Ms. Dixit Gargi responds to Mr. Kalavai Venkat. For the other parts of this debate, please see:
- Libertarian Myopia and Religious Freedom
- Irrational Quibbling at CRI and the Issue of State Atheism
- Responding to Libertarian Critics
I clarified that my rebuttal to the article of Kalavai Venkat at CRI wasn’t any defense for libertarianism (which actually requires no defense); rather, it was a sincere rebuttal and opposition to his idea of state-atheism that he has tried to propound. However, he is now trying to take a direct shot at libertarians, so instead of defending his position for State-Atheism, he has provided 14 responses to register his opposition.
In my other article, I have exactly showed that Kalavai Venkat, despite of promoting the idea of Hindu Atheist Nation, neither is atheist (he is anti-theist) nor is he a lover of the idea of Indian philosophy and that is why his all allegations were actually based on western half-baked idea of memes or memetics. Here I am offering some clarifications on the 14 points he has raised.
1) After declaring himself as an atheist and then categorically confirming that all Abrahamic religions are evil (Abrahamic religions are Islam, Christianity, Judaism), he is now suggesting that he isn’t preaching anti-theism and he do support Hinduism. This is contradictory in essence. He also suggests that religions should be refined; and who will refine them? Obviously, he seems to have a right to appoint the refineries of religion. He also claims that he has explicitly said to avoid all forms of socialism; the fact is that State-Atheism isn’t socialism; State-Atheism is an idea that the state can be used to refine religion and to abort any positive or negative idea/teachings of religion. In my last article, I mentioned Marx, Lenin and Stalin using State-Atheism to curb ‘religious-ills,’ it wasn’t socialism; it was state-atheism which is actually being propounded by Kalavai. He has also mentioned the term Indo-European system. We did have such Indo-European System of refining the religious thoughts and other so-called meme’s in form of Aryan master race. Yea, you got it right; Hitler exactly propounded religious refining to promote Vedic culture1 . Now when Kalavai has clarified that despite of being atheist he certainly doesn’t find himself atheistic as he is constantly promoting Indian polytheism, monotheism, atheism and other sects. So we concede that he isn’t actually propounding state-atheism and he actually has nothing to do against theism, he only wants to refine religious thoughts, and this is Nazism. It should be noted that even Hitler supported the idea of restricting those religious teachings that are harmful and promoting those that are helpful and hence he raised the idea of ‘positive Christianity.’ Other prominent Nazis Alfred Rosenberg, and Heinrich Himmler were hugely influenced by Vedic culture while Hitler himself promoted, Buddha, Mohammad, and Confucius2 . Kalavai Venkat has shown through his articles that he has some special rage against Christians while he is ok with all ills or wrongs of other religions, including Hinduism. He is certainly contradicting himself however, that doesn’t mean that he is not Anti-theist; rather, it strengthens the guess that he is anti-theist, he is preparing proper grounds of State declaring what should be the religion, what is good, what is not so good etc., declaring State as Supreme Being is not so different then being anti-theist. Furthermore, he isn’t confirmed whether he will support meritocracy, or democracy, or simply some dictatorship.
2) He clarified that he isn’t actually against all Abrahamic religions, he seems to have specific problem with Christianity. I should concede that since I considered him atheist, and his claim that memetic suggests that individuals cannot get rid of their religious beliefs (which has been disproven), I considered him of the idea that he is against all religions. But anyways, he is ready to self-contradict himself and I have no problem with this. However, he is a liar if he says that he is only against Christianity as he himself has claimed that he is against all religions with the concept of God of Abraham. And if he isn’t liar, either he is ill-informed or he is simply ignorant about the fact that God of Abraham is a Jewish poem and the God in all Abrahamic religions (mainly Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) is the same. So either he should accept that he is against Christians, Jews and Islamists alike, or he should clarify that he is not against God of Abraham but against Christ or Christianity. In fact, the Bahai’ faith also accepts the same God of Abraham which is called as Jehovah in Hebrew language3 . I have no problem with what stand he takes.
Again, he supports the idea of refining religion and scrutinizing harmful religions ridicule and falsify them and penalize them through the machinery of the State. Again, it is nothing new and has been experimented by Nazis, they did scrutinize Christianity and refined it and ridiculed it and offered the idea of positive Christianity (saving that which they considered good about Christianity). Hitler himself kept friendly relations with Islamists and Buddhists. Penalizing the false religions (as considered was Nazis) was evident through the pogrom. However, Kalavai has declared that he has nothing against Judaism, so he isn’t anti-Semitic; he is simply anti-Christ, or Anti-Christianity. It doesn’t change the dangerous nature of Nazism and the failure of the state refining culture, religion, race etc., which is also known as eugenics and which failed in the US too).
3) Kalavai Venkat asserts that Ashoka wasn’t a secular emperor. So what does it mean? Despite of Ashoka using aggression and violence of whole state apparatus against anyone defying Buddhism, Buddhism in India failed to gather support. Despite an all-powerful kingdom patronizing Buddhism in India and abroad, the independent through process of individuals in India defeated the state supported Buddhism with the evolution of Nyaya and Mimamsaa. If Ashoka wasn’t a true secularist, he was anti-libertarian idea of religious and intellectual freedom for Individuals. On the other hand, the libertarian principle of supremacy of Individual freedom won against anti-libertarian idea of Ashoka4 .
Kalavai also stated something about America, White Christians, and Native Americans etc., I am not too much interested in the US history as I have enough in Indian history. However, what I know is that there happened a civil war in the US which was lead by Abolitionist and whose aim was to end Slavery and attack on blacks and native Indians.
Still, I believe that Kalavai is true and American state did support killing of innocent Native Americans, for say, religious cause. So what does it prove? It proves that State interference or support for religion failed abysmally because the people with independent thought process gathered and defeated the State through Civil War of America. The cause of that civil war was simple, Southern states wanted to maintain white supremacy, while the other states wanted to end white supremacy and slavery of blacks, what resulted was a defeat of supremacist. Nazis were Aryan Supremacist (much like Venkat is), they were defeated. But that doesn’t mean that Aryans were proved inferior to other races. What it proved is that using state to assert supremacy of a religion, or race, or to refine a particular religion or race, or to restrict individual’s intellectual and religious freedom is ridiculous idea that leads to extreme violence and failure.
4) Venkat suggests that I should read his portion about Memetics and impossibility of individuals in refining the knowledge they attain through memes. I have blasted that issue in my other article (Richard Dawkins trapped in ill-information of political and economic memes. Memetics isn’t considered as an approved science because Individuals certainly have ability to refine and define the knowledge they attain through such hypothetical memes. Furthermore, I have properly explained why Richard Dawkins himself is wrong in his interpretations of Memes and his idea of using state to curb religionism here in my article Richard Dawkins Trapped in Ill-Information of Economic and Political Memes.
5) He further claims that those suffering Christian memes are impervious to reason and refinement through free speech. I have clearly pointed out that he is wrong. Christians in America are not only getting rid of all religious memes, they are actually able to accept the better information from other religious memes like Yoga from Hinduism (Please re-read my article). The increasing demand for freedom of Abortion (pro-choice), freedom of sexuality (Gay Rights), etc is direct contradiction to religious teachings of Christianity. Extreme support for Israel (Judaism) is another atheistic expression of the US (as Kalavai Venkat clearly explained in his article that Christianity and the Bible teach a lot of anti-Semitics). This all suggests that atheism is clearly on the rise in the US. Experts also believe that Atheism is rising in the USA (The Rise of Atheism in America, The Week)) . However, this cannot be said about India. Atheism is certainly not rising in India.
6) Venkat claims that Christian beliefs has harmed people, he is the one who was claiming that Ashoka ordered killing of 18,000 innocent nirgranthas. But what stopped such killings? In India, the free thought development of Nyaya and Mimamsaa defeated the state-supported Buddhism (as Venkat claims that Ashoka supported Buddhism), and in the US, extreme demand of individuals for establishing Individual freedom above the state ended Black Slavery and persecution of Native Americans through Civil War. It clearly explains why libertarian principle of individual liberty certainly wins against all odds of State convoluting with religion (as Venkat demands) or State-atheism as shown through the experiment of USSR. The failure of Nazis, the American Civil War, the Declination of Buddhism in India, all these incidences suggests just one thing, no matter what a state did to promote a particular religion, or no religion (Buddhism by Ashoka and dynasty), no matter what a state did to persecute and suppress a particular religion (Judaism by Nazis, all religions and Christianity in particular by USSR), no matter what a state did to suppress a particular race (Aryan race by Nazis, White Supremacy by USA before civil war (as Venkat suggests)), the state tends to loose and history is evident that the state lost while the individual will to intellectual and religious freedom won.
7) This point is irrelevant. We now understand that Hitler was anti-Semitic and Kalavai Venkat is anti-Christ or anti-Christianity. While he considers Christians as schizophrenics, I have similar thoughts about people with ideas like him. The difference is that I don’t say that the state should persecute people who spread such hatred, I suggest everyone has freedom to express his ideas and intelligent individuals have freedom to refute such wrong ideas. Truth is stronger than Falsehood, Good is stronger than evil. Good memes (as Venkat will put it) will certainly win against bad memes and it has been shown throughout the history, even Indian philosophies suggest so. The US citizens ended abolished slavery in the US through civil war and Ashoka’s support for Buddhism failed to spread Buddhism in India, and all this happened because of freedom and will of other intellectuals to promote Nyaya and Mimasaa, this freedom is not a privilege, it is inherited, if you have mind, you will think, you will analyze. I suggest Venkat should read about Vipasana.
8) Venkat claims about Polygamy in US and people going jails in US. What he fails to notice that, to practice polygamy, one doesn’t need to marry many women. Doesn’t he know Tiger Woods? I know many people in India too who practice polygamy without marrying any woman. Polygamy is not about marrying many women; it is about having sexual relations with many women. Nobody can stop it, neither religion, nor state. Make laws against poly-marriages, and people will indulge in pre-marital and extra-marital relationships, make feministic laws and there will be increase in number of divorces. State fails as always. He mentions Francis Bacon too, he failed to notice the demise of Bacon and what caused it.
And again, he suggests that illegalization of witch hunting etc. reduced such incidences and it is just speculation. Witch hunting and other various ills against women were reduced not because of Stare decrees, but because of Social Reformers like Swami Dayanand (Arya Samaj), Ram Mohan Roy (Brahma Samaj), Mahatma Gandhi himself and a lot many more social reformers who spread knowledge and sanity to help people get rid of illogical memes and attain better knowledge (as Venkat will put it).
9) Memetics is not a science, it is speculative science and his claim that the foundation of Christianity is violence, has been rebuked earlier too. The Christians of the US when demand LGBT rights, Pro-choice rights, Christians enjoying Yoga, Christians abolishing anti-Semitism and in fact supporting Israel, etc suggest exact opposition to Kalavai Venkat’s irrational blame game. However, I wonder how can he support Islam and Judaism which are again faith based, and how can he support his own idea of supremacy of his thoughts which is again faith based.
Claiming that Indian systems are not dogmatic is ridiculous because if that was the truth, we wouldn’t have faced the extreme superstitions and dogmas that are present in almost every specific religious or spiritual view of Indians. In fact, Samkhya and Mimamsa while succeeded in defeating Buddhism as mainstream religious view of India, these ideologies failed to maintain their position in India which ultimately got trapped in idolism and superstitions. The continual struggles between Shaivites and Vaishnavites suggested different things.
10) He comments about memetics again while mentioning protestant and catholic Christians. He fails to notice that irrespective of the degree of improvement, Protestantism certainly offers an example of ability of individuals to change their religious views. Indian religious and political history is very old while European and in fact Christian history is relatively new, it is still undergoing changes and these changes are being brought upon by Individuals. It should be noted that atheism is one of the most rapidly increasing belief system (and is it a belief system? Believing that there is no super planning will remain a belief till the individuals acquire all possible information available in the Universe, or till he attains Singularity, which is still a distant dream.)
11) Kalavai Venkat again uses Newberg’s idea of authoritarian god and mentions God of Abraham, he again suggests that he is against Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. However, at this point he also suggest that he is against Shavites, Vaishnavites and other sects of Hinduism which also represents an omnipotent, authoritative and wrathful god. Wrath of god is a base of almost every religion to threaten individuals about the concept of heaven and hell.
12) Venkat here again offers an irrational idea that goes against him. He suggests that State of UK supports Christianity, he should also realize that education in UK is also under governmental control, yet people are increasingly accepting atheism in UK as Venkat claims only 71% of population is Christians. So what does it shows? No matter a State supports a religion (like Christianity is UK’s State Religion) people prefer to have their individual intellectual and religious freedom and this idea of intellectual, religious freedom wins against the state. When a state like UK failed to promote religion (that too an Abrahamic religion) how can a state promoting atheism will win? The failure of USSR is still evident.
He further offers a false claim about Czech Republic. He must notice that state atheism failed in Czech Republic too and Wikipedia link suggests that at the end of Socialist’s enforced state-atheism, Czech Republic had, Roman Catholic (84%), Jewish (7%), unspecified (9%)5 . The syllabus of compulsory education in Czech Republic up to grade five has nothing anti-religion, up to grade nine too, Czech Republic offers no anti-religious education (No Scientific atheim studies for children in elementary schools of Czech republic, Czech Republic Education course)) . Higher studies obviously include Biology and other sciences. But that is the case in almost all countries of the world (except some Islamic countries).
What Venkat fails to notice is that there was State atheism in Czech Republic and it was strictly against Christians (as Venkat is). However, State Atheism ended and religious freedom was installed. And what happened? At present Czech Republic have a high percentage of atheists who willingly converted from Catholicism to Atheism (it is the victory of Individual freedom against State oppression).
The Concept of Individual Freedom isn’t limited to Western Philosophy or Eastern Philosophy, Individual Liberty is concerned with Humans and support for Individual Freedom is present in any philosophy pertaining to Humans.
13) Venkat fails to realize that unlike a coercive state which certainly doesn’t represent individuals (fact is that even Democratic state represents majority and not Individuals), a voluntary organization, be it Christian, or Islamic, or Hindu’s or atheistic, certainly represents individuals who voluntarily add their savings, their property to such organization. Confiscation by state is robbery; no matter they rob individuals, or the voluntary organizations of individuals.
14) Venkat again starts accusing libertarians of worshipping American constitutions. He simply lacks information about libertarianism, Libertarians doesn’t believe in constitution, or in Religion, or in Government. Majority of Libertarians are anarchists, they support Self-governance, or Self-rule or Swaraj as propounded by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and then refined by Mahatma Gandhi.
He has also asked for terms in Indian philosophies resembling libertarianism. The fact is that libertarianism isn’t a term; it is a movement that represents a set of philosophies representing individual freedom against dogma. There’s a number of terms representing many of those libertarian philosophies and principles that are eulogized in Indian literature such as, Non-Aggression Principle is Ahimsa, Self-defense is Swaraksha, Property rights, or property is also known as Dharma in Sanskrit while property owner is termed as Dharmin, the concept of Nastik represents intellectual freedom, Individual Freedom is known as Svadharma in Indian philosophy and so on.6
Don’t confuse yourself, nor your readers, I never said that Libertarianism is an Indian movement, I claimed that Libertarianism certainly have roots in Indian philosophies.
- Hitler Twisted the theories of Gustaff Kossinna to put forward the idea that Aryans are superior or master race, Who Were the Aryans [↩]
- Hitler advocated support for Islam and Eastern Religions, Hitler was Atheist: Religious Views of Hitler [↩]
- Abrahamic God, God in Abrahamic Religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Baha’i Faith are sometimes called “Abrahamic religions”, because they all accept the tradition that God (Hebrew: יהוה Yahweh or YHWH often rendered as Jehovah (יְהֹוָה) in English; Arabic: الله Allah; Aramaic: Elah or Alaha) revealed himself to the patriarch Abraham. [↩]
- Nyaya and Mimamsaa brought decline of Buddhism in India, HinduDharm: Mimamsaa: Karmamarga [↩]
- Religion demography if Czechoslovakia at the end of State Atheism, Religion in Czech Republic [↩]
- To know more about Knowledge Freedom movement in Ancient Indian Philosophies, check out this book, Knowledge and Freedom in Ancient Philosophies [↩]