Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pythons in the Pantry

I'm certainly no expert on India, but in response to an acquaintance from India about the problems with that country, (for which reason he renounces his Indian heritage), I offered a side note: that while India has a long religious history which doubtless is the root of many of its problems, and while, arguably, the British brought good things to India when it was a colony (the Western heritage), the Brits also brought to India the noxious ideas of Socialism, which has held India back for decades and decades.

The interesting part is, for anyone familiar with Ayn Rand:  the main architect of India's socialist government was a British intellectual named Harold Laski, who was especially active in the 1920's to post-war 1940's. Laski was a communist and a member of the Fabian Society, formed by people like Bertrand Russell, which still exists today.  Their stated goal was and is the conversion the entire world to Socialism by incrementalism, and they've been working at this since the 1920's.  Their unstated goal (since Fabians are really communists) is Socialism as a stepping stone to full-fledged Communism.  Laski was one of their main and most influential Fabian members at that time.

Ayn Rand wrote that in the mid-1930's someone suggested she listen to a talk by Laski, whom the person thought was "charming" with interesting ideas and not especially left-wing.  At the time, Laski's communism was secret--the modus operandi of the Fabians.  So Rand went.  After hearing him talk, she said,
"It is true that he was not particularly liberal--that is, he was the most vicious liberal I have ever heard in public, but not blatantly so. He was very subtle and gracious, he rambled on a great deal about nothing in particular--and then he made crucial, vicious points once in a while [...] I thought, "There was my character." [...] Years later, I learned that [his] career was in fact somewhat like Toohey's: he was always the man behind the scenes, much more influential than anybody knew publicly, pulling the strings behind the governments of several countries. Finally he was proved to be a communist, which he did not announce himself as or blatantly sound like."
When you see all the post-colonization problems suffered by India, you can place many of them at the feet of this one man.  But the interesting part to me is that, after seeing Laski, Ayn Rand had found the model for the character of Ellsworth Toohey in her novel "The Fountainhead", which she was writing at that time.  And here is Toohey talking about his purpose in controlling people, from the novel:
"I don't want to kill him. I want him in jail. You understand? In jail. In a cell. Behind bars. Locked, stopped, strapped--and alive. He'll get up when they tell him to. He'll eat what they give him. He'll move when he's told to move and stop when he's told. He'll walk to the jute mill, when he's told, and he'll work as he's told. They'll push him, if he doesn't move fast enough, and they'll slap his face when they feel like it, and they'll beat him with rubber hose if he doesn't obey. And he'll obey. He'll take orders. He'll take orders!"
For someone as perceptive as Rand, you can be sure this was the essence of Laski.  In my view, this is also very close to the essence of Obama.  (He is a closet communist himself, though I don't  mean to imply a connection to the Fabians.)

1 comment:

  1. Indians who led the freedom movement (particularly the one's around Nehru, who ended up as prime Minister) were well educated in the same way as folks like Hillary Clinton are well-educated. They imbibed the contemporary political philosophy of the day, which was socialism. Nehru and a few others at the top were products of Oxford and Cambridge. They knew the work of Keynes well, and bought into the idea that free-markets needed government intervention.

    In the early days, within the ruling party (Congress) there was also a pro-American faction that wanted to be more free-market, but they were a minority. They did manage to get a pretty decent "bill of rights" written into the Indian constitution, but the other faction got enough contradictory stuff written in as well.

    A few decades after independence, it was some American professors, sponsored by the U.S. government that were instrumental in bringing a certain amount of socialism and increased inefficiency to India's agricultural sector by pushing for "land reforms" with the intent of breaking down older, slightly feudal, structures.


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