A Monograph in Defense of Equality

A MONOGRAPH IN DEFENSE OF EQUALITY: an Ongoing Inquiry, by Darryl Thomas

inequality

ONE

 

Equality is a contentious issue with many dimensions that cause disagreements over its definition and application. Some would agree with a hazy definition that claims, “All men are created equal,” while others claim the exact opposite; that men are obviously unequal in intelligence, physical strength, temperament or character.  Equality between human beings is proposition that some have said is untrue or unworkable in any practical sense. Survival of the Fittest is justified, because somewhere along the way, we agreed that the rules of the game would reward the victor while the loser is swept aside. Cooperation is seen as inferior to (or not as exciting as) Competition – which produces heroes worthy of respect and losers to be forgotten. To cooperate or come into an agreement with another is sufficient to a point, but certainly not the level of everybody getting the same deal as everyone else.

The criticisms against economic inequality come in many forms. Those that carry the banner of enlightened self-interest make their arguments sound reasonable and respectful, but on the whole, they are the most ludicrous of statements.

Some of the weirdest ones claim that equality takes away freedom and liberty! One wonders how we have gotten to the point where freedom and equality are considered antagonizing forces. Others claim that the strong overpowering the weak is a justifiable fact of nature. Still others state that Equality is undesirable because it stymies the will of a being that wants to be or have “more” than another. Still others diminish the statement that “All Men Are Equal” as too insignificant to be a meaningful principle for Equality to stand.  Yet the notion of some qualified notion of Equality has persisted as an idea for as long as there has been civilization. It was also been given lip – service to various streams of human interaction, namely philosophical, religious and political. We’ll come back to this later, but this conclusion is too convenient, even as a contrivance that wishes to be taken seriously on rational grounds. As such, it begs the question: seeing that all men and all women participate and share in the qualities, attributes and form of man and woman, how shall we treat ourselves? How shall we allow ourselves to be treated by others?

Equality is a concept that does not easily reduce to a simple, commonly – held definition. It seems the definition of equality slides into an infinite regress of further definitions, proposals, counter-proposals, ideals, reasons and justifications that isolates the subject within a zone of irrelevance that does not allow anything more than polite, philosophical, inconsequential chitchat.

Discussions of Equality are usually considered on philosophical, political or economical grounds. It is possible to take all three fields and merge them into one point when discussing their relationship within the principle of Equality. As long as we separate the social forces of money, politics and the philosophical framework that justifies the status quo of inequality, then the meaning of equality is vulnerable to an infinite regress of excuses that forces any discussion to the same point of insignificance. But can the singular approach of an Equal Money economic system deal with the myriad of problems and externalities that seem intractable under the current economic system? We believe that although the problems are vast, we can face them and transcend them through one common agreement: that Equality for all is the only answer that will save us.

By conducting a survey of historical social theories and their application, we intend to show that although there have been many attempts to bring about a more civilized and egalitarian society in different eras and places, there has seemingly been little interest in developing a philosophical framework for Equality as the Principle staring point of how we to live together. We will present the argument that no system that thwarts the expression or the validity of Equality will ever lead to a world where Justice, Peace, Dignity and Honor can stand. The foundation of our proposition is simple. An economy based on principles of respecting the life of a human being as being worthy of full expression, opportunity, education and having basic needs of survival fulfilled as an unalienable human privilege, and is the only model that succeeds in establishing itself as justified in being the most beneficial for everyone, by extending that privilege to everyone equally.

In doing so, there will emerge a new way of living, not one based on Buying the Right to Survive, but equating money with the value of Life of the Human Being, a miraculous creature existing to express, create and add to rich tapestry of Humanity. This won’t be possible to achieve until we dispense with the old ideas that only serve the privileged.

This monograph will treat the subject of Equality from various angles and present within its defense an explanation of how this singular application can bring peace,  justice and liberty to the world while uplifting each one to the fullness of potential.

 

TWO

 

1And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 
 2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 
 3And they said one to another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 
 4And they said, “Come, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” 
 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men built. 
 6And the LORD said, “Behold, the people are one and they have all one language, and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be withheld from them which they have imagined to do. 
 7Come, let Us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 
 8So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off building the city. 
 9Therefore is the name of it called Babel [that is, Confusion], because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Genesis 11:1-9 (21st Century King James Version)

The biblical story of the Tower of Babel is interesting because it shows the reaction of an alarmed and jealous Yahweh looking down suspiciously at the works of a united people. While Sunday school teachers have played God’s spiteful act of confusing the language of humanity as a just punishment for the hubris of a people’s of wanting to “make a name,” there is the strong implication that Yahweh felt threatened as was in fear a collected whole of people, and this was apparently too dangerously close to becoming self-sufficient for Yahweh’s liking. We may have been created in God’s image, but He will be damned if He’s going to just let us become Him.

People who rail against the notion of Equality or economic equality are cut from the same cloth as our LORD. They cannot stand the thought of everyone having as much as they have. They’ve worked hard for what they’ve got. They don’t need something that they see as a direct challenge to the meaning of their lives. If you have to take from someone else, it’s only because someone is going to try to take from you. It wasn’t your idea. You just accepted this as “the way things are.” And that “way” is that  everyone must go through the same wringer of survival-purchase as you have (no matter where you start off in life, but if you have the head start of being born to the right set of parents, then so much the better), and if you survived it, then you should be entitled to your rewards. Those who can’t get out of the blocks due to factors beyond their control, well, sorry. They must lose, because this life is only meant to be enjoyed by the winners. And the losers must die or fuck off. Preferably die or fuck off somewhere where we can’t see them. And you will feel justified because your anti-equality point of view is reflected in the bible (one of the remarkable and enduring brainwashing gadget of Western Civilization) many, many times.

In the Babel story it is clear that Yahweh does not want a unified world where oneness is present and all agreements are directed by one point of working together for the common good. No, God wants division, confusion and separation – all the better to rule over others. “As above, so below.” The same sickening spitefulness and fear of manifested Equality that filled Yahweh with cosmic revulsion is present within today’s winners of the survival game. For they know on some level what they have gained was gained at the expense of others. The winners of the survival game cannot allow the others who they’ve beaten to be given another chance. Those who are defeated must remain defeated, they must continue to suffer because if they were worthy, they could have been winners too. Without losers, the victory of having “won” is rendered hollow. So the winners must stand and the losers scattered across the face of the Earth. It would seem what is really being defended by the opponents of Equality is the winners’ right to continue their oppression and destructions of the losers. Equality within an economic would not allow the winners to continue as they have, and that is unacceptable. The meaning of Equality must be trivialized instead.

 

THREE

 

Opponents of Equality will defend their position that although they accept the existence of a common bond brotherhood between human beings that reveals similarities, it is the differences between any two people who makes the principle of Equality too weak a premise to build a society upon. While the opponents of Equality will regard it as a quaint though impractical notion, they will pay lip service to the concept and place it alongside other universal notions such as Justice, Liberty and Free Will to be formed as part of a “moral” and “ethical” framework. This is how the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson can be given credit for the lofty philosophical statement of “All Men Are Created Equal,” while escaping criticism for being a typical elitist slaveholding colonialist. We realize now, despite the best efforts of public school miseducation, that the elite colonialists actually meant that, “All White Male Landowners Were Created Equal,” and everybody else existed only to serve their wishes.

It is no wonder why the elites would disparage and ridicule an egalitarian-based society. They may be pathological in their bloody single-mindedness within their domination of others, but they are not crazy!

They realized quite early that any talk of Equality would be controlled and used rhetorically and emotionally to channel responses of public opinion of the presentation of these lofty ideas while cynically having them accept their own program of institutionalized inequality. Economic Equality was never considered as it was incompatible with the generation of great wealth by the elite, which had the outcome of  creating a necessary division between the elites and the lower classes while using the middle class as a buffer as protection against the poor. [1] Equality is incompatible to the “wheeling – dealing” style of Capitalism. Equality is incompatible with the use of Free Will. Equality is incompatible with ideas of “Freedom.” Thus it has been given a lower status as a Universal Principle within the Social Contract by those who control and manage the flow of ideas.

Although the corporatism of Late Capitalism allows for “pulling oneself up by the bootstrap” Horatio Alger mythology on a piddling scale, the fact that once locked out, the disenfranchised most likely will be trapped within their poverty permanently. There is simply “not enough” money to go around to assist them. Besides, Capitalism needs a certain amount of people to be locked out of the system for it to remain functional.

Forget about money for a moment… there is also not enough “Liberty” to go around, as well. And here we come to the great divide between Equality and Liberty. “Give me liberty, or give me death,” was the famous Revolutionary War slogan attributed to the patriot Patrick Henry that supposedly encapsulates the American declaration of liberty. Liberty is more valued than any other Universal in America, and it is a handy measurement for establishing the limits and irrelevancy of Equality.

It has long been massaged into the brainpans of Americans that without Liberty, one is always subject to the leash around the neck that inhibits and restricts human action. The application of “Liberty” alleges that one has the “right” to be free from restrictions imposed by any lawful or unlawful order. It is important for the Capitalists that this “Liberty” be given Top Billing in society, because one can’t turn a profit without having the liberty to do so. You can’t make money polluting the air and the soil without having the liberty to do so. You cannot establish sweatshops in impoverished Third World countries without having the liberty to do so. This All-Important Liberty is too precious to be overturned by Equality.

However, once Equality is given priority over Liberty (which, in all truth, doesn’t really exist due to the limits imposed on free choice of the individual through the agreed-upon laws and regulation of society), none of the above “liberties” to devise methodologies of economic enslavement would be allowed. And here Equal Money economics is to be considered preferable to the current special – interest economic system that only exists to provide the most wealth for the fewest people. This condition of privilege for the few would be transformed into granting the same privilege for all.

Yes, it is true that the legal enforcement of Equality curtails and places limits on individual liberties, but mostly those that would rob and exploit others. To appeal to “Freedom of Choice” in allowing one to do as he wishes will do no good, for Free Will cannot truly exist if the Free Wills of others are overridden by the clever and devious beings who’s actions would cause their exploitation. That Equality must override Liberty to ensure the equal treatment of all beings should not cause one to doubt Equality’s validity or make it less worthy in our eyes. We maintain that it is through cooperation, and not through competition, that shall make Mankind achieve that which has always eluded us; a peaceful, harmonious world built on the Principle of Trust and Honor, where everyone is considered a friend and not an opponent to be defeated in vainglorious battle. Every man, woman and child can indeed be given the equal opportunity to become their fullest expression, but only if we remove specious and deceptive cries for the primacy of Liberty, used by those as a dazzling, white cloak concealing their true, deceptive and self-interested purposes at the expense of others.

__________________________________________________________________
[1] This idea (and other methods employed by the American elite to use the middle class for its own purposes) is discussed several times in Howard Zinn’s extraordinary work, A People’s History of the United States, Perennial (HarperCollins), 2001.
 

FOUR

I am uncertain of the date when my complete disillusionment with the cynical and mealy-mouthed politics of what I laughingly call “the American Left” kicked in, but sometime after Al Gore capitulated in the 2000 Presidential Election to George W. Bush. I was certain that the Democrats where not the answer to the question of what was it going to take to turn this country around. It was clear to me that I had to widen my political field of vision, so to speak, because it was obvious that both the Democrats and the Republicans were united in the their mutual concern of looking out only for themselves and their corporate benefactors. I wanted something more radical, something with more teeth. I wanted to turn to something that would stand against the status quo. So I looked towards the Libertarians to see what they had to offer.

On first glance, they were certainly interesting. I mistook them for plucky “freedom fighters,” and believed that the politics of these people contained the punch in the political gut I was looking for. However, the Libertarian landscape is not densely populated.  Anyone vaguely interested in Libertarianism will stumble across its icons and talismans. Ludwig Von Mises, the influential classical liberal economist and staunch supporter of capitalism, Ayn Rand, famous for her Objectivist philosophy which praised the self-interest of man, Murray Rothbard, the leading “anarcho-capitalist” of his era and of course, Lew Rockwell and the Libertarian’s current hero and failed Presidential candidate, Ron Paul.

I was initially enthralled by the Libertarianism’s primal instinct for achieving personal freedom while objecting to the to invasive controls of the state. I mean, that really spoke to me. So I subscribed the Mises online blogs and joined a Libertarian forum where I participated regularly to learn more about their platform. Slowly it dawned on me that the discussions I was involved in were nothing more than an extended bull — session for pot-smokin,’ whore-mongerin,’ tax-hatin’ Republicans men (the forums were primarily male) who thought that child labor was an idea good enough to bring back. Appalling. I gradually realized that these people shared a shocking lack of concern for the welfare of others and committed to a self-aggrandizement arrogance that was just impossible to believe. Their conversations were repetitive and predictable, like the metallic spinning of a hamster wheel. I was completely turned off to say the least, but I was still curious to see if there was anything of substance beneath the thick, revolting miasma of Libertarian self-interest.

Nope. There are two things that concern the Libertarian: Money and Liberty. Or rather, the Liberty to make Money – for Money buys you all the Liberty you can afford. Most Libertarians understand the games of the money system and how paper money is intrinsically worthless, yet instead of changing the system for the benefit for all, they want to change the system for the benefit for themselves.

 

Classical Liberalism as the Justification of Abuse

 

“What is most criticized in our social order is the inequality in the distribution of wealth and income, There are rich and poor; there are very rich and very poor. The way out is not far to seek: the equal distribution of all wealth.”- Ludwig Von Mises, The Inequality of Wealth and Income

Ludwig Von Mises’ sarcasm should be evident. As a staunch and vociferous critic of Socialism, Mises didn’t think an equal distribution of wealth was a good idea. Why? Because according the his own calculus and understanding of how capitalism worked, an egalitarian system would fall because there wouldn’t be a stable pricing structure to give people an idea how much something was worth. But more important, Mises claimed that economic equality destroyed the meaning of Free Markets and could only be asserted through totalitarianism. Of course, his view was aligned with the current economic of his time. An Austrian Jew who was forced to flee from Vienna to Geneva to escape the Nazis in 1934, Mises considered Hitler’s economic reforms to be a serious threat to the survival of Free Market Capitalism and from abroad wrote and lectured extensively in defense of his classical liberal economic theories.

Hitler was unaffected by his critics, and set out to rescue his country from economic oppression imposed by its continental neighbors after Germany’s defeat in World War 1. The German government led by Hitler did this by quickly creating its own version of capitalism that was in direct competition (!) with the current world banking system. According to C.C. Vieth’s book, The Citadels of Chaos (Meador, 1949), Hitler is quoted to say:

“We were not foolish enough to try to make a currency [backed by] gold of which we had none, but for every mark that was issued we required the equivalent of a mark’s worth of work done or goods produced... we laugh at the time our national financiers held the view that the value of a currency is regulated by the gold and securities lying in the vaults of a state bank.” (Emphasis mine)

What the Third Reich accomplished was remarkable. Hitler issued a state currency that bypassed the European banking system completely, based solely on material and the output of labor rather than gold reserves. In a matter of a few years, Hitler had successfully invalidated the concept that capital could only be measured through gold reserves and by extension, the banking system championed by classical liberal economists like Mises.

Hitler’s eventual defeat by the Allies must have produced a tremendous sigh of relief for men like Mises who were able to crow victoriously about the apparent superiority of Capitalism over the socialist egalitarian models. But even in victory, there were hard lessons that the capitalists were forced to learn. Sheldon Emry, in his book, Billions for the Bankers, Debts for the People (1984), writes:

Germany financed its entire government and war operation from 1935 to 1945 without gold and without debt, and it took the whole Capitalist and Communist world to destroy the German power over Europe
and bring Europe back under the heel of the Bankers. Such history of money does not even appear in the textbooks of public (government)
schools today.

Such a rendition of the fallacies and flaws of Capitalism and how its global control was nearly toppled by a country the size of the American state of Montana cannot be discussed openly in classrooms across America for obvious reasons. It could give the citizens the wrong idea. Imagine people printing their own money and existing through an economic system ofr their own making and bypassing the Federal Reserve. Of course, the notion of printing your own money is not one that the government is likely to look kindly upon.

Still, an economic Equality could be achieved in a rather short timeframe. Crime, debt and full employment would be possible – not to mention the basic needs of beings being provided for all as an essential human right. The Free Markets and Competition of economists represented by Mises are old, pitiful and unnecessary ideas that need to be taken out back and have put down. An Equal Money system as proposed by the Equal Life Foundation is desperately needed because it is the only reasonable way we can stop the rampant, unyielding abuse and suffering generated and justified by Capitalist policies. It is time to put an end to what is ethically, morally and irrationally about the principle of forcing people to pay others money in order to survive.

 

FIVE

 

Rothbard’s Equation: Equality is Evil.

“At the heart of the egalitarian left is the pathological belief that there is no structure of reality; that all the world is a tabula rasa that can be changed at any moment in any desired direction by the mere exercise of human will.”- Murray Rothbard, “Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature”[1]

Murray Rothbard’s essay, Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature, is well – known within neoliberal and anarcho-libertarian circles for providing the classic neoliberal justification for unlimited, predatory capitalism. As the title indicates, Rothbard considers notions of equality as unnatural. For Rothbard, inequality is a biological attribute of the human being, of the human condition. Rothbard also defines equality as being “uniform.” This disingenuous stunt of mangling a word into a one-dimensional definition to make a point is a common ploy to used by some in an attempt to confuse people into accepting their opinion.

“(M)ankind,” Rothbard says, “is uniquely characterized by a high degree of variety, diversity, differentiation; in short, inequality.” While stating the obvious fact that there are differences between people, there is no room for argument that there exists only one kind of humanity. Humanity is a  singular essence of a man and a woman and a principle not destroyed by diversity, for this essence is that which is shared equally by all. Rothbard hopes that his lazy comparison and definition of inequality and diversity will be persuasive enough to keep one from seeing the remarkable shallowness of his argument. He continues:

“What, in fact, is “equality”? The term has been much invoked but little analyzed. A and B are “equal” if they are identical to each other with respect to a given attribute. Thus, if Smith and Jones are both exactly six feet in height, then they may be said to be “equal” in height. If two sticks are identical in length, then their lengths are “equal,” etc. There is one and only one way, then, in which any two people can really be “equal” in the fullest sense: they must be identical in all of their attributes. This means, of course, that equality of all men – the egalitarian ideal – can only be achieved if all men are precisely uniform, precisely identical with respect to all of their attributes. The egalitarian world would necessarily be a world of horror fiction – a world of faceless and identical creatures, devoid of all individuality, variety, or special creativity.”

Rothbard is guilty of making a false distinction to give support his very shaky premise. Even if two sticks are “unequal in length,” that dissimilarity does not destroy the essence of what we recognize as a “stick.” We may even have sticks of different materials, color or width. It is the essence of what we have come to regard as “sticks” that unifies sticks a a particular set that shares the same stick – like essence. His “horror fiction” of an egalitarian world is basically his fear that equality will destroy economic incentive and goes Rothbard’s beautiful capitalistic system.

My own Oxford dictionary claims that equality is, “the state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.”

Status, rights, and opportunities. Rothbard will not go that far in his definition of equality. His definition must be closed, one-dimensional and deceptive in order to justify his premise that inequality is inescapable, thus even though rationality we can see that we have the capacity to rise beyond our inequality, it is madness to try to overturn it. Rothbard’s ironic insistence on a “rational analysis” of Equality sounds awfully self-mocking, based as it is on speciousness and emotional manipulation . There isn’t much rational analysis going on here because Rothbard’s starting point is to demolish the concept of Equality first, and then providing a “rationalist”  argument for the causalities of capitalism.

“The egalitarian revolt against biological reality, as significant as it is, is only a subset of a deeper revolt: against the ontological structure of reality itself, against the “very organization of nature”; against the universe as such.”

Equality as a “revolt against nature?” Seriously, it seems Rothbard protests too much. Is “Ethics” a “revolt against nature?” Or liberty? Or freedom? Or morality? Are these things found in nature? Isn’t the human being a remarkable creature that can choose how to relate to others? Shouldn’t the human being by virtue of his rationality strive to rise beyond his capability? “…but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, orwhat’s a heaven for?” I do not know Rothbard’s opinion of Shakespeare, but in light of his position of the principle of inequality, one wonders if he would have called Shakespeare an evil communist? Rothbard must have foreseen these questions because he then against the anti-capitalist and Critical Theorist, Herbert Marcuse:

At the heart of the egalitarian left is the pathological belief that there is no structure of reality; that all the world is a tabula rasa that can be changed at any moment in any desired direction by the mere exercise of human will – in short, that reality can be instantly transformed by the mere wish or whim of human beings. Surely this sort of infantile thinking is at the heart of Herbert Marcuse’s passionate call for the comprehensive negation of the existing structure of reality and for its transformation into what he divines to be its true potential.”

What Marcuse objected to was capitalism’s totalizing, overpowering force that rendered concepts such as, “liberty” and “freedom” meaningless. For Marcuse, “freedom” really meant, “freedom from want.” But the capitalistic system demands to be accepted as is, thus it is most impossible to exist without money, thus it was impossible to be free from having to buy our survival. By creating a false reality where beings identify with the commodities they created, the human being is reduced to the singular dimensionality of the commodity. Marcuse also claimed that consumerism was energized through the creation of “false needs” as a form of social control. Capitalism, Marcuse says, provides adeceptive liberty.

 

Marcuse: Requiem for the 1 Dimensional Man

 

Under the rule of a repressive whole, liberty can be made into a powerful instrument of domination. The range of choice open to the individual is not the decisive factor in determining the degree of human freedom, but what can be chosen and what is chosen by the individual. […] Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves. Free choice among a wide variety of goods and services does not signify freedom if these goods and services sustain social controls over a life of toil and fear-that is, if they sustain alienation. And the spontaneous reproduction of superimposed needs by the individual does not establish autonomy; it only testifies to the efficacy of the controls. [2]

By the end of the essay, the Rothbard Name-Calling Machine is pressed into service, shrilly complaining that the egalitarians have set themselves against natural law and the universe! “Terribly rotten, spoiled children,” who are “dangerous,” “profoundly antihuman” (and profoundly evil, as well) bent on a single-minded “destruction of civilization.” There you have it. Equality will destroy civilization.

But I have to ask: why would this be a bad thing?

Rothbard is right about Equality destroying the current economic order, he is right but for the wrong reason. Yes, if rigorously applied, Equality will bring to an end the current system. But it is a system that deservedly needs to end and be replaced with something more rational that is the best for all.  That the system can be replaced proves that reality is indeed a blank slate that we can decide who we are to be as the human race. We can decide and claim that all human beings by virtue of being human, deserve a boon. We can decide that we deserve the honor of not having to pay for our survival. We can decide that the economic oppression by a minority against a majority is unacceptable. Economic Equality which will provide human beings with true needs as their birthright for being human. The false need engineered by the latest media sensation is not worthy of a new and true definition of who we are, unless we settle for it. Capitalism has made a mockery of liberty and freedom through enslaving through the intentional, deceptive definitions of words and concepts that have been given to society.

For Rothbard, the mere exercise of human will is perfectly fine if one uses it in enlightened self-interest or in the generation of wealth or defeating opponents and exploiting those who can’t fight back because they lack money.

For Marcuse, we can wipe the slate clean and start over through overturning the current capitalist system and replaces it with a economic equality system. It will take a lot of work and maybe a lifetime or two to implement it world-wide. But we can do this. It well within our technology. Inequality has only one defense: that self-interest is necessary. But it is only necessary within certain abusive and competitive contexts.

Yet, for Rothbard, the mere exercise of human will is quite all right if it is used to generate money and boss others around. Marcuse, on the other hand, sums up the situation accordingly:

“Freedom of enterprise was from the beginning not altogether a blessing. As the liberty to work or to starve, it spelled toil, insecurity, and fear for the vast majority of the population. If the individual were no longer compelled to prove himself on the market, as a free economic subject, the disappearance of this freedom would be one of the greatest achievements of civilization.”

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[1] Murray N. Rothbard, Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays, Ludwig Von Mises Inst; 2nd edition. 2000

[2] Herbert Marcusse, The One-Dimensonal Man, Beacon Press. 1964

 

SIX

 

Ayn Rand: Equality and the Destruction of the Exceptional Man

 

There exists in the works of Ayn Rand (1905-1982) a running opinion she weaves in her best known novels about the exceptional man (usually some sort of capitalist or intellectual genius) who must contend against the pettiness, cowardice or stupidity of others who would annihilate her hero by dragging him down into depths of mind-numbing mediocrity. This stance informed Rand’s opposition to egalitarianism, which was profound and absolute. Equality was for her the end of reason and civilization, and those who advocated equality were hateful, self-loathing demons hell – bent for nothing less than the destruction of existence!

“They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you  to die; they desire nothing, they hate existence, and they keep running, each trying not to learn that the object of his hatred is himself . . . . They are the essence of evil, they, those anti-living objects who seek, by devouring the world, to fill the selfless zero of their soul. It is not your wealth that they’re after. Theirs is a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man.” [1]

Ayn Rand developed her philosophical “theory of everything” as “Objectivism,” which was for her a philosophy extolling the genius of consciousness and rational self – interest.  Her outlook was Aristotelian in essence, as Rand shared Aristotle’s opinion of the existence of only “one” dimension of reality that could be rationally explained. Rand defines man as a rational animal possessing an individual consciousness and identity. Through the use of reason this rational animal is able to perceive “identity,” “ethics,” “purpose,” “value” and “morality.” Now, all of this seems rather elementary and prosaic, but when it comes to survival and capitalism, Rand makes several shocking claims.

In terms of survival, Man is the ends that justifies itself (according to Rand). Is there room for Cooperating with others? Only if your self-interest is served by doing so. Altruism? Out of the question. Man must figure it out on his own and exist for himself in attaining his goals as the pursuit of “happiness” a point which Rand seemingly lifted from the Utilitarian thesis of the 19th century liberal John Stuart Mill. Mill, however, claimed that it was in man’s best interest to bring the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest amount of people. Rand’s version of her classical liberalism kept close to the principle: government must be constrained and only exist to protect man’s “freedom” from physical force (from the community?) This idea holds a deep suspicion, fear and enmity against the collective and the government which informs much of Rand’s works.

In terms of capitalism, Rand  claims a moral justification in line with the “rational nature” of man. She might have also meant the “rational nature of man’s consciousness,” since for Rand, the mind is the source for all rationality ad meaning. Rand often claimed that Capitalism is the system most reflective of this rational principle, as it was for her the only moral system available that could provide personal liberty to the individual.

A world that enforces Equality is perhaps the worse hell imaginable from a Randianperspective, for there is a deep desire within the neoliberal who succeeds at the game of survival, to be justly rewarded for his efforts. He is further justified in feeling superior by watching the struggles and death throes of his perceived inferiors since they must be punished for not playing the game effectively. It is only through the lens of Objectivism that Equality is seen as punishing the best and brightest (which is ridiculous, of course).

Rand certainly shared this view, as you can see in the quote at the top of this blog. Her influence among the libertarians and neoliberals remain unabated, ensuring a legion of internet objectivists who then copy and paste her findings for new generations to come.

There seems to be a qualification with the word “equality” when applied in different contexts. Nobody seems to have a problem with Equality  as – Equal Rights – under the law, although there seems to be the issue whether that form of Equality is determined more by money than any abiding, ethical principle. When it comes tomoney – which is apparently the value that neoliberals have placed with effort, intelligence and vision. There can be no quarter given, because it would be “unfair” to the ones who have prospered to share. They don’t see it as society being raised up to an equal starting point where everyone can be truly enjoy the “liberty” to contribute more fully… they see it as a catastrophe in which they – the exceptional, the special and the best of us, will be tied down to a torture rack of mediocrity. A hellish world where the first will be the last. The horror!

These childish, tortured fantasies and excuses can only exist in order to justify inequality, which is pitifully obvious, since most libertarians and neoliberals make no bones about how they feel on the subject. Protest as they may, they can’t overcome the common sense end result of a society liberated from  the specter of scarcity, needs and want – which would produce more exceptional people for society. Man is capable of designing a better world where equal rights extend to basic human needs being met. No one is saying that those who work harder than others won’t be allowed to “have more” if they work for it. It’s the current system which rewards exploitation – which in itself is a chief feature of Capitalism and at the same time, and which serves as a socially repressive, anti-liberty, anti-democratic and stateless force that runs counter to the basic premise of Rand’s moral rationalism; that “force” is not allowed to be used against another. It then turns out that Capitalism is the true destroyer of human value! Money is revealed to be a titanic, sizeless club that savagely beats everyone into submission, forcing their participation under pain of death. Is Capitalism really a “rational” jewel in the crown of human consciousness as Ayn Rand claims? Or is it a discredited, abusive system that common sense demands we drop and leave behind? An Equal Money system will not diminish the amount of the exceptional hero that was Ayn Rand’s ideal. It will produce so many more exceptionals, that the meaning of the word will be lost when everyone will be exceptional.

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[1] Ayn Rand, “Galt’s Speech,” For the New Intellectual, the Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Signet Books. 1963

 

SEVEN

 

iPods are Good for Consumers. But Are They Good for the Third World?

 

Neoliberals think so. For them, the sweatshop isn’t just a symbol of the ubiquitous and life-crushing aspects of capitalism, it’s also a triumphant example of its moral and rational superiority over all other economic systems. Seriously, I do not know for certain if they really believe this line to be true, but they really do say that.

For example, on the LewRockwell.com site maintained by the libertarian activist and chairman of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Lew Rockwell, you can find an essay written by Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo entitled, How ‘Sweatshops’ Help the Poor.”

http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo113.html

It’s a libertarian screed framed by a barely – contained outrage in response  to the charge that sweat shops promote slave labor by capitalizing on the impoverished people of the world. DiLorenzo  believes that the subject of sweatshop labor are only the lies and propaganda of technology – hating Unionists, who are apparently in a snit because the Third World are not as unionized as America. Regarding this denial of the abuse of workers, I wonder if DiLorenzo has ever read Dickens or Upton Sinclair, two well – regarded authors who wrote passionately about the miserable working conditions the poor had to endure. DiLorenzo’s totalizing disdain of the unions leads him to claim that if these workers were to join the unions, they’d all be thrown out of work by the multinational corporations, who presumably would not find the their unionized wages as profitable. DiLorenzo does not say anything about how these stateless corporations would maximize profits or even if they would continue to exist, but he even goes on to say:

“…the anti-factory movement has always been motivated by either the socialists’ desire to destroy industrial civilization, or by the inherently non-competitive nature of organized labor.

We have heard this shrill, apocalyptic raving about equality precipitating the “End of Civilization” before from the Neoliberal “Fun Bunch” of  Mises, Rothbard and Rand. It’s deceptive, clumsy, boilerplate rhetoric meant to throw up a distracting fear of the unknown without providing any evidence that such things would indeed occur. Pointing to research of sweatshops in eleven Third world countries presented by Ben Powell and David Skarbek for the Journal of Labor Research, DiLorenzo believes he has found a result that supports his Pro-sweatshop premise of their benefits to the impoverished:

“In Honduras, where almost half the working population lives on $2/day, “sweatshops” pay $13.10/day.”

 

Not really a cause for celebration, for we do not have the data which provides evidence of the working conditions or the average hours worked or whether health care is provided or if the worker’s rights are being upheld. What the exploited workers areundoubtedly doing is earning the owners of the sweat factories enormous wealth. Was this the “Invisible Hand of the Market” of the economic theories of Adam Smith had in mind when he theorized how the pursuit of self-interest is more beneficial to society than from a starting point of lending assistance? Thus with the Age of the Ipod, the hi – tech Sweatshop is seen as “doing a favor” for the exploited worker, who would be “better off” toiling their life away in misery creating products that they themselves can’t ever hope to buy, as they would be rescued from an even “worse” of life on the streets life or turning to crime or even starvation.

This fact is clear: when  speaking  about sweatshops, if the phenomenon of exploitation is allowed, the specious claim that Capitalism defends “human rights” is devoid of any moral force its appeal to liberty alleges, reducing one to justify an amoral philosophy by alleging that it’s a moral philosophy. A neat trick if one dispenses with common sense. Or if one doesn’t dare to connect the dots. I wonder how well Steve Jobs sleeps at night. Oh, right, it’s all about the money!

 

The Foxcomm Suicides

 

The online zine Global Post has been investigating stories about Asia’s low-wage slaves for over a year, with Katleen E. McLaughlin reporting Apple raising wages for its workers 65% at Taiwan’s Foxcomm factory in the city of Shezhen, after 10 Foxcomm employees committed suicide. [1]

McLaughlin claims that giving the workers more  money won’t make their lives easier, because the rights of the workers are not being upheld. Migrant workers in China (and elsewhere) are treated as mules to loaded down with unreasonable slave – like toil. They do not receive health care or education.In short, the are treated like indentured servants whose sufferings yields splendid dividends  for Silicon Valley.

In another report for Global Post entitled, Silicon Sweatshops, Mclaughlin and Jonathan Adams indicate something awry  in the way our beloved gadgets are manufactured:

“By the time a gadget reaches Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City or any other U.S. retailer, it may have passed through the hands of a heavily indebted Filipina migrant worker on the graveyard shift in Taiwan, a Taiwanese “quality control” worker who’ll soon be fired without warning, and a young Chinese worker clocking 80-hour weeks on a final assembly line, at less than a dollar an hour.

Recent years have seen a drumbeat of reports on such abuses. In 2006, in an audit following a British media report, Apple found that workers in a factory assembling iPods in China were working excessive overtime hours.” [2]

Workers in America or the UK or France or any other First world country would not tolerate such abusive treatment by management. By operating under the system of making the most money while paying the least possible wages, shows that Capitalist system, despite the claims of neoliberal propaganda,  has no regard for “Liberty” or the “rights of the individual” at all.  The system operates, in fact, against the principle of Libertarianism as defined by David Boaz, who wrote,Libertarianism:  A Primer, where he states that,

“No one has the right to initiate aggression against the person or property of anyone else.”

The existence of cheap and plentiful iPods can only be produced by the economic aggression against the people who are forced into the jaws of a nightmare of repetitive, stupefying toil in order to survive in a god – forsaken world.

What would happen to the restive slumber of Steve Jobs if his beloved company was forced to pay its overseas workers an equal wage that was on par to what Americans would work for? iPods would cost a million dollars and Apple would be ruined. So in order to keep the smug, self – satisfied smiles on the faces of Professor DiLorenzo and Steve Jobs, beings all over Asia must suffer indignities behind a black curtain of abuse, justification and forgetfulness: behind which the real invisible hands of the market left to rot and die so that the 1% of the world who own computers can have such a nice time on the internet.

The solution is Equal Money for an Equal Life.

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[1]  Kathleen E. McLaughlin  “Foxcomm Suicides: Why higher pay won’t work,”GlobalPost Published: June 10, 2010 11:15 ET in Asia

[2] Jonathan Adams and Kathleen E. McLaughlin, “Silicon Sweatshops,” Global Post, Published: November 17, 2009 07:49 ET in Asia<http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/china-taiwan/091103/silicon-sweatshops-globalpost-investigation&gt;

 

 

The Institutions of Inequality

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

 

At the beginning of the American nation, when there was much discussion on how the country should be governed, Founding Father John Jay famously said, “Those that own the country should run it.” We now see very clearly that Declaration’s famous statement of,” All Men Are Created Equal,” was code for “All White Male Landowners Are Created Equal.” This actually played out when the lines of separation were drawn and the property-owners and the tenants were placed within their respective roles with the middle class acting as a buffer between the landowners, the Indians and the poor. Slaves weren’t even considered.

That “All Men Are Created Equal” as a truth that is “self-evident” has been a statement that has long been open to debate, for some believe that practical equality can never exist since people have differing abilities, education, talents and intellect. Thus there needs to be a higher value or merit placed on who a person is or what he does.

This can be seen in the example of the ‘value gap’ between a doctor and a ditch-digger. The doctor holds more ‘value’ or ‘merit’ than the ditch-digger due to the doctor’s education, his vocation and the ability to create wealth, while the ditch-digger is assumed to likely be mentally retarded or an ex-junkie or a bum with no comparable value at all. Obviously, a big problem in discussing equality as a starting point for a new social model is the difference of value between people that justifies separation, education, class and income.

Many philosophical doctrines and formulations on the subject of equality have been taken up by many people throughout the centuries, however these points almost always considered within the framework of the current money system, which makes discussion problematic since capitalist society does not support equality at all, because the system as it is cannot ‘run’ on equality if it is set up to run on competition, reward, profit, merit and scarcity.

In the dictionary, equality is defined as a noun, the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Mathematically, equality is the condition of being equal in number or amount. Or refers to the mathematical expression of the fact that two quantities are equal.  The word, “equal” descends from the Latin, ‘aequus,’ meaning ‘even, level.’ When speaking about equality, the topic primarily seems to concentrate on moral, social or political equality, and hardly ever in economic terms. Usually, equality in society means fuck all except in the most piddling fashion as in “equal voting rights” or “equal protection under the law.”

Intimately bound up with the principle of Equality is that of Freedom and Individualism, or rather, the freedom to Be Individual. This freedom-individualization program only allows for the “idea of equality” to be considered as long as it does not impinge on “freedoms of the individual’s” right to property, wealth and competition. Transforming the capitalist system into an egalitarian-based society will be considered an unacceptable “loss”- a degeneration into a (God forbid) ‘socialist” or ‘communist” economic system.

 

The Values of Competition

 

Can a society based on competition ever become one that promotes and enforce economic equality for all? Obviously not. It appears that “freedom” of the individual negates, overrides and diminishes the principle of equality. For all the lips service given to “equality,” the fact is “Freedom” is given more value.

And what beings realize, either consciously or subconsciously, is that to ensure equality for all means that the Freedoms of the Individual that allows greed, profit, abuse and poverty to exist, will have to be curtailed and ended. Freedom actually means, “freedom to abuse others.” Equality would not allow any abuse, or the liberty to abuse others.

Speaking of which, “liberty” defined is to be “free” from oppressive social restrictions imposed by governmental authority on one’s behavior, life or politics. In philosophy, the notion of Liberty is extended to freedom from control and fate. Nobody sees that this freedom and liberty are actually controls and enslavement that forces us to exist in patterns of exploitation and domination, because in a competitive society, there must exist losers for the winners to vanquish.

The ironic thing is that the perceived desire for “freedom” and “liberty” covers up the fact that in our modern culture, liberty and freedom do not actually exist, since there are plenty of “non-freedoms” that human beings are subjected to, such as:

no freedom to not take part in the system and still survive

no freedom to travel freely

no freedom for survival

no freedom from governmental authority

no freedom from using money to survive

no freedom from work

no freedom from participating within capitalism

no freedom from poverty

It seems there are some lack of “freedoms” that we already seem prepared to live with, as long as we are prepared to have our individuality.

 

The Values of Happiness

 

Also tied up within the strong points of the Declaration of Independence is “the pursuit of Happiness.” But what makes anyone “happy” and why happiness is one of our “unalienable rights?” Why should we pursue it and how does this relate to “All men are created equal?” The question of the morality of the pursuit of happiness doesn’t seem to apply, since “evil beings” can be just as “happy” as “good beings.” This paean to Happiness might harkens back to Plato’s Republic,where Plato writes about how in his ideal society, happiness would be available to all, although each part (or individual) according to his value of one’s virtues, talents, inclination and birth (actually, ‘heredity’ or bloodline).

Within Plato’s Republic, the separation is explicit: each to his own self-created program and distinctive role. A farmer could not expect to be a successful blacksmith for instance. But more important is the template placed in the Republic that has an aristocracy paternally overseeing the lives of the sweltering masses, which has been the template of control and domination of a few over the many used to this day. We have all agreed that this social model is sufficient. So sufficient, we cannot even begin to consider other options in how we would like to live.

 

The Values of  Justice

 

Another idea tied to Equality is justice, which is usually defined as along the lines of morality, fairness and equity. If justice is the quality of what is fair, reasonable or worthy, one would consider that justice must be concerned about what would be best for all  – the equality for all – for we are all worthy to exist in equality. If inequality is allowed to exist, we should realize that this robs Justice of all moral force, because it is obvious that having to buy one’s own survival in this world is in itself “immoral” since human beings have to suffer and die if they can’t survive – and if one dies because of the inability to purchase her survival while others succeed – the entire meaning and value of morality is emptied, for then morality is reduced to the ability to compete with others where winners live and losers die; “good” or “evil” are now only concerned with values of competition in a hostile world.

Since no moral force is being applied to correct a situation that is in opposition in terms of the fairness Justice implies, we must see that any “balance of fairness” Justice implies for itself is based on illusion, due to the accepted immorality of the values of competition. In this sense, we have agreed that we are not worthy of Justice in terms of equality, and to legitimize this, we have unwittingly created Institutions of Inequality:

crime

drug abuse

prostitution

slavery

war

poverty

homelessness

starvation

class division

illiteracy

malediction

exploitation

separation

and so on. These institutions of inequality are endemic within the current economic system to provide “losers” the society of competition requires. Justice has been allowed to manifest in protection for the principle for competitive society and inequality. The morality it enforces is the morality of domination, separation and greed.

 

The Value of Liberty

 

When talking about Equal Rights we must ask ourselves if there exists any objective standard for equal rights? Opponents of Equality do not believe any such standard exists. For them “Equality” is equality is defined as “sameness,” and they say further, it is quite obvious that All Men are Not the Same. But there  has long been a historical tension between the values of Equality and Liberty, and the neoliberal mindset is certain that no such standard of Equality can ever be delivered with curtailing some freedoms within the current economic system.

They may be right, but does the removal of some individual liberties negate the principle of  universal or economic equality?  The notion of Liberty is concerned with the freedom from control and authority. It also indicates that “one can do as one pleases.” We have “taken the liberty” to exploit, abuse and profit from others and the Earth for our own benefit. Liberty is seen as “License” to compete and dominate, but never to further the aims of genuine Equality.

Liberty is conceived as a principle of freedom from oppressive social restrictions imposed by governmental authority on one’s behavior, life or political views.  Apparently, the Libertarian views “oppressive social restrictions” as those that impede one’s individuality, choice or self-interest. Thus within their ethical system, they see a validity in taking the liberty of creating wealth  by exploiting the workers of poorer countries is recognized through the “ethics” of the value of  competition, thereby removing all meaning from the word “ethics” in the process.

The Threat of Equality

Thus it is not surprising that people are threatened when the subject of equal money  or a basic income that covers human needs for all comes up for discussion,  for we have not realized that we have unwittingly superimposed layers of ignorance, conceit and self-interest over the meanings of words that we have come to consider as the paragons of human consciousness. We have been conditioned and programmed to fear that which would give us a dignified life. When it comes to realizing that our grandiose ideas of ‘freedom” were only superimposed layers of deception that has produced the Institutions of Inequality while hiding the human suffering from our eyes, we know one thing: that everything is in reverse.

 

NINE

What is with Neoliberals and their Insane Obsession with Prostitution?

 

“Prostitution should not be a crime. Prostitutes are not committing an inherently harmful act. While the spread of disease and other detriments are possible in the practice of prostitution, criminalization is a sure way of exacerbating rather than addressing such effects. We saw this quite clearly in the time of alcohol prohibition in this country.

…What makes prostitution a ‘victimless crime’ in the sense that no one is necessarily harmed by it is that there are consenting adults involved.”[1]

Sherry F. Colb, JD, Professor of Law and Judge Frederick Lacey Scholar at Rutgers Law School (2006)

 

It’s not surprising to see Prostitution defended as a “Victimless Crime.” Professor Colb and Judge Lacey believe it to be a “crime without a victim.” But what about children being forced into prostitution? Obviously, such a broad statement declaring “prostitution is a victimless crime” is not totally defensible. I wonder if either Colb 0r Lacey would find their opinion of  prostitution change if they were forced to trade places with a street walker for a month.

There are many dimensions to the phenomenon of prostitution: psychological, sexual, religious, economics… and it seems that only one could only defend such a complicated thing without the knowledge of these dimensions.

Women endure prostitution because they need money. Men have forced women to prostitute their sexuality as a means of ensuring survival. As being dubbed, the “World’s Oldest Profession,” prostitution predates the use of money, but not survival. There is evidence that the prostitute were accorded favorably in certain eras and cultures, whether in the Court or the Temple. Rajendra Kumar Sharma relates in his book, “Social Problems And Welfare,” that India was home to a religious mode of cultural expectation in the south of the continent, which produced an expectation that a family provide one daughter to be the one of the “Devadasis,” or “slaves of God.” These young girls were “slaves” all right, as they were forced into a life of prostitution as sacred whores. [3] By the time India reached the medieval period, prostitutes became Courtesans in the courts of the noblemen and royalty. Mesopotamia and the Greco-Roman cultures also had their version of the practice.

Some researchers claim that prostitution only exists because of male promiscuity, [4] which is a simple idea easily grasped. The neoliberal will claim that there is a “free exchange” between the prostitute and the john, so there is no “crime.” but I suggest that the exchange is made  unequally – for the john usually has his survival sorted out to the point where he can buy the right to have sex with a woman. The woman is in a different state altogether: she had to have sex with the john so she can eat and survive. Seems to me that there is a crime going on here that is called, “Exploitation,” which is a “right” the neoliberal gives himself through a twisted sense of morality (as we have seen in Mises, Rothbard and Rand).

In an Equal Money system, there will be no need for prostitutes at all, for a couple of reasons: men will no longer be allowed to treat women as objectified sex toys  and because there will be no need to survive as all the basic requirements will be taken care of  by the point of Equality, for prostitution exists only because of men’s lust and the money they created which we’re forced to use in order to buy our survival with. Economic Equality for All ensures that a TRUE “Capitalism is possible – where there is no deliberate-manufactured scarcity and people  are able to fulfill the life that they can be equal to in all ways. The Equal Money system is the answer yet again.

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[1] http://prostitution.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000119

[2] http://prostitution.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=000747

[3] Social Problems And Welfare, by Rajendra Kumar Sharma, Atlantic. 1998

[4] Love for Sale: A World History of Prostitution, by Nils Johan Ringdal, Richard Daly, Grove Press. 2005

 

TEN

 

 

Nietzsche, Value  and the Invention of Free Will

In his Genealogy of Morality[1], the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche claimed that the gods were created by mankind to give meaning to suffering. In other words, Nietzsche suggests that morality, religion, ethical philosophy, economics, politics and values were all the result of man coming to terms with the ultimately unknown reason for its existence within a world that provided very little clues. Nietzsche saw it was time to move beyond a religious conception of morality after he determined that morality and its values underwent an evolutionary trajectory, its origins located within the dim past in poorly understood human psychology. Nietzsche concluded that it would be a mistake to consider his modern European Christian world of the late 19th century he lived in – was near the end of history, existing only to wait for the Second Coming of Christ. To continue within a mass superstition was not the only recourse for the advancement of civilization – there was also a postmetaphysical one, where values were not defined by an immature Master – Slave mentality or spirituality. Instead, there must be a new set of values that were based on transcending the old one.

The Genealogy of Morals is hopelessly marred by Nietzsche dragging in the  “dominant blond Aryan”  nonsense to support his thesis, which was apparently a popular European notion at the time, and his “proofs” of etymology to support his idea of moral evolution of the “good and bad” isn’t terribly relevant to his main points. However, Nietzsche is on firmer ground when he links the political and economical to the spiritual within his conception of moral evolution. The wealthy has always been considered “good” (Master) and the poor, “bad” (Slave). The “Slaves” eventually resent their “evil” inferiority and suffering, and resort to religious values like asceticism and religious beliefs to give their suffering and inferiority meaning. The Slaves even go as far of reversing the polarity and to place themselves as “superior” and the elite as “inferior.”  This can be located within the Christian Gospels as the “First shall be the last, and the last first.” The problem for Nietzsche is that he believes that the Slave Morality which features aspects of religion, communalism, democracy and especially equality – as the inferior value system, which he believes saps the natural Masters of its strength, robbing Mankind of its collective vitality.

 

The Gospel of Economic Equality

 

Let’s go back for a moment of Nietzsche’s claim that the Slave moral values attempts to place their inherent inferiority as the superior value. This appears, as I have said, in the Gospel of Mark and there should be no doubt that Nietzsche was aware of its existence. What is fascinating is that in the Gospel of Mark, there is a little – publicized parable of Jesus that appears immediately before he warns his disciples of his impending capture. This parable involves an elite landowner personified as the “Kingdom of Heaven” which ends with the “First shall be the last” punch line, but not in the way one would expect.

1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle;

4 and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.

6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard.

8 And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder,

12 saying, These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.

13 But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

14 Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee.

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good?

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.

Matthew 20 1- 16. English Revised Version [2]

 

What was Jesus saying here in this story? Why did he choose the figure of a landed elite as a wealthy vineyard owner to symbolize Kingdom of Heaven? Well, Heaven has the power to disburse money, which is tantamount as a godlike attribute as anything in this world, and this is as true for us today as it was in Jesus’ time.

What did Jesus mean to teach with having the workers coming to the vineyard to work at different times of the day, only to be paid the same as the earlier workers? The vineyard owner looks for those without work and agrees to pay them the same as those already hired, although it seems that he chooses to not reveal his reasoning behind the matter, only that he had the agreement of the group, individually, what each would be paid.

The workers who arrived earlier felt they were unjustly penalized, however, for they experienced jealousy of the latecomers. They felt that since they worked longer, they should have gotten more than the agreed price than those who worked “only for an hour.” They had no concern of the needs of the workers who came later, and yet, they all shared the experience of needing money to survive.

Jesus here is saying something significant in the psychology of the human being when it comes to money. It appears that the landowner may have acted unethically, for if he told the workers he would pay a penny no matter how long they worked, who would work all day when one could easily wait until the last-minute and get the same? But Jesus is shown to not explicitly give the reasons of why the landowner paid the same to everyone. We must pass over such objections in silence.

However, note verse 16: whoever edited Jesus’ words apparently didn’t realize that the punch line of “the first were treated as the last,” doesn’t exactly fit the scenario. Although one would expect that the moral or “right thing to do” would be to pay those who started earlier more, since they expended more effort and actually did more “work,” would it have been ethical for the workers to ask for more after the fact, thus changing the agreement and going back on their word? Those arrived last did not receive more than those who arrived later. The workers were treated equally by Lord of the vineyard, regardless of their imagined “Superior” position here symbolized by the early arrival of workers to the vineyard.

An Equal Money system will create much jealousy within those who see themselves as Nietzsche’s “Masters” that will be directed to those who will be given an equal amount of money to live. We have placed value in having “more” and “less” than others. They will need to get over themselves. A far more pleasant, sane and just world will be the result of such humbleness.

 

Nietzsche, Nature  and the Problem of Value

 

“All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.”[3]

 

We have discovered the true Hierarchy of Value, with the Principle of Equality surpassing all other opinions and philosophies but Nietzsche will not like the answer. He could not conceive of what he asked for because he was unwilling to consider Equality, viewing it as a slavish and weak morality instead of as the key to all principles and all moralities. Therefore he could not gauge the value of life because he operated from premises that destroyed the value of life because he choose the mechanisms of  nature as his starting point, which he then linked to his philosophical constructs which led him away from the point of considering Equality as the Highest Value as the best for all. What Nietzsche wants, a superior value system that transcends the current “inferior” one, is something he can’t have without considering Equality.

 

“That every will must consider every other will its equal – would be a principle hostile to life, an agent of the dissolution and destruction of man, an attempt to assassinate the future of man, a sign of weariness, a secret path to nothingness.”[4]

 

This conclusion descends from Nietzsche’s starting point of Mankind needing leaders who rule over the masses, in accordance to natural law, as Nietzsche understood it to be. We question this as there is no clear or inherent “reason” or evidence that nature is “superior” to man. Maybe Nietzsche meant nature of man was equal to the nature of animals in the environment, but Humanity surely isn’t equal to the natural world. Humanity has done a fantastic job in destroying what is left of the natural world, and that simply can’t be said of nature… yet. The Equality within nature is just more mechanistic and systematic. Nature does not operate within philosophy, morality or rationality.   Nature is a biological computer. Nature does not have a philosophical component that looks for answers to its existence. Human beings are biological computers as well, but we have the burden of being acutely aware of our own suffering and that of others, of our mortality.

Nietzsche is correct: morality, free will and God are all inventions of human consciousness. He is dead wrong in appealing to natural law as a superior system to emulate. We are capable of attaining Equality because we are capable of conceiving a world where the value of life and the value of money are not mutually exclusive.

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[1] Die Götzen-Dämmerung – Twilight of the Idols, Friedrich Nietzsche (1895)

[2] Mark 20:16, English Revised Version.

[3] On the Genealogy of Morality (1887). Essay 2, Section 11 Friedrich Nietzsche (1887)

[4] On the Genealogy of Morality

 

ELEVEN

 

Is  A Single Currency Really That Bad of an Idea?

 

Managing Director of the International Monetary FundDominique Strauss-Kahn has gone on record to say he is very sorry to see that a Currency Warhas nearly broken among IMF member countries.   Strauss-Kahn told the BBC that his biggest problem was the “rebalancing” of the world economy. Apparently the fear exists that nations will use the way they value their currencies as a “weapon.” Earlier in the week, Strauss-Kahn told the Financial Times that, “There is clearly the idea beginning to circulate that currencies can be used as a policy weapon.”

That last quote  may or may not be directed towards China, who has been seen by the United States as deliberately undervaluing their currency. The United States complains that China’s value of currency is much too low, which has enabled China to destroy her American competitors on the trade deficit. China’s low-valued currency is “Good” for China because American Dollars buy a lot of Chinese goods, while the reverse is true for the USA: our prices are too high, and our exports pale in comparison to our massive imports. This is a big problem for America. China, not so much so, since the Chinese Government holds over  $561 BILLION dollars of Treasury Debt. Only Japan owns more. I’m sure they feel that they paid for the right to do whatever they want with their money.

Obviously a single, worldwide currency as part of the Equal Money economic system is the only answer that will work, but unfortunately, the media has had a very long head start in programming human beings to fear that which would serve them.  The common sense of a single currency will not be seen, because it will look like communism, or a Sign of the End Times! BOO!

I see these kinds of stories as people wanting to keep the system going for as long as they humanly can and in time for a profit. They can be stopped, but only if we are on the same page. A single world currency does away with many problems that are dragging Capitalism down into the dustbin of History (soon enough).

 

TWELVE

 

The Deception of Morality

 

Historically, there has been many advocates for Equality. They have been shouted down and ignored by the advocates of Liberty, who see Equality as a threat to their  “free will.” Any Group which pushes for Equality will be considered a threat, as well. Such Equality Groups will be seen as pushing for restrictions on personal Liberty or Freedom of others. The Neoliberal,  which descends from the Classical Liberals of the 18th century, are the ones who are perhaps the loudest of the Anti-Equality Groups. They will say that RIGHTS are only invested in Individuals and thus are impossible to exist within the Group. This is a willful misreading of social structures, as there exists “protected groups” in society that require statutes to guarantee equal rights before the law. There’s no way getting around it, Equality has had to be considered in societies at least in some piddling form.

What makes the Neoliberal a fascinating object within the discussion of Equality is that they seem to know that controls and limits exist among the common people, the elite and the government that are harmful and destructive, and they know that the people have been programmed and hoodwinked, yet they want the system to remain largely in place so they can benefit financially. This has been one of the themes in this Monograph: that Neoliberals, elites and their dupes are not interested in “Liberty,” but only money. “Liberty” is just a pretty word to freshen up the whole, sordid affair.

As I said before, Equality in society has had to be considered in some form, at least in modern times by the biggest industrial countries. Humanity has seemed to acknowledge that Equality at least, is a good idea to bandy around, even if it is a bit impractical under the current money system, so it’s not to be seriously sought or enforced. This is because Morality, or the way we believe should be the best way to relate to others, and Equality are very closely linked. Social Equality has to be based on some form of morality to get people to agree and act in safe, predictable patterns. In fact, if Equality cannot exist in moral terms, morality cannot exist at all and society is ripe for self-destruction. Without Equality, Morals, Principles and Values like Liberty and Freedom are then devoid of meaning, or are terms distorted and prostituted to justify immoralities of all kinds, especially self-interest expressed through greed and exploitation.  The word, Morality, comes down to us from the Latin, meaning “proper behavior ” or conduct. Codes of Behavior. For a society to succeed and mature, Morality must consist of specific, enduring and changeless principles which give a proper, common sense meaning. The results have been disastrous, for principles the morals have been erected upon up until the present day, have collapsed into unrecognizable and twisted wreckage of values. Right and Wrong become indistinct. Might becomes equated with Right and Just Cause. Listen: this is what Morality has been reduced to – Might equals Right.

Maybe Morality has been “Might equals Right” all along and we were too stupid, spiteful and selfish to see that. Maybe Morality is just an arbitrary social convention with no real meaning behind it, just as the Sophists claimed in Athens 2,500 years ago. They said that man was the measurement of society which formed into a Group that agreed to come together for mutual benefit. That implies some sort of social equality based on agreement on how we would like to be treated, and what kind of behavior we should expect from others. That’s one of the problems with human beings; we don’t live by a code that considers everyone equally. We want money to buy our survival and if we have to compete and dominate another, well,that’s too bad. They deserve to be enslaved and destroyed because Might Equals Right.

So, in acting this way, it is no surprise that we find ourselves in having accepted and allowed and indeed become, albeit in a perverted, bizarre, self-interested shape: moral.

 

THIRTEEN

 

Žižek: Equality as the Evil of Spiritual Sacrifice? 

 

In this monograph we have seen the critics of Equality wail unceasingly over their mistaken impression that Equality is not congruent with Liberty. They have not understood the nuances or the specificity of the word, “Liberty.” They see Equality as a distant runner-up to grand principles like “Freedom” or “Liberty.” At the same time, they champion the “exceptional” and the “genius,” and use these figures as proof that the principle of Equality is not meant to have an existence in this world. They clamor and crow about “human potential” and  indomitable human spirit and that Equality is to be considered an “evil.”

It is somewhat amazing to me that Equality can be made into an evil, but such is the Brainwashing that blinds everyone in the world.

It’s not that surprising that the smear upon Equality would come from conservatives and libertarians, but it also comes from the so-called Left, such as the current king of pop philosophy, Slavoj Žižek , who disdains Equality to the point of writing such:

“”Here is why egalitarianism itself should never be accepted at its face value: the notion (and practice) of egalitarian justice, insofar as it is sustained by envy, relies on the inversion of the standard renunciation accomplished to benefit others: ‘I am ready to renounce it, so that others will (also) NOT be able to have it!’ Far from being opposed to the spirit of sacrifice, evil here emerges as the very spirit of sacrifice, ready to ignore one’s own well being–if, through my sacrifice, I can deprive the Other of his enjoyment…” [Italics mine]

Žižek, Violence (Picador, 2008), p. 92

Let’s take this apart.  Žižek claims that justice imposed by Equality is “sustained by envy.” This sounds almost verbatim of Ayn Rand’s Jon Galt when he says,

“They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; thhey do not want to live, they want you to die…”

Rand, “Galt’s Speech,” (Signet, 1963)

Returning to Žižek’s forced and absurd definition of Justice as being “sustained by envy,” one has to ask who is Žižek trying to cover for when he attempts to wrangle a definition of Justice we  have never heard before? Who’s water is Žižek carrying? The Elites? Since all common notions of Justice has it firmly based on Morality, in terms of fairness, law, rights and equality. What does Žižek hope to gain by reducing  the concept of Justice to a petty, spiteful human emotion? He has to do so in order to gut the principle of Equality. The Haters use this very same tactic and then try to reshape and misrepresent the point as “wanting everyone to be the same or taking what they have.” That is a half truth. We want everyone to have an equal chance at living a decent life and we want those who have too much to share. Oh, yeah, they won’t be happy about that…

Žižek does give us an insight to the modality of thought these Haters of Life go through in their denial of the principle of Equality. Equality is seen as a spiritual acts of the “evil” of “deprivation of enjoyment.” Enjoyment of what? Presumably, the riches of domination that is the privilege of the Elites. So much for “moral philosophy.”

The people who rail against perceived strictures on Liberty and the damage committed by violations of personal freedom should come on board with the Equal Money program if they want to be true to their beliefs. Over half of the world’s population do not have chance to develop their own personal self-development because they need money to do so, and they don’t have it. Their liberty is invalidated by the anti-democratic, capitalist system. But the Haters dismiss this chink in their ideological armor as, “That’s how things are. Deal with it.” Oh, if only the shoe were on the other foot.

These fools, who have been given a free pass when it comes to confronting their nonsense with common sense, do not realize that they have been brainwashed and duped. Žižek, as the Media Pop Philosopher, is very comfortable comparing Equality to Evil and psychological dysfunction. But does he offer any solution? Does he ever offer solutions?  None that I ever read. And it is clear that such Haters of Equality will never offer solutions. How can can they ever, when they refuse to consider anything but their own asses?

 

FOURTEEN

 

 

Does Freedom Create Inequality?

Well. I suppose there is some question of Freedom actually existing in some humanly, relatable manner. The defenders of Liberty will say that Freedom is life lived with coercion. Basically, in the consideration of Freedom, its defenders are satisfied that term can be reduced into meaning, “Freedom from being messed with by other human beings.” What can we say about this dimension of Freedom defined? That Freedom is a religious and philosophical construct that only exists in the minds of human beings. The anarchists have the same problem; their social model only works on paper. In the real world of flesh and blood, an anarchist state cannot exist because people are social beings. They will form associations and affiliations with others of similar patterns. There are not many people in the world who could “go it alone.” The Individual is no match for the organizational and compounding effect of the Group.

As a society, we have made much of the exceptional, those of superior talent and skill. These beings are made to the “exceptions to the rule” of the inequality of the current system, and of course, justifying the inequality as a “necessary” component concerning human progress. But Why is suffering necessary for human progress?

Suffering cannot be justified for any reason. Fyodor Dostoevsky says as much in his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, where Ivan Karamazov, the atheist, asks his younger, religious brother Aloysha, this question:

“Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end… but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature … And to found that edifice on its unavenged tears: would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell me the truth!”

 

In Christian theology, who is more “free” than “God?” The Freedom to Torture infinitely is one of the most divine rights God has given Himself, for He is said to have created Hell for that singular purpose – to infinitely torture those who rejected Him. Speaking to Dostoevsky’s point, Freedom is necessary for one to hold another in all kinds of human bondage. It can be said that Freedom makes slavery possible, and even desirable! Why? Because it’s all about money.

The word and definitions of “Freedom” need to be studied closely and purified. We need to understand what we are really saying when we throw these hypnotizing, high-concept words around.

 

FIFTEEN

 

The Failure of the Enlightenment

 

“Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! [Dare to think!] “Have courage to use your own reason!”- that is the motto of enlightenment. ” – Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher

 

The Enlightenment era, also known as The Age Reason, was a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasizing the liberalism of reason and individualism rather than tradition. It was heavily influenced by 17th-century philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, and Newton, and later, Kant, Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Adam Smith. These intellectuals that are recognized as part of the Enlightenment era were men of intellect and distinction – men of letters, most were not academics although they didn’t want for anything. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, they were “fabulously well-to-do,” and they had ample leisure time to build their philosophies.

We have name-checked a few of the proponents of the Enlightenment, such as John Locke and Rousseau, and we have shown that the Enlightenment era arose out of a “rational” reaction against the monarchy and its legitimizer, traditional Christianity. What the Enlightenment promised was the liberation of Humanity. What we got instead was the scientific method, the  Industrial Revolution, institutional slavery and colonialism, the “free market” economic totalitarian systems of capitalism and communism. In The Social Contract, Rousseau begins with a statement that is at the heart of liberalism,

 

“Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.”

 

The first half of this statement is demonstrably false, while the ending is obvious. A baby is not “born free” on many levels, because when a baby is born, its essential nature is that of dependence and necessity. The parent will also have to spend money for the child’s survival, including health care, food, and shelter. Rousseau, who does have some good things to say about human beings and their relation to the state, was no doubt was speaking in terms that underlined his liberal definition of virtue. Again, the Enlightenment was an intellectual and theological project that claimed to have at the end of history, the liberation of human beings, through rational, scientific and economical means. When speaking of Equality and the Equal Money System, we usually hear that Equal Money will never work because it posits a utopia. Well, they do not know that the Enlightenment, the philosophical, political foundation upon which stands the modern world, promised a utopia. And what we have gotten instead was colonial oppression and slavery, world wars, corporatism and 80% of the world’s human population scuffling of 20% of the world’s resources while the 20% of the world yammer proudly about “Freedom,” and “Liberty” as stateless corporations pathologically fight over who gets to divvy up the ocean water rights to sell to the people. Human beings are now “less free” than in anytime in history. So why do we pretend that we are free?

One can see the writing on the wall… there are only a few playouts that are likely to happen if we  stay on this course. The world will slide into a technological horror story of plastic oceans and virtual, phony media reality, or superstitious religious fundamentalism will splinter everyone into separation and exclusivity. The Enlightenment allegedly began as a refutation of the superstition of the Church and its legitimizing of the monarchial State, and promised through the use of Reason and Rationalism, human beings would finally live in “freedom.” But such freedom never existed. Freedom is impossible. There can only be Equality, and when human beings finally figure this out, only then will such a utopia that the Enlightened promise will come to pass.

 

 

 

 

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