Gandhi, Mubarak

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My favorite propaganda film is Gandhi (1982). It was from the day I saw it. It is close to flawless.

That it does not do justice to Gandhi is obvious to anyone who has read Richard Grenier’s The Gandhi Nobody Knows (1983). Among other personal quirks, Gandhi drank his own pee the way some people drink Gatorade. He was not your run-of-the-mill candidate for sainthood. Grenier’s essay is here.

Two scenes apply to what I have to say here. First was the closing scene, where the camera focuses on the flowers scattered on the water. His voice-over assures us:

There have been tyrants and murderers – and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it – always . . . When you are in doubt that that is God’s way, the way the world is meant to be . . . think of that.

The other scene occurred in a council chamber. Gandhi had been invited to discuss India’s future.

GANDHI: All nations contain religious minorities. Like other countries, ours will have its problems. (Flat, irrevocable) But they will be ours – not yours.

Its finality is such that for a moment there is no response at all, but then the General smiles.

GENERAL: And how do you propose to make them yours? You don’t think we’re just going to walk out of India.

His smile flitters cynically on the mouths of the others on his side.

GANDHI: Yes . . . in the end you will walk out. Because one hundred thousand Englishmen simply cannot control three hundred fifty million Indians if the Indians refuse to co-operate. And that is what we intend to achieve – peaceful, non-violent, non-co-operation.

He looks at them all, then up at Lord Chelmsford behind them.

GANDHI: Until you yourself see the wisdom of leaving . . . your Excellency.

And so they did in 1947. The British Raj ended.

Sadly, the non-revisionist movie did not spend time on how the transition process was sped up, with Viceroy Mountbatten’s wife in the sack with Nehru – where she remained, intermittently, for the next 13 years. Now, that was true British diplomacy: above and beyond the call of duty!

But the movie’s point was well taken. Three years before it was released, Premier Deng announced the freeing up of Chinese agriculture, thereby launching the most rapid economic growth in mankind’s history. Before the decade was over, the Berlin Wall fell. In 1991, the Soviet Union committed suicide. Only North Korea and Cuba remain as operational models of Marxism’s new humanity and new world order.

If a picture is worth ten thousand words, then this satellite photo is worth a book.

Communism looked like the wave of the future for over a century. Ludwig von Mises wrote that the Marxist doctrine of its inevitable victory was its most potent idea. He showed in his 1922 book, Socialism, how socialism is economically irrational and cannot succeed. He was correct. His academic critics were wrong. They still will not admit that he was right. Multimillionaire socialist economist Robert Heilbroner did in The New Yorker in the September 10, 1990 issue, but his peers have remained mute. “He told us so” is not a popular refrain anywhere, but especially in academia.

This brings us to the departure of Hosni Mubarak. On Thursday evening, February 10, he announced to the world that he was not leaving office. The next day, someone announced for him that he had already departed for good. He sped away in a car to some resort city.

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February 14, 2011

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2011 Gary North