Tuesday, December 30, 2003

India: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

(Some brief thoughts on the socio-cultural scene of India and how it relates to the political compass that I have displayed on my Dec 18th posting)

Taking a step back, one can see that an irrational mysticism and a tribal collectivist mentality has enslaved India for generations. This mentality manifests itself in the north and west (ethnocentricism and religion-centered nationalism in states like Kashmir and Gujarat) and also the south and east (Marxism and socialism in states like Kerala and West Bengal). Casteism rears its ugly head everywhere. Though the yoke is finally being lifted, India's system of unlimited democracy will continue to bog it down and hinder progress, and the ideal of a genuine secular government based on individual rights is still a distant dream. Political parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP, currently in power) will continue to cater to the rabid religious right and the Congress Party (which was in power for many decades) will continue to cater to the liberal loony left. It will be pragmatists in the middle that will continue to help forge the way ahead and maintain secularism and the positive trends toward economic freedom (there is little hope that principled defenders of secularism AND freedom will make any real impact in the near future).

Ameeta Kaimal notes: "India still hasn't changed so much that its multitudes no more have to work from sunrise to sunset for a bowl of rice and nor have the shorelines of the Ganges become less unhygenic. Even though the country has been marginally de-regulated, philosophically and culturally India hasn't changed much. It is still mystical, corrupt and racial. In politics more and more people with criminal records are standing for elections. On religious issues every Indian knows how much bloodshed and manslaughter has happened in the past decade and is still happening due to Hindu-Muslim issues. The few good things which are happening are because of multinational corporations and [Western influence], and these things are not enough to have shortened the lines of visa applicants outside the US Consulates in India."

It is true that India has not changed much culturally and philosophically. And it is true that for about 40 years after Independence, India has been ruled by LLL types (the buffoons of the Congress Party), and that hasn't helped much either. Leftist PC values still pollute the Indian intellectual landscape (no thanks to people like Arundhati Roy). However, one cannot ignore the fact that a new India is coming about. An emerging middle class is refusing to cave in to its dreary communalist and socialist past and are looking forward and far ahead. People in cities like Bangalore are are getting off their bed of nails and creating their own skylines. India is on its way to becoming a free and confident world power with stronger ties to other democracies (the US and even Israel if I'm not being too optimistic), and I am hopeful that the new voice of India will be heard soon.
I feel complete!

My blog feels incomplete without some Arundhati Roy bashing, and that's why I have to link to this superb article by Victor Davis Hanson. Ahh, much better!

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Postmodern Nightmares

James L. Brooks writes that "The [postmodern] world is a victim-ridden place where the powerful impose their cultural values and even their thought patterns on the disenfranchised. It is a world of the reptilian brain, where jockeying for power, status, and domination serve as the premier social activities. The postmoderns view all human problems through the prism of this struggle for domination and its resulting imbalances in power. And their remedy for those problems is a radical rejection of objectivity, the embrace of subjectivism, and, what is most important to them (and never omitted), a redistribution of power—which in practice means giving political power to the self-anointed advocates of the disenfranchised".

From what I've seen (especially in high school, which was a postmodern experiment from hell...beware of the "gifted" kids!), postmodernism leads to a world of cognitive paralysis, confusion, uncertainty, terror, despair, and really bad art. In their world, nothing makes sense, nothing can make sense, and nothing should make sense. And the worst part is, they won't let you make sense of it either! What a nightmare indeed.

89.4 (A Post-Modern Nightmare)

When I feel like screaming I think of the mistakes
I look for an obscurity and find the golden days

In the inert joys I found an overt pain
The anger that I buried is in my blood again

It was a race to find the mind that I couldn't seem to find
It was a race to find the heart that left me way behind

I considered all opinions other than my own
I grit my teeth and cringe, a fear I should have known

Confession of confusion, unideal ideals
In the aegis of an ego, yet illusions were too real

I pondered through the silence and the scenery
It were the times alone that meant the most to me

I wondered why I wondered and wandered through the mess
The more and more I look it matters less and less

I'll make it to tomorrow to find out what I need
I wish I had known better. I didn't have to bleed
Compassion Abuse Watch: Drug subsidy advocates

Americans for Free Choice in Medicine (AFCM) denounces the largest expansion of government intervention in medicine since Medicare was passed 38 years ago as a huge step toward socialized medicine.

"The new Medicare law [regarding the new prescription drug subsidy for the elderly] is a fundamental violation of individual rights," contended Richard E. Ralston, AFCM's executive director. "The law punishes everyone: the senior and the retired employee, who have a right to free choice of drug treatments, the drug company and the insurance company, which have a right to conduct their business, and young people, who have a right to earn an unmolested living. No one escapes unharmed."

"The underlying idea of this law, which was not widely supported among most Americans, is the fallacy that health care is a right," Ralston explained. "The opposite is true. No one's need for medical care -- including people who are old -- is a claim on the livelihoods of those who produce and practice medicine, whether doctors or drug companies."

Ralston cited the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the law, which estimates that many employers will drop their retired employees' drug coverage. Ralston also questioned the President's goals:

"The President claims the new law is compassionate," Ralston asserts. "It is not compassionate to rob doctors, drug companies and patients of their rights. It is not compassionate to rob everyone under age 65 of their income to pay for the wealthiest generation of old people in history. It is not compassionate to institute government control over the world's greatest health care delivery system. President Bush's compassion is a fraud. Bush's Medicare law is neither compassionate nor conservative -- it is pure Big Government and it will bring harm to millions of Americans." (from Dollars and Crosses)

I (PCM) had a discussion with someone named Kathy (a "compassionate" pro-drug subsidy advocate) on this matter. I really wish that those who advocate drug subsidies, universal health care, social security, etc. would stop calling themselves compassionate. They should, at the very least, tell the truth and call it theft. Their extortion, hypocrisy and excuses of ignorance can only go so far. (OK, I'm being stern but I do have a point).

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them--Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 26, 2003


I cannot put my heart
Where I cannot put my mind
Between the lies of dream
I cannot reconcile

Hard and soft
Left and right
Space and earth
Dark and light

Neither world I find
When I take two at a time
The best of both worlds never
Seem to coincide

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Thank you troops

On this Christmas eve I wanted to thank my friend Eric and the rest of the members of the United States Armed Forces. I know that many of them will not be able to spend this day at home with their friends and family. They instead are in distant, hostile lands, doing what is necessary to secure our way of life. For this I owe them my deepest gratitude.

A holiday thought

Niraj wrote that "My arrival in Bangladesh coincided with Ramadan, which was a wonderful experience for me...My only concern is that somehow Ramadan is being hijacked by commercial interests, and the true spirit of Ramadan is being lost to the selfish pursuits of materialism."

I don't have that concern. As for Christmas, this may be a good thing.
If you only knew

With unearned love
And unearned pride

All demands
Meet no supply

We can be much more than this
We can be much more than you
Don't blank out as I tell you now
It's the Prime that make the Move

With no concern outside our lives
With no concern outside this world
We will focus till it burns
I will focus till you burn

A kinder evolution is at hand
We will do what giants can
Good is that which will proceed
Good is that which will succeed

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

December 2003: What a Month!

It's been a pretty eventful month so far: The huge recent anti-terrorism and anti-Saddam demonstrations in Bagdad (covered by weblogs, ignored by the Big Media), Saddam's capture, and Col. Gadhafi being scared out of his WMD's (let's give him a big hug...not).

Teenager of the Year

In late 2003, 17-year-old Nimesh Patel helped to disarm and subdue his teacher's attacker at a high school in Georgia. He saved his teacher's life and risked his life in the process. Was this an act of altruism or heroism? Barry Kayton's The Scope of Moral Failure offers some insights into this important question.

Monday, December 22, 2003

To the Ragnarian spirit

Ari Armstrong gives an interesting perspective on the spirit of Ragnar, the character in Atlas Shrugged. It mentions libertarians but includes everyone. I hope the spirit never dies:

"Every libertarian -- every human being with a conscience -- needs a touch of the Ragnarian spirit. Ragnar Danneskjöld hid Jews in the attic to protect them from the Nazis. He spent the night in jail to protest unjust taxation. He helped blacks escape on the underground railroad. He refused to convict somebody for printing the truth about the government, and the judge be damned. He bought Boston's Gun Bible and a .308, just in case. He homeschooled even when the educrats told him he couldn't. He sold illegal marijuana to the sick and dying to relieve their pain. In America, Ragnar Danneskjöld is also spelled, "John Hancock."

Where Ragnar walks among the people, no government grows too oppressive. The power freaks always will push for more, but Ragnar pushes back. Like Gandalf, Ragnar stands firm, strikes his staff on the trail and cries, "You cannot pass!"

Ragnar might feel his heart drop to the bottom of his stomach, but he will not avert his eyes.

But when Ragnar is cast out -- well, we dare not let that happen.

...Libertarians will continue to make the world safer for freedom so long as each of us can say with Ragnar, "We all choose different ways to fight the same battle -- and this is mine

Just recently I found an example of civil disobedience against affirmative action. It's good to see the Ragnarian spirit alive and well. I hope they succeed!

Saturday, December 20, 2003

To a great man

Swadhyay, now a 'global Indic phenomenon' and a 'family of millions,' began with the guidance of Rev. Dadaji - Pandurangshastri Athavale over fifty years ago in western India. On October 25th 2003, the Swadhyay family was deeply immersed in sorrow as the beloved Rev. Dadaji - Pandurangshastri Athavale passed away.

Dada was a very rare man indeed. Not many come along who realize and understand the limitless powers of self-assertion, self-awareness, and self-esteem. Dada did, and armed with this realization he began his noble adventure. The day Dada undertook his journey to the villages of western Gujarat was a glorious day, for it was the beginning of a socio-cultural revolution, and millions now follow in his footsteps. All over the world today can now observe the actions of the traveling Swadhyayee who, spending his own money and carrying his own food, reaches out and makes life-long bonds with people in distant cities and towns.

What is Swadhyay about, some may ask? Swadhyay is, in essence, Hinduism tempered with a healthy dose of rational individualism (with a pleasant do-it-yourself, we-are-not-social-workers, no-government-involvement attitude). Its strength, uniqueness, and success lies in its rationality. One Swadhyay site states that:

"Literally speaking, Swadhayay means 'study of the self'. Delving deeper, we find that it is actually a life changing experience. It is philosophy for life, as Rev. Dadaji says, "We do not want philosophy which is purely theoretical and which discusses utopian ideas and theories. We do not want philosophy which is merely other worldly, we want philosophy which is practical and useful in day to day life i.e. to say we want philosophy that can be lived."

Swadhyay is a guide to living on this earth, at the crossroads of theoretical abstraction and concrete action. Its Vedic metaphysical foundations lie in stark contrast to most Western philosophy, but I will leave comparison, contrast, and argument for another day. Today I reflect on a man who stood strong and tall. A man who reached high, brought philosophy down from the lofty clouds, and made it more approachable, attainable, and admirable for everyone. The power of Swadhyay made an upward transformation possible for millions, and is has been done with the guidance of one man. May the Swadhyay family have the strength to continue to grow and reach their ideals, and ultimately find their way to higher ground.

This is for those who find inspiration in greatness and continue to make their way ever upward. And Dada, this is for you:


On the farthest shore
Something I never sought before
I looked for all the answers all at once

No man's land I find
Waiting for the storm to reside
Die I will not yet it pays to be alive

Channeling the flood
Of a contaminated past
He walks slowly but I still cannot catch up

No need to advertise
The thoughts that come from his side
He never said he could he just does

I kneel and I become
The Effect within a Cause
And do as he does not as he says

Transcreated creed
Heaven within reach
I'm holding up as long as I'm holding on
Ro Khanna: Idiot for Congress

I can see my Indian uncle saying to Ro, "You ijiot! What are you doing!" I'm talking about Ro Khanna, who is currently running for Congress and hails from the Bay Area. His claim of having visionary ideas for the 21st century falls quite short since almost every one of the issues he stands for, like social security, affirmative action, and healthcare, is "typical liberal Democrat boilerplate."

"His parents immigrated to this country with nothing, and they achieved the American dream of having a good job, a home, and a strong family. Ro is committed to ensuring that this dream can become a reality for all Americans."

Whatever. So his parents came here to achieve the American dream; they escaped the Nehruvian nightmare only to have their son try to bring the nightmare to us. Does this country really need any more misguided progressive policies and ideas? India is finally waking up from its nightmare and it would help if Ro did a little waking up himself.

But looking at the rest of his website, that's not gonna happen anytime soon. His site states that "two years ago, Ro tried to purchase a home in San Mateo County, but even as a lawyer he found he could not afford it. As a result of this frustrating experience, he has been working on affordable housing solutions."

Great, another busybody working to make housing more affordable. If lawyer's can't afford it now, who's going to be able afford it after his meddling around? And when it comes to meddling around with something really important, like brutal terrorist-sponsoring Middle East dictatorships that would find glee in America's destruction, he wants leave it to the UN!

Yes, his foreign policy views clearly show that if Ro had his way, Saddam would still be in power. That's why I find his statement on Saddam's capture amusing. It pretty much states, "I'm happy we caught him, he was very bad, BUT we should have done it with the UN or some other legitimate coalition rather than doing it alone(!) Wahhhh!" And then I see this:

"Rohit (“Ro”) Khanna claims to be proud of his heritage and roots; his grandfather was a freedom fighter in India’s independence movement. Ro’s passion for civil rights and social justice comes from his grandfather."

So he's following in the footsteps of a freedom fighter! The nerve of this guy! No further comments. What a waste of time!

The Lilliputian Mind

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into." -- Jonathan Swift (man, I know how he feels; he must have just talked to a liberal loony leftist!)

At 'Lame Statist' University School of Medicine:

1) Official Michael Moore "Bowling for Columbine" conferences give a "sobering account of the American condition"
2) Such conferences are followed by our Dean, who enlightens us yet again with his stale and overused universal health care slogans
3) Our Dean sponsors affirmative action seminar trips to Washington D.C. for the students (yes, our school takes immense pride in its commitment to racism. Oops, I mean "diversity")
4) Our faculty preaches Humanistic Medicine (as opposed to anti-Humanistic Animalized Medicine, I guess)
5) Groups like Students for Social Responsibility and various multicultural medicine groups litter the scene. (I wonder who pays for all their free lunches)
6) There are seminars that extol the 'virtues' of the Canadian and Cuban health care systems, but I have yet to see one honest examination of free market solutions since I've been here.
7) Open dissenters will probably end up as residents in those health care systems!

Geesh, where do I start? It's hopeless. Forget the graduation ceremony...as soon as I finish my requirements (four more months!) I'm running as fast as I can!

(there are a lot of positive points about my school, but sometimes its just too much!)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Compassion Abuse Watch: The Vatican

Yup, the Vatican does it again.

A related article is here, which basically states that emotions divorced from reason leads to the abuse of compassion (which, of course, can be a pretty nasty and dangerous affair).

I agree with Nicholas Provenzo: "I feel neither sympathy nor compassion for Saddam Hussein. Compassion for Saddam is moral treason to all those his regime killed, maimed and raped. Yet it is footage of a medic delousing this man who slaughtered thousands of his own people and whose intransigence has led to the deaths of almost 500 of my countrymen that the Vatican finds disquieting.

The Vatican is free to offer love to the enemies of mankind if it chooses. I, however, prefer that they receive justice.

The Real Compass Of Political Philosophy

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Objectivists et al. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . LLL------------MMM------------RRR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FFF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Objectivists et. al. (Anti-Idiotarians, supporters of Objectivism, etc.) - Consistent and principled defenders of a free, secular, constitutionally limited republic based on individual rights. The true knights of reason and Western civilization (may include dwarves)

RRR - the Rabid Religious Right (theocratic ultraconservatives, etc.) - economic vs. spiritual freedom: "We will control your body, the source of sin"
LLL - the Liberal Loony Left (socialists, Marxists, Greens, etc.) - spiritual vs. economic freedom: "We will control your mind, the source of wealth"
MMM - the Mediocre Moderates of the Middle (pragmatists, confused centrists, etc.)
FFF - the Fruitcake Freedom Fighters (Islamofascists, terrorist orcs, etc.) - the willing destroyers of Western civilization; the polar opposites of Objectivists et al.

Anarchists - belong in the direction of the FFF, but on a different plane on this compass due to their nihilistic roots (though mostly seen hanging with the LLL)
Libertarians - fall somewhere between the MMM and Objectivists et al., depending on how they defend freedom and individual rights (on pragmatic vs. moral grounds). (pacifists, of course, lean toward the FFF)

(this cartoon gets the picture)

Know Your Enemy

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." -- Marcus Tullius Cicero
Foreign policy: Levels of criticism

Pro-war blogger Daniel Drezner provides a stronger and smarter critique of Bush's foreign policy (when compared to most Democrats and leftists), but I think that this critique takes it to a higher level.

(By the way, I find that this essay gives a decent stragetic overview and rationale for the Iraq war)

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Capital I

I assess and I express
I gain and I maintain
I trade and I appraise
I move an empty train

Nothing left to show
Nothing left to prove
A change in definitions
Is a change in attitude

Confident and freed
Radiant in greed
You owe me the right
To not owe you a thing

An end unto myself
Synthetic energy
A continuous reminder
Of the way that it should be

There's an absolute
Relative to you
You'd like to not think so
But it's true

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Compassion Abuse Watch: A U2 Sing-Along

How far are you gonna go
Before you lose your way back home?
You've been tryin' to throw your arms around the world

Nothin' much to say I guess
Just the same as all the rest
Been tryin' to throw your arms around the world

Monday, December 08, 2003

Clinical Correlation: Feelings

I Feel Therefore I Am by James Harrigan
A Feeling is not an Argument by Alex Epstein

Random Thoughts

-Sometimes emphasis is everything. If one had to describe Adolf Hitler in two words, some would say "genocidal dictator", others would say "troubled soul," and yet others would say "strong leader." All may claim similar life philosophies, but two words can show me otherwise, and so much more.
-Tough love can kick free love's ass anyday
-Compassion is as pure as its private
-People should be more like dung beetles: happy, even when they shit their pants
-I am a target of Islamofascist terrorism...so I must be doing something right!
-I wish there was a hawkish 'libertarian' political party out there. One that actually gives a damn about freedom and national security. Militarian Party, anyone?
-The problem with moral relativists is not that they do nothing in the face of evil, but that they wait till its too late to do something about it
- What the Greeks did to Troy after they got within their gates is what radical Islam will do to the West if we continue to simmer in our Trojan-horse ignorance
-Terror is like cancer: When cells multiply and metastasize, it's too late. (Even chemo and radiation won't help much then). Preemptive surgical strikes work best
-Raghuram G. Rajan rocks!

Mating Call

It may be a great tool for finding people, but one can find some funny lines in those Indian dating/marriage sites!:

I am only 5'6 but I can bench 225 lbs!

I am homely Bombay girl looking for kind, honest, intellignt doctor between 5'8 and 5'10 who is handsome and US citizen

I want a girl who takes off her sari and can get me a greencard (hey, at least I'm not bullshittin' you)

I am 5'4 (with heels)...innocently divorced, twice...looking for friendship

(Limited time offer on the last one, guys: 3 little lies for the price of one!)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

A trip to the gallery

Some of my favorite art from the Quent Cordair Fine Art Gallery (the finest in Contemporary Romantic Realism):

Travelers (Cordair)
Lunch Break (Cordair)
Les Filles D’Avignon (Anjou)
Tomorrow Today (Bokor)
Born with Wings (Larsen)

"Romantic Realism, the movement which renews the high esthetic standards and techniques of pre-20th century ateliers, brings a rebirth of comprehensibility, beauty, romanticism and stylization to contemporary subject matter. The gallery's collection emphasizes themes which celebrate the moments of happiness, joy and success possible to Man on earth." (from the gallery website)

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Conversations with 'liberals' (Pt 2):

On the highly popular blog "The Truth Laid Bear" (manager of the Blogosphere Ecosystem) I had a nice civil discussion about capitalism, baseball, and the source of material wealth. I am 'PCM' on the comment thread and changed my name to 'Quotebot' after someone called me that due to the fact that I used a lot of quotes (Hey, if someone can say it better than I can, why not quote?) I was conversing with 'Rick Blaine' and 'm'. 'Joe Beatnik' helped out some. I started more than halfway through the comment thread bashing certain 'progressive' ideas and the momentum picked up from there. At the end both Rick Blaine and 'm' discontinued the discussion because they had "other things to do."
Conversations with 'liberals' (Pt 1):

A discussion concerning Iraq on the highly popular left-leaning blog Calpundit (one of the better left of center blogs) between 'PCM' (me)and 'Jesurgislac'. Jesurgislac is of the garden-variety "There was no reason to commit the criminal invasion of Iraq" type. I started with a quote halfway through the comment thread and it was predominantly our discussion after that. In the last comment I asked Jesurgislac, "What principles guide your foreign policy thinking?" and asked him for evidence of his many assertions; I never heard from him again. Too bad.
Art that Rocks

Pink Floyd's Animals (1977) is one of the best and most underrated albums in rock history. It may require several listens to uncover its subtlety and brilliance but the rewards are great. The album includes three sprawling masterpieces (Pigs, Dogs, and Sheep) sandwiched between two short acoustic pieces (Pigs on the Wing, pts 1 and 2). One of the songs, 'Dogs', burns intensely for 17 minutes and elevates only to leave the listener crushed. And then there's the march of 'Pigs'...this is angst so focused its threatening! The next song is 'Sheep', which dare I say, is not baaaaaad.

What is too bad that this album is perceived by many to be an attack on capitalism (just look at the hundreds of Amazon reviews on the album), but on a further look it does not seem to be so (even though that may be what the lyricist Roger Waters intended):

"Animals represents Waters' view of the avarice in modern society that divides people, creating the harsh, cold, uncaring environment in which he feels we live. His Orwellian world is broken down into three basic types: pigs (those who have and hold control with a self-consumed greed); dogs (who aspire to "pig status" and forsake everything and everyone in order to gain it); and sheep (the mindless masses who quietly accept all that is thrust upon them). Though a knee-jerk reaction is to view this work as a statement against capitalism, it would be more accurate to say this as an attack on anti-humanism. The subjects in Roger's lyrics are belittled for their pursuit of self-serving agendas at the expense of all else." -- Phil Snyder

If anything, its an attack on the mixed-economy system. How else would 'pigs' and 'dogs' breed? Anyway, whatever the lyricists intentions were, this is just plainly masterful music.

Ists and Isms

Objectivism is, pretty much, the greatest set of ideas that I have ever come across. I am perpetually amazed by its inherent brilliance, and I admire those who embody its ideals. I have been a fan of Objectivism for years now and will probably be so throughout my life. And as I go through life, may I know when to separate the 'ism' from the 'ists.' May I turn to those who know nothing about Objectivism that make life a celebration, and turn away from those that know everything and do the opposite. May I continue to search for those that apply Objectivism in new and different ways, even when I will not fully agree. May I continue to find the non-Objectivists who write the best quasi-Objectivist essays that I will ever read. May I turn and face myself, and also turn and face the world. This is what Objectivism is about, and may I never forget it.

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