Saturday, December 01, 2012
RSS fostering fear of modernity and contempt for politics
Given the intentional inscrutability and deliberate obfuscation that the Sangh tends to practice in its communication, it will never go on record admitting… Sangh vanguard, to put it charitably, practices a bit of sophistry when they claim that they do not meddle in the political affairs of BJP. I have observed Sangh for long, often with huge admiration at their exemplary record of social service and purposeful patriotism but also with consternation at their prejudiced pronouncements and regression in to some kind of a secretive, Marathi Brahmin brotherhood.
Denials notwithstanding, Sangh is facing a huge talent problem. Combined with intellectual atrophy it makes things worse. No transformational ideas seem to be emerging from their cloistered world. Of course, as one of my perceptive colleagues at CRI put it, Work-a-day Hindutva is as imperative and not necessarily inferior but striking the right balance holds the key. Victimhood narrative will yield diminishing returns with aspirational middle
Sangh unfortunately has not been clear on which ideological strand it wishes to promote within BJP. Currently it seems to be leaning towards the mercenary mercantilism variety… Sangh has a unique opportunity to embrace modernity that it always feared and resented… Sangh has a historic chance to leave behind embarrassing aspects of its legacy which included advocating isolationism of mind, fostering fear of modernity and contempt for politics as an instrument of socio-political change.
We need to mobilise the middle classes and the youth, who are shunning politics, into meaningful political activity. True politics is vital to reconcile conflicting interests in society, make rational choices, allocate resources wisely and enlist public support in nation-building. At the very least, we need to make ethical politics sustainable. Education, skills and employment must be at the core of our governance if we are to end discrimination by birth and poverty. We need to empower local governments and give people at the community level the opportunity to make a difference.
We need to address the challenge of short-term populism versus long-term public good. In a democratic society, there is a political price to pay for pursuing rational and sound public policies. If our quest for votes at any cost leads to short-term maximisation and instant gratification, we will be enjoying tomorrow’s fruits today, endangering the future. All parties must agree on the role of state in a modern society. No matter which party is in power, we need a clear sense of purpose and direction as a society. Parties should provide the platform and politics is the process to achieve this. It is because politics, which ought to be the solution to the nation’s crises, has become the problem itself that we are in a quandary.
A Must Read New Book on Friedrich Hayek from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy - Eamonn Butler: “Friedrich Hayek: the ideas and influence of the libertarian economist”
Hayek showed why socialist economies are made obsolete by their inability to acquire sufficient knowledge even to produce a simple product by central command, without creating massive distortions to the production of other goods. Markets undertake such tasks all the time because they fit well with the dispersed knowledge shown by visible prices along the interlinked supply chains that make up competitive market economies. Profit rewards those who discover better ways of producing what consumers are prepared to pay for. No central plan, no amount of computational genius, no advanced mathematics, can capture for a moment the dispersed knowledge or shifting tastes that constitutes what happens across whole economies. Hayek called the belief among the Left that it could be done by planners their “fatal conceit”. He agreed with Adam Smith that market prices gravitate towards but never need to settle at an ideal balance. Gavin Kennedy Emeritus Professor,
School, Heriot-Watt University