Things I Like – The Self-referential Edition

I like some of the stuff on this blog. Here are a couple.

  • Must Watch Video of Daniel Everette’s Deconversion.

    About a Christian missionary who went to convert a tribe and in the process lost his own faith. (Posted Sept 2010.)

  • What is Congress but a Fascist Organization? “The Congress at the present stage—what is it but a Fascist organization? Gandhi is the dictator like Stalin, I won’t say like Hitler: what Gandhi says they accept and even the Working Committee follows him; then it goes to the All-India Congress Committee which adopts it, and then the Congress . . .”

    That’s Sri Aurobindo speaking to his disciples in 1938. Sounds contemporary, though.

More to come.

Republic Day Thoughts

I can understand that India celebrates “Republic Day” — the day on which the Indian constitution came into force in 1950. I am not a huge big fan of the Indian constitution, as you may probably know. But what really bothers me is the ridiculous parade that they put up all over the country, the main sad event being in the capital New Delhi. That grown-ups would participate in something like this puzzles me at times, and then I remind myself that this is consistent with the general stupidity that blankets this place anyway. This ultimate dog and pony show’s absurdity is matched by the hysterical jingoism of the day.
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Open Thread — the Mumbai edition

I arrived in India today early morning. The Jet Airways flight from Brussels to Mumbai was delayed because of congestion at Mumbai airport. Passport control and customs were easy, however. For the next few weeks I will be writing from India. Let me know what’s on your mind.

Shri Narendra Modi’s Address at the BJP National Council Meeting in Delhi

A nation’s prosperity eventually depends on its policies. The policies that obtain, in turn, depend on the objectives of the policymakers. Who these policymakers are is usually determined by the collective — through some democratic process but regardless of the details, the policymakers are ultimately chosen by consensus. No nation can be governed, dictatorially or democratically, without voluntary popular support. The people of India have much to answer for the misgovernance of India. Only when popular sentiment changes can one expect change in the outcome. Shri Narendra Modi appears to be the catalyst that may bring about a change in India.
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A stage too big for the drama

On my way to India, I am in the university town of Leuven, close to Brussels. I have become quite a regular — last year I was here in February and then again in September. Along the way — I think it was on the flight from SFO to New Jersey — I caught a bug. I had a sore throat upon arrival at NJ and over the next few days it became a chest cold. By the time I left for Brussels, I was running a temperature (confirmed with a thermometer on board the flight) and I declared myself officially sick.
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Leaving on a jet plane — the Jan 2014 edition

jetplane As the song goes, ” . . . I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again . . . ” I am off to strange and exotic places. For the first part of the journey, I will be in the East coast, arriving at Newark International on Friday and departing for Brussels next week Wednesday. Lots of places to see and people to meet. Here are the exciting details.
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Central Planners and Wooden Boards

In my favourite Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon (which I have watched at least a dozen times) there’s a very telling scene. Just before a particular fight, Bruce Lee’s opponent, to demonstrate how awesomely tough he is, holds up a wooden board and with one swift punch smashes it to bits. Bruce Lee impassively looks him in the eye and calmly says, “Boards don’t hit back.”
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Freedom is Incompatible with Free

I hear that the new Delhi government is promising free stuff — water and electricity. It warms the cockles of this economist’s heart. Actually, I lie. What it does is deepen poverty and make people more dependent. Socialists love people to be dependent on them. So what we have in store for India is continued poverty. But we must remember that this is a choice made by the people of India, not something that is imposed from some force outside India. India is poor because Indians choose poverty over freedom. So be it. As I say, it is all karma, neh? (This piece was published on Niti Central today.)
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Individual Freedom and Bondage

0781_8477First post of 2014 and therefore sets the tone for the rest of the year — freedom. Individual freedom. Actually, freedom is about individuals. Collectives are really an abstraction and in reality only individuals exist. So to say that a particular collective is free — Indians or Americans or Africans — what is really meant is that each individual in that collective is free. The question is: what is the individual free from? From coercion by other individuals. The following is an opinion piece published last month in Niti Central.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2014.
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