Books, Uncategorized

Dismantling Sophisms

Adam Smith famously wrote “We often derive sorrow from the sorrow of others is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instance to prove it. Even the wicked ruffian is not totally lacking in it.” It so is easy for populist rabble-rousers to incite such feelings, play on them and create a cult like following.
Words are often coined intentionally to evoke such feelings depending on the times. The ‘hungry’, the ‘homeless’, the ‘unclad’……We can hope to hear the grievances of people who are deprived of personal computers and internet access in our lifetimes itself. While we shed tears on kids deprived of ‘Primary Education’, let us not forget what made ‘Primary Education’ as we see now possible. Let us not forget the printing press and a multitude of inventions which made it possible. If I state it is preposterous to blame the deprivation of some on these inventions, most people would agree with me. Demagogues but find it easy to blame it all on Technology, Capitalism and Globalization.
In all times we had uneducated or evil intentioned writers who managed to delude the masses. Prodded by the Fans of Arundhati Roy, I am inveigled to mop up some sophisms propagated by her. I’ll draw your attention to her ‘thought-provoking’ book,’ An Ordinary Persons Guide to Empire’.
“In the last 10 years of corporate globalization the world’s total income has increased by average of 2.5% an year. And yet the number of poor has increased by One hundred million. The top 1 percentage has the same combined income as the bottom 57 percentage and the disparity is growing.”
The fact that increases in income is indicated in percentage and the increase in number of the ‘poor’ in millions is enough to prove the intentions behind stating these ‘facts’. What is ‘poverty’? The book doesn’t answer. Does it mean the ‘poor’ became ‘poorer’? The book doesn’t answer. Does it mean their life standards came down? No answer for it either.
“The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer’ is the darling of all liberal whiners from times immemorial. What the word ‘rich’ meant in the feudal era when people lived on the precipice of starvation and most children died out of it before long? The so called rich in those days couldn’t afford food, clothing’s or anything for that matter which the ‘poor’ can afford now. A copy of Latin Bible used to 15 years income of a wage laborer 6 centuries back, but now you can see fanatics begging on your knees with a copy. A typical book now costs half a day’s wage of a casual laborer and sometimes even less. Once the majority had enough to eat of good quality food, the gap between the rich and the poor would never be an important issue no matter how many exotic delicacies are exclusively available to the rich. A moments thought will let you know how monstrous these whiners are and what they advocate is a traversal to the good old days when the ‘natural superiors’ exploited the rest. Shoot the woman who says ‘The disparity between rich and poor is growing’. It is the cry of an elitist who wants them to remain the same for ever, come to her home and get her clothes washed. Remember communism aroused of the cheap inferiority complex of feudal lords when kids with an amazing head on their shoulders started making it big with their own effort.“The ‘free market’ is not really free”
It’s a classic case in which the ‘free market’ is being attacked for atrocities committed in the name of democracy. Yet they would claim “Democracy is the free world’s whore, willing to dress up, dress down, willing to satisfy a whole range of taste, available to be used and abused at will.” Is Democracy, the free world’s whore or is it the other way round? Isn’t the free market ‘Democracy’s whore? Why the free market is on blame when the US Government subsidizes America’s farmers and forces the Indian government to cut all subsidies? Here the issue is clear to even the stupidest of minds that ‘Government interventions’ are on the blame and not ‘free market’. What has it to do with free market if the word ‘free’ has any meaning? Just think how absurd it is to blame the wrong doings of some one infringing your freedom on ‘personal freedom’ and state “Freedom is not so free”. As long as Governments exist, there will be Government interventions and hence one opposing Government interventions must stand against the Government itself. Now let us examine what happens here. If as Arundhati says who pay for Americas war is Americas poor, ones who pay for the subsidization too must be the same. If anyone gains in the process it is the Indian consumers and American Farmers. Who is exploiting whom? Since consumption is the sole aim of all sorts of production and as Consumers any day will outnumber the producers, isn’t it a ‘democratical’ thing to do?
War, in her words is collective punishment for collective sins. If we go by the same definition, isn’t democracy too the same? Isn’t democracy a system in which an organized minority elected by the majority determines the fate of the rest of the population. Isn’t collective punishment meted out to the rest of the population whose needs may not coincide with majority?
Declaring to be against collective punishment for collective sins, she conveniently forgets what she advocates is the same. Bush is evil, so US is evil. “The world’s free-est. country has waged a war in each of the past 50 years. The world’s free-est. country has the highest number of prisoners in the world.” She conveniently forgets the fact citizens of the same country spend the highest on charitable causes. The fact that the same country produces the highest number of Nobel Prize winners and leads the world’s technological progress too is forgotten.
“The free press is not really free-legally and constitutionally, the space in which that freedom can be exercised has been snatched from us and auctioned to highest bidders.”
Of course, one has the right to articulate her views. It doesn’t however mean she must be provided with a medium to express it. If anyone asserts otherwise, it clearly means she doesn’t value personal freedom of the person who provides her with a medium. Will she be ready to propagate views opposed to that of her in her own book? A question as simple as that will suffice to expose the moral hypocrisy in such a view. How come the same rational is not applicable in the case of media barons? There is no such thing as ‘right to express ones views in a particular medium’, provided it isn’t publicly funded. Who is undermining freedom here?
Quoting Machiavelli, “Men are so simple of mind (stupid) that a deceitful [WO] man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.”

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