Blame Lefties if India Elects a Hindu Nationalist Hardliner


India right now is in the middle of the most critical elections in its 67-year-old post-Independence history. That's because the frontrunner, Narendra Modi, is directly challenging the development paradigm that was bestowed on the country by its founder, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru was a Fabian Socialist who offered India democratic political rights — while sharply curtailing its economic freedoms.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist with a severe case of authoritarianism, has taken a hefty lead by effectively reversing this formula and vowing not to let India's messy democracy stand in the way of economic liberalization to generate growth and jobs, I note in Foreign Policy today.

Modi is a sham free marketer who has offered no clear policy agenda for economic reforms. But he has still earned a cult following by forging a rhetoric that gives voice to the soaring economic aspirations of Indians

Narendra Modi
India Today

. As I point out:

This is in stark contrast to the ruling Congress Party, which has been controlled by the Nehru dynasty since its inception.

It has taken inspiration from the National Advisory Council that Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Party head and the Italian widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has stacked with like-minded NGO activists (essentially community organizers) and leftist intellectuals. Most of them oppose India's turn to "neoliberalism" and privatization and believe that the old recipe of "social spending" and industry mandates is the answer to poverty. Congress has followed this advice with a vengeance for the last 10 years, granting massive new entitlements for subsidized grains in the name of "food security" to 67 percent of the population, and guaranteeing a minimum income to all rural families. It also implemented the Right to Education Act that requires private schools to set aside 25 percent of their seats for the poor and lower castes.

Rahul Gandhi, Sonia's blunderbuss son who is Congress's undeclared candidate for prime minister, has made such "rights," rather than reform, the cornerstone of his campaign. In the past, this would have generated a voting bonanza. Not this time. A recent Pew Research poll found that 70 percent Indians are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. And with good reason. Such schemes won't even offset the double-digit inflation that has been playing havoc with household budgets. More importantly, they betray a complete tin ear, offering a mere subsistence existence when, thanks to the brief experience of real growth, people want something approaching dignified living…

That Indians seem ready to risk political repression for vague promises of an economic transformation shows just how desperate they are to improve their living standards. This suggests that Nobel laureate Milton Friedman was right that political freedom requires a foundation of wealth that only economic freedom can generate. (The Heritage Foundation ranks India 120th among 165 countries in its economic freedom index, putting it in the group of "mostly unfree" countries.) Political liberties are a luxury that people care about more when they have fuller bellies. Richer people also have more means of resistance and become costlier to oppress.

Go here to read the whole thing.

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  1. I know, I could read the whole article, but what is posted makes several accusations of “repression” and “authoritarian” with zero support. At the high level in the article, we appear to be given a choice between a member of the Ruling Party which has presided over corruption and a profoundly anti-liberty “social” and economic agenda, and this guy who is apparently in favor of reversing that agenda.

    If he’s worse than the corruptocrat, you might tell us why.

    1. I read the whole fucking thing before commenting. If I was a liberty-minded Indian national,one not prone to massacring train-loads of Hindu pilgrims, I’d vote for him.

      1. Is paying lip service to vaguely free market ideas all someone has to do to get your vote?

    2. Cosmotarian internationalists do not have to answer to the likes of you…or me…or logic and rational debate…

      or pretty much anything really.

      If you disagree you are a ratfucker.

    3. If he is indeed a sham free marketer then it would be easy to see why he would be at best the lesser of two evils.

    4. You didn’t see the Shikha Dalmia by-line?

      Several of the accusations would fit right in in a Salon article attacking Rand Paul.

  2. Hindu Socons!

    What is it with Reason-writers slamming potential positive political change back in the old country?

    Feeney with UKIP

    Shikha with the BJP

    1. Shikha makes a pretty good case that Modi sucks. He likes banning literature and he even sucks on the economics file-he was against FDI in retail because those poor mom and pop stores would get hurt.

      1. Shikha makes a pretty good case that Modi sucks.

        Worse than the corruptocrat?

        1. Romney versus Obama.

          1. Mechabomney Robamabot, GO.

            If it’s true that we’re not free unless we’re free to make the wrong decisions, our electoral freedom is the best in the world.

      2. He sucks less than the Sikh-slaughtering socialist INC.

        On book banning in India: edify yo’self

      3. Shikha makes a pretty good case that Modi sucks.

        Where was that?

        I can’t seem to find it in the actual article.

        I saw she called him an authoritarian…is that all it takes?

        1. I recommend RTFA, especially the parts where Modi is for economic freedom except when he’s not and the parts where he allowed an anti-Muslim riot to kill 2,000 people and the part where he may have had people killed extra-judicially.

          1. he allowed an anti-Muslim riot to kill 2,000 people

            790 Muslims 254 Hindus is the official total.

            1. Okay so it was only 1,044, so much better (with another 223 missing).

              And official numbers are never wrong.

              1. If the official number is off by 1000, it’s just as likely that only 44 people were killed.

                1. No, it’s not. This isn’t calculating the margin of error of a polling sample. The odds of being off by X in one direction is not necessarily equal to the odds of being off by X in the other direction in this instance.

          2. I recommend RTFA

            I read the article. None of that is in the article.

            1. Did you read the full article and not just what’s posted on Reason?

          3. You know who else had people killed extra-judicially?

    2. You forget the relatively free market AKP in Turkey that also gets constant criticism comapared the the secular socialists.

  3. So India is stuck with the same binary lesser-of-two-evils system as we are?

    1. Who said anything about the lesser of two evils?

  4. Not seeing the evidence for rampant authoritanism that the challenger is being tarred with. Liberalizing a socialist economics system seems like the opposite of authoritarianism.

    1. From the linked article:

      “In every other way, he is a highly flawed candidate — and not only because he is a megalomaniac who holds multiple, simultaneous rallies across the state, “attending” each one using 3-D holographic technology, as if to suggest his omnipotence.”

      Really? Efficiently campaigning so your message reaches more voters is evidence of megalomania?

      1. That was a dumb passage, but the article makes clear that Modi cheers for banning literature that offends Hindu hardliners, presided over Hindu murder of Muslims, and was probably involved in extra-judicial killings.

        I was very sceptical and broadly pro-Modi before reading the article. Now he looks bad to me.

        1. “cheers for banning literature that offends Hindu hardliners”

          This screams for an Al Gore comparison.

          1. Oh, stop that, Al just wants to save the planet.

          2. Or Tipper Gore who wanted to ban rock music, or Hillary Clinton who wanted to ban GTA 3.

            I wonder if Shikha Dalmia is going to call Hilary a nationalist authoritarian in 2016…

            Modi may be the next satan…but i do not see the case being made.

            1. I wonder if Shikha Dalmia is going to call Hilary a nationalist authoritarian in 2016

              I can think of a few things to call her, and none of them are fit for children to hear.

            2. Diversion.

        2. Read the whole article. He seems somewhat bad by American standards — our President directly authorizes killing brown people who are mostly foreigners, while this guy may or may not be directly involved in killing citizens of another religious faith than him — but if you’re starving under a socialist “utopia” that is running the economy into the ground, and aren’t Muslim, I could see how this guy might seem less evil than the alternative.

          1. Perfect Al Gore comparison. Thank you.

          2. our President directly authorizes killing brown people who are mostly foreigners, while this guy may or may not be directly involved in killing citizens of another religious faith than him

            Wow we got some false equivalence going on here with bonus derp: killing brown people in War on Al-Quaida = bad; killing Muslims for sectarian reasons = meh we’ll live with it.

            1. Equivalence means equal. I said he’s worse than Obama.

              And if you think Obama’s unconstitutional, no due process, “I can kill anyone I want and brag about it in front of cameras” sociopathy is somehow laudable, well, someone certainly has the derp going here.

              1. Shorter: they’re both murdering people without any due process or regard for the rule of law. Obama is not as bad because at least he’s mostly not killing his subjects.

      2. Using the same technology that reanimated Fifty Cent is a little bit grandiose, yeah. If Skype is good enough for big-time American CEOs, a projector is good enough for this guy.

        1. Using the same technology that reanimated Fifty Cent

          Wait, what?

          1. Fucking… Tupac. Fuck!

            1. The Grand Inca used a hologram? The History Channel dudes were right after all, they really did have alien technology!

                1. I dunno, If a guy with a name as badass sounding as Fransisco Vasquez-De-Coronado, couldn’t find them…

                2. When we find the cities of gold we will discover that gold has fallen to a dollar per ton.

            2. Fucking… Tupac. Fuck!

              Don’t feel bad.

              50 cent pretty much is zombified Tupac.

              The slow rigor mortis kind not those bullshit fast zombies.

      3. I wonder how cool the writer of that passage thought that rap guy using a hologram of a dead rap guy was?

        Does the writer view electric cars in the same light, i.e., cool depends on who is using the gadget?

      4. using 3-D holographic technology

        It’s HIM, the Anti-Christ!

      5. That is a pretty dumb thing to criticize him for

    2. He’s a SoCon, the epitome of EVUL.

  5. I can’t grasp these Indian politics. What makes it worse is that I know, have known quite a few Indians, and work with several of them right now. When I ask them about politics in India, they seem as if they couldn’t be more indifferent. They seem totally disinterested in politics, period. They seem to be a lot more interested in their religion, superstitions and legends, and making money.

    Maybe that’s why this guy is way out in front. He cares about religion and money, and that makes sense to them.

    1. Being interested in religion, or at least paying careful attention to what is happening on that front, makes sense in a history of frequent religious massacres by two groups that fucking hate each other, if you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the next massacre.

      When you’re starving and dirt poor, being interested in making money seems like a highly rational response.

    2. He cares about religion and money, and that makes sense to them.

      This jives with my personal observations of my ex-wife and in-laws, broadly speaking (From the old country Indians, obviously). Religion matters in India in a way it hasn’t in America in at least 100 years and it’s very hard to make easy comparisons with American politics because of it.

      That said I think this guy is a nutjob, but there aren’t many good guys in Indian politics last I checked. I have a feeling he’ll win, just hope he doesn’t start the big one with Pakistan.

      1. Yeah. I have worked with a couple of these guys for more than 5 years, and we talk a lot. I really have not met many Indians that I don’t like, most of them are the nicest people you will ever meet.

        They love to talk about their religion and will talk to you about it all day. You can tell that they genuinely love to talk about this and a lot of their beliefs, which I think of as superstitions, they love talking about those things and I actually find some of it quite fascinating.

        But talk about politics. I have never seen an Indian take any interest in the subject, at all.

      2. One of Modi’s few solid upsides is that he will take Pakistan on and make them pay for the evils they have inflicted on India.

  6. But was Friedman right about helping Pinochet repress the people of Chile?


  7. Nehru was a Fabian Socialism

    They named a whole swath of collectivist authoritarian socialist gibberish after him too?

    1. Don’t be such a linguistic prescriptivism.

      1. Don’t be a hater. Kill the haters.

    2. Now corrected with nary a peep from the author..

      1. Readers are what make writers great.

  8. OT:

    There’s some dude in Iowa who knows who Radley Balko is:

    Tanks in Iowa

    1. They say they might need it in case of a school shooting? How exactly?

      If there is shooting in a school you get out of the tank and rush in. That is all.

      A year ago my local sheriff in an informal conversation said ” If you are a deputy and there is shooting in a school, you are going in. There comes a time in every law enforcement career when you have to ante up, and that is one of those times.”.

      A fucking tank is useless. Whoever said that should be fired.

  9. I don’t see the problems with this guy — what is the evidence for him being a Hindu nationalist, and how is Hindu nationalism defined? Is Hindu nationalism even a bad thing?

    Seems to me like this guy is in favor of economic liberalization, and if so I wish him the best of luck — India surely needs it.

    1. It seems like Shikha is confusing “theocrat” with “nationalist”.

      1. Yeah, since Hinduism is actually a religion, not a country.

      2. Not necessarily. Hindutva is basically the Indian Hindu version of Religious Zionism, i.e. India is the traditional homeland of the Hindu faith and Hindus and Hindu culture should receive primary recognition within its borders.

        1. Well, they surely cannot be as evil as the Zionist Joos!

          1. Indians are Jews, you idiot. They invented Hinduism to pull the wool over your goyim eyes. Israel is merely the appendage; India is the beast. Didn’t you ever wonder why Muslims hate both Israel and India? It’s because they know the truth.

              1. Ruby Meyers… yum.

            1. Well, they don’t look, dress, or behave anything alike, or speak the same native language, or have the same superstitions. They sure are some really good pullers of the wool.

              I guess in 10 years when those 2 groups make up 90% of the population of Maryland, maybe then they will pull the masks off and we will learn their true identity.

              You know, I just thought of something really weird. One of the Indians that I work with lives in my neighborhood, and there are a LOT of Jews in this neighborhood also. He told me, I am not making this up, that if he is walking down the street and a Jew is approaching him on the same side of the street, that when they see him, they cross to other side of the street.

              1. Are they Chasidic Jews? Or any of the other types that dress distinctively? Otherwise, how does he know?

                1. Since they only wear black, with long sleeves, all summer long, and with black hats, and no one else dresses that way, it’s pretty damn obvious.

                  1. I see. He shouldn’t feel bad then. The Black Hats cross the street for everybody who isn’t them.

                    1. The Black Hats cross the street for everybody who isn’t them.

                      I’m not sure if you are serious, or not, but I lol’d.

                2. Otherwise, how does he know?

                  He has his kid walk a block in front of them and occasionally drops a nickel. He merely avoids the families that start fighting over them.

              2. They sure are some really good pullers of the wool.

                Israel’s most famous king was a shepherd by trade; of course they would be masters of pulling wool over they eyes of others.

                I guess in 10 years when those 2 groups make up 90% of the population of Maryland, maybe then they will pull the masks off and we will learn their true identity.

                When they proclaim it the Sovereign Republic of Hinderusalem, you will know.

                He told me, I am not making this up, that if he is walking down the street and a Jew is approaching him on the same side of the street, that when they see him, they cross to other side of the street.

                Serious talk: there is a weird thing between Indians and Jews. Apparently, Israel polls absurdly well in India (IIRC, the only country in the world where Israel enjoys higher support than the US), and there are extensive economic, military and science/tech ties between Israel and India. As HM noted above, there are also odd parallels between Hindu nationalist movements and religious Zionism. Both countries’ struggles with Islam is also an interesting factor. They both started out as essentially socialist non-aligned states. It is a strange interaction, considering the completely different cultures and religions at play.

                1. You know, seriously talking here also. My Indian friend actually moved to this neighborhood because he knew it has a high Jewish population. Not sure how much to make of that since most of the neighborhoods here that have a high Jewish population are very nice and safe neighborhoods. But anyway, he seems to have high regard for them.

                  But then there was the day he told me about the thing wehre they always cross the street when they see him coming. He didn’t say it in a way like he was annoyed or pissed about it. But he clearly thought it must have some meaning, you know?

  10. how is Hindu nationalism defined? Is Hindu nationalism even a bad thing?

    You burn books and Muslims?

    1. Huh. I didn’t read the linked article, but is this proven or hearsay?

      Would be nice to see an economically free India.

      1. I don’t know if it’s true or just hearsay.

        Would be nice to see an economically free India.

        What I have been told is that India is a sort of caste society where it is literally impossible to move up the social ladder. If you are born poor, you are poor and you just accept that. Or I guess, get a H1-B visa to work in the USA. It was maybe 10 years ago that an Indian guy told me that. Maybe it has changed since then, I don’t know.

        They still have arranged marriages, though. A friend of mine, his wife came here against the wishes of her family to marry him and I guess she was shunned for years before they finally forgave her and accepted the husband. Not sure what he had to do, but I bet it involved some sort of payment.

        1. Dalmia has written about Modi before, and I’ve pointed out how what she says about him, and India in general should be taken with a salt mine. I really don’t want to rehash my arguments here, but if you’re interested…and I know you really aren’t…but you could always search for her previous posts.

          1. How do you know I’m really not? I do have Indian friends, and I actually want to go there one day, as I’ve already been invited. My friends go once a year, for a month each time. As I said though, they won’t talk about politics.

            1. I’m also interested, if you want to throw in your two cents. *shrugs*

          2. You could say that about almost everything Shikha writes. I make it a point to compliment her when she isn’t wrong. Has to be about 2-3 times now.

          3. Shikhia has supported all of her statements here. She’s in the right, your apologism for Hindu-Buddhist chauvinism notwithstanding.

            1. How is it “Hindu-Buddhist chauvanism,” if that’s even a thing, unless he has come out and said he wants to establish a state-enforced case system where all others are treated differently?

              Perhaps he’s a nationalist and a serious Hindu, but unless he wants to use the state as muscle against others I think his economic policy needs to be taken seriously for anyone that would like to see India not continue down their kleptocratic path.

            2. Go fuck yourself. I haven’t engaged in any apologia on this thread, much less Hindu-Buddhist. And what the fuck does Buddhism have to do with the topic at hand, other than that you remembered I am a Buddhist. All you’ve done is shown your ignorance of Hindutva Movement’s clashes with Ambedkar’s (not that you’d know who he was without Google-ing) neo-Buddhist movement converting lower-caste dalits to Buddhism. Remember how I mentioned above that Hindutva wants to outlaw religious conversions? That’s one reason why.

              Again, not that you would know any of that beforehand, because that would have required actually knowing something about the topic at hand before spouting off some bullshit.

              Now, if you’re done shitting all over yourself, we’d like to get back to having a mature and intellectually honest discussion of the topic without having to deal with one of your petulant little hissy-fits of ignorance combined with arrogance.

              1. Not worth your time, HM.

                I forgot that you are Buddhist, until you just brought it up.

                My son-in-law is Buddhist, as well.

              2. I was referring to your previous apologia for the 969 movement and its disdain for/targeting of Rohingyan Muslims. Casually dismissing Modi’s problems with Muslims is consistent with this previous behavior. BTW it is you that just threw the hissy fit here. I know plenty regarding the topic at hand it is you that keeps telling us to take what Shikhia says with salt but can’t tell us what she has gotten wrong. Perhaps you should take some STFU for this one? Maybe focus on something you’re a little less emotional over, hm?

            3. Despite Buddhism having originated in India, there’s basically no Buddhist presence in India today — and as a religious philosophy which originated (in part) as a critique of embryonic Vedic Hinduism, I don’t see how any Buddhist would have an interest in defending Hinduism.

              1. I didn’t realize that the 2 religions are associated in any way?

                1. The original Buddha (accept no substitutes), Gautama, was born in northern India. The prevailing religion at the time was Brahminism (a direct precursor to Hinduism), and much of the Buddha’s philosophy was in response to how it treated the problem of human suffering. (Gautama and his followers didn’t agree with the Vedic ideas of reincarnation and as a result didn’t have very kind things to say about the caste system, for starters.)

        2. What I have been told is that India is a sort of caste society where it is literally impossible to move up the social ladder.

          The caste system has been virtually eliminated. People can’t move up the ladder because they’re a socialist hell where you can’t advance without political connections.

          There have actually been several lower caste people elected to major political office in India. The problem with India is that pretty much the only way for anyone to move up the ladder is through political connections and court politics.

          1. Thanks for the info. Like I said, it was 10 years ago that the guy told me that, and I don’t even know how long it had been since he had been back there.

            The problem with India is that pretty much the only way for anyone to move up the ladder is through political connections and court politics.

            Sounds like the new cronyism way of Murika.

          2. The caste system has been virtually eliminated.

            Politically yes, culturally fuck no.

            1. Politically yes, culturally fuck no.

              I guess the pertinent question is: has it been eliminated for legal purposes? Because you are gonna take a lot longer to culturally change biases, but as long as they are finally enjoying some kind of equal protection regardless of caste, then I’m OK with them.

              1. Not only has it been eliminated for legal system, they have caste based affirmative action.

                Shockingly, this type of affirmative action hasn’t worked any better than the American kind.

                1. I would mention that as of 2014, certain groups high-caste Brahmins in rural India use fear, intimidation, and violence to keep low-caste dalits from exercising their rights. But then I guess that’s apologia for Hindu-Buddhist-Jain-Skih chauvinism, I guess.

                  Fuck this shit, I’m watching Hoarders.

                  1. That show can get a little disturbing.

                2. I didn’t know that, other than them forcing the private schools to reserve 25% of their slots for poor people.

                  Shockingly, this type of affirmative action hasn’t worked any better than the American kind.

                  This is my shocked face.

            2. Obviously. The point is, a caste system would not withstand legitimate economic growth. There’s a reason you don’t see peasants in Germany anymore, despite the fact that they were essentially an unpropertied class throughout most of that country’s history.

              Socialism is the drag on India, not the caste system.

              1. And yet the US is going full bore into a caste system. You will have your political elite as the top caste. Their favored cronies as 2nd tier, and everyone else the serf caste. That’s where we are headed if something doesn’t stop it.

            3. “Politically yes, culturally fuck no.”

              Spot on DWT. Can add legally too, but it does not seem that anybody there wants to follow that body of law.

      2. I didn’t read the linked article,

        You should probably give that a shot before writing about it.

        1. Eh, I’m here for my enjoyment — and if an excerpt can’t make its point without being clear or persuasive, that’s not my problem.

          I will say that if the allegations about being some kind of mob inciter against Muslims is true, that’s one thing — but I haven’t seen evidence of it, and Irish’s comments seem just as plausible.

  11. Not particularly surprising as India is right next to China where economic liberalization has done far more for ending poverty then any planned socialism has.

    Also how is this guy an authoritarian and the leftist government which requires private schools to take in students for free isn’t authoritarian.

    This double standard is pretty much bullshit.

    1. I’ll settle for saying that they have to choose between the SoCon authoritarian and the Commie authoritarian. Sort of, you know, like the choice we always get?

      1. Here?

        The SoCon’s here are can’t even keep gay marriage illegal.

        They are declawed kittens.

        SoCons in India can be a bit more scary I guess.

        But it would be nice if actual evidence that he is the scary kind of SoCon be presented.

        1. They are declawed kittens

          Not for lack of trying. I was on a thread all day, one day last week, on another site, where the SoCon crowd were screaming for federal government death squads to be unleashed on citizens of CO for ‘illegally’ voting MJ into legal status. Lots of them were in serious agreement that a wall be built around the entire state and it turned into a giant prison camp. It was seriously disturbing.

          1. It was seriously disturbing.

            In my state where pot and gay marriage is legal I can’t build a fence taller then 6 foot around my house.

            I find actual left wing authoritarianism much more disturbing then right wingers talking shit.

            1. I typically do too, but you didn’t witness what I was talking about, it was truly some of the worst authoritarian boot licking that I’ve ever seen.

              In my state where pot and gay marriage is legal I can’t build a fence taller then 6 foot around my house

              Move to Brazil. There, you HAVE TO build a fence taller than that around your house, (:

              1. The difference is that the SoCons are losing AND dying off.

                1. Whereas the socialists just reproduce by spawning. Love the hive. Live the hive.

                  1. Many of them murder their kids in the womb. Quite a few seem to go more for recruiting in government schools than by outbreeding like Mormons do.

          2. I was on a thread all day, one day last week, on another site, where the SoCon crowd were screaming for federal government death squads to be unleashed on citizens of CO for ‘illegally’ voting MJ into legal status.


    2. Pretty good argument for an one-party state instead of multi-party elections.

  12. economic liberalizing right wing nationalist authoritarian….

    Does such a creature really exist?

    The left keep telling me he does and he is always lurching toward some 3rd world village somewhere bent on global marketing the authentic doodles of the hard working people there.

    I don’t know maybe the left wing monsters of the 20th century over shadow them so much that I can’t see them.

    1. economic liberalizing right wing nationalist authoritarian

      Well, in RHETORIC alone, yes, it’s called the GOP establishment. I mean that the economic liberalizing part is rhetoric. The rest is accurate.

      1. The rest is accurate.

        Gay married men are smoking j’s probably within a mile of where I live.

        Give me a break.

        1. I clearly see that the communication gulf between us, Corning, is that you are talking about current reality, when I am talking about INTENTION.

          IOW, if the GOP establishment had their way, there would only be cronyism, there wouldn’t be any gay marriage, and they sure as hell wouldn’t be smoking a j without fear of an armed band of thugs breaking down their door in the middle of the night.

          1. The GOP Establishment doesn’t give a shit about gay marriage. Opposing gay marriage is something they pretend to espouse for the sake of the rubes.

            If they could get reelected without pretending to oppose it, they’d stop opposing it.

            1. The dirty little secret of GOP DC is that a butt-ton of their staffers are gay and treated well by their elected bosses.

              But they have to be hypocrites to get reelected.

          2. INTENTION.

            Looking up to my original post…

            What the fuck are you even talking about?

  13. Question: How much expertise does Dalmia have in Indian politics and culture? I know she’s Indian, but her articles about India always seem very shallow and almost stereotyped. I don’t feel like I’m reading the work of someone with in-depth knowledge of the subject.

    Looking at her bio, she was a journalist in Detroit as early as 1996. She’s been in America for at least 18 years, and probably much longer than that, so it isn’t as if there’s any reason to believe she has a great grasp of current Indian politics.

    This comment also makes me question some of Dalmia’s claims in the article:

    You’re lying of course – it wasn’t Modi’s “party goons” roaming streets in 2002. The reality is that a Muslim mob torched a train full of Hindus, burning 59 men, women and children to death. This set off a backlash from ordinary residents, which occurred in a few specific towns. The more severe instances of rioting were just local gang elements who have nothing to do with political parties.


    1. The real problem is that India’s journalism is even more corrupt than its politics, with professional liars like yourself trying to tell any tall tale in as sensationalistic a manner as possible, in order to turn the most heads and attract the most page views. You find it more entertaining to spin yarns which demonize Mr Modi and pretend he orchestrated riots, when the reality is much more mundane. I notice that you’ve deliberately omitted any references to riots committed by the Congress Party, like the 1984 Riots which were far more gruesome and deadly, where vengeful Congress Party cadres massacred over 10,000 Sikhs across India – over 3,000 on the streets of Delhi alone.

      1. This person sounds like a Modi fan with a case of the Butthurts. Even if Modi’s partisans weren’t the ones killing people, he did nothing to stop them.

        Everything that Dalmia wrote is pretty accurate, especially Modi’s so-so vague commitment to economic liberalization.

        1. Except that even a modicum of research shows some flaws in her logic.

          Example, Dalmia writes:

          But such accusations simply roll off the backs of fed up Indians who see Modi as a tough, smart, and incorruptible administrator with a track record of success in turning a resource-poor state like Gujarat into an economic powerhouse. Gujarat’s record is, indeed, impressive. It contains only 5 percent of India’s population but accounts for 25 percent of its exports. But there are arguably other states — Harayana, Mahrastra, Andhra Pradesh — with better growth records, suggesting that Modi’s real gift is political marketing.

          Problem: If you look at a chart of growth rates by Indian state, you’ll see that Gujarat has seen it’s growth rate increase more than those other states. Mahrastra’s and Andra Pradesh’s fastest growth rates were 2005-2006. On the other hand, Gujarat has seen an increase in growth rate every year, except for an insignificant .04% decline between 2008 and 2009.

          This person sounds like a Modi fan with a case of the Butthurts.

          Given the American media’s obvious biases, why should the Indian media be any more prone to truth?

          1. Fair point, but the rest stands.

      2. I think one of Modi’s former cabinet members was sentenced for a role in the riots.

    2. She’s been in America for at least 18 years, and probably much longer than that, so it isn’t as if there’s any reason to believe she has a great grasp of current Indian politics.

      Well, she doesn’t know much about America, so maybe she’s just backwards like that.

  14. The BJP is for vague economic liberalization along with opposition to immigration, support for criminalizing homosexuality and wants to recast the nation in religious terms.

    I guess I can see why so many of the ‘libertarians’ (usual suspects) here would criticize the author for her temerity to cast them as one of the two evils.

    1. Q for those in the know: why does BJP want to criminalize homosexuality (this is the first I’ve heard of it)? I was not aware that homosexuality was taboo in any of the Dharmic religions.

    2. If those were all true, why did Dalmia not feel the need to include and substantiate them in her article? Any Reason writer worth their salt knows the value most libertarians put on civil liberties and religious/atheistic freedom. Leaving that out of a takedown on a guy that seemingly wants to give more economic freedom to his nation sure is some irresponsible writing.

      1. The article itself was in Foreign Policy, so maybe she assumed most readers had heard of the BJP’s endorsement of the Supreme Courts ruling criminalizing homosexuality. I found it in a ten second google of the party.

        1. Wait, so the SC ruled homosexuality illegal…the SC that they have no part in filling as they are not in power in any sense of the word.

          Shouldn’t that be an indictment against the ruling party that put the SC in place?*

          *I know they are ultimately put there by other judges, but there is some serious political influence in who gets to the positions that are even considered.

          1. “In 2013 the Supreme court of India reinstated the controversial Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which, among other things, criminalizes homosexuality. Despite the national outcry, the BJP issued a statement supporting the verdict, stating that homosexuality was “unnatural” and therefore could not be condoned.”


            1. So you’re decrying someone that supported a decision that they took no part in penning but sit silent when it comes time to condemn the party that put all of these judges on the court?

              Are you retarded?

              1. I know I blame Bush for signing the defense of marriage act and not Clinton who actually signed it.


  15. Jim Demint on the Role of the National Government in Ending Slavery

    “Well the reason that the slaves were eventually freed was the Constitution, it was like the conscience of the American people. Unfortunately there were some court decisions like Dred Scott and others that defined some people as property, but the Constitution kept calling us back to ‘all men are created equal and we have inalienable rights’ in the minds of God. But a lot of the move to free the slaves came from the people, it did not come from the federal government. It came from a growing movement among the people, particularly people of faith, that this was wrong. People like Wilberforce who persisted for years because of his faith and because of his love for people. So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.”…..ry/360418/

    1. …is this wrong? There was a Civil Rights Movement, an abolitionist movement, etc and those were all obviously rooted in a fundamental (often religiously-motivated) notion that a human being has dignity. It’s not like Brown vs Board occurred in a vacuum or as if civil rights for blacks were granted out of the goodness of the FedGov’s heart. Today, there’s little to no racial animus in America — that didn’t just happen. What is so obviously ridiculous or idiotic about DeMint’s statement, if anything?

      1. First of all, DeMint confuses the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

        Secondly, while yes there was a largely religious movement to end or limit slavery, this only happened when federal troops forced federal provisions on slaveowners and state governments. Even Brown v. Board is a great example of the federal government having to force basic fairness on stubbornly racist state governments.

        DeMint would have done better to note the state (and at times federal) government’s role in slavery. National governments protecting basic, fundamental liberties from state overreach is not a bad thing (who here thinks federal courts striking down DC and Illinois gun laws is a bad thing?).

        1. this only happened when federal troops forced federal provisions on slaveowners and state governments

          Yes, that is what “ending slavery” meant, in the same way that “stopping a robbery” often means taking a gun and pointing in at the robber’s head. That doesn’t explain the motivation; it would be accurate to say that “robbers are stopped because the owner desires the good to remain in his possession” just as it is accurate to say “slavers were stopped because people recognized fundamental rights which extended beyond the color barrier”. It is silly to suggest that it ended merely as a result of a government program, which is what is implied by a statement like “big government ended slavery”.

      2. So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves.

        Uh, the first military draft, the first income tax, the first time the federal government had asserted that the union was a permanent arrangement. I’m leaving things out, but yeah big government definitely freed the slaves.

        Of course, the only reason there were slaves in the first place was government enforcing that, but progs only see the good their beloved God State does. They’re blind to the evil.

        1. big government definitely freed the slaves

          That’s a bit of an exaggeration. As you point out, big government (and yes, I do include the pre-Civil War Southern-dominated FedGov) perpetuated slavery before that, and a military kicking the crap out of a belligerent state is only big government in a very broad sense — the military and defense are after all the primary responsibilities of government even in a miniarchist state.

          The fact of the matter is, there was no reason or interest in the federal government freeing slaves outside of pre-existing beliefs among the people. I would say that the US and UK people’s thoughts thoughts on all people being equal were absolutely the primary motivator in the worldwide *and* the US emancipation movement. It is not like the Padishah Lincoln merely decreed it so or something like that; there was a large shift in public opinion between the Founding and the end of the Civil War which motivated the Amendments put in place after the Civil War ended, and mass movements encouraging full civil and natural rights for American blacks.

    2. The federal government, even big government of the time if you please, DID put an end to slavery.

      And I’d dare say that is one of their jobs, although I would have supported a peaceful and conscious uncoupling of the Union and Confederacy.

      Now, let’s not forget the fact that they had to rapidly expand the size and scope of government to do so, they enslaved tens of thousands of others by way of the draft and they completely disregarded the Constitution in doing so.

      But I suppose to an asshat like Demint the ends justified the means. He supported torture and voted for the USAPATRIOT Act after all.

      1. How did they “completely disregard” the Constitution? I’m not a big fan of the suspension of habeus corpus, but it is permitted by the Constitution in exactly the circumstances the Union found itself in during the Civil War.

        FedGov did what it always does after wars: shrink. Sure, it built a few railroads and did a couple other things from 1880-1900, but expansion of FedGov was largely the result of various Progressive Era crusades, WWI and (most importantly) FDR.

        1. Well, he ignored the CSA’s right to sever its relationship with the USA. He didn’t maintain uniform duties and tariffs on items throughout the entire nation (since he recognized the CSA as still being part of the US). He overstepped the 10A in about a million ways.

          Also, the USA breaking from England was legal but the CSA breaking from the USA wasn’t, even though the DoI and many founding documents recognized the sovereignty of states and that their affiliation with the union was both voluntary and severable.

          Lincoln destroyed the American ideal in his zeal to preserve it.

          1. What right did the CSA have to sever its relationship with the US? It certainly wasn’t a legal right: the Constitution says nothing about secession and its precursor (the Articles of Confederation) mention a “perpetual union”, not a severable one. It wasn’t a natural right, since governments are not found in nature and thus the question of political separation not one which arises in nature. It wasn’t a moral right, since the reason for secession was to enshrine and expand the inhuman practice of slavery. I would love an answer to this question.

            the USA breaking from England was legal

            No, it wasn’t. The US won its independence by fighting for it and justified it by appealing to natural rights, not legality. Unless you would like to argue the natural right to own a slave, I’d suggest these two examples are very different in some important ways.

            He didn’t maintain uniform duties and tariffs on items throughout the entire nation (since he recognized the CSA as still being part of the US).

            I have no idea what this is supposed to be in reference to; whether the blockade of the South (i.e., military action against insurrectionists) or the Morill Tariff (a bill passed by Pres Buchanan, and which only had the votes to pass because the Southern states had already seceded).


            1. Lincoln destroyed the American ideal

              Decades of intractable idiocy in the South, and the Northern reaction to it killed this ideal. Lincoln was just the asshole who stumbled into the barn after the horse had already been slaughtered. The Southern Democrats, it should be recalled, split off from the Northern Democrats because they fully supported Dred v Scott and supported federal legislation requiring new states entering the union to be slave states, and requiring already existing states to allow Southerners to move in with their property. Dred v Scott in particular, but Southern expansionism about slavery generally, is was killed federalism and state sovereignty, not Lincoln.

            2. In fact the British sovereign owned most of the colonial lands, and theoretically still does!

              1. Not after he signed a treaty to the contrary.

            3. Certainly, the Constitution says nothing about any power of removing a state from the Union. The Tenth Amendment accordingly applies, and the power is retained by the states, or the people. I mean, we could deny any such legal power to remove a place from the jurisdiction of the United States exists at all, but then the US recognition of Philippine independence would have been illegal.

        2. Suspension of HC is something the congress is allowed to do, not the president. Just a point of clarification.

        3. The stripping of WV from Virginia and putting Maryland under martial law were blatantly unconstitutional. Suspension of habeas corpus during invasion or insurrection is a congressional power, not a presidential one.

    3. Also, as to this: So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God.”

      I give you this: He wanted to free the slaves and send them to Liberia because he didn’t want them to be free around whites. Although he said near the end that he supported giving a few blacks the right to vote (if they served in the Union army), he was largely a vocal opponent to black citizenship and voting rights. And for good measure, Demint glosses over the fact that Lincoln didn’t free the slaves. He freed the slaves in states that were rebelling against the union.

      Fuck Jim Demint. He’s a moron.

      1. You’re quibbling. Lincoln was assassinated, but according to a variety of sources (including Frederick Douglass), he supported black citizenship and voting rights nearing the end of the war (and his life) He certainly supported abolition throughout his political career; it’s not exactly a stretch to imagine that he would have supported the Amendments which did grant blacks those rights.

        I love how libertarians are so sure that they would have made the ‘right’ decisions (whatever those were) about an aggressive, expansionist Southern neighbor with a vested interest in stirring up trouble, an anti-human philosophy and foundational myth, and a commitment to confiscating your lands and armies — oh, and which by the by was undertaking these actions without the consent of at least 1/3rd of their population.

        1. I’ll point you to Lincoln’s own words and positions.

          As for us being “so sure that we would have made the ‘right’ decisions”, I never said what I would have done in that position. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have aspired to a position of power over others that would include conscripting them into an Army where they had a decent chance of being killed.

          1. Lincoln’s views on black people were certainly not impressive by today’s standards, but they were better than most of his contemporaries. He didn’t have the authority to free the slaves in the states that weren’t in rebellion and did not want to risk those states rebelling by trying to do so in the middle of the war. He was able to justify the EP as a wartime measure authorized by his role as Commander-in-Chief.

            I agree with you regarding the draft, and I agree that Lincoln doesn’t deserve the saint-like status he has today, but that doesn’t mean the Thomas DiLorenzo caricature of him is accurate or deserved either.

        2. In 1861, Lincoln offered Virginia a deal: he would support a constitutional amendment barring any federal legislation or future constitutional amendments restricting slavery, if they promised not to secede. Some abolitionist.

      2. I can give you racist Lincoln quotes galore, but I’m assuming you’re capable of googling it.

        Lincoln didn’t free the slaves in any of the slaveholding states in the Union, and made a point that his purpose in going to war was to take away the right of people to peacefully secede from the Union, not to free the slaves.

        Saying “I hereby free all those slaves way over there where I have no control at all” is not freeing anyone.

        1. The South didn’t secede peacefully

          1. If secession was legal they had the power of eminent domain over Ft Sumter. SC attempted to compensate the US for the land in return for giving up the fort.

  16. Who do we blame for no alt-text?

  17. Ah, yes, Congress, on the side of democratic rights since . . . um . . . when, exactly? Since power passed from election-cancelling Indira Gandhi to her son Rajiv? Since control of the party was handed over to Rajiv’s widow? Now that the great-grandson of Prime Minister Nehru, grandson of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and son of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is their candidate for Prime Minister?

  18. Come on man, lets jsut roll with the punches dude.

  19. Nehru was a Fabian Socialist

    I knew there was something fishy about that guy…


  20. Here’s a crazy idea. Rather than writing about Indian politics for an American political magazine, why not stay in India and write about politics in an Indian political magazine?

    This is one of the problems with immigration – people carry the problems of their old country along with the new one. If you want to fix the problems in your old country, stay there and fix them. Don’t come to a new country and try to get the new country to fix the problems in the old country.

  21. Sounds like a solid plan brah

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