Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What we have here..

What is the economic system of America?

I can imagine the consternation of a well informed student attempting to answer that question for a class. One hundred years ago, he could have answered "capitalism" and been about 99% correct.

Today, what we have here is an unholy mixture - a small bit of capitalism, a heaping spoonful of socialism, and a liberal dousing of corporatism.

Capitalism is a politico-economic system in which property and specifically the means of any production are privately owned, and men deal with one another as traders - trading value for value.

Socialism places property under the (in name) ownership of the entire public, and production and value are distributed (by a few) in an equitable manner "to all" as determined by 'the few.'

Corporatism can exist in various forms along with socialism or capitalism, but is generally a deviant form of capitalism in which the government (which is supposed to be protecting the individual rights of the individual people) is in bed with various corporations (to the corporations' market advantage). IE the corporations by political "pull" with the government, use the force of the government to gain forcible advantage (or total control) in their market.

So, what we have here, is an ugly, smelly mixture. We take the one moral and effective system, capitalism, and create all manner of evil by enslaving individuals to the group "for the public good" - socialism. Then, since there is really no such thing as "the people" - just individuals - we naturally get not competition among private companies but rather competition among political pressure groups and between companies and even nations competing through political /legislative/regulatory pull within our own government. Competing for what? The summed productive value (eventually in terms of money) of all American individuals. A healthy chunk (taxes) of all production is confiscated from all the actual producers, then political groups war over dividing up that stolen pie and corporate powers buy and pressure government favor so as to be paid some of that pie by the government or be positioned via the power of the govt regulatory functions to obtain unfair market advantage so as to soak up (unfairly) the production of the nation that was left over after taxes. And thus we are enslaved to corporations (those which are in bed with the govt.)

And that's how we get what we have here.... A disintegrating realm of freedom, chiseled away on one side by enslavement to "the group - the public," and cut and mangled on the other side by forced enslavement to politically powerful corporate interests eager to loot some of that "public" money.

Be aware - those advocating socialism have and will continue to claim that corporatism IS capitalism or is inherent in capitalism. This isn't the case, but it's one of the reasons many well meaning people are confused about capitalism.

Here used to be a place of freedom and thus hope, and now, after just 80 or so years of misguided political and economic ideology, here is a place of decay, enslavement, unfathomable debt, disillusionment, confusion, corruption, and despair.

And this horrible horrible journey was all due to, at bottom, one single wrong idea.

God has ordained it, reason and an objective view of the nature of man confirms it, and the very nature of cause and effect will not disobey.

A man's life may not be made a means for another.

You can not build a friendship on the contrary view. You can not build a family. You can not build a nation.

And yet our media and nearly all in Washington go on, day after day, trying to make that simple truth untrue. If we just moderate our policies (based on that idea) a bit - compromise - THEN it'll work. No. 'We haven't gone far enough - if we just go ALL out and make EVERYONE a means for everyone else - THEN it'll work!' No.

The cloud of preconceptions, pressing crises of the moment, and a national ideological landscape smeared with the detritus of Kant and misunderstood religiosity make the application of such fundamentals entirely opaque to them.

This is what we have here..

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Veterans' Day

On this day of gratitude, celebration, and remembrance, sadly, we see even more clearly than usual, the moral confusion in the American mind. Think how often, on this day, you hear the glorification of sacrifice – over and over lauding the 'sacrifice' of the brave men and women who have served this country. It is clear from the manner in which the many media sources discuss the merit of these men and women, that, to them, it is the supposed sacrifice of the veterans' personal values which makes what they have done so admirable. It is again and again stressed how these service members gave up or disregarded their personal interests or values – IE. sacrificed their personal interests – for the sake of the nation. But is this really what these great men and women have done, or have they rather pursued a true prioritization of values, and is this not the fact that makes them so remarkable? Have they neglected a greater personal value and pursued the lesser personal value of protecting their country? Or rather, awesomely, have they truly held a greater personal value for the protection and preservation of this country and what that means for themselves, their fellow men (whom they value), and for their family?
These men and women are noble and worthy of admiration, not because they have disregarded their own interests for the sake of the nation, but because they have personally valued this nation of liberty rightly. They have identified and defended that on which their own values, and historically the personal values of all men, depend – liberty – the rights of the individual as superseding the mob, the group, or the government. It is this which is awe inspiring, that they see a true primary value and realize that their own and all true human life depends on it. The correlation between truth and human action is a glorious sight. Men and women willing to die to protect the ideas which make true human (rational and free) life possible are not 'sacrificing' their own interests for the interests of others, but rather seeing a value (freedom) on which all other real values depend, for themselves as well as the rest of mankind. To see a man or woman engaged in the preservation of that which is truly valuable, disregarding any lesser or secondary whim or fancy, is an awe inspiring and instructive sight.
It is hideous to encapsulate this high virtue as noble because “they sacrificed themselves for others.” It is a pernicious lie to say that the value of these men and women lies in their disregard for themselves. Their value lies in the freely chosen correlation between their identification of their values and the truth of fundamental human value. This is right and beautiful human action in avid defense of that which makes humanity possible. These men and women are not engaged in self immolation for others, and if they were it would not be virtuous or admirable. These men and women are the defenders of the true good, a good that makes their own and all others' moral actions possible.
To emphasize that 'caring nothing for one's self' is the key feature making Veterans great is horribly offensive and simply another device of the ideologies threatening America. These men and women are not great for offering or living their lives for anyone other than their own selves. No. They are great because they have recognized a great good, a good on which true human life depends, and have not looked to others to secure it, but have acted to secure and preserve that which they rightly value, with great courage and great honor. Those who have died in this great task are not to be remembered for valuing their own lives so little, but for valuing human life so greatly. God bless them.