- Apr 24, 2011
Libertarians secretly worry that ultimately someone will figure out that the whole of their political philosophy boils down to "get off my property". News flash: This is not really a big secret to the rest of us - John Scalzi
Well, its happening again. As always, when capitalism collapses, screws the workers and destroys their livelihoods, the workers of the first world, Britain and America in particular, do the right thing. They demand more of the system that has them where they are: unemployed, poor, on zero-hour contracts, etc or floating around YouTube attacking teenage so-called feminists to make themselves feel better about their existence that is all over the place from a system they tend to admire. A bit like how they say women are too materialistic, too wanting of money and they cannot date them, so they go their own way. Ironically, they tend to be libertarians, who support capitalism, complaining about greed and manipulation! These are idiosyncrasies capitalism is built on!The United States and, indeed, virtually the entire world operate under a regime of monetary socialism Mises Institute
Now, this is not an attack on capitalism. This is an attack on the new internet movement that has gained traction the last few years, right wing libertarianism. Not libertarianism in its proper usage of the term, but right wing and in some cases, Reich-wing libertarianism. As well as them, there are the free market cultists that stick their head out every now and again, or neoliberals. They have differences; the ancaps and the neoliberals and the libertarians or libertyaryans, but they are all genuinely united on some common issues. Before starting, we must mention Praxeology. Believed by a tiny minority, but it exposes the self-admitted fantasies these people live under.
These issues that they agree on mostly are that people are rational and that perfect information exists. In this weird world of a first best economy, there are no need for regulations and such, personal responsibility will ensue and ultimately, everyone is on a level-playing field.
Then theres things such as capitalists seek to create jobs and that capitalists like the poor and try and help them, by wanting to rise - and supposedly they have risen thanks to the free market - living standards. These two in particular are easily refuted by the actions of their heroes and some are open about their contempt of the poor.
Then we have the issues that any central planning is doomed to failure. It doesnt raise living standards and is bad for humans in general. Above all, centrally planned economics are wholly bad for business and productivity. Again, this flies in the face of all reality and theres no denying some things are best left to the market, but central planning can and has worked and has built up brilliant companies in technology, manufacturing and transportation that we all use today.
Supposedly, were told that only entrepreneurs can create employment and we need more entrepreneurs to create jobs. Essentially, the more entrepreneurial a county is, so say the free marketers, the more successful the country will be. Except that, again, flies in the face of all reality.
Then we come to my personal favourite. That the founding fathers of America and America before 1913 and the Federal Reserve was a bastion of free market capitalism. The only problem is that this flies the face of all reality with a high tariff and government interfering country and a server violator of individual liberty.
Britain is quite similar. Were told this is the example of the free market at play and Britain was successful solely because of its capitalism and how it did not have laws under the free market and was successful as a result, especially in the 18th and 19th century, according to Milton Friedman. This is almost ineffably ahistorical and especially worrying from a genius like Friedman; its asinine by his high standards and brilliant mind.
Were told especially in this country, that we need more economists. Our teachers and lawyers are the problem. That is why we have economic failure. The problem is not that theyre teachers, but compradors for foreign capital and business (McCabe, Sins of the Father, p1-to the very last page). Verily, successful economies are better off without the guys in suits, who mostly seem to get everything wrong the economists. Economists are not needed to run a successful economy and the evidence for it is striking!
While no fan of American Democrats, we often hear from the right wing in America about how fiscally conservative they are. They not only run surplus budgets but lower debt levels too and lower taxes. Of course, most of this again, flies in the face of reality, especially big government lovers such as George Bush and Ronald Reagan. However. the self-proclaimed capitalists against big government Democrats arent actually very good at capitalism.
Finally, there are a few more things that are passed off as politics, policies and such by libertaryans in particular. Crucial debates about how driving licences will lead to licences for toasters, how jetpacks will answer the question of who will build the roads and more genuine lunacy.
Praxeology! A right wing infantile disorder!
I realise that tiny, tiny, tiny minority of Mises followers, unelectable, not engaging in any revolution, no real political or revolutionary wing, will regard everything and anything as not verifiable, even if there are statistics and empirical evidence to back it up. Whilst not all reich-wing libertaryans believe in Praxeology, its worth mentioning, for its sheer insanity.Austrian economics very much has the psychology of a cult. Its devotees believe that they have access to a truth that generations of mainstream economists have somehow failed to discern; they go wild at any suggestion that maybe theyre the ones who have an intellectual blind spot. And as with all cults, the failure of prophecy in this case, the prophecy of soaring inflation from deficits and monetary expansion only strengthens the determination of the faithful to uphold the faith. Paul Krugman
As Mises himself stated:
Praxeology is a theoretical and systematic, not a historical, science. Its scope is human action as such, irrespective of all environmental, accidental, and individual circumstances of the concrete acts. Its cognition is purely formal and general without reference to the material content and the particular features of the actual case. It aims at knowledge valid for all instances in which the conditions exactly correspond to those implied in its assumptions and inferences. Its statements and propositions are not derived from experience. They are, like those of logic and mathematics, a priori. They are not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts
Even the most faithful examination of a chapter of economic history, though it be the history of the most recent period of the past, is no substitute for economic thinking. Economics, like logic and mathematics, is a display of abstract reasoning. Economics can never be experimental and empirical. The economist does not need an expensive apparatus for the conduct of his studies. What he needs is the power to think clearly and to discern in the wilderness of events what is essential from what is merely accidental.
So, Im aware that any evidence, fact, knowledge, history, science cannot disprove the free market never existing. An absolutely infantile, Utopian, crazed, moon howling idea of epic, epic proportions. This is the chalkboard nail sound that we hear when capitalism actually fails; this sound reverberates across middle class, white boys bedrooms with the screeches of thats not capitalism. Nothing can be proven or disproved. Infantile nonsense!What assigns economics its peculiar and unique position in the orbit both of pure knowledge and of the practical utilization of knowledge is the fact that its particular theorems are not open to any verification or falsification on the ground of experience. Of course, a measure suggested by sound economic reasoning results in producing the effects aimed at, and a measure suggested by faulty economic reasoning fails to produce the ends sought. But such experience is always still historical experience, i.e., the experience of complex phenomena. It can never, as has been pointed out, prove or disprove any particular theorem. The application of spurious economic theorems results in undesired consequences. But these effects never have that undisputable power of conviction which the experimental facts in the field of the natural sciences provide. The ultimate yardstick of an economic theorem's correctness or incorrectness is solely reason unaided by experience
First-best economies cant work, never have worked and never will work
Quite possibly, the most quixotic idea after Anarchism in political theory is the model of a first best economy. So almost ineffably ridiculous, it has never and can never be properly implemented. Theres a few assumptions of this economy model that are worth looking at: perfect information and rational thinking.
In healthcare and banking, we see how perfect information is wholly unpalatable as a serious policy. Given that many free marketers want and have rolled back the state in a number of countries, the poor will and would suffer from a lack of information and regulation. To take it seriously, in this economy, we have to believe that people will be knowledgeable about aspects of healthcare, such as the best doctors, the best medicine to take and if all of this stuff is safe to take. Not to mention, a reliance that the doctor, private hospital or pharmaceutical company will act fairly and not want to extort them for profit. Of course, we dont see any evidence of the medical industry doing any of this, none whatsoever.
Can we presume that an uneducated single mother in this system, working full or part-time looking after her children when she gets home from work, will then have time to be informed about the best and safest baby formula, medicine for their child, the less cost inducing doctor?
A sick individual in bad need of choosing the right treatment. Does he have a real choice of shopping around and looking for the best doctor or hospital when his life hangs in the balance? Then theres just the poor who cant afford it. We also have private companies who will carefully select their choices with cream skimming. And the solution by the libertaryans if you cant afford it? They should rely on friends, family and charity to pay for their condition.
When the libertaryans in the Republican party were asked one of these questions, some screamed if you cant afford healthcare then people should just let em die. This was directed at Ubermensch Rand follower, Ron Paul, who stated that charity would come in and help him. The fictitious young man who should have had perfect information that he might need healthcare and not worry about taking ill when he was 30 did not understand what freedom is about. We know Paul does not believe that charity will help most people out, let alone friends and family. How? When Pauls 08 campaign manager needed help to have medical bills paid, Paul and co simply just let him die. Tributes poured in about how this man died a free man and left the state to pick up the tab for his medical expenses him and his family and friends, and church could not pay off.
To take it further, what we saw with Johnson and Johnson was a textbook example of the profit motive at the expense of people. J&J have now been exposed as Aryan profiteers who knew their product was linked to cervical cancer. But, my contention is from a libertarian view, so what? The people using J&J should have just tested the product themselves. When George Bush told that African girl who happened to be born in America, that her working three jobs was uniquely American, if she unfortunately used J&J and got cancer, tough luck. She should have been sending off her products to make sure they were okay to use and not have been so lazy. Its that simple really. We know Milton Friedman believed this about cars. Dont think people are stupid. They dont need regulations, theyre smart enough to buy their own cars and make sure theyre sound to drive. And if the steering wheel comes off on the M50 when youre doing 100 KM/H as Ron Paul would say, the imminent death is a sign of how free you are.
Jetpack futurist more on this later libertarian Austin Petersen. Unfortunately, his mother died young from cancer after bad treatment and as he said, they worked hard for their money to be able to pay for this treatment. But, by his own logic it was his own mothers fault. She should have properly research what she was getting herself into, made sure the product was good and went from there. She did not act rationally, nor did the supplier. The profit motive made sure her death would be to come about slowly. Oh, and send on your details to him, hell pay for your granny and auldone if shes sick.
It is simply innately naïve to believe that people will have perfect information in such a complex and life threatening area such as healthcare and act rationally all the time. We know, however, that people can rely on references and the word of others. Now, if the state wouldnt intrude, this would solve everything and the market could operate flawlessly. Except, we saw how the private sector destroyed the economies of myriad of countries. If we only relied on private companies for good advice and good market options, wed be fine. Just as we did with all those private rating agencies, who gave out great advice and with bad regulation, you had Irish banks for example, covering up their bad numbers, defrauding the regulator and so on. And everything worked out just fine.
No distortionary taxation system, complete markets, perfect information, no problems with externalities, rational behaviour and so forth. First best economics have never happened and will never happen. Its a white, middle-class mainly North American keyboard revolution fantasy. Thats as far as it goes and can go. Not one shot fired by the libertaryans:
Well, when theyre silent off YouTube, they obey, they are allowing the government to destroy their humanity and theyre certainly not the final American Revolution. Though their more rational libertarian ideologues such as Friedman did carry out their plans to some degree. By using tax payers money to overthrow elected governments in other countries
Capitalists do not create jobs for the sake of creating them
Simple, really. Jobs are not created for creating employment. They are created for profit. Anyone who says to the contrary is spoofing. Capitalists are also not interested in full employment in an economy. It would be chaos for capitalists if everyone had a good paying job and jobs were widely available as workers could move freely and have power to demand more wages at interviews, for example. With no one to replace uppity workers and with other jobs available, theyd have to give in to their demands.
Capitalists do not like the poor
We know, the poor have always been hated by the rich and this is where this nonsense of tyranny of the majority comes from. John Lockes ramblings for example about labour and ownership of property and freedom whilst he dabbled in the slave trade influencing child predators such as Thomas Jefferson and the lucid Declaration of Independence. What the real libertaryan means by tyranny of the majority is that the poor will not accept living as beasts if they have the chance to vote to reduce their poverty by electing people who will help them. This will curb investment and reduce capitalism, according to the libertyaryans. Their nonsense about what if 51% votes to kill 49% is a strawman and has never happened and never can happen, thanks to a functioning democracy with checks and balances. It is simply all about making profits at the expense of the rest of the population.
We know this hatred of the poor was felt by the early classical liberals such as Ricardo and it is still felt today. Peter Schiff encapsulated this hatred of the poor because theyll always make the wrong decision. Absolutism is his response and we must presume, the millions of libertaryans online, I repeat, online, who follow him:
Because thats what the majority of people were doing in Britain when voting was for the rich only. They werent living in slums, uneducated and so on. But because profit was good for a few thanks to Chinese-like labor laws, protectionism which he leaves out and colonialism, all can be forgiven. This is not just some libertarian ranting at the moon to his internet keyboard Ron Paul revolutionaries, we can see how corporations exploit the poor in many third world dictatorships but profits are good, so it must be ok.
Capitalism has not raised millions out of poverty
This fallacy, which is so shown to be false, because of hundreds of years of women and workers struggles. Thats what lifted FIRST WORLD workers out of poverty. As we see, there is now a 72:1 ratio of wealth inequality between rich and poor countries, compared with 3:1 back in the days of the 19th century
As a typical western Marxist, David Harvey is clutching at straws. He and any Marxist will never be able to make any real revolution or galvanize people to Marxism. Its because socialism is hated and Marxists cannot appeal to a labor aristocracy. In this interview however, that old canard about capitalism raised millions out of poverty was thrown out. Harvey, an immense scholar gave a typical polite and timid response. Anyone who even looked at some of his lectures knows he could have destroyed this argument, but he chose to be polite.
Capitalism did not raise people out of poverty, let alone the free market. Labor laws, workers rights, the minimum wage, expansion of the franchise, womens rights and more were not handed out by benevolent capitalists, but were won with worker and so-called leftist agitators. Daniel OConnell in this country, as James Connolly showed, exemplified the Reich-wing thinking that hasnt gone away, you know*
*because child labor laws were brought in to stop poor from making too much money and the poor all benefited, especially in England where they enjoyed lavish and cultured lifestyles in what is probably real capitalism for the working class:
In Birmingham, says Commissioner Grainger, the children examined by me are, as a whole, utterly wanting in all that could be in the remotest degree called a useful education. Although in almost all the schools religious instruction alone is furnished, the profoundest ignorance even upon that subject prevailed. In Wolverhampton, says Commissioner Horne, I found, among others, the following example: A girl of eleven years who had attended both day and Sunday school "had never learnt of another world, nor of heaven, nor of another life". A boy, seventeen years old, "did not know how many two and two made, nor how many farthings there were in twopence, even when the money was placed in his hand". Several boys had never heard of London nor of Willenhall, though the latter was but an hour's walk from their homes, and in the closest relations with Wolverhampton. Several had never heard the name of the Queen nor other names, such as Nelson, Wellington, Bonaparte; but it was noteworthy that those who had never heard even of St. Paul, Moses, or Solomon, were very well instructed as to the life, deeds, and character of Dick Turpin, and especially of Jack Sheppard. A youth of sixteen did not know "how many twice two make", nor "how much money four farthings make". A youth of seventeen asserted that "ten farthings make ten halfpence"; a third, seventeen years old, answered several very simple questions with the brief statement, that "he was ne jedge o' nothin'."  These children, who are crammed with religious doctrines for four or five years at a stretch, know as little at the end as at the beginning. One child had "attended a Sunday school regularly for five years; does not know who Jesus Christ was, but has heard the name. Never heard of the twelve apostles. Never heard of Samson, nor of Moses, nor Aaron, etc."  Another "attended a Sunday school regularly six years. Knows who Jesus Christ was, he died on the cross to shed his blood, to save our Saviour. Never heard of St. Peter or St. Paul." A third, "attended the Sunday schools of different kinds about seven years; can read, only in the thin books, easy words of one syllable; has heard of the apostles, does not know if St. Peter was one, nor if St. John was one, unless it was St. John Wesley." To the question who Christ was, Horne received, among others, the following answers, "Yes, Adam," "He was an apostle," "He was the Saviour's Lord's Son," and from a youth of sixteen: "Jesus Christ was a king of London a long time ago." In Sheffield, Commissioner Symons let the children from the Sunday school read aloud; they could not tell what they had read, or what sort of people the apostles were, of whom they had just been reading. After he had asked them all one after the other about the apostles without securing a single correct answer, one sly-looking little fellow, with great glee, called out: "Please sir, they were the lepers!"  From the pottery districts and from Lancashire the reports are similar.