Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Via The Humble Libertarian
The problem with posting once a week is that there is so much material to post about that it becomes distracting. For example, here were a few potential posts:
NYT and Newsweek had some recently sharp criticisms of Obama and his administration. I wanted to tie these into an old post I had regarding Obama’s potential lack of leadership ability.
I was inspired by my friend tL to go out on a limb and give my thoughts on foreign policy. I usually avoid foreign policy. Like law, it is something I am not extremely knowledgeable and it is also something that is very subjective. I generally try and stay out of the subjects and areas that I am not confident or familiar with.
Or, I could have written about the Left Coast Rebel's most recent big time kudos and brought back the Freddie Mercury Clapping Award.
I’m a firm believer in writing what you are most passionate about and that would be government, economics and business. However, I’m always lost and confused over the gibberish-arguments made about capitalism from those that uphold something else. Most of the arguments ranting on the subject require an absolute suspension of the history of the world. They tend to require absurd moral equivalents. Often, they are broken, tired, and regurgitated arguments from Karl Marx, which leads me to wonder, “Are the proponents of these Marxist arguments aware of their author?”
I was recently reading an article at Rise of Reason written by the author of The Humble Libertarian (I’m new to his blog, but so far not disappointed). The first comment to THL’s article caught my eye. It was well written, but also it represents the kookiness I so frequently see from the likeminded. Here it is in it’s entirety below (sorry for the length):
"Capitalism is an illusion. Perfect capitalism is a perfect illusion. Humans are the problem with capitalism. Greed, avarice, control, power, despotism and all the “deadly sins” are manifested and magnified through the illusion that human beings are little more than narcissists masquerading as actual feeling, sentient beings.
There is no accountability in capitalism perfect or imperfect. As long as power and wealth is concentrated and directed towards a few controlling interests; and in return directed against everyone else, accountability or social responsibility is negated and rendered impotent. Those with the gold rule.
The religious proponents of unfettered capitalism in the US are laughable because no major religion on the earth encourages capitalistic behavior that is Darwinian at its core – survival of the fittest. Humans have the capacity to move beyond such primitive, anachronistic, savage, and narcissistic behavior. Cooperation, compassion, brotherly and sisterly love, genuine concern for others beyond one’s profit margins are all the “better angels” of human behavior.
Corporations and governments for that matter, are little more than sepulchers of amoral (at best), generally immoral (yet shrouded in legality), deadened narcissists that are using a golem of dollars and cents to wreak havoc and keep people in fear with debt, loss of income, government control scenarios and the like. It is amazing that “We the People” are the government, that elects its representatives – illusion of representation – and we have been told to fear and loathe that to which we are inextricably connected. The ultimate self loathing scenario.
Yet we have been told through artful propaganda that corporations, capitalism and the so-called “free market” is preferable to “ The People” and their government; while the “The People” at large have no say or participatory representation within the boardrooms that rule society at large. This seems more fascist than democratic :
“Fascism, pronounced /ˈfæʃɪzəm/, comprises a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology and a corporatist economic ideology developed in Italy. Fascists believe that nations and/or races are in perpetual conflict whereby only the strong can survive by being healthy, vital, and by asserting themselves in conflict against the weak.[6 ]”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism
Money rules all and people are always left dead and dying in their wake.
“In a free market, businesses succeed and fail on the basis of their ideas, on their merit in creating value for society. This is determined by the free and voluntary activity of individuals who exchange with others- again, on the basis of what improves and adds value to their lives. In this model, businesses that don’t create value for others… fail.”
We are told, lies are spun to create value within the minds of those others that capitalists are creating. M ore illusion, smoke and mirrors. There is little merit in economic models that imposes its creation of value and values for society at large that by definition exclude, do harm and promote violent anti-human behavior for those that cannot comply or will not comply to its will. There is little free or voluntary individual activity expressed or encouraged in corporate economical models. Most ideas that are spawned in the capitalistic model are all contingent upon self preservation and profit with little regard for anyone or anything in its way. Look at the healthcare system where thousands of people died each day due to no healthcare. We have been told that healthcare is a privilege not a basic human right.
The idea or perfect capitalism is pretty much like going to heaven: no one knows for sure; it does not and cannot exist in this world; only benefits the believers, and sooner or later everyone that holds to this model will die believing it and will take thousands with them to the grave."
For those of you that still can’t figure out the definition of Capitalism; “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” If it’s not about private ownership then it’s not capitalism. If a reasonable person were to read this definition and desire to debate Capitalism, they would do so on the merits of individual vs. state ownership. That is the scale that exists in this world. Economies are either moving toward centralization or decentralization. If I were talking to a rational person, I’d expect an argument regarding what is more efficient vs. what some central power determines is fair. The kooks, especially Karl Marx, attach a twisted form of morality to the context.
Somewhere in the incoherent ramblings, we are meant to think what? Why is there a constant echo from the kooks that Capitalism brings out only the worst in people and then the argument ends? The author tells me that I must accept the cynicism of the irrational to avoid being a blinded fool. The author makes this argument as if good exists somewhere in individuals, but not in their ownership of property.
What is your proof of your outlandish claims, Enron? Then what would you say of Hitler? He was the leader of a nation and because he chose evil instead of good, does this make all leaders of nation’s evil? What about Charlie Manson? Since Manson was a person and chose great evil instead of good, are we all murderers? What would you say about the history of the world, which clearly documents 6,000 years of abuse by the centralization of property and power? Wouldn’t history indicate that individual ownership of property is the opposite of what has happened throughout history?
What if it is true; the argument that individual ownership of property is inherently corrupt? As Milton Friedman put it, “Who are these angels” that you will appoint to keep individual ownership in line and how do they obtain this virtue that you assume is inherent in something else? I say something else, because the author doesn’t have a clue. The author opines the tyranny of Capitalism and government. In the wake of his arguments, we see humanism with no one to implement it. It can’t be individuals since they cannot be trusted. It can’t be government since they cannot be trusted. Perhaps, it must come from the collective, but if you advocate something other than anarchy, who is there to ensure the good nature of the community? If it is anarchy you advocate, who is there to ensure the good nature of the community?
The author of this comment speaks as if the definition of Capitalism had added the phrase “you must conquer all, no matter the means if you are to own private property.” If that were the case, it was left out of the handbook when I went to work for Corporate-America. If it were the case, someone failed to teach it to me in college. The farce does not come from the halls of corporate marketing, but the belief that Capitalism operates via Social-Darwinism. Yet, I challenge you to give me an example, save countries where government owns the means of production. Tell me how many private companies operate in the US? If your answer is more than a few, you will have a tough time making your case that individual ownership is only serving the needs of the few. How many more private companies are there in economies run by capitalism as opposed to those that are centrally planned? You would think that this fact alone would make the case for individual ownership over state ownership.
What is the truth? The truth is that very few approach business with the intention and plan to dominate. Instead, most proprietors, be it Wall Street or Main Street, believe in and take pride in what they produce. They believe that what they produce is actually valued, wanted, and needed by those that consume it. There is nothing more to it aside from the desire to continually improve so as to continually meet those needs and fulfill the desires of their patrons. The big lie, the author tells me, is that I actually think that I value, want and need the products they produce. Yet regardless, I do need to eat, I do need clothing and I prefer to engage in hobbies as opposed to sitting in the dark.
Profit is not a result of exploitation, but having a superior competence in some area, whether it is a superior product, a more recognized product, a cheaper product, a more desired product, or differentiated product. Those that are ok at their business will do ok. Those that are good at their business will do well. Those that are poor at their business will fail and hopefully move onto vocations better suited for their talents. As a result, they have a better chance of improving their situation and society’s at the same time.
All people have the capability of making points. The only one I can agree with is, “Perfect capitalism is a perfect illusion.” People and intentions are not perfect. So how do we come to terms with this? Do we turn away from a form of economics that has and still works? Or do we embrace more and more centralization of the economy, which has failed men throughout the history of man and continues to be the face of tyranny in this world? If you know something better, then why not say it instead of babbling on in your own duplicitous way?