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Comment Re:capitlaism (Score 1) 553

I'll be brief for the sake of my sanity, your sanity, and the sanity of anyone who happens to stumble upon this.

The US Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about states rights. Southern states felt they had rights the federal government was denying them.

Sure, the issue of federalism was important, but the idea that it was the main issue is an after-the-fact rationalization. It's not a coincidence that it was the slave-states against the non-slave states. If it had really been about "states' rights" and the nature of federalism, then the lineup would have been a bit more complicated than that.

On Jefferson Yes, I have no problem with Jefferson being a smart, progressive and good-hearted man. My point was simply this: slavery was not marginal to the period that you hold up as being a period of "true" capitalism. In fact, it was so important that even the person that you embrace as the main proponent of the kind of liberty that you are talking about nonetheless had slaves. Sure, we can qualify his individual slave-ownership in numerous ways. But at the end of the day, we are talking about a social system in which one of the primary forms of labor recruitment -- and one that was central to the social order as a whole -- was emphatically not one in which people were free to engage in "voluntary exchange." The example of Jefferson is just one more indication that the idealized vision that you have of the past is actually riddled with nasty things, and that these nasty things are hardly incidental to the period as a whole.

On Mother Teresa Charity might be noble, but charity does not solve the basic problem of the monopoly of resources by some to the detriment of the majority of humanity. Perhaps state action can't solve it either, but, when it represents the coordinated efforts of society, it sure seems like it would have a far better chance. That's why we have Social Security and don't just send all of our retirees to the Salvation Army.

On nuclear waste You wrote: I think you misunderstand me, or are engaging in purposely distortion. As I said earlier I don't believe in having no government, I'm not anarchist, what I want is as little as possible, and here in the USA one that follows the limits put on it by the USA Constitution.

I am going on what you stated in the first thread that I responded to, which was "where there is governmental intervention there is no capitalism." That is an absolute statement, one that does not take the form, purpose or intent of regulation into account, and I assumed that you meant it. It is now clear that you don't mean it and that you do, in fact, embrace some forms of "governmental intervention" as being consistent with the kind of libertarian, free-market capitalism that you embrace. That is a different position, and I will assume that you have either changed your views or did not express yourself clearly earlier.

On Marx and/or Marxism I have only argued for the coherence and power of Marx's analysis of capitalism. Nothing more, nothing less. I have only written about my own views of the past and of the present, not of the future. And yes, there are plenty of Marxists, like me, who are agnostic or even downright pessimistic on the prospects of socialism and/or communism. In fact, I would probably say that we constitute a majority of Marxists nowadays!

On State Terrorism and Capitalism

And we do have a few cases of attempts to undo all of this nonsense in order to create a free-market wet dream right in the Americas: Chile under Pinochet; Guatemala after 1954; Argentina, 1976 - 1979. What do these governments have in common other than their economic project? You guessed it: lack of democracy; state terrorism.
They all had another commonality, none of them were capitalist, not in a true freemarket sense. In each case the military tried to take control over everything, even trying to control the economy.

Read up on this. If Pinochet wasn't doing his damndest to forge Chile into a freemarket capitalist Utopia, nobody knows what he was doing. In fact, the severity of the violence is but one indication of how ardently he pursued that goal. now, whether or not he achieved it by your standards might be something else. But then again, that would really say that 1. your standards are a-historical and purely Utopian; 2. the creation of even something remotely resembling the kind of freemarket economy you dream of would require political violence on an amazing scale.

On Children and Wages In response to my mention of the consequences of starvation wages on children, you wrote: Ah, those people had children voluntarily. Most of them at least... Yes, but did the children volunteer to be born, and if they did, did they choose to be born to this particular family? In the example that I gave, they are the ones who pay the biggest cost, yet they are not the ones responsible. In fact, you might place the blame for child malnutrition on the decision of the parents to have children without having the means to support them, but that is hardly the fault of the children. In addition to that, the notion that somehow children will come about only through the rational decision-making of their parents is, again, Utopian. When has that ever been the case? What makes you think it will be in the future? As much as we might like the ideas of "individual responsibility" biological impulses are pretty strong things, and their suppression tends to do all kinds of weirdness to society. This isn't an argument for reckless hedonism; it is just a statement that people will end up having children, and that rationality is but one of many factors in the equation.

On Being Direct I'm sorry to hear about your brain injury. My spouse went through a debilitating illness (which could very easily come back at some point), so even though I don't really understand what it is like for you, I do have some idea of what it is like to have a condition that is beyond your control. With that said, no offense has been taken, and I certainly don't intend any offense to you. I tend to write very directly, without softening much of what I say. Take that just as a matter of trying to be clear, rather than trying to offend.

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