Sunday, 1 November 2015

Leftist-Socialist Intellectuals : An Oxymoron?

Leftist-Socialist Intellectuals :
An Oxymoron?

an Anachronism?

While many studies have documented the predominance of the political left in the academic world, the exceptional areas where they do not have such predominance are precisely those areas where you cannot escape from facts and results— the sciences, engineering, mathematics and athletics. By contrast, no area of academia is more dominated by the left than the humanities, where there are no facts to challenge the fantasies that abound. Leftists head for similar fact-free zones outside of academia.

—Thomas Sowell

For the context of this article, we will be using “leftist” and “socialist” interchangeably, and strictly in the sense of its connotation in economics. We would use “leftism” or “socialism” in a generalised way to represent various flavours of socialism: Nehruvian socialism, Fabianism, Marxism or “scientific” socialism, communism, and so on. Basically, it means dominance of the state, pubic and state sector at the commanding heights of the economy, predominant state controls of the economy and means of production, and lesser or marginal role for the private sector and individuals, resulting in an over-regulated bureaucratic state, and a mai-baap Sarkar. By the term leftist we cover the whole spectrum from light pink to deep red communists, Marxists or socialists.

The typical Indian Leftist-Socialist-“Secular”-“Liberal” “Intellectual” cabal that has spawned the academe, the cultural, literary, archaeological and historical bodies, and sarkari establishments, and has infested and dominated the opinion-making arms like the media unfortunately represents the worst in intellectual traditions.

It supports a globally discredited socialistic economic world-view that has practically and amply demonstrated its poverty-perpetuating, misery-multiplying, anti-poor, anti-prosperity, anti-anything-good characteristics. Its “Secularism” does not rise above religion; but is restricted to being anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim, and being unmoved and unconcerned by blatantly illegal proselytization. Its “Liberalism” is being pro-Animal rights while being pro-beef and pro-nonveg; being anti-American while yearning for green-card or assignments in the US; being a rationalist by slamming all Hindu customs and beliefs, while keeping mum on regressive practices of Islam or Christianity; being pro-Arab and anti-Israel; being anti-Sanskrit while being pro-German or pro-foreign language; and so on.

They oppose renaming Aurangzeb road, but never raise a voice against naming of hundreds of government schemes and institutions after the Nehru-Gandhis. They talk of common man and justice and rage about inequality, but find nothing uncommon or no injustice or no inequality in the unjust shameless continuance of the Dynasty! They shout against intolerance, but are themselves the prime examples of intolerance for alternate view (despite it being far superior to theirs)!!

In an interview, Nayantara Sahgal, who has returned the award, claimed, rather proudly, that she was a socialist. Shows the frozen state of these intellectuals—still living in the bad old Nehruvian times!

It has been said that true “intellectuals tend to have uneasy relationship with the status quo.” However, this deracinated Indian “Intellectual” Class has become uncomfortable with the change in the status quo. They feel comfortable only when cocooned in their good, old “secular”, socialistic, I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine, mutually beneficial, incestuous, quid pro quo milieu, at home with the Dynasty.

By “leftism” or “socialistic state” we are NOT implying a welfare state or a state engaged in social justice and equality, because as per actual global experience such a socialistic state as just defined by us in the para above is neither capable of ensuring general welfare nor social justice nor equality.

How do you tell a communist?
Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin.
And how do you tell an anti-Communist?
It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
—Ronald Reagan

“Scientific” Socialism:
a Contradiction in Terms!

Marxism and socialism were something Nehru was sold out on since the 1920s, wrote approvingly about in his books, advocated vigorously all through, and, unfortunately for India, implemented it post-independence in his own Nehruvian way.

Mr Jawaharlal Nehru returned from Cambridge with notions of how an all-governing interventionist state can force people into happiness and prosperity through socialism...He sticks to this bias in spite of the demonstration of world experience against it...I hate the present folly and arrogance as much as I hated the foreign arrogance of those [British] days.

—Rajaji, as reproduced in Rajaji: A Life by Rajmohan Gandhi

Marxists call their socialism scientific socialism, as if the self-assigned, self-adulatory adjective scientific is sufficient to testify to it being scientific—correct; however preposterous it might be from a genuine scientific angle, where the litmus test is the real practical proof. Mere dialectics of self-serving arguments and logic does not result in truth! Marxism as a science or as an alternate economic thought for a nation to build on has failed—it has been proven wrong both in theory and in practice.

Nehru’s class or caste bias is apparent in his autobiography where he mentions that “right through history the old Indian ideal...looked down upon money and the professional money-making class” and that “today” it is “fighting against a new and all-powerful opposition from the bania [Vaishya] civilization of the capitalist West”.

Those who do not genuinely understand science or scientific-methods are taken-in by mere allusion to something as scientific. Many became Marxists or socialists because being so implied being scientific-spirited, radical, rational, progressive, pro-poor intellectual, aligned to the forces of history! Rather than being aligned to the forces of history or being on the right side of it, to the dismay of the Marxists and socialists, the unfolding history proved them to be on the wrong side; and their science—“scientific” socialism—turned out to be an alchemy!

The vice of capitalism is that it stands for the unequal sharing of blessings; whereas the virtue of socialism is that it stands for the equal sharing of misery ...Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.”

—Winston Churchill
The capitalist economic thought, the capitalist societies and the associated democratic system themselves evolved and adapted since the time of Marx in such a way that they not only brought unprecedented prosperity to the concerned nations, they also significantly uplifted the status of the masses—falsifying, in the process, many of the foundations and assumptions of Marx. Further, Marx didn’t elaborate on the nature of society and organisation that would replace capitalism, and how it would be managed, except talking vaguely about the “dictatorship of the proletariat”—without allowing for the possibility of the Frankenstein it would unleash, and the surreal “1984” it would beget.

In science, society, economics and indeed all disciplines knowledge evolves, concepts change, new theories replace old ones in the light of new experiments, experiences and knowledge gained. To be scientific is to keep an open mind on things, to be willing to change, to be ready to jettison the old in the light of new evidence, and to go by actual practical results.

People who believe in evolution in biology often believe in creationism in government. In other words, they believe that the universe and all the creatures in it could have evolved spontaneously, but that the economy is too complicated to operate without being directed by politicians.

—Thomas Sowell

For anything to be scientifically correct, it has to be proved truly and convincingly in practice, without a shadow of doubt. Till the same is done, it remains merely a conjecture, a hypothesis, a theory. Has the so-called scientific socialism or Marxism or socialism proved successful anywhere in the world in practice? No.

Conclusively Proven, Globally:
A Theory of Non-Affluent Society

Facts, figures, statistics and ground-level experiences of various countries prove that all brands of leftist politics—Communist, Socialist, Fabian, Nehruvian, and so on—are inherently incapable of delivering anything positive for any nation or for its poor. In fact, they have actually been at the root of poverty, want and stagnation.

Leftists like Rousseau, Condorcet, or William Godwin in the 18th century, Karl Marx in the 19th century, or Fabian socialists like George Bernard Shaw in England and American Progressives in the 20th century saw the people in a role much like that of sheep and saw themselves as their shepherds… The vision of the Left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves— a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice,” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalting vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues— and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.

—Thomas Sowell

Dismal fate of all nations that went socialist proves the point. Take USSR. It claimed to be following scientific socialism or Marxism. But, what were its practical results? It drew an iron-curtain so that no one got to see the disaster: the wide-spread poverty and famine and suppression of human rights. Millions died from hunger and famine in Soviet Russia, yet the communist leadership did not have the heart to save them by seeking help from outside, lest the outside world became aware of the pathetic conditions. Same with China under Mao—about 40 million perished in famines! Country-wise unofficial estimates of the total number of persons who perished thanks to communism, through man-made famines and state-terror, as per “The Black Book of Communism” are: USSR–20 million, China–65 million, Combodia–2 million, North Korea–2 million; the world-total being around 100 million! Compare this with the estimate of Holocaust victims at about 6 million, and total World War II military deaths of all countries put together at about 25 million.

Take the case of East Germany: contrast it with the prosperity in West Germany. Why the Berlin Wall ultimately fell? See the fate of the East-European countries: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania. Consider the case of Albania under its Mao—Enver Hoxha. What of Cuba under the “great” revolutionary Fidel Castro: it is now desperately trying to shed its socialistic past. Note the growing economy of Vietnam after the gradual shedding of its communist policies. The terrible fate of Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot—brought out so chillingly in the movie, The Killing Fields! Appalling conditions in North Korea: George Orwell’s “1984” continuing in the 21st century!

Take the example of the relatively recent red-hot socialist showman given to mega posturing on the world stage, Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela for 14 years, who succumbed to cancer in 2013. Called Commandante by his followers, he implemented several populist measures—which he could afford thanks to the country’s oil-wealth—to remain popular. But, what is the legacy of his 14-year socialist revolution? Decline in oil-production, a severely dented economy, dysfunctional state institutions and administration, and Caracas, its capital, turning into one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

“To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches.”

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”

—Margaret Thatcher

There is not a single example of a country which prospered or whose poor were better off under communism or socialism. The democratic countries like the UK which were going downhill with their socialistic policies did course correction under Thatcher and prospered.

India’s Self-Inflicted Poverty,
thanks to Nehruvian Socialism

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert,
in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.
—Milton Friedman

Near home, see the unfortunate and the pathetic fate of India and its poor thanks to India's socialistic policies, which are, unfortunately for the India’s poor, only very gradually getting dismantled.
We know how communists wrecked West Bengal during their 34-year rule! Those who still advocate socialistic policies do so not because they are innocent about these facts, but because it suits them politically, so what if those policies actually amount to being anti-progress and anti-poor.

Raja Vyapari taya Praja Bhikhari.
— Indian proverb

Nehru uncritically accepted socialism. It is strange that while Nehru’s books approvingly talk of Marxism and socialism, there is no comparative analysis by him of much more proven competing economic thoughts. It was as if Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, JS Mill, John Maynard Keynes and others did not exist for Nehru. Economics is a serious subject for its affects the lives of millions, and for Nehru to take up a firm position on one trend of economics without critical appraisal of the alternatives was not only unwise in the academic sense, it proved disastrous to the nation in practice. Further, even if Nehru mistakenly believed that communism was doing good for one country, the USSR, how was it that he did not notice the many countries prospering under capitalism, like the US, the Western-European and the South-East Asian countries. Was Nehru—the scientifically-minded person—going more by personal bias than by facts!

A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart;
an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head.

—David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in 1920

Post independence, and till the early 1950s, India did command great respect and prestige around the world, and there were lots of expectations from democratic India as a beacon for other developing countries, particularly the erstwhile colonial ones, to follow. Unfortunately, Nehru’s policies proved so disastrous on the ground that all hopes stood belied. Nehru’s socialism delivered a monumental tragedy lacking not only in growth and poverty alleviation, but also in delivering social justice.

“He [Nehru] had no idea of economics. He talked of Socialism, but he did not know how to define it. He talked of social justice, but I told him he could have this only when there was an increase in production. He did not grasp that. So you need a leader who understands economic issues and will invigorate your economy.”

—Chester Bowles, US Ambassador to India during Nehru's time

Nehru, through his anti-private-sector policies, throttled industrialisation. Further, not learning anything from Japan and others, who had dramatically prospered with their outward-looking, export-led growth, India under Nehru went in for inward-looking, import-substitution model, denying itself a world-class, competitive culture, incentive for production of quality products, share in the world-trade, and the consequent prosperity. Instead, India invested heavily in the inefficient public sector, over-regulated and strangulated private enterprise, shunned foreign capital, and ignored better technology. India under Nehru also neglected the two vital sectors—agriculture and education.

“Nehru’s inability to rise above his deep-rooted Marxist equation of Western capitalism with imperialism, and his almost paranoid, partly aristocratic, distrust of free enterprise in its most successful form as ‘vulgar’, cost India dearly in retarding its overall development for the remaining years of his rule, as well as for the even longer reign of his more narrowly doctrinaire daughter.”

—Stanley Wolpert

Nehru and the socialists never understood what it really took to create wealth and banish poverty, and persisted with their sterile, copycat methods. Socialists concerned themselves more with the distribution of wealth, than with its creation. They shunned understanding the complexity of wealth creation. Nations which understood this raced ahead, created wealth and also managed to distribute it, while India failed to create the wealth itself, what to speak of distributing it: India stagnated.

Being not a communist state, we cannot fully throttle private enterprise, but we can certainly keep them on a tight leash—thought the thrilled, socialist bureaucracy, sensing all power coming to them. It is the State which has to be dominant, and has to achieve Commanding Heights. Still, if anybody is foolish enough to still wish to set up private industries and businesses, they need to first take our permission, and we would make it so complex for them that most would give up even before they got permissions, and those who manage to get permissions—of course, after greasing palms—would face so many regulatory hurdles, in practice, that they would give up later; except, of course, those who continue to grease palms.
It would be wrong to call babus mere babus and not entrepreneurs. They have been running very efficient private enterprises of loot for themselves and their netas based on very skilful investment of their authority. It was Rajaji who had so rightly coined the term licence-permit-quota raj, and alleged that to be the reason for the Congressmen and the officials getting rich.

Rather than doing a course correction, Indira Gandhi made the things far worse by indulging in more of socialism, nationalisation and bureaucratisation; Rajiv lacked competence to do anything worthwhile; while the UPA set about undoing or reversing the Narsimha Rao—Vajpayee legacy. Rahul Gandhi still mouths the failed old socialistic clap trap! The Congress and the Dynasty seem to be incorrigible!!

Whom does socialism benefit?

Socialism and leftism is something which benefits large sections of vested interests, but not the intended beneficiaries. Why do poor, who can ill-afford, prefer private schools to Government schools, private hospitals to Government hospitals? They know that this socialist claptrap is for the babus and politicians to make money, not to help them. Communism and socialism assume the State as a kind, empathetic mai-baap, meant to do good for the people; when the experience and the practical reality is that very often it is the State—through its agency of politicians, babus and police—that is the biggest exploiter and mafia around.

The real beneficiaries of socialism are the politicians, bureaucrats, and the leftist academia, intellectuals, NGOs and media that stand to gain by aligning themselves with the establishment.

Why did India fail?
Not socialism!
The Alibi...

Leftists are amazingly innovative in manufacturing a slew of excuses. India didn’t fail because of socialism! In fact, there wasn’t enough of it. Nehru was too soft. What about Indira? Yes, she did ram through things, but there were so many other factors. Actually, it’s a problem of national character. We are not disciplined enough; nor hard-working. We are lazy. See the Japanese. We are too self-centred and selfish. We lack collective spirit. Besides, it was that wretched “Hindu rate of growth!”… Leftists are capable of being one up even on the colonialists or the colonially-minded Nirad Chaudhurys, and can dish out reasons far more wild. That’s because, for them, facts don’t come in the way. They overstep and sidestep the facts with their shrill rhetoric.

Why is the economy doing relatively much better since Narsimha Rao led liberalisation in the early nineties? Have the lazy of the old days suddenly become very hard-working? Has the national character changed for the better? Are people now more disciplined? Why are Indians now considered more hard-working and more capable than many Americans, English and Europeans?

Despite all the evidence, the leftists would not admit that it was a plain, bad, borrowed Nehruvian economic model of socialism that did us in. The Western-European countries devastated by the Second World War—particularly West Germany, which was reduced to rubble—recovered from the ashes, progressed and became highly prosperous. Japan was totally ravaged by the War and the Atomic Bomb. Remember that Raj Kapoor song of the fifties, “Mera joota hai Japani ...” pointing to the torn shoes, representing the condition of Japan then. Japan recovered, quickly industrialised, and grew at over 9% for over twenty-three years, to become one of the largest economies of the world. India, in contrast, was untouched by the war and the devastation. Yet, India remained a poor third-rate third-world country.

As per the article “World’s Only RDC” in India Today’s issue of 12 August 2013, Japan, which had almost the same GDP as India in the early 1950s, grew so fast that by 1980, India’s GDP was a mere 17% of Japan’s. Japan grew at massive 18% annually during the 15-year period starting 1965 and took its GDP from 91 billion dollars to a mammoth 1.1 trillion dollars by 1980. In 1982, India’s per capita income was 39% higher than China’s; but, by 2012, it had become mere 24% of China’s—during the period China’s per capita income grew 30 times, while India’s grew mere 5 times. South Korea’s per capita income is currently 1400% that of India, although at the time of our Independence it was on par! While India is variously terms as a Developing Country or as LDC, Less Developed Country, or as UDC, Under Developed Country, the article finds India uniquely as an RDC—Refusing-to-Develop-Country.

“Unless people change... can’t progress!” argument

People are like that… Unless people change… Unless the society improves,... Unless the society takes active interest... nothing would change… Politics is but a reflection of the society...” goes another argument.

However, there is little evidence to show that the prosperous countries have become prosperous thanks not to the competence of its leaders, but to its amorphous public and civil society which suddenly decided to improve itself and take active interest in the well-being of the nation. There is no evidence to show that it was not Lee Kuan Yew and his band of competent leaders, but the suddenly awakened common Singaporeans, who, by themselves, took Singapore to such heights. Yes, good leaders choose competent teams, inspire people, motivate them and take the nation ahead with their cooperation; but it is rare that general public by itself, without a competent leadership, transforms a nation. India’s tragedy has been a lack of genuinely competent leadership. Our so-called great leaders were really Lilliputs.

Common man is busy earning his or her livelihood. They are working on their chosen vocations and thus contributing to the society. They have outsourced supply of water, electricity and other utilities to companies at an agreed payment. Similarly, they have outsourced development of the nation and maintenance of towns, villages, cities, provision of security, and so on to elected politicians and appointed bureaucrats and technocrats. Each of them, whether a politician or a bureaucrat or a technocrat, is getting paid by the public (indirectly through taxes) to perform its allocated work. Just as each member of the public is doing its job (as a banker or an IT professional or a factory worker, and so on), so also each of its (indirectly) appointed persons (a politician or a bureaucrat or a technocrat) ought to do his or her work. It is because these appointed or elected politicians and babus, whose cost is borne by the public, are failing to perform their tasks that the nation is going to dogs. Hence, it is illogical to blame the society or public. Of course, having elected or appointed these politicians and babus, it is the duty of the electing/appointing authority—the general public—to take them to task for non-performance and ensure they serve them and do their allocated task.

Unless “people with character”, can’t take off!

So goes the plea of many. Including that of the organisation devoted to “character building”, and which claims monopoly on patriotism, on “what is good for India”, and on prescriptions for setting the country right.

These advocates of “character building” need to be asked: “Has the Indian character changed for the good or for the worse during the last 66 years after independence? Their answer would mostly be: it has changed for the worse. If so, where is the guarantee it would improve in the future. And, what if the character continues to remain the same for the next 1000 years? Is India then doomed for another millennium?”

Among the best cities in the world are several from Australia, which is now a first-rate, first-world country. It has no great civilisational heritage. Nor can it boast of “character” that has propelled it to where it is now. Their “character” heritage comprises murderers, rapists, dacoits, thieves, debtors, fraudsters, and the like, who were herded in ships in Britain and brought to Australia to undergo their jail terms. January 26 is celebrated as Australia Day, because in January 1788, eleven ships packed with convicts from Britain landed at Botany Bay in Sydney leading to the formation of the colony of New South Wales in Australia.
Priests, reformers and character-builders did not land in Australia to uplift the characters of the settler-convicts who made Australia their home. However, Australia dramatically progressed despite the “bad” characters and despite the absence of “character-builders”. Why? How? That’s what one must try to understand, and apply the lessons learnt to India, where applicable, rather than advancing silly pet theories like “requirements of character”. Competitive capitalism lies at the root of their prosperity. They never touched socialism even with a long pole.

Lee Kuan Yew and his band of competent leaders of Singapore were not “Character-Builders”. They didn’t have that luxury of time, nor did they believe in those crazy notions. They knew what mattered was forward-looking economic policies and good governance. They therefore focussed on implementing solid competitive capitalism, coupled with developing well-paid, merit-driven and competent bureaucracy.

In the process of building and enhancing competitive capitalism, and with increasing prosperity and peace both in Singapore and Australia, the “character” automatically “improved”! It is well to remember that character is also shaped by economic condition. You can’t have millions in hunger and poverty and in wretched condition and with little to look forward to, and expect people to develop “good character”!

What is required is “the spirit of sacrifice”

Not true.

It would suffice to quote Ayn Rand:

“America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance—and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.”

Said Adam Smith in ‘The Wealth of Nations’:

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Why are poor countries poor?

Are one or more of these the factors that make a country poor or prosperous: climate, geography, location, abundance of natural resources, race, religion, history, “type of people”, “character of people”?
No. None of these.

Poor countries are poor because those who have power
make choices that create poverty.

—Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
in ‘Why Nations Fail : The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty’

The determining factor are the human-made institutions. ‘Extractive Institutions’ cause poverty and misery, while ‘Inclusive Institutions’ lead to prosperity and freedom. Extractive institutions are normally the feature of monarchy, feudal system, political or military dictatorships, fascism, socialism and communism. Capitalist societies that are not fairly capitalist, or where crony capitalism prevails, may also lead to extractive institutions. Characteristics of inclusive institutions include: encouragement of investments; harnessing the power of markets by better allocation of resources; allowing entry of more efficient firms; ease of starting businesses and provision of finance for them; and generating broader participation in the economy through education and ease of entry for new entrants. Growth under inclusive institutions involves both creative destruction (replacement of the old methods, technology, industries by new) and investment in technology. Inclusive institutions are not compatible with socialism, communism and feudal societies, or with dictatorships and monarchies. Only a society with competitive capitalism is capable of having inclusive institutions.

“It would be devastating to the egos of the intelligentsia to realize, much less admit, that businesses have done more to reduce poverty than all the intellectuals put together. Ultimately it is only wealth that can reduce poverty and most of the intelligentsia have no interest whatever in finding out what actions and policies increase the national wealth. They certainly don't feel any ‘obligation’ to learn economics ...”

—Dr. Thomas Sowell

Could India have been a first-world country by 1980?

Yes, certainly. Extrapolating the time it took Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan to become first-world countries by adopting competitive capitalism, and the time it took West Germany and Japan to rise from the ashes of the Second World War by adopting capitalist economy, it seems reasonable that India would have been a prosperous, first-rate, first-world country by 1980 had it too adopted competitive capitalism and befriended the West.

Why Persist with the Failed Model?

Just because India, thanks to the lead given by Nehru-Indira, chose the disastrous economic model of socialism, it does not mean we need to persist with those defective and failed ideas of mankind. Sadly, Nehru’s legacy lives on—his socialist way of thought still flourishes—and it remains a challenge to uproot it.

The socialist monster unleashed by Nehru is worse than Frankenstein’s. Frankenstein’s monster voluntarily decided to disappear after its creator’s death. Not so the socialist monster. It continues with its insidious ways. And so also India’s Kaliyug fashioned by Nehru’s socialistic dreams gone sour.

Outlook wise and also materially, India is still largely feudal, and  it appears that the feudal ways and the Marxist-socialistic ways gel well, as both are driven by paternalistic mai-baap mentality: Sarkar knows best.

That Japan achieved what it did, and so also South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, was because their leaders refused to follow the politically convenient and self-serving populist socialistic path to nowhere. Thanks to the wisdom that dawned upon China, it  junked its socialistic past, tremendously improved its governance, and is now a super power both economically and militarily. That India remains an RDC is thanks solely to our politicians, economists and intellectuals of the socialistic and leftist variety.

China bid good bye to Marxism in 1979; Berlin wall came down in 1989; USSR fell apart in 1991; host of Eastern-European countries have given up the communist ghost; Cuba is lately struggling to liberalise; poor North Koreans, thanks to continuing communism, remain condemned; yet, in India, the killing fields of socialism are yet to be fully exorcised—socialism is still respectable in India, many advocating it are still considered intellectuals, while many socialists-communists continue to win elections. Nehruvian socialism has yet to be given a burial. Unfortunately, several prominent members of even young political outfits like the Kejrival’s  AAP mouth the same stale jargon that has taken India to dogs.

Why socialism-leftism still remain popular?

“Of all ignorance, the ignorance of the educated is the most dangerous. Not only are educated people likely to have more influence, they are the last people to suspect that they don't know what they are talking about when they go outside their narrow fields…

“...the vast majority of intellectuals don’t really originate any ideas, but they peddle ideas that other people have originated.  And that gives them a great deal of freedom, because ideas are so malleable. Words are so malleable.  Reality is not malleable.  And so, they can believe in all sorts of things which have no realistic possibility, and which are fatal time and again in history. But because they know how to rephrase it and repackage it, they can just keep right on going…

“Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.”

—Thomas Sowell
It remains popular because it has very smartly been projected as pro-poor. Who popularise it to be so? Of course, the ones who have vested interest in it. The politicians and the babus and the parasitic intellectuals and the media that have been benefitting from it have  publicised it as benefitting the masses. And they have succeeded!

Although liberalisation since 1993 has resulted in a  sea change, it has not delivered enough, and the growth has not been inclusive enough. The reason is not liberalisation—it is very insufficient liberalisation. The necessary preventive, detective,  regulatory and penal systems to control corruption have not kept pace with the massive economic changes post-1991, thanks to the rapacious politician-babu combine, who have retained the pre-1991 setup.

The human cost of delayed economic reforms is tremendous—additional millions unemployed or under-employed, additional millions of infant deaths, additional millions in poverty and misery. But, all these, the Jholawallahs would not appreciate. They would stick to their self-serving poverty-for-ever agenda, lest they become irrelevant. People trapped in the mindset of Nehruvian socialism fail to appreciate that India’s poorest would benefit substantially from economic reforms.

Socialists strut around pretending they are pro-disadvantaged and pro-oppressed. Nobody can beat them in sheer hypocrisy. They are still engaged in their hopeless fight against progress, and are committed to make a West Bengal of India.

Lack of Rightist Leadership

It is India’s tragedy that rational, bold, no-nonsense, rightist leadership and influential intellectual class that unapologetically supports competitive capitalism is absent. It is a crucial handicap in tackling poverty and in India’s rise to a prosperous first-world nation.

It is high time the general voting public was educated to realise that leftism, socialism and sops would take them nowhere and would condemn them further to a life of want and misery; and that the jholawallahs, like the religious and communal fundamentalists and the casteists, belong to the past, and have no relevance for modern India.

Sadly the leftist “intellectual” brand and the leftist politics predominate in India. It’s a vicious cycle. Leftist-socialist vote-catching-sops create poverty and misery. In turn, poverty and misery fuel further socialism and sops. The worse you get, the more leftist and socialist you become!

Practically all regional parties—SP, RJD, JDU, Trinamool Congress, ...—profess to be socialists. The Congress is anyway an opportunist socialist and “electoral secular” party. Even the BJP had once professed to be a Gandhian socialist party. AAP, a young party, with many young professional faces, was expected to be different. But, they plan to be more socialist that all the other parties put together!

Is it that Indian intellectuals and politicians—both young and old—lack courage, and want only to play the safe, populist way, and socialism comes in handy.

Much was expected of Narendra Modi. He had made all the right noises. “Maximum governance, minimum government”, “Government has no business to be in business”, and so on. But, you don’t find much movement on ground. After overlong six decades of criminal wastage of time and opportunities, an urgency in rectifying the wrongs was being eagerly looked forward to. The hopes are again being belied! Congress or BJP or over a dozen major regional parties: all seem content with the status quo of socialistic populist mumbo jumbo. If the heavy cost of the same is India dragging itself slowly towards prosperity, while missing available opportunities, and millions of India’s poor persisting even longer in their poverty and misfortune—so be it! But, of course, Modi's government has been in control for only the last 18 months; and they have already demonstrated that they are far, far superior to UPA. They still have many months to go to fulfil their promises before the 2019 elections. Modi is a capable leader, and much is expected of him. Hope he would junk the socialistic path to nowhere, and propel India into a prosperous first-world country!


The whole political vision of the left, including socialism and communism, has failed by virtually every empirical test, in countries all around the world. But this has only led leftist intellectuals to evade and denigrate empirical evidence…

…When the world fails to conform to their vision, then it seems obvious to the ideologues that it is the world that is wrong, not that their vision is uninformed or unrealistic.

—Thomas Sowell
Given that not a single socialist-communist country has ever been prosperous, and given incontrovertible proof of all-round global failure of socialism-communism, one has to agree with Thomas Sowell, the noted American economist, philosopher and author: “Leftism or socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” And, if an intellectual continues to live in denial despite glaring proofs, can the person be considered an intellectual in the real sense? Doesn’t “Leftist intellectual” then sound like an oxymoron?

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Rajnikant Puranik
November 1, 2015

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Puranik:

    Let me congratulate you for having written yet another well-researched post.

    If there are so many "sickular" and (un)intellectual advocates of socialism and communism, it is because of the formidable ecosystem that has been built up in Lutyens' Delhi, academia, and the bureaucracy by Nehru and his misbegotten progeny. The recent spectacle of long forgotten, so-called historians, scholars, and artists returning their awards is proof of this support system in action.

    What is being passed off as a tilt to the right is merely a return to the center, so leftward has this country's leadership been! A step in dismantling this straightjacket around the body of the nation would be to dissociate the surname "Gandhi" from Nehru's descendants. Let them be called Indira Nehru, Rajiv Nehru, Rahul Nehru, and so on. It is quite pathetic that there are still poor people today who believe that these Kashmiri upstarts are related to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Perhaps, there is a method to the Nehruvian madness of neglecting primary education!

    The intention here is also not to safeguard Gandhi's reputation, because his contribution to this nation is being increasingly questioned.

    Thank you.