Thursday, December 19, 2013

Government Always Screws the Powerless

Back in the day the modern progressive movement assured us that it fought for the common man.  And the working man.  Then it progressed to fighting for women.  For minorities.  For the "traditionally marginalized."  Or even for various sexual minorities, from gays to lesbians.  And now, of course, the New York Times is asking whether we should revise our ideas on polygamy -- sorry, "plural marriage".

And. of course, we have the famous prediction from John B. Judis and Ruiz Teixeira in The Coming Democratic Majority, that Democrats would rule forever on the support of women, minorities, young people, and professionals.

Now there is just one little problem with all this happy talk.  Government is force, and politics is power.  Whatever the rulers say, their program is power, and their behavior reflects that.

Any ruling class has two ideas, and two ideas only.  It is interested in seizing power, and it is interested in maintaining power.  All its promises and blandishments are made in service to those two objectives.

The people, whether they are old crusty geezers, greedy bankers, corporate greed, white racists, male patriarchs, or traditionally marginalized are mere pawns in the ruling class's game of power.

So yeah.  Back in the early modern era the newly rising bourgeoisie expatiated on the wonders of the common man.  But the governments they created were still governments, and the common man suffered mightily in the natural economic cycles of the capitalist age.

In the 19th century governments learned to sell themselves to the rising working class.  They offered them wondrous benefits, to be taken from the evil capitalists.  What it meant in practice was that the ruling class would sequester the savings of the working class and return whatever was left, in pensions, health care, unemployment, disability, after extracting its considerable fee in power and money.

We might ask whether the working class would have done better keeping its own money for its pensions, health care, etc.  Because the ruling class has ended up with a bankrupt system that is failing, and failing right now.  And what is the point, for the working class, of savings and health care that doesn't pay off?

The same is true for the groups that were going to make the Democrats the majority forever.

What about women?  Democrats have promised them a kind of liberation from all the heavy burdens of life: from overbearing husbands to unwanted children.  And, see here, wouldn't it be nice for women to get out of the house and work in the wage economy where the grass is greener, and even have career like men?

Or minorities.  Yep, minorities have lived under disadvantages since the dawn of time.  But the problem for minorities in the modern era is not merely removing disadvantages and exploitations, but learning how to thrive in the industrial and now post-industrial economy.  The politicians have offered the most wonderful shortcuts to this onerous process, but they lie.  The modern economy is founded upon the idea you figure out how to contribute to your fellow men and their needs and then you go do it.  Anything the politicians do to meddle with this process only lengthens it.

Hey, how about those young people?  Let's get one thing clear about young people.  On the one hand, they are highly susceptible to the fashions and fads whizzing around.  On the other hand they are the least powerful.  Why?  Because they haven't had time to organize and make themselves into a group for politicians to fear.

When the politicians tell the young people they care about them, they lie.  Politicians are going to use the young people, that's all.  On the one hand they may be able to fool the young people into serving in their political armies.  If they do that then the young people will suffer the fate of most soldiers and get left by the side of the road to die in some foreign country.  On the other hand they are going to make the young people suffer for the sins of their fathers.  It is the young people that will have to work to pull out of the wars, the famines, the financial crises, and the clear away the accretion of unsustainable privileges.

That's where we are in America in 2013.  We've had a century and more of the promises and blandishments and power and privileges of the ruling educated class.  Like every ruling class its promises and blandishments were mere self-serving apologies for power.  That is what the postmodernists tell us about the previous, bourgeois ruling class.

In the next few years the women, the minorities, and the young are going to find out just how broad and deep have been the lies of the liberal ruling class.  And so they will be looking for change.

But who knows if they will turn to the conservatives for relief?  After all, conservatives don't offer Hope and Change, and a heaven on earth.  Conservatives are People of the Responsible Self.  Conservatives offer people not a relief, a liberation from the cares of the world, but instead an engagement with the world.  For conservatives it is the individual, each individual, that must find out how to socialize with the world and contribute to his or her fellow man.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.

But conservatives have this to encourage them.  We would never had had a chance to earn the confidence of the American people until the liberals and their project of heaven on earth had failed.

After all, who would pass up a chance for heaven on earth for a mere offer to live a life as one of the People of the Responsible Self?

Nobody.  Not until that heaven on earth had been revealed as a hell of power and privilege.

1 comment:

  1. Power and privilege has yet to be controlled by the "people," commoners not heading corporate businesses or "running" governments. The mechanisms for spreading profits across the body of laborers that produce such profits have yet to be invented, although co-ops and credit unions are small steps in the right direction. Communism failed because power remained in the hands of the state. You are correct in arguing that we are being led by the greedy powerful few, but you are wrong in failing to point out that the People of the Responsible Self will remain but pawn until they devise the economic mechanisms that ensure the spread of wealth