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    The Will to Create

    Entries in Marx (4)

    Tuesday
    Aug212012

    Unions and their failed relationship with the Left

    From the beginning unions have leaned leftward. Marx saw unions as schools for socialism, and a means to break down private property. Unions have been on a suicide mission, fighting the very means by which they could thrive.

    If unions are to survive they have to divorce the Left and leave politics behind altogether. Only in cooperation with maqnagement can private sector unions survive and thrive. This calls for innovation on the part of unions to attract a new kind of skilled, intelligent worker. The blue collar, lunch pail days are over. Unions can offer companies solutions, cooperative plans that will help the company thrive in the global economy. In order to do this, unions will have to change their attitudes, substitute economic means for political means, and separate from any connections to socialism. Socialists have never understood the business world and what's necessary to succeed. Especially in a hi-tech global economy workers have to cooperate and innovate with management, and vice versa, in order to efficiently compete.

    If workers and management can agree that wage increase is not the primary goal, but finding an acceptable difference between bring-home pay and living costs, then deflation might become necessary to bring manufacturing back to the US. It's all the old ideas that unions have carried from their past that have broken the unions, not management.

    Monday
    Aug082011

    Political class mania

    Our political class has obviously been under quite a bit of stress lately judging by the inanity which streams through the media via pundits and politicians. The threat of public rejection regarding Big Government intervention and spending has put statists in DC in defense mode, and some are becoming viciously offensive. The political elite going back to Princes and Kings have always hated those who tell economic truths, because at the highest levels of power, no one wants to hear that economic laws are trumping their grand plans -- thus the phrase "shooting the messenger". The Washington political elite first started shooting at limited government conservatives and libertarians, and now they are at least giving the impression they're shooting S&P.

    But S&P has given them a justification to further alienate and denigrate the limited government conservatives and liberatrians while also providing emergency to more government stimulus spending, so one has to wonder if they're really aiming at S&P or just aiming more guns at the "Tea Party".

    All the old tricks of demonization and marginalization are coming out of the statists' bag of tricks. Some date far back to when political wars first began, and some are reminiscent of Marxian denigration of the bourgeosie, assigning through polylogism a whole different structure of logic and thinking to a class of people. The Left presents the "Tea Party" as ideolouges whose ideology is merely a mask for selfish interests of class and race and politics. No one is asking whether the limited government conservatives and libertarians are right in their assessment of our nation's problems -- they are simply dismissing them by questioning the value of ideology. If someone holds definite ideas and principles, then they must be motivated by selfish, class interests. I don't know how effective this old trick will be in the Information Age, when the media has lost control of the message.

    Monday
    Mar282011

    Oh, those shrill haters of millionaires&billionaires

    Matt Continetti at the Weekly Standard wrote an article regarding the history of the Koch brothers that didn't frame them as evil capitalist monsters bent on controlling the universe -- Glenn Greenwald became shrill.

    One problem Greenwald has is that, when interviewed by Continetti, Charles Koch said Obama is an egalitarian and has been influenced by Marxist ideas. Greenwald chooses to refute this by showing how much money rich bastards have made since Obama has come into office.

    Since Obama was inaugurated, the Dow Jones has increased more than 50% -- from 8,000 to more than 12,000; the wealthiest recieved a massive tax cut; the top marginal tax rate was three times less than during the Eisenhower years and substantially lower than during the Reagan years; income and wealth inequality are so vast and rising that it is easily at Third World levels; meanwhile, "the share of U.S. taxes paid by corporations has fallen from 30 percent of federal revenue in the 1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009."  During this same time period, the unemployment rate has increased from 7.7% to 8.9%; millions of Americans have had their homes foreclosed; and the number of Americans living below the poverty line increased by many millions, the largest number since the statistic has been recorded.  Can you smell Obama's radical egalitarianism and Marxist anti-business hatred yet?

     

    Then there are those whom Obama has empowered.  His first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a business-revering corporatist who made close to $20 million in 3 short years as an investment banker, while his second, Bill Daley, served for years as JP Morgan's Midwest Chairman.  His Treasury Secretary is undoubtedly the most loyal and dedicated servant Wall Street has ever had in that position, while Goldman Sachs officials occupy so many key positions in his administration that a former IMF and Salomon Brothers executive condemned what he called "Goldman Sachs's seeming lock on high-level U.S. Treasury jobs."  Obama's former OMB Director recently left to take a multi-million-dollar position with Citigroup.  From the start, Obama's economic policies were shaped by the Wall Street-revering neo-liberal Rubinites who did so much to serve corporate America during the Clinton years.  Meanwhile, the President's choice to head his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness -- General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt -- heads a corporation that "despite $14.2 billion in worldwide profits - including more than $5 billion from U.S. operations - [] did not owe taxes in 2010":  an appointment the White House still defends.

    To Greenwald's credit, he does try to get it right:

    Some of these trends pre-date Obama, but few have been retarded during his presidency, while many have accelerated.   Whether one finds this state of affairs desirable or not, no rational person can describe them as the by-product of a Marxist, business-hating egalitarian.  Quite the opposite.  The political power of America's richest has never been greater, and the level of their responsibility and collective burden has never been less.  Meanwhile, for ordinary Americans, the remaining remnants of their financial security and middle class comforts rapidly erodes.  It's true that the U.S. Government has little regard for the free market:  they intervene constantly in the free market on behalf of the nation's wealthiest and most powerful business interests; it's crony capitalism, corporatism:  government run by corporations (or, as Dick Durbin said of the Congress in which he serves:  "the banks own the place").

    But, then Greenwald goes on to claim that somehow the supposedly pro-business actions of Obama have helped create wealth accumulation, while ignoring the healthcare and energy bills which have not been fully implemented. Anyone who has paid attention to Obama's words and takes his actions regarding policy into account, what he has passed and what he would have passed if he could have (cap and trade), will never mistake him for a gung-ho capitalist and will more likely agree that Marx influenced Obama moreso than Hayek. Greenwald's "evidence" is what's detached from reality, not the normal reaction from the Koch brothers regarding the endless assaults against their character. Greenwald expects the Koch brothers to be superhuman tough-skins, but all they said in the interview, really, is that Obama is definitely not a libertarian, and that the Left is coming unhinged -- not really controversial.

    You would think that Greenwald should understand the difference between someone like Obama protecting and helping selected large corporations in order to advance a progressive agenda and the libertarian, limited government approach supported by the Koch brothers. Just because Obama is using a few corporations to support his progressive plans doesn't mean Obama is business-friendly or has any affinity to free market principles, especially as business relates to fair competition in which small and medium size companies are not stepped on by the protected large corporations. Obama ultimately wants to use the State to implement his full agenda, but he realizes he has to go through corporations to get it done. Surely Greenwald sees this, and would see it if not blinded by his curious disdain for honest men who've made an honest fortune, and share that fortune with many in need.

    Despite all Greenwald's added hyperbole to make the Koch brothers look like whiny, white rich guys complaining the mean Left called them names, then wiping their tears with hundred dollar bills, this cartoon version of the Koch brothers and what they said in the interview reflects more on Greenwald's psychological problem with successful business people than it does with the Koch brothers. 

    Tuesday
    Sep282010

    Agreement and disagreement with Marxism and why modern liberals are confused

    Marx developed multifaceted approaches to the same utopian end of a classless, stateless society. I have used the ideas of Alexander Rustow often on this blog, because much in his book Freedom and Domination is so pertinent to many of our current dilemmas. The story of freedom and domination is played over and over in history. The section on Marx and Marxism is brilliant in its insights, so I'll use them to explain modern liberalism and the progressive influence which leads modern liberals astray.

    But first I will quote from Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty:

       There were two critically important changes in the philosophy and ideology of classical liberalism which both exemplified and contributed to its decay as a vital, progressive, and radical force in the Western world. The first, and most important, occuring in the early to mid-nineteenth century, was the abandonment of the philosopy of natural rights, and its replacement by technocratic utilitarianism...and equally important, it is rare indeed ever to find a utilitarian who is also radical, who burns for immediate abolition of evil and coercion. Utilitarians, with their devotion to expediency, almost inevitably oppose any sort of upsetting or radical change.

    Murray explained how the utilitarian "only values freedom as an ad hoc expedient" and that expediency shifts with such information as cost/benefit analysis, so that the utilitarian will "plump for statism in ad hoc case after case, and thus give way to principle." In other words, freedom is supported when it has utilitarian value, and a statist/illiberal approach will be taken when the cost/benefit analysis declares it the best approach. I'll come back to this aspect of modern liberalism later.

    Marx had a great mind, even though most of his theoretical construction is based on nonsense inspired by an envy and hatred of what he thought was base, unearned success which deserved no less than destruction and subjugation. To Marx, the proletariat were the muscle and energy someone great like himself needed to bring down the bourgeoisie. The salvation aspect of Marxism, coupled with revenge against the "unearned" power and control of the upper class, was emotionally powerful enough for future followers to pretend the rest of his theory was profound beyond explanation -- the goals were so important that logic didn't matter. Righteousness of intent and social justice are the remnants motivating the modern liberal and progressivism. It matters little if Marx's economic teachings regarding labor don't take into account the vital contribution of management and entrepreneurial risk-taking and vision, the class struggle between laborer and profit-takers is still a righteous reason to expropriate the expropriators.

    Quoting from Freedom and Domination:

    Here one may note the influence of the addiction to planning of that megalomaniac, organizaton-mad project-mongerer and speculator Saint-Simon, whose fantasies ran to an enormous increase in productivity. But socialization leads not only to utopian opulence and bliss; behind this demand stands justice, as well as new enthusiasm for progress: socialization, as "expropriation of expropriators" is designed to repair the old injustice of the "expropriation of the mass of the people by a few usurpers"; of the "expropriation of the immediate producer," of the "laborer working for himself"...

    Would this be like the old ideology of the past decade? Bush's "free market" madness which destroyed the middle class and enriched his powerful corporate cronies? Sounds familiar, and if we are talking about State Capitalism, then I have to agree -- but if we're talking about a truly free market, I vehemently disagree.

    The working class believed they would would share wealth and create a brotherhood whereas the self-interest of the capitalist thieves was irredeemably corrupt with greed and power-hunger. The present leaders of the working class have been no less cynical and manipulative than the Great Marx himself, although the most idealistic among them still rationalize the achievement of "justice".

    When it comes to the relationship between powerful corporations and the State, I'm in agreement and would love to see the State wither away -- the power and control is unearned, but Marx's influence which has led to the denigration of a free market - Marx denigrated free markets -- is misguided. The naive assumption that the working class will rule with purity and community spirit in a wonderland of brotherhood and sisterhood is just as fantastical as a free market where perfectly rational actors bring about the perfect order, but there are huge differences in these two utopias. 

    Any utopian theory which postulates a classless society of equality and justice, sharing the wealth and disregarding the differences in contribution, value and reward is destined to end in brutal despotism, because it ignores freedom, natural rights, human nature and necessitates forcing its wish-dream on a stubborn reality. Marx and Engels never explained the "leap" to such a society, mainly because they couldn't without revealing the brutality and force necessary to even approach a semblance, which is an admission of its impossibility. All that can be achieved is a brutal despotism which ensures no one rises above anyone else, except the Guardians of Justice and Equality, and what they produce will be shared whether those who produce like it or not -- utopia at gunpoint -- communism by command.

    But, still, among most modern liberals the remnants of the class struggle remain and the righteous goals remain impervious to logic, because logic is a puny resistance to collective salvation and social justice. The modern liberal doesn't dare claim Marxism as a guiding ideology or faith, but the spirit of Marxism is still alive, coupled with a technocratic rationalization of the utopian vision, i.e. social engineering and central planning through regulation and executive powers, and, last but not least, a realist's acceptance of market forces governed appropriately to ensure wealth is produced and distributed fairly to fund the new order.

    If any three aspects are threatened with logic and facts, the emotional and spiritual appeal of the salvation vision can be used to avoid the inconsistencies -- we must act -- the goals are too great and righteous to quibble over factoids and inconsistencies, methods, or even results -- the needy have needs, the powerless require protecton, capitalism must be managed, minorities hunger for empowerment, the enviroment demands our love and care, the old and infirm must be sheltered and fed and attended to, on and on, the goals are great, and anyone who questions them is a defender of the "failed policies of the past" (the language now is tamed and no one would say "the capitalist expropriators).

    Marx attempted and failed to achieve the revolution through the political route, then he went into subsidized isolation to plan his revenge.

    From Freedom and Domination:

    "Denunciation" is an expression which he was fond of applying in his own polemical writing: "Its essential pathos is indignation, its essential work is denunciation." Arthur Prinz, in a unpublished dissertation on Marx's system viewed psychologically, calls "the will to dominion" the basic feature of Marx's being, next to "hate and revenge towards his enemies, envy and jealousy towards rivals, defiant lordliness towards his followers and deep contempt of men in general."

    This also has a familiar ring among the modern liberal/progressive faux-elite. The arrogance and vicious denunciation of common people has been evident among defenders of statism as the public becomes more and more vocal regarding political issues -- the progressive leadership takes its followers for granted, as if they would or should never question their enlightened masters.

    No, liberals and progressives will not campaign as new-age Marxists, and they aren't Marxists, but ideas are powerful, and the ideas of Marxism have influenced modern liberals, along with the Saint-Simon technocratic dream of enlightened management and the manipulation of market forces to support a powerful State -- this combination leads in a dangerous direction. Not even the Constitution is acknowledged as a limiting factor.  If the technocratic/statist approach is criticized because of insufficient knowledge and competence to centrally plan, and the results of planning are held up as evidence, the modern liberal is released from the logical conclusions because salvation and social justice are too important -- this serves to strengthen the dogmatic aspect of modern liberalism and elevate emotion over intellect. If the modern liberal is accused of being anti-free market, they respond with their support of markets, but add that regulation is required to enable markets to work for everyone -- they have their cake and eat it too, or at least they try.

    It doesn't really matter how many modern liberals are sincere in their salvation and social justice mindset, strong resistance to a free market and limited government has more to do with powerful State interests protecting their power, ensured advantage and control -- otherwise, these sincere liberals would be searching for better ways to accomplish their goals, but statism appears to be the stuck position, in spite of myriad viable ideas emanating from the private sector. The problem is the private sector and free market principles are considered rivals to power by the State power-players, and much protected privilege and advantage are jealously guarded. Liberals have been hoodwinked by a propaganda campaign which has gone on for years and is propagated by the State machine -- government, media, universities, subsidized and co-opted intellectuals and even Hollywood. The narrative of modern liberalism and its statist modus operandi, influenced by the marxist, theological spirit of collective brotherhood, salvation and social justice, have infiltrated and perverted the Spirit of 1776.

    We can no longer ignore the ramifications. Just as Marx never intended a stateless, classless society, just a different form of State where aristocratic geniuses manage the common people and a different kind of class distinction where capitalism is subjugated to serve the needs of all who have needs, the modern liberal is patiently and gradually building a different form of State -- one that's very similar to the State of Marxism.