Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Primer: Prepare to shit yourself

Economic conservatism is a concept that, generally speaking, liberals couldn't be more adverse to. It's an idea that has been defined by greedy conservatives and whacked out libertarians. Mention the virtues of the free market to a liberal and he'll likely shit himself with outrage over things like workers' rights, the minimum wage, and what Wal-Mart has done to his hometown and the local economy. So for me to sit here and advocate economic and fiscal conservatism as the best ways for us liberals to realize our liberal dreams might at first seem insane.

Nevertheless, this is exactly the place I think we need to be heading to. The government cannot be depended upon to help us reach our goals, and the only real power we have is in the money we control. Fiscal and economic conservatives have long recognized the power of the dollar in their wallet, and it's time liberals recognized it as well. The philosophy of economic conservatism is the means by which we choose to create and support our own institutions -- businesses, schools, charities -- institutions that behave the way we want them to, and that Republicans can't ruin. And the best part is, we can start taking action on this front today.

I've been alluding to this idea in previous posts -- I'm even repeating myself to a large extent here -- but now I want to set forth an official primer upon which further exploration will be based.

The government isn't going to do a thing to help liberal causes for the next four years. It didn't do a thing to help liberal causes over the last four years. And in 2008 the Democrats could lose again and that will be another four years lost. Worse, even if the Dems manage to win that one, we still run the risk of losing in 2012 and thereby having four years worth of progress destroyed.

This is a stupid stupid system. Get rid of it. Get it out of your head. Government is worthless to us and the Democrats are best used as a short term buffer between us and Republican craziness as we work to reduce the impact of government on our lives.

From here forward, whenever you imagine that far off better world of the future that we all want to live in, also imagine how we might realize that vision without the government's help. Think big. Think of how tiny blogs helped create a massive grassroots infrastructure to support Kerry's bid for president. Think of everything from moveon.org to Air America Radio. Think of the approximately $2 billion private businesses and individuals spent on Kerry. Think of the 55 million people who voted for him. Think of what might be accomplished if we used that money, organization, and energy for something other than an election.

Once we've got government out of our heads, we'll discover whole new realms in which we can take immediate and direct action for the causes we care about.

Take a deep breath. Here comes capitalism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Rousseau, Locke, and Hobbes said we form governments to protect ourselves from danger, to protect our lives, freedom, stuff, and to stop us from killing each other to death.

Over the past few weeks I have been wondering if the Social Contract needs to be rewritten, or at least re-examined. It seems all political philosphy these days is written about winning and losing elections, not why we have elections, or what the system can do for/to the people. Or it's written about meaning, making meaning, and understanding meanings that are made, without making any meaning. Frustrating. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong bookshelf, though.

What happens when the government becomes dangerous to your life, liberty, and stuff? Jefferson says the citizen has the obligation to turn it over. Rousseau says that once the General Will (the agreement to be bonded to one another for protection) is broken we can form new bonds and agreements.

This past week Howard Zinn wrote something about not getting all freaked out (about the re-election) because who knows what this place will look like in 50 years.

So I wonder if maybe further stresses/abuses of the General Will will actually unleash the forces of change.

A Canadian friend complains about the ignorance of modern Americans. Are they more ignorant than Russian peasants? I don't think so. And when they start doing the math, and start looking around, I think things will coalesce and start to change. Consumer unions, liberals embracing econservatism, or whatever.

But. I don't think a successful future includes capitalism. To me, that would be American liberals making cash off of third-world/"other" workers. And that is what capitalism is. Owners and investors making money off of the workers. Some Liberals complain about capitalism not because conservatives embrace it, but because it sucks for 7/8 of the people in the game.

It's late. I ramble. I feel like i'm not making a/connections.