Libertarians Have a Class Theory, Too (and It’s Better Than Marx’s) Reply

A great interview of Gary Chartier by Tom Woods. Listen here.

I can’t recommend Gary’s book more highly. It’s available at Amazon. These classical liberal class theorists along with the early anarchists and “libertarian socialists” are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how modern state-capitalism developed as a class system. I generally refuse to participate in mainstream economic debates because they’re usually rooted is assumptions that are based on a false dichotomy, i.e. the “conservative” and “libertarian” view that “big business” is somehow being oppressed by the state, or the “liberal” view that the state somehow acts as a restraining hand on big capital. Doing away with this false dichotomy is the first step in establishing a genuine critique of how the economic aspects of “the system” actually work.

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With the idea of class so central to Marxian theory, libertarians might be tempted to ignore class as a category. But there is in fact such a thing as libertarian class theory, because in libertarian theory there are distinct groups of exploiters and exploited. Gary Chartier joins me to discuss the history and development of libertarian class theory.

About the Guest

Gary Chartier is Associate Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law and Business Ethics at the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University, and holds his PhD and LLD from the University of Cambridge.

More U.S. States Are Knocking Down Gold & Silver Barriers Reply

By J.P. Cortez

Listen to the Podcast Audio: Click Here

Here’s What Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Idaho, Etc. Are Doing…

In 2017, Arizona, Louisiana, Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina, and even Minnesota made progress on the sound money front. In 2018, other states could do so as well.

36 states have already removed sales taxes from precious metals transactions, and bills being introduced this year by sound money advocates in Alabama and Tennessee could add to that list.

Both Utah and Oklahoma have already passed legal tender laws recognizing gold and silver as money. The monetary metals can be used freely as a means of payment.

Meanwhile, a new Wyoming bill next month would repeal both sales and income taxes on bullion while affirming gold and silver as legal tender and strengthening gold clause contracts.

Other states, including Arizona and Idaho, have moved forward on legislation to exempt gold and silver bullion from capital gains taxes.

Last year, a bill to eliminate capital gains taxes on precious metals passed the Idaho House. Money Metals Exchange President Stefan Gleason testified before the House Committee on Revenue and Taxation, and here is some of what he had to say:

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Keith Preston: Republicans advancing interests of upper classes Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

Republican administrations in the United States have often been serving the interests of the upper classes, says a political analyst.

US President Donald Trump told a group of his billionaire friends Friday shortly after signing the historic US tax bill into law that they all became wealthier.

“You all just got a lot richer,” Trump said Friday at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida hours after signing the landmark bill into law.

Trump enacted his first major legislative accomplishment into law two days after the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday approved the tax bill in a major political victory over Democrats.

“It is obvious that the Trump administration is continuing a lengthy trajectory that has defined Republican administrations for quite some time,” Keith.Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com, said on Tuesday.

“The republican party has, in recent decades, always been very aggressively in favor of advancing the interest of the upper classes,” Preston told Press TV.

“This is something that has been bipartisan, however, Republicans have often been particularly aggressive about this and Trump is no exception,” he noted.

He went on to say that “one of the defining characteristics of Republican administrations going back to decades has been to offer tax cuts that will predominantly benefit the upper classes.”

The tax reform sees the top rate of income tax drop from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, a move that is expected to intensify criticism that renders it as overly generous to the wealthy and big business.

Democrats and tax experts say wealthy business owners, including Trump himself, stand to gain from a provision in the Republican tax bill that creates a valuable deduction for owners of pass-through businesses.

Trump’s Tax Gambit: Hoping for a Reagan Repeat Reply

When Trump was running for President, he said in an interview with Megyn Kelly that two of his main goals as Prez would be “rebuilding the military” and “tax cuts.” In other words, standard Republican talking points.

By Robert E. Merry

The American Conservative

In March 1997, two Washington reporters published a book entitled Mirage: Why Neither Democrats nor Republicans Can Balance the Budget, End the Deficit, and Satisfy the Public. The authors were George Hager, then a reporter for the CQ Weekly Report, and Eric Pianin of the Washington Post. A blurb on Amazon described the book as “a story of wishful thinking compounded by a chronic failure of leadership.” The clear theme: the budget would never be balanced.

But the fiscal year that began just the following October produced a surplus of $21.9 billion. The next three years generated surpluses, respectively, of $126 billion, $236 billion, and $128 billion. When the paperback came out, the title had to be altered to reflect the intervening events that had totally negated the thesis. By then the book was worthless, and it quickly faded. Today Amazon lists it as “unavailable”—not even a tattered used copy to be found.

These were bright and accomplished reporters, and they weren’t alone. The vaunted Office of Management and Budget had projected a 1998 deficit of $339 billion; the touted Congressional Budget Office pegged it at $357 billion.

 

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No Kings, No Feudal Lords Reply

This a a great cartoon in the sense that is parodies the reflexive sentiments of “conservatives” in the vein of FOX News fans and “dittoheads,” who echo Ayn Rand’s claim that “big business is the most persecuted minority,” or Cool Hand Luke’s quip that, “Them poor ole bosses need all the help they can get.” But it also regrettably falls prey to the “progressive” sentiment that the king is some mythical figure that will save the peasants from the aristocrats.

No automatic alt text available.

That nearly all political factions, from far left to far right, buy into the false dichotomy of “big business vs. big government” indicates how appallingly ignorant most people are of basic principles of political economy. Thinkers such as Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Joseph De Jacque had these questions figured out in the early to mid nineteenth century, and these same ideas have been expounded upon again and again by subsequent thinkers as diverse as Henry George, William Appleman Williams, C. Wright Mills, James Burnham, Murray Rothbard, William Domhoff, and Christopher Lasch. Yet modern leftists and rightists are still wanting to fight the “kings vs. aristocrats” battle. And people think the neo-Confederates or religious right are retrograde!

When will people, including most so-called “radicals,” realize that the political class is the modern equivalent of the king, and his ministers and knights, while the plutocrats are the new aristocrats with the mass corporations being the new manorial systems, with the media and the educational system serving the modern equivalent of the Church?

Return of the city-state Reply

By Jamie Bartlett

If you’d been born 1,500 years ago in southern Europe, you’d have been convinced that the Roman empire would last forever. It had, after all, been around for 1,000 years. And yet, following a period of economic and military decline, it fell apart. By 476 CE it was gone. To the people living under the mighty empire, these events must have been unthinkable. Just as they must have been for those living through the collapse of the Pharaoh’s rule or Christendom or the Ancien Régime.

We are just as deluded that our model of living in ‘countries’ is inevitable and eternal. Yes, there are dictatorships and democracies, but the whole world is made up of nation-states. This means a blend of ‘nation’ (people with common attributes and characteristics) and ‘state’ (an organised political system with sovereignty over a defined space, with borders agreed by other nation-states). Try to imagine a world without countries – you can’t. Our sense of who we are, our loyalties, our rights and obligations, are bound up in them.

Which is all rather odd, since they’re not really that old. Until the mid-19th century, most of the world was a sprawl of empires, unclaimed land, city-states and principalities, which travellers crossed without checks or passports. As industrialisation made societies more complex, large centralised bureaucracies grew up to manage them. Those governments best able to unify their regions, store records, and coordinate action (especially war) grew more powerful vis-à-vis their neighbours. Revolutions – especially in the United States (1776) and France (1789) – helped to create the idea of a commonly defined ‘national interest’, while improved communications unified language, culture and identity. Imperialistic expansion spread the nation-state model worldwide, and by the middle of the 20th century it was the only game in town. There are now 193 nation-states ruling the world.

But the nation-state with its borders, centralised governments, common people and sovereign authority is increasingly out of step with the world. And as Karl Marx observed, if you change the dominant mode of production that underpins a society, the social and political structure will change too.

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Growing the Numbers of Pan-Anarchists: Reflections on Propaganda Techniques 2

About 20 years ago, I began to formulate ideas for the development of what I now call a “third wave” anarchist movement, with the “first wave” being the era of classical anarchism from the 19th and early 20th century, and the “second wave” being the forms of anarchism that have their roots in the New Left from the 1960s. The intention was that this “third wave” would embrace and honor the two previous waves, but would differ from earlier forms of anarchism in that it would lack the Marxist-influenced class determinism of much of the first wave, and it would also lack the emphasis on cultural politics found among the second wave. Instead, the third wave would be specifically oriented towards attacking the emerging global capitalist “Empire” critiqued by thinkers such as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, and its various component parts.

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Drug-dealing welfare classes get your guns, form the army of the unemployed! Reply

The “dictatorship of the lumpenproletariat.” Refreshing. No doubt many of today’s “anarchists” are champions of gun control because what could be more anarchist than favoring the police and the army having a monopoly of weapons. I once heard an anarcho-leftoid say “gun control is an anti-racist issue,” presumably on the assumption that people of color are not competent to exercise the right to bear arms (which is more or less the white supremacist position as well).

Anarcho-Dictator

Instead of a Blog

The gun restrictions in urban areas don’t affect the urbanite middle classes all that much. Most of these people don’t own guns, and may be afraid of them. They have never dealt with serious physical conflict in maybe their entire lives.

The people who are affected are the disaffected and policed underclass. The black or mexican ‘gang banger’ is the leading edge of a community that has so little investment in the state’s ‘defense’, the political class and the economic system that they’re resorting to outright black markets in broad daylight, and flaunting their paramilitary status (mostly fantasies) in their popular music. Unfortunately, most of these guys are carrying a handgun at the most. A few own larger weapons, but they’re harder to conceal or carry in a car. In a more permissive legal system these ‘thugs’ and territorial mafias would be able to openly carry large and small arms without need to provide permit or reason. This, obviously, is not acceptable to the Congressional-Police-Prison Union Complex. One can not have organized, funded resistance on the home front!

Something similar is true of the punk crowd. Rowdy, drunken, drugged, detached from the incentives of propaganda warfare, they can cluster together. Their disregard for the law and the politeness of civil society is well known, and often genuine. Yet punks, whether they’re brawling with each other or the man, are usually armed with a baseball bat – if anything. I am almost certain that at least some of these guys would have uzis, if it wasn’t for the criminalization of firearms and their carry in urban areas. Again, it’s not the sheltered middle class that these laws are targeting, it’s the people who are able and willing to subvert the elites and their lemmings in the middle class.

Lumpenproles have the most to lose from gun control. The urban garrison state is just the beginning.

A journey through a land of extreme poverty: Welcome to America Reply

By Ed Pilkington

The Guardian

Los Angeles, California, 5 December

“You got a choice to make, man. You could go straight on to heaven. Or you could turn right, into that.”

We are in Los Angeles, in the heart of one of America’s wealthiest cities, and General Dogon, dressed in black, is our tour guide. Alongside him strolls another tall man, grey-haired and sprucely decked out in jeans and suit jacket. Professor Philip Alston is an Australian academic with a formal title: UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

General Dogon, himself a veteran of these Skid Row streets, strides along, stepping over a dead rat without comment and skirting round a body wrapped in a worn orange blanket lying on the sidewalk.

The two men carry on for block after block after block of tatty tents and improvised tarpaulin shelters. Men and women are gathered outside the structures, squatting or sleeping, some in groups, most alone like extras in a low-budget dystopian movie.

We come to an intersection, which is when General Dogon stops and presents his guest with the choice. He points straight ahead to the end of the street, where the glistening skyscrapers of downtown LA rise up in a promise of divine riches.

Heaven.

Then he turns to the right, revealing the “black power” tattoo on his neck, and leads our gaze back into Skid Row bang in the center of LA’s downtown. That way lies 50 blocks of concentrated human humiliation. A nightmare in plain view, in the city of dreams.

Alston turns right.

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Cliches of Statism, and How to Answer Them 5

Tom Woods and Stefan Molyneux discuss many of the cliches libertarians find themselves having to answer, involving child labor, labor unions, monopolies, the environment, and more. Listen here.

I generally agree with the content of this discussion, except, like most mainstream libertarians, they’re going far too easy on historic capitalism in terms of the role of the state in fostering it, and the degree to which corporatism and statism continue to be interconnected.

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Would Libertarianism Make People Fat? 4

In the spirit of Paul LaFargue and Bob Black. This is precisely the kind of libertarianism we need, not bourgeois conservatism or SJW ninnyism. “But freedom will make people lazy and decadent!” Response” “Yeah? What of it?”

Anarcho-Dictator

Without all the taxes and regulations that force people to continuously generate income to survive, it’s quite possible that many people would be even lazier than they are today. If one could simply build on land or buy it, and had to pay for nothing but repairs and vittles for themselves, many people might find themselves at work two or four hour days and spend the rest of their time watching hentai and drinking beer.

An increase in economic prosperity has led to an increasingly slothful and self-indulgent population in every case I can think of. A large, free trade economy might produce hordes of people for whom survival is so simple as to make effort almost superfluous.

Such an environment would also open the pathway to many low-efficiency lifestyles – the wealthier you are, the more you can indulge cult superstitions, smoke crack and alienate everyone without risk of starving to death. Imagine all the ‘anarcho-primitivists’ with their camping gear shipped into the Amazon by Amazon drones – making a few dollars a day selling pictures of the rain forest to advertising firms.

Why State Provision of Social Services is a Bad Idea, Even in the Context of Corporate Plutocracy Reply

Some interesting comments from “Dick Moore” on Facebook.

I wanted to write a little bit about the question of ‘social services’ provided by the State as alleged ‘alternatives’ to for-profit systems.

To start with I will admit (as more sophisticated libertarians do) that really-existing capitalism and its major appendages – the international joint-stock corporation – benefit in a myriad of ways from state intervention, both direct (subsidy, tariff and government contracts) as well as indirect (the creation of ‘friendly business environments’ in foreign lands through political pressure by the American state, intellectual property, and so forth). Existing corporations, even if they provide really valuable services, are almost certainly far more profitable and extensive that would be possible in a market of free competition and without State control of access to credit and so forth.

Many liberals and socialists demand, as an antidote, that many social services should be provided by the government rather than left to the whims of the corporate oligarchy.

‘Obamacare’ has resulted in the funneling of money into huge insurance companies and a further disconnection between patients and care providers, with no apparent improvement in the cost or availability of medical care. After the failure of Obamacare (which even some leftists admit) the solution usually offered is a single-payer system, that is full state operation of medical services, or at least a system of free state-run hospitals for those who cannot afford private services.

Yet is this really an antidote? The almost entirely state-operated school system provides billions a year to corporations – through construction contracts, purchase of computers, purchase of Microsoft Windows, purchase of internet access through FCC-regulated-and-connected agencies such as Time-Warner. And because of this these corporations are raking in huge sums of money without being responsible, while schools can draw potentially infinite funds without any reference to outcomes.

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The danger of race-based politics 2

Kotkin’s class analysis, his recognition that progressives are just as bad on class issues as conservatives, and his stating the obvious fact that racial demagoguery is a bad idea are all spot on. However, he seems to retreat into a naive civic nationalism that’s likely to prove increasingly untenable as class, cultural, racial, political and other divisions grow. The United States of the future will likely continue to be a wealth, technologically advanced society that is increasingly diverse in terms of population demographics. The society will become increasingly integrated as well (more Buddhists in Congress, etc). However, the emerging class system is one that resembles the kind of class structure traditionally found in Latin America, and social conflict between contending demographics will likely continue to escalate as well. The role of the increasingly all-pervasive public administration state will be in part to manage that conflict, largely through unprincipled means like buying off the loyalty of some groups, suppressing others, playing different groups off against each other, negotiating or forcing settlements between rival groups, etc.

By Joel Kotkin

Orange County Register

Overall, perceptions of worsening racial relations have been building since the Obama years. And now, with everything from the Kate Steinle murder verdict to President Trump’s dog-whistling Muslim tweets, they see destined to worsen further.

Ironically the strongest demand for racial exclusion comes mostly not from traditional racists — still not extinct — but from a campus left determined to address the evils of “whiteness” through policies of racial separation not seen since Jim Crow days. At some campuses, events are held that whites are excluded from and racially separate dorms are being developed. Even at the high school level, there are attempts to be “racially conscious” towards students, essentially teaching them to their racial “profile,” with dubious educational benefits.

President Trump’s unfortunate tendency to go out of his way to offend non-whites, whether they be Navajo war heroes, Hispanics or inner-city African Americans, makes this all worse. The president and the radical racialists both seem to find common purpose in the creation of kindling for racial bonfires.

Race in not the fundamental problem — class is

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