Meditations on Politics and Society
Well, Trump is in, and the country did not fall apart. No constitutional crisis, no war from Russia, and no market plunge.
So put away the tin-foil hat, cancel your subscription to zero-hedge, turn off the television and breathe. Seriously, breathe in, breathe out. Have a martini, walk the dog, do whatever you need to do to calm the down. Please. He is not the boogeyman, he is a flawed human being; and we are a nation of imperfect people if you have not noticed. We must not judge the plebeians; they do not know any better. The left led them like sheep to graze in a consumerist trance, and the right just herded them up. Make no mistake--politics as we have come to know it--is over.
The gig is up, so now think about it for a minute.
Today, perhaps more than any other day, we must consider our politics--and question what we believe to be right and genuine about democracy. We must ask ourselves if it is endangered--and that is simple. Are you still free? Are we the people responsible for liberty's safe keeping or not? A good many of us are wondering how an individual can make meaning in a society that appears to be in moral decay.
Capitalism in current devolution requires complicity from citizens. Either the individual takes part in a contrived society and seeks capital, and in some sense buys into “post-truth", or they risk economic banishment. The individual either hoists the flag of the Capitalist and continues to consume, earn and pay out on the basis of false premises (consciously or unconsciously), or the individual simply drops out of the game. This process of political individuation is simple. If one ascribes to the notion that political reality is real--then they can enjoy the fruits of it, but only to a certain limit. If one ascribes to the notion that it is absurd--one is obligated to question it, analyze and probe it for deeper truths that one is willing to fight for.
First, consider "political reality."
How or why would someone affiliate with political parties or leaders whom to date have done nothing but enrich themselves and the elite class that rules them?
All modern political parties are corrupt and controlled by much more powerful global interests. The idea that concentrated wealth and power emanates from the very top of the food chain is no longer a conspiracy theory, so in principle, we can assume that the nation states governed by one party or another are controlled as well. I believe that corporatism and oligarchy combined threaten the very liberty of the individual, and we are in the very early stages of what will eventually morph into full-blown fascism on a global scale. Add to this the advent of artificial intelligence, and you have the Orwellian nightmare that almost anyone with a few firing neurons has feared for decades. Add to that the notion that just eight people have more capital than the entire bottom half of the global population, and you have all the right ingredients for massive social unrest.
Second, what is society?
Society is a complex set of social networks—some more robust than others, in which individuals are primarily "egoistic, coldly calculating, essentially inert and atomistic” (collectively known as the mob). Society is no more than the sum of its individual members. Two things arise very quickly in commentary—in the sense that I differentiate myself as not the mob—this makes me at worst an elite, at best an enigma in the political landscape. There are in fact two groups elites-the global elite and the intellectual elite. Both differ in their attitude towards the mob, and whether or not they acknowledge or assume the mantle of ethical leadership. Apparently, the global banking cabal is failing miserably and destroying the planet—so we can assume that the former group do not wish to protect citizens from citizens—and do not want to uphold liberty.
How do the two mix?
Typically, the liberal side has considered that pluralism and greater social structure would quell the mob's anxiety, and they have been wrong. Hence the danger with populist movements and leaders, who appeal to emotion, xenophobia, and division. Indeed, this administration has masterfully manipulated those whom the left ignored at their peril.
The only definition that makes any sense is the classical liberal position put forth by Thomas Hobbes that government is only created by individuals to protect themselves from one another, and that the purpose of government should be to minimize conflict between people that would otherwise arise in a state of nature or anarchy.
If you are reading deeply here, then a person could, in theory, support a “benevolent" fascist party if they were aligned with the notion of protecting citizens, and minimizing conflict—but that is precisely where the trouble begins. The underlying belief system is that people do need to be protected from others. The mystery is no longer who or what is behind that discord. We know. We ignore it at our own peril
in the long-term.
I do not believe in pure democracy because I do not believe that a group of people should "vote" and decide on what my rights should or should not be. I am not keen to be the victim of consensus when educational standards are at their worst in history, and most people cannot name the sitting Secretary of State or find Luxembourg on a map.
I return to the simple precept of minimizing conflict between individuals in society. Democracy in and of itself is perverted. Mob rule cannot be good for everyone hence, the false or inverted democracy in which we now live. We need to contend with this on a daily basis because it is part of the present-day “political spectacle” and comprises an entire alternative reality. In case you missed that--, I am saying the power is divorced from reality. Lies are openly flaunted, and facts no longer resemble truth--they are used conveniently to justify false positions in response to the two imperatives I speak. You can say or do just about anything and make it into the White House. What a country!
So we are clear about the origin of laws, I do not believe rights are given or inherent. I think that we as human beings do have them - when the government has the power to respect them and strengthen, but they, therefore, have the authority to take those rights away. Hence the danger. The people must determine their fate, not the policy makers. I do not posit an objective reality because one does not exist in nature to observe. I do not find rights existing empirically in nature, nor do laws. Humans create rules. Rights are derived from those who bestow them, and so I fundamentally agree with libertarians on this count alone. Like Mr. Hobbs, I posit no actual origin of rights in the state of nature, and I do not reference any socio-religious anthropology of fundamental human rights.
You could, I suppose to look at Hammurabi's Code or the Ten Commandments—but they were still derived from the rule the mob--literally as they both emerged in pre-civilization to quell discord amongst illiterate and brutal groups of people. I am leery of the anarchical hazard I believe that the government prevents via laws and by conveying rights to citizens to minimize conflict and protect their basic safety, knowing full well how easily this sense of order could be upturned. These original values are provided for in the US Constitution--that is that the individual ought not to be deprived of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness; and alas, look at the new President's rhetoric.
I believe that we ought to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves - children, elderly, homeless, mentally and physically disabled - with ACTUAL services, not just sending them a bullshit check every month so they can eat. The depth to which a society cares for its least fortunate speaks to the heart of the community. I will take this idea one step further. Since rights, and therefore protections, duties and obligations are derived from the ruling “party” or elites, they are a matter of choice and regardless not “God-given” or intrinsic.
In the healthy society, we must structure them—so, in this case, I go further than most. I also believe in Hobbes’ utilitarian standard, and thereby think we should provide five essential things to all beings--adequate job security, housing, nutrition, access to medicine and education. All of these should be accessible to create better citizens. Happier citizens will have less of a need to compete with or protect themselves from one another if their basic needs are met. Private corporations have nothing but the interest of their ruling members, so cannot be entrusted with this duty--again this is the classically "liberal" position.
As I stated in my series of essays on the Fed, I do not believe that a central bank should exist. No private entity (or any other organization) should exist to manipulate interest rates and other aspects of the economy - this is a clear indication that the USA is NOT a free market society and will never be one. The banking cabal believes that "No private entity (or any other organization) should exist to manipulate interest rates”…which leaves it open that a sovereign or federal authority could and perhaps should. Control of the money supply is tied to the role of political parties and governance. See point # 1, again; I could abide a body to decouple capital from corporate interest if it were to protect citizens.
Unlike libertarians, I believe that the government does have an obligation to help build and sustain infrastructure - but I have no issue with using or contracting with private enterprise to do so. To libertarians, everything should be privatized--and that only gives rise to more corporatism and eventually anarchy.Libertarians believe in full-blown, free capitalism without corporate responsibility - this might be more anarcho-libertarian, but you get my point.
Whether or not we are prepared to accept it, we must. Corporatism has given free rein proto-fascism and oligarchy, so no other elaboration is needed. People need to be protected from the interests of the elites, not one another. Therefore corporatism, and not federalism is the real enemy. In consumerist capitalism, politicians purposefully pit the mob against one another, so their angst is misplaced—and it should be directed at the corporates who control the material of their daily lives, dispense services and provide employment.
What about individual income tax? While libertarians believe that tax on individual income is not constitutional (and they're right), I do not have any issue with a small, FLAT tax rate on personal income, provided that it not be used as the staple to fund wars and be the primary revenue for the federal and state governments. Corporations should have the majority burden of paying taxes, but again, FLAT, nominal tax rates to keep money and productivity in the country, rather than in tax havens around the world.
No taxation without representation! This is the loud war cry of the American colonists, so it is not new, and nor is it irrelevant. The idea has not changed. The elites who control power through corporatism use that power to do things with taxes that I disagree with, so until I am aligned with where my money goes, I should be able to minimize or avoid taxation. On the other hand, elites and corporates who take full advantage of a system rigged in their favor ought to pay out the ass and do it gladly given the benefits that the free market bestows upon its masters. We must never lose sight of the fact that the rich corporates control the capital, the political parties, and the mob, as is always the case in Fascism. Until this changes--some of us, but certainly not all must be diligent in monitoring the powers that be.
I do believe that we are in precipitous times--and it is worth an hour or two of your life to figure out what you believe compared to what is being foisted on you.
These are my meditations on politics today, proper. What are yours?