Ludd Refuted on Capitalism and Humanity

 Here’s a Ludd diatribe the Luddhunter found on the Village Voice comments to David Mamet’s coming-out article declaring his conservatism.  It’s by a real pure Ludd named Mitchell.  Hope he responds, it’s fun to read the screeds of such devout anti-capitalists.

MITCHELL’S PIECE:

Yes, I really meant what I wrote: “Corporate capitalism isn’t personal freedom; it’s a form of collectivism based on lies and fictions about individual identity.” That said, of course (in winning the Cold War), an “owmership” model (organizing the productive apparatus into State-chartered corporate bureaucracies masquerading as fictitious individuals competing in a free market) proved itself a more effective model of State-sponsored bureaucratic oligarchy than Soviet-style single-industry monopolistic ministries. One needn’t even have ever heard of Hayek or Von Mises to recognize that reality: even the Chinese Communist Party could recognize a cat that catches mice, and designate its color as red.But saying that “Capitalism is the very essence of freedom,” or that “Private property is critical to liberty and the opposite of collectivism,” is quite another matter.Bureaucratic oligarchy is bureaucratic oligarchy, no matter whether its ostensible organizing and legitimizing principle is “ownership” or politics — especially when the “owners” are fictitious individuals whose “rights” (e.g., to “intellectual property”) can trump those of a real individual human being (e.g., a person who has an idea that comes to be “owned” by a corporate entity).The hegemony of an “ownership” model — whereby, in order to be free, one’s relationship to one’s own body must be that of ownership (not holistic), and where all land is Real Estate (trumping any prior Commons) — is implicitly just another form of totalitarianism. It invalidates the humanity of anyone whose notion of Self is anything other than “that which Owns,” or who relates to the land as anything other than officially-deeed real estate. Just ask any Indian.So, no, the only alternative to the phony “liberty” of corporate capitalism is not a (barely) more obvious form of bureaucratic oligarchy. Hint: it might work more like the Barcelona telephone exchange during the Spanish Civil War.

The capitalist, meanwhile, relates to freedom the same way a prostitute relates to affection. As for love, that’s a delusion, declared so by law.

Heck, I’d even take liberalism over that!

LUDDHUNTER’S RESPONSE:

Whoa, Mitchell, you are a real mystic.  Are you channeling Marx, or is Shirley MacLaine helping you?

1. Capitalists can only be oligarchs if they are monopolists.  As long as consumers have a choice of competing goods, no “totalitarianism” is possible by a corporation.  The true totalitarians are the socialists, who see freedom seizure as a necessary step towards their property-free nirvana.

2. Ownership is a property right secured by government to facilitate safe trade, not to confer humanity. How is a homeless guy less human than a high rise condo owner?  News Alert: Leftist Declares Homeless Inhuman

3.  This is precious:
“The capitalist, meanwhile, relates to freedom the same way a prostitute relates to affection. As for love, that’s a delusion, declared so by law.”

The Luddhunter assumes you are arguing that:

a. The prostitute pretends to be affectionate in order to get money, and
b. all hope for love is lost because the need for money forces people to squander their freedom in pretending to be human in ‘unnatural’ ways with people they wouldn’t normally associate with, so
c. people become irreparably damaged, and in effect, dehumanized by capitalism.

That’s the static view of humanity.  Humans are evolving.  We need to learn to create valuable goods and services AND establish real human relationships in order to survive AND enjoy life.  The prostitute may indeed be damaging herself psychologically, and if so, she will be less likely to produce a child because men are less likely to want to produce offspring with a prostitute.  So her genes are deselected.  But she still should have the freedom to choose her profession and employ her skillset in any way she sees fit.

Some of us are selected, some are not.  Our whole species is apparently thriving (6.5 billion and counting), mostly due to capitalism.  Who is more “pro-human” — the socialist, who would run the economy into the ground and seize most freedoms and choices from people, and declare they know best what other people want, — or the capitalist, who seeks to give people more freedom by giving them more choices to get what they want?

Who can be persuaded by your collectivist chanting unless they chew some peyote to disable their left hemisphere?

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One Response to “Ludd Refuted on Capitalism and Humanity”

  1. R Jiddah Says:

    I think capitalism is dehumanizing because most jobs are so solitary and machine-like. Assembling, moving things with vehicles, data entry, landscaping, fruit picking, painting, on and on.

    At least prostitution has an interactive nature. When people lived in small tribes, they still specialize, but their work was mostly interactive and varied. What do we get for our excessive specialization in modern capitalism? Mind-numbing boredom at work, isolated domiciles, and isolated (by ipod and tv) existences even within multi-person homes.

    The interaction is available (phone, text, blog, etc), but it is less real then in tribal interaction. I’ve seen studies where tribal peoples are more happy and satisfies with their lives than city people. They have less depression and stress diseases. Capitalism may protect us from catastrophic death better than tribalism, but I think it does dehumanize us if we are not happy.

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