Libertarianism and Facism

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Libertarians are quick to argue that socialism leads to fascism.

However, it is actually the opposite, Libertarianism leads to fascism.

Why is this? Politically, liberals are for regulating business and giving more benefits to the middle class and poor. For example, the government spends the bulk of it's money on transfer payments to the poor and elderly (most developed nations spend even most on these things). And the bulk of it's regulations are on consumer, worker and environmental safety.

If these things are removed, then there is nothing in the way to stop corporate fascism. This is not a hypothesis, it actually (almost) happened, as Thom and others reminded us in the failed 1934 coup attempt.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/02/wall-streets-failed-1934-coup/

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ
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Comments

Conservatives seem, in general, not to have a good grasp of political ideology and that includes most of their loudmouth pundits like Limbaugh and Beck. They often confuse some of the most basic tenets of political science and political theory. Remember when tea baggers couldn't decide whether Barack Obama was a fascist or a socialist or both? That was no accident but rather a display of ignorance. It helps explain how mostly middle class people like the rank and file tea partiers can be manipulated into demonstrating and voting for policies and positions that are financially and socially harmful to them.

One of the great tragedies of the modern age is that extreme right-wing views have been introduced and accepted into the mainstream. You're correct that libertarian political ideology is much more closely aligned with fascism than liberalism or progressivism. The libertarian world view posits that all rights are derived from personal property which is just about the polar opposite of anarchy which believes that ownership is a perversion and that absolute freedom is an inherent right due us simply by virtue of being. In a libertarian context, by default, more property means more opportunity to exercise one's rights. Libertarians fail to see the perverse nature of such a world view. They imagine that the absence of order (govt.) would allow for a utopian society in which everybody is free to just go about their business doing whatever they please so long as it doesn't interfere with their neighbor's property rights. Of course the glaring flaw in this utopian daydream is the fact that nature abhors a vacuum. The absence of a sufficiently strong social order (govt.) would leave a vacuum that would be filled up with strong-arm rule by whoever is willing to be the most vicious and ruthless. That's exactly what happened in Nazi Germany and in Fascist Italy. The gangsters became the government and it would happen again under a libertarian model.

If conservatives thought for a moment that anarchism had crept into the Democratic party they would be holding McCarthy like hearings and insisting that the FBI infiltrate this dangerous faction and yet on the opposite side of the political spectrum we see libertarian ideology deeply influencing the Republican party and nobody seems concerned. Its mind boggling. The fact of the matter is that much of the economic meltdown can be attributed to libertarian economic theory - the notion that we must let the "unfettered" marketplace operate freely. Alan Greenspan is a libertarian and operated according to libertarian principle and the "neo-liberal" economic policies that have been put into place almost universally and that have been so disasterous are based on a sort of libertarian attitude toward capitalists and the financial markets. We are living with a kind of corporate fascism in this country already in the sense that corporate interests have a stranglehold on our democratic process because of the insane interpretation of liberty by the Supreme Court which equates money with free speech.

mdhess's picture
mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

Good point Dr. Econ! I don't think I heard that contra Libertarianism argument before.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It is more correct to say that the libertarian agenda in regard to government would result in the emergence of fascism, which is obvious to anyone who has analyzed the usefulness of libertarianism to the conservative movement. Libertarianism itself is defined in such a way as to preclude fascism, so to avoid a contradiction it is better to say that it is currently true that the elimination of the state would lead to the replacement of it by a fascist state at the hands of the oligarchic elite. Thus the usefulness of libertarianism is to lure unsuspecting youth into a "cool" form of political rebeliousness, while the true aims of those who control the movement, the corporate funded think-tanks etc., are to establish their own hegemony.

I have repeatedly asked libertarians how they wish to arrive at a state of affairs which they envision as conforming to their ideal. None of them is ever able to answer that question because to do so would be to acknowledge the influence of Marxism. Many libertarians are knowledgeable about Marxism but instead of acknowledging that the injustices and iniquities which we have inherited must be dealt with they simply repeat over and over again with whatever argument they can grasp at the anything done by the government must be intrinsically immoral. Not that their ethical position is informed by a moral perspective; their opposition to government is generally based on an amoral opposition to authority on the part of the individual.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Dr. Econ:

Libertarians are quick to argue that socialism leads to fascism.

However, it is actually the opposite, Libertarianism leads to fascism.

Why is this? Politically, liberals are for regulating business and giving more benefits to the middle class and poor. For example, the government spends the bulk of it's money on transfer payments to the poor and elderly (most developed nations spend even most on these things). And the bulk of it's regulations are on consumer, worker and environmental safety.

If these things are removed, then there is nothing in the way to stop corporate fascism. This is not a hypothesis, it actually (almost) happened, as Thom and others reminded us in the failed 1934 coup attempt.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/02/wall-streets-failed-1934-coup/

I interpret events differently. For me, it wasn't the fascist Wall Street Coup vs. the good guy FDR. It was the fascist Wall Street Coup vs. the fascist FDR, who staged his own coup, right out in the open. See A Matter of Degree, Not Principle: The Founding of the American Liberty League by Sheldon Richman. The American Liberty League were NOT libertarians.

I would also suggest reading As We Go Marching (free pdf) by John T. Flynn, the great liberal opponent of FDR's domestic and foreign policy. This introduction by classical liberal historian Ralph Raico is worth the read.

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LysanderSpooner
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Libertarianism itself is defined in such a way as to preclude fascism, so to avoid a contradiction it is better to say that it is currently true that the elimination of the state would lead to the replacement of it by a fascist state at the hands of the oligarchic elite.

Yes, I that think that is right on the mark. Libertarianism just want to wish the State away and in that sense Libertarians are no different than utopian socialism.

It was Marx that first critiqued socialism in his work, The Poverty of Philosophy: Answer to the Philosophy of Poverty by M. Proudhon (1847)," (this was a clever turn on the title of a book by Proudhon entitled, "System of Economical Contradictions: or, The Philosophy of Poverty" a critique of French socialist. Marx also wrote detailed economic critiques of Anarchists, Fourierists in France, the Owenites in England, and English Communist, Mr. Bray, which Marx believed to be "utopian." Marx was criticizing socialism before any of the Right-wing think tank epigones started pouring millions of dollars into bad scholarship denouncing "socialism" as an evil system, equivalent to Soviet socialism, and making no historical distinctions.

Paul Tillich has an interesting take on Marx in his article, 11. ON THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN IDEALISM AND MARXISM".

According to Marx, philosophy as such (which he identified with philosophy of essence) seeks to obscure, the contradictions of existence, to disregard that which is of importance to the real human being, namely the social contradictions which determine his existence in the world. These contradictions, concretely expressed, the conflict of the social classes, show that idealism is an ideology, namely a system of concepts, whose function it is to cover up the contrast of reality. (Analogously, Kierkegaard saw the function of the Philosophy of Essence as that of concealing the contradictions in the existence of the individual.)

I owe to Marx, first of all, the insight into the ideological character, not only of idealism but of all systems of thought, religious as well as profane, which as the servants of power hinder, even though unconsciously, the more righteous form of social reality. (Luther’s warning against the self-made God means in religious parlance exactly what ideology means in philosophical language.)

With the repudiation of the closed system of the doctrine of essence, a new conception of truth arises: truth is bound to the situation of the knower, to the individual situation in Kierkegaard and to the social situation in Marx. Only so much knowledge of essence is possible as the degree to which the contradictions of existence are recognized and overcome. In the situation of despair, in which according to Kierkegaard every human being exists, and in the situation of the class struggle, in which according to Marx historical humanity has lived up to now, every system of harmony is untrue. That leads both Kierkegaard and Marx to the point of connecting truth to a particular psychological or social situation. To Kierkegaard truth is just that subjectivity which does not disregard its despair, its exclusion from the objective world of essence, but which holds on to it passionately; whereas to Marx, truth is found in the class-interest of that class, which becomes conscious of itself as destined to overcome the class struggle, the necessari1y non-ideological class. Thus arises the peculiar idea, though intelligible from the Christian standpoint, that the greatest possibility of obtaining an un-ideological truth is given at the point of the greatest meaningless, of despair, of the broadest self-alienation of human essence. In my pamphlet, "Protestantismus und Proletarische Situation" (Protestantism and the Proletarian Situation), I have connected this thought with the Protestant principle and the doctrine concerning the human border-situation. Of course, this is possible only when the proletariat is used as a typical concept. The actual proletariat corresponds to the typical, one at times even less than non-proletarian groups, than intellectuals, for example, who have broken through their class-situation; and from this border-situation are capable of giving the proletariat the consciousness of itself. The confusion of the typical with the real proletariat has been one of the most important causes for the defeat of German Social Democracy.

The conception of Economic Materialism is bound up with the concept of "Marxism" for general thought. But thus the ambiguity of the word Materialism is intentionally or unintentionally overlooked. If materialism were necessarily metaphysical materialism, I should never have been found on the border of Marxism; likewise, Marx himself would be no Marxist in his struggle with materialism as well as idealism. But Economic Materialism is not a metaphysics, but a method of historical interpretation. Economic Materialism does not mean that the "economic" which is itself a complex reality, embracing all sides of human existence, could be the sole cause of all phases of human life. That would be meaningless. Economic Materialism shows rather the fundamental significance of economic structures and motives for the social and intellectual forms and changes of a period. It denies that there is a history of thought and religion which is independent of economic structure; and, thereby, confirms the theological insight, neglected by idealism, that man lives on earth and not in heaven; philosophically expressed, in existence and not in essence.

To a large extent, Marxism can be conceived of as a method of unveiling and can be compared in this with psychoanalysis. Unveiling is painful for those concerned, nay, even under certain circumstances, destructive. Ancient Greek tragedy, culminating in the King Œdipus myth, realizes that. Man defends himself against the unveiling of his actual existence as long as he can; for when he sees himself without the ideologies that surround his existence, on which, as with Œdipus, his self-consciousness rests, he collapses. The passionate denial of Marxism and psychoanalysis, which I have frequently encountered, is "the attempt of social groups and individual personalities to escape the unveiling which under certain circumstances would mean annihilation for them. But without such unveiling the ultimate meaning of the Christian gospel cannot be perceived. Therefore, the theologian most particularly should use these means in order to unveil human existence instead of upholding a harmonizing idealism. He can make use of them from the position at the border; he can—as I sought myself to do—criticize the partially obsolete terminology of psychoanalysis; he can reject the Utopian and dogmatic elements of Marxism; he can emphasize the scientific invalidity of numerous single theories of psychoanalysis and Marxism. He can and must resist metaphysical and ethical materialism, no matter whether it is or is not legitimately derived from Freud and Marx. But he must not deprive himself of the power which is contained in both, and which makes for an unveiling of human existence and a destruction of ideology.

But in Marxism there is not only an unveiling, but also demand and expectation in ideas of powerful historical impetus. There is prophetic passion in it, whereas idealism, insofar as it is influenced by the principle of identity, has mystical and sacramental roots. In the middle section of my book, Die sozialistische Entscheidung (Socialistic Decision), I have tried to distinguish the prophetic element of Marxism from its rational-scientific terminology, and thus clarify its far-reaching religious and historical effects. At the same time I have attempted to attain a new comprehension of the socialistic principle by linking it to the attitude of the Judaic-Christian prophecy: idealistically, as many Marxists will say; materialistically, as many Idealists will say, but really remaining on the border of the two.

Marxism has become a slogan, with which to defame political opponents. My position on the border of Marxism adds nothing new politically to what I have already said about my relation to religious Socialism. It does not commit me to any party. But were I to say that, in spite of belonging to Social Democracy, I had stood between the parties, the "between" would have to be interpreted differently than it has been in many instances cited within these pages. It means that in my heart I have never, and do not belong to any party, because the most important point in the political realm seems to me to be one which is never expressed in political parties, except in distorted form. My longing has been and is a "fellowship" which is bound to no party, although it stands nearer to one than the other, and which shall be a vanguard for a more righteous social order in the spirit of prophecy and in accord with the demand of the Kairos.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

When dealing with adolescents and young adults, where the primary developmental focus is separation from received authority and internalizing self, the appeal of this idealized individualism is evident. It conforms to the need to establish independence of conscience and to establish how oneself has persona and individuality. To be free, and to operate as a "responsible self" was the liberal test of moral vision. Getting to the "secular meaning of the Gospel" was the way to have individuals exercise the moral conscience and mind in free will. Getting beyond myth and superstition was its own epistemological myth of the Age of Reason.

The role of mentor is always to nurture growth and to challenge stagnation and retrograde movement. I could love these kids without buying into what they found too attractive to let go. It was harder with the Artificial Intelligence crowd of geeks who thought robots could replace humans.

The business school was where the real "individualists" hung out. The Law School had more social consciousness, even if it was on the side of how to avoid social consequences. The Biz School was ego on steroids with making money the point of getting that effing MBA. Social Responsibility went out the door at the end of the '70's and Wall St. Greed got Uncle Miltie's intellectual pass.

Robert Bellah explored this problem in HABITS OF THE HEART and THE GOOD SOCIETY. The idea that individualism is new for American culture is wrong. This may be the 'Achilles Heel' of our Liberal Democracy. How do we find social realism when the existential focus is the liberation of the individual from feudal webs of obligation and protection? The Enlightenment loved the idea of free stasis in harmony and balance, but not moving. Rationality and the ideal of an interactive harmony was too literal and linear in its vision. Not wrong about what it got right, but unable to see beyond its own logical positivism.

How to finesse the moral issue of the collective? The Market offered the perfect Myth. It will all come out in the wash, and if it is not exactly equal or fair, that is the way the world works. Are we kidding? The world works the way these fools have structured the rewards and punishments? Not in a million years.

We are more social than individual if we have to choose. We do not survive alone. But, the good society embraces the individuality of each creative unit of its "body." In the symbiosis of shared gifts, we get far more than the sum of the parts. This is what "we" means in contrast to "me." I am not lost in relationships where I am a participant in power, or "freedom." "We" is actualized "me's" not the crushing coercion of the collective. It may take "growing up" to get it, or it may mean holding onto some youthful idealism in the midst of adult cynicism. How we mature is a matter of a lot of circumstance; but it does require an inner narrative and search for something better than doing unto others before they do unto you.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
The role of mentor is always to nurture growth and to challenge stagnation and retrograde movement.

Thanks DRC!

But whatever you do don't call them a "Wise Elder," otherwise you will kill their sex life. Hey! I got to read Robert Bellah. That is a very good post on the individual, liberation, Age of Reason, ethics, and the secular meaning of the Gospel.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Dr. Econ:

Libertarians are quick to argue that socialism leads to fascism.

However, it is actually the opposite, Libertarianism leads to fascism.

Why is this? Politically, liberals are for regulating business and giving more benefits to the middle class and poor. For example, the government spends the bulk of it's money on transfer payments to the poor and elderly (most developed nations spend even most on these things). And the bulk of it's regulations are on consumer, worker and environmental safety.

If these things are removed, then there is nothing in the way to stop corporate fascism. This is not a hypothesis, it actually (almost) happened, as Thom and others reminded us in the failed 1934 coup attempt.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/02/wall-streets-failed-1934-coup/

This entire thread is an unbelievable exercise in ignorance with all responders (and the original poster) failing to understand what these terms actually mean. Mussolini described fascism as the merger of state and corporate power. It is the antithesis of a market economy. It is powerful interests leveraging government force to gain unfair advantage and unearned taxpayer money through subsidization and so forth. Government HAS to play a large and substantial role in fascism, otherwise the term is incorrectly applied.

With a small, Constitutionally limited federal government, corporations and businesses have no power and cannot use violence as long as all acts of force are made illegal, as all libertarians agree on. In fact in a market economy, in contrast to a centrally planned one, the power is placed not with corporations or governments but dispersed among many sovereign individuals acting ("planning") in their own self interest and participating in voluntary transactions with other individuals for some mutual benefit. The consumer is king in a market economy. To say that libertarianism leads to fascism is absurd. The growth of government without limits or a reasonable mechanism to define its power and authority leads to all manner of authoritarian outcomes, fascism being only one of several possibilities.

The argument that is being suggested in this question is that we really don't have the choice of a libertarian society based on liberty and free choice, instead we must choose between fascism and socialism essentially. That is what the original poster is implying. Both are failed systems but with central government growth, the idea that the people can democratically mobilize a monstrous state apparatus to act in the interest of all individuals rather than in the interest of only a few is absolutely ridiculous and is a fantasy. Once you grant government the ability on a large scale to redistribute wealth and such a large amount of money is sent to Washington or merely created by the Federal Reserve, special interests and those with the most power and influence get the most benefits from that State apparatus. Instead of relying on individuals to voluntarily choose to buy a product or service you provide in exchange, businessmen are incentivised to game the system and get taxpayer money for nothing. Business stops providing services and wealth begins to evaporate. Our factories leave the country and production is reduced dramatically and government and Wall Street become subsidized by a fiat currency and debt financing. Under such a scenario, everyone from the average joe to the large corporation are fighting each other for a bigger slice of a shrinking pie. And the currency that is used to finance big government, whether it be socialist, fascist or any other authoritarian variety, is depreciated which, in time, hurts the middle class and empowers bankers and the corporations that crowd around the banking cartel to secure their share of newly created money.

Now, you would probably agree that this is largely what we have now. But your argument is that we simply need to compensate by subsidizing the poor and middle class with wealth transfer payments more than we do and taxing the wealthy at a higher rate. This will not solve the problem. All this will accomplish is destroying the currency at a faster rate. Egalitarianism is a noble goal, but the socialist model can ONLY achieve equality of wealth at an extremely low level. If your ideal is the European model with a large welfare state, pay attention to the news. Riots and violence are beginning to occur in many European nations due to draconian austerity measures that are being taken to keep those countries afloat. The Euro WILL collapse entirely and much of the "prosperity" that you might have thought you witnessed due to things like single payer health care or benefits being given to certain individuals in the last decade or two was entirely fictitious wealth, much like what we are seeing in this country though the Euro will likely collapse before the dollar. They are merely a year or two ahead of us collapsing.

When that happens, we will be egalitarian in a sense. We will all be equally poor and impoverished when the dollar collapses due to decades of gullible Americans with a willful ignorance about how economies grow and what brings about prosperity. The hubris of the central planners is rather frightening.

What is ironic in all of this is that under a market economy, with a government that applies the law fairly and justly to protect all individuals from harm but refrains from money manipulation or central economic planning, such a society is not only prosperous but more egalitarian with a smaller gap between rich and poor due to the need to earn a living by provided goods and services to others that uplift society as a whole.

What we have today is absolutely economic fascism and it is NOT socialism, though elements of the welfare state can be classified as socialist. There is some overlap in terms of varieties of central planning and statism. A libertarian absolutely abhors fascism and to state otherwise only exposes your lack of education on matters of economics and political history.

What modern progressives fail to understand is that government hardly ever acts on its own. Who is "government"? It is only the cumulative actions of all of the incompetant and corrupt politicians that people like Jon Stewart make a living mocking. Congress has a lower approval rating than herpes yet even Stewart, who knows all this, would argue that government needs to be doing so many things and somehow thinks that it can do them somewhat competantly despite all evidence to the contrary. By thinking of government as a whole, we are distracted and forget that it is comprised of sociopathic and corrupt individuals and bureaucrats who act in the interest of lobbyists and themselves. Not only that, but whenever government institutes a program, it always invites corporate "partnership" (read: fascism) to actually carry out the contents of some legislative act. When the inevitable corruption and profiteering becomes apparent, opportunistic politicians are quick to blame the "free market" and push for more regulations and more government to compensate for "corporate power", not letting on that the power held by a corporation was always artificially granted by government in the first place.

That is the source of this myth that if government was actually Constitutionally limited and out of the economy, there would be some sort of "authoritarian" corporate structure in place of the State. Another thing that needs to be clarified is the term "free market". What is the "market" or the "economy"? By using these words we confuse things and fail to see the truth. These terms are abstractions. There are only individuals. Government is not imposing on the "market" or regulating "corporations", they are regulating and limited the economic liberties of you and me. All that would be allowed to exist in the absence of central economic planning would be the peaceful, voluntary transactions of many individuals. The liberty to invest and use your resources as you see fit, as long as you don't harm anyone else or hurt their equal rights to pursue happiness as they see fit. This is a democratic system because, instead of a central authority planning the economy that can be abused and usurped to favor certain industries, so many different individuals are managing their own affairs and the total sum of these individual actions is called "the economy". When people say "the market says.." or people refer to market signals regarding production and who should fail and who should succeed, what is really being said is that consumers are voicing their preferences with their wallets. A majority of individuals are deciding the fate of larger businesses through the system of profits and losses, that if not artificially manipulated, prevent and discourage Corporate misconduct and actually provide a regulating mechanism that prevents any one business or sector of the economy from growing any larger than is proportional to the value that those businesses are providing to the consumer through signals that reflect a majority of free individuals choosing among a variety of things they can choose to spend their money on. There is absolutely NO way a central authority can replicate the democrat functioning of a "market" (remember, just individuals that are free to spend their money without restraint or coercion).

But there IS an important role for the government in an economy according to libertarians. In your simplistic idea of libertarian thought, you see reducing government as corresponding to granting more corporate power or that we don't believe that government should take action when injustice has been done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Reducing regulations, on balance, would grant the people more liberty and REDUCE the power of corporate lobbyists and contractors. You forget that a majority of the regulations and rules on the books are favored by certain industries to hurt their competitors. If the rules of a game are not clear to all participants, then cheating occurs regularly. The more complicated and indescipherable the regulatory apparatus becomes, the more it favors those cronies with the greatest influence in government. This obviously does not protect the people.

Nobody, whether individually or under the name of a "corporation", has the right to hurt anybody else. The rules should be made clear and the law should be enforced fairly and corporate crime should be prosecuted swiftly and harshly. People should have property rights and cannot be aggressed against or threatened in any way. Businessmen need to honor their agreements and contracts. Fraud should be a crime and punished severely. The law, as Frederick Bastiat wrote about, should apply equally to everyone without exceptions. Our biggest problem in this country is that the law is applied differently to different groups of people. Government is exempt from the laws that the rest of us are forced to live by. A moral society cannot tolerate this. Too big to fail banks and corporations are not punished for their large crimes, but the police are cracking down on the little guy for petty infractions.

Reforming our legal system, making it fairer and more in line with what Bastiat wrote about (check out his book, "The Law"), would do more to protect the people and crack down and corporate crime than all the regulations and bureaucracies in the world.

If you still insist that all we need is more regulators and higher taxes on the wealthy, then please explain how you expect an indescipherable web of rules and regulations to not be unduly influenced and taken advantage of by corporate interests? Do you not dispute that many of these regulations pushed through by both Republicans and Democrats were expressly designed to benefit cronies and corporations? If you agree with any of this, then how could you resist the effort to get rid of many of these regulations and make the rules and laws at least fair and understandable?

I've probably written too much for one post at this point. But I really hope everyone here reads this and takes the time to give your impressions. Feel free to ask questions. I just am discouraged, as a libertarian, to see so many things stated that are obviously incorrect. I understand the impulses of many progressives, but I think that libertarian policies, once properly understood, would advance your ultimate goals of less corporate crime, less poverty, more prosperity and more peace. That is what I understand liberals to hold as values, and that is why I came to the realization that we need a society based on liberty, in both economic affairs and in personal affairs. We have lived with authoritarianism for so long that many of us have forgotten what it means to be free.

We need to have a better understanding of what our revolution was fought for and what our values have been traditionally.

jrodefeld's picture
jrodefeld
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Oct. 15, 2011 2:24 am
Quote jrodefeld:We will all be equally poor and impoverished when the dollar collapses due to decades of gullible Americans with a willful ignorance about how economies grow and what brings about prosperity.

Economic growth is unsustainable, regardless of government's size. Economic contraction is a necessity, and resource depletion on a finite planet is a reality. We'd be wise to re-define wealth and prosperity. "We" being our species.

Quote jrodefeld:...the idea that the people can democratically mobilize a monstrous state apparatus to act in the interest of all individuals rather than in the interest of only a few is absolutely ridiculous and is a fantasy.

I'd have to agree with you there. For one thing, humans are socially dysfunctional in large groups.

Quote jrodefeld:Nobody, whether individually or under the name of a "corporation", has the right to hurt anybody else.

This is too simplistic. As a white, heterosexual, able-bodied male born into a middle class, suburban family in the late 1970s in the US Empire, I am overprivileged. Not just privileged, but OVERprivileged, especially relative to the global population (borders are arbitrary and a failure to think globally - and act locally - is a failure of humanity). Others are hurt by that overprivilege. Past injustices linger, and present injustice abounds. Now, I don't have faith in the federal government to rectify that situation, but the lack of a strong, central government is also not a solution. I sure as hell don't want the underprivileged to have to rely on charity and churches. We're back to needing to re-define wealth, to question assumptions about what makes a person happy, to question the usefulness of currency, to live differently.

Ultimately, to save our species and other species, I argue we need a dramatic shift in consciousness.

Quote jrodefeld:The liberty to invest and use your resources as you see fit, as long as you don't harm anyone else or hurt their equal rights to pursue happiness as they see fit.

Pursuing happiness as one person sees fit can be very harmful to others, both near and far. A large house, or any disproportionate use of resources, is harmful to others. The so-called American Dream is an absolute nightmare for most of the world.

Once again, I'll encourage folks to read A Theory of Power by Jeff Vail

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

I would argue that Libertarianism is actually an advanced form of fascism.

Libertarianism is to fascism what communism is to socialism.

Fascism is the complete collusion or control of the government by corporations. Libertarianism (at least the brand which is sometimes called anarcho-capitalism) is basically government BY the corporations/capitalists. It is really a radical form of fascism.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

While the post was long (I read it all), I think it addressed all of the objections progressives have to libertarianism. It seems as though progressives are saying that fascism is a form a total government but eliminating or minimizing government would also lead to fascism. This would mean that corporations would have to build government from the low levels of a libertarian society all the way back up to the current levels (we have a soft fascism now). This doesn't seem likely.

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LysanderSpooner
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Libertarianism worked just fine when the majority of Americans owned their own means of livelihood. Independent farmers, shop keepers and craftsmen.That's the closest the U.S. ever was to being a libertarian society. An early libertarian, Benjamin Tucker, , said this ":For what is justice in production and distribution? That labour, which creates all, shall have all." Libertarians no longer seem to agree with that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Tucker

When this nation was founded, that was the case for the non-slave population.Labor which produced all, received all. The full fruits of its labor. Industrialization changed that .Libertarianism would work fairly well...if we returned to 1776.

Ultimately, however, when any society encourages wealth accumulation, wealth always captures government to serve it. When in history has that not been so? Getting rid of corrupt government while maintaining structures that bring about corrupt government is self-defeating.

Get rid of government, and corporations will just use private armies to maintain what they are doing now. just like any previous despotism did. When wealth can't buy government, it establishes one by force.That's the history of the human race.

The only times that didn't happen was in egalitarian societies.

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think that I, as a self-proclaimed 'leftist-libertarian', and my brother, a Ron Paul-supporting (generally 'anti-government believing'--but, also, 'anti-CORPORATE POWER condoning') libertarian, have come up with an insight into this concept called 'libertarianism' that, at least to us, covers some of the contentions each of us holds with regards to prospects of libertarianism with government--and with corporations. As my brother pointed out to me recently, he considers 'libertarianism' as a political principle--not an economic one. Those who claim that 'libertarianism' is based on 'the freedom of the pocket book' fail to realize that economic competition, in and of itself, taken, as all competition eventually can lead, to its 'war-like' end, invites 'war-like' structuring to affect its purpose--a 'grouping effort' that can eventually be totally against what both I and my brother see as the 'libertarian cause'....

And that 'war-like' structuring has always been to combine together to exert a force more powerful than on one's own. And, those who like to claim 'community priorities' as an interest on its own seem to ignore that part of 'grouping structuring'--seeming to posit the presumption that 'more mature adults' realize such socializing perspectives as being natural in humanity--without seeming to understand that, if it is so natural, any definition stating its components will likely shortchange and/or undermine its reality as well as, if not understood rationally and individually (as if in a rational science), have its message 'misused' perhaps to endorse, once again, such 'war-like structuring' imposing its priorities against any honest and rational suggestions against it.....

The political principle behind 'libertarianism' I think is as profound as it is simple. The political distinctions between a 'community interested in individuality' and one in which 'grants individual rights to others as much as acquiring them for oneself' are essentially and (individually) rationally nil--with what (cognitive?) prospects that may be based on some professed (but not individually understood or understandable) notion of 'community interest' (above and beyond any individually understandable recognition) that can be used to justify any political assertion carrying a capacity to prejudge and oppress as does all 'war-like structures' (all based on the 'preemption of freedom' for the 'benefits of competition') can do.....whether that is openly through direct force or threat of force (something that others here acknowledge could replace the 'government role' with the 'corporate role'--both being 'grouping authorities' that, in some way, 'sanction that role'--of course, for itself)--or by economic coercion where 'free market forces' still have no 'even playing field' because some incorporated ('grouping') structures have 'captured' some advantage to themselves......with the only political incentive I see really countering that undue influence being, as was promoted from the very beginning of this American experiment in 'rational Christianity', a government (openly and up frontly) intent on the priority of 'securing and guaranteeing individual rights'....to all individuals as their capacity allows....that is what my brother and I agree on as the political principle of 'libertarianism'--how to 'reach that proposal' through (or against) government is our point of contention...but, as we are getting older, that 'point' seems to be less and less 'separated'--the 'grouping authority of corporations' (despite any 'equal voting by the pocket book') is not any better than the 'grouping authority of government' if the 'securing and guaranteeing of individual rights' is being ignored in either 'grouping effort'.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Jrodefeld wrote...

With a small, Constitutionally limited federal government, corporations and businesses have no power and cannot use violence as long as all acts of force are made illegal, as all libertarians agree on. In fact in a market economy, in contrast to a centrally planned one, the power is placed not with corporations or governments but dispersed among many sovereign individuals acting ("planning") in their own self interest and participating in voluntary transactions with other individuals for some mutual benefit. The consumer is king in a market economy. To say that libertarianism leads to fascism is absurd.

I am glad to see you libertarians “agree.” LOL.

Well, that paragraph is a circular analytic tautology. A "constitutionally limited federal government" by definition would have no power to commit illegal acts since the government wouldn't be "constitutionally limited" if it forced illegal acts. See the silly little circle you spun here?

If you define a market economy as not "centrally planned" then "planned" government would by definition be antithetical to free markets. But if Libertarianism were defined as unplanned market activity then it would be the antithesis of a “planned” fascist government. See the silly will circle you spun here? All this is definition that you pulled out of your ass...so to speak.

So don’t just spin circular definitions that “all libertarians agree on,” but instead look at actual history and the tendency of Libertarian concepts in specific historical social circumstances to morph into unhappy ideologies and transform into oppressive political systems. We have already seen Libertarian ideology justify Nazi ideology in Germany during the 30’s. On the surface, totalitarian theories associated with fascism appear to be completely opposite to libertarian political theory. As a matter of historical fact, and not merely a matter of definition, German fascists specifically attack all forms of liberalism and libertarianism. This is because Libertarian political theory is so superficial that all its peripheral and central elements are rejected—so it doesn’t matter what Libertarians agree on—especially when a gun is pointed at their head. Even Karl Marx once commented on the French Marxist of the 1870s. "All I know is that I am not a Marxist." The central concepts of classic liberalism and Libertarianism (mostly the “natural law” and “ free market” versions) are capable of justifying totalitarianism just fine, thank you very much. Sometimes Libertarians fears Marxism so much that they opt for fascism voluntarily—“We had not choice but to support the lesser evil” as they vote for the Enabling Act.

The Libertarians, Socialists, Neo-liberals, and Nazis, like any political group espouse a lot of things but I don't believe propaganda.

The Nazism arose not from philosophical speculation, but from economic development and necessity. Monopoly Capitalism--another form of collectivity by the way--is what brought about this unification in German society. Small and middle-sized enterprises depended on cartels and trusts; landed property and large-scale industry depended on finance capital. Monopoly Capital was the basis of this class universalism. The Nazis sought a classless society, but a classless society on the basis of and within the framework of the existing class society. This totalitarian state did not challenge the economic order based on private property in the means of production—it enthusiastically embraced and monopolized that order. That is what they tried to preserve. Nazis universalism was designed to divert the attention and action of its population from realizing its true economic condition and substituted the less dangerous “folk” and “folkhood.”

I do not make a causal connection between the nature of Nazi ideology and Capitalists doing business with them, but there was an agreement of values. This is a lazy, sloppy, and dishonest thinking. Libertarians cannot give an intelligent rebuttal to my arguments against Libertarianism. For example, again, if the Nazis were socialists, why would the leading Capitalists in America become their friend and ally? They did not just share business contracts, but ideology also. Was Henry Ford a closet socialist? Did Williams Randolph Hearst renounce the ideology and practice of Capitalism? Had Thomas J. Watson, the head executive of IBM, decided the rewards of Capitalism immoral? Alternatively, is it that these American executives shared an economic ideology and goal---Monopoly Capitalism? Doesn’t this interpretation explain the historical facts instead of your absurd circular arguments and beliefs?

The owner of Time-Life magazine, Henry Luce, subscribed to them. He was America's evangelist for Italian Fascism. He published a Time magazine--which is now an expensive collector’s item--in honor of Mussolini and the glories of the Fascist State. It wasn’t only business, it was ideological agreement.

Hearst and Ford were not founders, but instead they were followers. The gradual transformation of the mythic rugged individualist corporate CEO into the Germanic leader known as, The Furher, wasn’t a great leap at all—it’s very “natural.” In fact, we still see it today as in the past. So let’s bring form and content together and not live in abstract logical circles that have no grounding in historical events past, or present.

In Germany the Nazis announced they would end nationalization of private industries when they seized power. In 1932, Hitler returned control of the Gelsenkirhen company to private hands and in 1936 returned the stock of "United Steel" to private hands. Throughout 1933-1936, the Nazi returned to private hands the control of several banks: Dresdner, Danat, Commerz and Privatbank, the Deutsche Bank, and several others. In 1936, the steamship company Deutcher Schiff and Maschinenbau was returned to the private sector. In 1934, Dr. Schacht, the Nazi Minister of Economy, gave instructions to hasten the privatization of municipal enterprises. These enterprises were especially coveted by the rich industrialists, as they had been prosperous even during the depression.

...The three "Ms" are the military, media, and money. Hitler had all three behind him. As shown by the passage from Mein Kampf, Hitler started with the blessing of the military. The military, as well as big business, played a behind the scenes role in the appointment of Hitler as chancellor. It's the last of the 3Ms where much confusion and debate arise, Hitler's source of funds or money.

Big business likewise had a large hand in bringing down Bruning in 1930. In a large part, it was the constant bickering by special interest groups that led to the falling of Bruning's cabinet. Big business was urging the following demands on the Bruning government:

1. The government must take steps to lower the cost of production and widen the profit margin.

2. Lower taxes

3. Reduce the size of government.

4. Lower unemployment insurance benefit

5. The government must allow wages to progress to lower levels, by voiding labor contracts and binding arbitration. (German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler, Henry Ashby Turner, Oxford University Press, 1985.) What Is and Isn't Fascism.

You Libertarians are so easy to defeat, but its good practice for preparing to argue against grown ups whenever they show up.

Now let's leave some Libertarians for Thom Hartmann since he eats them for breakfast.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:Ultimately, however, when any society encourages wealth accumulation, wealth always captures government to serve it. When in history has that not been so? Getting rid of corrupt government while maintaining structures that bring about corrupt government is self-defeating.

Get rid of government, and corporations will just use private armies to maintain what they are doing now. just like any previous despotism did. When wealth can't buy government, it establishes one by force.That's the history of the human race.

The only times that didn't happen was in egalitarian societies.

Thus the need to question the assumption that hierarchies are necessary, and to re-define "wealth." A society of 300+ million, much less 7+ billion, will never be egalitarian. A society of 20 might be.

Neither the presense of or the absence of a strong, central government presents a solution, which is a flaw I see in the arguments put forth by all sides in this and many other discussions. Thinking outside of the box is not easy. It's clear that people are far more comfortable discussing abortion or debating which "news" network is most accurate than they are considering a shift in consciousness.

If our species doesn't drastically alter the way in which it lives, and soon, little else will matter. As you're well aware, poly, we're facing a triple threat of economic, resource and environmental collapse. I think it's difficult for a person to wrap their head around what that means in the long run. To say nothing of those who flat-out deny it, those who seem to think we're merely experiencing a bump in the road of inevitable, never-ending economic growth (including public officials, such as James Inhofe). It doesn't help that conspiracy nuts in their tinfoil hats, a few of which post on this board, muddy the waters. But, as crazy as I think the Alex Jones fan club is, nothing's crazier than thinking economic growth is sustainable.

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am
Quote jrodefeld:
Quote Dr. Econ:

Libertarians are quick to argue that socialism leads to fascism.However, it is actually the opposite, Libertarianism leads to fascism.Why is this? Politically, liberals are for regulating business and giving more benefits to the middle class and poor. If these things are removed, then there is nothing in the way to stop corporate fascism.

This entire thread is an unbelievable exercise in ignorance with all responders (and the original poster) failing to understand what these terms actually mean.

Please, jrodefeld, you completely misunderstood my point. Of course Libertarianism says it is against government force. We all know that. What I am saying is that a Libertarian state - indeed a Libertarian movement leads to fascism. This is because it abandons all the protections from the poor and middle class from corporate fraud and manipulation. This actually explains a few things. Why fascists and conservatives use Libertarian economics to advance their cause. Why there are no developed Libertarian states.

Not only was Haek dead wrong about mixed economies (my term) turning into facist states (the Road to Serfdom), 'mixed econmies' are now the only feasible developed state. Mixed economies have not and do not lead to Facism.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

If what Libertarians say is true, and they want the "consumer" to be king, then that is no different than the result that fascism delivers. If we, as humans, are only valuable to society for whatever we can purchase, then what's the difference between the result of a libertarian world and a fascist world? Either way, it's about who has enough money to control who doesn't. Going on and on about these mythical "free" markets as the answer seems a little naieve, given that they have never existed.

From my perspective, the libertarian movement seems like a repackaged republicanism/conservativism for a country that is sick and tired of being screwed over by the rich.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

As I've said on many other occasions, while I see the point of private property in (a literal sense) having a 'door' to have authority hesitate at to justify its invasion, I don't see 'corporate property' (many times, itself, with many owners--and, otherwise, professed to exist for public business) to be private property. Also, I am in line with Locke's definitions of 'private property' being created by the labor to improve it from its natural state--as well as 'value' being established by the labor to change it from its natural state. I think that some libertarians that use Locke ignore some of the more salient points Locke is making on behalf of private property, value--and money. Here's one quote (with my own emphases) from Locke's The Two Treatises of Government that plainly makes some of the distinctions Locke is making:

....this I dare boldly affirm, that the same rule of property, (viz.) that every man should have as much as he could make use of, would hold still in the world, without straitening any body; since there is land enough in the world to suffice double the inhabitants, had not the invention of money, and the tacit agreement of men to put a value on it, introduced (by consent) larger possessions, and a right to them....

37. This is certain, that in the beginning, before the desire of having more than man needed had altered the intrinsic value of things, which depends only on their usefulness to the life of man; or had agreed, that a little piece of yellow metal, which would keep without wasting or decay, should be worth a great piece of flesh, or a whole heap of corn; though men had a right to appropriate, by their labour, each one of himself, as much of the things of nature, as he could use: yet this could not be much, nor to the prejudice of others, where the same plenty was still left to those who would use the same industry. To which let me add, that he who appropriates land to himself by his labour, does not lessen, but increase the common stock of mankind: for the provisions serving to the support of human life, produced by one acre of inclosed and cultivated land, are (to speak much within compass) ten times more than those which are yielded by an acre of land of an equal richness lying waste in common. And therefore he that incloses land, and has a greater plenty of conveniences of life from ten acres, than he could have from an hundred left to nature, may truly be said to give ninety acres to mankind....

Before the appropriation of land, he who gathered as much of the wild fruit, killed, caught, or tamed, as many of the beasts, as he could; he that so imployed his pains about any of the spontaneous products of nature, as any way to alter them from the state which nature put them in, by placing any of his labour on them, did thereby acquire a property in them: but if they perished, in his possession, without their due use; if the fruits rotted, or the venison putrified, before he could spend it, he offended against the common law of nature, and was liable to be punished; he invaded his neighbour's share, for he had no right, farther than his use called for any of them, and they might serve to afford him conveniences of life.

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

Jrodefeld wrote...

With a small, Constitutionally limited federal government, corporations and businesses have no power and cannot use violence as long as all acts of force are made illegal, as all libertarians agree on. In fact in a market economy, in contrast to a centrally planned one, the power is placed not with corporations or governments but dispersed among many sovereign individuals acting ("planning") in their own self interest and participating in voluntary transactions with other individuals for some mutual benefit. The consumer is king in a market economy. To say that libertarianism leads to fascism is absurd.

I am glad to see you libertarians “agree.” LOL.

Well, that paragraph is a circular analytic tautology. A "constitutionally limited federal government" by definition would have no power to commit illegal acts since the government wouldn't be "constitutionally limited" if it forced illegal acts. See the silly little circle you spun here?

If you define a market economy as not "centrally planned" then "planned" government would by definition be antithetical to free markets. But if Libertarianism were defined as unplanned market activity then it would be the antithesis of a “planned” fascist government. See the silly will circle you spun here? All this is definition that you pulled out of your ass...so to speak.

So don’t just spin circular definitions that “all libertarians agree on,” but instead look at actual history and the tendency of Libertarian concepts in specific historical social circumstances to morph into unhappy ideologies and transform into oppressive political systems. We have already seen Libertarian ideology justify Nazi ideology in Germany during the 30’s. On the surface, totalitarian theories associated with fascism appear to be completely opposite to libertarian political theory. As a matter of historical fact, and not merely a matter of definition, German fascists specifically attack all forms of liberalism and libertarianism. This is because Libertarian political theory is so superficial that all its peripheral and central elements are rejected—so it doesn’t matter what Libertarians agree on—especially when a gun is pointed at their head. Even Karl Marx once commented on the French Marxist of the 1870s. "All I know is that I am not a Marxist." The central concepts of classic liberalism and Libertarianism (mostly the “natural law” and “ free market” versions) are capable of justifying totalitarianism just fine, thank you very much. Sometimes Libertarians fears Marxism so much that they opt for fascism voluntarily—“We had not choice but to support the lesser evil” as they vote for the Enabling Act.

The Libertarians, Socialists, Neo-liberals, and Nazis, like any political group espouse a lot of things but I don't believe propaganda.

The Nazism arose not from philosophical speculation, but from economic development and necessity. Monopoly Capitalism--another form of collectivity by the way--is what brought about this unification in German society. Small and middle-sized enterprises depended on cartels and trusts; landed property and large-scale industry depended on finance capital. Monopoly Capital was the basis of this class universalism. The Nazis sought a classless society, but a classless society on the basis of and within the framework of the existing class society. This totalitarian state did not challenge the economic order based on private property in the means of production—it enthusiastically embraced and monopolized that order. That is what they tried to preserve. Nazis universalism was designed to divert the attention and action of its population from realizing its true economic condition and substituted the less dangerous “folk” and “folkhood.”

I do not make a causal connection between the nature of Nazi ideology and Capitalists doing business with them, but there was an agreement of values. This is a lazy, sloppy, and dishonest thinking. Libertarians cannot give an intelligent rebuttal to my arguments against Libertarianism. For example, again, if the Nazis were socialists, why would the leading Capitalists in America become their friend and ally? They did not just share business contracts, but ideology also. Was Henry Ford a closet socialist? Did Williams Randolph Hearst renounce the ideology and practice of Capitalism? Had Thomas J. Watson, the head executive of IBM, decided the rewards of Capitalism immoral? Alternatively, is it that these American executives shared an economic ideology and goal---Monopoly Capitalism? Doesn’t this interpretation explain the historical facts instead of your absurd circular arguments and beliefs?

The owner of Time-Life magazine, Henry Luce, subscribed to them. He was America's evangelist for Italian Fascism. He published a Time magazine--which is now an expensive collector’s item--in honor of Mussolini and the glories of the Fascist State. It wasn’t only business, it was ideological agreement.

Hearst and Ford were not founders, but instead they were followers. The gradual transformation of the mythic rugged individualist corporate CEO into the Germanic leader known as, The Furher, wasn’t a great leap at all—it’s very “natural.” In fact, we still see it today as in the past. So let’s bring form and content together and not live in abstract logical circles that have no grounding in historical events past, or present.

In Germany the Nazis announced they would end nationalization of private industries when they seized power. In 1932, Hitler returned control of the Gelsenkirhen company to private hands and in 1936 returned the stock of "United Steel" to private hands. Throughout 1933-1936, the Nazi returned to private hands the control of several banks: Dresdner, Danat, Commerz and Privatbank, the Deutsche Bank, and several others. In 1936, the steamship company Deutcher Schiff and Maschinenbau was returned to the private sector. In 1934, Dr. Schacht, the Nazi Minister of Economy, gave instructions to hasten the privatization of municipal enterprises. These enterprises were especially coveted by the rich industrialists, as they had been prosperous even during the depression.

...The three "Ms" are the military, media, and money. Hitler had all three behind him. As shown by the passage from Mein Kampf, Hitler started with the blessing of the military. The military, as well as big business, played a behind the scenes role in the appointment of Hitler as chancellor. It's the last of the 3Ms where much confusion and debate arise, Hitler's source of funds or money.

Big business likewise had a large hand in bringing down Bruning in 1930. In a large part, it was the constant bickering by special interest groups that led to the falling of Bruning's cabinet. Big business was urging the following demands on the Bruning government:

1. The government must take steps to lower the cost of production and widen the profit margin.

2. Lower taxes

3. Reduce the size of government.

4. Lower unemployment insurance benefit

5. The government must allow wages to progress to lower levels, by voiding labor contracts and binding arbitration. (German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler, Henry Ashby Turner, Oxford University Press, 1985.) What Is and Isn't Fascism.

You Libertarians are so easy to defeat, but its good practice for preparing to argue against grown ups whenever they show up.

Now let's leave some Libertarians for Thom Hartmann since he eats them for breakfast.

"

XXVII. THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MARKET

2. The Intervention

There are two patterns for the realization of socialism.

The first pattern (we may call it the Lenin or the Russian pattern) is purely bureaucratic. All plants, shops, and farms are formally nationalized (verstaatlicht); they are departments of the government operated by civil servants. Every unit of the apparatus of production stands in the same relation to the superior central organization as does a local post office to the office of the postmaster general.

The second pattern (we may call it the Hindenburg or German pattern) nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production and keeps the appearance of ordinary markets, prices, wages, and interest rates. There are, however, no longer entrepreneurs, but only shop managers (Betriebsfuhrer in the terminology of the Nazi legislation). These shop managers are seemingly instrumental in the conduct of the enterprises entrusted to them; they buy and sell, hire and discharge workers and remunerate their services, contract debts and pay interest and amortization. But in all their activities they are bound to obey unconditionally the orders issued by the government's supreme office of production management. This office (The Reichswirtschaftsministerium in Nazi Germany) tells the shop managers what and how to produce, at what prices and from [p. 718] whom to buy, at what prices and to whom to sell. It assigns every worker to his job and fixes his wages. It decrees to whom and on what terms the capitalists must entrust their funds. Market exchange is merely a sham. All the wages, prices, and interest rates are fixed by the government; they are wages, prices, and interest rates in appearance only; in fact they are merely quantitative terms in the government's orders determining each citizen's job, income, consumption, and standard of living. The government directs all production activities. The shop managers are subject to the government, not the consumers' demand and the market's price structure. This is socialism under the outward guise of the terminology of capitalism. Some labels of the capitalistic market economy are retained, but they signify something entirely different from what they mean in the market economy. "

Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian by George Reisman

LysanderSpooner's picture
LysanderSpooner
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Sounds like a war economy.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Nazism was socialism? No wonder you're so confused LS. You really need to stop listening to crackpots.

mdhess's picture
mdhess
Joined:
Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm
Quote LysanderSpooner:

While the post was long (I read it all), I think it addressed all of the objections progressives have to libertarianism. It seems as though progressives are saying that fascism is a form a total government but eliminating or minimizing government would also lead to fascism. This would mean that corporations would have to build government from the low levels of a libertarian society all the way back up to the current levels (we have a soft fascism now). This doesn't seem likely.

The point that is so often missed is that corporations are a form of government in a general sense. The agenda of the corporations are to integrate themselves with each other through the financial market so that the result is a sort of organic whole which closely resembles fascism in many key aspects. Although "the" government continued to exist under fascism, corporations today are pushing for a sort of super-fascism which eliminates "the" government- because it is entirely superfluous to the government of the corporations. "State" power is replaced by corporate power as the state itself is replaced by the total corporate society. A society whose components of class, ecology, law, discourse, etc. are all controlled and guided by the elite which runs it for its own benefit. For example, we have withdrawn from Iraq...or have we? We leave behind privatized forces which do not merely perform functions formerly reserved for the military but serve at the whim of the transnational corporation which continue to try to keep the Iraqi people under their thumb through whatever insidious machinations we can only guess at. If Iraq's position on Syria is any indication, Xe et. al. have their work cut out for them.

And as for eliminating the Fed- that would be convenient wouldn't it? Instead of nationalizing it. True, Ron Paul advocated for an audit. Yet I suspect that libertarians would look the other way if the Fed were eliminated without a federal agency to replace it, and if all of the records of what transpired while it exists in its current form are destroyed. There would be nothing to stop those who currently run the unregulated, unauditable hedge fund and derivatives market from assigning whatever value they wish to whatever type of asset they wish without reference to any government-issued or regulated form of wealth, e.g. bonds.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

nimble,

Are you suggesting that concentrations of power and massive corruption can - and do - happen with or without a strong, central "government?"

That maybe, just maybe, folks need to detach themselves from the dichotomous narrative that says big government is either the solution or the problem?

That maybe, just maybe, our species needs to write a whole new narrative and question power's/hierarchy's very existence?

I'm flabbergasted.

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
Joined:
Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am
What I am saying is that a Libertarian state - indeed a Libertarian movement leads to fascism. This is because it abandons all the protections from the poor and middle class from corporate fraud and manipulation. -- dr. econ

Amusingly, doc econ cant begin to explain the actual mechanisms by which this transformation occurs. For example, howwould an evil corporation acquire power in a competitive, voluntary and free framework by screwing the only source of its revenue -- the consumer.

This fantasy just magically occurs ?!

INdeed, the moment any corporation converted from aggressively satisfying consumer preferences to exploiting those same consumers -- this corporation would be instantly vilified and destroyed by consumers, existing competitors and the immediate materialization of startup competition. See the most recent example of bank of America raising the fee for debit banking a mere $5/month. They capitulated in a matter of hours.

Even more bizarre and illogical is that dr. econ's solution to the supposed tyranny of the corporation is too empower a vast levianthan in the form of an all regulating and all punishing government with all the guns, ultimate legal authority and regulatory power across all industries and sectors of the economy ??!!!

And here is the kicker -- the most enthusiastic advocate and beneficiary of this vast behemoth called the federal government ?????

you guessed it -- the inefficient, corrupt and reckless corporation that is guaranteed a bail out for every reckless and greedy business plan in a quid pro quo scheme of bribes for preferential tax and regulatory treatment.

Didn't Einstein have a name for this kind of thinking ?

truth to power's picture
truth to power
Joined:
Jul. 27, 2011 7:21 pm

"State" power is replaced by corporate power as the state itself is replaced by the total corporate society. -- nimblecivet

Please explain how corporations can gain power by screwing their only source of revenue -- the consumer ?

And please explain how it is preferable to counter this fantasy by creating an even more horrific power bloc in the form of a central government that has tax, armed force, and regulatory power over all industries and all corporations ?

and lastly, if corporations have all the power in this country, please explain why they spend hundreds of billions of dollars lobbying government ????

for example, why do the all powerful corporations feel the need to lobby government at all if they have all the power ???

truth to power's picture
truth to power
Joined:
Jul. 27, 2011 7:21 pm
Quote truth to power:

"State" power is replaced by corporate power as the state itself is replaced by the total corporate society. -- nimblecivet

Please explain how corporations can gain power by screwing their only source of revenue -- the consumer ?

And please explain how it is preferable to counter this fantasy by creating an even more horrific power bloc in the form of a central government that has tax, armed force, and regulatory power over all industries and all corporations ?

and lastly, if corporations have all the power in this country, please explain why they spend hundreds of billions of dollars lobbying government ????

for example, why do the all powerful corporations feel the need to lobby government at all if they have all the power ???

Have you ever heard of the word "GREED"?

Sprinklerfitter's picture
Sprinklerfitter
Joined:
Sep. 1, 2011 6:49 am

Truth to power, your theory about the marketplace speaking might have some merit if, in fact, consumers had the same sway over institutional powers. The fact of the matter is that our entire social order is dominated by enterprise. Business is so dominant in our lives and government and consciousness that there is almost no place left to escape from it. Maybe the fee Bank of America tried to impose was too crass for the general public to tolerate but B of A's lobbyists have certainly been able to block confirmation of Richard Cordray as head of the CFPB.

Most progressives are not anti-capitalist, just realists. Iindustry understands that government is the unification of citizenry and is the only power that can dictate to it. Its solution to avoiding those dictates is to capture government and get regulations that it prefers. This process is otherwise known as the Republican Party. Progressives simply seek to retain our source of power rather than relinquish every aspect of our lives to business and industry.

mdhess's picture
mdhess
Joined:
Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm
Quote truth to power:

"State" power is replaced by corporate power as the state itself is replaced by the total corporate society. -- nimblecivet

Please explain how corporations can gain power by screwing their only source of revenue -- the consumer ?

Its not a matter of "screwing their customer", its a matter of them choosing who is their customer. The categories of "customer" and "employee" merge in the eyes of the corporate state. The corporate state will seek to ensure its survival by establishing autarky.

Quote truth to power:

And please explain how it is preferable to counter this fantasy by creating an even more horrific power bloc in the form of a central government that has tax, armed force, and regulatory power over all industries and all corporations ?

You wouldn't ask that question if you had taken the time to educate yourself about a real political theory called "anarchism". You were probably expecting me to repeat the same thing which has been said over and over again on this message board: that if government is truly democratic its power is not a threat. But beyond that point, there is no reason to assume that a positive role for government implies that it has central or total control. It is because government allows for benevolent competition that its power over life and death need not develop to the point that it threatens the liberty of the citizens which form it. Anarchism (anarcho-syndicalism, etc.) provides a model of decentralized government and democratic self-rule which should answer your concerns. Problem is, these models would threaten the power of those who control the transnational corporations. This must be hard to comprehend for someone who evidently cannot understand that the concentration of wealth which has been achieved by the %.01 prettty much means that "competition" between corporations isn't a reality when these corporations each benefit from the same bailout scam that props them up at the expense of their customers. As for your BofA example, so what? One instance where a corporation went too far and had to pull back. What did it cost them?

Quote truthtopower:

and lastly, if corporations have all the power in this country, please explain why they spend hundreds of billions of dollars lobbying government ????

for example, why do the all powerful corporations feel the need to lobby government at all if they have all the power ???

Did you really just ask why corporations spend billions of dollars lobbying? Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but the people who were hoping that the Democratic party might live up to its name are the ones who are disappointed by the fact that it is the de-facto Corporate Pary that controls %75 of our representatives that is in charge of our government.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I really hope that the presence of antifascist, Kerry, DRC, etc. means that I am not going to have to muck it out alone here. I'm pretty much over this going around in circles to hone my blade thing.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote jrodefeld:

With a small, Constitutionally limited federal government, corporations and businesses have no power and cannot use violence as long as all acts of force are made illegal, as all libertarians agree on. In fact in a market economy, in contrast to a centrally planned one, the power is placed not with corporations or governments but dispersed among many sovereign individuals acting ("planning") in their own self interest and participating in voluntary transactions with other individuals for some mutual benefit. The consumer is king in a market economy. ...

This is what I'm talking about when I bring up anarchism in contrast to libertarianism. Libertarianism's fixation on individual rights keeps libertarians from explaining how individuals' interactions preserve a "market economy" (where transactions are "voluntary") instead of a fascist state. There's a very mistaken notion, and flawed historical analysis, on the part of libertarians which is that if one enshrines individual rights in a constitution that nothing else is necessary to preserve liberty, that the best of all possible worlds will flow from that. But more is necessary, as those who see the importance of social and economic justice to development of democracy have pointed out for example. I still just don't see how you get from point A ("all acts of force are made illegal") to point B ("corporations and businesses have no power"). As anti pointed out, you are assuming that such an edict against force could be conformed to voluntarilly at the same time as government and corporations would be negated by this social contract. But why assume that either government or corporations could not be established through voluntary association? You gain nothing by including corporations in the same category as government when you forge your definitions of each tautologically. Anarcho-syndicalism (as well as other similar schools of thought) on the other hand does not preclude the existence of corporations.

Nice try, though.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote truth to power:
What I am saying is that a Libertarian state - indeed a Libertarian movement leads to fascism. This is because it abandons all the protections from the poor and middle class from corporate fraud and manipulation. -- dr. econ

Amusingly, doc econ cant begin to explain the actual mechanisms by which this transformation occurs....

It occurs because it abandons all the protections from the poor and middle class from corporate fraud and manipulation.

Quote TTP:For example, howwould an evil corporation acquire power in a competitive, voluntary and free framework by screwing the only source of its revenue -- the consumer.

More people are sick, mained and killed by corporations, more people can't afford education, more people can't afford to start their own businesses, more people fall out of the middle class. Further, corporate competititon and the advantages of natural monopoly mean that there are fewer and fewer firms. Wages plummet as labor has less and less bargaining power.

Quote TTP:Even more bizarre and illogical is that dr. econ's solution to the supposed tyranny of the corporation is too empower a vast levianthan in the form of an all regulating and all punishing government with all the guns, ultimate legal authority and regulatory power across all industries and sectors of the economy ??!!!

My solution is called a particular form of a 'mixed economy'. A 'mixed economy' is the only feasible government system. The Libertarian system has never been feasible, and never will be.

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Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Nimblecivet,

Don’t fall for their scam.

Truth of Power (like we are the powerful, LOL), Lspooner, Kerry, and Jrodefeld, are just a tag team of Libertarians that are engaged in a form of logical filibuster by presenting circular definitions, linear ambiguities, logical fallacies, and redefinitions ad infinitum.

The hope is that if they play this game long enough somebody might think they have something of substance to offer. They just ignore all counter arguments and national histories then move on to the next restatement of the same absurd definitions that have nothing to do with world history or individual experience.

These Libertarians are utopian, Pollyanna, simple minded, sophist, and ultimately intellectually dishonest to the point of nausea. After the financial collapse that they are ignoring now, they will quietly disappear and after a few months or so reappear under new names saying, “We told you so!” It is really, really low class stuff.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote truth to power:
"State" power is replaced by corporate power as the state itself is replaced by the total corporate society. -- nimblecivet

Please explain how corporations can gain power by screwing their only source of revenue -- the consumer ?

Please explain why you think think firms will compete so much that they will not try and screw anyone.

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Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

Truth of Power (like we are the powerful, LOL), Lspooner, Kerry, and Jrodefeld, are just a tag team of Libertarians that are engaged in a form of logical filibuster by presenting circular definitions, linear ambiguities, logical fallacies, and redefinitions ad infinitum.

Aw, Antifascist, you don't even give me credit for being a 'leftist libertarian'? Do you give me credit for emphasizing real individual rights against the cronied 'corporate individual rights' just like Thom Hartmann's book, Unequal Protection, explains? Or, like so many here seem to be doing lately (after over four years of being here, this didn't seem to be a problem until recently), just because I used the term 'libertarian', I am to be judged against? Is that how you see it, Antifascist? Was there something that I missed in the interim? I think that I am as much against corporate power as anyone here. I think am for a government that really endorses and guarantees individual rights to real individuals. I have even promoted FDR's 'Economic Bill of Rights' on this forum in the respect of an 'active state liberalism' form of 'guaranteeing individual rights' (or, is there some other perspective of government you wanted to emphasize here, Antifascist?).

What is it that you say of my position that you don't like, Antifascist--other than, of course, the word 'libertarian'? Is it Locke's viewpoint of 'labor creating private property' and 'labor creating value' up against your position of 'gold's (or silver's) value'--right in line with Austro-Libertarian's point that 'value is established by scarcity' (gold and silver being a 'scarce metals')--and it was something that I told even Austro-Libertarian even in our coversation then, 'scarcity' could be manipulated by any power in position to do so (and has--such as Enron manipulating the scarcity of electric power for California to capitalize on its hedges with it as explained in the movie about Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room)? In my above statement, Locke did say this about 'gold':

37. This is certain, that in the beginning, before the desire of having more than man needed had altered the intrinsic value of things, which depends only on their usefulness to the life of man; or had agreed, that a little piece of yellow metal, which would keep without wasting or decay, should be worth a great piece of flesh, or a whole heap of corn; though men had a right to appropriate, by their labour, each one of himself, as much of the things of nature, as he could use: yet this could not be much, nor to the prejudice of others, where the same plenty was still left to those who would use the same industry. To which let me add, that he who appropriates land to himself by his labour, does not lessen, but increase the common stock of mankind: for the provisions serving to the support of human life, produced by one acre of inclosed and cultivated land, are (to speak much within compass) ten times more than those which are yielded by an acre of land of an equal richness lying waste in common. And therefore he that incloses land, and has a greater plenty of conveniences of life from ten acres, than he could have from an hundred left to nature, may truly be said to give ninety acres to mankind....

Is the 'value of gold (or silver)' really 'antifascist', Antifascist? Sort of goes with my brother's (admittedly, a Ron Paul-supporting libertarian) statement: 'The real "golden rule" is that the man with the gold makes the rules'.....I don't agree with all aspects of my brother's viewpoint (including supporting Ron Paul), but, I don't take that to mean I ignore everything he says just because he's a 'Ron Paul-supporting libertarian'. Do you? His statement of the real 'golden rule' seems to have a certain flair of truth to it, doesn't it? In that case, gold=money, and money=power. What do you have to offer in 'the value of gold or silver' that is against that rather fascist perspective, Antifascist?

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Dear Kerry wrote,

Is it Locke's viewpoint of 'labor creating private property' and 'labor creating value' up against your position of 'gold's (or silver's) value'--right in line with Austro-Libertarian's point that 'value is established by scarcity' (gold and silver being a 'scarce metals')...Is the 'value of gold (or silver)' really 'antifascist', Antifascist?

Accuse me of mercantilism? Now that's a low blow. Bullionism, as I speak of it, is only a tactic to bring down the Mafia--it's not my religion. To attribute such a primitive economic theory to me is dishonest just as taking the insights of Keynesian economics as the great contribution of the Asstrian (sic) economic religious cult. Use the word "Libertarian" is enough for me to put you in the category of Wack-a-Doodles. Libertarians are just juvenile plagiarists of other economic theories--now that's wacked.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote LysanderSpooner:

While the post was long (I read it all), I think it addressed all of the objections progressives have to libertarianism. It seems as though progressives are saying that fascism is a form a total government but eliminating or minimizing government would also lead to fascism. This would mean that corporations would have to build government from the low levels of a libertarian society all the way back up to the current levels (we have a soft fascism now). This doesn't seem likely.

No. minimizing DEMOCRACY leads to some form of fascism or coporatism when you operate under a Capitalist economy. As always, the conservative mind is too simplistic to wrap their head around complex issues.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Antifascist, I don't see 'libertarianism' as an economic theory--I see it as a political one. In that context, do you have anything more to say against what else I said--or is your 'mature, sophisticated, intellectualizing' posturing 'saying it all for you'?

Aw, Antifascist, you don't even give me credit for being a 'leftist libertarian'? Do you give me credit for emphasizing real individual rights against the cronied 'corporate individual rights' just like Thom Hartmann's book, Unequal Protection, explains? Or, like so many here seem to be doing lately (after over four years of being here, this didn't seem to be a problem until recently), just because I used the term 'libertarian', I am to be judged against? Is that how you see it, Antifascist? Was there something that I missed in the interim? I think that I am as much against corporate power as anyone here. I think am for a government that really endorses and guarantees individual rights to real individuals. I have even promoted FDR's 'Economic Bill of Rights' on this forum in the respect of an 'active state liberalism' form of 'guaranteeing individual rights' (or, is there some other perspective of government you wanted to emphasize here, Antifascist?).

Quote Antifascist:

Now that's a low blow. Bullionism, as I speak of it, is only a tactic to bring down the Mafia--it's not my religion.

The 'Mafia' as in all 'organized crime'? Who determines the 'market value of gold', Antifascist? Are those 'honest men with honest intentions' as 'the free market'? Or, right in line with 'organized criminals'? Maybe you missed my point that I made to Austro-Libertarian over a year and a half ago that 'scarcity' (as a 'creator of value') can always be manipulated by those in position to do so--and all markets, to one degree or another, are manipulated by those in position to do so, aren't they, 'Antifascist'?

And, 'Antifascist', are you saying 'labor', in its 'market sense', has no right to 'private property' and no capacity to 'determine value'? And, you don't think being against that conforms to every principle of fascism and the power-elite? Yeah, 'Antifascist', maybe you are just 'too mature, too sophisticated, and too intellectualizing' to be real, aren't you? And just how 'antifascist' are you if 'gold' is more a determining factor in 'establishing value' than 'labor' in the market?

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I have no idea what you are talking about so I guess I am not too sophisticated or intellectual.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

Antifascist, I don't see 'libertarianism' as an economic theory--I see it as a political one. In that context, do you have anything more to say against what else I said--or is your 'mature, sophisticated, intellectualizing' posturing 'saying it all for you'?

Kerry,

I'm glad you mentioned this. Libertarianism is only a political philosophy. Libertarianism only addresses when it is proper to use force.

Myths and Truth About Libertarianism

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LysanderSpooner
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

So, if these are myths then tell me what libertarianism does mean. Oh, by the way, it's impossible to seperate political and economic theories, especially considering that the basis of a political theory has exactly to do with how and what money is spent on and how the economy is or is not regulated.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm
Quote antifascist:
Quote Tillich:

Only so much knowledge of essence is possible...

Interesting. That one can be aware of the limits of one's knowledge, that one can be aware of, can perceive, something which yet escapes one's grasp. The relationship between the limit of knowledge and the presence of problems- contradictions, lack of harmony- is something that I would like to see expounded upon. Perhaps these problems would be present to the infinite mind after all, and thus are not intrinsically interrelated?

If Marx is not an idealist, and in refusing idealism also refutes metaphysics, then it cannot be "essence" which generates the situation of the class struggle. So then, what is it that is unveiled?- "human existence and"- and?- "a destruction of ideology."

Quote antifascist:
Quote Tillich:

My longing has been and is a "fellowship" which is bound to no party, although it stands nearer to one than the other, and which shall be a vanguard for a more righteous social order in the spirit of prophecy and in accord with the demand of the Kairos.

Well, it does seem that even to speak of politics, much less to be affiliated with a party, is a sort of humbling. To be forced by the flow of events to engage in such discourse is a recognition by the individual who openly wishes to retain his or her individual freedom despite such necessity of the degree to which self-negation is required. How, after all, can anyone of this generation live for the present? It is in Nietzsche, in Thus Spake Zarathustra, that we see the recognition that in the balance of hope and despair we in the present appear only as a means to an end, as the bridge to a new and better future.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Name dropping gibberish. You get a -F. Hey, why don't you Libertarians buy some free market JP Morgan stock? ...before it's free. I hear canaries singing.

Acutally, I have about five pounds of popcorn stockpiled.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The financial system is the private sector. Private banksters and private financiers. It's backed by the Fed. and the world's other central banks.

We should probably just let it collapse and replace it with a public financial system based on the model of the state-owned Bank of N. Dakota. Financiers and speculators would be redundant. Irrelevant.

They'd have to get a real job instead of being predators on the real economy that most people live in.

They have monetary claims on the entire economic production of the globe. .In return for that, they have produced what? NOTHING. So just exactly why are their claims honored...to the point of bankruptcy of one nation and their people after another?

The financial system is private. Let it collapse....and replace it. Bankrupting the world to bail and enrich a few private individuals is stupid.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Oh well, I tried. Just another bad experience with deconstruction.

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

LOL!

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

I have no idea what you are talking about so I guess I am not too sophisticated or intellectual.

You have seemed to condemn 'libertarianism'--and every libertarian--in no unequivocal terms. I, as the self-proclaimed 'leftist libertarian' (something that many here are trying to describe as an 'oxymoron'--although I have been doing it ever since I've been in thomland now going on five years), have tried to explain that the main distinction that my 'libertarianism' makes between many of those who I have talked with that say they are 'libertarian' is the idea that corporations (as associations) should get anything like 'individual rights' and the recognition that it will take something like government to 'guarantee and assure individual rights'--something that I see that we are losing as the decades go by.

You priorities of 'valueing gold' instead of 'valueing labor' in the market was to attempt to get you off of your rather haughty view against anything and all that can be described as 'libertarian'--and getting away from condemning people just from a label, alone and more toward discussing the issues directly. Such a 'valueing of gold'--despite your somewhat self-important claim that you're trying to 'beat the Mafia at their own game'--doesn't seem to me to fit well with your own label of 'Antifascist'. Something on the order of people in glass houses and stones comes to mind.....

Maybe a repost of mine from rewinn's 'Please Interview Scientist/Libertarian/Author David Brin' thread here would be in order to better describe my own view on 'libertarianism':

I am a libertarian only in the sense of a claim of political principle on the priority of individual rights. In looking over rewinn's connection to David Brin, I was struck by this statement on Brin's position on libertarianism: "the empowerment of individual citizens to hold all elites accountable".

polycarp makes good points on the issue of the 'free market'--and how, unless there is to be something that can really 'level the playing field', all markets have a tendency to be controlled and manipulated--which, I think, is the exact opposite of the gist of what a 'free market' is.

Can government be that 'playing field leveler'? Some who say that they are libertarians believe that 'the market is its own leveler'--and what it is to level it is each consumer's pocketbook in some notion that, to me, seems more preconceived than verified that such 'money expenditure' is not only the epitome of 'market democracy' but of 'all democracy'. Vote with your money, they say. The main and obvious problem with that is that, if money is to be 'the vote', not everyone has the same vote--and obvious 'unleveler' of what, otherwise, is to be a populist initiative IF 'democracy' is what it is all about. But, is government any better to 'level it'? With how government works today, I think the 'anti-government libertarians' have a point--it's supporting more the very corporate industries in 'unleveling the playing field' than it is in endorsing 'equal application of rights' (a principle that I think is very important in any government initiative that really does have 'the elites be accountable for their political authority'). But, as my brother (the Ron Paul-supporting libertarian) and I have acknowledged in our many talks about such things, most libertarians of today (including Ron Paul) don't speak out enough against the issue that Thom Hartmann made so popular in his book, Unequal Protection--corporate personhood as if 'it' deserved 'individual rights' (and the idea that corporations are just 'voluntary associations of individuals' still doesn't justify its claim to separate rights as if individuals any more than any 'voluntary association of individuals' should--that should be left to the general concept of 'individual' that I think is cognitively best represented politically as 'individual rights' and, of course, specific instances of real individuals as real persons).

And, after many conversations on this topic (being from the area of Texas that we are from, 'anti-government stands' are almost ingrained in the culture), my brother does recognize that it will take some form of 'government' to counteract the advantages of corporations that have continued to be allowed to skew the markets. But, what form? I see Thom Hartmann as a good student on history--I liked his story about George Washington buying his inaugeral clothes from the only American fine clothes maker in America at the time--and his ideas that a government responsible to the nation that formed it does what it can to assure a good manufacturing base (instead of, as Hartmann put it, allowing 'transnational corporations'--with, I believe, the implicit support of our own government--turn the United States into the largest country that exports raw materials and imports completed products--as Hartmann put it, the definition of a 'third world country'--with examples even of today--such as China--of governments still intent on passing restrictions to their trade that support their own country's manufacturing industries against this 'transnational corporate-controlled so-called free market system'). My brother has recently pointed out--and I agree--that 'libertarianism' in its most influential and practical sense is NOT an 'economic principle'--but, rather, a 'political principle'. It appears that David Brin agrees--and we have a historical record in American history to compare any supposed government initiative to this 'elite-checking' role given the common man--just like what outline in our American revolutionary document, The Declaration of Independence, a government that 'secures and guarantees the rights of person' (to ONLY real people).

Just as a passing comment, as some here know, I'm not a big reader of novels because I am a slow reader--in seeing that Newt Gingrich and Paul Krugman were fans of Isaac Asimov's science fiction books, the only book that I have written by Isaac Asimov is his Asimov's Guide to The Bible--The Old and New Testaments. While I am an avid proponent of 'separation of church and state' (in fact, 'separation of any association of individuals and state'), I do like Thomas Jefferson's idea that the American principle of government that they set out to use as the principle of political authority was based on an understanding of 'rational Christianity'--a premise that I think leads to the logical ethical conclusion of 'mutual autonomy'....

Keep the faith....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

LysanderSpooner, I looked over your connections some--my primary beef with many who call themselves 'libertarian' is a reliance on 'the market' as if it could be managed in any 'free' manner without government and with the rather unrealistic assumption that some form of conglomerated power would not take advantages in it--which, to me, is an antithesis to 'securing and guaranteeing individual rights'.

Now, where you and I may agree is that our government now is more intuned to supporting the conglomerated power of corporations than it is individual rights--my brother and I agree as to that. But, that doesn't mean that getting rid of government will get rid of the conglomerated power of corporations--especially with its legal advantages in the market including 'limited liability'. It does mean that, somehow, we should change government--this is where I think that I and Thom Hartmann agree when it comes to much of what American legal and market history can show us--ie. our own system, as history can show, can teach us how government was started to more endorse individual rights than conglomerated power....

Quote mdhess:

So, if these are myths then tell me what libertarianism does mean. Oh, by the way, it's impossible to seperate political and economic theories, especially considering that the basis of a political theory has exactly to do with how and what money is spent on and how the economy is or is not regulated.

I think the point is which one holds priority--expressing political themes through political methods--or expressing political themes only through the market. When it comes to relating political and economic theories and principles, which is the cart and which is the horse? The idea that 'the market can drive itself' I think shortchanges the political perspective of 'securing and guaranteeing individual rights' with government....at least until you get rid of conglomerated power's ability to take advantage. There were two things that the framers of our country knew would ruin its democratic 'equal rights' principles--mob rule and faction control. Corporations represent 'faction control'....unless the Occupy movement gets some idea of what issues it wants to address directly, the Occupy movement will look more like 'mob rule'--and handled by the police accordingly....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry- ok you're not an oxymoron but you are something of an anomoly. Your acceptance of progamme- eg Rooselvelt's New Deal- as part of your libertarian agenda admits of something apropos of the subject of this thread- that private property is the key to the dismantling of the state. When individuals and communities manage their property in such a way as to obviate the need for and get rid of the political state and constitution. Where you and I differ (and interestingly enough, a certain other commenter here who seems to be working from The Complete Works of the Donut-Shop Philosopher) is on the subject of ideology. Ideology is certainly not religion (see the "I can't really stand it when Tom discusses atheism/agnosticism" thread), as I believe anybody mindful of the rational component of modern political thought should acknowledge. In the effort to avoid the social dynamic which leads to fascism then, a process with the aim of negating the state must be managed through the control of the state. A transformation of society must occur in which the need to enshrine individual rights in a constitution- to protect them from threats- becomes moot. This fact precedes all conclusions which are drawn from it, e.g. the need (perceived by some) to "redistribute" wealth.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Hallelujah

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Mongrel
Joined:
May. 18, 2010 6:49 pm

Have you ever heard of the word "GREED"? -- sprinkile fitter

Who cares if someone is greedy so long as it doesnt effect me personally.

The problem with greed is when you socialize it by bailing it out or subsidizing it.

Moreover, stupidity, laziness, corruption, carelessness, recklessness, inefficiency, et al cannot be regulated out of society -- however the consequences of these behaviors must not be socialized.

Indeed, government is the marketplace or insurance company that greedy societal actors go to get bailed out with other people's money.

in a free society, these traits will lead to the bankruptcy and lost of capital of those engaged in these types of behavior. Hence, they are of no concern to anyone not directly involved.

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truth to power
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Jul. 27, 2011 7:21 pm

How Did the America Media Miss the "Pro-Life" Movement Isn't about Saving Life - But - Is About Women Under the Thumbs of Men?

Thom plus logo Anti-abortion groups want you to believe they're all about saving "unborn" human lives, but a new poll shows that, for the majority of abortion rights opponents, that's a lie. The "pro-life" movement, it turns out, is fundamentally about keeping women down - a sentiment that's even shared by a majority of women who support forced pregnancies.
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