugs. An immoral parasite may get you to take drugs or to gamble but then your Mummy may beat or kills such peeps, so the problem tends to diminish.

Parasites effect this hostility by acting belligerently against the conventionally moral, while relying on the goodness of the conventionally moral to protect them from retaliation in response to their belligerence.

This can only happen if the 'mechanism' in question is faulty. Better game theory is needed to eliminate the pathology. Alternatively, 'equitable remedies'- e.g. estoppel- may be provided so that the guy who is trying to game the system is frustrated and hoist by his own petard. 

The Mahabharata is about hefty Iron Age warriors deeply invested in a Thymotic Code of a type unfit for an emerging Pan Indian market where merchants- like the meat vendor in the Vyadha Gita- have increasing importance. The Kurukshetra holocaust or purgative 'vishodhana' marks the transition to our more commercial age based on 'universal' homonoia.  

Any such retaliation would be contrary to the goodness of conventional morality and hence out of character for the conventionally moral.

Fixing a fault in a mechanism aint 'retaliation'. It is just good housekeeping on the part of Civil Society is all.  

The paradox here is that, from the perspective of the conventionally moral, this imposition of conventional moral standards is not wrong and is good.

Nonsense! An imposition is irksome, more particularly if it is wholly otiose. The fact is, I don't incessantly masturbate while in the office. I would resent my boss imposing a regime of surveillance and exhortation  in this regard even though I genuinely don't want anybody to wank in the workplace. You may say, 'Vivek, if such indeed is the case why do you constantly raise the issue of anti-masturbation vigilance at Staff Meetings?' My answer is that if some cunt proposes 'Racial Sensitivity training', I retaliate by expatiating on hazards posed by the incessant squirting of jizz all over the place to older Black workers who may slip and break their fucking necks. As for yet more copious vaginal secretions or 'squirting'- don't get me fucking started mate.

However, it is the means by which moral parasites exercise their hostility to the disadvantage of the conventionally moral.

The conventionally moral don't have any trouble telling useless tossers to go fuck themselves. I think what the anonymous author is getting at is virtue signalling cunts who- being parasites themselves- have to put up with a like annoyance as that which they themselves cause.

But, that's the Coasian solution to the problem of 'nuisance goods'- viz. encourage nuisances to be nuisances to each other till they cancel each other out. 

As Jonathan Swift put it-

The Vermin only teaze and pinch
Their Foes superior by an Inch.
So, Nat'ralists observe, a Flea
Hath smaller Fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller yet to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum:

Prima facie, it would be just for the conventionally moral to retaliate as moral parasites act out of the bounds of morality.

Fuck off! Conventional morality has nothing to do with 'retaliation'. It is enough to say 'go fuck yourself you hypocritical, virtue signalling, utterly worthless tosser'. Telling the truth ain't 'retaliation' unless you yourself are just as bad as the flea that preys on your own parasitic existence.  

However, the moment that the conventionally moral engage such parasites in war,

they must launch a superior propaganda war in parallel to a superior 'kill-rate' offensive doctrine. Otherwise, running away is better than fighting.

they have departed from action as set out by conventional morality,

Fuck off! Conventional morality is about kicking in the fucking head of pedo scumbags- or saying so down the Pub on a Friday night after the girls gave you the slip and moved on to the Disco with them fucking I-fucking-talian waiters wot were giving them the fucking eye, mate! 

and it would appear that they thereby lack justification.

There can be no justification where there is no justiciability. But justiciability is a matter of economia, not akribeia, and economia is always ideographic. Universals obtain purely nominally and  'universalizability' is always only a type theoretic, or bootstrapped, heuristic, business which either pays for itself or turns paranoid and bankrupts its sponsors. 

This standing relative to conventional moral expectations is the same as the parasite’s.

Only if you ignore 'uncorrelated asymmetries'. But only an Amartya Sen would be that fucking stupid.  

This was Arjuna’s problem at the start of the Gītā. Arjuna indeed explicitly laments that fighting moral parasites would render him no better (Gītā 1.38-39).

Fuck off! Arjuna's true eldest brother is Karna who is best pals with Duryodhana- the bad guy. If Arjuna, using the Gandharva he defeated's boon of chaksuchi vidya, divines this truth for himself- then there is no War and he himself, in a state of 'Manyu' (dark anger) won't kill his true liege Lord (under primogeniture of the sort that still obtains in the Indian National Congress). Of course, Karna could refuse to be a 'Pandava'. But he doesn't. His stipulation is that, whatever happens, the number of Pandavas will be conserved. That's Noether's fucking theorem right there!  

A procedural approach to ethics, such as we find in the Gītā,

Fuck off! The Gita is great poetry! Would this cunt say 'there is a procedural approach to ethics in Shakespeare's Hamlet'? 

Perhaps. The man is a moral and intellectual parasite.  

transcends conventional morality especially as it deprioritizes the importance of the good (karma yoga).

WTF! Karma Yoga just means doing your duty- including ritual 'karma kanda' if you happen to be a Brahmin and that's how you get money to feed your kids.  

Indeed, it rejects the good as a primitive moral notion in favour of the right (bhakti yoga)

This is nonsense. If you are devoted to God you can do what you like. The Creator does not greatly care about minute differences in 'morality'. This also means God loves you even if you are very flatulent and everybody gives you a wide berth. I'm not talking about myself. I'm talking about this bloke I know. We were in the S.A.S together so I can't tell you his name. 

and thereby provides an account of the justice of those who wage war on moral parasites:

You don't wage war on parasites. You tell them to fuck off. 

The justice of the war of Arjuna and other devotees of Sovereignty should be measured by their fidelity to procedural considerations of the right, and not to considerations of the good.

So if some guy whose name is Arjun kills your family then you should fist yourself vigorously while measuring fidelity to procedural considerations of some nonsensical type. 

Arjuna and other just combatants fight as part of their devotion to Sovereignty and hence conform their behavior to an ultimate ideal of justice: that all concerned should be sovereign and thus made whole.

Nonsense! Arjuna and others were fighting to gain or retain territory.  

Hence, just war (jus ad bellum) and just conduct in war (jus in bello) come to the same thing:

Not for Kshatriyas in Dwapara Yuga. Basically, if you get an invite to a big battle you show up regardless of which side invited you. War was a competitive sport. After the war, the winning coalition might decide to restore territory to the main loser for reasons of justice or to preserve the balance of power.  

For the just cause is devotion to the ideal, and right action is the same.

Nonsense! Devotion is wholly independent of action or justiciability. Ranganathan is truly as stupid as shit. 

In contrast, those who are not devoted to the regulative ideal fail to have a just cause, or just action in war.

Absolutely false. If a matter is justiciable- e.g. the UN decides that a specific military action is the crime of 'aggression' under international law and if mercenaries are recruited to enforce the UN resolution, then those mercenaries have a just cause and their military actions attract no penalty of law. 

Jeff McMahan’s conclusion in his Killing in War (2009), that those who fight an unjust cause do wrong by fighting those whose cause is just, is entailed by bhakti yoga.

No it isn't. Oikeiosis determines which side a Kshatriya fights on. That is perfectly just and in conformity with bhakti yoga. Krishna is a non-combatant but his followers fight for the Kauravas. They don't fall into 'adharma' by doing so.  

However, McMahan appears to claim that the justice of a war is accounted for not by a special set of moral considerations that come into effect during war, but the same considerations we endorse during times of peace.

A thing is just only if it is justiciable. People who avoid injustice most of the time are mindful of the relevant considerations. When they transgress, a judicial decision may be taken such that they are punished- or the attempt to punish them is made.  

Yet in times of peace it appears that conventional morality wins the day, vitiates against war, and all parties depart from it when they wage war—or at least, this seems to be the analysis of the Mahābhārata.

Rubbish! Kshatriyas had a duty to turn up if invited to fight on one side or another in a war. Soldiers learn their craft by participating in Wars. In early modern Europe, when most Wars were wars between cousins- just like Kururkshetra- it was quite usual for ambitious officers to get permission to join one side or the other in a distant War. They were permitted to take part in combat and, if captured, would be paroled and sent back to their own countries. There were also plenty of aristocratic Soldiers of Fortune. 

It is because there are two competing moral frames—conventional morality of the good and the proceduralism of the right, or Yoga/Bhakti—

This is nonsense. Conventional morality is 'aachar' which is perfectly compatible with Bhakti. However, those who dedicate themselves to Yoga adopt a stricter code of conduct.

that we can continue to monitor the justice of war past the breakdown of conventional moral standards (for more on the just war theory here, see Ranganathan 2019).

Ranganathan- who is as American as apple pie- has written a Divya Dwiwedi level crazy paper which can be found here.  

It is because of the two standards that Yoga/Bhakti can constitute an ultimate standard of moral criticism

Rubbish! Yoga is different from Bhakti. Both come in many different flavors. One could say that a particular type of devotional theism is 'Bhakti Yoga' but it has nothing to say about which wars are just or not unless the King being attacked belongs to our sect. But that is 'oikeiosis'. Anyway, lots of theists run away when Crusaders or Jihadis or whatever invade. This is because they know their own Princes are shitty and crap at fighting. 

of the right even as the conventional moral standards of the good that characterize peace deteriorate under the malfeasance of parasites.

This is nonsense. Parasites don't matter. Heavily armed invaders put an end to peace. Hindus found that surrendering to the Brits tended to make their lives better- at least in South India.  

With respect to success, we see that the Gītā also has a story to tell about which side wins the war.

The Gita is occasionalist. God is the only efficient cause. But God only cared about Kurukshetra. There were plenty of other Wars which God didn't fix in advance. 

As the bhakti yogi is committed to a process of devotion to sovereignty, their behavior becomes sovereign in the long run

Fuck off! I have been devoted to Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a quarter of a century. But my behavior is not becoming that of a 17 year old cheerleader. 

Maybe Ranganathan thinks that the Vaishnavite hopes to himself become God like. But theosis is off the table for that sect. Their only wish to to be reborn so as to serve the Lord more humbly. 

and hence their success is assured.

This man is a nutter. Being devoted to Mummy won't turn you into Mummy in the long run. 

Moral parasites, in contrast, are not engaged in an activity of self-improvement.

They may be. Their parasitism may be tactical.  

Their only means of survival—taking advantage of the conventionally moral—now lacking (as the conventionally moral have renounced conventional morality to become devotees of Sovereignty), renders them vulnerable to defeat by devotees of Sovereignty.

Parasites aren't 'defeated', they are told to fuck the fuck off.  

Moral parasites only have the one trick of taking advantage of the conventionally moral, and the transition to bhakti yoga on the part of the formerly conventionally moral deprives parasites of their victims and source of sustenance.

The Vyadha Gita, which is the dual of the Bhagvad Gita, shows that anybody at all- a housewife, a butcher- can tell Princes and Prelates to fuck the fuck off. Yet they can gain the honeyed wisdom of the Chandogya. 

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