Often encountered the question in discussions -

"Why are you not a libertarian/classical liberal"?

I was one, back in my 20s

Outgrew that for a few reasons

1. Classical liberalism is predicated on "reason". Tends to dismiss prejudice altogether

2. It ignores history/culture
Classical liberalism is fundamentally anti-politics

Because it is based on the universalizing notions of individual liberty, economic freedom

It does not acknowledge "groups", "special interests"
E.g libertarians insist on low tariffs

But then zero tariffs are always in general interest. They may reduce prices for everybody just a wee bit

But not in the special interest of any group.

So if the idea is to support domestic industry, zero tariffs may not be beneficial
Now the classical liberal position on this is to look down upon "special interests"

That's because the liberal tendency is to view things in a nation-agnostic and culture-agnostic way
This extends to arguments on immigration

Libertarians may dream of an America of a billion people. But an America that large will be very far removed from its WASP roots / heritage
While that may be viewed with a sense of loss by conservatives, for classical liberals it is irrelevant

As they view human beings mostly as a statistic. Oblivious to the variety among them. In that sense, they are not that different from progressives
Tangible things like GDP, trade volume are appreciated by libertarians

Not so much intangibles like loss of cultures, values, decimation of ways of living
If you bring it up, they will turn to the rhetoric of "individual choice"

But then, "groups" have their own identity. Distinct from that of individuals

Group sentiment / group prejudice is what makes a civilization
Let's take some case examples to illustrate this

1. Kashmir

Now a standard "classical liberal" position will be - "We should have a referendum. Right to self determination"
But this ignores history

a. Forced Changes in religious demography

b. Group aspirations. One country wants to see Kashmir as part of the Islamic bloc. Another wants to turn it Indic / Hindu over time

No right or wrong answer here. These are legitimate aspirations
But in a liberal view, the only thing that matters is what Kashmiris think as of today.

Which can be neatly decided with a referendum

The clash of worldviews, the messiness of history - tend to be viewed as extraneous
Another example is Shabarimala temple entry

The liberal world view found it abhorrent that individuals of a certain gender and age bracket were not allowed inside the shrine

But when conservatives brought up the issue of group sentiment, deity's "rights", they were nonplussed
That's in part because Liberalism sees society largely as a collection of atomized individuals

It does not consider "groups", and the rights of groups

Let alone the conceptions of groups like "deities", "ideas of sacred / profane"

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More from @shrikanth_krish

20 Oct
Interesting piece, but it stereotypes the interaction of "brahminical thought" with the traditions of the hoi polloi

The paternalist attitude of the brAhmaNas is less evident in Southern India, where the give-and-take was more even

brownpundits.com/2020/10/19/hin…
This is most evident when one studies the history of the Alvar and Nayanar saints of Tamil country

Where the cultural interaction of the brAhmaNas with local vellAlars was definitely not characterized by a supercilious attitude of the brahmin towards local traditions
Two good examples are -

1. The relationship between Appar and Sambandhar in Nayanar lore

2. The very high status accorded to Nammalvar in Sri-Vaishnava lore
Read 8 tweets
16 Oct
It is often said Indian states diverge a lot in terms of incomes

I view it differently

E.g. TN PCI : $11K in PPP Terms
UP PCI : $3K

That's a ratio of 3.7. But absolute difference is $8K

In China, Jiangsu is at $33K, Yunnan at $11K
Ratio of 3. But absolute difference is $22K
To my mind, it is the absolute difference in PPP-adjusted PCI across regions you should focus on

Not the ratio

When you move from a province with $11K income to $33K, you feel the difference a LOT more than when you move from a province with $3K income to $11K
Ratios don't make sense when the base is low.

E.g. UP is perhaps 2 times richer than Haiti

But it may not feel that much richer.

As opposed to say moving from Argentina to US
Read 5 tweets
14 Oct
I can sense a certain Trad anxiety here

To my mind, ICM is merely a manifestation of a deeper deracination in habits / lifestyle

When lifestyles and values converge, ICM is inevitable

If the cultures are indeed v distinct, ICM will also be marginal
So my gratuitous advice to Trads is -

Don't campaign against ICM. That's just a symptom

Instead reflect on the distinctiveness of castes, and whether the diversity is worth preserving

If people are rooted enough, they are less likely to marry out
Trads tend to think -

Endoogamy will conserve traditions

I reverse it -

If the traditions have value and hold attraction, there will be a natural resistance to ICM

As is the case in much of India even today
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
The reaction to the Tanishq ad is way over the top

The issue with H-Right is - the reactionary instinct predominates. There is no creative instinct

E.g. You can make a "conservative" movie where a H-M marriage fails because of cultural schisms

That never happens
There are many ideas for "conservative" films

1. H-M marriage fails because of differing cultures
2. Failure of love marriage. Parental wisdom held up favorably against young love
3. Show films where endogamy can drive better social outcomes / prevent cultural discontinuity
This creative spirit was v much present among "conservatives" 50 yrs ago

The last major manifestation of this spirit in Bollywood was the actor/director Manoj Kumar

Whose films may be cringe worthy in parts, but exude a certain creativity that is missing on the indic side today
Read 4 tweets
11 Oct
A common western critique of Hindus

Hindus are not "humanists". They don't value equality of all human life. Hindus view society as comprising of many human species (jAtis)

Reality

This "narrow-minded" country has seen FAR less ethnic cleansing than most parts of the West!
It is one thing to declare -

"All men are equal"
"Hum sab allah ke bande hain" etc

Do you live up to it?

The history of the West and Middle East is one of ethnic cleansing / pogroms. Decimation of numerous cultures
I don't mean that as a blanket critique. There is much to learn from the West too

But clearly the history of the West is not one of continuity. But numerous discontinuities

Caused by state-sponsored violence.
Read 9 tweets
10 Oct
The broadest definition of Theism and Atheism

Atheism:
Rejection of any truth that does not have a material basis. That means you question all ideals, morals, worldviews that cannot be subject to scientific examination

Theism:
Espousal of "truths" and ideals w/o material basis
So Atheism in essence is Materialism

Where you focus on the Here and Now

Any ideal whose utility is not immediately "visible" is under question

Barring scientific truths, rest of human life is prejudice
Once you start with that materialist premise, you still get variety among "atheists"

Many schools

1. Might is Right. Nietzsche. Fascism / Nazism

2. All authority is to be questioned. Liberty is paramount.
Anarchists/Libertarians

3. All inequality is unjust. Communism
Read 7 tweets

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