Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Strange Prisoners and the Ends of Mythology

"Individual responsibility" is code for the worst kind of social engineering: libertarian ideology. The only ideology that has no basis in reality, libertarianism attempts to enforce a dogma of selfishness without the least amount of effort toward understanding "self" and the "noble lie" of its false foundation. Perhaps Rand came closest to a justification of libertarianism, the alleged moral vindication of capitalism. But she, too, failed to account for the fact that no human is responsible for herself, that no human springs fully formed from Zeus's head, that every being's identity is riddled through and though with alterity.

More crucially, capitalism itself is predicated upon the belief--and it is only a belief because there is no empirical evidence to suggest that this economic theory would actually work in the real world--that while individuals unfettered by governmental constraints invest private capital in the production or distribution of goods, a free market would determine prices. Individuals--not corporations, not collectives. No government has ever existed that did not restrain the actions of its subjects. But whether "private capital" or "public good," it's all mere mumbo-jumbo. No free market has ever existed; some exterior force is always exerted upon the market. The so-called invisible hand that guides the market is in turn guided by not-so-invisible political machinations. Capitalism, then, is as much a specter as communism; it simply has no substance.

Listen to the daily economic report. Never is savings a factor in the strength of the economy. Never. Except insofar as economists bemoan the fact that people are saving instead of spending/buying. The Japanese economy has been "stagnant" for decades for precisely that reason, despite the fact that most Japanese citizens have millions of yen stashed in their accounts. The economy is "good" only when people are spending their money, even if they spend instead of save for retirement, thereby "strengthening" the national economy while necessitating that the government supply some sort of retirement entitlement program. "Economic freedom," then, becomes doublespeak for enslavement to the system, for we are not free to do with our money as we see fit. Instead, we must spend our way into serfdom. Take that, Hayek!

Questions to ask your representatives--the people who suck the teat of the government while both defunding programs that benefit Americans, ensuring nobody else gets to taste that sweet nectar, and embezzling tax money into their paychecks:

  • What if the debt crisis were really a revenue crisis?
  • What if taxes were really investments?

We can take libertarianism seriously only when those who campaign in its name refuse their government salaries and benefits.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Twenty-One

Twenty-one years ago he was traveling by train from Warsaw to Szczecin with his friends in the Corps. It was late and after a bottle or two of Żubrówka. He wanted to doze, and he somehow convinced his friends to sing to him "Asleep" by the Smiths: "Sing me to sleep. Sing me to sleep. I'm tired and I want to go to bed." It was in the simple beauty of that moment that the thought presented itself to him: leaving Poland and the Corps could be a chance worth taking. He could return. To Texas. To Stephen. To the very possibility of a long-term relationship filled with beauty and love and respect: "I don't want to wake up on my own anymore. Don't feel bad for me. I want you to know deep in the cell of my heart I really want to go."


There is another world.
There is a better world.