People condemn disorganized violence but are filled with pride and honor if violence is organized at the national level and projected internationally. That’s funny. Here’s Armen Alchian (1914-2013) in his book college economics textbook Exchange and Production:
Before condemning violence (physical force) as a means of social control, note that its threatened or actual use is widely practiced and respected—at least when applied successfully on a national scale. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and was honored by the Romans; had he simply roughed up the local residents, he would have been damned as a gangster. Alexander the Great, who conquered the Near East, was not regarded by the Greeks as a ruffian, nor was Charlemagne after he conquered Europe. Europeans acquired and divided—and redivided—America by force. Lenin is not regarded in Russia as a subversive. Nor is Spain’s Franco, Cuba’s Castro, Nigeria’s Gowon, Uganda’s Amin, China’s Mao, our George Washington.
It may seem odd to begin a piece regarding the on-going struggle surrounding the centuries-old Sabarimala temple in Kerala with the first lines of a book, published relatively recently in 1974 by an American, which deals primarily with the rights of people and what the state can do. But it is actually quite relevant.
“Individuals have rights and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its officials may do. How much room do individual rights leave for the state?
This question has bothered me for a long time: Why are there riots and other forms of social unrest in India? Are Indians intrinsically unsocial or is there a structural reason for this? What is it in its political makeup that there is inter-group conflict? I explored that question in a piece I wrote for Niti Central a few days ago. I am posting it here, for the record. Continue reading “Profiting from Conflict — The Monkey and the Cats”
It just keeps getting better. The refitted Admiral Gorskhov — which is being reincarnated as INS Vikramaditya — will be delivered sometime soon but will not have anti-missile defense for a few more years. What does that make it? A heap of prettied-up scrap best used as a sitting duck for random target practice.
Is this a joke? Actually, it was launched on April 1st, 1982. Perhaps it is an April fool’s joke, although a very costly one for a desperately poor third world country (DPTWC). Here’s what I wrote over four years ago in April 2009 in a post titled “The War and the Circus.”
Shantanu Bhagwat has a post at his Reclaiming India blog at The Times of India website in which he states that Indians must not stand as neutral observers in the upcoming general elections because the UPA is “an existential threat to India” and therefore it must go. At the start of the post Shantanu recalls a recent conversation he had with Rajesh Jain. Rajesh made his point through a quote attributed to Dante. “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality”. Shantanu explains why he will not be neutral and is firmly committed to supporting Narendra Modi. Me too. Indeed, Shantanu quotes yours truly in his post. As you may know, I am not one to shy away from taking sides in the good fight. Continue reading “Shantanu Bhagwat: “On Narendra Modi and the hottest place in hell””
I bet you did not know that the US Constitution is “sharia compliant.” No, seriously it is. Ok, I am not an expert on the US constitution, and quite frankly I don’t know the first thing about sharia except that I believe that it is about Islamic law and that all Islamic countries have to conform to sharia. So that’s why it came as a bit of shock to learn that the US constitution was sharia compliant. Here’s how. Continue reading “The US Constitution: Made in Arabia”
India, like all other countries of the world, is embedded in the larger context of the world. Naturally therefore India’s fortunes and the prospects for its development are circumscribed by the world’s prospects. Religion — especially the monotheistic ones — are arguably one of the most powerful of the forces that shape the human world. One cannot hope to study economic growth and development without understanding how religion is impacting the world at large. One fact is undeniable: when societies undergo severe stress, they fracture along predictable lines. The most prominent of these fault-lines is religion — and I stress once again, that monotheism is at the heart of all major religious strife. That is so because monotheism does not, by its very constitution, suffer non-believers to exist or even tolerate a plurality of views. The danger to the continued existence of human civilization on earth may proximately arise from such matters as doomsday nuclear warfare but the ultimate cause can definitely be traced to anti-humanistic monotheistic religious dogma. Continue reading “The View from the End of the World”
I have maintained for a while that the reason that Pakistan gets propped up by the US and its allies is that India and Pakistan are engaged in a dollar auction game and therefore anytime Pakistan is about to go bankrupt (and therefore be unable to continue the game), the US and its allies rush to prop it up. How much money is involved in keeping Pakistan alive so that it can continue to wage jihad against India? Here are the figures from an article, “Fail, then reap rewards,” by Brahma Chellaney in the Deccan Chronicle. Continue reading “The Dollar Auction: Some Figures”