Red is not dead

The obituaries of the Left were clearly premature, for it is alive and kicking—and kicking all of us. Both in our country and elsewhere.

When the Soviet Union collapsed about three decades ago, communism declined in other parts of the world, and socialism was undermined by the 1991 reforms in India, it looked like that red was dead. A prominent American author, Francis Fukuyama, even wrote a book The End of History and the Last Man (1992), theorising that the great debates about political systems have ended and the question has been settled in favour of liberal democracy.

The obituaries of the Left were clearly premature, for it is alive and kicking—and kicking all of us. Both in our country and elsewhere. Even though socialism and communism have failed all over the world—not just failed but have also killed over 100 million people— Leftist intellectuals have the temerity to peddle these ideologies ad nauseam. A clique of such worthies joined hands recently and came up with action plan “Mission Jai Hind”.

The aim was to usher in socialism through the backdoor, for it intended to nationalise all property: “All the resources (cash, real estate, property, bonds, etc) with citizens or within the nation must be treated as national resources during this crisis.” It was not a JNU gang daydreaming about the golden dawn—woh subah kabhi to aayegi… The partisans of this plan were such economists as former Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen, former Chief Economic Advisor Deepak Nayyar, R. Nagaraj from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Prof Pranab Bardhan, and Jean Drèze.

Besides, there are luminaries like author Rajmohan Gandhi, historian Ramachandra Guha, Ganesh Devy, former bureaucrat E.A.S. Sarma, activists Harsh Mander, Nikhil De, and Yogendra Yadav, Admiral Ramdas, and Lalita Ramdas. When I heard about the plan, the first thing that came to my mind was thank God, Narendra Modi is Prime Minister. Had it been Manmohan Singh, these grandees might have used the Sonia Gandhi route to get their dangerous ideas implemented. Thankfully, they are not in the reckoning.

Not very long ago, these guys were running the show. It was Dreze, for instance, who imposed the rural employment guarantee scheme on India, the Magna Carta of slavery in contemporary India. For it has reduced the poor to the status of serfs, constantly looking up to the state as the deliverer that would redeem them. The mindset has got institutionalised, as evidenced from the term “delivery system”; it occurs frequently in official literature.

It is not just in India that pinkish intellectuals keep coming up with dangerous ideas; they are also active, and effective, in the capitalist West. They preponderate in the public health establishment. This is the reason that they were able to sell their doomsday predictions to decisions makers and then convinced them to impose lockdown as an antidote to the novel coronavirus. The mirage of imminent apocalypse they presented frightened everybody. Fear is an emotion that, if kindled properly, can eclipse reason and subdue the noble dispositions of courage and fortitude.

It certainly did in the case of Neil Ferguson, director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London. He prepared a report which said that five lakh Britons and 2.2 million Americans would die because of the novel coronavirus. This goaded Prime Minister Boris Johnson to opt for the lockdown on 23 March. His report was taken seriously despite the fact that his past predictions were widely off the mark.

In 2005, he had said that bird flu could kill up to 150 million; in the period between 2003 and 2009 the global toll was just 282. In 2009, his forecast was 65,000 British deaths from the swine flu; just 457 people died in the country. The very concept of lockdown is an affront to individual liberty and civil rights. It is premised on the notion that government is best equipped to save individuals; worse, according to this line of thinking, it is the right and duty of government to save citizens, whichever way it deems fit, howsoever coercive or illiberal may be. This is the reason that the entire public health mafia is pro-China.

Ferguson is. So also is the medical journal Lancet’s editor-in-chief Richard Horton. Unsurprisingly, he is anti-America. Reacting to US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut aid to the World Health Organization, he said that the decision was “a crime against humanity… Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity”.

So, Trump is the villain. Apparently, the hero, in Horton’s scheme of things, is WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. This is despite the fact that it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that Tedros is China’s lackey. It is a well-known fact that he, at China’s behest, lied to the world about the transmissibility and lethality of the novel coronavirus. Whether it is India or other countries, Left-leaning intellectuals still rule the roost— at least in the realm of ideas. Much to the detriment of mankind. The author is Editor, www.indianarrative.com