A critique by a cultural nationalist

But freedom does not come at the cost of patriotism

Gaurav (the doubting one), in his own style, writes why he thinks a “rightist, secular, libertarian national Party” cannot make an impact.

The liberal discourse may have promise in the beginning, but end result is always delusion of epic proportions.

Since our honourable liberals are too busy pontificating about self evident truths and logical fallacies, these most venerable maharishis can not even deign to consider the idea, that may be life is not clock work, to be explained by elegant mathematical expressions, or nice looking economic models, or “self-interest”. Or that context matters, or that India is a civilization, that this civilization is a force for good,worth cherishing, worth preserving, and that this must be taken into account when constructing social and political arguments. And may be, dare I suggest, 42 is not the answer.

This marked indifference and attitude of dismissal towards Indic civilization is the best case. In the worst case, any mention of Indian culture in liberal circles result in automatic contempt and ridicule. [Something like life]

There are some important takeaways there for those interested in the current discourse over strengthening the political narrative in India. Especially, the dangers of adopting “labels” like conservative, liberal, libertarian or secular, for that matter, nationalist—cultural or any other kind. Labels are misleading, not least because they mean different things to different people. It is small wonder that any label to enter Indian political discourse is distorted beyond recognition, to the point that no one—not least its proponents—quite knows exactly what they mean. Like “secular”, “communal”, “social justice”, “Hindu”, “backward”, “liberal” and the list goes on.

Gaurav’s alternative title for his post is “from India lovers to freedom lovers”. Yet the two are hardly mutually exclusive. It is possible to be an India lover and a Kannada lover and a Ghazal lover and a Hilsa lover and a Mac lover and a Scotch lover and a freedom lover at the same time. But is possible only if India remains a country of freedom lovers.

25 thoughts on “A critique by a cultural nationalist”

  1. “Yet the two are hardly mutually exclusive.”

    As premises to hang your world view on, they are.

    “But is possible only if India remains a country of freedom lovers.”

    Without loving India, India will not remain a country 🙂

  2. Gaurav

    Without loving India, India will not remain a country

    And you think it will if it’s not a freedom loving one?

  3. >> “rightist, secular, libertarian national Party”

    Well, you can’t be rightist just for the sake of it. Nor can you be secular or liberal just because they are your beliefs. As long as you keep your thought process based on sound reason, logic and fact and of course manage to keep it honest; you will choose the right path.

    Imho Nitin and Gourav belong to the same school of thought but are having a debate over its nomenclature.

    – Sri

  4. Nitin,

    “And you think it will if it’s not a freedom loving one?”

    Most probably, yes. A third world hellhole, but yes.

  5. Srirangan

    As long as you keep your thought process based on sound reason, logic and fact and of course manage to keep it honest; you will choose the right path. That’s the essence of good governance. But you have labels for that too: pragmatism, technocracy. 🙂

    Of course, Gaurav and I belong to the same school of thought. But we also went to other schools, which perhaps explains the difference.

  6. One just has to brutally go for the national interest. But what constitutes a national interest is moot and subjective.

  7. Nitin, I tend to agree with Gaurav in a way. In my opinion the leftists have succeeded in instilling a sense of shame in us about our past. You only have to look at the writing of guys like Krish: from a recent post –

    There is absolutely no difference between Hamas and Al Qaeda kinda organizations, that involves itself in violence, and Hindutva organizations.

    A fight against them should be in all fronts. I do not advocate the state to promote Hinduism, thats none of the state’s business, but such unchecked scorn on Hinduism which atleast 40% of the populace adopts as its (main)identity is simply counterproductive.

  8. Sriram

    Sure. It’s hard to disagree with that. While we could agree in principle that checking the pouring of scorn may be desirable, in practice “checking”, “pouring” and “scorn” are all very subjective terms. The downward spiral of competitive intolerance is a direct result of how good intentions can be counterproductive in practice.

    The question—and I suppose this is where I disagree with ‘cultural nationalists’—is what would constitute an appropriate reaction. If checking the pouring of scorn on any religion/culture means rewarding intolerance and violence, then that’s counterproductive.

    I’d be more comfortable with ‘cultural nationalism’ if its votaries defended the right to pour scorn with as much vigour as it defends the need to check the pouring of it.

  9. Nitin, I agree with you on the rights issue. That is why I said the state should not interfere in such matters. No legislation. Everything should be kosher. I meant the checks to come from a vigilant intelligentsia and the appropriate reaction would be counter arguments. But more often than not as pointed by Gaurav such intelligentsia are indifferent.

  10. ideology is all hogwash, any party needs to win elections, thats done on ever silver kuthivelakus and sombus. when time comes for policy, its decided to maximise politicians welfare. where is room for ideology?

    everyone is a capitalist. libertarian, right wing, left wing, all humbug, the omnipotent truth is capitalism.

  11. So lets form a bloggers party, supported by the upper castes and dalits, steal mayawatis votes, and win elections, and make ourselves rich.

    Nitin u game? other INI bloggers/readers speak up. Nitin of course will be public face, i will graciously offer tohandle the kuthivelaku and sombu distribution and also offer graciously to maximise the welfare of all those involved.

  12. But nitin, the assumption that a free society can guarantee – by keeping patriotism strong or otherwise – the progress or even stability of India, is more or less unfounded. Why more, freedom cannot guarantee its own survival; it might not be long before Europe becomes a Eurabia.

  13. froginthewell

    assumption that a free society can guarantee – by keeping patriotism strong or otherwise – the progress or even stability of India, is more or less unfounded.

    Well, at worst, I’d say it is an unproven hypothesis. But on the contrary, there is plenty of evidence to the effect that the lack of freedom is actually blocking the progress and damaging the stability of India.

  14. Nitin,

    “And you think it will if it’s not a freedom loving one?”

    Most probably, yes. A third world hellhole, but yes.

    Frankly, I am speechless. You know that you are fighting a losing battle when the place becomes more important than the people.

  15. >> Nitin,

    >> “And you think it will if it’s not a freedom loving one?”

    >> Most probably, yes. A third world hellhole, but yes.

    >>>> Frankly, I am speechless. You know that you are fighting a losing battle when the place
    >>>> becomes more important than the people.

    Ahh.. his smugness himself 🙂

    Ill let Gaurav speak for himself, but (I think) I get his distinction between India lovers and ‘freedom lovers’. You see, first of all, freedom lovers is used here as a put down, catch all desi livertarians, term.

    Now it is a very aptly chosen phrase, after all, ostensibly, and quite ostentatiously, there is no one who loves freedom more than our desi livertarian. After all, non-livertarians either want to give up their freedom, or want to take away the freedom of others.

    Its also a very cleverly chosen phrase, hopefully it’ll be useful in needling many many more people in future. Why so, you ask ? Because no desi livertarian will deny that he (99% of all desi livertarians are he, rest are experimental errors :-P) is a freedom lover, yet the term pokes fun at the pretentiousness of such a nom de guerre.

    Now once in a while, we will have a desi livertarian who misses the sarcasm, and will promptly and proudly assume the ‘freedom lover’ epithet, and will cause a fair amount of sniggering in the non-livertarian camp..

    Thank you Patrix, your comment was cause for bringing some joy to the hapless non-livertarian world 😛

    Sudeep

  16. Continuing from the last comment, heres the editorial comment in desi pundit – by Mr. Confused, a desi pundit contributor – while linking to Gaurav’s freedom lover post.

    >
    ‘As you can see, the dictator isn’t too impressed with the idea of a libertarian party.
    >

    DUHHHhhUHHhh…Its so obvious, someone who isnt a livertarian, must be a dictator.. 😛

    Now unless there is a sar-chasm between me and Mr Confused, this illustrates desi livertarian thought process quite well.

  17. ”DUHHHhhUHHhh…Its so obvious, someone who isnt a livertarian, must be a dictator.. :-P”

    First of all I am not a libertarian. I believe in right of center ideology, I believe in freedom but I also believe in the concept of nation state. Your assumption is incorrect.

    Second, if you had read Gaurav’s blog regularly, you would have known exactly why the term ”dictator” was used. Perhaps, you should ask the man himself instead of jumping to conclusions.

    The joke is on you, my friend.

  18. First this debate is waste, what india needs is a party which adheres to the capitalist ideology of welfare maximisation of the individual. Basically screw the society my welfare matters. I will form such a party soon, and you are invited to join the party. Anyone who places their welfare over the others is welcome to join, but they must swear allegiance to god, the god called money.

  19. “Frankly, I am speechless. You know that you are fighting a losing battle when the place becomes more important than the people.”

    But I am amused, India is a “place”. This is what happens when people confuse their adequacy with intelligence.
    This is also the reason, I believe that democracy is a good system as long as it doesn’t work.

  20. the lack of freedom is actually blocking the progress and damaging the stability of India.

    There is no doubt about that ( Nehruvian growth, for instance ). What I am questioning is the blanket assumption that freedom in every single issue is necessarily conducive to the survival, well being and progress of the society – which rather than freedom should be the real end of human endeavour ( freedom being at best the means ).

    I think gaurav’s definitions of “freedom lovers” and “India lovers” were stronger – so that they became mutually exclusive. Freedom lovers are people who unquestioningly accept individualist notions of freedom, thus supporting a situation in which there is no means to ensure the survival and progress of India – something which is of higher priority than freedom as far as India lovers are concerned ( gaurav please correct me if I’m wrong ).

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