1st November 2010
Nehru’s unfortunate fascination with socialism
In this extract from BFN, I show how unfortunate it was that a man of such great intellect and talent, and one whom I admire immensely for his many contributions to India, refused to think deeply enough to see through the dangerous creed of socialism. Had Nehru been a more clear-headed thinker, I'd by now still have been in India, happily serving India in some capacity or other.
=== EXTRACT ===
- We can’t make out which capitalist societies he was referring to. I don’t know where such capitalist societies ever existed – not the USA, UK or Australia, for sure. No mass detentions and killings of the sort that routinely took place in the erstwhile USSR ever took place in these societies. Given that he lived for many years in the UK himself, where did he experience violence in the UK, apart from possibly (?) an occasional taunt for being a black student at Harrow.
- Second, even if we were to accept that there was racial discrimination in Western societies, and disregard for the poor among the nouveau riche who are ill-grounded in the logic of freedom anyway, how can one compare verbal rudeness of this sort with the Russian system where life could be taken at the whim of any petty communist party functionary? Capitalist societies had, by Nehru’s time, developed a great many protections of freedom such as the rule of law and democratic accountability of governments. Most communist leaders were, on the other hand, serial killers who revelled in the opportunity to use Marx’s socially acceptable arguments to justify their psychopathic urges. If violence was inherent in either of the two systems, it was clearly so in the Russian communist system.
- Third, in this manner of interpretation of the facts, he completely glossed over the great advances to mankind’s freedom made by capitalist societies – advances won through furious resistance to feudalism and mercantilism. No capitalist society has ever (even today) achieved complete freedom. Each generation has to work hard to stretch the boundaries of freedom by removing residual kinks. Freedom is a journey which mankind has only recently started to undertake. It is hard to explain why Nehru expected perfection from capitalist societies but was oblivious to the most blatant imperfections of socialist societies.
These experiences of the rule of law premised in freedom led to India producing a strangely confused quasi-liberal intelligentsia. Thisgroup saw the benefits of liberal institutions such as democracy, but advanced a socialist agenda; some focused entirely on religious matters, mixing religion and politics. A very confused landscape indeed.