Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Left As Teen-Age Rebellion

The programs that the left advocates have done little to help and instead have harmed the poor. American inner cities deteriorated in response to urban renewal and welfare programs. The socialist revolution in Russia resulted in the starvation of millions of peasants and a wide range of ethnic hatreds. The Chinese socialists have oppressed and murdered Tibetans and the religious as well as millions of politically incorrect businessmen and bourgeoisie. More people have been slaughtered by the left and by socialism than by the advocates of any other creed or belief system. There has not been a socialist economy that has produced economic progress, and the general result of socialism as in Cuba and North Korea have been violent suppression and impoverishment of the poor. Yet, sociopathically, the academic left continues to justify, rationalize and lie about the effects of its programs.

In America, the left advocates a Kafkaesque program of large institutions, big government and centralized control. Its program includes not only the bureaucratization of medicine but also of investment, self-defense, business and political speech. The failure of its programs do not deter its commitment to rigid, large scale enterprises. For instance, the left remains obsessively attached to social security and the Federal Reserve Bank despite dismal benefit/contribution ratios from the former and inflation and corruption from the latter.

The left's recidivist advocacy of failed ideas can be explained in three ways. One, the left might be depicted as religiously obsessed with its ideas, and riddled with power needs, and so habituated to its love of government and centralized power despite seventy years of repeated failure. Two, the left is cognitively limited. Although many on the left are not smart, many are smart enough to grasp the pragmatic implications of its program. So this is at best a partial explanation. Three, the left is economically motivated.

There is a recurrent theme that goes something like, "Oh, isn't it amazing that George Soros or this or that businessman is a billionaire and yet he favors our (left-wing) positions". Conversely, many Libertarians and conservatives conceive of businessmen as supportive of the free market position, and then are astounded when businessmen do not support that view. In reality, the left's views coincide fairly neatly with the views of big business. Big business believes in big government because without it it would not be so big. The political scientist Charles Lindblom in his book on market economies remarks on the "privileged" position of big business, and indeed, since the days of Hamilton big business has relied on centralized government. There is no evidence that government support of big business helps the public in any way. Rather, subsidization makes firms less efficient and less customer oriented. For instance, cable television, telephone, public utilities, health care, banking and insurance firms are subsidized and they are among the least customer-responsive firms. The reason is that government regulation reduces competition.

Chief among government subsidies to big business is first the Fed, which provides interest rate and loan subsidies to business, and second, higher education, which provides training to large firms, to a degree at public expense. Thus, professors' livelihoods are linked to the welfare of big business and they themselves enjoy subsidies just like the ones big business enjoys. Without big business demand for graduates, there would be no demand for universities. So why are academics so often critical of big business?

In fact, university professors are NOT critical of big business where it counts, and their criticisms are not adverse to big business's interests. Big business is not adverse to enhanced central control, socialism, regulation and the mixed economy because such control eliminates competition. Universities have, as well, been the chief advocate of central banking through economics and business programs. Big business would not be so big without the Fed, and without the regulation that historians and sociologists advocate. There are few economists who question central banking, and of all the issues this is the one that big business cares about most.

University professors depend on big business much as teen-agers depend on their parents. Without big business demand for graduates, there would be no demand for universities. Thus, like teen-agers, university professors rebel by criticizing big business's hypocrisy, its lack of "social responsibility", and its selfishness, even as the professors themselves are equally hypocritical, equally irresponsible socially and even more selfish than business executives. But, like teen-agers, the university professors return home to be fed at the end of the day, and find the possibility that they will be thrown out and sent to work unthinkable. Moreover, the upshot of their criticisms, like teen-agers', is a psychological replica of the institutions and habits that they criticize. In other words, they claim to criticize big business even as they advocate systems that are necessary to it. In the end, the university professors are the chief proponents of big business capitalism, helping it by diverting attention to shrill issues like diversity and global warming.

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