Where is My Troll on the Koh-i-Noor Diamond?

Sean Gabb

Can anyone else find it? One moment, I was gloating over all the trouble I had stirred up, the next, and it was all gone. Perhaps this is just a defect of the browser I am using. Even so, I am disturbed. It means I shall have to think of something else to say that is offensive. Perhaps I should have another go at the Americans…..

63 responses to “Where is My Troll on the Koh-i-Noor Diamond?

  1. Dr Gabb, was the thread deleted by your ISP? That is the only conclusion I can reach – maybe they just wanted to cover themselves.

  2. That’s the first time, in my management of this bolg, that an entire posting, plus about 35 comments, has completely vanished. I think this is deeply sinister.

    I did not do anything to remove it either, since I did not objetc to Dr Gabb saying what he said, nor to the animated discussion which resulted.

  3. Abhilash Nambiar

    I thought Sean deleted it himself. It is not quiet down the memory hole. I have most of the comments in my inbox, except of course the ones that I wrote myself.

  4. Sean, please do two things:-

    (1) Save the original as a wordfile, somewhere else,
    (2) Put the thing up again, and see what happens.

    You could try saving the entire blog first with all links, just in case. I don’t know how to do that.

    If it disappears again, someone has got it in for people who say critical things about the Indian Political Enemy-Class.

  5. Oh and Gold’s gone up $15 in the last 6 hours.

  6. “Where is My Troll on the Koh-i-Noor Diamond?”

    @Sean: Troll? Oh, I see — you didn’t really mean what you typed. Just a jolly jape, after all.

    Don’t worry too much that it’s mysteriously gone. As the sentiments that you expressed (an ethnocentric/colonial arrogance and a nicely rounded collectivist world outlook) can be found in most of David’s regular postings, even if a reader missed that particular post they will soon get a pretty good feeling for the kind of ‘libertarianism’ promoted here.

  7. Why don’t you find out if it is your website hosting company first? I don’t mean the ISP, but the company who sold you the webspace – or are wordpress.com addresses owned by WordPress? If not, the page could even have been hacked – but I assume a hacker would do more damage than this.

    Anyhow, let me say this: however true Cameron’s comments on Pakistan were – and they needed to be said some time – it was really wrong to make them in India. We are giving the impression of bandwagoning with India – we should remain neutral.

  8. >>>>Don’t worry too much that it’s mysteriously gone. As the sentiments that you expressed (an ethnocentric/colonial arrogance and a nicely rounded collectivist world outlook) can be found in most of David’s regular postings, even if a reader missed that particular post they will soon get a pretty good feeling for the kind of ‘libertarianism’ promoted here.


    Yeah, but it’s the only kind of libertarianism I am interested in!

    John Stuart Mill wrote (see http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/mill/john_stuart/m645r/chapter16.html):

    “If the smaller nationality, supposed to be the more advanced in improvement, is able to overcome the greater, as the Macedonians, reinforced by the Greeks, did Asia, and the English India, there is often a gain to civilisation: but the conquerors and the conquered cannot in this case live together under the same free institutions. The absorption of the conquerors in the less advanced people would be an evil: these, must be governed as subjects, and the state of things is either a benefit or a misfortune, according as the subjugated people have or have not reached the state in which it is an injury not to be under a free government, and according as the conquerors do or do not use their superiority in a manner calculated to fit the conquered for a higher stage of improvement.”

    Some more quotes from a later chapter (http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/mill/john_stuart/m645r/chapter18.html):

    “Some [colonies] are composed of people of similar civilisation to the ruling country, capable of, and ripe for, representative government: such as the British possessions in America and Australia. Others, like India, are still at a great distance from that state.”

    ” The institutions of Great Britain, and those of the United States, have the distinction of suggesting most of the theories of government which, through good and evil fortune, are now, in the course of generations, reawakening political life in the nations of Europe. It has been the destiny of the government of the East India Company to suggest the true theory of the government of a semibarbarous dependency by a civilised country, and after having done this, to perish.”

    The whole of chapter 18 is worth reading.

  9. Abhilash Nambiar

    I have a feeling that this thread too might disappear soon. So I will be saving comments on it as well.

    dj, try the BNP.

  10. DJ: You wanted Sean Gabb to read and support your linked article: https://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/where-is-my-troll-on-the-koh-i-noor-diamond/#comments

    Are you bootlicking Sean to get support?

  11. Jayant Bhandari

    I have downloaded the page from google’s cache. If you want, I can email to LA’s admin the full document for posting.

  12. Rita Lampkin

    That’s nothing, you should see our Holocaust Denial thread.

  13. @Jayant:
    if you can send it to sean@libertarian.co.uk, he can then re-insert it to see what happens.

  14. I don’t need to lick Dr Gabb’s boots – I have never met him, and probably never will. I just pointed out in the deleted comments that he had blogged on substantially the same subject that I had blogged on on my site, and yet he had not taken up my offer to put up my blog post on the LA blogs here. He is far from obliged to copy my blogs onto his site, and really speaking, he would only ever do so where he agreed with the points I was making – and he may not have agreed with me. I am relaxed about the fact that Dr Gabb or anyone else may not see fully eye to eye with me on any particular thing – or on everything! My comments supporting Dr Gabb’s views were not some sudden attempt to curry favour with Dr Gabb — they represented my longheld views, as is known to many in the conservative movement –and I would hold them regardless of whether the LA agreed! Honestly!

  15. The reason I don´t always forward blog postings has less to do with disagreement than with what else I have to do at any one time.

    I am glad the posting and its comments are still available somewhere, though I am not in a place at the moment from which Internet surgery is convenient.

    In general, I have decided that this whole discussion raises issues that are better discussed – by me, at least – in a regular essay, which I will write once I am able.

    What I will say, though, is that while its form was intended to cause offence, I am fully agreed with the substance of the original posting. If British imperialism was never in the true interests of England, it was a blessing for the peoples thereby subjected to British rule.

    Anyone who wants to argue against this with me must wait for the essay. This will also answer a point made elsewhere to me by Kevin Carson.

  16. it sounds like a very interesting essay – I hope you get down to writing it a.s.a.p. Cameron is floundering, that’s all I know…

  17. As my link is not up on your site, now that the other thread has been pulled, let me reiterate, it is http://www.corkirish.com/wordpress/archives/1132

    This is not, as StupidDJ thinks, because I want to force Sean Gabb to read my blogpost –but so anyone reading this blog (hopefully many people) will do so…

  18. Abhilash Nambiar

    What does such terms mean anyway? “Interests of England”, “interests of those subjected to British rule” etc., Nations do not have interests, people do. What is called national interests are merely meaning that people attach to interests as expressed by certain persons who where at certain position during certain times.

    And as the situation changes there will be winners and losers in both England and her former colonies.

    Sean you need to shake off your collectivist mentality and apply methodological individualism when performing your analysis.

  19. No. There are national interests. A UK one is for example, in keeping the Falklands, now that Rockhopper has found oil there – if oil revenues from the Falklands reduce the need to tax ME -I’m all for it. And by the way, we didn’t loot the empire enough – I can’t understand why the oil wealth of Brunei “belongs” to the sultan? It used to be a UK protectorate – I would have put all the oil wealth straight against the UK’s nation debt. I am not a luvvie – and I would have simply told the Bruneians they don’t own the oil there – we did. Same for the Trucial States, Kuwait and other states formerly under British protection. We should have been harder-nosed.

    Thomas Munro, governor of Madras, had the same views as I. He wrote in 1813:

    “I have no faith in the modern doctrine of the improvement of the Hindus, or of any other people. When I read, as I sometimes do, of a measure by which a large province has been suddenly improved, or a race of semi-barbarians civilized almost to Quakerdom, I throw away the book”.

    This was quoted by Jared Taylor, a US white nationalist (note: not supremacist) at http://www.vdare.com/taylor/burden.htm . Munro probably believed that the purpose of empire was to enrich ourselves. I agree. Would that it had been so.

  20. Jayant Bhandari

    “…while its form was intended to cause offence…”

    Saying something with the intention of causing offence without primary and sole focus on reason and analysis is a sign of barbarism, using the words of the author, Dr Sean Gabb. Such an approach has the potential to take the author off the tangent. It does not attracts friendship and interest but revulsion.

    Unfortunately this and the original blog (which has been now deleted) has demeaned and put people off from reading a lot of extremely good work done by Dr Gabb. He has clearly vilified his own huge contribution made in the past, for example, when he confronted a bigoted journalist on the radio. But what can I say when Dr Gabb has now himself taken the path of bigotry and irrationality.

    Alas, I have no more interest in reading any article that Sean might write on the subject, for it is very clear that he is a libertarian within the UK, but sees himself as a collectivist/nationalistic “us” the moment, he wants to understand the world.

    The blog started with defending the fact that one thief (the Queen of England) had the right to keep the diamonds and not return it to another thief (the government of India). As such to any true libertarian both entities are thieves, as he/she would ideally have anti-statist beliefs.

    Would I read Dr Gabb’s article on the subject? Unfortunately, he has lost a huge amount of credibility.

  21. Abhilash, I disgree with you. You are right in saying that only individuals actually exist, and that much social science is improved so far as it studies individuals as opposed to reifications. However, nations exist because people believe they do. Or let me improve on that: nations must be taken as existing because the great majority of people believe in them. Some nations are more liberal than others, so far as the states they tolerate are compelled to be less parasitic than they are elsewhere. I am leaving out several steps in the argument. However, I do believe it is legitimate, if in a limited sense, to speak about national interests. And I also believe it can be in the interests of a nation in general, as opposed to a privileged minority, to be conquered by a nation with a more liberal state.

    It is no shame on the Indians that they were, by English standards, barbarous until the 20th century. Their civilisation had many notable achievements that I cannot be bothered to spell out. But India was also ruled by loose coalitions of ruthlessly parasitic elites who kept the majority in varying degrees of subjection. It had suttee and Thuggee and coerced castration and prostitution. What India got from England was modernity.

    Now, I believe it was not in English interests to conquer India. It was a conquest that benefited no one here outside a privileged minority. However, the conquest was a blessing for most ordinary Indians. Rather than blaming us for it, they should be grateful. If they have too much national sentiment to be grateful, they should at least refrain from complaining about it.

    Of course, my real hatred is not for Indians, who are at perfect liberty to think whatever they please about England, but the whole modern establishment of England, which legitimises itself by denouncing the English past.

    And this really is all I have to say on the matter until I get round to my essay.

  22. Abhilash Nambiar


    There are national interests because people believe in the myth of the nation-state. So you just told me how people who believe in that myth organize their society. I already know that.

    Stupid-DJ seems apt under the circumstances. Among the myths about what makes Western civilization great I shall include white-supremacism. But the reality of what made the same civilization great informs me that it had to do with sound economics.

    And now dj if you are finished with your Hindoo bashing I would recommend you read Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises or you could listen to

    The Source of Government Power by Robert LeFevre

    It is a better way of spending time instead of surfing ultra-right wing conservative websites. I have read them. I guarantee they have the capacity to make you stupid and looks like it is working.

  23. Jayant – Saying something with the intention of causing offence without primary and sole focus on reason and analysis is a sign of barbarism

    Sean – Nonsense. Causing offence is a perfectly valid form of argument. If my original posting was bigoted and irrational, so is the whole body of my other writings. I am not vain enough to recommend that you should look through this – rather large – body of writings: it is around a million words. But, if you were to go through my other writings, you would find nothing inconsistent with the substance of what I wrote about the Koh-i-Noor diamond. I am a libertarian and an English nationalist. I have never said otherwise. And, if prolix, I have always been a very clear writer. If you really have been in any sense disappointed or suprised by what I wrote, I suggest that you had been following me with imperfect attention.

    I would make the last point to Mike Gogulski.

    And this is my last comment in the present thread.

  24. Abhilash Nambiar

    ‘nations must be taken as existing because the great majority of people believe in them.’

    That is an absurd argument if I ever heard one. If people believe in fairies should one just assume fairies exist? Or should one assume that people believe fairies exist pending further evidence? Nothing begins to exist just because someone believes it does. Even if that someone is in the majority. What is true remains true even if no one acknowledges it and what is false if false even if the majority believes otherwise.

    And there you go making your absurd collectivistic arguments once again. You are feeding the myth. And your reason for believing it is that the majority believes it. That is poor reasoning.

    I suppose it makes it easier to justify bigotry when you embrace convenient myths. That is how the old colonialists did it. And now you can do it too. Your friend dj has even taken the trouble to directly quote one of then.

  25. Abhilash Nambiar

    ‘I am a libertarian and an English nationalist.’

    You cannot have your two feet in two boats. Sooner or later you will have to choose.Libertarianism and nationalism is as compatible as oil and water.

    Also causing offense is not a valid form of argument. What happens is that some people are offended by valid arguments, especially when they have no counter argument to offer. It is appropriate to say that causing offense is an outcome of good argument but it does not therefore imply that only good arguments cause offense.

  26. Nations do exist – I am disagreeing with Sean on that point – they are not just in people’s minds. They are cultural entities, extended families if you like, people probably all related to each in six or seven generations with a common culture.

    In fact, government intervention to enforce multiculturalism is based on the notion that there are no nations. If Dr Gabb believed there were no nations – he should support state intervention to destroy the nation state and stop being a libertarian!

    John Stuart Mill and the founders of the American Republic both believed in liberty and in the idea of a nation state with a common culture. John Jay specifically said so.

    In fact, the nation-state provides meaning to people’s lives. We are part of a grand sweep of human culture having its origin in the past and extending into the future. As Burke said the nation is a contract between the living, dead and those yet to be born. if you died in battle, you could still believe you had died for the nation, and that that nation lived on.

    Life with the concept of a nation and its culture – that is Nietzsche’s Last Man. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_man for a small discussion of the subject.

    There ARE nations. Liberty is meaningless without that – it just becomes licence.

  27. I meant to say that life WITHOUT the concept of a national culture is Nietzche’s Last Man….

  28. Jayant Bhandari

    “…I suggest that you had been following me with imperfect attention.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Human mind decides not to see what it does not want to. I am a culprit that I selectively perceived what you had written and said earlier. Indeed, I have had a few emails from other so-called libertarians, who have suddenly decided that I am uncivil by publicly writing what I did about your blog and that I was jumping to conclusions. These so-called libertarians fail to see that they have all the ingredients in their minds that will participate in forming a tyrannical government, even if the state came not to exist. They waste their time fighting against the state and hold contradictory views in their minds. But worse they destroy the meaning of the world “libertarianism.” They should, as you should, call themselves neoconservative.

  29. Abhilash Nambiar


    Opinions or quotes of learned men neither substitute for sound arguments nor are they above criticism. So people who share a common culture around a myth that they all revere. It is still a myth. And myths as a postulate for thinking gets in the way of good thinking.

    Multiculturalism is not part of an agenda to destroy the nation-state. It is the product of the nation-state. That is what you get when governments force people of diverse interests into a small space. And governments get to do that because they are not directly accountable the way private firms are. You see how the myth of multiculturalism depends on the myth of the nation-state?

    In the US there is no attempt at multiculturalism. The myth of the nation-state has less of a grasp. Instead there is an emphasis on safeguarding the rights of individuals in a culture-indifferent manner.

    The environment is more receptive to libertarianism. Here I see conservatives wearing different clothes. I do not expect things to change in England any time soon tough. The English won’t imitate the Americans even if their life depended on it.

  30. Abhilash Nambiar


    If you have time, I would recommend The State by Frank Oppenheimer, here is the link


    The nation-state is not ‘a contract between the living, dead and those yet to be born’.

  31. Abhilash Nambiar

    Made a typo, meant to write Franz Oppenheimer not Frank Oppenheimer. There is a different person named Frank Oppenheimer. One letter makes all the difference.

  32. Well, I´ve had the most enormous fun from all this, and have now harvested enough material for a nice essay in defence of the Raj. I will write this in due course – I´d like to do this this afternoon, but will see.

  33. Abhilash Nambiar

    I expect more old wine in new bottles.

  34. Multiculturalism is not the product of the nation-state. China hasn’t got multiculturalism. Rather, it is the product of the capture of the state by the bureaucratic producer interest casting around for a reason for its continued employment long after they believed in the nation anymore. As for the US is not multicultural – er… it was the original template of cultural diversity we’ve been copying. No, I don’t have time to read Oppenheimer!

  35. Abhilash Nambiar

    I thought you would not have time for Oppenheimer. It is your loss. And no England is not copying US on multiculturalism. In the US society is arranged on the basis of individualism, culture is pretty much left to fend for itself.

    China does not have multiculturalism because because the Chinese government has a different agenda. That multiculturalism is the agenda of your state does not mean that it is the agenda of every state. Some states used to have a forced segregation agenda like it was in the Southern States of the US some time back. An agenda more to your liking I am sure.

    You are still lingering in the notion that the problem is the wrong kind of government and have not yet come to realize that government itself is the problem. Ok, follow that path and see where it leads.

  36. I am in favour of minimum regulation and government interference, no personal taxation and a nightwatchman state -but I am not an anarchist. Hong Kong is much nearer to what I would like to see than the UK – but even in HK salaries tax is levied (mainly on the wealthy, but still). Actually corporation tax strikes me as wrong too – it taxes success. I would like to see indirect taxation only. I’m thinking of retiring to the Isle of Man, where taxation is much lower – and multiculturalism less prominent.

    It is quite wrong to say that freedom=”there is no such thing as society”. There is society – and our traditions value liberty, whereas other societies do not have such traditions. I think Sam Dixon in the US described Anglo-Saxons as “the liberty-loving race”, although those traditions have weakened in the US and here.

    You say the US is individualist – actually state spending is quite high in the US, and everyone there has to censor his speech or lose his job. Diversity enforcement, racial quotas and the like exists in the US to a greater extent than here – we don’t yet have quotas but Ambilash, I am sure your ethnic group will press for them one day and I am glad you will be a lone Indian voice in the opposite direction.

    You said culture is just in the mind or words to that effect – well, I would agree that a cultural heritage needs to be taught and passed on, and where it is not then the culture will change. I suppose what you mean is that it is a subjective concern – and in a healthy society it will be passed on, and then members of that society will “imagine” they form a cultural unit. But that culture immortalises men – it gives them a place in history beyond their little lives – it justifies heroism and idealism – it is something people will live for or die for.

    Anyway, I am wittering on – I ought to reserve my comments to discussion with English people – as I do believe in our liberty-loving traditional culture, and convincing Indians ought not to be top of my agenda.

  37. Abhilash Nambiar

    Taxing the wealthy is a bad way to develop an economy. They are doing it in Hong Kong and you approve of it. Interesting.

    I realize that there are affirmative action programs in the US. IMO that is just racial segregation in reverse. I do not think good about it. I see it as a misguided attempt that only helps build resentment. In the absence of state interference forcing segregation and then de-segration, I think enterprising Americans would have done a far better job bringing about social harmony.

    I do not know how pointing to high state-spending somehow makes the US less individualistic. Individuals can lobby the governments to spend more can they not? There is no such thing as ‘free speech’ in the sense that you describe it. Free speech is the right for people to say what they want to those that want to hear it absent government coercion. Losing your job because your employer hates what you say does not fall into that category. That is private decisions made by individuals. Try communicating the same bigotry to a friend and it is unlikely that you will lose your job.

    I never said culture is in the mind. I said the nation-state is in the mind. Culture is an outcome of human interactions. And if the nature of the interactions change, so does the culture. Your idea of nirvana seems to be a small world in which only Anglo-Saxon people are interacting with one another informally and interactions with everyone else are through strictly formal channels. A situation of relative isolation. Or perhaps it embraces the colonial attitude where non-Anglo-Saxons are working are waiters, servants and coolies to nurture this culture that you highly value.

    I suppose you can try to recreate it, provided of course you are willing to bear the costs that comes with it. If you cannot afford it, then you will have to adjust your life in other ways that you find favorable. My advice to you is to move forward.

  38. >>>Your idea of nirvana seems to be a small world in which only Anglo-Saxon people are interacting with one another informally and interactions with everyone else are through strictly formal channels. ….My advice to you is to move forward.

    In other words, you do actually support the state agenda to foster multiculturalism. Just as I thought, as an Indian, it’s in your interest really. In fact, the very reason you as an Indian became offended by the post on the Koh-i-Noor diamond – is because you identify culturally with India. You are a fully paid-up member of the ethnic lobby in your own interests.

    Does Hong Kong have any interactions at all with the outside world? It is not North Korea -but members of Ambilash’s ethnic group would not be welcome to gatecrash that territory and try to apply for benefits there. Maybe that’s why, although visas are not required, HK is still 97% Chinese. It is possible to keep your culture and still interact with the world China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan all manage it. Anyway, no more posts for me either in this thread – I have found myself debating with an ethnic scrounger – and that’s pointless.

  39. Jayant Bhandari

    dj says: “convincing Indians ought not to be top of my agenda.”

    Me: For the first time, you are quite right dj. Convincing Indians to prostrate before the English queen is not going to be easy, as you and Dr Gabb expects from them.

    More from me: There are many great things about the Western culture (a lot of which originated in the UK), the reason I live in the West. Alas, you and Dr Gabb are not the ones who represent the goodness of that culture.

    Dj, I read your stuff on how Indian lobby influences the UK government. In my eyes that is an ugly thing to do, as any kind of lobbying is. Those Indian or other immigrants who live in the West but then want to convert the West into the culture where they originally came from should go back to where they came from. Alas, your and Dr Gabb’s approach—the latter being to offend for the sake of offending— to understand and argue against the lobbying of immigrants, is not a rational one. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason does not work, if at all it does not take you off the tangent.

    You and Dr Gabb prefer a nationalistic, etno-centric, irrational approach. I have lived in the UK long enough to understand that your and Dr Gabb’s approach is rightly reprehensible to them. Worse, libertarians and most social conservatives will not like this.

    In fact, I see that Dr Gabb talks proudly about the huge blogging he has seen on this website. The irony is that this has been limited to four or five people. Others just ignore your bigoted approach, as I will from now on.

    My reason to blog here was to attract the attention of other libertarians and socially conservative friends to this site, so that they can judge for themselves what LA stands for and hopefully rightly ignore it. Hope LA changes the name to NCA—Neo-Conservative Alliance.

  40. Abhilash Nambiar

    –>In other words, you do actually support the state agenda to foster multiculturalism.

    No I do not. I never said that, I never implied it. You do a good job of putting your words into my mouth. Never the less I do see the world moving in the direction where people from various backgrounds are freely going to interact with each other whether or not the state intervenes. To the extent that the state intervenes it is to fulfill its agenda. When individuals interact without state-intervention it is fulfill their personal well-being. Which they would in a manner that may or may not please you. When I asked you to move on, I merely wanted to you prepare yourself to live in a world where people will make personal decisions that will incur your displeasure. Nothing more. So don’t put words into my mouth.

    If you think that blindly emulating China, Hong Kong or Taiwan would solve your problems you are mistaken. There are specific conditions there that allow for the situation there that you find favorable viz China having a large population. That is the reason you are more likely to bump into Indians too. There are many more to go around, at least for now.

    South Korea and Japan do have demographic problems and are now opening up. Many migrants there comes from China and they face extreme levels of discrimination. One can anticipate that this kind of situation will create political confrontations especially as China emerges as an important player in the global economy and these nations become more dependent on trade with China.

  41. Abhilash Nambiar

    And one more thing dj, the reason I felt offended by the original Kohinoor rant was not because I identify culturally with Indians. Fortunately or unfortunately I do not.

    The reason I felt offended was because the post was intellectually deficient and totally lacking in libertarian insight. It embraced a collectivist ethno-centric mentality and tried to justify an outdated colonial attitude. There was nothing libertarian about it. I am surprised that Sean did not recognize it himself.

    I mean you can never earn people’s gratitude by oppressing them, starving them and stealing from them. What part of this simple logic does he fail to understand? So they had habits you did not approve off. Hell, they had habits I did not approve off. Now had they imposed it on you, you had a case. But they did not. They where living in their own filth which you where not compelled to join.

    You hate gate-crashers don’t you? Do you know who gate-crashed into India? The British. And where else did they gate-crash? Pretty much the known world is in not? The British are the villains in the game called colonialism and the Indians they civilized will inform it to them, in English. So would the Americans who kicked them out with real guns.

    I hope Sean gets what he deserves. As for me I have been to more than half of the countries on you listed and had very fruitful interactions there. And no, I was not a gate-crasher anywhere. There was no need for that. Face it, the world is changing.

    If you can keep both your British-ness and humanity by all means keep them both. But had you to choose between your British-ness and your humanity which one would you pick?

  42. Seems a bit of a stretch to conclude that people who disagree with you on whether a given action is civil are only “so-called” libertarians.

  43. Jayant Bhandari

    Yes, that was a bit of a stretch. My apologies.

  44. I just read Sean’s original post on the deleted thread Jayant helpfully posted an archive link to. It seems to me that Sean is simply using his colorful language, peppered with his own pride in his own culture and heritage, and admirably free of any PC restraint, to use the example of this silly diamond controversy to make a point: that he thinks India was made much better off by having been imperialized and ruled by the English for a time.

    Now to my mind, this does not necessarily mean that the colonization was justified, or that crimes committed thereby were justified. And so what if Sean thinks his country’s traditions are superior? He may well be right.

    And I have myself made the point many times that I dissent from the view that China is poised to surpass the US; I think it’s a basket-case. See http://www.libertarianstandard.com/2010/05/12/dont-bet-on-china/ — As I wrote there, “Of the rest, I think India has a better chance than China, for two reasons: they speak English, and they inherited the English property rights [and legal] system–unlike in China where you still have to lease land from the state for 50 years instead of buying it.”

    Now if this is right, India is indeed better of in some sense because of British rule: English language, and English system of law and property rights–both of which China is missing.

    Making this fairly obvious observation does not mean one favors imperialism at all much less various state crimes that accompanied it, or even that one thinks there were no costs or damage or drawbacks.

  45. Sean,

    Over the years I have learnt a lot from reading your various postings on the internet. For instance, you had sussed out the enemy class long before Peter Oborne or anyone was writing about them. Similarly, your criticism of the Quisling right who dominate the Conservative party has been right on target.

    However, I must say, I don’t see what is achieved by winding up Indian readers of this blog. They must at least be interested in libertarian ideas, or they wouldn’t be reading it.

    To be sure the British empire after the abolition of slavery was, despite its faults, probably the most liberal empire in all human history. I am sure that its contribution in India was on balance positive. At the same time, Indians have much to be proud of since independence. For example, in contrast to the Pakistan (an army and a secret service with a country attached), India is a functioning democracy where its soldiers and spies answer to its civil government.

    Please in future wind up our enemies not interested and /or sympathetic readers of this blog.

  46. Abhilash Nambiar

    Mr Kinsella,

    I am so glad you could join us. Perhaps the quality of discussion would improve.

    I think your first comment was addressed to Jayant. He seems to think so. So I won’t bother with it.

    China may or may not be a basket case but on what Sean has written, I have to disagree with you.

    It is not that being part of the British Empire hasn’t proved beneficial to India. It certainly has. In fact if you look at the world map today, former colonies of Great Britain are in much better shape than former colonies of France or Netherlands or Germany. But no one would justify slavery on the basis that the slave-master is benevolent would they? So why justify colonialism on the basis of a liberal-empire?

    My problem is with classifying the benefits as ‘help’. Gratitude as you know is expressed towards those that help you. India did not inherit the British political apparatus or language as an outcome of free trade or political partnership or aid of some sort. They where forced on Indians as instruments of coercion and oppression. Does a tradition of coercion and oppression make one’s country superior? I do not think so.

    To be fair there is more to the English tradition besides that. Things about it that I admire. But imperialism is certainly not one of them. Although ironically if not for imperialism I would not have know of them.

    You will probably agree with me when I say that the impact of British rule and English education on private property rights in India can be interesting subject academically speaking. Of course it can be approached without any attempt to justify or condemn British colonialism or the subsequent Independence movement. In any case neither parties where struggling to uphold any property rights. In so far as it fulfilled their agendas they allowed it.

    My problem is with you trying to make the case that Sean is somehow making this argument in his original rant. Frankly speaking there is not enough information in that original rant to come to that conclusion. So how did you make that conclusion? Maybe you must have referred to things that Sean wrote elsewhere. But if that is the case you have not referred to it.

    On the other hand collectivist mentality and colonial attitude in the bigotry steeped rant is immediately apparent. Not only that it attracted precisely the kind of people who hold such views. And it is intellectually deficient. I thought he was writing without thinking, but he assured me that was not so. He is obviously not making an academic case for property rights there. So how can you defend it as if he is?

    Sean does not have to prove to me that Indians are today enjoying the benefits of British colonialism. I already know that, so do most Indians on this forum.

    But those benefits are not a product of free trade or benevolence and I will challenge anyone who tries to make that claim. In addition I will also challenge those that use such a claim to excuse bigotry. I think is obvious to see that both of it has happened here. So why are you trying to play things down instead of being straight?

    At the least he goofed up. At the most he is a racist bigot. I suspect he is just fed up of Britain’s misguided immigration policies.

  47. Stephan Kinsella

    Abhilash, “My problem is with classifying the benefits as ‘help’. Gratitude as you know is expressed towards those that help you.”

    Well, I don’t see that *characterizing* it this way is unlibertarian. I think it’s just a colorful way of saying that an Indian ought to be glad his country is where it is now compared to where it might be if the Brits had never ruled them. At least, that’s how I would interpret it, if I’m trying to do so charitably. And he is putting the silly demand for a diamond in perspective compared to this.

  48. Abhilash Nambiar

    Mr Kinsella,

    Your interpretation is charitable but definitely flawed.

    Because for an Indian of today there is no India to compare with that would have existed had the British not colonized it, so that they can be grateful for not being a part off. It is all a product of speculation and nothing more.

    In fact no one has access to the alternative reality that would have emerged without a century or more of colonial rule. So how can that be the basis for gratitude? That is just plain silly.

    So what has Sean done? Cherry picked those aspects of Indian society that he (and you and I dislike), projected just those into a fantasy India which the British did not touch and used that to be build his case for keeping a diamond that was obtained in the real world through coercion.

    So a silly view of alternate reality makes the diamond look even sillier by comparison.

    I am trying to put Sean’s rant into perspective here. Mr. Kineslla to call your interpretation charitable is an understatement.

  49. Jayant Bhandari


    You did a fancy concoction by euphemising Dr Gabb’s irrational, neo-conservative rant as “flowery language.” I like this verbal virtuosity.

    And then you said, “…admirably free of any PC restraint…” about Sean. I am not sure if I would use the word “admirably”, for his writing are in my ignore list for being irrational and full of nationalistic arrogance. The world is full of people like that. If you like his way, it is your choice. Good luck!

  50. Abhilash Nambiar

    When I read this blog, I wonder if Stephan Kinsella has compromised on his principles to defend a friend.

  51. Abhilash, let’s be precise here: sure I’m defending a friend (this is not unlibertarian AFAIK), but it’s not because of that; and can you please point specifically to anything unlibertarian that I said? Where did I condone aggression, say? In my initial post I explicitly carved out acts of statism and aggression.

  52. Abhilash Nambiar

    Stephan, if you read what I wrote, you can see that I have never explicitly accused you of saying anything unlibertarian. You did it in a rather indirect way which is probably why you find it clear on your conscience.

    You did not condone imperialism. You defended someone who condoned imperialism. And you did it by trying to rephrase his argument in a manner that seemed satisfactory to you. As I have already indicated your argument is flawed.

    You must have thought that by simply taking out the colorful words, you would find a sound argument at the core. There was none as I indicated. So inadvertently you ended up defending imperialism.

    It is in this manner that I think you compromised your integrity.

  53. Abhilash, I think you guys are being too serioso, to be honest. One thing I like about Mises Institute and PFS type events is the people are from all over but are concerned about truth and liberty first and foremost, and exchibit a truly wonderful, cosmopolitan tolerance. So what if Sean loves England and is proud of his nations’ institutions and history? I think he has a point that it’s the high point of world civilization. That does not offend me. Nor do his comments about the stupidity of Americans, even though I’m American–I tend to agree with him but even if I didn’t I wouldn’t get riled up–I find it refreshing and charming that, like Mencken, he revels in his “prejudices”. It’s what makes us all personalities. Neither I nor Sean as far as I can tell justified the actual acts of aggression that acccompanied imperialism. Sean’s view is simply that on balance, on the whole (and no, this is not “collectivist” thinking, it’s just macro analysis) those who were “given” English rule–even by force–are better off. You may not agree with this, you may find methodological problems with it, but the basic opinion should not be controversial. This is all a tempest in a tea pot as far as I’m concerned.

    Sean’s latest article on all this is up https://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/sean-gabb-in-defence-of-the-british-empire/ — I am reading it now and find it insightful and delightful.

  54. Jayant Bhandari

    Stephan: “…can you please point specifically to anything unlibertarian that I said? Where did I condone aggression, say?”

    Me: You never said anything that condoned aggression. But you horribly ignored facts. You started with an end assumption before you worked it backwards to rationalize it. The key issue a couple of people had in a article was Dr Gabb making stupid statements like saying that offending is a “perfect” way to argue. Had you read the same on a leftist website, you would have clearly called him irrational. The truth is, Stephan, you had never even read the blog before making your comments. And mostly you haven’t a clue about the core thread of the blog.

    Yes, you did not do aggression. You are ONLY intellectually dishonest. Alas, libertarianism is very hollow when people lack intellectual honesty.

    Indeed, I love the Mises Institute. It is in my view the finest institute in the world. It is an institute driven by search for truth. Yours in this blog has been a search to provide support to a friend. You are covering yourself behind Mises Institute. Most of the people who opposed Dr Gabb were taking an ethical position, not nationalistic.

    Dr Gabb’s article has nothing to do with why people were opposing the blog. Neither I nor, as far as I know, Abhilash said that English rule did not do good. Dr Gabb has taken the low path of twisting the quotes. But it is badly written and generalizes statements made by three individuals as applicable to Indians.

    The only error of Abhilash is that he has given into commenting on the article, not realizing that he is trying to make you see reason when you cannot remove the ethnocentric and friendship lenses from your eyes.

  55. Abhilash Nambiar

    Stephan, if you are concerned about the truth, I would have expected that you would pay more attention to the methodological problem that I indicated before jumping to conclusions. Perhaps you could try to counter it effectively rather than just brush me off for being too serious. I find no disgrace in being intellectually bulldozed. In fact I welcome the experience. It is after all a learning experience. So you do not find methodological problems to be serious eh?!

    It is only by ignoring that methodological flaw that Sean can to hold the opinion that he does. If you are really Sean’s friend, wouldn’t you have felt obliged to point it out to him at least after I revealed it so clearly? Instead you try to brush it off.

    Sean is loving England for all the wrong reasons. He claims not to love oppression, but only oppression could have brought about this situation he so favors. So yes, even his basic opinion is controversial. This is precisely why it is a good idea to build a strong academic case first. If he did that first even he will be clear about what he is actually proud about.

    Sean and you seem to put forth the notion that all rants are somehow equal. They are not. There is a rant that has its basis in truth and there is a rant that does not. Having said that I am not claiming I know enough about Sean’s anti-American rants to be judgmental about them.

    But take your rant on copyright that you regularly post at the mises blog. They have substance only because you have build an academic case against copyright first. So you must know what I am talking about.

  56. Jayant, Abhilash, I disagree with you. My points here have been narrow. I am not nationalist like Sean is and do think it has many problems. I do not believe the end justifies the means, so I have no problem inquiring into the results of an unjustified, criminal action (as I regard all actions of every state, including British imperialism of the past). I realize there are methodological problems with talking about groups but it is not entirely impermissible. I do think there is something to the notion that English type institutions of law and property are more advanced and superior to those of other states and economies, and that thus, if a given region has this impressed on it, even if by force, even if by injustice, then the descendants may indeed be better off than otherwise–though we cannot say this for sure; we cannot quantify it; and it is not true for everyone. And most importantly, it does not justify the original crimes.

    I do not think Sean is an anarchist like I am nor is he completely anti-war. We do not agree on everything. I still think he is brilliant and a good man, and a good ally and a fellow libertarian. I think we can disagree with respect. I think we should be very very careful about calling someone, especially an ally, a bigot or coward. So my main interest here has been narrow: on the issue of civility, by which I stand; and on the narrow point about the importance of certain legal and property institutions. That is all.

    Criticizing me for not having read all this for weighing in is unfair for the following reason. I never had any interest in the goddamned diamond controversy, and still don’t. To me it’s one criminal state squabbling with another. Indians and others who get their knickers in an uproar about it are just nationalist-collectivist too, so I don’t care about them. I ignore all this because it has no interest to me. Then Jayant bcc’d me on an email about it, involving me; so I responded privately requesting civility. CIVILITY.

    Then he insulted me here on this list by calling me a so-called libertarian simply because of my views on propriety and civility. He has since retracted that, which I appreciate. The rest here was a result of this, and my responses to it.

    I am not saying Sean’s views are beyond criticism. I disagree with some of them myself, such as his comment about the Irish potato famine. But I don’t mind that he holds them. He can usually back up his arguments, he is intelligent, he is well-meaning, he is sincere, he is a fellow libertarian. I don’t mind that I disagree with him or that he is, to my mind, wrong on some issues. I don’t call him a bigot or take it personally.

    The rest of the teeth-gnashing I am largely ignoring.

  57. Abhilash Nambiar

    Easy Jayant.

    It is not that I do not recognize the difference between a solid intellectual argument and a pseudo-intellectual one whipped up to protect a friend.

    I just do not see how being emotional about it helps.

  58. Abhilash Nambiar

    Stephan I hope you would not club me with Jayanth. He expresses his own opinion and I express mine. I fear that by clubbing us you are side-stepping issues in your argument.

    You claim you are taking a narrow stand on civility? CIVILITY!? REALLY? This is funny. Sean is the one who started with the whole business of being uncivil. Don’t insult my intelligence by claiming civility to be your major concern. You seem very hurt by the fact that you where insulted. How would you classify Sean’s original rant? Does it come across to you as a complement?

    You said, ‘Indians and others who get their knickers in an uproar about it are just nationalist-collectivist’. Does that not make Sean a nationalist-collectivist Stephan? Yet in the very same comment you claimed, ‘he is intelligent, he is well-meaning, he is sincere, he is a fellow libertarian.’ How you manage to hold such contradictions in beyond me. It is surprising actually. You are the last person I expected to make such a claim.

    I anticipate silence as your reply. So far you have tended to ignore most of what I have said. Whether it is mindless teeth-gnashing others will have to decide for themselves. But I do not know much confidence I can have on some of the people being attracted to this forum.

  59. Abhilash:

    “Stephan I hope you would not club me with Jayanth. He expresses his own opinion and I express mine.”

    Okay. I cannot follow all this too closely, for time reasons.

    “You claim you are taking a narrow stand on civility? CIVILITY!? REALLY? This is funny. Sean is the one who started with the whole business of being uncivil. Don’t insult my intelligence by claiming civility to be your major concern.”

    It was. And decorum. I explained the context of Jayant’s email. It accused Sean of bigotry, cowardice etc. I think that is unjustified.

    ” You seem very hurt by the fact that you where insulted.”

    No, I just disagree wtih being called a so-called libertarian, espeiclaly merely because of a dispute about CIVILITY. Even if I am wrong on the civility issue how would that make me a non-libertarian?

    ” How would you classify Sean’s original rant?”

    As making some valid points, others I don’t agree with, but I don’t see anything obviously incivil or insulitng in it. Do you?

    ” Does it come across to you as a complement?”

    ? to who? What has that to do with anything?

    “You said, ‘Indians and others who get their knickers in an uproar about it are just nationalist-collectivist’. Does that not make Sean a nationalist-collectivist Stephan?”

    He ADMITS he’s an English nationalist! I am not a nationalist and don’t agree with it. So what?

    ” Yet in the very same comment you claimed, ‘he is intelligent, he is well-meaning, he is sincere, he is a fellow libertarian.’ How you manage to hold such contradictions in beyond me.”

    ? it’s not a contradiction. Where is the contradiction? Is he a perfect libertairna? Well, I am an anarcho-capitalist. Sean is not. So we disagree on some matters. Maybe I’d say he falls short on some matters. Most libertairnas I know have some disagreements on some matters. They are still all libertarians together.

    “So far you have tended to ignore most of what I have said.”

    It is not personal. I just have limited time right now. focusing on some narrow aspects.

  60. Abhilash Nambiar

    Many things in your response struck to me as odd. But I will just address the one that stuck out like a sore thumb.

    Libertarianism is a philosophy based on individual liberties. Nationalism is collectivistic like you already noted. You call a collectivist an individualist and do not see a contradiction in it? It defies elementary logic. This is not simple imperfection. It is using words wrongly. You are calling night as day and day as night. Now why would you do that?

  61. Pingback: Sean Gabb: In Defence of the British Empire « The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

  62. “Please in future wind up our enemies not interested and /or sympathetic readers of this blog.”

    If this were to be taken literally, he would have to post on the enemies’ web sites, not here. Insofar as the enemies don’t read this blog…