Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

White and Black Hats

May 17th, 2014 - 10:19 am

Many of the reactions to Narenda Modi’s election as Indian new Prime Minister are of the form: ‘how can a devout Hindu be a modern leader’? Bloomberg has a roundup.

Before heading to India’s snow-capped Himalayas to study Hinduism at age 17, Narendra Modi burned family photos, discarded most of his clothes and bent to touch his mother’s feet to receive a blessing. … a champion of business in Gujarat, where he’s served as chief minister since 2001. Economic growth rates have outpaced the national average in all but one year in that time and per-capita income has quadrupled. …

“I don’t see how the two are compatible,” said Sumit Ganguly, professor of political science at Indiana University in Bloomington. Pursuing a Hindu nationalism agenda “is bound to produce communal violence.” …

Taxi driver Yasin Khan Pathan, 45, a Muslim … he’s afraid. … “We are a defeated community … He won’t lift Muslims out of poverty, he’ll lift Muslims out of India.”

You get the drift. There is something atavistic about him, a sense that he doesn’t fit into the approved mold.  The modern leader is supposed to be compassionate, to forget who is and remember who he is not.  New York Times’ Gardiner Harris is worried in particular about a tolerance deficit. He writes: “Discrimination against Muslims in India is so rampant that many barely muster outrage … Now, after a landslide electoral triumph Friday by the Bharatiya Janata Party of Hindu nationalists, some Muslims here said they were worried that their place in India could become even more tenuous.”

“Many people in India and around the world will be watching whether he reaches out to minorities in the coming days,” Ms. Chowdhury said…. that is exactly why Mr. Modi is such a poor choice as prime minister, said Siddharth Varadarajan, the former editor of The Hindu, a leading Indian newspaper. Many among India’s liberal intelligentsia see Mr. Modi as a threat to India’s secularism, which is enshrined in its Constitution. It is a characteristic that distinguishes India from Pakistan and binds a nation of extraordinary diversity.

“Many of the things that are evil about India are not going to find their solution with Mr. Modi,” Mr. Varadarajan said. “If anything, they’ll get worse.”

The Huffington Post raises the alarm. “A man once banned from Britain for his extreme views set to be prime minister of 1.25 billion people.”  But if there was shock there was also hasty acceptance. Reuters writes, “U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated new Indian leader Narendra Modi on his election victory on Friday and invited him to the White House, even though he was barred from the country less than 10 years ago over massacres of Muslims.” Maybe the lesson is that power absolves all.

My how tolerant you are

My how tolerant you are

The fears of the pundits were distilled in Tweets warning that Nigel Farage of UKIP might be the next Modi. Some even compared the Indian prime minister to the BNP and the National Front. “He’s a communal bigot!” said one Tweet and maybe that communal bigotry is coming next to the West.

The world has been a disappointing place lately for leaders who believed their sheer self-evident righteousness would sweep all before it. Mark Lander of the NYT says Barack Obama, rebuffed in his peace project, has decided to momentarily deprive Israel of his beneficent presence.

Mr. Obama, stung by his second failed attempt to broker a peace deal, has decided to take a conspicuous breather from the Middle East peace process, this official said, “to let the failure of the talks sink in for both parties, and see if that causes them to reconsider.” …

Publicly, Mr. Obama has said that both sides bear responsibility for the latest collapse. But the president believes that more than any other factor, Israel’s drumbeat of settlement announcements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem poisoned the atmosphere and doomed any chance of a breakthrough with the Palestinians.

The fears that Modi might be ‘bigot’ raises two logical questions. First, why are the Palestinians, the Sudanese and the Ukranians not similarly “communal bigots” like Narenda Modi? They fight their own corner, and fight it unabashedly. And for that matter what is the difference between Nigel Farage, Narenda Modi and Vladimir Putin all of whom profess to merely represent their countries? How would you distinguish between Modi and Nelson Mandela?

The boundary between patriotism and “ethnocentrism” is more indistinct than one of Obama’s Red Lines and only the Left and liberal intellectuals appears to know where the frontier is drawn.  We mere mortals could not hope to know. For years the “international community” was the court of last resort; it alone could resolve the difference between leaders by assignment. Boko Haram =  !terrorist group. Syrian rebels = freedom fighters, Global Warming = true.  Just look up the table and find the answer.

It made for ease. Apparently these terms have equivalent political value, though they are not of identical type. Nelson Mandela == Barack Obama == Good; Modi == Farage == Le Pen == Wilders == Bad.  The sole reason was because the international community said so. It was arbitrary but simple.

But as the credibility of the liberal establishment fell — and precipitously in the last few months — so did their power to pronounce on Black Hat/White Hat values. Once there was a time, which the older among us can still recall, when people believed the US government; when populations held the UN in awe and when the NYT and the Washington Post were the gold standard of truth. They are no longer arbiters.

The Ukraine, no less than Modi, have become doubtful cases. That is in some ways a pity, for while the liberal establishment got many things wrong they occasionally got some things right.  But most of all they provided convenience, a way to tell between the patriot and the demagogue. We are now entering a world where the question: “who’s on first” has no definite answer.

When did the music die? Hendrik Hertzberg writes wistfully in the New Yorker about the ‘good old days’, before the Internet ruined everything. “Believe it or not, Newsweek had a San Francisco bureau—not just a stringer working out of his apartment but a real bureau, a four-man, full-time bureau in a comfortable, well-equipped, town-house-like office suite near the Embarcadero.” He recalls.

Start with the accommodations. After a few nights in a really nice hotel (the St. Francis, on Union Square, at company expense) and a few weeks in a grubby, furnished room in Chinatown, I landed a dream sublet halfway up Telegraph Hill—big windows, top-floor patio, view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one side and the Bay Bridge on the other. Plus, it came with the loan of a car, a ’59 Pontiac as big and unwieldy as a barge on wheels.

Now what have you got?  A cellphone and a lousy Chromebook at a Starbucks — and the cellphone and the Chromebook are both probably tapped by the NSA.

But there’s an alternative view, as exemplified by former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review Copps says, ‘I killed journalism’ by helping it become a monopoly. “Dear Journalists: You may wonder why a long-time regulator like me is writing to you. The answer is that for more than a decade I occupied a front-row seat watching government policy undermine your profession and our democracy.”

I would be spending untold hours listening to big media tell me how their latest merger proposal would translate into enormous “efficiencies” and “economies of scale” to produce more and better news. Meanwhile, everywhere I looked, I saw newsrooms like yours being shuttered or drastically downsized, reporters getting the axe, and investigative journalism hanging by the most slender of threads. Instead of expanding news, the conglomerates cut the muscle out of deep-dive reporting and disinvested in you.

In Copp’s view journalism — and perhaps one might speculate the whole liberal establishment by extension — died of overconfidence and hubris.  They became dinosaurs; they started believing in their own press, debasing their own credential. Or maybe they just stopped working for their audience and started focusing on access, because who needed real investigative journalism when you had the Narrative?

And now, for whatever reason, the old magic is dead.  The harder it tries, the shriller it gets, the less the liberal establishment can impose its view upon the world. None of this is to say that Narenda Modi is a good guy any more than one should claim Nigel Farage is a Nazi. But we must now make up our mind who they are for ourselves on the facts available. The days when one could reflexively trust the judgment of the NYT and Newsweek Magazine are gone. An age of faith has ended.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world


Recent purchases by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.

Lincoln and His Generals
Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History)
The Last Stand of Fox Company
Storm Over The South China Sea


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the Belmont Club

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Michael Shaw, publisher of Bagnewsnotes.com, analyzes news images to determine what the Narrative is. http://reason.com/reasontv/2014/05/09/reality-show-president-inside-the-white.

It's really a form of Kremlinology. That it should be useful, indeed even lucrative in today's West speaks volumes. The principle appears to be the newsroom's true beliefs are not to be found in their formal statements but in their pattern of narrative or photo composition.

It should theoretically be possible to reverse engineer the unstated rules for foreign policy by doing the same. Here's how I think it works.

First: international politics is seen through the prism of US domestic politics. That way even if you don't understand the first thing about a foreign country you can still cover foreign affairs by simply using a familiar political paradigm.

The basic question to ask in any international crisis is: who are the African-Americans in this situation and who are their white oppressors in that country?

The general rule is, whoever has more money and power is the white guy. Hence, the Hindus in India are "white" and the Muslims are black or at least the Mexicans.

In Africa all whites are white. In the Middle East all Christians are white, even in Coptic Egypt where their hereditary occupation is the zabaleen or trash scavenger. The exception is the Jew who is always white.

In Africa Christians are white, even if they are black. All Muslims are black, except when they are all Muslims in which case whoever has the most gays is black and all the rest are white.

In Europe anyone who is white is white, but all gay, leftwing or transgendered whites are black. It gets complicated in Europe, as in certain parts of America because certain blacks can be white. John Sentamu and Clarence Thomas -- even Hirsi Ali, for example, are white, while Bill Clinton is black.

Now none of this is intellectually defensible and even the most committed liberal will, in his more sober moments, laugh at the formulation. But I submit this is the way the low-information newsroom thinks. Thus in Sri Lanka, the Tamils are "black" and in the Philippines the Moros are also "black" by the application of the foregoing rules.

Many Ukranians would have been white, but since they are allied with the EU for the present they are "black" while Putin is "white". And so it goes. That's how you tell a Star Bellied Sneetch from a plain Sneetch.


(show less)
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>>How would you distinguish between Modi and Nelson Mandela?<<<

William of Ockham's Razor comes to our aid.

In the view of our regime and Leftist "intelligentsia" and Nomenklatura; if you are a nationalist and/or ethnocentric leader:

If you are anti-American, anti-Christian, or anti-Western civilization you are good if not sainted.

If you are pro-American, pro-Christian, or pro-Western civilization; OR ARE TOLERANT OF ANY OF THE THREE you are an enemy of all mankind and must be destroyed by all "right thinking people".

If you are an enemy of, or a victim of, any collectivist dictatorship/someone listed as good or sainted above you are an enemy of all mankind and must be destroyed by all "right thinking people".

Modi is not going to be an ally of this country. But I suspect that unless we force the issue, he is not going to be an active enemy. We will have places where we have common interests and places where we have differences. What will drive our Governing Party crazy is that he is going to be more inclined than the Congress Party dynasty to look out for his own country's interests and less to subordinate them to ideological compliance with the Politically Correct Socialist International.

The Congress Party made a point of downplaying Muslim attacks on Hindus. Given the numbers involved, and the possibility of genocide [bet on the Hindus, they have the advantage] that may have made a certain amount of sense. But Muslims never stop pushing. There will probably be push back under Modi. Poor persecuted Muslims. People are actually shooting back!

I also suspect that there will be less tolerance of the poor performance and delivery delays of the Russian/Soviet arms that the Congress Party purchased overseas for ideological reasons. We might get more of the business, but watch some of the second tier arms producers and watch for license production inside India.

If I was Pakistan, I would step warily. As should China.

Subotai Bahadur
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
" The days when one could reflexively trust the judgment of the NYT and Newsweek Magazine are gone."

Was there ever such a time? It's become apparent that that was always a lousy idea, it just never was as obvious as it is now.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
What is the expiry date on conquest?

Moslem conquerers invaded India, tore down Hindu temples and replaced them with Moslem Mosques, and forcibly converted their new and helpless subjects to their religion.

Why can’t Hindu conquerers invade India, tear down mosques, and forcibly convert Moslems? That Islam is permanent in India is a variety of the Brezhnev doctrine: once our way (socialist, Islamic, etc.), always our way.

To hell with that.

It is time to roll back the Moslem conquests, to reclaim the Mediterranean world for the West, and to reclaim India for the Hindu.

Deus vult!
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
''Recently Nigerian vigilantes have taken to killing suspected Boko Haram guys on sight.''

Shades of Mexico: vigilantes vs los narcos, now officially approved by the govt. The Nigerian equivalent of ''when seconds count, the army is only days away (if ever).''
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember reading, sometime back in the early '90s, an article on how Afghanistan was struggling in the wake of the post-Soviet war. The article noted the tribalism and rampant corruption, etc. Then they quoted a State Department spokesman who off-handedly noted the rise of this new movement that called themselves the Taliban, and he noted their desire to unite Afghanistan and their fierce stance against corruption. It was because of that stance against corruption that the State Department boffo said "I think we can work with these guys."

How's that worked out? I think the conventional wisdom of picking winners and losers has long since proved to be a crapshoot.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It's really a form of Kremlinology. That it should be useful, indeed even lucrative in today's West speaks volumes. The principle appears to be the newsroom's true beliefs are not to be found in their formal statements but in their pattern of narrative or photo composition. "
I've told people for years, listen to everything even if you think it's a lie. The veracity doesn't matter, it's what they're saying, when it's being said, how it's being said, and why it's being said. It will always tell a story, not necessarily what they thought they were telling you.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Human reason is like a drunken man on horseback; set it up on one side, and it tumbles over on the other.

Count it one of the highest virtues upon earth to educate faithfully the children of others, which so few, and scarcely any, do by their own.

Earth has nothing more tender than a woman’s heart when it is the abode of piety."

http://www.bartleby.com/348/authors/336.html
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
RWE, or Anyone:

Would appreciate your comments re:
The X-37B which I linked to in the previous thread:

Article claims very little is known.

http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2014/05/16/where-no-man-has-gone-before-2/?show-at-comment=674639#comment-674639
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a military project so they're able to keep a lid on it. It apparently works.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them."
- Pauline Kael

"Obama ... has decided to take a conspicuous breather from the Middle East peace process"
Is there room in the calendar for another Jewish holiday?

"Muslims ... barely muster outrage"
Fortunately they have Gardiner Harris to teach them how.

"Muslims ... were worried that their place in India could become even more tenuous."
Would that be as tenuous as the that of Hindus Christians or Jews in Pakistan?

"Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same."
- Job 4:8 KJV

We are raising a bumper crop this Spring. By Autumn we may have a bitter harvest.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Many of the things that are evil about India are not going to find their solution with Mr. Modi,” Mr. Varadarajan said. “If anything, they’ll get worse.”

So the passive aggressives have labeled Modi as the ideological thorn in the side of the progressive cause. Translated this is the humble beginning of a blood libel that will in the end incite ethnic violence and then justify it as a 'see I told you so'.

The progressives have determined that whatever the new government does is illegitimate.

If Mr. Modi lives by what he is accused of having in his heart we will know because he will offer amnesty and land to all of those Muslims who successfully displace and if necessary kill all of the progressive socialists. If that happens, won't the progressives be happy?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure whether it as de Gaulle or Bismark who said, "Nations do not have friends, they have interests."
Centralized control of everything is dying, manufacturing, news, and war. All of it dying in its own toxic waste.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Evidently Mr. Modi is not a Star-Bellied Sneetch, but merely the plain-bellied kind. He must be shunned.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem with both foreign policy paradigms described below is that it incentivizes craziness and penalizes reasonableness. And when you incentivize something you get more of it.

And this may be the ultimate problem in India. For years you could deal with Pakistan's terror attacks on Indian soil by urging New Delhi to back off. Did they kill a bunch of guys in Mumbai? Back off. They had a built in safety-valve. With Modi in office it is going to be harder to get India to back off.

Recently Nigerian vigilantes have taken to killing suspected Boko Haram guys on sight. http://nypost.com/2014/05/14/nigerians-forming-vigilante-groups-to-attack-boko-haram/

This is "dangerous" because things can spiral out of control. It would be so much better if we could get the victims to rediscover Christian forgiveness, although it has nothing to do with religion as much as the Footbrake theory. The only way to put a lid on is to get one side to stop. If both sides go at it then you have war and nobody likes war right? So sell the Christian forgiveness.

The problem is that sooner or later incentivizing the crazies compresses the spring too far. Finally something snaps. That may be why diplomacy has stopped working lately. The worms have got nowhere to run any more and now the worms are turning.


13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is also possible to construct the Footbrake Theory of Foreign policy, which is similar but not quite identical to the Black-White theory of geopolitics enunciated below.

The basic rule is blame the nicest guy in a situation and praise the person most likely to sock you in the face. You don't want to be socked in the face.

Hence, if the Boko Haram kidnap 300 Christian girls, appeal to "Christian forgiveness". You'll have better luck doing that than appealing to the Boko Haram. Like as not they'll shoot back. Once you remove this option from the table, then there's only one thing left: blame the least offensive person.

For example, in Israel vs Palestine, always blame Israel. Get them to concede because the Palestinians will concede nothing ever.

It's called the Footbrake theory from the fact that you can only step on the footbrake in the vehicle in which said devices work. So, a diplomat trying to avoid a head on collision between two ethnic groups or countries would be a fool to tromp on the footbrake whose cable connection to the hydraulic piston has long ago been disconnected.

It's like gun control. Why appeal to criminals to obey the laws on gun control? By definition criminals don't obey laws. Hence, your only option for slowing down gun proliferation is to get the citizens to disarm. Cause that's the only brake that works.

In that way the enlightened go about their sacred task of preserving the peace. In every game of chicken, they get the sane person to pull off the road.

13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"In that way the enlightened go about their sacred task of preserving the peace. In every game of chicken, they get the sane person to pull off the road."

And in so doing, they perpetuate and increase evil and submission to same by default...In the name of good.

Screwtape is certainly a clever bastard.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Michael Shaw, publisher of Bagnewsnotes.com, analyzes news images to determine what the Narrative is. http://reason.com/reasontv/2014/05/09/reality-show-president-inside-the-white.

It's really a form of Kremlinology. That it should be useful, indeed even lucrative in today's West speaks volumes. The principle appears to be the newsroom's true beliefs are not to be found in their formal statements but in their pattern of narrative or photo composition.

It should theoretically be possible to reverse engineer the unstated rules for foreign policy by doing the same. Here's how I think it works.

First: international politics is seen through the prism of US domestic politics. That way even if you don't understand the first thing about a foreign country you can still cover foreign affairs by simply using a familiar political paradigm.

The basic question to ask in any international crisis is: who are the African-Americans in this situation and who are their white oppressors in that country?

The general rule is, whoever has more money and power is the white guy. Hence, the Hindus in India are "white" and the Muslims are black or at least the Mexicans.

In Africa all whites are white. In the Middle East all Christians are white, even in Coptic Egypt where their hereditary occupation is the zabaleen or trash scavenger. The exception is the Jew who is always white.

In Africa Christians are white, even if they are black. All Muslims are black, except when they are all Muslims in which case whoever has the most gays is black and all the rest are white.

In Europe anyone who is white is white, but all gay, leftwing or transgendered whites are black. It gets complicated in Europe, as in certain parts of America because certain blacks can be white. John Sentamu and Clarence Thomas -- even Hirsi Ali, for example, are white, while Bill Clinton is black.

Now none of this is intellectually defensible and even the most committed liberal will, in his more sober moments, laugh at the formulation. But I submit this is the way the low-information newsroom thinks. Thus in Sri Lanka, the Tamils are "black" and in the Philippines the Moros are also "black" by the application of the foregoing rules.

Many Ukranians would have been white, but since they are allied with the EU for the present they are "black" while Putin is "white". And so it goes. That's how you tell a Star Bellied Sneetch from a plain Sneetch.


(show less)
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well said. I think you have nailed the equation: Black = Good; White = Bad. Categorize as necessary for the desired outcome.
2) Wretchard: you write beautifully.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>>How would you distinguish between Modi and Nelson Mandela?<<<

William of Ockham's Razor comes to our aid.

In the view of our regime and Leftist "intelligentsia" and Nomenklatura; if you are a nationalist and/or ethnocentric leader:

If you are anti-American, anti-Christian, or anti-Western civilization you are good if not sainted.

If you are pro-American, pro-Christian, or pro-Western civilization; OR ARE TOLERANT OF ANY OF THE THREE you are an enemy of all mankind and must be destroyed by all "right thinking people".

If you are an enemy of, or a victim of, any collectivist dictatorship/someone listed as good or sainted above you are an enemy of all mankind and must be destroyed by all "right thinking people".

Modi is not going to be an ally of this country. But I suspect that unless we force the issue, he is not going to be an active enemy. We will have places where we have common interests and places where we have differences. What will drive our Governing Party crazy is that he is going to be more inclined than the Congress Party dynasty to look out for his own country's interests and less to subordinate them to ideological compliance with the Politically Correct Socialist International.

The Congress Party made a point of downplaying Muslim attacks on Hindus. Given the numbers involved, and the possibility of genocide [bet on the Hindus, they have the advantage] that may have made a certain amount of sense. But Muslims never stop pushing. There will probably be push back under Modi. Poor persecuted Muslims. People are actually shooting back!

I also suspect that there will be less tolerance of the poor performance and delivery delays of the Russian/Soviet arms that the Congress Party purchased overseas for ideological reasons. We might get more of the business, but watch some of the second tier arms producers and watch for license production inside India.

If I was Pakistan, I would step warily. As should China.

Subotai Bahadur
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quoth William:

''It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer.''
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All