Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Ghosts of Capitalism

The days of paleocommunism, best summarized as the crusade to abolish private property, have come to an end; but the spectre of this diabolical ideology has outlived its bodily manifestation in the worldly entities of the Soviet Union and Maoist China. Thus much of doctrinaire Marxism as a guide to understanding the hard left is obsolete; though today's leftist is still driven to control property as a proxy to controlling people (this is the secret of materialism - control resources and you control people at their basest level of needs), he proceeds by twisting the minds of the hapless masses into demanding enslavement rather than by vulgar outright control of material forces by direct coercion.

The primary propaganda tool of today's leftist is altruism, as Ayn Rand deftly points out. Drawing on insights derived from the schizophrenic philosophy of Nietzsche (who was both an individualist and a Social Darwinistic collectivist of sorts), altruism is but a veil for the left's intrinsic power lust and instinct to control the masses. Altruism is what the masses relate to, channeled through the Judaeo-Christian culture of sacrifice, and according to Nietzsche, is the internalization of the slave mentality. Altruism is the ideological expression of mankind's instinct to survive oppression.

Today's left is much more animated by Nietzschean than Marxian precepts, as Allan Bloom pointed out. Elitists who gravitate to "leftist" propaganda for their dictatorial designs are nonetheless compelled to shut down freedom, which they perceive as the rule of the planet by chaotic mobs. Their lip service to democracy is just that - lip service; for democracy is foreplay for the spiritual rape of authoritarianism.

The remnant of Marxian thought is still expounded in the apparent mission of equalizing environments and stripping them of variation, in order to alleviate the biological strain of adaptation. This requires crushing all values and other ideological or mental motivators, thereby removing all obstacles to conditioning men for a docile geniality to rule. This is an adaptation of Nietszchean nihilism; the purposeful inculcation of a state of man that Nietzsche himself loathed.

"But surely this is an exaggeration, a caricature of the well-intentioned left!" cries the indignant 'well-meaning' leftist. Well, is it? "So how is such a nefarious agenda exposed?" the fellow-traveling altruist can be imagined to ask, though in reality he never bothers to unpack his ideas nor probe his superficial acceptance of them.

In response, it is more than logic that leads us to the conclusion that today's left is as duplicitous as he is insidious; we must proceed from the assumption of 'the best' as that which is most conducive to human life.

If capitalism, for instance, is by its nature exploitation, then let us imagine a world without capitalism. In a world without money, how do men live?

Do they trade the fruits of their labor in kind, by engaging in the primitive practice of barter? No. This does not go far enough for the leftist; it is really the nullification of self-interest that he is after.

Thus we, those who are meant to be slaves, are bombarded with the value system of altruism, which is a term that derives from its roots alter or "other," and ism, meaning "ideology." Altruism is living for others. This is a perfect ideology to instill in slaves who are to be ruled.

It is a profound truth that if the left truly cared for man he would not advocate altruism or oppose capitalism. By profound, I mean it is impenetrable to today's leftist, who only imagines other worlds and does not care to live in the one we're in.

Nonetheless, we will make a vain tribute to the left to point out that the impoverished nations of the world are not in want for their exploitation by capitalist entities, but by their want of capitalism. Ayn Rand put it best when she stated that the world is truly divided into the haves and have-nots: Those who have freedom and those who are in want of it.

Capitalism provides people with a way to help themselves by offering them the opportunity to sell their labor for the means to live. We must assume that nothing is owed us upon our births, by the State or any other collective, in order to follow the argument for capitalism. Furthermore, we should acknowledge, with Marcus Aurelius, the inherent virtue of labor, for the act of creating and producing edifies man.

So we are at pains to point out to the leftist true believer that the areas of the planet most removed from capitalism are the most impoverished. I will retract this statement if one can show me both the causality of man's impoverishment by capitalism, or how the mere act of labor is exploitation, particularly when it is performed for remuneration. Perhaps working to have the fruits of one's labor completely confiscated and replaced with scraps from the redistributionists is an improvement in mankind's condition? Without capital, would exploitation cease to exist? No. Exploitation would be direct and brutal, devoid of any understanding of the contractual, mutually beneficial relationship of the creators to the producers. It would be rule by parasites. An economy without private property and the allowance of the pursuit of self-interest is naked tyranny, which is plainly seen in absence of the internalized slave morality of altruism.

It is obvious to anyone having read the Ricardian economists that trade offers the means to distribute resources according to the demands of those people who desire them most and are able to substitute value for value. Socialism, on the other hand, dictates where resources are allocated according to the preferences of elites who fundamentally utilize the blunt weapon of force to extract them. While capitalism is the most benevolently democratic system of economic distribution, socialism is the most primitively despotic. Reality transcends rhetoric.

So how have leftists convinced so many of the merits of socialism? Simply by vilifying capitalism and the sum of world history with empty "critiques," leaving socialism as the vacuous default. Mises showed us that vigorous and just critiques of socialism are extremely rare, and virtually absent in the universities.

Thus the hapless schleps who fancy themselves among the exclusive elite in the universities lap up the dispensations of their professor-father figures with almost unreflective ardor. They believe that because they are being "critical" of the broader culture, they are truly being critical. But unguided by reason or logic, their mode of "critique" is prostrate, infantile emotionalism at best; and aimless, reactionary opposition, to anything that undergirds (prosperous) Western civilization, at worst.

It is important to understand that today's post-modern leftist lives in a world where values and principles are but obstacles to be leveled and words are but tools to be employed to control his fellow man. Reality being illusory to the leftist, we can extend this argument to point out that money is but an instrument of de facto rule as well.

One might say America's current monetary system is phenomenological; that is, it is based on the ideology that transience in the moment is the essence of reality. The witting or unwitting adoption of this point of view by leftists and their pragmatist hangers-on is what drives them to laughter whenever an economic realist mentions "sound money" or proposes specie as an alternative to fiat (i.e. imagined) capital.

Let us abolish capital, says the leftist, but maintain its ghost; let us give these conservatives their tradition of exchanging labor for capital, and we shall leave the body intact while gutting the moral basis and reality of capitalism. What will remain will be the rotting stinking corpse of fascism to be 'miraculously' reincarnated into socialism in the world-historical rapture. Needless to say, the future communist overlords will pour the dirt over their faces.


Reaganx said...

Nietzsche did indeed anticipate postmodernism in some respects but I don’t think he was THE major influence on the New Left. While I reject his irrationalist and subjectivist tendencies, he deserves much credit as a co-founder of egoism - a unique and unprecedented ethical theory in history - and one of the first thinkers to subject the altruist-irrationalist Christianity to a devastating criticism. Previously, Christianity had been taken for granted and generally praised by mainstream intellectuals but Nietzsche put an end to that. That was really a tremendous achievement. Perhaps Nietzscheanism was an (unsuccessful) project to dethrone Kantianism - remember that it is Kant who rejected knowledge to make room for (Christian) faith.

Lemming Master said...

Cited in "Egoism in Nietzsche and Rand" linked in the article is Nietzsche's opinion of Kant:

"Nietzsche calls Immanuel Kant,
the ruling philosopher of Germany in the nineteenth-century, “that
most deformed concept-cripple of all time” (TI, 'What the Germans
Lack,' 7) and—given Kant’s 'abhorrent scholasticism' (TI, 'Skirmishes
of an Untimely Man,' 49), that is, his predilection for spinning
neutered, rationalistic webs of ideas to snare the unwary—a 'disaster
of a spider' (A, 11)." (250)