July 18th, 2010

S.C. Hickman

The Business of Politics: Frank Chodorov

     "...the state bears constant watching, that pernicious proclivities are built into it."

              Online Library of Liberty: Fugitive Essays: Selected Writings of Frank Chodorov
               http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/1730 ( January 22, 2010)

No truer words were ever spoken. Frank Chodorov was an out and out member of the party of Liberty, a Enemy of the State - against collectivism in any shade or color. As he states it:

"It is not the business of politics to engage in the economic affairs of man; its field is negative, keeping the peace, protecting life and property, meting out justice. That's all. In the common purpose of making a living, politics is worse than a nuisance; its intrusion must result in injustice, for, since its sole characteristic is coercion, it is incapable of adding anything to the economic well-being of man, and its coercive powers can be used only to take from some and give to others. That is injustice. This injustice, this dividing of mankind into privileged and disadvantaged classes, has always been the office of politics, whenever it intrudes into the way men make a living, and this is so regardless of the prevailing political form. So then, the economic maladjustments which cause friction between people cannot be corrected by any political system; the cure is in an understanding of economic principles and in ordering our social life to accord with them."

These essays written during the middle decades of the twentieth-century reflect a stubborn and lively mind, a man who above all stood for individual rights and liberty. Whether castigating the tyranny of conscription or the old Hegelian adage that the "state incarnates the divine idea on earth", he spoke up for the little guy, the man in main street who had a right to live his life free of government interference and control. And, yet, he was no friend of the Corporate tyranny of the monopolistic Federal Reserve system and it's supporting member Banks and Wall-Street combine, no he felt that the large movement of that had allowed an establishment between Wall-Street and Washington to be the most hideous illusion of all. He felt that just there a new feudalistic state had been invented that formed and shaped itself into an empire of elites who in our time have come to rule the planet.

He called for a political psychology that might root out the insidiousness of they type of gangsterism that we see in our own power blocs in Washington even today. "A community infested with gangsterism must take on the character
of its dominant group, for, like Gresham's law, decadent values tend to push out of circulation the values that call for integrity.(p. 23)" Above all we lack Integrity on either side of the isle within both the House and Senate. Both sides have had a heyday of it with our sham liberties. The change that Obama promised has been true to his message alright, but it was different than most believed - instead of redistributing the wealth from the top to the bottom, it was just the opposite: he has spawned upon the taxpaying public the greatest transfer of wealth in history to the very institutions of cronyism that piracy that destroyed our economic system. All in the name of that ill-founded philosophy of To Big To Fail. What a crock that both the Left and the Right have bought into this predatory vision.

Of course the big lie is that our government isn't bailing out these institutions to save capitalism, and thereby our economic livelihoods; no, it is more to the point, to admit the truth: the government is bailing out the institutions that keep it on power, plain and simple. Politicians tell us that it is expedient that we support this policy of piracy, that without robbing us of our children, grand children, and all our futures we might not have the love and protection of the State to protect us from the terrors that surround us on every side. But as Chodorov tells us: "Politics is, in the best sense of the word, unprincipled; it is concerned only with rulership, and experience has shown that in that trade the only valid rule of thought and behavior is expediency."

If we were to suddenly wake up and see the State for what it is, to see politicians for what they are, what would happen? Would we not realize that we'd been living in a psychotic world full of deranged mad men? Have we allowed our own government to form a new socialist state? And what type of socialism? Chodorov in speaking of collapse and how governments become tyrannies:

"As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, socialism is the end-product of an
economy sucked dry by privilege. It is the political control of an economy so
weakened by political intercession that it cannot stand up on its own feet. When the
remuneration for productive effort is insufficient to warrant the expenditure, when
rent, royalties, subsidies, and doles, to say nothing of the enforcement costs, absorb so
much that sustenance becomes precarious and the incentive for capital accumulation
disappears, then the state takes over and tries to make a go of it. It is not necessary
here to discuss the causes of the periodic paroxysm known as the “depression”; it
should be pointed out, however, that during such times the transference of economic
power from producer to politician is accelerated, for it is then that the bewildered
public is most susceptible to the most impossible promises. Nor need we go into the
subject of war to show how this political upheaval gives impetus to the socialistic
trend, not only by the new coercive instruments it puts into the hands of the state, but
more so by the correlative economic power conferred on the politician; the financing
of war through loans, to mention but one instance, creates a privilege class most
intimately concerned with the state's power of levying taxes.(p. 79)"

He once made a prophetic statement:

"Beguiled by the state's siren song of special privilege, the capitalists have abandoned
capitalism. In doing so they may well have made inevitable that day in the not-so distant
future when their dearly bought privileges will be swept away as the state
formally takes the means of production into its own hands. How right Lenin was
when he said that the capitalist would sell you the rope with which you intended to
hang him if he thought he could make a profit on the sale.(p. 80)"

Are we living in that time? Will the current political unrest in the world of the EU and American see a new war in the Middle-east soon? Iran? Israel? Unless we begin to wake up from this psychotic nightmare is there any hope?
S.C. Hickman

Liquid Politics: Zygmunt Bauman and the Politics of Globalization

             "The future of democracy and freedom may be made secure on a planetary scale - or not at all."
                     - Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Times Living in an Age of Uncertaintiy

In another statement just as absolute Bauman says: "Fear is arguably the most sinister of the demons nesting in the open societies of our time.(p. 26)." He would have us believe that power and politics have been severed in our time; that we all live in stultifying defeat, impotent to realize the dreams of a true democracy; and, that the only path to such a future lies in lifting ourselves out of this quagmire of national isolationism and lunacy and into the globalist system of cooperation and regulation, thereby allowing "politics to be lifted to the level where power has already settled, so enabling us to recover and repossess control over the forces shaping our shared condition while setting the range of our possibilities and the limits to our freedom to choose...".

Is some form of globalist governance the only viable solution to the problems facing humanity? With the looming crisis of climatic change, drought, famine, disease, water and soil depletion and erosion; the commodification of food, DNA, and other global commons artifacts becoming more and more entrenched within the power nexus of the corporatist portfolio; as well as the phantom wars fought in the middle-east over long dead ideologies of terrorism, oil, and mineral resources; and, finally, the global underworld of the illicit drugs, slave trade, etc.,  what is left of freedom and the rights of the individual in this nightmare that even James Joyce's Finnegan could no longer wake into or from some imagined nightmare of history? Or we all victims of some hyperplot, some grand narrative of psychotic proportions as many conspiracy theorists of both the left and right keep harping on? Or, is it just the same old tale of greed that any school child could read about in the secular and religious texts of our fragmented humanity?

Bauman tells us that Utopian dreams have always been the spawn of such desperate times as ours, that there are two conditions that must be in place for such dreams to appear: 1) the overwhelming feeling that the world is not right, that all has gone wrong with human endeavors, and that we need some kind of intervention some form of vision to overhaul all that is wrong with the world system as it is; and, 2) that we humans can accomplish this using the tools of reason and cooperation to forge a new blueprint for society, one based on social justice and egalitarian values instead of greed and misery. All high minded and commendable goals, but when good people begin to implement such Utopian fantasies into blueprints for reality what usually happens is just the opposite of social justice and egalitarian enactments, instead they usually lead to social tyrannies by the elite forces of an intellectual court of masters over the misguided mob. One does not have to go far to see this: Fascism and Communism of the twentieth-century speak to us of this pathway to ill begotten freedom. So what does Bauman offer instead? What vision of a Utopian future does he value?

He speaks of three types of Utopian ideologies: the Gamekeeper, the Gardner, and the Hunter. The Gamekeeper is more like the Luddite, the environmentalist and primitivism who would return us to Rousseau's vision of the natural man living in the wild. This vision is brought into stark relief by Derrick Jensen in his two voluminous volumes of endgame. The guiding premises of this vision as Jensen state the basic premises of the GameKeeper: read more...
Of that vision Bauman tells us that the main task of the Gatekeeper is to defend the land assigned to his wardenship against all human interference... to discover all hunters and trespassers who would destroy the "balance" of the natural world and disable their false system of snares, preserving the balance of nature and wildness.

The second type of Utopian ideology is that of the Gardner, who assume that without his intervention into the natural wildness of the world there would be no order and civilization. He is the agrarian tender of the earth who knows what is best for humans, what plants are good and safe and those that should be left in the wilds. He is the first pramatist and utilitarian of the world.

The final type is the Hunter. The vision of predatory capitalism: the globalist vision of a consumers paradise. This is the paradise of the neoliberal vision so well documented by David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism:

"“The idea of freedom ‘…degenerates into a mere advocacy of free enterprise’, which means ‘the fullness of freedom for those whose income leisure and security need no enhancing, and a mere pittance of liberty for the people, who may in vain attempt to make use of their democratic rights to gain shelter from the power of the owners of property’. But if, as is always the case, ‘no society is possible in which power and compulsion are absent, nor a world in which force has no function’, then the only way this liberal utopian vision could be sustained is by force, violence and authoritarianism. Liberal or neo-liberal utopianism is doomed, in Polyani’s view to be frustrated by authoritarianism, or even outright fascism”. "

Bauman tells us that Utopia is first and foremost "an image of another universe, different from the universe one knows or knows of. In addition, it anticipates a universe originated entirely by human wisdom and devotion. (p. 98)." Escapism seems to be the order of the day for most homegrown utopianists. Boredom and our deep sense of being overwhelmed by the failure of civilization and it's promise of solutions force many into either drugs or a consumer driven paradise of video nightmares instead of real human hope and progress.

Italo Calvino in Invisible Cities once said of an escape from the dark inferno of our civilization:

"The inferno of the living is not something that will be: if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space."

The choice of which path is always yours to follow. Will you follow the path of least resistance, become a Hunter among hunters... a citizen of the global inferno who feeds the monstrous Leviathan of capitalism till the flames finally destroy us all in some unimaginable apocalypse of and endgame; or, will you begin to find "who or what" in the midst of us is not "inferno" and begin to weave a space of freedom around this light.