Sunday, October 26, 2008

A desi libertarian party?


While searching for something else, Animesh finds an outfit called Jago Party which, from what appears on the first page, takes a hard line against "the corrupt and rapist" [Hang them!] and reservations [they "are only for trains!"]. When you take a look inside, you get economic libertarianism ["an ideal economic system should promote pursuit of self-interest by all individuals"] combined with an enthusiasm for a police state ["Death sentence for terrorism, corruption, murder & rape. Court judgment in three months"].

Scary stuff!

But it didn't scare Animesh, who wrote to these folks about their free-market ideology, and gets into a spirited conversation over e-mail with one of the party functionaries. And he gets an invitation to join the party!

Here's a bad sign: Jago's a party in a hurry. Well before building a grassroots organization (with real work in the real world), it has gone ahead and fielded a bunch of candidates in the Rajasthan Assembly elections. It reminds me of two other parties which have gone nowhere (or self-destructed) after making a splash in their early days. Going by these sad precedents, I expect Jago will not survive with its present extremist orientation for more than two years.

10 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Their talk on economy seems more like the Republicans in US.

  2. Pratik Ray said...

    Misguided parties like this should never get to power. Here is a line from the party's manifesto.

    "For this, Jago Party would vigorously campaign for family planning and put a series of disincentives on anyone who produces more than two children. These disincentives would include debarring such parents from voting, getting any government financial aids and holding any public posts."

    I rest my case.

  3. amit varma said...

    For god's sake, Abi, these jokers aren't remotely libertarian. The quote highlighted in the comment above by Pratik illustrates that. Don't caricature libertarians, please!

  4. Animesh said...

    Thanks for the insight Abi. I will look forward to more comments from your readers on this.

    @pratik: What is wrong with disincentivizing multi-babies? Are you at odds with their goal or the path?

    @amit: From what I have understood by reading their FAQ etc, they _do_ borrow a lot from libertarianism, although not all. I think they _are_ "remotely" libertarian :).

  5. satarkb said...

    To follow up Animesh's questions:

    I would say my frustration with the quote Pratik picked out is the path. Providing women with education and access to the workplace has been shown, in every western country, to reduce birthrates drastically-- although I think teh family structure needs to adapt to women in the workplace (instead of them burdening the job of transmitting culture to the younger generation; having kids; caring for kids and caring for the household).

    Disincentivizing the birth of children in a country without easy divorce laws, uncontested female inheirtance and emphasis on "carrying on the bloodline" will - most likely result in higher levels of female infanticide and could even lead to a situation such as China's, where there aren't enough females in half a generation to provide for the carrying out of marriages and so on.

    As far as the party being in a hurry...I can't agree more but that - I think - is the result of it being born from corporate structures. This being said, I wouldnt underestimate them. The ideology of free-markets and self-interest and getting what you work for are all very appealing and have been continuously exported by the US in a number of ways. I see this as it taking serious hold. Indians with protestant work-ethics and a blind eye to systematic disadvantages. How exciting....

  6. Pratik Ray said...

    @ Animesh: I disagree with the path. IMHO taking away the right to vote is a direct violation of the Indian constitution.

  7. Abi said...

    Anon: Yeah, I guess I could have titled this post "A desi Republican party!"

    Pratik, Animesh, Satarkb: All your sleuthing points to only one possibility: this party doesn't have much of a chance anywhere, anytime. It may survive as a think tank if it's backed up by some intellectual firepower, but given what they have on their website, even that possibility is pretty remote ...

    Amit: These guys certainly have some kooky ideas, but their economic platform *is* libertarian, isn't it? They remind me of Ron Paul...

  8. Animesh said...

    Abi: Libertarian yes, Republican no. Note that they are OK with personal freedoms, which the Republicans want to control [gay marriage, abortion etc.].

    I too think that perhaps they are going the Ron Paul way. Lets see. I just posted a new post with some more thoughts, which I see is already linked in the "links to this post" :).

    @Pratik: Point taken. At the same time, I think it is high time we had a national debate about "practical" solutions to solving the population growth issue. This [crazy] path may serve as a good starting point, one end of the options spectrum maybe, with the other extreme being "talk to junta and hope they have less babies".

  9. amit varma said...

    Abi: If giving a Rs. 600 handout to every citizen is libertarian, my tits are bigger than Dolly Parton's! Ditto for all the family-planning social engineering. You can put together slogans from here and there, but it's meaningless if it doesn't form a coherent philosophy that you can arrive at from first principles. Ron Paul, for all his alleged kookiness, is internally consistent that way. These dudes are all over the place.

  10. Develop India said...

    Good you guys don't even have a voter id card! Keep thinking.