News today that the Pope has appointed Indian Cardinals in key Vatican councils including the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue would doubtless elicit some cheer in the Indian media circles. It did for me too, though for an entirely different reason. The news reminded me of a brilliant and humorous sketch by Monty Python. But first continuing with the news from Business Standard,
According to an SMC spokesman here, the council for inter-religious, formed in 1964, is entrusted with the task of promoting understanding between Catholic Church and other religions.
In the past millennium, the Pope however had a different way of dealing with the issue of inter-religious relations. Heretics, those who didn’t adhere to the Catholic faith were accused of heresy and were dealt with in special courts through a judicial institution called the Inquisition in an attempt to maintain Catholic orthodoxy. Among these Inquisitions, the story of the Spanish Inquisition is an especially sad tale of torture and religious persecution by the Catholics with estimates putting the death toll at 1, 50,000.
I suppose, with the changing times, the Catholic Church has changed and now prefers a process of dialogue rather than plain intimidation, torture and persecution. Good for them!
I had digressed; I intended to go check out that diabolically funny sketch by Monty Python on the Spanish Inquisition. Here it is:
Watch this sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus to get entertained and learn. This is called Learntainment! The message to learn is about the complexity of redistribution and is summarised by this line in the sketch:
“Wait a tick.. blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.”
Now, that’s a conclusion that the politicians and the masses need to come to sooner than later. Actually forget the politicians; because they don’t really believe in redistribution to help the ‘economically poor’. They only use redistribution as a tool to stay relevant and retain power.
It’s the poor who are swayed by the meager (objectively speaking, but generous in the eyes of the poor) incentives through various redistribution schemes such as Employment Guarantee, free TV, free electricity, Rs. 2/kg rice etc.. The poor consistently vote in political parties that promise these sort of redistribution schemes that use public funds raised through taxes. The effects and the achievements of redistribution are there for us to see. Even after more than 60 years of political independence, the incidence of economic poverty is fairly high in India. The consequences of this poverty should be unacceptable to any civilised society. The sooner the poor learn that they are contributing to their own misery, the better for all.
Having said that, what options do they have in terms of political parties that do not engage in redistribution schemes and have a well articulated policy on tackling poverty? The answer is but obvious. Hence, the redistribution schemes remain as popular as ever with India’s established political parties.
Hope a coalition of political parties that is economically Right of Center will soon emerge. Wishing the guys at Offstumped much success in their quest!