4th November 2010
Surya posted an excellent comment here, and I think it deserves it own (guest) blog post for its excellent analysis.
The left liberals usually ask, the west won the cold war, why are you still complaining. But as many conservatives have pointed out, the west (and that primarily means the conservatives) won the economic and military battles but lost out on the cultural front. And it is precisely because they lost on the front of ideas, we see free markets and trade being questioned at every turn, but governments allowed to get away with massive failures. Even this interview [see this] suggests that Soviet Union was the main threat. It never was. It is sad that it wrecked millions of Russian and European lives. But it also built an iron curtain around itself where it was safely contained.
The real threat to the west started with the new Left movement and the associated cultural shocks of the 60s and the 70s. The level of decadence seen in the west during that period, would shock even our generation which has grown up seeing everything. In India JNU was and still continues to be the breeding ground of new Left ideas.
All these might sound stereotyping and fear-mongering. But the new Left has not been marginalized by the fall of USSR. For that matter many of them despised the Soviets as imperialists. It is actually attempting to go mainstream. And India like America happens to be a permissive society (despite the new Left's claims that India is fascist ), and we are all set to be their next experimental ground.
It is not surprising that Indians generally tend to be protectionist in economic affairs and conservative in social affairs. That is the nature of a paternalistic society. But as they become more educated and refined, they become more supportive of the new Left. They start accepting Amartya Sen, Arundhati Roy and P.Sainath. Even the new citizen's movements against government owe their ideas to the new left.
They have an extremely high emphasis on democracy and believe that the solution to all ills is to introduce democracy in every affair. The Supreme court is celebrated for it's activism when it denigrates private businesses and upholds socialism. When it is exposed that food grains are rotting, the new left goes berserk that they should be distributed for free (P.Sainath's favourite topic). But if someone dares to ask, why should government procure them in the first place, he is shouted down as a neo-liberal market fanatic.
Chasing away foreign investment is celebrated as success. Property rights are never defined for tribals, and the welfare of 8000 odd tribals is considered the only measure in the POSCO issue. What about the tribals who benefitted from the project and wanted it to stay? (I firmly support property rights and am opposed to forceful acquisition. But only for individuals. Here the property rights were never clearly defined. Saying that only the tribals have right over the entire forest area is no different from Thackeray's Marathi Manoos ideas. What right does the left have to call him a moron?)
This comment is getting very long. I would discuss the sudden growth of the new Left in India (It is happening right in front of our eyes now ) in a separate blog post in my blog.
India might be a failed state. But that is precisely why it is still surviving. If the new Left succeeds in making it the Socialist state it promises to be, God help us all.