I’ve been in touch with Prodyut Bora of LDP over the past year (the party’s website is currently down – has the party shut down?).
Produyt has a problem with freedom. He thinks there is a thing called “excesses” of “unregulated capitalism”. He is smitten by the Scandinavian model.
After a long (but broken, due to poor telephone connectivity in the North East) conversation over phone in mid-2016, I wrote to him about the pros and cons of the scandinavian model on 24 July 2016. There was no response.
A few months ago Prodyut contacted me to try to merge our efforts. I suggested once again to him that we can only work together (even merge) if we agree on ideology. That meant agreeing in principle to the SBP manifesto. He needed to get on board with the principles of liberty. His current model is skewed towards “social welfare”, an undefined and potentially dangerous term. There is a very slippery slope here, which can move him quickly into extremes of socialism.
I invite him to read the following note by Mises: Middle of the Road Policy leads to Socialism [Available here].
It now appears someone called Durlov Baruah thinks that LDP is a liberal party. It is not!!
Let me elaborate by using LDP’s own ideological document that was (till the other day) published on its website [copy is now on my server]. My comments are in blue.
Liberal Democratic Party: Our Ideology
The ideology of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is a combination of social & economic liberalism, and social democracy, customised to our local context.
Classical liberalism talks of an ideal world [Sanjeev: since when did Adam Smith or Locke or Jefferson or anyone else EVER talk about an ideal world?] in which man is free, acts rationally [Sanjeev: there is no presumption in liberalism about “rationality”] and optimises his personal gains—and in doing so achieves social harmony. [Sanjeev: liberalism is not about “social harmony” but about the right of each human to pursue his/her interests in peace so long as he/she doesn’t harm others].
This is operable in an ideal world but we all know that we live in an unequal, irrational world where strife is more the norm than exception. So how do we balance, for example, the excesses of unregulated capitalism, with the need to give every individual an honest shot at life, such that nobody is left behind? [Sanjeev: This is PRECISELY how all anti-liberty arguments – all of them bogus – start off; by making false claims and undermining liberty. They don’t tell us how politicians – who will presumably “fix” the “problem” are more rational or “ideal” than the rest of us]
The answer is: by combining the positive attributes of a liberal mindset with the compassionate sentiments of a social democratic heart. [Sanjeev: This is 100 per cent socialist – “compassionate sentiments!!” – first of all who has stopped anyone from being compassionate? What Prodyut is building is a strong case for state intervention and theft – of taxes]
The origins of social democracy can be traced to the various workers’ parties that rose in Europe in the mid-19th century. [Sanjeev: Now Prodyut admits that his ideological basis is in Fabian socialism – also linked strongly to socialist labour parties.] A couple of decades later, as trade unions began to be legalised, the idea that working class people could improve their lot through democratic participation began to gain ground.
This ideological path, however, split into two towards the turn of the century, when socialists argued that a revolution was a necessary precondition to a classless society, and social democrats responded that change was desirable in incremental small steps through peaceful constitutional means. [Sanjeev: that’s PRECISELY FABIAN SOCIALISM]
Social democracy that talked of justice for the labouring class took strong roots in Scandinavia and then spread to the American continent and the rest of the world. [Sanjeev: Now, of course, Prodyut is quite out of his depth, and we could potentialy leave him here, but I’ll do a bit more reading]
the idea that social equity was possible—and desirable—only within a liberal democratic-capitalist framework took shape only with the rise of the British economist John Maynard Keynes with what came to be called Keynesianism. … This Keynesian dictum then has been the challenge for all liberal democratic parties around the world: how do you combine economic efficiency with social justice, without in any way encroaching upon individual liberty? And this remains a challenge for us at LDP as well. [Sanjeev: Here Prodyut effectively admits to being a Keynesian. What further proof of the socialist ideology of LDP can possibly be needed?]
[Note: I’ve not gone into the question of governance reforms which is yet another thing that requires detailed analysis of incentives and an understanding of human behaviour]
Finally, once again, let me make clear my proposition: that India needs a liberal party, and that the only liberal agenda today exists in India in the form of SBP’s manifesto.
We can definitely improve SBP’s manifesto. But it is critical to adopt the manifesto as the first in trying to work together for reform.