Allies on the Right

Sarah Haider and Tanner Greer both responded to my “disavowal” of sorts of the online Hindu Right. The constitutive unpleasantness is just structurally unappealing. Some reasonable Hindutva people have messaged me that “well, you can’t really be surprised they’re triggered by you, your name is Razib Khan.” My response is of course simple: if you are against me, I am against you. That is all.

(I know Tanner and he has never expressed anti-Hindu views, and his anti-China position should clue you into possibilities of coalition. Sarah has personally expressed curiosity about Hinduism when we’ve talked online)

Amy Wax on “Asians”

Amy Wax Redux – Another round in the immigration and culture debate. Glenn Loury hosts a debate that has gotten some attention because Amy Wax said something in relation to “Asians.” Her interlocutor is an East Asian American, and Wax’s original comments were particularly targeted at Indian women. So this has spun a bit out of control.

I’ll say some quick things.

In Amy’s favor:

– Many people have noticed the overrepresentation of “market-dominant minorities” in particular activist groups, and the visible presence of South Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani) women is hard not to notice. Joe Biden’s statement that “Indians taking over” reflect Indian American power in Democratic politics in particular.

– Nations have a right to determine what they want to be. At least in theory. This is most explicit in Israel, founded as a homeland for the Jews. Hindu nationalists want India as a homeland for Hindus. While many Muslims view Muslim-majority nations as societies organized around Islam, and so they believe law and tradition should favor that religion. In the USA this was clear as well, with a 1790 law that allowed only for the naturalization of whites, later expanded to blacks and eventually other non-white races. The National Origins Act of 1924 aimed to keep the US a mostly Northwest European nation. And so forth.

The idea that America, or any nation, exists simply as an institutional transaction device between consenting adults and organizations that are bounded by particular borders is not realistic, though sometimes open and open borders adjacent people talk like that. American is a nation. A people. It will change. But how?

– Americans are going to be uncomfortable when “visible minorities” take all leadership roles due to their educational success. That’s a fact. I think people should get over it though. But that’s my opinion. Most people care a lot more about race and visible phenotype than I do from what I can tell.

– Immigrants bring their culture. Their culture impacts our culture. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. We can make decisions.

Against Amy:

– She talks about it like a Boomer who doesn’t really understand the landscape. She was born in the early 1950s in a black and white America, so when talking about Asians and Latinx she’s encountering new things to her experience.

– She elides in a sloppy way different groups of Asians. Indian Americans are politically very different than Vietnamese Americans. They are socially very different. Arguably Amy should want more Vietnamese Americans, who lean Republican and are educationally more similar to the average American. 30-40% of Vietnamese are also Catholic. Who are these “Asians” she speaks of? Not people she knows personally from what I can tell (I’ve met Amy, she’s charming and blunt at the same time), so she should read more stats.

– She elides the distinctions even among “Indians.” Most of the obnoxious woke Indians are 1.5 and 2nd generation people born and raised in the US. And yet 90% of Indian Americans are foreign-born immigrants, more than 50% arriving after 2000. Perhaps these new immigrants will also have woke children, or perhaps they won’t.

– Amy’s generalizations of Asian, and Indian, cultures is weird, and not too scholarly. If she’s going to offend (I know about this), you need to know your shit.

On the Hindu contradiction of intents

A few days ago some Indian politician was making the case for ghar wapsi (conversion of non-Hindus of Hindu ancestral background to Hinduism). Of course, he had to withdraw the comments due to an uproar. Myself, I’m American, and people convert from religion to religion all the time. It’s a bit tasteless for a public official to engage in this, but it happens.

India’s a different country, so I understand that this official had to be prudent.

That being said, these calls to bring non-Hindus back into the fold are in my opinion kind of a joke. Yes, if someone is born a Hindu, or if someone’s family converted a generation ago, perhaps ghar wapsi is feasible. One can slip back into the social network that one was born into, or that is accessible in cultural memory. But outside of particular sects, like Hari Krishna, Hinduism is too “community-oriented” a religion to accept large numbers of converts. Perhaps if a whole community converts back all at once, that’s possible then, but there won’t be the low-level social-network-based conversions that drive a lot of the constant defection or adoption (e.g., it is well known among Mormons that most converts come through friendship networks between Mormons and non-Mormons, as well as marriages between Mormons and non-Mormons, not door to door conversion).

Calls for ghar wapsi are just rhetorical. If large numbers of Indian Muslims began to convert to Hinduism would they be accepted with open arms? I doubt it. The social system is just not set up for that (again, outside of sectarians like Hare Krishna).

Consider the fact that on social media Hindu nationalists (some) routinely refer to me as a Muslim. I am not someone to patrol what terms people use to refer to me as (you can use any pronoun, I don’t care), but it seems weird to call me a Muslim when I’m an atheist that has drawn and posted a photo of a drawing of Muhammad getting sodomized by a camel (on this weblog), something most Hindu nationalists would never do out of religiosity or cowardice. But it’s not about my identity (I don’t socialize with any Muslims nor do my children even know anything about the religion, so I’m not one of those “atheist Muslims”), it’s about the fact that many Hindus reflexively view religion as ascriptive. Something like race, an identity that you’re born with.

With that in mind, Hindus should work on their birthrate. Most Indian Muslims that convert to Hinduism will have Muslims who hate him, and Hindus who will still think of them as Muslim.

Note: Obviously, my generalizations apply to a particularly low IQ set. I actually know Hindu nationalists or fellow travelers in that movement who don’t have this sort of collective/ethnic mentality. But it’s a minority position from what I can tell.

Christian conversions in rural India

Arrests, Beatings and Secret Prayers: Inside the Persecution of India’s Christians:

The Christians were mid-hymn when the mob kicked in the door.

A swarm of men dressed in saffron poured inside. They jumped onstage and shouted Hindu supremacist slogans. They punched pastors in the head. They threw women to the ground, sending terrified children scuttling under their chairs.

“They kept beating us, pulling out hair,” said Manish David, one of the pastors who was assaulted. “They yelled: ‘What are you doing here? What songs are you singing? What are you trying to do?’”

The attack unfolded on the morning of Jan. 26 at the Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra Christian center in the city of Indore. The police soon arrived, but the officers did not touch the aggressors. Instead, they arrested and jailed the pastors and other church elders, who were still dizzy from getting punched in the head. The Christians were charged with breaking a newly enforced law that targets religious conversions, one that mirrors at least a dozen other measures across the country that have prompted a surge in mob violence against Indian Christians.

Pastor David was not converting anyone, he said. But the organized assault against his church was propelled by a growing anti-Christian hysteria that is spreading across this vast nation, home to one of Asia’s oldest and largest Christian communities, with more than 30 million adherents.

The article makes it clear that this is mostly a feature of the “Cow Belt” and due to the conversion of Dalits and the like. This is The New York Times so I view this skeptically, but if this is happening it seems likely a large proportion of Dalits will convert to Christianity since the Hindu reaction here is depicted as literally reactive.

One thing that does cross my mind is that the Hindus in the piece are depicted as aggressive. But the Christians have an ambition of converting most of the population, and once and if they became the majority they would surely not be the gentle flock they are now. It’s sad, but true.

I for one welcome our new Brown overlords!

Amy Wax is on Glenn Loury’s show going off on Asian immigrants, and to a great extent, Indian American women who play the whole woke game.

First, I myself have written about the representation of Indians/browns among woke activist types. Amy is reflecting a descriptive reality; don’t deny it, it’s true. Though this is especially prevalent among the 1.5 and 2nd generation, there are some immigrants getting in on the game too (though proportionately far less).

Second, I know Amy a bit personally. We’ve met and hung out in real life at a conference. She’s clearly familiar with my work.

Third, to be candid, Amy is a Boomer, and her comments, observations, and sensibilities reflect her generation. If you listen to her earlier conversations she operates in a world of racial black-white dichotomies, which is the world she came up in. She’s trying to integrate other groups, but these are not people she necessarily grew up with, and she’s trying to understand them.

Fourth, don’t doubt her intelligence. She graduated summa in biological sciences and has an M.D. and a J.D.

Finally, to be honest, I find a lot of her structural analysis here kind of lacking, and I think Glenn made some good points. Some of her talking points, like the idea that Indians are conformist and subservient to power, are pretty widely disseminated on the dissident right, but let’s just say a lot of these observations don’t come from a place of detached analysis, as opposed to emotive reaction and fear. Unfortunately, I think Glenn’s suggestion that Indian Americans are just assimilating, very well, to professional-managerial-class norms, is spot on.

All of that being said, no matter what you think of Amy’s analysis between observation and conclusion, I think her endcaps are probably correct. As I noted above, the description rings true. There are these brown cadres everywhere, with fancy degrees and upper-middle-class upbringings, decrying America as a white supremacist terror regime. It’s embarrassing, offensive, and cringe. And, I also don’t think America as a whole will tolerate rule by a brown-faced elite with exotic names and mostly non-Christian religion. Yes, I can see an Indian American President. Until recently, the Supreme Court had three Jewish Justices (with RBG gone and ACB replacing her it’s Jewish to Catholic now). Imagine if there were three Indian Americans. Not sure the populace would be happy seeing those faces all the time and knowing how different they were than the rest of America.