A Few More Thoughts On Hobby Lobby And Which Way India? Some Links

Megan McArdle tries to see both sides of the argument in the Hobby Lobby decision:

‘For many people, this massive public territory is all the legitimate province of the state. Institutions within that sphere are subject to close regulation by the government, including regulations that turn those institutions into agents of state goals — for example, by making them buy birth control for anyone they choose to employ. It is not a totalitarian view of government, but it is a totalizing view of government; almost everything we do ends up being shaped by the law and the bureaucrats appointed to enforce it’

I like the idea that many people end-up imbuing their secular ideals and political activism with a kind of religious zeal and faith, dumping a lot of hope and identity into political platforms. Think for a minute about your local elected officials and you can see why this is pretty delusional. Once something like Obamacare gets passed, however, it’s defense becomes very personal in many quarters, like a kind of secularly religious mission that needs to be fulfilled (Progress!), while religious opponents now in the minority, take the matter just as personally, having to fight on those grounds.

Richard Epstein, on some of the legal reasoning at work, finishes with:

‘But Hobby Lobby simply wanted to resist the imposition of state authority on its beliefs—a perfectly reasonable and Constitutional position, which the Supreme Court rightly upheld.’


From The American Interest, ‘Narendra Modi’s Path Forward:’

‘Modi is perhaps the most business-friendly Prime Minister India has ever had. Yet he will have to fend off the long-entrenched suspicion of the private sector within the political class, including his own party, which is full of nativists and economic populists. Even modest success on the economic front is bound to generate greater space for Modi to improve relations with India’s immediate neighbours, narrow the growing strategic gap with China, and make Delhi an important player in shaping the balance of power in Asia, the Indian Ocean, and beyond’

I suppose we’ll see.  Best of luck to economic liberalization, growing the pie, and getting as many people on board as possible.

Modi & The Middle-East-Some Saturday Links

Adam Garfinkle-‘Our Storyteller In Chief

Garfinkle offers consistently good analysis of conditions on the ground in the Middle-East.  Really worth a read.

Also, he offers an hypothesis for the current administration’s approach:

Rhodes is the main one, I believe, who either convinced or strongly reinforced the President’s intuition that the United States is vastly overinvested in the Middle East, that we need to pivot to Asia at the expense of our investments in the Middle East and Europe, that in the absence of traditional American “Cold War-era” leadership benign regional balances will form to keep the peace, and that the world is deep in normative liberalism and well beyond the grubby power politics of earlier eras.

All of this is very trendy and sounds “progressive” and smart, but, of course, it is mostly wrong.

A lot of words and a lot of speechifying.  How much of that they actually believe, evidence to the contrary, still is worth asking.

From Political Baba: ‘The Tamasha Of Exit Polls

The old Gandhi political dynasty gets trounced at the polls, and a center-right Narendra Modi, with connections to Hindu nationalism which kept Obama’s State Department at bay for a while, will become the next Indian Prime Minister.

Let’s hope he can stay ahead of corruption and lead many sectors of the Indian economy towards sustained growth. I’m hoping he is pragmatic enough to go with what works and also has enough character and political ability to develop broader trust across swathes of Indian society, strengthening institutions for the long haul.

Relations with neighbors, especially elements in Pakistan and Beijing will be worth keeping an eye on.

Exit polls at the link.

A Possible Prime Minister Of India?- Some Modi Links

You may or may not have heard about  Narendra Modi, who has a shot at becoming the next Prime Minister Of India.  This blog is learning too:

From a previous Walter Russell Mead piece:

‘Modi is the controversial Chief Minister of Gujarat and the presumptive PM candidate for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, whose main rival, Rahul, is the heir apparent to the Nehru-Gandhi line in the ruling Congress Party. Rahul is maturing politically, but his party is beset by corruption scandals and struggling to manage the most dangerous economic crisis in decades. Indian big business has lost faith in Congress and doesn’t think Rahul is the one to fix things.’

Big business in India is generally a fan of Modi and he’s made serious economic progress in his home province of Gujarat.  His opponents claim his BJP party’s ideology is still too closely aligned with Modi’s time an RSS worker (a paramilitary Hindu nationalist group).  Particularly cited is a 2002 violent outbreak in Modi’s home province, largely between Hindus and Muslims, in which it’s charged the BJP and Modi didn’t do enough to quell the ‘communal violence’ that erupted.

Modi defends himself here in a NY Times piece (it’s tougher to trust the Times beyond a knee-jerk liberal Leftist response these days).

Mead from a more recent piece, as diplomacy can be a delicate balancing act, and if he becomes more popularly accepted, American interests and our government will likely follow:

‘For now, the US, on the other hand, is sticking to its current Modi policy: avoid. Top American officials have not met him on visits to India.  ‘

From The Times Of India:

‘Modistas and leftists continue to duke it out in America. A coalition of secular groups that has been campaigning against efforts by Modi camp followers to politically rehabilitate the Gujarat chief minister in the US have torpedoed an upcoming speech by [the] controversial politician.’

From Anne, at Tales Along The Way, who’s spent a significant amount of time in India:

The US must be realizing that we need the world’s largest Democracy and now changed its policy. The position now is that if Mr. Modi is elected Prime Minister of India next year, they can work with him.  How condescending!   Mr. Modi’s popularity in his country and  the world is growing.’

Is there any fire beneath all that smoke?

Related On This Site:  Martha Nussbaum In Dissent–Violence On The Left: Nandigram And The Communists Of West BengalFrom YouTube: ‘Commotion Over India’s Women’s Bill’

From Outlook India Via A & L Daily: An Interview With Amartya SenAmartya Sen In The New York Review Of Books: Capitalism Beyond The Crisis