Facebook and Nido Part 3: “Nido Liberal”

So back to Facebook. So other than “moderate” and “apathetic” the most common viewpoint put down is “liberal.”

In fact, many nidoers opt for “very liberal”, just to make the point that much clearer. So apparently nido is a liberal, sometimes very liberal. As usual, let us take a closer look at this, since things aren’t always what they seem.

How did this liberalism come along? Did he learn it at school? Did he adopt it in his eight and a half years in the U.S. trying to finish his undergraduate degree? Did he sit around reading J. S. Mill, Isaiah Berlin or Rawls? Maybe it’s from watching all those liberal hollywood movies and shows? Maybe he inherited it from his parents? Did he sit at home one day and deduce that he is one? Maybe from Facebook itself? No matter. It is not our concern here how he became a liberal. We are more interested in what this liberalism means.

Now what is usually meant by liberal? Obviously there are as many definitions as there are nidoers, and I’m not going to sit around here now defining stuff. I’ll pick, however, two features that are usually attached with liberalism. One is that a liberal believes that people can do whatever they want, as long as what they do does not cause direct harm to others. In more pedantic terms, each person has the liberty to do as he pleases as long as he does not infringe on the rights of others. Be and let be. You want to walk around in a bikini. Fine. It doesn’t hurt anyone directly (unless you want to argue in a convuluted way that it hurts the morality of society, but that doesn’t count for a liberal). It doesn’t violate anyone’s rights. Wear a wzar. Go naked. Go nuts. I’m a liberal and it doesn’t bother me. Actually, it might bother me, but I’m a liberal, and a liberal knows enough to let people do what they want.

This is usually associated with being “socially” liberal. People can say whatever they want, they can sleep with who(what)ever they want, they can do whatever they want. Just don’t violate my rights. More substantially, it would mean defending and advocating for the rights of those marginalized or oppressed in society. Expat labourers, minorities, women etc. They should at least have the same rights as others in society.

Then we have the “economic” or “welfare” side associated with liberalism. Liberal here means being pro the free market, private property, free competition, etc. This is not all however. There is another side. Let’s call it side B. Liberalism nowadays has come to stand for being pro the government having an active role in the welfare of people in society. The government should actively fund the “basics” or the most important things. They should spend on education, on health, on housing, and should try to have some sort of help for the poor. It isn’t enough to let people just do whatever the hell they want economically. You need to help those that are worse off. It isn’t fair that the rich get the best education, the best health system, the best roads. How are the poor going to get anywhere (and how is it fair to compare them to the rich) if they never have an education, a health system, decent places to live in? Aren’t these their basic rights? Wouldn’t it be a violation of their rights (and thus be very illiberal) if they couldn’t even have these basic things?

Of course this doesn’t mean that everything should be equalized, or that the state should subsidize caviar and champagne for the poor. Like what was mentioned previously, free market and competition is at the core of liberalism. All it means is that the state has a duty to provide its citizens with the basics for a decent life.

Now it is obvious that nido is not a liberal in the “B part” of the economic sense. Nido has no interest whatsoever in funding the poor. As argued before (so I won’t repeat the arguments here), nido sees the poor as lazy, uneducated, dumb individuals who breed like rats and deserve all the misery they are in. They don’t deserve to be funded. And who exactly is going to fund them? That would mean taxes, and nido, being the richest in society, obviously has nothing but to lose with taxes. Thank god the country here has oil, or else nido would be asked to fund this stuff. Imagine the gall! Nido having to give up some of his hard earned income to fund these poor fellas! If you want to see nido get really excited about something, mention something like this to him: “How about we tax anyone with income above 1500 dinars at, lets, say, 20% (pretty low by world standards)?” I recommend that you duck, because you are in serious danger of being punched or spat at by nido.

Alright, so nido is not liberal in the egalitarian economic sense (what we called the B side). How about the A side, that of free competition and private property? Surely nido is liberal in this sense. After all, nido loves the idea of private property. He owns a considerable chunk of the island. Surely nido is for liberalism in this sense? Nido owns most of the companies in Bahrain, so surely he loves everything that capitalism has to offer?

Again, things aren’t always what they seem. The fact that nido owns most of the companies shows how much nido likes to pick and choose what he likes in liberalism. For nido, or more precisely nido’s family, has a monopoly over pretty much anything worthwhile in Bahrain. Car dealerships, equipments, sale of alcohol, land, you name it. Nido’s fortune has been built on the ability to monopolize certain parts of the market and exploit it to the maximum. This has nothing to do with free competition. In fact it is the complete opposite! Just watch how nido and his family fight tooth and nail to keep and mantain the monopolies (or as they are more fondly called, “dealerships”) that rake in so much money for him. Once again, if you want to give nido a heart attack just casually mention that monopolies are to be abolished in bahrain and see his reaction. The threat anti-monopolistic legal action in Bahrain and of others from Bahrain being on the same footing as him entails a serious loss of money. Even more seriously, imagine what would happen if the Bahraini market is opened up to more serious hamours from the Gulf. Can you imagine nido competing with the Al Rajihis, F6aims, and Habtours in Bahrain? Nido would suddenly be a small Hamour!

Alright, so nido, shall we say, is “eclectic” (more accurately read as hypocritical) in choosing his liberal values in the economic sense. How about in the social sphere mentioned above? The ” people have a right to do what they want as long as it does not directly harm others?” Surely there is no argument here. Nido is a liberal. He has no problem with people drinking, sleeping with whoever they want, wearing whatever they want etc?

Again, superficially this is true. Let us also give nido credit in some of the issues dealing with minorities and the marginalized in society. For example, nido is much better than some of the other forces in society (e.g. some Islamists) when dealing with women’s rights. After all, many a nidoers are female (in fact roughly half). So it is settled then. Nido is at least liberal in the social sense.

But what about other questions that “socially liberal” entails being committed to? Let us take the issue of the exploitation of expat labour and their rights in Bahrain. Here it is very hard to argue that nido is liberal. In fact nido is the antithesis of liberal. He or daddy owns companies that employ thousands of expat workers that work in appaling conditions and for awful pay. They work more than 70 hours a week, live five or more in a room, toil away in the middle of the sun under awful conditions, and in the end they are lucky if they receive 80 BD as a wage. In fact, nido here is more like a feudal lord than a liberal. Bahrainis working for nido, although better off than their expat counterparts, also suffer. Because nido is used to cheap foreign labour breaking their backs working for him for minimal pay he expects Bahrainis in one way or another to compete with them. Or else why would he ever employ a Bahrain except because the government is perstering him with “Bahranization” quotas? Thus, nido grudgingly pays the Bahrainis more but not by much.

And you expect nido to be a defender of these expats rights? Can you imagine nido actively advocating for their rights? Of course not. He is the one that benefits the most from the conditions they are in. Can you imagine nido actively encouraging the idea of labour unions to help these workers? How about regulations that guarantee these workers a minimally decent working conditions, living environment, etc? Fat chance. He’ll give you something along the excuse, ” They should be grateful. They are much better off than in their home country.” Your generosity is marvellous, nido.

It is apparent that nido’s social liberalism is of the superficial kind. It is of the kind of “I have every right to wear my bikini, to drink, to sleep with who I want, to watch and dance to Nancy Ajram.” More seriously than that, it is a selective, contradictory liberalism. Nido chooses what he likes in liberalism and discards the rest. Instead of liberalism standing for “the right for everyone to do what they like as long as it does not directly hurt others”, it stands for “the right for nido to do whatever he likes even if it hurts others, and the right for the rest to do what they like as long as it does not hurt nido,” even if nido in the process is hurting others. He is for private property because it protects his land and businesses. He is for capitalism because it gives him the money that sponsors his lifestyle. He is for the right to do what you want when it allows him to copulate, drink, and go clubbing with other nidoers. He is against rights for expat workers becaues it could seriously harm him. Similarly, the idea of discarding monopolies does not appeal to him because daddy’s company stands to lose from this. This is “nido liberalilsm” for you.

This contradictory, selective nature of nido liberalism makes much more sense when we realize the underlying theme behind it: selfishness. Nido is a liberal as long as this liberalism benefits him, and he discards what other traits in liberalism he does not like. It is self-centered. It is all about me and what is to nido’s benefits.

Let us take one final example, one where you find many a nidoers nowadays ranting about: democracy (which is obviously a core element of most definitions of liberalism). You hear many a nidoers paying homage and glorifying democracy, and talking about how “backwards” our region is because of a lack of democracy. Lo and behold, however, you find many a nidoers actually glad that democracy doesn’t exist in Bahrain. “Those Islamists. Those shias, those muslim brotherhoods (notice, as mentioned before, it could be anything, Nasserists, socialists, whatever poses a danger to nido). Thank god they don’t have more say in the country. We’d be screwed! This country does not deserve democracy.” It is a democracy of flagrant self-interest. If the country was populated with nice “nido liberals” that do nido’s bidding, then all hail democracy. If it is anything else, even if the majority of the country wants it, then no thank you.

Indeed, the only time nido deviates from his self-interest to do something that benefits groups other than him is when he comes under serious social pressure and risks losing even more by not giving in to some of these demands. Thus, let them have their fake democracy if this will quiet social unrest and stave off more serious revolts. Let them have their watered down unions in government companies if that will deflect them from proper restructuring. Even here, whatever social reform nido gives into is because he thinks it is in his own benefit, since it will stave off further opposition and losses of interest.

Even more blatant, a nidoer would often use the term “liberal” in order to score brownie points and court the other “liberals” in the west. After, all, “liberalism” as a commodity sells pretty well nowadays in the western media and world. And if one looks superficially at nido, as mentioned before, he will appear to westerners as “liberal”. A nidoer is drinking johnny walker, wearing a low cut cleavage dress, and talking about the dangers of Islamists. Indeed, the nidoer would strike one from the west as being “quite like us.” They are like us in looks, in mentality, and even in talking about “liberalism” and “moderate”ness. Indeed if one does not dig further he would fall into the trap of thinking nido is actually liberal.

There is a running theme here. Whether nido describes himself as moderate, apathetic, or liberal. In “moderateness” we saw it means a commitment to the status quo, a commitment to keeping things as they are since they are to nido’s benefits. In liberal it means selectively choosing from “liberalism” whatever benefits nido and violating the rest. There is a common thread here: self-centered selfishness. Nido cares only about what benefits him and actively goes against everything that does not benefit him. It does not matter who gets hurt or the amount of harm created, as long as the harm does not involve nido. Even the term “liberal” and “moderate” are often cynically abused for self-interest in order to look good in the eyes of the west.

Still not convinced? Find yourself a nidoer (it might be you). Ask him what his stand is on any political issue of relevance to him. Expat workers, Islamists, sale of alcohol, the status of monopolies in Bahrain, labour unions. etc. Watch his answers. He will either be “apathetic” and won’t care, or they will be those which maximizes his self interest, regardless of others. Sure, he might give you other excuses for why he supports these issues, but the pattern of selfishness in his answers will be unmistakeable.

If we want to be honest with ourselves we should admit that this is the main trait, characteristic, or in facebook speak, “political views” of nido: nido-centered selfishness.

Nido, there is not much that is liberal about you, your johnnywalker, bikini accessories and clubbing hangouts not with-standing. There is not much here other than egoistic selfishness.

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18 Responses to “Facebook and Nido Part 3: “Nido Liberal””

  1. June Says:

    I love this. You have it down to a tee. I salute you.

  2. mr Says:

    Too harsh at times, but great post nevertheless.

  3. butterfly Says:

    I agree with you except that not all liberal nidoers are coming from rich families. Many of them were poor and went through all the hassle that any poor nedior suffered from but still they think that they deserved what they got because they are more intelligent. Those nidoers are the nerds who got scholarships to study abroad but now they want to forget about the olden days and belong to the rich nidors community.

  4. lizardo Says:

    and there are nidoers which they are from the liberal side just because they hated how people think and treat each others in OTHER poltical sides !

  5. nido Says:

    Thanks June. Always a pleasure!

    Mr:

    Thanks. What do you think was too harsh in the post?

    butterfly: Agreed, although I feel a bit more sympathy to those you describe since at least they reached where they are based on talent.

    Remember in all these posts I make generalization in order to make the point clearer (and since this is not an academic journal but a ranty blog). Obviously not all nidoers are like what I describe, since some do try to stick to the ethos of classic “liberalism” and not just be selfish, while others might have other political viewpoints not mentioned here. The point I was trying to make is that the majority of nidoers do have this “selfish nido-liberalism.” Obviously there will be some that do not fit this.

    lizardo: Again, as mentioned above, I was making generalizations, and obviously there will be some that are “liberal” because of what you describe and there will be some that my description of “nido-liberal” does not apply to.

    I get your hint as well that my criticism may be unhelpful and might alienate nidoers. I however disagree. I’ve commented previously on why I think criticism is not only healthy but severly needed, so I’ll stick to those arguments and won’t repeat them here. Moreover, how will nidoers ever realize the negatives in some of their thinking and way of life if they never receive any criticism?

    Your comment does indirectly allude to an important point, however. That there is a lack of alternatives or other “political sides” being presented, and that the alternatives being presented at the moment are not really that good or in some cases are pretty awful (hopefully this will be the topic of another post). Hence many people stick to “liberalism” because of the lack of viable serious alternatives. I think, however, criticizing and analyzing nidoism can be extremely helpful in constructing and presenting these alternatives and in opening up other “political viewpoints”, and this brings me back to the point in the previous paragraph about the dire need for serious criticism and analysis!

    Thanks for the comments guys.

  6. Natna Says:

    One thing to note in this discussion about there is no evolution in the Nido Liberal mode of thinking. One has to be less resistant to change. For a Nidoer to loose or make less money (his prime asset) would be more scandalous than a Nidoer getting pregnant before marriage.

    In essense, a Nidoer is not liberal at all whether it be economically or socially. He or she are at the core still conservatives who play a front of a liberal to be accepted in society and usufruct from it.

  7. Natna Says:

    I would like to add that they do this not to be accepted in society. They do this to be pioneers in society and reap from the benefits.

  8. nido Says:

    Natna,

    I think there is always evolution in the nido mode of thinking. It basically seems to adjust to always relfect what is in his best interest! If it meant labelling onself a “liberal” today, then fine, if it means a something else tomorrow, then so be it. If, let’s say, society is in clear danger of disruption or upheaval tomorrow unless some sort of social security for the unemployed is instated, then tomorrow he’ll stand for social security! (even though under normal circumstances the idea would be anathema to him). Basically views, stands, and ideas are dictated by the chase for monetary self-interest and to continue to be at the top of the food chain of society. Everything else comes second.

  9. jasra jedi Says:

    Nido ..

    The thing is, to be a real ‘liberal’, or to have any strong beleifs on anything, one has to have suffered. And unless you find a Nido who has suffered, you will find that the beleif system they have adopted means nothing. Because, there is nothing that really will show you who someone is as when they are in hot seat themselves ..

    I dont know that many Nido’ers who have really suffered in Bahrain. And, I can guarantee you that the amount of suffering that will come in the coming generations is going to be significantly more than what has gone ..

  10. nido Says:

    jasra jedi:

    I don’t think one has to suffer in order to have some ideals they believe in (although suffering definitely makes it more likely and more “revealing”). e.g. Engels lived a pretty comfortable life and he still believed in his ideals! I mean i’m not expecting here that nido will go out and die for his ideals, just that he believes in something above and beyond his own selfish interests!

    I do think however that the current materialistic consumerist society definitely encourages apathy and encourages one not to have any ideals beyond satisfying your materialist desire. After all, why would you care about anything if you continue to have a comfortable, consumerist lifestyle that fulfills any hedonistic desires you might have?

    I agree though that the coming generations are going to suffer significantly much more. It’s one thing to be poor and/or have suffered all of your life. It’s completely another thing to be rich and a comfortable lifestyle and then to experience poverty and suffering. At the rate we’re going this seems to be what is in store for us!

  11. Aigre-Doux Says:

    713 Bahrainis, many of them defined as liberals, are members of ‘In Memories of Saddam Hussain (Saif Il 3arab)” – The description – “This group is created for SADDAM’S LOVERS !!!!!!!!! and all people that are not blind followers of the west and have the intellect to decide for themselves what kind of a brave man Saddam Hussain was and how he helped the Palestinians and the poor!! Even with a noose around his neck he stood like a lion and speaking what he believed in, while his enemies were like hyenas screaming and yelling from a distance! Saddams last word in this world was “MUHAMMED”
    Subhan Allah, may Allah give this martyr a place in paradise. AMEEN!”

    I think I’m going to be sick. Like really sick. Somebody should ask these dumbfuck scions of the bahraini elite why not a single Iraqi is a member of this group. See Nido, this is how nidoer’s in Bahrain see fit to express any remotely political sentiment they have since all their money can’t buy them actual intellect and engagement, they find comfort in rabid fascist adulation of a sick fuck like Saddam.

    I don’t think how people identify themselves as facebook politically says anything about them… nor do I think it should be obvious and apparent that Bahrain is supposed to go the route of classically western political divisions..
    Maybe it would be more productive to discuss groups such as the one above that say a lot more about where people’s affiliations lie. Also, nobody seemed interested in discussing the Bahraini neo-nazi anti-naturalization group on facebook that is enjoying growing membership which i mentioned in the previous facebook oriented post. There are incredibly messed up things happening, i.e. political natrualization..that should not necessitate nativist, xenophobic shit like this…But ofcourse, this would involve actually debating these incredibly contentious, complex issues and what they mean…

  12. Odd Says:

    Nido,
    I really like your posts. But, with this one, I finished FOUR slices of Pizza Hut Hot ‘n Spicy, and I STILL had more than three paragraphs to go!

    I don’t know what everyone else thinks, but it would be really nice to have those points of yours made in a compact form.

    Also, you know, maybe you could design an ‘online’ test to see where on the ‘nido-spectrum’ people fall?

    Have a good one
    Odd

  13. Hasan Says:

    butterfly,
    I’m just a little confused – I thought all nidoers were given their fortune on a silver platter, i.e., did not really have to work hard to get far in life, and also, come from upper middle class to rich families. Those “Poor” nidoers you say who got scholarships are not really nidoers, because, they earned what they got. Nothing wrong with getting a good education because of hard work.

    Nido,
    Quick question – do you see this “nidoer” situation as a generally bad thing? Is it just a sub-culture in bahrain or is it part of something bigger? Oh, and what are your expectations for the future?

  14. nido Says:

    Aigre-doux,

    Saddam.. Naturalization.. neo-nazi.. that’s a lot of topics man that would take forever to talk about! You see how useful facebook can be in looking at people’s ideas? I agree there is a lot stuff that needs to looked at out there. I also agree that you can’t apply western divisions or categories to Bahrain. You need to look at their own specificities.

    Odd:

    1. Thanks for the great comment. You sure have your own way of things.

    2. I am very worried about your diet, health, but more importantly your taste in food! First McDonald and now pizza hut! You gotta change your ways man.

    3. I take your point about the length but I’m not sure if it’s worthwhile to condense it down. I mean, I could’ve for this post just said: “Nido is not a liberal. He is selfish and only interested in his own benefit.” I don’t think the point would’ve come across though and a lot would’ve been missed in the anlysis (economic side, social side, using liberalism to appeal to the west, etc).

    What do others think? I’d really appreciate the input!

    Thanks for the great comment once again!

    Hassan,

    This is not a quick question! (or rather the answer is not quick).

    Like I always say this nido thing is a manefistation of society. It has its bads, which I focus on a lot, but then it has its goods (no one for ex. can deny the huge advancements in education that has come along with nidoism, even though the system has its faults. Unfortunately many others in society don’t get to benefit from it).

    Also, I see it as more than just a sub culture. To use big terms: I see it as a manifestation of a glabalized consumerist society with its main economic basis being an oil rentier economy. If one wants to be more pedantic, you have the underlying economic relations and base and then the corresponding “superstructure” of society (political institutions, nido culture, etc) (I’m sure you know this, considering you’re doing economic history/political economy). The nido culture also serves as a mirror or opposite to the other segments of society (e.g. the poor etc).

    I try to use and pick on “nidoism” for the above reasons: 1. it analyzes the nido culture itself 2. it serves as a way to reflect and analyze the other segments in society and society as a whole, since they are the ruling/upper class in society. 3. it seves as a platform to analzye the economic base and its aspects.

    More directly, I pick on nido because it is what I know best (since I am part of it), and also it makes the blog more entertaining and readable, while also being a vehicle for putting focus on the other issues mentioned above. I doubt many people would be interested if I continuously kept ranting about economic relations, base, and superstructures! Also, nidoers would stop reading if I constantly talked about other segments in society other than them.

    So my ambition is to strike a balance between these. I don’t know how successful I am in this however! I’d really appreciate any feedback/input on this and whether this style is good/interesting/useful or not!

  15. nido Says:

    Oh, and expectation for future. I wish I knew! I’d be making millions!

    However, the way things are going, I’m not very optimistic. The country and gulf in general (and we can’t look out at Bahrain out of its surroundings) are still largely dependent on oil. They’re yet to move away from being a rentaire state mainly dependent on primary resources. They’re yet to build solid industries, education and research centres and corresponding legal/political rules/structures. They’re rapidly losing their culture/sense of identity (with nidoism and consumerism as a culture growing more rapidly and taking over). And even more depressingly we are not even addressing these issues. We are more interested in using up the oil money buidling things such as Amwaj, Riffa views, and useless weapons instead of focusing those depletable resources on the essential aspects of building an excellent education/research system and serious sustainable productive industries (which, if we don’t keep putting that oil money down the drain, we can! The question is can we realize this and follow the likes of Japan, Korea, Singapore etc before spending all that oil money down less useful things such as cars/fountains/fake islands etc). This is not to mention other things such as developing a vibrant cultural/intellectual/artistic hub!

    If we don’t soon start looking and addressing these issues seriously, and keep getting distracted by things such as consumerism, sectarianism, expensive and imported guns (we don’t even produce them!), petty and fake democratic facades (epitomized by parliament) etc,…… then what does the future hold for us when the oil runs out or alternative energe resources are developed and the world no longer needs our oil?

    Again, this blog is mainly a way for me and maybe for others to start looking at these issues. Because we seriously need to address them very soon, and time is ticking!

  16. Butterfly Says:

    Hassan,

    Nothing wrong with getting a good education because of hard work but I really hate it when people pretend to be something else once they climb the ladder and reach the top. I mean they should sympthy more with them because they have been in such position before.

    I was talking to one of those nidoers the other day about the poverty in Bahrain and all what he said that they deserve what they are in now because they are not smart like him. He even told me that he will never think of donating to any charity because this is his own money and they should have worked hard instead of complaining and he think this is liberal.

    This is SELFISH!

  17. Butterfly Says:

    Hassan,

    Nothing wrong with getting a good education because of hard work but I really hate it when people pretend to be something else once they climb the ladder and reach the top. I mean they should sympthy more with them because they have been in such situation before.

    I was talking to one of those nidoers the other day about the poverty in Bahrain and all what he said that they deserve what they are in now because they are not smart like him. He even told me that he will never think of donating to any charity because this is his own money and they should have worked hard instead of complaining and he think this is liberal.

    This is SELFISH!

  18. Hasan Says:

    Butterfly,

    Sorry for misunderstanding you. Yeah; that nidoer you were talking to about poverty really is ignorant and selfish. Yikes.!

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