How Corporate Liberals Win By Roderick on July 1, 2012 27 Bill Scher confesses that mainstream liberalism is essentially corporatist/fascist but he thinks the bug is a feature. (CHT Christopher Morris.) Conflation Debate, Left and Right, Left-Libertarian
Strange that he fails to see this state-business cooperation might undermine the whole New Deal and social liberalism generally. Ah, but nothing will stand in the way of us. The ends justify the means, never fear. His argument is apparently “Since the corporations have been enabled to such a degree (by the government) the government has no choice but to bargain with them.”
Well, it all makes sense if you just recognize that the first and overwhelmingly important purpose of political liberalism is to get more liberals elected to political office. What does it matter if corporate backscratching and logrolling vitiates any possible progress toward liberal society or the emancipation of the working class? The point is that it got Roosevelt reelected, and kept Democrats in control of both houses of Congress for decades.
And how should we combat liberal-corporatism (aside from the use of agorism)? The anarcho-corporatism of dear leader Charles Koch, of course!
well, an obvious necessary condition is the eradication of the monopoly privileges. But even as Benjamin Tucker noted a century ago, that may not serve as a sufficient condition. Tucker implied a serious redistribution problem as a consequence of the “trusts.” I’m in agreement. It’s far, far worse today…
A loaded question and a non sequitur in two sentences. That’s a slight improvement I guess, so congratulations.
A non sequitur? You don’t think the strategy employed by Lord Koch will help bring about statelessness? If I’m not mistaken, (very) broadly speaking, the idea is to build alternative institutions outside the system and to dismantle the system from within. You may think that outside-the-system activity is sufficient, but, if I remember correctly, you’re all for (the right kind of) inside-the-system activity as well. That’s Lord Koch’s aim. To control politicians and so indirectly push legislation that will dismantle the state (or at least make it impotent) from within.
All hail the Koch! All hail the Koch! All hail the Koch!
There’s one of the false premises behind your loaded question. He’s neither building alternative institutions “outside” the system nor attempting to dismantle the system from within. He’s no more an anarcho-capitalist than Obama is. They’re both fully devoted to the One Big Corporation*, even if Koch would prefer a somewhat more egalitarian relationship between the imperial throne and its vassals than Obama would.
*That is, the government and all of its “private-” and “public-” sector functionaries.
I’m not opposed to working within the system on moral grounds or anything. I just think its a waste of time. (I believe Roderick feels similarly on the matter, from what I remember). Aside from that I judge such efforts on the same grounds I judge efforts made outside the system. I don’t see why I have to approve of all inside-the-system efforts to avoid some idiotic charge of hypocrisy, anymore than I have to approve of all outside-the-system efforts. Of course they amount to the same thing in the big picture, since there are many oppressive systems (and would-be systems) in the world that oppose each other, and supporting one of them places you on the outside of its opponents’ systems. Primitivists, Jihadists, white nationalists, black nationalists, radical feminists, communists (anarchist and otherwise), anarcho-capitalists, Dominionists, and all the rest of them would be quite happy to have their own sovereign territory in which they could shovel people about like so many human resources. I don’t have to support any of them just because they’re ‘outside’ of the system that currently dominates my geographical location.
Do you seriously mean to suggest that Lord Koch is a statist?
Well, MBH was for a long time trying to convince us that Obama was a stealth antistatist, so I don’t see why he should balk at Koch’s being one too. Heck, maybe all our rulers are stealth antistatists! They’re just waiting for the trigger word. Unfortunately, it’s been mislaid.
Yes, Roderick, but I have seen the light! Obama is a statist. My mistake. So my allegiance has switched to our dear leader Charles Koch.
I’m sure you’re smarter than JOR, Roderick. Aren’t you willing to acknowledge that Lord Koch intends to undermine the state?
I have no idea what Lord Koch imagines as his ultimate aim.
You would if He were a mortal man. All men ultimately aim, or attempt to aim, towards eudaimonia (in spite of misconceptions that prevent sound aim). But, clearly, you recognize this inclination does not hold for Lord Koch, who is most certainly more than a man.
But ultimate aims aside, since we mere humans cannot comprehend the logic of Lord Koch. We can at least discern whether He is a statist or not. Don’t you agree that we can discern whether He is a statist or not?
What does Charles Koch have to do with anything? Why are you hijacking a thread with this irrelevant nonsense?
My responses are relevant to Rad Geek’s remark about the use of political liberalism. I’m arguing for the use of political libertarianism (in addition to agorism, of course).
I simply want us to acknowledge that Lord Koch is, as far as bringing about statelessness goes, our Partner-in-Chief. Why don’t we just admit that Lord Koch — praise His Name — fits the criteria for the ideal agent (referenced here).
I suspect it’s because some of us are afraid that doing so will suggest an all-too-tight alliance with the Republican Party. We’ve been able to write it off in light of their idiotic social and foreign policies. But it’s becoming clear that the social policies are just bones they throw to their religious “base” to maintain the coalition. And the foreign policies have been determined independent of either party. So, it should be obvious, for the purposes of political libertarianism, that we embrace our alliance with the Republican Party! And embrace our dear leader Charles Koch, the true power broker of the Party! When he and Murray Rothbard founded the Cato Institute together, they would have had nothing less in mind!
GOP! GOP! GOP!
If being a statist is a matter of overt actions, then he is a statist.
If being a statist is a matter of publicly affirmed beliefs, then he is not a statist.
If being a statist is a matter of private beliefs, then I do not know whether he is a statist.
You may say: how could he even conceivably be a private-belief non-statist if he is an overt-action statist? Doesn’t a belief have to be action-guiding to count as a genuine belief?
The answer is yes, but the path from belief to action can be complicatedly snarled.
In any case, I am less interested in Koch’s inner thoughts, and indeed in his overt actions, than you are.
No, they aren’t. They seem to be based on a fantasy that the remarks were made by someone who has anything less, or anything different, to say about the purposes or functions of political conservatism, or political libertarianism, or whatever this rambling digression and facile sarcasm are supposed to be about.
But I don’t. I have exactly the same thing to say about those. That is (part of the reason) why I do not waste my time on political candidates or political strategies. Here, as elsewhere, you seem to be spending a lot of time elaborately ridiculing positions that nobody present actually holds or endorses. What you think you gain from this, I don’t know.
Come on. By that standard, you-working-for-a-state-university makes you a statist.
And by that standard, you yourself may be a statist for all we know…
Yes, ‘seem’ is the operative word, isn’t it?
Say that you and I are standing in a forrest. You hold your arms out and say, “These trees in front of me are all rotten.” I respond by holding my arms out in the opposite direction and say, “These trees are all rotten too!”
If you were to respond, as you are here, by calling my proposition a digression, I would think you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘digression’.
If you were to say, as you are here, “I have nothing less and nothing more to say about those trees as I do about these trees,” then I think most folks would consider your proposition an instance of high-level douchebaggery.
You don’t sincerely question my loyalty to our dear leader do you?
How so? Koch is a statist by the overt-action standard because his actions actively promote statist politicians and policies.
Again, how so? My ignorance about Koch’s private beliefs is not based on any doctrine as to the inherent inaccessibility of private beliefs.
That’s simply false. Lord Koch only supports politicians that sign, and policies consistent with, Master Norquist’s tax pledge. And Master Norquist’s overt, explicit, stated aim is, “to shrink [the government] to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
Do you seriously want us to question whether Master Norquist is a statist or not? He could privately be pro-government? Come along now…
Note that it is an anti-tax pledge rather than an anti-spending pledge. That is, his primary concern is not wanting to pay for government; failure to dismantle it isn’t seen as a particularly grave violation vs expecting it to be paid for.
Right. Cutting taxes without cutting spending — i.e., fueling the deficit and leaving it to the next Democratic administration to pay for it and take the blame for raising taxes — is an old Republican trick. Moreover:
a) It’s not even an anti-tax pledge; it’s an anti-tax-increase pledge.
b) I see no evidence that Norquist is really serious in wanting that small a government. He’s exaggerating for rhetorical effect (and because he doesn’t take seriously anyone who wants less government than he does, so he can think of himself as an extreme anti-government type with a straight face). He’s said his ideal is a government that’s 8% of GDP — which may be in-your-face radical libertarianism by Beltway standards, but is grotesquely huge by libertarian standards. And even that is more of a macho-flash than a serious commitment; the pols that he (and Koch) actually support are big-spending corporatists.
c) Wanting a government small enough to be able to drown it in the bathtub isn’t the same thing as wanting to drown it in the bathtub. Remember the full quote: “I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
MBH seems to have a tiny conflationist problem. (Specifically, he’s a left-conflationist assuming the role of a right-conflationist. Why, I’m not sure.)
All role-playing aside, I have no conflationist problem. I know that state-corporatism and freed markets aren’t compatible, that neither one represents the failures or successes of the other in any way. I simply reject them both.
Norquist doesn’t say that a government sized 8% of GDP is ideal, he says that, “We functioned in this country with government at eight percent of GDP for a long time and quite well.” Norquist also says that he wants to bring the government back to the point “up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over. The income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that.” In this interview with Jon Stewart — when pressed on the matter of his pledge as silent on spending — Norquist argues that the pledge is just the first step (towards what?). He even says that the pledge’s function (for the signers) is to be able to foreclose their own state/special-interest dealings.
If I say to you, “I don’t want big government. I just want a court system that favors the federal-level over the state-level in every decision,” then you’d (rightly) think I was being silly. My two wants are virtually incompatible. Such a court system will all-but-ensure big government. Likewise, if you say to me, “I don’t want to dismantle government. I just want it easily dismantle-able,” then I’d (rightly) think you’re being silly. Your two wants are virtually incompatible. Such a government will be dismantled by the first organization that stands to gain from it.
But do you think the politicians and policies that Koch and/or Norquist support have any genuine tendency to reduce the state? The fact that they hum reduce-the-state tunes (whether insincerely or self-deludingly, I don’t much care) while boosting the careers of corporatist hacks seems about as immaterial as Marxist dictatorships mouthing the promise of a withering state, or Crusader armies mouthing “thou shalt not kill/steal/covet etc.” and “turn the other cheek” as they robbed, murdered, and raped their way across the Middle East.
Absolutely! But not directly. You may be, most likely are, correct that the right-wing “thought” leaders and power brokers are insincere or self-deluding. But the fact is that more and more of their constituents are dancing to, and deciphering, the tune the leaders/brokers are humming. The result has been, continues to be (!), an insurgency within the Republican Party that is both anti-taxation and anti-spending. The proof is that they’ve gone a long way towards crippling the legislative body of government. How does that not count as reducing the state?
It may even be true — I can almost say it is certainty true — that the “thought” leaders and the power brokers are freaking out over the potential for this dancing/deciphering to prevent them from playing their same old games. For two reasons: (1) the less legislation, the less state-corporatist control. (2) the more overt the anti-government sentiment/rhetoric, the more uncertain the general election prospects for their candidates. The problem for those humming is that they only know this one tune!
I say it’s immaterial whether or not the “thought” leaders and power brokers believe what they’re humming. It’s the humming’s function that matters. And in the attempted counterexamples you listed via analogies, the humming was the justification, not the animating agent as it is today.
And yet thousands upon thousands of pages of legislation continue to issue from this supposedly crippled Congress.
That happens periodically. It frothed up under Clinton, then died down under Bush. Now it froths up under Obama. If Romney wins I imagine it’ll die down again. Republicans (both the politicians and the grass-roots citizens) always put on their anti-government hats when Democrats are in power, and then stow them in the closet when Republicans are in power. Democrats, mutatis mutandis, do likewise.
I think your scenario is either wildly optimistic or wildly pessimistic, depending on how one evaluates the outcome you project. It all looks like business as usual to me.
I don’t say that the mindless dancing crippled Congress. But the prerequisite incantations have functioned to reduce its operational capacity. This chart presents empirical data that shows we’re not dealing with business as usual.