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Samizdata quote of the day

“I think one of the things I especially like about the IPL is that lefties, I sense, don’t like it at all. They preferred India when it was a basket case, taking its economic policy advice from them and from the USSR. Now that it has liberalised, i.e. turned its back on lefty/USSR economic policy crap, India is doing outrageously well, at any rate by comparison with the bad old days. And IPL showcases that outrageous economic wellness for all the world to see. Ludicrously rich Indian film stars owing entire teams that cost a billion quid. Cheerleaders. Spoilt rich brats making painted faces at the cameras. And above all, Indians hitting sixes and bowling really fast and looking like ancient mythic warriors, rather than all thinking and looking like Mahatma bloody Gandhi and being glad if they scrape a draw. Hurrah!”

– Our own Brian Micklethwait, writing over at his own blog about innovations in the glorious sport of cricket, and what it says about India.

34 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Eric Tavenner

    While I know nothing about cricket, anything that ticks off lefties has to be good.

  • Kulibar Tree

    Are we just supposed to know what the IPL is? Neither this blog, nor the one you linked to, bothered to explain.

    I found out by googling it – googly-ing it, you might say – but it was sloppy not have expanded those initials; and a trifle arrogant to assume that all your readers share your same esoteric sporting tastes.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Kulibar Tree: point taken but spare me your passive-aggressive remark about how this shows how “arrogant” we are here. I mentioned that the post was about cricket. Bit of a hint, I should have thought.

    I don’t always have to spell out the meaning of every quote – we tend to assume that our readers are smart enough to find out certain items for themselves if their curiosity is piqued. It looks as if your quest for enlightenment proved successful.

  • Ian Bennett

    See also the Force India Formula 1 team, funded largely by owner Vijay Mallya.

  • Sam Duncan

    …and next year’s Indian Grand Prix, anounced by Bernie E. a week or so ago.

    Damn, I’m enjoying the IPL. Not so much the cricket – I’m a bit of a traditionalist there – but everything that, as Brian says, annoys the lefties. I can’t help sitting in front of the telly with a huge grin on my face. It’s absolutely bloody brilliant.

  • Kubilar: Last time I checked samizdata was a completely free site. The people who post here owe me and you nothing whatsoever. I come here to read stuff all the time but I don’t get to play the dissatisfied customer card when it doesn’t meet with my personal preferences. If I don’t like it I can take my eyeballs elsewhere.

    If you think that something is a little unclear point it out by all means but the Samizdata folk are under no obligation to care.

    From my point of view, J. Pearce provides all the context

    ‘innovations in the glorious sport of cricket and what it says about India’

    any intelligent reader could possibly need for this quote.

  • Vijay Gurat

    and a trifle arrogant to assume that all your readers share your same esoteric sporting tastes.

    Esoteric? Yeah just JP and a few hundred million or so other people know what IPL means, clearly a fringe interest, but many of those are Indian so I guess they don’t count.

  • “Neither this blog, nor the one you linked to, bothered to explain.”

    “I’ve been watching the IPL, as in Twenty20 cricket from India”

    …although I only have a vague idea about what Twenty20 is.

    But anyway, I do get a kick out of stuff like this coming from India. The Force India F1 team is very exciting. And I can imagine a time when I might want to economically migrate to India.

  • Paul Marks

    India has its problems.

    For example, whilst there has been economic liberalization (i.e. dergegulation) in recent years – the economic growth has been used to finance a major expansion in “public services” (government health, education and income support).

    And, as with all such expansions in every country were they are tried, the increase in government spending on these so called “public goods” has outstipped the economic growth – so a budget defict (a large one) has been created.

    This deficit is financed (indirectly) by an increase in the Indian money supply – and this inflation (the increase in the money supply) has led to price rises (what people call “inflation”) and these price rises have led to great agitation and political instability.

    India also faces two wars – one against the Islamists (backed by elements in Muslimc countries such as Pakistan) and one against hard core (“Maoist”) Marxist groups (backed by the People’s Republic of China – a nation that does not practive Maoism at home, at the moment, but is happy to cause blood soaked trouble for other nations).

    Almost needless to say the policy suggested by the international establishment (the Economist, the Financial Times and so on) for fighting the war against the Maoists is “public services”.

    This both fails to understand the nature or war (one can not kill the enemy with welfare schemes – and civilians back the side whose armed strength they respect most, not the side that gives them the most money). And also fails to understand that this policy of “public services” was put into effect years ago (both at Union level and as State level – for example in the Maoist ridden West Bengal which has been under “moderate” Marxist rule for more than 30 years).

    The ignorance and stupidity (different things, but allied in this case) of the establishment knows no limit.

    Still India is complicated – and it is possible that the “public services” will be rolled back before they undermine Indian development (“but development depends on public services” – see above for the ignorance and stupidity of the international establishment).

  • Kevyn Bodman

    Does the IPL piss off lefties or does the writer just sense that it pisses off lefties?

    Has any lefty in fact expressed the ideas that the writer senses they hold?
    Time and space for scepticism on this, I sense.

    Not everything relates to politics.When I was a student lots of lefties could input any issue at all, run it through the Militant or Broad Left ‘thought’ processes and explain why everything would be better under socialism.
    Don’t fall into the mirror image of that.

    I don’t like the IPL because I think it reduces cricket to bash-bang-wallop and removes most of the subtlety from the game.
    I sense a lot of righties would agree with my analysis of the play.
    And it’s got nothing to do with rich men owning teams.

  • Don’t fall into the mirror image of that.

    Why not? The mirror image of “incorrect” is “correct”.

  • jdm

    I am quite annoyed that people who complain about mysterious acronyms will not reveal what they stand for after finding out.

    I still don’t know. This seems to me to be proof of someone’s arrogance. Not sure whom, but still. QED.


  • Sam Duncan

    By the way, talking of aspects of modern India lefties probably wouldn’t like, this is the sort of thing Mandira Bedi gets up to when she isn’t presenting ITV4’s IPL coverage. I think India’s going to be okay.

  • AKM

    IPL = Indian Premier League, for those too lazy to google it.

    I think it’s not the IPL itself that can be said to be pissing off the lefties, it’s the increasing prosperity of India. The IPL is just evidence of that.

  • ian

    wtf has the IPL to do with left wing politics? Really scraping the barrel chaps.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Ian, Brian was making the point that the entrepreneurial gusto of modern India is symbolised by IPL, and hence unmentionable to those on the left who condescend to the people of India as all downtrodden folk who need our aid, massive transfers of public money from the West, the usual BS.

    Kerist, do we have to spell out everything?

  • ian. It has plenty to do with left wing politics in my opinion. The same people who like to perversely romanticize abject poverty as somehow ‘authentic’ equate a rising tide of prosperity and greater economic freedom with ‘crass commercialism’ ‘cultural imperialism’ or whatever the lefty buzzphrase de jour might be. You can see these themes playing themselves out in lefty media strongholds like the BBC and the Guardian almost every week.

    They seem far more interested in a backward economically underdeveloped India that lends itself to exotic National Geographic photospreads,
    than the more mundane picture of a rising middle finally able to afford the sort of lives we in the west have taken for granted for decades.

    Look at the societies and cultures that the left fetishizes. It is invariably ones with lots of colorful natives running around in ethnic dress and third world economic conditions.

    Why is that do you think?

  • PS: I wasn’t trying to put words into Jonathan Pearce or Brian Mickelthwait’s mouth by any means but that is how I see the connection at any rate

  • jsallison

    Last time I saw a cricket match was when Sri Lanka took the world cup, largely by default. Was in Kuwait watching on Star Sports. Only available on pay per view here, with me being a known cheap bastage.

  • Nuke Gray

    All you need to remember about cricket is, as a wise Hindu sage once said, “Cricket was invented by the English so they would know what God meant by ‘Eternity'”. Nufsed.

  • ian

    You appear to have as much contact with reality as the Trotskyists of my youth. Everything is seen in a distorting mirror that turns anyone who disagrees with you into a pantomime villain. Brian in particular even uses some of the same language with his talk of cadres and the like (in some his LA pamphlets), Perry has the same simple minded view of the world as US or THEM and the whole libertarian movement is as riddled with factionalism and sects as the Trotskysist left ever was.

    The left has no more unity of opinion than the right of copurse, but so far as it can be identified it does not ‘romanticise’ poverty, does not argue that India and Africa should be bailed out by the ‘West’, just the opposite. Indeed it would be nonsensical to make such an argument and still maintain their critique of capitalism.

    “Libertarian acceptance of the “we’re capitalists and statism is socialism” narrative can be seen as a tribalistic or ceremonial sharing of stories with those we have hoped to influence. A shared mythology makes a tribe. Libertarian theory advocates free markets and it’s irrefutable. On the other hand, libertarian mythology attempts to describe a particular vision of American history as a falling from “capitalist” grace into the burning, sulfurous pit of “socialism”. As a consequence, the more radical critiques of the status quo and history that libertarian theory enables tend to be de-emphasized in the interests of not merely making reformist political alliances, but implicitly appealing to a shared historical narrative to emphasize aspects of libertarianism that (it is hoped) will be found more convincing by those with a right wing mindset.”

    Brad Spangler http://bradspangler.com/blog/archives/1558(Link)

    …not likely to be quote of the day though is it?

  • Alasdair

    At the risk of sounding like a two-stroke engine …

    But … but … !

    Isn’t IPL the abbreviation for Initial Program Load, to boot ?

  • Perry has the same simple minded view of the world as US or THEM

    Well… yeah. If I am ‘simple minded’ it is because the truth is actually pretty simple.

    The Brad Spangler quote is uninteresting because it is talking about a subset of American libertarians with whom I do not really share that much common ground when it comes to historical perspectives.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Perry beat me to it, but Ian, please cut the petulant tone if you don’t mind. It is an observable fact, not an example of some sort of student-radical adolescent rage, to observe that enthusiasm for holding up India as a poster child for its views has clearly diminished in recent years, and it is pretty obvious why.

    In the period leading up to Independence in the late 1940s, a lot of the folk who ran the Congress Party imbibed wholesale the Fabian, socialist central planning ideas. India instituted strict exchange controls, a whole swathe of protectionist measures, etc. It became a total nightmare for firms to get licenses to do anything; and of course this bred massive corruption.

    And I can certainly remember all those writings about the wonders of the “non-aligned” nations of the Third World, in which India got star billing at the time. And of course lots of spoiled Westerners used to go out there to “get away from the materialism of the West” crapola. Yawn.

  • Paul Marks

    Ian – why would oppose what is happening (in the United States and other places) so hard if we thought that the West was ALREADY socialist?

    It is because we do NOT think this (that we in fact think that some freedom is left – and we want to save it and to reclaim that part of freedom that has already been lost) that we do as we do.

    Do you really want to know about the economic and political consquences of a statist path – of ever bigger government in size and scope?

    Most likely NO – because to study such matters would lead you to things you do not wish to see.

    As for India:

    It is ruled by social democrats (real ones – not people who taught the doctrines of Saul Alinsky and followed J. Wright for decades) the Congress party is not conservative or libertarian.

    However, they are foes both of the Islamists (NOT of all Muslims, indeed many Muslims vote for them) and of the radical Marxists (such as the Maoists who, like the Islamists, murder people almost every day in India).

    So India, even under social democratic Congress party rule is very much part of “us”.

    Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the freedom not to be religous at all, the rule of law, and (their foundation) PRIVATE PROPERTY – these things are not perfect in India (they are not perfect here either) – bu they are the principles of modern India and they are to be supported.

    For all its faults (and everywhere has faults) India is one of the good guys.

    By the way – even if the United States followed a policy of strict nonintentionism, both Islamism and radical Marxism would STILL be enemies of the United States.

    “How do you know that – ESP?”

    I know this because of the basic doctrines of Islamism and Marxism.

    Their objective is world conquest (WORLD – not a little bit of the world) .

    And this is true of those leaders (both Marxist and Islamist) who live in the Hyde Park area of Chicago (before some of them moved to more notable places) as it is for the Marxist terrorists in India, or the Islamists in India.

    They attach no great importance to nations (“just lines on a map”) and it is odd that some libertarians should do so.

    These Marxists and Islamists are our enemies – the enemies of the West (India and Britain OR the United States) and they would be our enemies WHATEVER our policy was.

    And the above was written by someone who was AGAINST the Iraq war and turned against Afghan war as soon as I finally worked out the objective was “nation building” not getting Bin Laden and Mullah Omar.

    One can disagree on tactics (and I do), but to pretend that the Marxists and the Islamists are not enemies HOWEVER PEACEFUL WE ARE is folly.

  • ian


    You both seem to be addressing some other comment. I certainly can’t relate your points to anything I have said.

    In particular I didn’t say either of you believed the west is already socialist – although many commenters here have done so in the past. I can’t even work out what part of my comment you use to manufacture such a view…

    As for my views on the state, about 30 secs would have sufficed to check them out, but you choose to present a parody of them – “to study such matters would lead you to things you do not wish to see.” It seems you too prefer the pantomime villain.

    I’m happy to admit that my views have changed over the years. I’ll even admit that part of that change has come from here and sites like it. That doesn’t extend however to the millennial certainty with which opinions are presented here. It doesn’t extend to the dreadful desire to relate absolutely everything that happens to one or another aspect of those views – as for example Brian’s slightly desperate attempts to link cricket to some cartoon version of the left.

    Yes the left includes Scargill and Ted Knight and Derek Hatton. But it also includes Colin Ward, Kropotkin, Proudhon, Godwin, Rocker and today the likes of Spangler and Kevin Carson.

    Perry didn’t like my quote from Brad Spangler, so how about this from Colin Ward:

    “When we compare the Victorian antecedents of our public institutions with the organs of working-class mutual aid in the same period the very names speak volumes. On the one side the Workhouse, the Poor Law Infirmary, the National Society for the Education of the Poor in Accordance with the Principles of the Established Church; and, on the other, the FriendlySociety, the Sick Club, the Cooperative Society, the Trade Union. One represents the tradition of fraternal and autonomous association springing up from below, the other that of authoritarian institutions directed from above.”

    I have no idea who Paul’s comments on India are addressed to. They don’t spring from anything I said.

  • Laird

    “I didn’t say either of you believed the west is already socialist.”

    Oh, really?

    [L]ibertarian mythology attempts to describe a particular vision of American history as a falling from “capitalist” grace into the burning, sulfurous pit of “socialism”.

    I think that’s exactly what you were saying. Of course, if you’ve had a change of heart and wish to retract it, go ahead.

  • ian

    Do you understand quotation marks?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Ian, give it a rest, for heaven’s sake.

  • Laird

    Of course I do, but when you quote something with evident approval you accept ownership of the statement. If you’re quoting something in order to disagree with it, you need to be a bit more explicit.

  • Alasdair

    ian – did you intend to say “Do you understand quotation, Marks?” ?

    And socialism tends to be more of the slow bringing-to-a-boil that lulls to sleep more than the sudden casting into some sulphurous pit …

    And some of us prefer not to be in either, thankyouverymuch !

  • ian

    I’ll be brief.

    It should have been clear from the context that I was using the quotation in general support of my point that too often the world view expressed here is simplistic and descends to pantomime levels. Spangler called it a mythology, but the basic point is the same. Rereading my original comment I didn’t make that clear enough for which I apologise.