Tagged: Bharatiya Janata Party
Law 29: Demonetizing Bin Laden
Buddhism is the true religion of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Let me explain. Gautama opposed the caste system and was attacked – although not persecuted – by the Brahmins. Since then, Savarkar (1883-1966) and other proponents of Hindutva ideology have played down the caste system, to the point of presenting it as a deviation from true Hinduism or Hindutva. Therefore, as they oppose the caste system, they must be Buddhists, unless they are Westernized revisionist brains.
Demonetizing Bin Laden
“Center [Indian Government] had justified the decision of demonetization stating it was taken to crack down on fake currency, black money and terror financing.” (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Jan 2, 2023)
Some governments can’t take any action without justifying it by a necessity to fight terrorism. A potent justification as far as illiterate mobs are concerned, certainly. In 2019, EU stopped issuing its 500-euro banknotes, the highest euro note; these were called “Bin Ladens” because they were allegedly used in criminal transactions (and Western media know of no other criminal than Bin Laden, although mafias have been thriving all over the place for decades). 500 euros is about 45,000 Indian rupees, and one can understand that transactions that must remain cash (because they are unlawful) need high-value notes, but what proportion of “Bin Ladens” were used by Al-Qaeda compared to mafias? – India fighting terrorism with excavators (demolishing for encroachment the property of alleged terrorists running free [see Law 28: “Bulldozer Crackdown”]) and demonetization…
However, Modiji demonetized 1,000 INR notes to replace them with 2,000 notes†, that is, he replaces high-value notes by even higher-value notes. Criminals need cash for their high-value criminal transactions. You and I need cash for groceries; for more expensive purchases we usually make bank transfers. The 2,000 note is evidence that the demonetization has nothing to do with war against crime.
“People seeking to exchange their banknotes had to stand in lengthy queues, and several deaths were linked to the rush to exchange cash. … The move reduced the country’s industrial production and its GDP growth rate. It is estimated that 1.5 million jobs were lost.” (Wkpd: Indian banknote demonetization) Congratulations, Modiji!
†To be quite precise, demonetized 500 and 1,000 INR notes were replaced by new 500 and 2,000 notes.
The Delhi Car Drag Case
“Delhi erupts in rage after car drags woman for 7 kilometers; Murder or accident?” (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Jan 2023)
Some constitutional considerations
“Delhi chief minister demanded death penalty for the accused.” In all countries, it would be senseless for a member of the executive to tell courts what their decision should be, at any stage. But to demand death penalty is even more senseless in India, where, although death penalty exists, only eight executions have been carried out since 1996, that is, death penalty in India is a mockery.
Delhi CM’s demanding a death sentence for what has been said, so far, to be an accident, is senseless. But given Indian Supreme Court (SC)’s decision Bachan Singh v State of Punjab (1980), even if it is, in fact, a gruesome murder, the demand would still not be in line with actual law, that is, said decision, which limits death sentence to “rarest of rare crimes.” These include crimes involving the “security of the state” and I therefore disagree with SC’s ruling. There exists no reason to make a difference between crimes based on state security. Such a line simply cannot be drawn, unless it means that the life of a public official has more value than ordinary citizens’ lives, or something like that – an abhorrent idea.
Delhi CM talks in the present case of “rarest of rare crime” indeed, the condition for a death sentence. According to the Indian Supreme Court, there is a rarest of rare crime when, to begin with, a “murder is committed in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting or dastardly manner so as to arouse intense and extreme indignation of the community.” This cannot be a valid definition. Murders committed in anger or fear are usually more brutal and violent and dastardly than premeditated murders committed in cold blood, and yet it is a well-established principle that premeditation makes a crime more heinous. By emphasizing the graphic element of a crime, the definition overlooks other major aspects, just like a mob reacting to a crime.
In fact, the attempt by SC to define “rarest of rare” contrives a definition that denies the very name “rarest of rare”: “[I]f the motive betrays depravity and meanness, or if a backward or minority community member is killed not for personal reasons but to arouse social wrath, the accused should get death. Other crimes which technically fall into the rarest of rare cases are bride burnings and dowry deaths, a child victim, the assassination of a public figure for political reasons [security of the state, discussed above], or killing a defenseless person because of old age or infirmity.” Hate crimes, political crimes, infanticides, etc. Such a large definition for rarest of rare?! – Given that among the only eight people executed since 1996 in India, we find rapists who later killed their victim, one is bound to think, unfortunately, that rarest or rare are the cases properly brought before a court.
Two female friends, Anjali and Nidhi, left a hotel at 1:30 am on a scooter. Later, street cameras show Anjali’s body dragged by a car. Crowds rioted in anger when they learnt police reported the incident as an accident.
It looks like an accident, but even so the men in the car would be culpable of hit-and-run and manslaughter.
Had the men stopped the car after the accident, the car would not have dragged the body. It remains to be seen if a car can drag a body with the occupants not noticing at once; experts will tell.
a-a) Passengers’ v. driver’s responsibility
There is 1) the accident but also 2) the hit-and-run. The other occupants of the car beside the driver would have to convince a court they did their best to prevent the hit-and-run, otherwise they are accomplices in it. If they failed to report the incident, in all likelihood complicity will be retained.
If a car passenger does not report to police after the incident (without good reason), he will be presumed to have supported the hit-and-run. What if they are all caught while still in the car? Obviously, a passenger cannot stop the driver without risking an accident, so if one passenger urges the driver to stop and the driver won’t listen, there is probably not much else the passenger could do; in this case, I think the passengers should not be presumed accomplices. Passengers can stop a driver but there is always a risk of accident, as the driver is in control of the car.
If all passengers were stoned from alcohol or otherwise, and didn’t even realize there was an accident, then again, they are not accomplices.
When actor Salman Khan’s chauffeur was found guilty of a hit-and-run while Salman, as passenger, got away with it, I assume the court had good reasons for a decision I find counterintuitive, because Salman was the boss, and the chauffeur his employee, so at first I would assume Salman gave his chauffeur the order to keep driving rather than the chauffeur took Salman “hostage.” But perhaps the chauffeur was so afraid of the consequences of the accident that he did not listen to his boss urging him to stop the car. Possibly.
This is not only an accident but also a hit-and-run, and not only a hit-and-run but also manslaughter. The difference with murder is that the driver and passengers probably didn’t intend to kill Anjali by dragging her, they had rather hoped the body would detach, alive, from under the car so they could drive away, released from this “burden.” However, the drag was an act of violence causing injuries that resulted in death: the definition of manslaughter.
Someone (a YouTube user) said “[accused] having knowledge” is enough in Indian law to characterize murder, “not only mens rea” (a legal term for “intent”). Knowledge of what, he did not tell, but I think I can connect the dots, and that puzzles me because it means Indian law has no proper distinction between murder and manslaughter, which, if true, would be a shortcoming. In the present case, for instance, the men probably knew they were committing a violent, potentially lethal act, but death was not their intent (mens rea); their intent was more likely to have the body released from the car or the car released from the body, although, in their recklessness, they were certainly aware this could provoke death.
Delhi CM, who demands a death sentence for them, seems to have another appreciation of the facts; he may think they dragged a person unknown to them with the purpose of taking her life, that they had a design to choose a random prey to torture and kill her or took the opportunity of an unexpected traffic accident to satisfy murderous instincts and they enjoyed it. But neither the chief minister nor I is a judge of the facts. The jury will settle it. In the meantime, as the chief minister talks his mind, I assume I can talk my mind too.
The facts of the case as known so far from reports by Indian media seem to point to manslaughter rather than murder, unless the men knew the victim, a point the police said they are investigating. If the men knew the victim, the police may find biographical elements in their relationships that could constitute a plausible mens rea for murder, for instance if they bore her a grudge for some reason or other. Absent a previous relationship, there seems to be no other possible mens rea other than, for instance, a murderous mindset oriented toward random gruesome acts (but if the men don’t have a criminal record, this will hardly obtain, unless a psychiatric report points to the same) or a hatred for women that would make the case a femicide, a hate crime (which the Commission for Women has hastily presumed without, in my opinion, good reason, if not the assumption that Indian males, or all males, are prone to roaming streets for killing women – but is this assumption or prejudice? To be sure, Anjali’s clothes were torn by the long drag, and this could make think of rape.)
c/ Police conduct
As for police conduct, which has been questioned, we heard that a first police report talked of an accident, and this triggered street demonstrations or riots. If there was only “accident” in this report, then truly the report seems light, as a hit-and-run was also obvious. But a hit-and-run is not yet, per se, a murder/manslaughter either. Assuming the report was about accident and hit-and-run, one could still be puzzled and ask: How did the men not notice there was a body under their car? I have been watching Indian channels on YouTube these last days, and since the Anjali case surfaced, already two other car drag incidents occurred in India, as in Hardoi (Uttar Pradesh) yesterday, Jan 6, when a cyclist was dragged by a car over one kilometer before the driver stopped. On videos, we see pedestrians rushing toward the vehicle to alert the driver that he was dragging somebody; apparently, the driver had not noticed it at once. In the Delhi case, I read some people say a “decent” driver’s not noticing is impossible, but is it so certain? For one, it probably depends on the condition of the roads: where a car ceaselessly bounces up and down due to the road’s unevenness, it probably takes longer to notice the presence of a dragged burden under one’s car. Nevertheless, in case police did sloppy work, this is not evidence of coverup yet rather than incompetence or neglect. Even if police try to protect a politician among the car passengers (or is he the driver? – One of the accused is a local BJP politician), Nidhi’s interview in front of cameras can be of no help in that regard, as far as I can see, contrary to what is said by some: Nidhi’s testimony as we know it (see iii) can’t cast the least shadow of a doubt on the main facts, unless something escapes me. If the testimony can’t change nothing in that respect, I fail to see why police would have staged it.
Assuming police are trying to protect the BJP politician, their best asset for this at the present stage would be Nidhi, that is, they would shift attention from the men to Nidhi. She would be the one responsible for the accident and the men would have noticed nothing, neither the accident nor the drag, they’re cleared. If police staged Nidhi’s interview, as some suggest, they would have knowingly induced her to tell lies, such as “Anjali was drunk and I wasn’t, and yet she insisted to drive” which would, unanticipated by her, later be dispelled by forensic expertise (no alcohol found by the postmortem) and cast serious doubts on her personality. Therefore, if the claim is police interference, insistence on charging Nidhi is not quite consistent, because Nidhi’s words may have been staged: apparently an attempt to clear herself but in fact a trap diabolically laid for her by police.
The victim’s friend
Nidhi was witness to a hit-and-run that would likely result in homicide, seeing Anjali dragged away under a car. She probably ran for her life, thinking: “If these monsters notice me, a witness to their crime, they’ll want to kill me too, so indifferent are they to strangers’ life.” Then she went back home. Why not to the police? At 2 am in the morning, the safest was straight home. Perhaps she didn’t even know where the police station is, nor was there anybody around to tell her, or she didn’t dare ask, for that would have shown she was helpless and men could have raped her. And she didn’t have police number on her phone: who cares about that at 20 something? So, Hindustan Times says she went home, probably thinking of asking for advice. She then did nothing for the next two days: if this means she reported on her own initiative after three days, then she finally reported. Why so long? Perhaps the first day she was completely out of her mind, then the second day she thought it was already too late and she hoped she would escape investigation, and the third day she had remorse and reported.
But Nidhi’s behavior is a secondary and minor question, just as the accident is secondary in importance to the possible crimes, hit-and-run and manslaughter. Absent further elements that may surface later, in the previous paragraph I attempt an explanation. Some added in the meantime elements about her criminal record (drugs), and the hypothesis that she hid for two days to allow time to erase traces of alcohol or drugs in her blood (she would have been the one intoxicated and not, as she said, Anjali). But all in all, it is not clear how her behavior could be of great relevance to the main issue, unless one nurtures the idea of a premeditated murder of Anjali in which Nidhi would be implicated. Even if Nidhi were found liable for not reporting and/or the accident (cf. the allegation that cameras show she had her hands on the handle a few moments before the accident), that wouldn’t change the elements regarding hit-and-run and manslaughter.
The Commissions for Women
Does the National Commission for Women make a statement each time a woman dies a violent death in India or is there something special here?
The Commissions for Women, national commission and Delhi commission, add fuel to the fire; I now suspect one or the other instigated or incited the riots, or at least provoked them by making provocative statements. Who first claimed it was a femicide, with rape and what not, in defiance of the police report? (Anjali’s clothes were torn due to, according to expertise, the drag, but as the body was half-naked people at the CW thought it likely was a case of rape and murder.)
Delhi Commission then sharply criticized Nidhi’s interview and threatened her with legal action for her “character assassination” of Anjali (who Nidhi said was drunk and yet insisted on driving the scooter). Is it character assassination when Delhi chief minister demands death penalty for the men in the car, who are still presumed innocent (like all accused before a judgment)? Is it character assassination when one or the other Commission for Women spins a femicide yarn out of thin air? Bureaucrats would be the only ones allowed to talk? – I think the Commission for Women is embarrassed by their femicide spin in defiance of the preliminary police report. So-called “character assassination” is allowed in a trial and then (in a trial) it is no slander: when you are accused of something, you are allowed to defend yourself, and that may mean to shift responsibility onto others’ shoulders. (Of course, if you are found to be lying, your defense will be disregarded.)
“Rave Parties in Saudi Arabia: Crown Prince MBS Stuns the Old Guard with Modernization Push.” (Hindustan Times, YouTube, Jan 2023)
At the same time, Italy criminalizes rave parties. In Italy now, organizing a rave party will owe you up to six years imprisonment. The law has just been passed. Italians have had enough and know better than MBS.
Rave party means hundreds or thousands of people gathered in the dark with loud music covering everything. Alcohol and drugs will circulate uncontrolled in Saudi raves because tourists are now welcome in the Kingdom, which delivered no tourist visa until a couple of years ago. But the main concern is probably the opening of the land of Islamic holy sites to cultural forms that are increasingly considered, in the very West where they originated, as repellent and degenerate, even if rave parties did not imply invasion of property and noise pollution on several square kilometers, so much so that it’s just got banned in Italy.
I don’t know the rules about alcohol and tourists in KSA; I only know the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where tourists can get alcohol at hotels and private homes. I am told the rules are not the same. However, KSA, the new tourist destination, will likely follow UAE’s example, for you can’t invite a drunkard to your place and deprive them of their booze.
P.S. “Woman Who Went Topless After Argentina’s World Cup Win Escapes Arrest in Qatar. An Argentine woman, seen flashing in videos from the stadium, has appeared to have escaped any action.” (News18, Dec 22, 2022)
One of the strange things about the moon is that, while you need launch pad and rocket to escape Earth’s atmosphere, it only takes a little aluminum foil bug to escape the moon’s. I know gravity is not the same but you’d almost believe a man will get lost in the lunar skies instead of remaining on the lunar surface, so easy it is to escape the satellite’s atmosphere.
“China Restarts ‘Mission Nepal’ Against India. A purported China dove has been made Prime Minister.” (Firstpost, YouTube, Jan 2023)
A combined invasion of India by China and Nepal would be dramatic for India.
A medical use of cannabis was contrived as a wedge for recreational use. At Woodstock, no one said a word about medical use but they had a lot to say about recreational or existential or philosophical or whatever use. Medical use was contrived by people who had smoked weed at Woodstock and were looking for a way to make their new pastime accepted by society. That is, they perjure the Hippocratic Oath. From recreational and illegal to medical to recreational and legal.
The Air India Flight’s
Urinating and Indecent Exposure Case
“Drunk man on Air India’s New York-Delhi flight urinates on woman co-passenger.” (HT, YouTube, Jan 2023)
The regulator wants sanctions against the “negligent” cabin crew, but pay attention that the crew is also a victim of the indecent exposure (“After urinating, the man continued to stand there, exposing himself”), even if they were not urinated upon (this a crime I am unable to define legally at this stage, having no example in mind). Air hostesses and even stewards were in a state of shock, as victims themselves, and could not properly handle the passenger who was shamelessly exposing his parts to them. All in all, I think the National Commission for Women should make a statement.
The indecent exposure dimension of the incident has been completely played down so far and this is shocking in its own right. Crew hostesses have a right to damages, just like the lady who was urinated upon in addition to damages for being urinated upon. Indecent exposure is in the Indian criminal code (sadhus being outside the purview of the considered section). Therefore, you can’t sanction the crew as if they had not endured something foul themselves.
“Indian criminal code is not applicable in aircraft flying over foreign airspace. Also, if the man is a foreign citizen and he urinated when the aircraft was flying over foreign air space, then India does not have any jurisdiction. It is the country in whose airspace the aircraft was when the crime was committed, that has the right of jurisdiction and the right to conduct investigation and trial in that country’s court and punishment in that country’s jail.” (B.) – It is the Indian national regulator wants sanctions against the “negligent” crew; therefore, I assume the sanctions must be taken with due consideration to Indian legislation.
The crew evidently reported the incident to their management, and it is the managers who didn’t report. One must not confuse two different things: 1) the handling in the cabin of a crazy man who was a danger to everybody. If you think that intentionally urinating on people is common and does not betray an altered, potentially dangerous state of mind, just let us know. Then, 2) the report to authorities, and it is the management or direction’s duty, because clearly this kind of decision is deferred to the latter. I am therefore confident the company’s management or direction will be sanctioned for not reporting the dreadful incident to authorities and the cabin crew will get damages for being harassed by a sex freak.
Had a steward knocked the freak out, he would be the one prosecuted, for assault and battery. And the crew are not pledged to protect from piss a passenger’s body with their own bodies. “Preventing this [a crime] from happening,” as a YouTube user wants it, by “pinning him [the freak] down” is no more the crew’s than the passengers’ responsibility, it’s called a citizen’s arrest. If their employment contracts include arrest power, like contracts of bouncers in nightclubs, then all right, the cabin crew may be sanctioned, but I doubt the contract of an Air India hostess includes such things.
Insult To a Foreign Head of State
and French Hypocrisy
“Iran threatens France over Charlie Hebdo’s ‘offensive’ cartoons of Khamenei.” (HT, YouTube, Jan 2023)
“U.S. backs France on freedom of expression.” Why did U.S. not stand up for freedom of expression when French President Macron filed a complaint against a poster depicting him as Hitler? (See Law 27) Was there no concern about freedom of expression then? Let’s wait and see French government’s response to Iran, but if their answer is that freedom of expression is guaranteed in France, I urge the media to ask them why Macron lodged a complaint when he saw a picture of him as Hitler, and several other instances of executive attempts at stifling speech.
As far as hate speech is concerned, it tends to be permitted in France to abuse Islam, but not other communities. This is the problem, which in fact makes Iran’s overall position not contrary to freedom of speech as far as France is concerned, since their demand amounts to asking the same legal protection from hate speech for Islam as other communities have in France, that is, to stop discrimination against Islam. If France is a free-speech country, then Iran’s demand is that France be a nondiscriminatory free-speech country.
French law represses speech, make no mistake about it. As to the present controversy, there was in France a crime of insult to heads of foreign states (like Ayatollah Khamenei) until 2004, after France was condemned for this legislation by the European Court of Human Rights. But as with the specific crime of insult against the national President, which was cancelled in 2013, again after a condemnation of France by the ECHR, and replaced by the more common crime of public insult, a foreign head of state is still allowed to sue people in France for insulting them. This is to let Ayatollah Khamenei know that French laws unreservedly support his concern, and he is welcome to sue Charlie Hebdo and ask for damages.
The saffron bikini in Pathaan movie, which has aroused anger among Hindus, is a useless provocation. Artists must pay heed. The ire was certainly anticipated by all in the business and yet they did not refrain. An excuse such as “We thought the color was nice for the dance scene” would be frivolous; another color, less charged with sensitive symbolism, would have been as fine. So why?
Saffron bikini v. national flag bikini
Excerpts from All India Roundup, Aug 13, 2015: “10 celebrities who insulted the Indian national flag.”
“[Tennis player] Sania Mirza was pictured sitting with her bare feet that appeared to rest on a table next to an Indian flag. Isn’t [it] shameful!”
“[Cricket player] Sachin Tendulkar was accused of insulting the Indian flag, when pictures of Tendulkar celebrating his birthday on March 2010 by cutting a tricolour cake went viral.”
“Back in 2000, designer Malini Ramani also landed herself in trouble when she wore a flag dress.”
“Bollywood’s bold actress Mallika Sherawat got embroiled in legal trouble when she draped herself with the tricolour.” [She was nude but draped in the flag.]
“King [Shahrukh] Khan was booked by Pune police for allegedly insulting the national flag. He was booked on the Compliant of LJP national secretary Ravi Brahme that SRK allegedly insulted the tricolour in a video uploaded on youtube.”
“However small-time actress and model Gehna Vashisht must be severely condemned for her indecent act and was rightly taught a lesson by the people by wearing a tricolour like a bikini.” [She was assaulted by an angry mob and then arrested by police.]
“A case was filed against Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan for covering his body with the national flag in a manner insulting the national flag.”
“Narendra Modi…has been accused of insulting the national flag by a social worker of Pondicherry, who has lodged a complaint against Modi for wiping his face using the tricolour scarf he was wearing.”
So much sensitivity over national symbols in that country, but saffron bikinis are okay even though saffron is also a symbol? If those complaining about a national flag bikini don’t see a problem in a saffron bikini, they are double-faced.
“‘I killed 25 Afghans and I am not sorry’: Prince Harry’s chilling confession.” (HT, YouTube, Jan 2023)
If HT got its content from the leaked Spanish version, I think there is a translation mistake. Prince Harry did not “serve in the army,” the army is serving him as hereditary Prince of the British Kingdom. However much I would like to think he is a citizen like the others, and a soldier like the others, the medieval concept of his hereditary function is an obstacle to such a feeling. I might not be the only one.
Prince Harry is the only one thinking he did war like the others. Come on, guys, break the news to him. – I will believe a British Prince did a soldier job when he dies on the front, but it never happens.
Any military command knowing what military intelligence is would never send such a sensitive target on a military front. Imagine the Taliban getting intelligence that Harry is in chopper #9: all Taliban rockets on the spot would be for poor Harry. No, he must have comfortably enjoyed his trip across the beautiful land.
XXXVII The Evolutionary Roots of the Clash of Civilizations 2
This is a sequel to xxxvi.
Suicide For Sex
The essay on the evolutionary dimensions of civilizations (xxxvi) started by recalling the hot discussion on the relationship between Islam and the West. Regarding this relationship, evolutionary psychology book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters (2007) by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa attempts to provide an explanation of Muslim suicide bombings that I wish to discuss presently.
According to Miller and Kanazawa, suicide bombers are 1/ always Muslims, because 2/ Muslim societies are polygynous, which means that some men remain without mates throughout their lives, and 3/ Islam promises virgin mates to the martyrs in the afterlife, which is bound to be appealing to men without mates.
1/ “While suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, when religion is involved, it is always Islam.” (p. 165).
The emphasis on the word “always” is the authors’; they seem to be confident there is no exception. Yet, the statement is incorrect. Even if we dismiss WW2 Japanese kamikazes as a religious phenomenon, although the Japanese government of the time was implementing a policy of State Shintoism that emphasized the divine descent of the Emperor of Japan and thus infused patriotism with a sense of the divine, so much so that one of the first moves made by the Americans after Japanese surrender was to demand that the Emperor publicly declares to his people he was no god, we find “militant” suicides in other religions too.
Albeit the following examples, from Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, are not strictly speaking suicide missions, that is, acts aimed at provoking casualties to an enemy while sacrificing one’s own life in the very act (of which I see no other historical example beside Japanese kamikazes and Muslim Jihadists), those other suicides are similarly intended to promote the cause and interests of a religion in a confrontational context, and nothing in the evolutionary interpretation of suicide missions by Miller and Kanazawa explains per se why the suicide takes the form of a military mission rather than of something else. The promise of haur uljanati, the houris of paradise, is actually made to all male believers and not specifically to human bombs.
Martyrs are well-known characters of the earlier times of Christianity, especially the Roman times, and the suicide-like indifference to death displayed by these people during their ordeals became propaganda for the nascent religion, which certainly contributed to its success. That these martyrs did not die with weapon in hand while Muslim martyrs die with weapon in hand or rather being themselves the weapon (human bombs) is not to account for by polygyny and/or by the promise of houris but rather by the warrior ethics contained in the Quran and Islamic tradition.
This being said, Muslims can also be martyrs in the Christian sense, that is, allowing enemies of the faith to take their lives without resistance rather than in the act of fighting. Some hadiths tell how idolaters used to submit Muslims to the test trying to force them to pay homage to idols, which is against the will of Allah, and that the Muslims who, being firm believers, refused were put to the sword. This is the same as the Biblical (Catholic and Orthodox) story of the Maccabees.
Fundamentally, contemporary suicide missions are only a variant of such past acts of martyrdom. Knowing that allegiance to one’s God will be, with more or less certitude, cause of one’s death at the hands of God’s enemies and accepting it, is a form of suicide that the history of several or all religions can attest. Again, that this allegiance takes the form of a suicide commando mission rather than more passive or acquiescent forms of suicide is accounted for by the warrior ethics that is present in the Quran and Muhammad’s exemple, whereas it is absent from the Gospels and the life of Jesus.
In Hinduism, the jauhar was a form of collective suicide sanctioned by Brahmans; it was especially frequent among Rajputs during their wars with Muslim conquerors. When all chances of victory had vanished, the women first took their own lives, slaughtering their children on the occasion, and the men then went to fight to death on their last battlefield. The custom insured that no prisoner was taken by the enemy. We find a similar episode in the siege of Masada during the first Jewish-Roman war (73-74 AD): According to classical accounts, the besieged Jews eventually committed mass suicide rather than surrendering to the Romans.
Finally, there is the practice of self-immolation in Buddhism, of which recent history provides a few examples, the best-known being the self-immolation through fire by the Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc in 1963, in protest against the religious policy of the American-supported South-Vietnamese government. The legend says the monk’s heart did not burn and is now kept as a holy relic in the vaults of the Vietnamese National Bank.
So, although suicide missions as such are only found in current Muslim Jihadism and WW2 Japanese kamikazes (who could well have been performing a religious act), the will to sacrifice one’s life for one’s faith is a feature common to the history of many and perhaps all religions.
2/ “Across all societies, polygyny increases violent crimes, such as murder and rape, even after controlling for such obvious factors like economic development, economic inequality, population density, the level of democracy [“obvious factor”?], and world regions. (…) The first unique feature of Islam, which partially contributes to the prevalence of suicide bombings among its followers, is polygyny, which makes young men violent everywhere.” (p. 166)
The reason polygyny increases violent crime is that it exacerbates male competition for females. As the sex ratio is roughly 50-50, by allowing some men to mate with several women to the exclusion of competitors, polygyny forces some other men to remain without mates.
Miller and Kanazawa go on: “However, polygyny by itself, while it increases violence, is not sufficient to cause suicide bombings. Societies in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are much more polygynous than the Muslim nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa (…) Accordingly, nations in these regions have very high levels of violence, and sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a long history of continuous civil wars, but not suicide bombings. So polygyny itself is not a sufficient cause of suicide bombings.” (p. 166).
The authors are not dealing with institutional polygyny but with what I call (see xxxvi) cryptic polygyny, that is, the practice of polygyny no matter what legal arrangements regarding matrimonial bonds are. Among the most polygynous nations in the world, as they appear listed in note 31, p. 210, we find, for instance, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti (all these with the “maximum polygyny score of 3.000”). These are countries which populations are largely Christian and where the institutional form of pair-bonding is monogamous marriage and institutional polygamy is outlawed and criminalized. So bear in mind that, although the authors do not make it explicit, it is not institutional polygyny that is at stake. Other forms of polygynous practice, that is, cryptic polygyny is not in the least “unique” to Muslim countries; as Miller and Kanazawa write, “All Humans Societies Are Polygynous” (subtitle p. 91).
The violence alleged to be caused by polygyny relates to a “polygyny score” that has nothing to do with institutions and legal systems. Were we to examine these polygyny scores by country, we might find that Muslim countries do not stand particularly high. Among the twenty most polygynous countries listed page 210, I find the following to be predominantly or significantly Muslim: Morocco, Nigeria, Niger, Chad (53%). That makes four countries out of twenty.
Besides, Miller and Kanazawa overlook the fact that a good deal of Jihadists do not come from Muslim countries at all. Some of them come from Muslim communities in Western countries; many of these communities have been secularized in the course of acculturation, and the Jihadists had to undergo a sort of reconversion process from a materialist, secularized lifestyle to radicalism. Some others are even autochthonous converts from these Western countries with no previous family or any other links with Islamic traditions. The number of foreign fighters combatting today in the ranks of Daesh would be about 30,000.
Before conversion or radicalization, these people had the same access to women as other men, that is, in an evolutionary perspective, the same access as other men at the same status level. (Given that a lot of Jihadists had a delinquent career, it may even be argued that their access to mates was in fact greater than that of other men from the same city parts, thanks to the fast money such careers allow.) If the number of people from Western countries willing to resort to terrorist violence is great, then, following Miller and Kanazawa’s idea, polygyny in Western countries – by which more men are prevented from mating – must be high. By stressing polygyny as a factor in violence in general and in terrorism in particular, the authors, again, are not saying that institutional polygyny is the cause.
Institutional polygyny might in fact contribute to reduce the prevalence of actual polygyny in a society. The idea has been broached in xxxvi using the concept of reproductive climate along A.S. Amin’s lines. Institutional polygyny is a long-term institution that promotes men’s commitment to their mates and children. So is institutional monogamy, albeit the data (current divorce rates in the West, polygyny scores in Christian Caribbean and African countries) seems to indicate it fails to curb short-term strategies in some regions.
3/ “The other key ingredient is the promise of seventy-two virgins waiting in heaven for any martyr in Islam. This creates a strong motive for any young Muslim men who are excluded from reproductive opportunities on earth to get to heaven as martyrs.” (p. 166).
There is no denying that such a belief can serve as motivation. Even more than the warrior ethics I have invoked in (1/), belief in houris is doctrinal. Hence, whereas polygyny as such is not associated uniquely to Islam (see 2/), the belief in question clearly is, because you cannot rewrite the Quran, can you? Yet, houris, unless I’m mistaken, are no privilege of the martyrs but are promised to all believers, so the reason some Muslims choose death and others acquire sex slaves as war spoils, as allowed, I am told, by Daesh, remains to be explained. Suicide missions suggest that obedience is extreme in these movements, but so it is in any fanatical group.
Religions promising afterlife describe it as everlasting bliss, and although this bliss does not always explicitly entail incarnated virgins available for sexual acts, it can be appealing enough to induce the sacrifice of one’s life for one’s belief.
As far as Hinduism and Buddhism are concerned, the varied existing heavenly abodes where souls may spend some time during the course of their transmigrations are described in picturesque details, some of them being quite erotic, a fact that suggests the existence of a similar motivation in these religions. The way Apsaras, or celestial dancers, for instance, are depicted in ancient art is unmistakable (picture: Curvaceous Apsaras from the well-known Khajuraho temple). They are spouses of the celestial musicians Gandharvas, and it is possible to reincarnate as a Gandharva or as any other minor deity.
Not only these heavenly abodes entail sexual representations, but the very idea of reincarnation may serve sexual motivations. A Buddhist might be willing to commit a suicide attack in order to be reincarnated as a playboy; what would prevent him, as a playboy, from mating with 72 virgins or more? For the time being, Buddhist clerics do not promise next life in the incarnation of a womanizer in exchange of a suicide mission, although they could do so, inside the very frame of their creed, and the reason why it is only Muslim clerics who promise afterlife sexual gratifications as a reward to suicide attacks is not explained by our authors here.
Buddhists are not known to play this card, although some believers certainly aspire to a more gratifying sexual life after their next birth, as some are wearing so-called charm amulets to improve their sex life in the present already. In Thailand these amulets often depict the legendary character Kun Paen in the company of multiple nude women; other charm amulets represent women in acts of bestiality, some others are in the shape of a penis, at times anthropomorphized (penis man). Thai monks routinely bless such talismans.
As to the idea that Jihadists, on the Iraqi theater of operations, kill more Iraqis than they kill Americans because they are “unconsciously trying to eliminate as many of their male sexual rivals (fellow Iraqi men) as possible,” it is far-fetched. As stated above, Daesh counts some 30,000 foreign fighters, for whom Iraqis are no more fellow men than Americans, and that would be half of Daesh’s army. A simpler explanation is that it is more difficult to kill an American than an Iraqi in Iraq – not only because of numbers, but also because American soldiers are certainly better trained and better equipped, and they probably station their Iraqi allies on the most “strategic” positions.
All these elements suggest that Miller and Kanazawa’s explanation is somewhat shallow.
Jihad vs Panda Express
As explained in xxxvi, Jihad is not parochialism but globalism. I define it “Islam as globalism.” If you want to give Barber a better example of parochialism, I suggest you name France to him. He could have titled his book “La France vs McWorld” or “La France vs Jihad,” and that for sure would have been a better illustration of the opposition he makes between parochialism and globalism. Need I expatiate?
Islam is a global power. Some people deny the existence of “Panislamism,” arguing Islam’s diversity. They do not seem to notice the current movement toward homogenization at work throughout the Muslim world, albeit they know the movement’s name as they appropriately call it Wahhabism or Salafism or fundamentalism.
Islam is a global power. They’ve got human bombs. They’ve got petrodollars and sovereign funds. They’ve got migrant communities throughout the Western world and beyond. They’ve got sympathy among scholars and intellectuals round the world. About this last point, let me tell you the story of Professor Subramanian Swamy from Harvard Summer School.
Prof. Subramanian Swamy taught Quantitative Methods in Economics and Business at Harvard Summer School from 2001 to 2011. As an economist he wrote papers together with Nobel Prize Paul Samuelson. He is also involved in Indian politics and was India’s minister of commerce and industry from 1990 to 1991. He was president of the Janata Party from 1990 to 2013, until the party merged on with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party is labelled Hindu nationalist.
After the 2011 Jihadist bombings in Mumbai, Swamy wrote an article in an Indian paper that was deemed Islamophobic by a few readers. After a campaign of denigration, he was dismissed from Harvard Summer School, in America, the same year. It turns out I took his class in Summer 2004. I did not know his credentials at the time and I can testify that, as a professor, he never talked about these issues, so I would never have guessed the truth about him had I not discovered it by chance years later on the Web. I disapprove of his dismissal.
Swamy and other Indian politicians are for example accused, including in the West, of demonizing Mughal rule. There is one funny argument in the views of those who defend the Mughals as tolerant rulers. They say Mughals promoted intercommunity marriages, but Hindus claim these marriages amounted to sequestering Hindu women, their war booty, inside Muslim harems. If the latter are correct, then Mughals’ defenders would be praising as enlightened tolerance and benevolent wisdom the age-old practice of all ruthless conquerors throughout history.
Here is how Swamy envisions India’s relationship with the country having the largest Muslim population in the world, namely Indonesia: “Over 90 per cent of the economic world powers’ commercial sea-traffic passes through the narrow (90 miles) Malacca Strait. If we can develop naval power to the point where we can police this strait, it will give India enormous power and leverage to influence international events. This has diplomatic implications. It is obvious, for example, that we cannot control the Malacca strait without the active cooperation of Indonesia. However through proper diplomatic moves we can obtain Indonesia’s cooperation and forge a strategic relationship with that country because we have long historical links with these islands through our cultural links of the past.” (Hindus Under Siege: The Way Out, 2007, p. 97).
Swamy is perhaps overconfident, because Indonesia, albeit often advertised as a model of tolerant Islam (Islam warna-warni, or “multicolored Islam,” as the phrase goes), is undergoing the same process of homogenization through radicalization at work round the Muslim world. One example will suffice to buttress this contention.
The following passage deals with the current situation in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces, whose population is prominently Muslim (>80%), in an otherwise overwhelmingly Buddhist country (92%). “As of September 10, 2008, there were forty-one beheadings according to the Bangkok Post. Terrorism experts argue that the style of many of these southern Thai beheadings is influenced by Muslim militant actions in the Middle East. However, there is more evidence to suggest that Thais are being trained in Indonesia or that the expertise comes from Indonesian-trained Thais who have stronger regional and local connections than countries in the Middle East. According to the Thai newspaper Isrā, in one instance a Thai ustaz (Islamic teacher) who teaches Islam in Yala Province had trained as a commando and studied Islam in Aceh, Indonesia. Among the Thai ustaz’s commando training were techniques for beheading people.” (M.K. Jerryson, Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand, 2011, p. 92).
What is striking in this piece of information, besides the gruesome facts and the trial for incompetence the author is making against “terrorism experts,” is that Thai Jihadists do not train in Malaysia but in Indonesia, although (i) Malaysia is the closest neighboring Muslim country, (ii) whose policy is more Islam-oriented than Indonesia’s. It seems Jihadists find a safer shelter and/or better logistic support in Indonesia, which hints at the latter truly being the soft underbelly of the region with respect to fundamentalist plans, in spite of the showcase of Muslim tolerance. Indonesia is a poor country, ranking 100th as to GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) (10,517 INT$), compared to 44th for Malaysia (25,639 INT$) (World Bank 2014). In 2002 Indonesian government allowed Aceh province to enforce Sharia law and is now under pressure from other provinces to extend this policy. To summarize, it is in tolerant Indonesia that Thai (Patani) Jihadists learn beheading techniques.
Savanna Park Virtual
As my friend X says, “A life among people who fancy themselves in the savanna is not worth living.” He means that people live in a virtual savanna; they believe in the reality of an environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) that is no more. To discuss the present point, let us return to Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters by Miller and Kanazawa.
“Since the advent of agriculture about ten thousand years ago and the birth of human civilization which followed, humans have not had a stable environment against which natural selection can operate.” (p. 26). This is why intelligence, that is, as the same Kanazawa defines it in his book The Intelligence Paradox (2012) (discussed in xxxv), the capacity to deal with “novel and nonrecurrent adaptive problems,” has become important in human societies: Human civilization, our man-made environment is unstable and requires dealing with novel problems on a much more frequent basis, almost on a daily basis. Yet, our instincts often stand in the way and prevent us (the less intelligent of us) from dealing adequately with our current environment. For instance, abusing one’s mate is an instinctually adequate behavior to intimidate her into complying and shying away from close contacts with other men that would jeopardize the man’s position; yet, this behavior is criminal and may result in incarceration, ruining entirely the position that the man intended to secure (p. 24).
Therefore, intelligence can be construed as a non-emotional path to knowledge, because our emotions have been shaped in the stable environment of the ancestral savanna in order to make us behave in the ways adaptive to that environment. In spite of some scholarly attempts to discard the dichotomy reason-emotion, no matter how you take it emotions are in the way when you try to solve an equation. This is why for all abstract problems machines will do a better job than humans in the future.
Machines would already have replaced human toil and work if humans were not intent on preventing this evolution as much as they can, out of emotions designed in the vanished savanna. In 1941 already, James Burnham contended: “Using the inventions and methods available would, it is correctly understood, smash up the capitalist venture. ‘Technological unemployment’ is present in recent capitalism; but it is hardly anything compared to what technological unemployment would be if capitalism made use of its available technology.” (The Managerial Revolution). Given the pronounced tendencies toward crime attested by the current, already massive, permanently unemployed “underclass,” decision-makers are doing their best to have low-productivity industries and services subsidized in exchange of the latter maintaining the highest possible figures of human toil, which, from the advent of division of labor through the assembly line and bureaucratic procedure in organizations on, has become unbearably monotonous and machinelike.
It would be unbearable too, in the service sector, to interact as customers with humans playing the role of machines if that would not satisfy some inner savagery and cruelty keen on seeing other people degraded and at one’s mercy – a savanna emotion. The usual person, placed in such a situation as a waiter or shopkeeper, talks back to customers, whereas machines are always well-behaved. Do not bring savanna apes to confrontation when you can have these functional operations processed by machines.
The managerial revolution that has taken place and is the real engine of our affluence has nothing to do with old-days capitalism. Entrepreneurs are gone or they stand in the way. For aught I know, the entrepreneur today is the cleaning lady I pay. The engine of economy is elsewhere, amidst organizations contracting with the state, organizations offered foreign contracts through diplomats’ bargaining, oligopolistic markets, contractors entirely dependent on organizations, organizations that are shareholders, organizations filled with interchangeable organization men whose personal value is nil as measured by their departure or removal or passing away having no effect whatsoever on the company’s market value… The human factor there is the problem – what can make the machine go awry some day or the other. So-called experts sustain the myths of capitalism, but that is spin.
Spin is the word for politics too. The spoils system is over, ended by the Civil Service Reform (USA) and the “rise of the technician bureaucracy” (Aufstieg des fachgeschulten Beamtentums) (Max Weber). Recalling the so-called “Monicagate” in their light-hearted fashion, Miller and Kanazawa explain that other politicians (men) have affairs too. Do they? “It would be a Darwinian puzzle if they did not.” (p. 144). I suggest another “Darwinian puzzle”: Why does not “the most powerful man in the world” (p. 143), as some journalists, and a few light-hearted scholars, like to call the president of the United States, have the largest harem on earth? It looks like the most powerful man is a nice and decent functionary who’s doing as he’s told. He’s there for the cameras, making believe, by his presence, in the savanna tribe. This is monkey dance. Entertainment for the savanna brain.
The profound meaning of democracy, as most high civil servants do not come and go with elections (which is spoils system) but serve any elected person and apply, each in his or her sphere of competence, any program that comes out of the ballot box, is either that bureaucrats, because they put themselves at the service of others’ ideas, live an ignoble life (construing living for one’s ideas as noble), or that ideas don’t matter in the least and our societies follow an inevitable course.
When the once most powerful man in the world named Bill was faced with impeachment proceedings for his whoopees in the White House and his lies, he said please not to make him waste his time, ‘cause he’s got a job to do. May I ask who appointed him to the job? It’s no job at all. At most we’ll have to call it an office, and one is not appointed there by competent persons for one’s competence but by the people as a good monkey dancer or a good person, depending on how you see things.
Do journalists investigate politicians’ private lives or not? If they do, do our authors mean that most affairs escape these investigators’ attention? Well, well… Why not assume that journalists are good investigators, when this assumption, precisely, is made about them in other fields? Because the scarcity of affairs would be a Darwinian puzzle…