Sunday, April 22, 2012

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.