Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Charles Hugh Smith: An Ideologue Who Fails To Acknowledge His Own Ideology

I will always remain a big fan of CHS, but I can no longer take him seriously.  Today's post was yet another foray into righteous, self-delusional rationalist arrogance, which he labeled as "too practical" but which I label as shortsighted, foolish, and just as ideological and "cargo cult" as the right/left strawmen he sets up as his opponents.

All I can conclude is that CHS is a true believer in capitalism.  And it is this belief in captialism that blinds him to the fact that it is captialism itself that he decries. 

For example, what he describes as the "Savior State" is the exact same thing that Jamie Galbraith describes as the "Predator State."  Where both men recognize that the [insert perjorative adjective here] State is detrimental to the individual, at least Galbraith rejects the lie that all our workers need is better training and education.  Any fool can see that if the jobs aren't there, being better trained and educated can't earn you a job.  CHS isn't burdened by that kind of insight.

The worst part is that CHS seems to be angling his attack on the state as if he were an anarchist, but his recommendation (indentured servitude to the state) seems certain to entrench the power of the state over the individual.  Moreover, if his twisted concept of "workfare" was workable, it could not be allowed to "crowd out" the highly skilled labor of the private sector contractors to whom the state currently ourtsources.   In other words, there is no way the powers that be would allow the indentured servants to gain skills that empower them to compete against the private cartels.

But let's overlook that naivete and focus on the inanity of his recommendation.  His complaint about welfare, which is spot-on-- i.e., that it atomizes the individual and detaches him from society-- is not adressed by involuntary servitude, which should be anathema to the free-thinking, Austrian-leaning libertarian that CHS portrays himself to be.  The kind of workfare that CHS advocates would do little more than create an American caste of untouchables who would never be able to attain the kind of job that they might be capable of simply because they fell below the line one time. 

You might as well make welfare recipients sew a star of David on their work clothes, Chuck.  But, of course, to you the vast majority of Americans are worthless whining fools deserving of all that's coming to them.

The right to earn you own way through life is a human right.  The welfare state was constructed to perpetuate the canibalism of capitalism while denying that basic human right.  The recipients of welfare are not saved by the state but the prey of the state.  They're the coppertops of this particular instantiation of the matrix.

I'm glad the man is taking some time off.  I'd suggest he go away for a year or more and get in touch with his inner humanity.  It is apparent to me that he's just another rationalist Jedi who has become enamored by the Dark Side.

People matter, Chuck.  Stop pretending that everybody but you is a dick.

Oh, by the way, here is the link to his latest drivel.

To be fair, and to defend my continuing respect for the man as a rational thing, here is his post from yesterday.  He thinks much more clearly when he focuses on process instead of outcomes.