Follow-Up: Goo-Goo Historical Mythology
In any case, since Joe's in a conciliatory mood, I'll take some steps in that direction myself. I'm quite willing to concede that the New Deal produced some benefits for working people, as a side-effect of its service to corporate interests. As I see it, welfare statism is well illustrated by the human farmer in Tolstoy's Parable. Corporate liberals are like a farmer who's smart enough to figure out that he'll get more work out of his animals in the long run if he takes good care of them; Banana Republicans, on the other hand, figure they'll come out ahead by working the animals to death and then replacing them. If I had to choose between systems of class exploitation, I guess I'd prefer to be smothered with paternalism in the Brave New World of social democracy than to get a jackboot in my face in the Orwellian world the neoliberals have planned for us.
I don't want to have to make that choice, though. I prefer a world where we keep our full labor-product in the first place, instead of having a fraction of our stolen surplus labor doled back to us to keep us docile; and in which ordinary people control the circumstances of our daily lives, through cooperative production and mutual aid associations, instead of being managed by big government and big business overlords. To get there, we have to roll back the state.
But since the state's intervention, directly or indirectly, has been in the interests of the plutocracy, it matters a great deal which functions of the state should be axed first. The first to go should be those forms of intervention in the market that subsidize economic centralization and the concentration of wealth, reduce the bargaining power of labor, and ensure monopoly returns to the owners of land and capital. The last to go should be those government functions that make the system of class exploitation marginally bearable for labor. In the words of Thomas Knapp of the Democratic Freedom Caucus, that means cutting welfare from the top down, and taxes from the bottom up.
In the comments to Joe's original post, by the way, I tried to point out how mistaken it was to take pot-smoking Republicans of the ASI and Catoid variety as representative of the entire movement. I mentioned all the non-vulgar libertarians (Geolibs, left-Rothbardians, individualist anarchists, etc.) there were whose intepretation of free market principles was fundamentally anti-corporate, and anti-privilege.
Joe responded with a flip allusion to the Judean People's Front and People's Front of Judea in Life of Brian. Here's my response to that, from the comments:
My point was that there are libertarians who support free markets in principle, and see big business as the enemy of free markets; and there are fake "libertarians" who just want to bend "free market" principles to suit the interests of big business.
The difference between principled defenders of free markets, and pot-smoking Republicans, strikes me as a lot more fundamental than that between the PJF and the JPF.
The classical liberalism of Smith and Ricardo was a genuinely revolutionary movement, against the entrenched power of mercantilist elites and the landed aristocracy. Too much of it was coopted in the late 19th century by the new plutocracy, and turned to an apologetic for the giant corporation, the modern-day equivalent of the feudal landlord. But that original revolutionary and anti-privilege spirit survives in a good many strands of libertarianism, as I tried to point out above.
You accused Diane Warth, in her comment thread, of alienating her potential allies. Pot, meet kettle. There are lots of libertarians out there who oppose corporate power and the rule of the plutocracy, and want to break the unholy alliance of big government and big business. We are your potential allies. By dismissing all of us as pot-smoking Republicans, or as mindless apologists for concentrated wealth, you are doing yourself a disservice.
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