Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Economics Was Once Known as "Political Economy." The Name Change Did Not Change Its Political Nature.

Where political history anchors our expectations, and political philosophy sets the function by which we compare what we observe to those expectations, political economy creates hysteresis that prevents wild swings at the output of that function, providing the elites time to respond and avoid being deposed.  In this sense, economics remain inherently political and remains rightly termed "political economy."

Human beings are really quite simple and easy to control.  What makes each individual unique does not render him immune to the control mechanisms that have been tried-and-true for millennia.  Everything modern elites knew was taught by Aristotle to Alexander.

Philosophy Is a Wolf In Sheep's Clothing. It Pretends to Describe, But It Actually Prescribes (and Proscribes).

Philosophers, in describing the world as it ought to be, inevitably set the function by which we compare what we observe to what we expect.  Once enough people accept a philosophy as correct, it defines what is acceptable and, thus, prescribes our present.

In this sense, all philosophy is political and properly termed "political philosophy."

History Is Written First. The Victory Comes Later.

In the ancient world, false histories were routinely forged to justify the then present-day policies of the elites.  The reason is simple and remains true to this day: once enough people accept false history as truth, that history anchors the expectations with which we interpret our lives.  In this sense, history is inherently political and is more properly termed "political history."

You Have to Believe in Nothing Before You Can Believe in Something

The times we live in are trying, and trying times make each of us question what we believe to be true.

I suggest we go farther and throw everything we believe away and rebuild from scratch.  Only by embracing nihilism can we be free of it.  Only by accepting that the reality we've been force fed does not, in fact, exist can we begin the process of building the reality we desire.  For so long as we cling to the false beliefs that chain us, we can never be free.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A New Leaf

I can no longer expend effort in being critical of others.  While I believe in many ways that my critiques of people like CHS are of value, I cannot overcome the cognitive biases of even the most free of "free thinkers" through reason alone.  A shock to the system is necessary.

A founding principle of the proposed shock is the acceptance of the fact that history, philosophy and economics all must be introduced by the word "political."  History is "political history."  Philosophy is "political philosophy."  And economics is "political economics."    Not one of these disciplines is a science, nor is it interested in truth.  Each exists to consolidate and exert power, something that the vast majority of the practitioners of each discipline remains ignorant of by design.  As Aristotle reassured Alexander, what is taught to the masses is not what is taught to the elites.  Indeed, I'd argue that what is taught to the masses is what allows the elites to be elite, to control the masses.  Aristotle invited the subservience of the masses even as those he personally tutored became despots that were the antithesis of Aristotle's professed conception of virtue.   Whether you term this as Mirkowski's "Double Truth" or Nietzsche's "Double Lie," the systems of control present one reality to the masses and its opposite to the elites.

If You Use Their Frame, The Game Remains the Same

Charles Hugh Smith has a new book out called Resistance, Revolution, Liberation.  I purchased the Kindle version within days of the book's release.

While there are many good things to say about the book, I was left disappointed.  Here is why: how you frame a problem dictates the solution, and if you accept the frame of those who created the problem, you necessarily are limited to the "solutions" they offer.  As Robert Green states in Law 31 of The 48 Laws of Power, "Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards You Deal.":
The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets. Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose. Put them on the horns of a dilemma: They are gored wherever they turn.
Resistance, Revolution, Liberation accepts the "capitalist" frame without ever questioning it and ultimately fails for that very reason.  CHS "solutions" are nothing new and, therefore, remain well within acceptable permutations of the various options we are allowed.  The one bright spot is that he encourages actively seeking change, but that is more than counterbalanced by the fact that the change he describes would just put us back to December 22, 1913, a time that is not nearly as romantic as he believes it to be.

To be fair, CHS thinks he questions the frame, but all he is questioning is the respective framing of the current instances of "Left" and "Right" ideology, not the frame of "capitalism" itself, which rests on the three fictitious commodities of money, land and labor (h/t Karl Polyani).  For example, CHS asserts that private property should be inviolate, but he does not question what properly is private property.  CHS likewise asserts the centrality of the marketplace to humanity, but he does not explore how the modern marketplace was originally created through the process of enclosure that privatized the commons and forced peasants into labor at subsistence wages, thus exalting money over labor.  Capitalism thus relies upon the State's enforcement of the private creation of a scarcity of money and land to force an abundance of labor.

Capitalism is feudalism is communism.  There are no differences between any of these systems other than the labels applied and the ostensible beneficiaries.  The real beneficiaries remain the same.  And so do the real victims.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

For Capitalism to Survive, Crime Must Be Legalized

Jesse has a post up entitled "For Capitalism to Survive, Crime Must Not Pay."

Jesse points us to an article by Bruce Judson, who posits:
Capitalism is not an abstract idea. It is an economic system with a distinct set of underlying principles that must exist in order for the system to work. One of these principles is equal justice. In its absence, parties will stop entering into transactions that create overall wealth for our society.
What a rube.  Capitalism as we know it today is premised on legalized theft designed to give the illusion of voluntary participation in a system designed to expropriate value created by the masses.  If parties stop entering into transactions that create overall wealth for society, those at the top of the pyramid will just take the wealth for themselves, a truth that we see all too often these days.

The brutal application of power is what this is all about.  The theory of capitalism was designed to mollify the idealistic intellectual who typified the classical liberal of the 18th century, who could not but help to notice the exploitation of the masses by the elite.  Hayek and his neoliberal ilk just updated the approach to account for the counter-cultural socialist and communist movements, which themselves proved to be nothing more than the secular Protestants to the secular Catholics of classical liberalism, merely seeking to recast the power structure in their own images.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Toby Uses Facts to Refute CHS' Horrible "Plan B"

As I explained back in September of last year here, CHS's concept of forced work for welfare equals slavery.

Apparently, Germany had as similar idea as Smith, and as Toby explains:

The money he needs to financially sustain his chosen path he draws from the state under the Hartz IV programme. This programme does not permit you to work as you choose, but rather forces any type of work, often for €1 an hour, on those in need of its ‘largesse’. If you don’t work, you don’t eat, and the state gets to define, tightly, what is work, and what is not.
And how will the state define "work"?  To benefit corporations, of course!
Hartz IV is so draconian it actually contravenes the German constitution, the first line of which reads, “Human dignity is inviolable; it is the obligation of all state authority to respect and protect it.” Hartz IV cannot respect human dignity, since it proceeds from the highly dubious premise that any work at all, no matter how poorly paid, meaningless or socially harmful, is better than ‘lazing around doing nothing.’ Working as a sweeper at a sweet factory is work, raising your children is not. Hence, a person who signs on the dotted line of the “Eingliederungsvereinbarung” (“incorporation agreement”—actually, it’s not an agreement at all; refusal to sign incurs sanctioning, whereupon the contract is forced into effect anyway, just as a prisoner is forced to comply with prison rules he has not freely consented to) must take whatever work is given, or be sanctioned (which begins with a 30% reduction of income). Signing this ‘agreement’ also means you forgo your constitutional right to dignity (and other rights) set out in the constitution. Being sanctioned three times typically means becoming homeless and penniless, yet still you must adhere to the ‘agreement’ you may not even have signed. The numbers of homeless are rising in Germany, while, just as in the Great Depression, the stores are full.