Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Jamming the wheel of misfortune, and the politics of ideological bait and switch

I recently became aware of an insightful new blog called Upaya. MGM, the blogmeister of Upaya, happens to be a fellow ex-leftist who is interested in debunking the various positions held by left-statists as well as social anarchists. His most recent entry, "Work or Starve" takes a common socialist position to task by reconstructing it from a radical libertarian perspective. Rather than being "forced" to either work for a greedy, exploitative capitalist or starve by purely market forces, the workers' dilemna is not only more complex than that, but is seemingly fueled more by regulations and other forms of state intervention than anything else. Here is MGM's reconstruction of the socialist argument in question:
1. Under state capitalism, capital is much more highly concentrated than it would be in a free market system.
2. Intervention in the market on behalf of economic elites (and “progressive” legislation) significantly restricts the average person’s access to capital and creates artificial scarcity.
3. The political and legal systems are rigged in favor of the power elite and against the average person. And things are worse for those on the margins of the economy.
4. This rigged system forms the background context within which workers look for employment.
5. Therefore, the workers choices are artificially constrained by a political system rigged in favor of the power elite.
6. So, while a worker may freely choose to work for a particular capitalist (or corporation, etc.) her liberty is still illegitimately limited under state capitalism.

When you consider the fact that the wealthy and the power-hungry are always going to be at an advantage within the realm of politics, how can problems such as these be alleviated in any way by MORE government involvement? Since the political realm is always subject to rampant corruption, using the poltical means to address problems will either fail to work, make the current problems worse, and/or create new problems that'll need to be addressed. The result is the vicious cycle that created much dismay and destruction throughout the 20th century, a wheel of misfortune that statists keep spinning, sadistically advancing the spoilage of our culture. If such a path fixes nothing and actually increases suffering, why not try a different approach for once, one that promotes freedom and opportunity for everyday people by removing the barriers to advancement while also removing the traditional political mechanisms of rulers who want to thwart such advacements through force and deception.

The conclusion of MGM's post also presses an important point. He notes that:
Marx is sometimes accused of pulling a bait and switch when it comes to capitalism. First, he describes capitalism as a free enterprise system. And yet the system he goes on to “unmask” and criticize is not free enterprise, but mercantilism. Vulgar libertarians do much the same when they bait with the free market, but then switch to a defense of state capitalism (i.e., mercantilism). Smash (state) capitalism!

This comment urges me to bring attention once more to an article that describes Marx's bait and switch in more detail. BK Marcus's "Straw Men and Ham Sandwiches" explains how Marx starts off with a good faith definition of capitalism before engaging in a strawman attack that actually serves to critique the very mercantilist system that has evolved to create many of our modern dilemnas, including the one MGM addresses.

The other example of bait and switch MGM mentions is the common one deployed by those libertarians who constantly apologize for corporatism and it's major players. These "vulgar libertarians", as he and Kevin Carson like to refer to them as, do a disservice to all freedom lovers and the promotion of free markets by first praising free markets, then equating such support with a support of the corporatist status quo. No wonder so many anti-corporate skeptics of libertarianism are scared of free markets!

I applaud the efforts of those radical and honest libertarians who work to promote the very real distinction between what we yearn for and what corporate executives and their political pals yearn for. In case you aren't aware, Kevin Carson has written a series of blog posts exposing the vulgar libertarians as the schmucks they really are. Here is a link to his most recent addition to this series, one that reveals a love of economic centralization and transparent forms of corporate welfare amongst the vulgar crowd.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo jake your the freeman?, good way to put it. Glen let me know about your page, keep up the good work. I read though your recent post nice work. Have you ever wrote a post about New World Order, Chem trails, secret societies, or other dimensions let me know want to find out more. DAN

9:35 PM  
Blogger freeman said...

Hey Dan, howz life been treating you lately?

I haven't written anything in the past about the topics you mentioned, but that doesn't mean that I won't in the future. I usually refrain from getting into describing things from the whole "NWO" or "secret societies" angles, but that doesn't mean that aren't bits of truth to certain things here and there. I really don't view the power structure as being like it's described in secret society type stuff, although I suppose you never know.

Have you read anything by Robert Anton Wilson? His classic novel "The Illuminatus Trilogy" might be up your alley. A very entertaining and mind-blowing read.

Chem trails is something that I don't really know anything about. I've seen occasional stories about them on various Indymedia sites, but I've never seen anything substantiated to back up the claims of those who are worried about chem trails. It sure is an interesting thing to ponder though.

By the way, Freeman is my middle name, so it's not just a made up name that suits my philosophy.

10:07 PM  

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