Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Politicians Will Always Mobilize People Against Danger

If you are totally frustrated by the Obama era and just can't take it any more, I have bad news for you.

Politics is never going to get any better. That's because, on my theory, politics and government are always and everywhere engaged in one thing and one thing only.

Politics and government are in the business of rallying people against an existential danger, and then leading them to make war on it and defeat it.

It's pretty obvious how this works with respect to so-called primitive tribes. They occupy land with access to food supplies and their lives depend on defending that territory against other tribes that might also want to occupy that territory and feed off its benison.

The agricultural age was no different. Each feudal lord was the master of some food-growing territory. As Hegel points out, this Master didn't actually grow any food. He was the Master that put the food-growing Slaves to work. He dominated the Slaves and took a big cut of the food in return for living under his protection. The Master was the Protector in a cold hard world.

But things changed with the growth to dominance of the exchange economy. In the old days exchange only happened with high-value objects. Basic commodities were produced, typically, by the same people that consumed them. Now that has changed. Nearly everyone now sells their labor on the labor market for money to purchase the basic commodities instead of make them at home or on the farm.

Now my idea is that a wise and compassionate elite, brimming with education and knowledge about the new exchange economy, would have helped the workers and peasants used to truckling to a lord and experiencing the market at arms length. They would have taught them how to thrive in the labor market, how to switch from a subordinate cultural role as a peasant to a responsible role as a responsible individual that goes out into the world looking for a way to contribute rather than fortifying his patch of ground against marauders.

But in fact our elite, educated as it is, has not followed that path. Starting with the Class of 1848 it has encouraged first the rising working class and then women, blacks, gays and more in the culture of victimhood, to stay as People of the Subordinate Self. It has done this by convincing all these groups that they face existential peril unless they enlist in the liberal political army.

So everything has changed with the new exchange economy and yet nothing has change, because politics is still about mobilizing against the existential foe.

All politics reflects this dynamic and always will. There is no warrant for political power and the mobilization of private resources into the service of the state unless there is an existential peril. So modern ruling classes have copied the methods of the old regime. They terrify their people with the dangers awaiting them, and they offer themselves as the only means to fight the danger.

So modern politics oscillates between fighting the dangers from external enemies -- Kaisers, F├╝hrers, Commies, Maos, and now Musliams -- and fighting the dangers from internal enemies -- capitalists, CEOs, racists, sexists, homophobes, polluters, and climate deniers.

Frankly, I'm in the camp for fighting the external enemies. Most of them really are an existential threat, although not perhaps as bad as the war party has advertised.

My problem is with the fight against capitalists, CEOs, and the rest. Sorry Charlie, but I just don't think that they are real threats to civilization as we know it. Capitalists and CEOs, properly restrained from crony deals with politicians, have raised us from $3 per day to $100 per day. Racists, sexists, and homophobes are just an excuse for the ruling class to keep their supporters anxious and frightened.

Then, of course, there is the whole menu of free stuff, from pensions to health care to education. The idea is that the average person cannot provide for themselves; only government has the resources to provide pension, health care, and education. Sorry Charlie, but I think that having the government run that stuff is the dumbest idea since bloodletting. I believe that the royal road to human dignity points towards ordinary people doing their own thing with regard to child education and old age. But what do I know?

I do think that the politics and the government of the present ruling class will go down in history as the Great Injustice, the most heartless and cruel manipulation of ordinary people of the last millennium.

That's because I think the political philosophy of our ruling class denies the ordinary person the dignity to order their lives on their own without a power-crazed activist from the Circumlocution Office breathing down their neck to teach them How Not to Do It.

The whole point of social animals is to do as much as possible without force and domination. And humans are the most social of animals. Just ask the Cajun Navy presently self-organizing to rescue people in the Louisiana floods. I wonder what Walmart is doing to help.

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