Atanu Dey On India's Development

Bush and Indian Journalists: Evenly Matched

The most powerful man in the world is an average moron. Considering that average Americans voted him into office — not once but twice — tells you that the average American is a moron. So how does the US economy do so well if the majority are stupid, you may wonder. They do so well because the minority are so bloody bright that they create stuff of such great value that in the aggregate, despite the stupidity of the majority, it is positive.

I was reading the transcript of an interview that the US president, George “Dubya” Bush, had with Chidanand Rajghatta. The interviewer was all starry-eyed I guess that he nearly peed in his pants from the excitement of being in the presence of the most powerful man in the world. Which is probably why he did not realize that Bush was pretty much incoherent. It was not that Bush was evading the questions. I think Bush did not fully comprehend the questions. You have to understand a question before you can evade it.

I see this is going to be the trend. Mr Bush will make stupid incoherent statements and the Indian press will go ga-ga over how amazing his words are. Pundits will analyze his ramblings as if they were the pronouncements of an oracle.

Americans — the non-stupid variety, that is — are smarter than the average Indian journalist. They see Bush to be what he is: a moron. A fine specimen of the American species but a moron nonetheless. So while you prepare to be nauseated by the outpourings of the Indian journalists on Bush’s upcoming visit, here is a video of an American saying it more like it is. Enjoy and remember that Bush’s inability to reason and to even articulate a simple grammatically correct statement has not stood in the way of his becoming the most powerful man on earth, simply because the average American voter is like most Indian journalists a moron.

  • Gina14

    Often I think that bush being/sounding dumb is on purpose. Not that I mean that he knows what he is doing! But I do feel that if most of the americans are stupid n ignorant there can be a high probability that bush might just act like one of them to get where he is today (potraying a common man’s image:)). I still remember this poll that took place before the voting of 2nd term. The voters were mainly the young n middle age generation of america and they were asked who would they feel most comfortable with ie kerry or bush, to have drinks. And to nobody’s wonder bush stood out kerry. I am not putting up my opinion as in opposing what you or anybody else for that matter has to say but its just a casual wondering that occurred to me!

  • http://www.coralfringe.com Rangachari Anand

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. The only thing I would mention is that I have, of late, become disillusioned with most American journalists as well. The NY times has really let us down with such specimens like Judth Miller and Tom Friedman. The only newspaper I have some respect for nowadays is the Financial Times.

  • http://broadbandblog.in Abhishek

    Moron is no word for the Indian journalists. There have been prime time reports about what dubya’s going to eat, where’s he’s going to sleep and well…whatever a man does.

    If you have made a blanket statement about Indian media, it isn’t warranted. Simply because of demand and supply. It’s all there because there is a ready market for that. Indeed, Rajghatta caters to these kinds of moth eaten brain dead ass***** including the ones that pay him for doing that.

    This is a wider symptom of malaise that pervades in Indian society. A lot can be said about those who voted commies in power despite bringing the states to economic disasters; to those who vote in for Congress despite it’s dubious track record and perhaps a telling commentary on those who vote the present version of BJP.

    There’s a lot in our own backyard. Why blame Americans only then?

    By the way, if Rajghatta is reading this, boo boo to you dude. You are a freaking embarassment to your own parents; an example of what a journalist should NOT be.

  • http://broadbandblog.in Abhishek

    Forgot to mention one thing…the video is damned funny.

    We have our own version of Shekhar Suman doing an excellent jambooree on the “foreigner’s” accent.

  • Ananth
  • Sahil

    You have one of the most thought provoking blogs out there. I just wish it wouldn’t venture off into such pompous diatribes every now and and then. I know this is your personal space; just expressing (I’m free to do this, no?) an opinion.

  • http://wateronlotus.blogspot.com Raghuveer

    I live in the US and one of the most incomprehensible thing to me was how Dubya was re-elected.

    The US, for all its merits, is a very inward looking country. Americans see the rest of the world just as we see Mars or Pluto – far, far away. One of my friends was an editor of a local paper – when the genocide of Rwanda was going on (and remember, it was no ordinary one – close to a million people were done by machetes), the paper printed the news in the first page. Apparently, the paper got more than a 100 calls asking what this ‘outside news’ was doing in the front page.

    As the blog mentioned, the minority of people here are so bloody smart and the systems are so much in place that we just need to exist to live. An avergage Joe can go about his life – summer BBQ parties, thanksgiving/christmas shopping and football games – and not worry about a thing if he chooses not to.

  • GetStucco

    Too bad the median voter gets to decide, neh?

  • GetStucco

    Sorry if I provoked a pompous diatribe, but it was good for me :-)

  • http://forestlaw.blogspot.com Amit Kulkarni

    They do so well because the minority are so bloody bright that they create stuff of such great value that in the aggregate, despite the stupidity of the majority, it is positive.

    Please educate me, what stuff do the minority create that drives the whole US economy?

    The ‘dumb’ majority consumes and piles on credit card debt, and that is why the US economy is surviving right now. Not because whatever the smart minority create out of thin air, be it Silicon Valley/nanotechnology/quantum computing etc…

    I have heard from you guys ad nauseam, that manufacturing is the savior of the developing world. But what about the US? Is a different standard to be applied to it? Its manufacturing is being shut down and their long term economical outlook is probably dead in the water.

    Sahil is right, such random jaunts distract from the overall quality of your blog.

  • GetStucco

    “Sahil is right, such random jaunts distract from the overall quality of your blog.”

    Listen to the pot calling the kettle black…

  • http://krishna23.blogspot.com Krishna

    I agree that the most powerful man in the world is an average moron. I just want to point out that, on what basis we expect him to be not a moron. At no step in the process which placed him there, it was ensured that he is not a moron. Rather, that process is not designed to do anything like that. If someone in politically powerful position is not a moron, then it is a mere chance.

    It is unfortunate that world functions in such a way that someone can become the most powerful or powerful, without any relation to his qualifications or abilities.

  • Little Ram

    Atanu,

    Taking off on this some thoughts that occur to me-

    There is something more to it than the fact that a tiny minority in the US is terribly bright. They can tolerate a dumb President, have any number of average Joes and still a lot gets done.

    There is a whole lot that is wrong with the US of A of today and I do not have enough of a sweep of historical knowledge to comment on the past. Nevertheless, there is a lot of creative output that cannot simply be based on a few “bright” persons, be it in the area of science/ tech., engg., art, music, architecture, etc. There is something in the way the country is constructed that allows a whole lot of work to get done, very productively. It is some combination of the administrative infrastructure, the economic incentives available, the policies that overlie all of this. I am not saying other countries need to copy it- it may not work elsewhere, but you need to find those guiding principles that make a nation or a group of people hugely productive and having a dumb President is apparently not too much of an impediment- the have had others in the past.

    Try as I might I am unable to arrive at a set of fundamental principles that would guide the society in any nation, or say India at any rate to the same level of productive, creative fulfilment.

    Can you give this some more thought?

  • http://students.iiit.ac.in/~nirnimesh Nirnimesh

    It follows the hard-to-realize principle — The majority will always be stupid.

  • http://forestlaw.blogspot.com Amit Kulkarni

    Little Ram, a better presentation of similar thoughts… Looking forward to your comments.

  • http://www.newdelhitimes.org Gaurav

    Can we really call somebody moronic based on their inability to talk coherently? I am not a Bush fan but it is a sweeping statement to say that he is a moron and majority of Americans are too. Based on his education (Yale/Harvard) and work resume (CEO of USA), he ought to be a pretty smart fella.

  • http://dipanjanc.blogspot.com Dipanjan

    I think currently the economic superpower status of USA depends relatively more on the following two factors than the output generated by the creative and innovative minority which, I must admit, is still a very strong force to reckon with.

    1) military superiority
    2) dollar hegemony (the survival of dollar as world’s reserve currency even after Nixon nixed the dollar/gold standard giving the Federal reserve a free hand to inflate and make dollar worthless)

    The military and monetary strength feed into each other. To fund wars, government needs unlimited printing of money. To prevent the logical outcome of huge deficits and printing dollars – soaring inflation, high interest rate and a currency collapse – US needs foreigners to continously buy dollar-denominated assets: treasuries, bonds, mortgage-based securities and equities. Fear of US military prevents the foriegn governments and central banks from thinking about alternatives to hoarding dollars. There are also the pressure from exporters to keep local currencies weak relative to dollar and the lure of easy export-driven GDP growth instead of doing the hard work on domestic infrastructure. This combination forces the trade surplus of Asian economies and the petrodollar of the middle east to be routed back to US equity and security markets, sustaining low interest driven credit bubble, credit driven consumer spending and consumer-spending driven US GDP growth. I do not think this is sustainable. Also as it comes at the cost of spending and development in Asian economies, I am not sure if this is a model worth continuing or emulating.

    Having said all that, to continue Little Ram’s musing about what makes USA the great country it is (was ? :-) ), here are some random thoughts -

    1) very early separation of state and church
    2) federalism
    3) checks and balances embedded in cleanly separeted three branches of government
    4) deeply ingrained cultural support to both individual brilliance and collective teamwork
    5) immigration
    6) enforcement of law and order and the respect it commands from all citizens
    7) foreign policy driven by interests, not ideologies
    8) freedom of speech and expression
    9) less intrusive minimalistic governance
    10) global mindshare/marketing/branding through cultural exports

    As opposed to the might of military and fiat currency, some or all of these are probably worth emulating. I also think currently most of these are going through an erosion in USA, but I could be wrong and this could be a temporary blip.

  • http://ambarthejovian.blogspot.com/ Ambar
  • http://ictreligion.blogspot.com/ Jawahar Mundlapati

    I differ.
    No one can match GWB conviction.

  • Subrat Mishra

    Apparently some unfortunate cops are being sent right into the gutters of delhi!! to prevent Al Qaeda from mounting a smelly attack on dubya. But as expected – the FBI & RAW hav again misuderestimated Bin Laden. Hez plotting to sneak a pretzel on to an unsuspecting dubya’s plate to do the job!

  • Patel

    I wonder if you can consider the average American who voted for Bush to be a moron. People generally vote for policies (often times considering only a one or two) rather than people.

    Granted the man is not very bright, but his stance towards India and the Indian American community has been nothing but positive. Compared to what Kerry was offering, it was light years more favorable.

    I myself had a very difficult time choosing. On one hand being a responsible citizen of the US, it was my duty to vote for Kerry. On the other hand Bush was clearly pro-Indian, while Kerry was quick to use outsourcing as a political tool.

    The only way the voice of the Indian American community will be heard is if we block vote, and more importantly refrain from bashing politicians who have done a great deal towards improving Indo-US relations.

    If we can vote and support with consistency those who support policies important to Indians, than perhaps in future elections we will be able to choose between two presidents who are both pro-India.

    Then we can make fun of the dumber one.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Bush is a bit of an easy target,
    In republicans he is no eisenhower.
    So he did rely on his family connections to get to where he is?
    BFD What was Ms Gandhis claim to fame
    being Nehrus daughter,
    what was rajivs big accomplishment flunking out of a european school chasing exotic italian chick, and what was her big accomplishment ?
    What has Rajbabbars accomplishment….
    Well his attack on bush probably was the highlight he can now start singing
    ek bagh nahin ek khet nahin ham saari duniy a maangenge again with his new found buddies.
    Our politicos from all parties are unfortunately much dumber than americans.
    Its a big thing in the indian communitiy in america to be smug and proud wrt ‘white americans’. “Those lazy, sexualy perverted, drug doing, motorcycle, thong wearing whities are so dumb…” is something i end up hearing in most politicaly oriented indian gatherings. I may start to bitchslap the next person who does that.
    It is delusional. The white americans have contributed more to every thing that they use.
    Similarly the concept of democracy is something a dumb american political figures created.
    Like it or not Bush did destroy saddam and changed iraqi regime. That is what he wanted to and he did it
    He did that in afghanistan too.
    what have the masturbating indian politicos done with their enemies?
    Oh they took advantage of a civil war once
    and bangladesh. BFD. And is bangladesh an indian friend now?
    Did they solve the pakistani problem ?
    Or the kashmiri issue ?
    or the chinese border issue ?
    Even an alleged hawk adopted the
    pussilanimous attitude in pakistan and declared jinnah a secularist?

  • Little Ram

    Amit, Dinpanjan, others-

    Atanu has submitted that the critical factor in making the US the place it is has to do with “institutional capital” and he is going to be sharing his thoughts on this.

    Responding to the points outlined by Dipanjan, I would say this-

    1. In the first place there is a historicity in the fact that the US was settled as a nation by West Eurpoeans. The advantages of this will become clear from a reading of Jared Diamond’s wonderful book- “Guns, Germs and Steel” where he outlines the ultimate causes as opposed to proximate causes for the dominance of the West in technology and world power.

    2. Thereafter, the issue of the choice of system of governance- federal, democratic rule that has allowed development of a diverse, pluraistic society. Dipanjan’s points 1-3,9 would sort of relate to this.

    3. The advantages of three global platforms as outlined in Kenichi Ohmae’s- “The Invisible Continent”. These are a. the English language, b. the dollar as the currency of the world (Dipanjan has also talekd about this) and c. an open market that is borderless. All of which have arisen due to various factors but have still contributed to the success of the US.

    4. Immigration and the diversity it brings has also contributed to the creation of intellectual capital.

    I am sure that these 4 factors- 1. The historical advantage 2. Choice of system of governance 3. Global platforms 4. Immigration explain a lot. Then again there are those that talk about the “culture of encouraging creative enterprise”. Are all of these valid for any nation; for all time to come? I am sure at any rate we will agree that immigration is not a necessary condition for India to foster diveristy! Also, Sri Lanka in our neighbourhood is struggling with thinking through the concept of federacy and it is probably incorrect to force-fit uniform systems of governance in a dissimilar environments. I am also inclined to believe that the historical advantages and that of the platforms, is eroding. So where does this leave us?

    I am not sure I have it all reasoned out well enough to arrive at a set of enduring principles that we could apply to ourselves or any other nation.

    Maybe we are now going far off Atanu’s original post on Bush’s IQ! So maybe we’ll wait for a post where we can exchange views on all of this in greater detail?!

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