Good sugar, bad sugar; good terrorist, bad terrorist

Some dichotomies stem from reason, others stem from preferences masquerading as reason

This post is inspired by an anecdote and hence all the usual disclaimers applicable to anecdotes apply here.

Two people were discussing the dangers that excess intake of sugar poses for a healthy body. None of them had any disagreements over this fact. Further, one of them said that his solution to remaining healthy was to stop eating rice and start eating a lot of fruits. “Don’t fruits contain sugar as well? Surely, eating a lot of fruits must be harmful as well even though they provide vitamins and other nutrients…” enquired the second. The first guy paused and then remarked: “That’s not exactly true. Because there’s good sugar and there’s bad sugar. Fruits contain the former and hence they are good.” The second guy was at a loss of both, words and knowledge.

Now substitute health for Pakistan’s national integrity, sugar for violence, rice for TTP and fruits for the Punjab based militants. Read the discussion again and what you get is the situation in contemporary Pakistan: where an imagined dichotomy has been created between terrorists. Just because some terrorists are not killing people in Pakistan, their tolerance elsewhere is being tolerated because they have other ‘health’ benefits.

Though I have singled out Pakistan as an example, this substitution applies to all nations including India. Pakistan is used as an archetype here because the dichotomy is clearly visible.

Comparing sugars with terrorists may sound flippant but the reality is that a lot of people sincerely believe in the existing artificial dichotomies. This is because we superimpose our preferences over reason. Just because fruits have some wonderful benefits over rice, they are painted an all-weather good. Similarly, just because some terrorists can help in an apparent cause, their violence is seen leniently.

Geopolitics is an amoral game. Nations have at various times used violence against other nations to increase their power in the world and it is foolish to assume that any spiritual upliftment will change this in near future. Hence, the Indian State has no option but to fight and end the irreconcilable Military Jihadi Complex (MJC) in Pakistan. It is left to the individual nations to introspect if violence as a means for achieving certain goals is beneficial to their own ‘health’.

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2 thoughts on “Good sugar, bad sugar; good terrorist, bad terrorist

  1. saurabh January 10, 2015 / 9:22 pm

    I like the substance of the article but analogy is not correct. There are fruits like Jaamun which helps in reducing diabetes risk. 🙂

    • pranaykotasthane January 11, 2015 / 4:04 pm

      Saurabh, agreed. Analogies have their limitations. Take them as Max Weber’s ideal type.

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