Janan Ganesh defends inequality, a comment by American Writer

You have to find something quite arresting about Mr. Ganesh’s latest essay. It sounds like some old club-man complaining, or better yet grousing, to his fellows in the wainscoted interior of an exclusive club in some bad old Hollywood movie. Please note the irony, that a club in that world would have been off limits to Mr. Ganesh, except as unseen cleaning staff.

Mr. Ganesh defends inequality in the mode of the political cynicism of the Karl Rove/ Lynton Crosby technocrat, that has become the position of the defenders of the political present even though it  ‘locks newspaper columnists in their thirties out of the propertied classes’. A case of special pleading?

One can see with a startling clarity that the Conservatism of Disraeli, based in the exercise of a benign political paternalism, of a landed aristocracy, has been discarded for the highly garnished dog eat dog of the Free Market Utopianism, even as it continues to fail. Such an uncomfortable truth doesn’t intrude in Mr. Ganesh’s almost reverie on the ‘globe-dazzling city’. Compare that with Carlos Fuentes’ comment on ‘the great rotting meat pie of Madrid ‘.

American Writer



My reply to PeninsulaCat

PeninsulaCat, thank you for your comment.

@StephenKMackSD That’s a really stupid comment and quite derogatory.

My comment is directed at Mr. Ganesh’s belief that he somehow belongs within the Conservative fold. And I chose quite carefully to place my argument within a satiric context.In fact, Ganesh seems, at times, to inhabit and

extemporize on the cartoon character Colonel Blimp. But more to the point here is an Economist essay by Bagehot from March 1, 2012 on the question framed by the editors of that publication as: ‘David Cameron’s race problem’


‘Last autumn the Runnymede Trust, a research body, published the largest-ever survey of British voting by ethnic background. In 2010, this showed, only 16% of ethnic minorities voted Conservative, compared with 37% of whites. Mr Cameron’s party did best among voters with Indian roots, of whom one in four voted Tory. It did best of all among Asians such as Mr Uppal whose families fled persecution in east Africa four decades ago.

But overall, Labour enjoyed a crushing dominance among ethnic-minority voters—even among British blacks and Asians whose affluence, or robust views on crime and public spending, might make them natural Conservative voters. Or even their views on immigration: in Tory-sponsored focus groups, researchers find minority voters frankly ferocious towards asylum seekers on benefits or eastern Europeans “stealing British jobs”.

Conservative strategists know that seemingly overlapping political beliefs can be trumped by deeper clashes of values. They have studied the cautionary tale of Republicans in America and their wooing of devout, family-minded, hard-working Hispanics (who are Republicans but “just don’t know it”, in the words of Ronald Reagan). In the 2004 presidential election some 40% of Hispanics voted for George Bush junior, a man with rather liberal views on immigration. That support collapsed when Republican policies took an angrily nativist turn.

Some clashes look similarly intractable for British Conservatives: disagreements with some Muslims over the threat posed by radical Islam, for instance, or with those blacks who tell researchers that the police are their enemy.

The Conservative Party was at 16% of British ethnic minority voters as of 2012.

The remainder of your argument on inequality, is just that your argument, that does not even touch the made to measure political fatalism of Mr. Ganesh, by way of the Rove/ Crosby technocratic chatter that exalts ‘winners’ over ‘losers’, ‘producers’ over ‘drones’ etc. Yours is a fatalism born from your experience and your acceptance of what you cannot change. Ganesh doesn’t just accept that political fatalism, he revels in it, as an acceptance of one of the cornerstones of an utterly amoral, politically nihilistic  Neo-Liberalism.



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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