Slander Advances the Left’s Agenda in ISKCON Why it works

Neema Parvini at Quillette.com explains how the Left’s use of name-calling and slandering is very effective at advancing their agenda. For the last few years, Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja on account of his book Women: Masters or Mothers? has endured slander at the hands of people who apparently hold a similar agenda.

From Parvini’s article:

Thinkers who typically oppose the left have long pointed out that they have been losing the war of words. As David Horowitz puts it in Take No Prisoners(2014):

Whenever a Republican and a Democrat square off, it’s Godzilla versus Bambi. They call us racists, sexists, homophobes, and selfish pigs, and we call them … liberals. Who’s going to win that argument? They spend their political dollars calling us names and shredding our reputations; we spend ours explaining why the complicated solutions we propose will work and why theirs won’t. But when you are being called a racist, an enemy of women, and a greedy SOB, who will listen to your ideas about the budget? Who is going to believe you when all of your motives are portrayed as vile? (p. 105)

“The Prison-House of Political Language”, Quillette, 4 June 2018 <https://quillette.com/. . .>

A similar thing happened to Maharaja on account of his book. Feminist ISKCON members and ISKCON’s GBC attacked him for writing a book based on Srila Prabhupada’s teachings about women’s prescribed social roles, status and behavior. The specifics of their dealings with him are documented here, here, here and here. The book itself can be referenced here.

The objective of the name-calling, as Parvini describes, is to ensure that a substantive discussion does not take place.

Given this fact, people who are part of the “Rebel Alliance” develop a way of speaking designed to circumvent the possibility of debate or even the introduction of evidence. They employ what Thomas Sowell called, in The Vision of the Anointed (1995), “pre-emptive rhetoric” (p. 64), a set of words and phrases that assert the correctness of the argument before anything else has even been said.

And indeed, this is what happened in the case of Bhakti Vikasa Swami. GBC office-holders deputed to deal with Maharaja initially delivered an ultimatum to him, to either withdraw his book or that the GBC will publicly declare that he has misrepresented Srila Prabhupada.

In response, Maharaja made the following plea:

You have given me an ultimatum of two alternatives, both of which (in my estimation) are unfavorable to me. You state that you have no choice in this matter as you simply have to execute a resolution made by the GBC.

My suggestion: another possibility is for you inform to the GBC members that after some initial correspondence with me, it seems that the resolution was made without receiving a balanced assessment of the book and that proper procedure was not followed inasmuch as the author was not consulted. You could recommend that hence this resolution not be published or implemented at least until proper procedures have been followed and full consideration taken of all issues concerning it.

The GBC made no further attempt at a reply before publishing their resolution against him.

Why is it so difficult to discuss women’s issues in ISKCON? Because you will be openly slandered and vilified if you try. As Parvini points out, not having discussion is the objective, so that the name-callers and slanderers can advance their own agenda without opposition.

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