While differentiating direct totalitarianisms from totalitarian models “mediatized” by utopia, Revel (2009) provides an expository elucidation of Utopian sophistry:
Communism differs from direct totalitarianisms in that it has recourse to ideological dissimulation: it is mediatized by Utopia (to use a little Hegelian jargon). A detour via Utopia allows an ideology (and the power system that it purports to legitimize) to proclaim one success after another without interruption, while in reality its results are diametrically opposed to the vaunted agenda … many believers will persist in accepting the contradictions because Utopia is always located in the future. The intellectual trap of a totalitarian ideology “mediatized” by Utopia is therefore much more difficult to foil than that of direct ideology because, to utopian believers, actually occurring events can never prove their ideology false. (pp. 89-90)
While Revel dissects Communism and its relation to other totalitarianisms, specifically direct totalitarianisms, the relevance of his exposition cannot be emphasized enough. Revel’s exposition goes beyond orthodox forms of Marxist theory, and even classical Marxist critiques of various socioeconomic and sociocultural realms. It is an exposition that can functionally be latched on to the utopianisms of today like Indosecularism. Just as Revel analytically deduced the utopian sophistry of French intellectuals who vigorously supported Communism, so too can concerned Hindus disentangle the utopian hallucination of the Indosecular facade. Before the relevance of Indosecularism can be expounded upon in this brief commentary, it is important to first revisit Revel’s differentiation of direct totalitarianisms from totalitarian models “mediatized” by utopia because it allows the dissenter to become familiar, at least somewhat, with the significance of ideological mediation.
Direct totalitarianisms are all-encompassing, political enterprises that keep very few secrets, if any, of their operational intentions. Revel (2009) provides the key signifier of what a direct totalitarian model would entail when he says that direct totalitarianisms are “readily decipherable” (p. 89). Examples of Hitler and Mussolini, and their political parties, are offered; both have always expressed, “in plain,” that they “despised democracy, freedom of expression and culture, political pluralism and independent unions” (Revel, 2009, p. 89). Totalitarian models “mediatized” by utopia, on the other hand, allow Leftist ideologues to idealistically prattle on about the fruits to be found at the end of the historical march—the progressive road—while currently occurring events that do not live up to utopian expectations are brushed aside, or outright suppressed through controlled media outlets, academia, and/or intellectual platforms, since they, as observable results, “are diametrically opposed to the vaunted agenda” (Revel, 2009, p. 89).
A fascist political setup will not keep secret the desires of its political functionaries to engage in acts deemed to be self-validating, and will not engage in ideological mediation if currently occurring events go awry. Communist political setups, which are “mediatized” by utopia, will promise socioeconomic and sociopolitical tranquility, but if currently occurring events stray from selectively groomed narratives then they do not delegitimize the ideology since the end of the historical march is always found in the future. In short, the dissimulated retreat that is utopian sophistry is to the theoretical paradise of abstract ideals. While Revel’s quote refers to Communism and while the ideological system criticized herein is Indosecularism, the mentioning of the two in comparative terms is not to say that Communism and Indosecularism are the same, because they are not. The Indosecular relevance to Utopian sophistry of such sort lies in the implication brought on from the signifier that is ideological mediation. For example, if a hundred events like Malda were to unfold all over India a few days from now, the Indosecular system can never be delegitimized. And the Indosecular narrative can never be wrong, since the Indian Left’s Idea of India (IOI) is always located in the future.
Currently occurring events that stray from IOI-related visions of a harmonious India free from the templates presently deemed by the Indian Left as problematic are excused of any ties to Indosecular dysfunctionality, and even attested Indosecular criminalities. This self-immunizing characteristic of the Indian Left is operational predation of the Hindu majority—more specifically, the predation of Hindu dissenters who do not worship above all else the Indosecular enterprise and the IOI associated with “forward-thinking” Indians. Indeed, currently occurring events that stray from what secularists may have in mind do not delegitimize Indosecularism but are rather to be blamed upon “Sanghis” or “Hindutva” groups. Anything productive or socially beneficial to be found in India today could have emanated only from Indosecular sources. This has a strong parallel with the instructive insight Revel (2009) offers on Leftists realigning value-based understandings: “It is instructive to see how the left manages with such a clear conscience to suppose that none of the good deeds that have improved humanity’s lot could have emanated from any other source than the Socialist or Communist parties” (p. 91). Hinduism is regressive; Islam is egalitarian; Christianity is liberating; and Indosecular determinism provides all the answers to patterns secularly deemed to embody Hindu societal regression.
The notion that any sociocultural and sociopolitical faults are to be found within Indosecularism is a heretical notion. The Indosecular political system mediatized by utopia explains that the nature of India is beneficial only if it marches “forward” in “secularist” fashion, and the place of Hindus within such a system is subordinate to this historical march. The subordinate role Hindus play within this structure is noticeable in the sense that currently occurring events that stray from the harmonious presumptions of the Indosecular narrative cannot delegitimize Indosecularism. Instead, observable maladies are held as the results of Hindu traditions. Nisbet (1968) captures this contention between selectively perceived traditionalism and its usurpation by revolutionaries when he suggests that such meddling-like modification of traditionally internal components of a society is rather the perversion of historical culture. Its Indosecular relevance is found in the observable reality in which secularists view Indosecular power as being the “true” method for establishing “true” freedom—an India deprived of the heresy that is “communalism,” and absolved of “Hindu regressiveness.” And it is this utopian sophistry that allows the secularists of India, specifically the Indian intelligentsia, their doctrinairism.
Nisbet, R. (1968). Tradition and revolt (2nd ed.). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Revel, J. F. (2009). Last exist to utopia: The survival of socialism in a post-Soviet era. New York, NY: Encounter Books.