Quit India — Then and Now

A few days ago, Prabhudesai and I were discussing a remarkable fact about India. We observed that these days many Indian families are sending their children abroad for schooling.

In the past most of the students went abroad only for postgraduate studies. Case in point: I came to the US for my doctoral studies in computer science. But these days families are sending their children for undergraduate education, and a significant number even for high school education.

Among my acquaintances, friends and relatives, I don’t know of a single family that did not send its children for education abroad if they could manage it. Education in developed countries like the US is not cheap by any standard. By developing country standards, education abroad is a huge expense but desperation forces them to somehow make it happen. Quite often they go massively into debt. By hook or by crook, they do the best they can to escape the dysfunctional Indian education system.

The rush is to somehow quit India if one can. And the government is doing all it can to make sure that people, especially those who could have been most productive in India, quit India as soon as they can. Continue reading

Taxation is Theft

Lysander Spooner (1808 – 1887) the wiki informs us was “an American individualist anarchist. He was also an abolitionist, entrepreneur, essayist, legal theorist, pamphletist, political philosopher, Unitarian, writer …” My favorite bit of his writings is “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority.”

The essay begins simply with the following: Continue reading

The Magnificent Tom Lehrer

Tom Lehrer “went from adolescence to senility, trying to bypass maturity.” He graduated Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Harvard University, magna cum laude in 1946. He taught mathematics and other classes at MIT, Harvard, Wellesley, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Lehrer is German for “teacher” — which is fitting in his case. He is 93 years old and still hangs out around UC Santa Cruz.

All that, and he’s a genius too. I have loved his songs for decades. Try this one on the chemical elements. The last line cracks me up:

These are the only ones of which the news has come to Harvard
And there may be many others but they haven’t been discovered Continue reading

Lockdowns — Part 3

Crime and Punishment — Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Covid-19 pandemic resulting from the Wuhan virus has dramatically revealed state malfeasance amounting to criminality like nothing else has except for perhaps the world wars of the past century.

In the previous bits (Part 1 and Part 2), I made the moral argument against lockdowns and for freedom. In this final bit, I make the economics argument.

Governments across the world with some rare exceptions have imposed policies that are not only morally repugnant but have imposed enormous economic costs on billions of people. Especially for the extremely poor, those policies have had tragic consequences. They have probably killed (or will kill) millions more than the virus ever would have. Even in the rich populations, deaths of despair must have been devastating. Continue reading

Enough

Joe Heller

True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.

I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22’
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.” Continue reading

Waking Sleeping Giants

The US is the preeminent economic and military power in the world today. But the US began as a small nation of only 2.5 million people when it declared independence from the British in 1776. At that time, the US economy was 30% that of Britain. But that all changed. By 1920, America Had Become World’s Top Economic Power. Continue reading

Untested Simplicity of the Villages

by Ram Dass

Is the vision of simple living provided by this village in the East the answer?  Is this an example of a primitive simplicity of the past or of an enlightened simplicity of the future?

Gradually I have to come to sense that this is not the kind of simplicity that the future holds.  For despite its ancient character, the simplicity of the village is still in its “infancy”.

Occasionally people show me their new babies and ask me if that peaceful innocence is not just like that of the Buddha.  Probably not, I tell them, for within that baby reside all the latent seeds of worldly desire, just waiting to sprout as the opportunity arises.  On the other hand, the expression on the face of the Buddha, who had seen through the impermanence and suffering associated with such desires, reflects the invulnerability of true freedom. Continue reading

Lockdowns – Part 2

In the previous post on lockdowns (July 25th), I made the ethical/moral argument against lockdowns. In this part, I make the economic argument against lockdowns.

The economy is a complex set of interlocking activities undertaken by an arbitrarily large collection of individuals and collectives attempting to achieve their self-selected ends as best as they can given the limited means at their disposal and their imperfect understanding of how to realize those ends. Continue reading

Current Covid Hysteria

“Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” That’s a truth that Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) — the great English poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer — appears to have articulated long ago.

The vested interests of the few and the credulity of the masses conspire to kill whatever is the relevant truth. The war against the Chinese Covid-19 virus is no exception. The fake and the false have reigned with little opposition. Unsurprisingly, it’s the masses’ inability to reason and ignorance that is to blame for this misfortune. That sounds elitist but it is an unavoidable conclusion. Continue reading

Hi from Charlotte NC

Greetings from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). I am on a long layover on my way to Austin TX. My American Airline flight was from Philadelphia to Charlotte NC. And now I am waiting at CLT for my next flight. 

According to the airport’s website, “CLT is ranked among the top 10 busiest airports in the world, averaging 1,600 daily aircraft operations. It serves approximately 178 nonstop destinations around the globe and welcomes more than 50 million passengers annually.”

As it happens, this is my first time in NC after several decades. Long time ago, I once drove through NC on my way from NJ to FL. It was during a very fierce snowstorm.

I will get to Austin TX late — actually past midnight my time but still before midnight TX time. Will write tomorrow.

UPDATE: CLT has been shut down for now due to a massive lightening storm. It is thundering like crazy. I am afraid that my flight will be late. I captured a bit of video that I will post when I get to Austin.