Not Just Forty Acres and a Mule, but the Whole Damn Plantation

Tim Patton offers some thoughtful insights in the comments section (see here) with my response reposted below:

I agree with just about everything you said. The “stimulus” is functioning pretty much the way the welfare state generally functions with loads of corporate welfare, a little something for those in the middle, and peanuts for those on the bottom.

Although a disagreement I have with orthodox libertarians is similar to a disagreement I have with Marxists. I consider the state to be more than just the political government proper (elected officials, appointed bureaucrats, state security forces, etc) and I consider the ruling class (Marx) or power elite (C. Wright Mills) to be more than just those who control the means of production. Elite theory, as well as studies of power dynamics generally, offer a more complete picture I think.

Where orthodox libertarians and I would probably disagree on the present crisis is that while I agree that the “stimulus” is really just a ruling class looting spree, it’s also true that at present we have a state-imposed medical martial law which has generated a government-induced depression. I don’t think the pandemic is the government’s fault and, state or no state, quarantines may be necessary during pandemics, even in a world of nothing but Fourierist utopian colonies or Rothbardian private communities. But the bottom line is that the state still created and maintained the systemic framework of state-capitalism (or inherited it from past regimes) and the crisis has escalated the suffering caused by the system.

Therefore, class-based reparations are legitimate and warranted. Not just forty acres and a mule, but the whole damn plantation.

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