In this essay, I have used the conceit that the LUBP, currently under assault from Takfiri `Lawfare’ as well as being the object of faux-liberal ire is the `Gadfly’ and hence deserving of support from all those who hold the freedom of expression dear.My use of the term `Liberal’ refers to the fake, the counterfeit, at a pinch the members of the Liberal Elite, a creed as far removed from Classical Liberalism as is the Rig Veda from Arundhati Roy’s overrated drivel.
Friends, Comrades, Jiyalas, here goes:
THE HOUNDING OF THE GADFLY: OR WHY LIBERALS ACT ILLIBERALLY
The gadfly is one of the Creator’s least lovable flourishes. Also known as a `horsefly’, it has caused unsolicited anguish to man and beast since Adam toiled and Eve span.There exist at least two Greek Myths that I know of where the blighter is featured. I can personally testify to the nastiness of its bite, yet worse is the spectacle of cattle and horses, plagued by this creature and suffering as only poor dumb beasts do.
Yet as metaphor, the gadfly does not signify some mindless scourge. In Plato’s` Dialogues’, Socrates refers to himself as the gadfly:`I am the gadfly of the Athenian people, given to them by God, and they will never have another, if they kill me’. He is `the gadfly which God has attached to the State. and all day long……arousing and persuading and reproaching’. Thus the philosopher and truth-seeker goads,stings and irritates society into critical thinking, into self-appraisal, into space that was hitherto taboo. Satire and polemic have a deeper purpose than is popularly believed for precisely the same reason.
The court jester, the King’s Fool were permitted a degree of effrontery for ribald purpose, yet their capers couched , in word and gesture, truths which if uttered in sober environs would shock and offend beyond all limits of tolerance. Those who wield power do not willingly part with it. Societal `mores’* , do not change unless vigorously challenged. Who would dare put the bell on this proverbial cat? Arguably, one of the least common human virtues is the ability to stand alone. Primal instinct tell us that it is safer to stay in company, that there is safety in numbers.To risk life and earthly bliss solely to speak one’s mind was the hardest step towards Truth seeking, the trailblazers being Greeks. And however may Gramscian academics deconstruct Classical thought for ideological reasons, the Greeks were the first to posit the question `Why?’
The pursuit of ideas rationally to a logical conclusion, regardless of how this may disturb entrenched sensibilities.Like Lord Shiva’s churning of the primeval ocean; .it stirs,agitates all around it. I mention the Shiva myth because the word used to describe Shivji’s action is `MANTHAN’, literally, a churning.
As the Ocean is churned, divine gifts emerge, each one being necessary for the renewal of Cosmic order.
In a Sub-Continental context, the truth-seeker archetype belongs to the Rishi, the Sufi, all essentially unworldly, mystical figures.There is an expectation of deference, a tacit acceptance of hierarchy in the culture, observed by all. . The Socratic impulse of `biting the Athenian horse to rouse it’,is quite the opposite. It requires posing the provocative question. It is intellectual sword play belonging to the Agora, to the din of the public space, to boos and jeers of urchins as well as the aristocratic scholar..
In that arena no punches were pulled, no one resorted to appealing for `good mannered discourse’ if they ran the risk of losing the fight, Liberals may lay claim to this tradition, yet they make a travesty of the idea of open debate. Desi Liberals, even more entitled than their Western counterparts and mentors, want it both ways.
Free Speech is a good thing until someone not entirely in awe of Liberal intellectual ability ( because Liberals are convinced they are the` smart set ‘in every sense of the word) challenges a liberal and wins the argument.
Liberals think they know what is best for the laity, whom they like to heckle and lecture. Desi Liberals ,for all their protestations to the contrary, have a tin ear as regards the loves,hates and fears of the masses. Hence the bewildered rage when the lower classes rally to a Bhutto, or when Qadri pulls a huge crowd, or speaks of divine encounters in his dreams and the `JAHILS’ lap it up. They cannot fathom how it came about that the `contemplative life’ of the nation was so easily annexed by the Religious Right, while the Liberal Left,whose fiefdom the intellectual and artistic arenas happen to be,could never connect with the sans culotte.
Yet the greatest of Desi Liberal vices is that of cowardice: both physical and intellectual. Its epitome is that egotistcal manufacturer of contrived malcontent, Tariq Ali. Comrade Tariq has made a cottage industry of carping at the Happy Warriors who risked and lost their all in an attempt to challenge, and thus transform an evil , deeply dug- in behemoth of a polity. All this while, he has enjoyed the safety and charms of upper-middle class bohemia in the `Capitalist’ Capitals of erstwhile `Colonial Powers.’ Thus to both have and to eat one’s Sachertorte in between commanding guerilla units in Hampstead is the Liberals’ legacy. Another is self-congratulation and mutual admiration. Cult-fashion, the world outside their bubble is a source of unease, if not actual fear, to the Liberals. No ideas are welcome other than the ones bearing the imprimatur of their Priesthood. These are very stagnant waters, hence my earlier reference to `MANTHAN.’
Yet , the Fates have ever sniggered at the best-laid plans of Mice and Men, and Liberal certainties go all runny like Kulfi on Juhu Beach when events overtake their narrative. A man in our village drives a battered truck with a bumper sticker bearing the legend:`MY KARMA RAN OVER MY DOGMA’ . That one-liner may well be the pithiest indictment of Liberal control-freakery.
Whereas in the post-Christian West Liberals own the bully pulpit, in Pakistan things are dicier, so the Desi Liberals have elected to `peacefully co-exist’ with the Military-Mullah ascendancy. With the virtual take-over of the country by the Takfiris and their sponsors, one has watched in grim amusement the radical-chic left become de-facto apologists for the Ikhwani haramis, all the while blaming America, Zionism, Capitalism, Zardari, BB, the `JAHIL AWAM’, then Zardari again and anon with the diabolical `alaap’….always leaving out Radical Islamism . No liberal sophisticate took on the Takfiri- enabling Judiciary until recently: .That lowly task was left to the reviled and ridiculed jiyala, my brother in Hussain Faisal Reza Abedi. As far as the polite consensus is concerned, Abedi is all but mentally unhinged. If not for a man imbibed with passion bordering on insanity , who would dare speak truth to power in Pakistan? I am reminded of similar, invariably poor `madmen’, mostly unlettered, who through their unsung acts of defiance in Zia’s Pakistan redeemed the very notion of personal integrity. But these were the `chhotay log’, their belief and passion was but an embarrasment to the urban liberal—the self-same liberal who, having authored critical Marxist analyses of the Third World under-class would go on to be fabulously well-remunerated and an anointed member of the Liberal `Internationale.’
Perhaps Desi liberals unconciously dread the reality that only those willing to jettison prudence for valour and self-preservation for almost certain persecution stand any chance in fighting this war, and so seek to undermine the latter? Perhaps it is sheer snobbery, a contempt for the` excitable’ lower classes? Could it be the fear and loathing of the impersonator for the genuine article? Whatever the reasons behind Liberal scorn for those natural progressives who stand outside of their magic circle; one thing is glaringly obvious in the light of l’affaire Ms Sirmed.
That these sacred cows deem themselves sacrosanct, and the only way to disabuse them of their delusion is to sting them, again and again through their thick hides.Ergo;the way of the gadfly. I maintain that the wealthy, urban sophisticate,sneering liberal is the Goliath of our times. Liberals have a strangle-hold on academia as well as the media in the First World. Every chancellary in Europe, much of Whitehall and since 2008 Washington, are liberal-run. Pravda like, the media blames the woes of our world on Capitalism, Zionism, and America; though somehow Obama the Blessed emerges from every disaster story unblemished and air-brushed. What we need to understand is that liberal architects fashioned the world in their own image (wherever and whenever they wielded power) after World War II.We inhabit a world dominated by liberal institutions.
Most people can relate the Afghan disaster to the Reagan Administration. Yet either almost no one remembers , or else will not mention, how Carter and Co played midwife to the Ayatollah ‘s Putsch after the fall of the Shah, or the horrors perpetrated by the rationalist creed of Marxism-Leninism in the East. Why so? Because liberals decide what, or which narrative to disseminate, both in the international media and in academia. They can ignore,denounce, suppress or kill off with accusations of bigotry any idea outside of their comfort zone. Such is the power of the Liberals, for indeed they ARE the establishment. Like the Devil, they have managed to convice people that no such thing exists.
Sometimes, Comrades,only a gadfly will do.
*mores: values, morals or ways,` taur tareeqay’