Just listened to a long podcast between Jarin Jove and the guys who host the Secular Jihadist podcast. Going in I had an open mind, as I myself differ on a lot of priors from the two co-hosts (unlike Ali I am not a Left-liberal, and unlike Armin, I don’t think people should adhere to hyper-rationalism in all cases).
Though I think Jove made some good points (i.e., I think “Hindu nationalism” is now such a big category that it is hard to generalize and extrapolate from simply the views of Sarvakar, for example), on the whole, I found many of his points sophistic and reminded me of the sort of style of argumentation I encounter from American “social justice warriors.” In particular, his objections to international comparisons through some assertion of incommensurability is the exact same tack that I’ve been frustrated with for the past 20 years. There are objective facts. There is a real world. We can disagree about the details, but asserting objective facts is not ipso facto evidence of bias or bigotry. Many beg to differ, and this is a deep chasm of values that I don’t think can ever be bridged.
The intersection between postcolonialism and critical theory and Hindu nationalism that I see in some of Jove’s assertions (e.g., he asserts that rape is a greater problem in the United States than India) is perplexing to me, but it seems surprisingly common. This is not to say that Jove would agree that his views were postcolonial or critical theorist, but the alignment is objectively true.
I would caution all people in non-Western societies to be wary of the temptation to use the critical theorist cudgel to win a particular argument because it is useful at the moment. Critical theory is a cultural acid, and any true civilization will have difficulty putting the genie back in the bottle as it eats into everything you think is precious and valuable.