[INDOLOGY] Supporting each other in public

Koenraad Elst koenraad.elst at gmail.com
Sun Jun 30 00:27:24 UTC 2019

Dear listfolk,

About Copernicus, I knew very well that he didn't live to see the
reaction to his theory, and I had always learned that that was on
purpose: he knew his theory was unorthodox and risked repression from
his own employer, the Church. That doesn't make him a bad example of
the only thing for which I used him as an example, viz. being a
minority of one and still being right.

Then Patricia's screaming political tirade. It didn't take long for us
all to receive an example of the "kindness" and "fellow-feeling" that
Dominik waxed so eloquent about. Those list members who are allergic
to politics and waiting for an occasion to blame me for the dirtying
of their list with politics: please note where this injection of
politics has come from. The whole letter consists in a favourite
debating tactic among people who don't know a given subject, viz. to
divert attention away from it, here mainly with the SJW rhetorical
tactic par excellence: guilt by association.

Note first of all that none of the specifically Indological points I
made has been addressed. Instead we are treated to a list of SJW
jargon unrelated to India, much of which was unknown to me and
certainly also to many other list members. Thus, "gaslighting" seems
to mean, according to the article she refers to: "disingenuously
redefining a concept beyond recognition". I have no idea which part of
my message this could refer to, I certainly have never consciously
done such a thing. And I know for sure that she has no way of knowing
that my allegedly doing this was "disingenuous": you may see what
someone does, but for his motive behind this action, you need either
his own statement of motive, which in this case I have never given; or
you have to have telepathic powers. I didn't know we had paranormally
gifted people on this list (or superstitious people only believing
that they can read others' minds). Then again, with a teacher of the
History of Yoga, we should be ready for some siddhis. And come to
think of it, maybe some other Yoga Sutra virtues too, like
self-control and friendliness, not quite in evidence here.

It is really rich to be accused of "victimization" by someone who has
just volunteered a message almost entirely about her own victimization
at Nalanda. By the way, it was unfair for her to be fired so unkindly,
but it was first of all a great privilege for such a junior scholar to
be nominated to this teaching post as a meant-to-be-prestigious
international university; I know quite a few Indian whiz kids who have
been totally excluded from careers in the Humanities because they were
classified as "right-wing", in India merely a code for "non-suicidally
Hindu". I don't indulge in victimhood talk, her own SJW crowd is so
much better at it; but it is simply a verifiable fact that I have been
excluded or disinvited numerous times. The exclusion that she bitterly
complains about for having lived through it once, I have experienced
many times. And that is not a "right-wing tactic", a figment of her
own conspiratorial worldview, but a naked fact. Most of us here are
scholars, for whom facts are sacred. Are you really one of us,

Yes, I have been quoted by Anders Breivik. Well actually, no, I
haven't. His Manifesto reproduces many articles by other people, and
in two of those, I am being quoted. This looks like a shrill drama for
pedestrians who only read headlines, but scholars get to read the
whole story. I am the only person with the honour of figuring in the
Manifesto both in a positive and a negative role. Negatively, the
quoted pseudonymous author Fjordman takes me to task for arguing that
the Muslim demographic explosion in Europe need not be a cause for
worry. (Disagree with me, Patricia?) Positively, Breivik builds his
case against Islam by citing numerous testimonies about difficult
episodes in Islamic history, and this includes my own paper about the
Islamic renaming of the Hindu Koh (Hindu mountain) as Hindu Kush
(Hindu Slaughter). I have since then not been given any reason by
anyone to change anything in my paper
I stand by that paper, which restates verifiable facts, and these do
not change just because Breivik joins the many others who accept them.
Indeed, many unquestioned authorities in the field are quoted by him.
Briefly, Breivik had enough brains to figure out an issue and select
the best sources about it (such as Winston Churchill, the crucial
anti-Nazi), but he was a misguided fanatic, an illuminatus who thought
he knew it all better than even the political parties that shared his
concerns, and which he had given up on since for him, only armed
struggle was the answer. We may compare him to Abimael Guzman, the
Peruvian philosophy professor who founded the terrorist group Sendero
Luminoso and killed many more people. My general view on Breivik can
be read here: https://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2011/07/if-only-anders-beirvik-had-read.html.

About Patricia Geller I don't know much, but I know Robert Spencer
personally, and he is an impeccable scholar who has beaten his critics
in debate many times. If any of you thinks you know his subject better
than he himself, I trust he is ready for an open debate. But what he
says and how good he says it, is not the point here. Freedom of speech
is universal, it is not limited to only those you agree with. Well,
for their free expression, they have been targeted by terrorists.
Fortunately, they had hired security (which the FBI wasn't ready to
provide), who succeeded in eliminating the attackers, though one guard
got "victimized" himself. That was of course done by the terrorists,
not by Geller & Spencer, who get the blame here. The terrorists, by
contrast, are shielded here by remaining unmentioned. There was talk
here about the neologism "Urban Naxal", which connects Left-wing
intellectuals with the terrorists they defend or make a common
political cause with. Well, here you get a ready-made example: the
terrorists try to kill scholars for their criticism of a religion
(which Karl Marx considered the beginning of all criticism), and a
Leftist professor seconds them with slander of and a false insinuation
against the victims. Reread your own words, Patricia: you are so eager
to rage against anyone you can associate with me that you actually
attack the victims of a terrorist attack.

No, I do not reduce everything to free speech issues. I have written
on numerous other topics, and fortunately for me, I don't normally
busy myself with answering SJW polemics. But here we happen to be
dealing with real free speech issues, including one that Patricia
brought up. When scholars, whether we like them or not, are attacked
by terrorists, it is our duty to stand with the targeted scholars, not
with the terrorists. And free speech is important: far from being a
"Right-wing tactic", it is indispensable for liberty and democracy. I
hope you all care about those.

Conclusion. Just after the listmaster tried to settle this commotion
peacefully but in a pro-Patricia sense, she herself badly blew it.
Though visibly lacking in the maturity needed for teaching on an
august subject like yoga (which need not be a big deal at her age),
Patricia Sauthoff has the capacity to learn, like most of us. She has
just been caught in the act of slander against a fellow list member,
but she can take it as a learning moment and move on. I believe in
learning, e.g. in believers outgrowing a silly religious doctrine, and
I will not make an exception for the deluded followers of the SJW
doctrine. I just received a crash course in how morbid and hateful it
can be, and am now eager to set my mind on more positive things.
Apologies for talking so much about myself, but I was attacked on so
many points, and since no one here is going to speak up for me, I had
to do it myself.

Best regards,

Dr. Koenraad Elst

On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 9:44 PM Patricia Sauthoff via INDOLOGY
<indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> For those who are unaware of the tactics adopted by the far-right, you may enjoy reading this short article http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/praxis1313/jeff-stein-strategic-speech-and-alt-right-metapolitics/, You'll see that Dr. Elst utilizes them all, from trolling and gaslighting, to victimization, to turning everything into a free speech issue.
> Make no mistake, there is nothing unintentional about this and it is a performance for those lurkers who silently agree. It is meant to bait those who do not agree into "debate" in order to try to turn their words around against them, as Elst attempted to do in his response to me.
> In his earlier email, Elst presents Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer as subjects who have had their free speech trampled. This is a dog whistle. Geller and Spencer are opportunistic far-right anti-Muslim activists. Spencer was banned from the UK in 2013 due to his extremism. A security guard was shot at a stunt in Texas in which they offered a $10K prize to the person who drew the "best" cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed.
> These writers, Elst, and many other far-right writers were cited for their anti-Islamic views in the manifesto written by the Norwegian terrorist Anders Brevik. If that name isn't familiar, perhaps you'll remember the 2011 Oslo bombing and subsequent mass shooting of teenagers on an island by a "lone wolf" who killed 77 people in total. Brevik's manifesto is now canon among the violent far-right as it lays out tactics and strategies for online harassment and real-world terrorism. The Austrailian-born Christchurch shooter made reference to it as inspiration in his own manifesto.
> To me, the most worrying tactic of the online far-right is its penchant for making lists of "leftists" in order to target them. Recently an online publication ran an article with a list of journalists they believed to be connected to the anti-fascist movement. The article "was circulated approvingly on white supremacist forum Stormfront the day after its publication; a day later, a YouTube user uploaded a video of imagery of mass shooters intercut with images of the reporters mentioned by Lenihan under the heading “Sunset the Media.”"
> Scary stuff. Turns out words on the internet aren't just words afterall. I worry that lurkers on this email listserv may build their own list of targets, i.e., some of us.
> On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 10:17 AM Koenraad Elst via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Dear Dominik,
>> Thanks for being so openly partisan and yet not even threatening to
>> exclude me, let alone simply censor me. In a better world this ought
>> to be a matter of course rather than a reason for thanks, but is has
>> become so rare that it deserves special mention.
>> Your point is well taken: make expressions of kindness, human
>> fellow-feeling etc. public. Only, I have received several messages of
>> support off-list from members who insist on keeping them off-list.
>> They claim to have reasons to believe that their social standing and
>> career chances would suffer otherwise. No use telling them that Good
>> Guys would never countenance such an intolerant scenario. Public
>> expressions of support must be an SJW privilege.
>> As for your notion of "majority", in India so problematic but on this
>> list a source of warm feelings of kindness etc., I dare say from
>> experience that it is not very consequential. In 1990 when I was
>> hatefully attacked by big experts at the Ramayana Conference in my
>> hometown Leuven, only for my politely formulated viewpoint that there
>> had indeed been a temple at the contentious site in Ayodhya, those who
>> expressed sympathy with me (in private) were in a minority. Yet, the
>> big experts were resoundingly wrong while I went on to being proven
>> right: as the 2003 excavations superfluously proved once more, of
>> course there had been a temple there. And when the UP High Court
>> acknowledged as much in autumn 2010, at the next AAA annual conference
>> I was actually congratulated by two American professors. That felt
>> quite good. The price for staying within the safe and warm majority is
>> that you'll never get to feel this.
>> When Copernicus launched the heliocentric worldview, he was in a
>> minority of one. Overnight, his theory made all the works containing
>> references to the geocentric framework obsolete, and their authors
>> resented him. The support he enjoyed was sparse, the opposition
>> abundant; but none of that mattered to the next generation, that found
>> he had been right. And today, the "majority" opinion of those days is
>> only a historical curiosity. So, enjoy your majority while it lasts.
>> Now I don't want to compare myself to Copernicus, if only because his
>> insight was highly original whereas I only restated what had been a
>> matter of consensus until a few years earlier. As was clear in a trial
>> ca. 1885, all parties concerned agreed that a temple had forcibly been
>> replaced with a mosque, though the local Muslims and the British judge
>> in his verdict thought that no remedy for that should be tried at this
>> late hour.  That could have remained the position of the anti-temple
>> camp. Alas, the "eminent historians" in the late 1980s started
>> pleading that the temple had never existed and was only a "Hindutva
>> concoction". They never gave evidence for this break with the
>> consensus, but the Congress politicians felt intimidated enough to
>> abandon their earlier attempts for a peaceful settlement giving the
>> site to the Hindus, leaving the issue to the BJP. More important for
>> this forum, and far stranger, is that most Western experts started
>> speaking out against the existence of the temple at the mere say-so of
>> their "eminent" colleagues. A Dutch scholar who had in tempore non
>> suspecto adduced more indications for the temple in his own research,
>> and got retro-actively attacked for this (what had suddenly become a)
>> deviation from the party-line, even hurried to fall in line and
>> condemn the temple tradition. But years later, when called to the
>> witness stand at the UP High Court to present the fabled evidence that
>> had somehow swayed politicians and Indologists alike, the eminent
>> historians imploded one after another, an embarrassing coda on which
>> the lid has carefully been kept (except in
>> http://indiafacts.org/definitive-ayodhya-chronicle/).
>> Even more strangely, many supposedly dispassionate scholars got quite
>> emotionally involved in this borrowed anti-temple position. This
>> partly followed from their prior assumption that the pro-temple party
>> (though containing Congress politicians like Gulzarilal Nanda, Buta
>> Singh and PM Rajiv Gandhi, who merely wanted a reasonable solution,
>> see https://www.academia.edu/14614579/The_Three_Ayodhya_Debates) were
>> the bad guys, and how could these ever be right? There is nothing
>> wrong with hate if it is against the bad guys, right? So, many of the
>> attacks I underwent in those days had a particularly self-righteous
>> and mean quality. Better to be wrong with the eminences than to be
>> right with the allegedly Hindutva crowd.
>> But that was then and this is now. I trust we have learned from
>> episodes like that one. Hence, no doubt, the practice of real
>> toleration in free speech on this forum.
>> Kind regards,
>> Koenraad Elst
>> On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 4:58 AM Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY
>> <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> >
>> > Dear colleagues,
>> >
>> > When these discussions arise that have a political dimension, and you feel moved to write to one of the good guys with a message of support, please think about sending it publicly.  Messages of support are a very good thing, public or private.  Anything is better than nothing.  But sending such a message publicly can greatly magnify the effectiveness of the support for the individual.  It also sends a message to everyone, on this list and beyond, that there is a ground-swell of kindness, of human fellow-feeling, positivity and watchfulness amongst the majority of our community.  We care about each other and will support each other when attacked.
>> >
>> > Best wishes,
>> > Dominik
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> > Professor Dominik Wujastyk,
>> > Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity,
>> > Department of History and Classics,
>> > University of Alberta, Canada.
>> > South Asia at the U of A: sas.ualberta.ca
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > INDOLOGY mailing list
>> > INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
>> > indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
>> > http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)
>> _______________________________________________
>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
>> indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
>> http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)
> --
> Patricia Sauthoff
> Postdoctoral Fellow
> AyurYog.org
> Department of History and Classics
> University of Alberta
> Edmonton, Canada
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list
> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
> indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
> http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list