Home » Political Ideology, Politics and Governance in India, Weekend Reading

Readings for Sleepless Nights: Liberals, Tharoor and BJP

8 May 2010 288 views 13 Comments

First, some excerpts from a piece by Gerard Alexander on Why are liberals so condescending?

Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension.

Liberals have dismissed conservative thinking for decades, a tendency encapsulated by Lionel Trilling’s 1950 remark that conservatives do not “express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.” During the 1950s and ’60s, liberals trivialized the nascent conservative movement. Prominent studies and journalistic accounts of right-wing politics at the time stressed paranoia, intolerance and insecurity, rendering conservative thought more a psychiatric disorder than a rival. In 1962, Richard Hofstadter referred to “the Manichaean style of thought, the apocalyptic tendencies, the love of mystification, the intolerance of compromise that are observable in the right-wing mind.”

This sense of liberal intellectual superiority dropped off during the economic woes of the 1970s and the Reagan boom of the 1980s. (Jimmy Carter’s presidency, buffeted by economic and national security challenges, generated perhaps the clearest episode of liberal self-doubt.) But these days, liberal confidence and its companion disdain for conservative thinking are back with a vengeance, finding energetic expression in politicians’ speeches, top-selling books, historical works and the blogosphere. This attitude comes in the form of four major narratives about who conservatives are and how they think and function.

The first is the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” a narrative made famous by Hillary Rodham Clinton but hardly limited to her.

…In this spirit, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman regularly dismisses conservative arguments not simply as incorrect, but as lies. Writing last summer, Krugman pondered the duplicity he found evident in 35 years’ worth of Wall Street Journal editorial writers: “What do these people really believe? I mean, they’re not stupid — life would be a lot easier if they were. So they know they’re not telling the truth. But they obviously believe that their dishonesty serves a higher truth. . . . The question is, what is that higher truth?”

…But, if conservative leaders are crass manipulators, then the rank-and-file Americans who support them must be manipulated at best, or stupid at worst. This is the second variety of liberal condescension, exemplified in Thomas Frank’s best-selling 2004 book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Frank argued that working-class voters were so distracted by issues such as abortion that they were induced into voting against their own economic interests.

…And speaking to a roomful of Democratic donors in 2008, then-presidential candidate Obama offered a similar (and infamous) analysis when he suggested that residents of Rust Belt towns “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations” about job losses. When his comments became public, Obama backed away from their tenor but insisted that “I said something that everybody knows is true.”

Read it in full here

Next, read Vinod Sharma on Shashi Tharoor (excerpts):

…As per records quoted by Indian Premier League (IPL) boss Lalit Modi, it is more than evident that Tharoor is no innocent, selfless ‘mentor’ who has put Kerala on the cricket map by helping a consortium buy a new IPL team for Kochi. At least one individual whom Tharoor admits to ‘knowing well’, Sunanda Pushkar, has been given sweat equity worth approximately a whopping Rs 75 crore. As per reports doing the rounds, based primarily on Tharoor’s very public appearances as minister with Ms Pushkar, she is his lady love and is set to marry him. She has, quite expectedly, denied that she is acting as a front for Tharoor, as has he, feigning righteous rage. Only the very naïve believe that she is the only one through whom Tharoor will benefit; others involved too may have coughed up what is a straightforward ‘cut’ for services rendered by him to get their bid through.

Shashi Tharoor, a Stephanian, may have left Delhi and India when he was 19 and acquired impressive credentials in the US and UN. But, to take off from a cliché, the crafty desi politician – in the mould of the nearby badlands of Haryana and UP – could not be taken out of him. Still an infant in Indian politics, given what he has manifestly so cleverly ‘achieved’ in an absolutely ‘dry’ ministry in so short a time, one can only wonder what he would have done had he been given a ‘wet’ one. Even Dilip Cherian, a fellow Keralite, has been forced to admit that Tharoor has displayed political naiveté in the sordid Kochi IPL franchisee saga.

In 2005, the then Foreign Minister Natwar Singh was exposed for being a petty thief for helping his son make around Rs 75 lakhs through a dubious oil deal with Iraq. Natwar too was one of media’s PLUs. Initially he stoutly denied any wrong doing whatsoever on his part, just as Tharoor is now doing. But soon, despite his best efforts, he found himself thrown out of the government because it was impossible to cover the trail.

During those days, Vir Sanghvi had jumped to his defence. Natwar, Sanghvi wanted the nation to believe, was an honourable man because he was well-read, had a well stocked library, had devoured a large number of books, even authored some, and also had an ‘outstanding’ career in the Foreign Service. It was almost like saying that the real crime was not what Natwar had done but the fact that it had been alleged that an Oxbridge was corrupt, exposing the uncomfortable truth that, shorn of the sophistry that enabled guys like him to remain distant from and above Bharat, as far as integrity was concerned, the Natwars of the world were no different from the Laloos and Reddys.

Sanghvi is at it again, a bit mildly this time, though. He has tweeted that if Tharoor goes, so should Modi!

…When the Tharoor story first broke, the reaction of Rajdeep Sardesai was almost similar. The manner in which he questioned Lalit Modi on CNN IBN made Modi, not Tharoor, look like the villain for exposing the latter! How is Modi’s motive even relevant here? The stark issue is that a minister of the Union government has manifestly done something that can only be described as disgraceful and unacceptable. Journalists should have been focusing on that and asking for Tharoor’s resignation. Instead, some of them are still trying to make it appear as if nothing really serious has happened.

…It is more than evident from the interview that Shashi Tharoor gave to Barkha Dutt that when he got into the ‘mentor’ game, he figured that his real role would remain under wraps because of the confidentiality clause about the identity of the owners of a team; since no details of the ownership of other teams had been made public till then, Tharoor reckoned that the ‘hamam’ effect would ensure that the extent of his involvement and the ‘pay-off’ of Rs 75 crore worth of sweat equity to his girl friend and possibly future wife would not become public. That, and not naiveté, emboldened Tharoor to misuse public office.

…Surely, Tharoor, with his vast experience in the UN, will know only too well how lobbying and influence works, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, like it happened with his own bid to head the organisation. Did he write that almost demeaning piece in Time magazine in praise of Sonia Gandhi because he actually worships her or was it to win her favour and himself a ministerial berth? Just before he formally joined politics, he also wrote columns in The Times of India, some of which were skillful exercises to further his own political goals by projecting how India needed more politicians with his kind of background, his in-depth, though distant, knowledge of this country, his type of accomplishments etc, and not the groin-scratching, nose-digging, non-English-speaking, corrupt lot that India has in plenty. He never was a naïve babe in the woods, as he wants us to believe now.

Tharoor may have perfected the art of saying in 140 words or more of sometimes convoluted prose what can and should be expressed in 140 characters or less. But his skill with words, his command over the English language – the master key that still opens many locks in India – his ‘erudition’ and his Natwar-like arrogance cannot wash off what he has been caught with on his hands this time.

A couple of months back, in response to questions on Twitter about why he had joined politics, he had tweeted, briefly for once, that he had done it “to make a difference”. BRP Bhaskar had then tweeted back asking, “difference to whom?” Tharoor has not yet answered that question. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for India, Lalit Modi has.

And finally a long-ish first-hand account of the BJP convention in Indore by Chandrahas Chaudhury, excerpted from Caravan.

…The very look of the convention was an attempt by the BJP, in a time of crisis, to reconnect to its history. In its 30th year, and smarting from the reverses of the Lok Sabha elections of 2009, the party had organised one of the ‘back to the basics’ gatherings it seemed to find attractive from time to time.

…“A convention is for people to meet, get to know one another, to improve unity in the party,” said Neeraj Yagnik, a BJP worker from Indore who had been closely involved with hospitality. “But in recent years, people would come to sessions and then go back to their halls or hotels all over town. This time everyone is together, like one big family. We’ve made the convention like a village, with farms and fields alongside where fresh produce is being grown. Everything is eco-friendly: CNG cars and bullock carts to take delegates up and down, bicycles if they want to get around by themselves.” The convention organisers’ riffs on a swadeshi theme were no doubt ingenious. Security guards at the convention wore yellow kurtas and turbans and carried lathis; vendors roasted channa and bhutta and served up nimbu paani with rock salt. There was no trace of a bottled soft drink—the symbol of an easy, unthinking, and untraditional consumption—in sight. But inside the convention hall, the delegates found themselves listening to an intensely serious disquisition on Coca-Cola.

Rajnath was not willing to concede, as some had argued after the failure of Advani’s campaign in 2009, the prospect of the exhaustion of the politics of Hindutva or a rethinking of the party’s self-definition. The BJP found itself today in a predicament, declared Rajnath, similar to that faced by Coca-Cola in the 1980s, when the company found itself steadily losing market share in the cola wars with its big rival—Pepsi.

Convinced that it no longer appealed to mass taste, Coke decided, fatally, to change its original formula. The company then produced and enthusiastically advertised a new Coke similar to its competitor—with more lemon oil and less orange oil— explained Rajnath, whose research on this subject appeared to have been very thorough. But, far from winning back those who had jumped ship, the new product was a disaster in the market, and Coke fell away even more. Only when, chastened, it reverted to its original formula and kept the faith in its original identity did it eventually make up its lost ground. For Rajnath, the BJP was now in the position that Coke was in the 80s. Learning from history, it had to avoid the temptation to abandon its ‘original formula.’

That original formula was, of course, Hindutva. The conundrum of how to balance communal mobilisation with a wider, more inclusive appeal based on socio-economic themes is, of course, the central dynamic of the BJP’s history (although no illustrative example could have been more anachronistic than Rajnath’s). Over the three decades of its political life these two themes have been mixed up in different proportions at different times, often by the same personalities, such as Advani himself, responding to expedient concerns. Or else they have run in parallel, aggregating their rewards, as when personified by the figures of Lal Krishna Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the party’s heyday in the late 90s. Now Rajnath, while acknowledging that ‘development’ was the new buzzword of Indian politics, insisted that by hitching its cart too closely to such a general idea it would be squandering its unique selling point: a politics based on an appeal , first and foremost, to a “hindutva ka vichardhaara, sanskritic vichardhaara.”

…A charitable view of the BJP was to see it as a kind of safety valve, allowing voters to express their resentment democratically and peacefully. In this view, nationalism of the classic blood, soil and culture variety, as propagated by the BJP, inevitably contained within it the seeds of xenophobia, but could be moderated by democracy and the rule of law. A less sympathetic interpretation would note that the BJP not only channeled the agitation of a pervasive default setting in society but also stoked it, seeking to reinforce and multiply this suspicion and hostility, and, paradoxically, to boil down Hindu identity itself to a mirror image of the stereotypes of the other it generated.

At 30, then, I was more curious than ever to see and hear from up close the representatives of Hindutva, and to listen to the party in conversation with itself as an insider might. I was also curious to see first-hand how the party envisioned its own future direction after the chastening defeat at the hustings last year, and in a new time where the appeal of the colour saffron had begun to run dry. For three days I found myself wandering through the personalities, lexicon and imagery of an alternative, fully-formed universe very distant from my own: pracharaks and swayamsevaks, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyay, nationalism and pseudosecularism, Atalji and Advaniji, Hindutva and Bharat Mata, the cow and the Ganga, polysyllabic Hindi and Vedic advice for the 21st century, and green and saffron without the white in between.

…More persuasively than many leaders invested in ushering in a new era, Gadkari returns repeatedly to first principles, to notes of warning and self-restraint. “We should think: what kind of political culture do we want to be a part of?” he asks, enjoining delegates not to go around touching the feet of leaders, especially his own. Past mistakes should encourage reflection about the thin line between atmavishwas (self-confidence) and ahankaar (arrogance). The party is to make a conscious effort to reach out to scheduled castes and tribes, minorities, the lower middle-classes and the poor. After all, isn’t this the true meaning of Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s concept of Antyodaya, or reaching out to the last man? Without actually crossing his predecessor, Gadkari was taking issue with Rajnath’s more static view of the party.

It is no doubt an oration with some real thought behind it. Its idiom, too, is consistent with its message; Gadkari’s Marathi-accented Hindi, with the occasional burst of English, much more a language of the street than the party’s more ornate and Brahminical traditional idiom. Intrigued by the new president, I sit down that night under the flickering tubelight of my cheap hotel room—despite the tents, every room in town is taken—to read Politics For Development, a curious little book Gadkari published in English last October, before his elevation to high office.

…The word ‘development’ appears 112 times in this work of 86 pages, and ‘Hindu’ only once. Development, the book holds, is the primary good that must be delivered to society by politics. Politics itself “must never come in the way of development.” The book positions the writer, and by extension his party, as holding the imperative of good governance above ideology. “You have every right to decide your own political inclination,” the author writes to an imagined reader, as if to stir him or her out of a ‘let’s play it safe and vote for Congress’ reflex. “If however you observe that the party which you favour has pitched a candidate who is not seen chasing the development agenda, what’s the harm in electing a candidate who is not from the party of your choice but has the potential to drive development?”

…There was enough seen of Gadkari at the convention to take seriously the claim made by Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Gadkari’s contemporary in student politics and now the director of a training institute for BJP workers in Mumbai, that the new president was “a non-conventional politician in a conventional politics.” It remains to be seen how Gadkari handles incidents like Varun Gandhi’s indefensible speech in Pilibhit during last year’s election campaign, one that generated a further set of disingenuous equivocations among the party high command. …Even so, to many kinds of watchers not enamoured of the BJP in its current avatar—whether it is the neutral observer hopeful of seeing the BJP fill the space potentially available for a broadly free-market, right-of-centre politics, or the sceptical one resigned to the BJP’s long-term presence as a revanchist force in Indian politics and wanting only its worst tendencies to be kept in check—Gadkari’s resume seems to promise a more moderate and liberal politics.

…What the BJP appears to need at 30—and what Gadkari seemed to be trying to do—is the articulation of a more flexible, inclusive expression of its core ideology, which is now the task of its second generation after the departure of the old guard. But even if the new president came as a moderate and modernising voice, the tribalism and inhospitability of the ‘original formula,’ now deeply embedded in the party’s psyche, were plainly on view in Indore, and seem sure to come seeping through even in its fourth decade.

Read it in full here.

***

Sleepless Nights: A self-induced affliction of the modern age precipitated by long working days, seemingly purposeless travel and endless phone calls; heightened by an irrational fear and anxiety of falling behind in the rat race. Other definitions and interpretations welcome.

Somewhat Related: Stuff to read in a travel black hole…

and past weekend readings.

13 Comments »

  • 1. Jai Joshi said:

    Since I happen to live in America, in Texas, surrounded by right wing supporters, I can tell you for a fact that Gerard Alexander is wrong. The right wing, much more so than the left wing is ideological, dogmatic and hypocritical. Everything the right wing has done since Obama came to power has been to thwart him, despite his many attempts to work with them. They don’t want to do anything to help their country but only to help themselves. Indeed, Obama doesn’t need their support as he has a clear majority in both houses but he still tries to work with them in a bipartisan spirit.

    The right wing is so clearly in the pocket of the corporations that there’s no trying to reason with them. They stalled healthcare reform to help the health insurance companies. They’re trying to stall the energy bill to help oil companies. None of these things are a secret. You can research and find out exactly how much those senators and republican’s take in donations from big corporations.

    The right wing is full of racist extremists who are terrified that America has a black man in power. They can’t stand that. They think they’re going to be overrun by the minorities. That’s why Arizona, a right wing state, just passed a law that requires policeman to stop anyone they suspect of being illegal immigrants and ask for proof of citizenship. The law does not specify what the police are supposed to base their suspicions on, simply that they should stop anyone who looks suspicious! That means that anyone who looks as if they’re Mexican or has dark skin or speaks a different language, is subject to being stopped and hauled into jail if they cannot provide immediate proof. This is nothing but racial profiling. Let’s not forget how the right wing Bush administration arrested and detained people, without trial or charging them, and kept them incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.

    The left wing is not without it’s own corrupt people. The Blue Dog Democrats did everything they could to prevent healthcare reform because of how much money they’d taken from health insurance companies. AT the same time, at least the majority of the left wing in government are trying to do something positive. They don’t shout out “Liar!” to the president in Congress like the Republicans do. They don’t wish the president to fail like the Republicans do. They don’t support racial profiling or arresting someone simply because they cannot don’t carry their birth certificate around to prove their American citizens.

    What I find incredible is that this Gerard Alexander can call the left wing idealogical and dogmatic when left wing beliefs are based on science and truth. It is a truth that many people die every year because their health insurance company denies them coverage. It is a truth that the burning of fossil fuels causes global warming. It is a truth that there are many races in this world and they deserve to all be treated equally. It is a truth that women have the right to decide what happens to their bodies. It is a truth that America is a country of laws that those laws require due process for anyone who is suspected and charged of a crime.

    Frankly I think Obama should dispense with bipartisan niceties and get on with doing what the American people elected him to do. The right wing have no interest in helping the country, only gaining their own monetary and ideological ends.

    Jai

  • 2. Khandu Patel said:

    Whether it is with Shashi Tharoor or the BJP, no amount of artifices has been capable of erasing naked wrong doings and ill that go to the root of a great many Hindus at the fore front of politics and the nation. Tharoor who has spent a lifetime away from India could not be protected from the wretched influence of Indian politics on his character. Did not one iota of the noble ideals evidenced by those with him as officials in the UN impact at all on him? This is precisely the problem faced by the BJP which is seeking a formula to get the best out of the people of India. Hindutva says nothing new to a person who should feel properly disposed to those around him: put simply I would want to be well disposed to my country and my country men in as full measure as I would expect everyone else to be likewise disposed. That feeling which exists cannot be conjured up by appeals to any formula and in the case of the BJP calling it scientific humanism. In fact dressing it up in this or any other clothes (including the contingent development formula as proposed by its new President) is dangerous for the state, because the state needs to be uncompromising in dealing with threats to it: that is simply not up for negotiation. Yet the Indian state is in a perpetual state of negotiation with terrorists that have caused immense harm to it.

  • 3. seadog4227 said:

    These are not ‘liberal’ liberals but hardcore liberals: they will not let things slide but will insert their opinions and belittle you at any cost.
    This is why Hindus are forever defensive in India–you take some effort to express your opinion and by the time you are finished, they jump up and tell you “What is the use, what about the caste system,what about satee….” . By the time you gather your wits, the reply and debate is closed.
    That is the current situation – the secular brigade are “liberal and broadminded” whereas we are “outmoded, obscurantist, hidebound, pigheaded” etc etc.
    This is somewhat like the debates between elders and children- listen cooly and make your points short,succint and clear; it will have the desired effect.

  • 4. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Jai: Thanks for a robust counter-view, based on your first-hand experience!

    Khandu and seadog: Thanks for sharing yr thoughts too…

    Will respond later next week…am just settling down after an intense work schedule.

  • 5. Sid said:

    Shantanu,
    Among the three articles, I found that context in link two and three are rather old. Vinod Sharma wrote it as it is. The trouble is that article in link 3 is guilty of same type of cliché BS that TOI and HT like papers keep throwing to their patrons. Example? The “brahminic” leadership of BJP. Who is Brahmin in BJP leadership? Rajnath Singh? LK Advani? The same stupid casteist thinking that paralysed discussions of Hinduism in this country and turned the understanding of 6000 years of way of life as something that only Brahmins invented and rest had no responsibility in protecting it.

    Article 1:
    Both far left and far right are a bunch of crazy people you would not like to invite for tea. This is true in any part of the world. The problem is that ever since the sixties, conservatives were pushed out of academia so slowly but thoroughly that today no one in American academia is capable of challenging far left from presenting their BS as truth. American media has certain anti-left representation, but channels like FOX news give me more reasons to be scared of conservative ideas than G W Bush ever did. Yet at local level I know republican supporters who are intelligent, can articulate their views without using F word, worries about the growing deficit and dislike national security being the fodder of the left-y intellectuals who found no wrong in Stalin’ genocide but is highly critical of Bush’s Afghan war. When Bush was the president, I used to read leftist articles on how he bailed out his buddies at wall street, the same people are today silent about the president who did ten bail-outs instead of one in his first two years. Apparently, Mr. Obama, by virtue of his skin color can not have friends in wall street or auto industry. FOX news conservatives are irritating, but liberals are not just fools (to borrow from Stalin), but fools of dangerous kind.

    What happened in American academia happened to Indian media with covert or overt government support. We no longer remember how left liberal “intellectuals” in Indian media was highly appreciative of China’s aggression in 1962 or Indira’s emergency in 1975 or Rajiv’s well-blanketed effort to hide the “effects when a big tree fells” in 1984. We are, however, time and again made to remember how an old mosque is destroyed in 1992 or how a needless riot happened in 2002 without mentioning the incident that Tehelka editor described as “seventy six Hindu bigots were burnt alive because of their mistake”. Until very recently, when some opposing voices found a medium through Internet, Indian media used to create the idea that liberal socialism in the only concept exists in the world and therefore this is the default mode of political thinking. Anyone who did not agree to this world view is a hateful “label” (place the word of your choosing in “label”).

    Finally, I had a different take on Arizona law than Jai Joshi does. I do not live in Arizona but I have been there. The border looks like another melting border – India-Bangladesh border. The truth is illegals were crossing Arizona border for last 100 or so years. Nobody had reasons to take drastic measures to stop them because American businessmen were making good use of illegal labour. The trouble started when Mexican drug cartels began to take their fight into the other side of the border using the very lax rules of immigration. Violence-wary Arizonians demanded federal intervention from some time but apparently did not receive enough attention of Washington establishment. It is their country, their home, they have the right to take measures that protect them. It is quiet possible that some passages of the new law are direct expressions of racism latent in Caucasian communities of American south. But if the liberal federal establishment had anything effective to offer to Arizona, this law would not have arrived. Liberals should know that not every one who disagree with them are hateful racists and everybody has right to their peaceful co-existence.

    Sorry for this long comment…I came back to your blog sometime later.

  • 6. Jai Joshi said:

    Sid, the liberals in America have been trying to enach immigration reform for YEARS. George Bush’s reform bill was supported by the liberals but the conservative republican’s blocked it. So please do research before you talk.

    I’ve also been to Arizona and there are a lot of hispanic and dark skinned people who live there legally because it’s their HOME. Arizona’s new law is completely unconstitutional. Immigration law is a federal matter, not a matter for the states, and racial profiling is illegal so Arizona are going against the law of the land in two ways.

    Another point is this – the Mexican drug cartels only have the power they do because drugs are illegal. Alchohol was illegal during prohibition in the 1920s and there were gangs then too that supplied booze all over the country. Then the government legalised alchohol and the gangs had no power anymore. If they simply legalise drugs now it would take the power away from the gangs. Plus, they could tax the drugs and get badly needed money out of it. I don’t take drugs or drink alchohol myself, I am a Hindu and would never pollute my body with drugs, but making these substances illegal is not going to stop people from taking them. It’s a stupid law that provides gangs with power and money to hurt others.

    Jai

  • 7. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Sid: Good points re. the careless use of labels in the third article.

    And I completely agree with you on the seemingly complete domination of popular discourse in India by the “liberal-left”. It is changing – but too slowly, I feel..

    By the way, I found this funny: “FOX news conservatives are irritating, but liberals are not just fools (to borrow from Stalin), but fools of dangerous kind.”!

    ***

    @ Jai: Your comment on legalising drugs is thought-provoking – and reminded me that I need to write a post on this at some point.

    Thanks.

  • 8. Sid said:

    Jai,
    Immigration reform has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative, this is an American issue, they need to fix it.

    This particular law has nothing to do with immigration. How? Immigration is the process of allowing a citizen of country B to country A. This particular law does not have any provision that allows state government to dictate the process of immigration. Law is briefly summarised here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Support_Our_Law_Enforcement_and_Safe_Neighborhoods_Act

    The law, however, specifies certain provisions involving illegal immigrants. If, because of this reason, one is tempted to term this law as anti-immigrant, then he/she would not mind calling every law inhuman because every law somehow talks about punishing a human.

    “Arizona’s new law is completely unconstitutional.” – A mere speculation. Two weeks passed and beyond telling the Arizonians that they are a bunch of racists, great lib geniuses had not done anything to advance their case in the courts. As per constitution, state always trump federal law when it comes to law and order. The only way this law can be termed unconstitutional if an American (be it caucasian, hispanic or black-skinned) individual can show that this hurts his own freedom or rights. Would you be kind enough to explain how this is the case?

    I have first hand account of overzealous immigration officers, pseudo-racial profiling in Heathrow airport and an aspect of blatant racism in Singapore airport. This, however, does not mean that anybody who does not agree with liberals is a hateful racist.

    About your other point, it is a liberal utopian dream to legalise drugs or prostitution. Does that result in an era of peaceful co-existence and universal brotherhood? We can start answering this question by looking at Amsterdam where both drugs as well as prostitution is legal. So, did that make the city safer than when those were prohibited? Are the American cities where pubs are open till morning and drugs are abundant in downtown, any safer than prohibition-era Chicago? Pick up any crime stats, adjust it according to the population increment and show me that there is a positive correlation between relaxing the restraint on vices and and vice-related crime.

    Finally, I find your last premise that some illegal activities should be legalised just because libs can not see hooligan violence, deeply disturbing. What happens if a bunch of robbers enter your neighbourhood while shooting at each other? Do you leave your home and run away or get shot while holding a pacifist appeal or call the cops? State of Arizona took the approach of calling the cops and if I could vote, I would have voted for them. It is entirely possible that some part of this new law can be misused or interpreted by a closet racist, but then, Mr. Liberal show me a law that was not mis-interpreted or mis-used by unscrupulous people.

  • 9. Jai Joshi said:

    Sid, I found it hilarious that as soon as I pointed out how you’re wrong about immigration reform and who has been blocking it you pretended that immigration wasn’t an liberal or conservative issue.

    It’s also hilarious that you try to lecture me about how the poor Arizonians have to cope with illegal hooligans who come into their neighbourhoods and shoot everyone. You obviously didn’t read my first post, which was where I stated that I live in TEXAS, which (just in case you don’t know your geography) is also on the border with Mexico and also deals with the illegal immigrant issue. So don’t lecture me about those poor Arizonians.

    Anyone who is not a citizen that comes into the country is an immigrant whether they are legal or illegal. Immigrants and immigration are matters for the federal government as it is about protecting the borders of the country and policing who enters and who leaves. The constitution cleary states that the federal government is in charge of protecting the borders. Yet again we come back to the point that immigration reform has been supported by liberals but blocked by the conservative Republicans again and again. But you want to pretend that didn’t happen.

    You asked me to show you a law that’s not been abused by unscrupulous people. Well, how about I show you a law that is being abused by unscrupulous people and those people are conservatives?

    Arizona’s law is RACIAL PROFILING. Racial profiling is illegal as per federal law. You must have missed that in all your studying of this issue. Arizona’s law orders the police to stop anyone who “looks illegal” and ask for proof of legal status. How is a policeman supposed to suspect that someone might be illegal just by looking at him? What does an illegal immigrant look like? Do you know? Of course they’re going to stop anyone who’s dark skinned. It has already happened. People who are dark skinned are getting stopped by the police and asked to provide their birth certificate and if they can’t produce it on the spot they’re hauled into jail. Do you carry your birth certificate with you everywhere? Of course you don’t. Innocent people (who all have dark skin) have had to sit in jail while their families rush from work or school to show their proof to their police that they are legal. This is racial profiling and it has been legalised by Arizona’s state law. It’s a violation of the federal law that prohibit’s racial profiling. I keep repeating myself because you keep ignoring this issue.

    You find the idea of legalising drugs deeply disturbing. Yet parents and children become addicted to legal drugs like anti-depressants and painkillers all the time. Why aren’t they thrown in jail for drug abuse? Why is it that people who smoke marijuana go to jail but people who get high on vicodine are free? What about cigarettes? Cigarettes are the most deadly substance anyone can use but they are legal. Why? I’d rather someone smoked marijuana next to me than a cigarette because I know the cigarette smoke will kill me. Yet it’s legal to smoke a cigarette but not a marijuana joint. Don’t you see how that is illogical? Or are you still stuck in your knee jerk reactions and don’t want to listen to a proper debate of the issue?

    I have formed my opinion on legalising drugs after listening to many debates and conversations on this issue from the people on the front line – the police. They’re the ones who have to fight this drug war and I’ve heard senior policeman who’ve fought for years say that it’s a stupid war that gives more power to the gangs than anyone else. Maybe you should listen to the people who are informed about this more than just your own knee jerk reaction. Marijuana is legal in Holland and guess what? Less people per capita smoke it than in the United States. Legalising something doesn’t mean that you are encouraging people to take it, it means that you are taking away the power of the gangs and giving it to the government to be able to regulate and tax. That protects the people much more than racialy profiling anyone who looks like they might be Mexican.

    And it’s MISS LIBERAL, thank you, not MR.

    Jai

  • 10. Sid said:

    Jai,
    I have talked nothing related to Immigration Reform. You are the only one who brought this into discussion. You also think that I am a conservative, but just because you think you are a liberal and I do not agree with you does not make me a conservative. If the above sentence does not make sense to you then at least once you are right, you are indeed confused enough to qualify as a liberal.

    I have given you the link to the law and asked you to show which provision of the law is anti-immigrant or controls the immigration process. You could NOT and now you write sentences like “If you know your geography…”. What makes you think that I do not know my geography? Your entire post not only shows your poor understanding of the subject matter under discussion, but you also lack the ability to stay focused to the questions I have asked.

    “Anyone who is not a citizen that comes into the country is an immigrant whether they are legal or illegal.” – No. You are qualified to be called an immigrant only when you are legal according to the law as defined in that particular host country. If you are entering illegally, then the government can recognize you as an immigrant. Period.

    “Arizona’s law is RACIAL PROFILING.”
    “How is a policeman supposed to suspect that someone might be illegal just by looking at him? What does an illegal immigrant look like?”
    - Good spin. How about those who can not speak English at all? Does that look racist to you? Profiling based on “dark skinned” attribute happened before with or without this law. How about HB 2162 of the law which prevents any complaint or harassment on the basis of race/color/ethnicity?

    “Do you carry your birth certificate with you everywhere?”
    - No. But I do carry my driving license or passport in absence of the license to every where I go in a foreign country. If involved in an accident or traffic violations or even as a victim of a crime, you are supposed to show an id so that you can establish your right to get help from the government of the host country.

    “You find the idea of legalising drugs deeply disturbing.” – Try reading the final para of my previous post again. Take help of someone who understand English better than you do. I have criticized the liberal demand of legalizing some substances just because people kill others because of it. If entire America feel that kids should do be able to buy hasish from Walmart, they should legalize it. But the demand that drug legalizing is a law-and-order issue has no facts or statistics supporting it. It is a pure spin.

    “I’d rather someone smoked marijuana next to me than a cigarette because I know the cigarette smoke will kill me.” – now, that one is a lethal logic. Yes, everyone knows cigarette smokes are a killer, marijuana is a herbal medicine. It is just those non-liberals who can not see it. I get it this time. Stay on the medicine, it is helping your liberal senses. :)

    “Legalising something doesn’t mean that you are encouraging people to take it,..” – I see. Poor me. I thought restricting something means discouraging it. Apparently when one can be a liberal he/she can see how legalizing of robbery/murder/rape can discourage the crimes from happening. Let us legalize murder and tax the murderers when they commit the crime.

    BTW, entire Holland does not legalize the drugs/prostitution, Amsterdam does. And I am yet to see a single stat that shows per capita consumption of drugs in Amsterdam is lower than the per capita drug consumption in a similarly sized community in America. May be you can show me some links that supports your claim. Also, fighting with organized crime that draws it’s support from the neighboring country is the job of federally supported and well-trained fighters, not local police. Arizona border and to a certain extent Texas border towns suffered from those drug wars for last two years, yet nothing was done by federal government to help the communities.

  • 11. Jai Joshi said:

    Sid, yet again you made me crack up. There’s no reasoning with you, especially when your response is to insult someone’s English. Yet then you write sentences like this:

    ‘I have talked nothing related to Immigration Reform. You are the only one who brought this into discussion.’

    ‘I have talked nothing related to Immigration Reform’? Apart from the appallingly bad construction of this sentence, you are also wrong. Because this is what you said in your first comment on this post:

    ‘The trouble started when Mexican drug cartels began to take their fight into the other side of the border using the very lax rules of immigration. Violence-wary Arizonians demanded federal intervention from some time but apparently did not receive enough attention of Washington establishment. ‘

    Yet again, not only are you misinformed and reactionary with terrible English (‘from some time’?) you also can’t seem to follow you’re own argument. There’s no reasoning or debating with someone like you. I’m done.

    Jai

  • 12. CHURCHILL KUMAR SHAH said:

    Our Indian Govt must keep eye on every politician before and after entering into the politics about their particular wealth as everybody knows this politicians always make use of us during elections they simply come with much promises and soon after election they forget everything this is not the thing that we expect from them and about their wealth in Swiss bank waw not to discuss Swiss bank has got more than $1500bn Indian money.Just guess where did it come from?It all Politicians,Top Industrialist money. Top Indian politicial like Shashi Tharoor,Sarad Pawar are deeply involved in IPL scam and Lalit modi as well. Lalit modi has done only one thing he IPL must be always played in India not in other countries because it is IPL not any other league this is truely agreed.If our politicians cannot give proper security to people and players of India they can resign from their post.however our Indian government must punish them severely this time.how come shashi tharoor able to manage this amount of money this rascals knows only how to make money and fraud from innocent civilians. politicians like shashi tharoor,sharad pawar must be suspended immediately from the office and we need leaders like Narendra Modi.

  • 13. Sid said:

    There’s no reasoning with you, ..
    I already said so. Your post really contains less reasoning more rhetoric.

    You started with that juvenile “If you know your geography..”. I guess my sin was that I forgot that insulting others was only a liberal right.

    ‘The trouble started when Mexican drug cartels began to take their fight into the other side of the border using the very lax rules of immigration. – So you mean when I wrote immigration, I was talking about immigration reform? That conclusion was lovely!!! You actually need some help in understanding the English.
    I’m done. – No, please. Cite your above post to your English teacher and ask for a refund. There is a good possibility that you would get it.

Share your thoughts below.

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Share your opinions responsibly. Stay on topic. Please note that by posting a comment, you indicate consent to the terms and conditions of this site. First-timers, please read the comments policy here

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.