Yesterday I posted a great video in which an Irish writer, Gearoid O Colmain, reporting from France, explained beautifully what is happening in the world today. He really nails it and puts it succinctly, so I didn’t want to put a caveat on my endorsement of his report, but there is one thing that’s been rankling me.
Colmain explains that what’s happening today is the work of a power elite whose goal is total dominance of all the people and places of the world. He further states that this is the inevitable result of “financial capitalism.” I understand what he means by that term…it’s really an extension of (or the core of) the military-industrial complex, which I have clunkily defined as the financial-defense-energy corporate-governmental continuum.
Colmain is right that the financial side of the M-I-C is becoming (or has been since its inception) the main power in the world. My objection is to using the term “capitalism” in this context. I was really on the verge of giving up on trying to salvage the term capitalism because it feels like a losing battle, but I can’t. I think it’s just too important to distinguish between the economic concept of capitalism, which includes free enterprise, free markets, mom & pop entrepreneurship, competition, the pricing mechanism and property rights and is the source of all surplus in the world, from the crony-centered fascistic capture of institutions, governments, quasi-government entities, think-tanks, academia, the media, central banks, etc., which is the source of much of the suffering in the world today.
As a sincere libertarian, I think it’s critical to distinguish between capitalism and fascism and I believe sincere socialists should do the same, that way we can discuss ideology separate from abuse of power. We are most certainly on the same side in recognizing and fighting the deceitful and criminal actions at the top, differing ideologies notwithstanding.
Ideologically, libertarians and socialists disagree fundamentally on the basic morals of society. It’s the classic choice between Platonic collectivism and Aristotelian individualism. What is the basic social unit, the individual or society itself? I believe human nature dictates that the individual, from whom all action originates, must be recognized as the central figure or incentives for action would not align with the best outcomes. This equates with what I recognize as morality. The alternative moral ideology, on the other hand, holds that social health is a goal that can be realized collectively through central planning which can ensure the greatest good for the most people.
I simply disagree. Ron Paul said it best in his farewell speech to Congress:
I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things:” the best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.
For this reason, I continue to defend all liberties–economic, personal and civil–that contribute to personal fulfillment and success, and most important, to a just society, bearing in mind, however, that many times these principles are abused by left and right to promote unjust policies or bestow privilege.
Unfortunately, I believe the collectivist ideology and its requisite faith in the state blinds its adherents to the fact that these unjust policies and privileges would not be possible if they were perpetrated on an unwilling public without the force of government to back them up. Could McDonnell-Douglas send F-15s to bomb Syria without Assad’s permission if it did not have the endorsement and funding of the US government? Could JP Morgan Chase have cleaned out your bank account to help bail them out if TARP had not been passed to do the same thing though the IRS? (Even Jon Corzine, who did exactly that, got away with it only because of his government connections.)
Killing and stealing without consequence is strictly the prerogative of institutions that enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the public. The evils of so-called “financial capitalism” could not exist without captive institutions.