News & Analysis
Is the Left Right About Money and Politics?
I'm starting to think that the Left might actually be right ... What with the phone-hacking scandal, the eurozone crisis and the US economic woes, the greedy few have left people disillusioned with our debased democracies. It has taken me more than 30 years as a journalist to ask myself this question, but this week I find that I must: is the Left right after all? You see, one of the great arguments of the Left is that it is actually a set-up. The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: Doubts creep in. Maybe the greedy capitalist bankers are as bad as the left says they are.
Free-Market Analysis: This is a fairly remarkable column by the Telegraph's Charles Moore. (See article excerpt above.) It shows us how the mainstream intelligentsia are struggling with the growing awareness of how the financial system actually operates. The problem is that Moore cannot bring himself to explain what has really gone wrong; though it is in fact doubtful that he really knows. But he gives it a try in this article.
One can certainly question why the Telegraph continues to present articles that are far less bland than the average mainstream fare. It must be by editorial design, and yet even Telegraph columnists will go only so far. One can blast government and bureaucrats within the Telegraph's pages but to refer to the elites running the world from the City of London (and elsewhere) is still obviously off limits. Moore comes close, however, by referring to the "rich." It's an inchoate reference however.
The article is part confessional, part analysis. In the 1970s and 1980s, he writes, Britain's problems seemed easily identifiable. It was the trade unions that were holding people back. "Bad jobs were protected/created. Industrial action did not mean producing goods and services that people wanted to buy, it meant going on strike. The most visible form of worker oppression was picketing." Here's some more from the article:
A key symptom of popular disillusionment with the Left was the moment, in the late 1970s, when the circulation of Rupert Murdoch's Thatcher-supporting Sun overtook that of the ever-Labour to throw off the chains that Karl Marx had claimed were shackling them – and join the bourgeoisie which he hated. Their analysis of their situation was essentially correct. The increasing prosperity years proved them right.
But as we have surveyed the Murdoch scandal of the past fortnight, few could deny that it has revealed how an international company has bullied and bought its way to control of party leaderships, processes. David Cameron, escaping skillfully from the tight corner into which he had got himself, admitted as much. Mr. Murdoch himself, like a tired old Godfather, told the House of Commons he was so often courted by prime ministers that he wished they would leave him alone.
The credit crunch has exposed a similar process of how emancipation can be hijacked. The greater freedom to borrow which began in the 1980s was good for most people. A society in which new people cannot rise. How many small businesses could start or first homes be bought without a loan? [But now] the global banking system is an adventure playground for the participants, complete with spongy, health-that they bounce when they fall off. The role of the rest of us is simply to pay.
Having compared the past to present, Moore tries to summarize the differences. This column's mantra about the credit crunch is that Everything Is Different Now, he writes. People have lost faith in free markets, and even in Western democracy. They may even, as they did in the 1930s, begun to consider totalitarianism as the answer.
These days, he suggests, they ask "What's in it for me?" And this is especially true of America where "the optimistic [free-market] message of the Reagan era has now become "a shrill one."
He notes that Fox News is part of the problem, poisoning the dialogue with its shrillness. He watched the news channel and noticed it said nothing about Murdoch's problems while continually blasting Barack Obama. Republican Congressman attacked Obama recklessly in Moore's view. "They seemed to take for granted the underlying robustness of their country's economic and political arrangements ... We can wave banners about "life, liberty but they tend to say, in smaller print, 'Made in China'."
He is remarkably blunt about the EU, pointing out that it resembles a left-wing satire. " A single currency is created. A single bank controls it. No authority watches over it, and when the zone's borrowings run into trouble, elected governments must submit to almost any indignity rather than let bankers get hurt."
It is almost as if honesty has gotten the better of him, as if once started, he cannot stop. Here is a remarkable observation: "When we look at the Arab Spring, we tend complacently to tell ourselves that the people on the streets all want the freedom we have got ... [But] we are bust – both actually and morally." He is very close to placing Egypt alongside Britain, which would probably be a job-killing observation even for a Telegraph columnist.
He concludes by observing that if "conservatism" is to be saved, it will be because of the stupidity of the Left. "The Left's blind faith in the state makes its remedies worse than how much ground we have lost." This may be true, but Moore's use of the word "conservative," betrays the fundamental flow of his analysis. He uses the word casually as if it is beyond definition. But as we have often pointed out in these pages, what is a conservative?
François-René de Chateaubriand in 1819, supposedly coined the term after the upheaval of the French Revolution. But it is the great Irish politician Edmund Burke who elaborated on it and attempted to turn the phrase from descriptive adjective into viable political perspective. Nonetheless, conservatism remains in our view more of a state of nostalgia than a coherent ideology.
Yearning for a perceived past does not create a workable environment for the present. This is in fact why so many conservatives essentially end up espousing fairly authoritarian views over times, especially during eras of political stress. Having adopted the nostrums of fashionable perspectives, they yet have no deeper understanding. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is said to carry around a copy of a book by Ludwig von Mises, but close acquaintances doubt she has ever read it.
One could make the argument that it is in some sense a variant of "fascism" – Fascism Lite – because of its celebration of patriotism, militarism (especially in America) and an often-uneasy conflation of state activism and quasi-free market economics.
English conservatism (Toryism) supports the monarchy, for instance. But the monarchy is a tool of the entrenched Anglo-American power elite, which values rank and file conservatives no more than anyone else. One is left ultimately with an amorphous philosophy that is resistant to change and endorses the status quo without a great deal of calibration as to what that status quo actually represents.
Conservatism is essentially backwards looking. One does not have to be financially literate to be a conservative. One need merely be "pro law and order." Thus, conservatives both in the United States and Britain are willing to tolerate far more state involvement in economic affairs than laissez-faire "classical liberals" – libertarians in the States.
The world is run by Anglosphere power elites with tactical arms in Israel, Washington and perhaps the Vatican. It is abetted by corporate, political and military enablers. Its enemy is classical liberal sociopolitical stances and free-market thinking. Conservatism holds little threat to it, especially as conservativism usually espouses government action to solve perceived problems.
Conservatism is often nationalistic and even militaristic. Even those who are profoundly ignorant of free-market principles, history and philosophy, can adopt it. Moore concludes his article by worrying that conservatism cannot be saved. He is worrying about the wrong thing.
Conclusion: Conservatism does not necessarily have anything to do with free markets, competition or the invisible hand. It is the other side of liberalism-socialism. Since Moore and many others like him cannot even define the problem it is doubtful that they will ever discover the solution. This is too bad for consumers of mainstream media.
Posted by Aloysius McGuinness on 07/29/11 04:38 AM
Excellent contribution !
Posted by speedygonzales on 07/28/11 11:32 AM
Decentralization:Centralized systems are failing for two simple reasons: They can't scale, and they don't reflect the real world of people. The more decentralized a system is, the more it relies on lateral relationships, and the less it can rely on command or force. In most branches of engineering and economics, decentralization is narrowly defined as the study of markets and interfaces between parts of a system. This is most highly developed as general systems theory and neoclassical political economy.
Solution: Switzerland. Any swiss citizen who wants to introduce a new law or change an existing one, can do so by taking the initiative to organize a referendum. In order to set up an official referendum, the organising comittee needs to gather a certain amount of votes in a certain time. Then a date is defined for that referendum by the government. If 50% or more vote 'yes' then the law is established. This is an example of direct involvement of people in the government. The participation of voters varies from initiative to initiative but by no means are swiss people 'sick' of too much voting. They are actually proud of this system.
Decentralized system is typical for western societies. It was dcentralized German Hansa states or decentralized Italy. Spain during Moore's rule was deeply decentralized. It is paradox, but arab/muslim world is decentralized tribal system without interference comparable to NWO's one world political partysanism in political mono culture.
As soon as system takes place we do not need left, right, cons, libs anymore. People know what is good for them.
They try to copy/paste american mono system and apply it in Europe and world wide. European Union members still has some indenpendence and diversity since political partys are not interconected from member state to member state.
Long way to go if we want move form tail end of western world.
Posted by gamma ray on 07/27/11 09:41 PM
Thanks for the good word and kudos to you for catching my meaning despite the confusing typo I made in the first paragraph ("liberalism" should have read neoliberalism).
I intended to make the point that conservatism is a completely different animal than neoconservatism just as liberalism does not at all closely resemble neoliberalism. The ruling elite seem to have hijacked the words liberal and conservative to camouflage their real agendas. In reality, neoliberalism is neo-communism/socialism and neoconservatism is neofascism - two sides of the same totalitarian coin now operating as a hybrid system.
I completely agree that there are fundamental truths concerning the optimal organization of human behavior that reflect the timeless realities of human nature and of nature itself. Our founding fathers were excellent students of human history and human nature and consequently recognized these timeless principles. Their warnings and observations, particularly those of Jefferson, are just as true today as they were in the eighteenth century.
Posted by John Danforth on 07/27/11 09:19 PM
Would this be the same Michelle Bachmann that just voted to reinstate the Patriot Act? The same one that ran for congress because God told her to? The one who supports undeclared pre-emptive war?
Posted by stevemulherin on 07/27/11 07:12 PM
Are you serious? Bank regulators are essential? Govt should be charged with ensuring compliance with the laws? You're at the wrong web site.
(I for one would like to be able to give a thumbs up or thumbs down.)
Posted by Aloysius McGuinness on 07/27/11 06:09 PM
In your last paragraph, you wrote, " Does the word conservative reflect a view of conserving capital, rule of law over rule of man, social values of decency, and the land/environment as good stewards for future generations?"
Just brilliant, Sir/Madam. In one simple sentence, you have explained what I would describe as healthy Conservative mindset - a simple doctrine to emulate - at least, a good starting point. Our present neo-liberal economic model does not and cannot purport such a common sense philosophy as it is far too out of harmony with our natural world - more to the point, it is anti-Nature.
My contention with this article is that it carelessly labels the welcome ideas of your above quote as simple nostalgia, not worthy of re-consideration.
Which begs the question, "Why do we so fear the past"?
Because we've been taught to - by the cultural marxists, the tout-est-permis** liberals, the champagne-socialists and the welfare-bankster globalists - that anything to do with the past is fuddy-duddy. Very sad indeed.
Posted by gamma ray on 07/27/11 03:58 PM
MSM propaganda has distorted language so much that clarity in communication is but a rare thing these days. In the American political paradigm, and apparently in the British as well, the words conservatism and liberalism have been utterly confounded with the ideas associated with neoconservatism and liberalism, respectively. In addition, few people understand the importance of context in relation to these two broad concepts.
In their time, our founding fathers were political radicals rejecting the status quo of monarchy and the British social caste system. In today's political climate, Americans who support the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and self-determination are increasing portrayed as unreasonable reactionaries by the establishment. So, depending on the circumstances you find yourself in, advocacy for small government, civil liberties, and self-determination can result in any number of labels.
What is important is the clarity of the communication of ideas. Does the word conservative reflect a view of conserving capital, rule of law over rule of man, social values of decency, and the land/environment as good stewards for future generations? I would venture that is a set of values the majority of Americans believe in and I would also venture that bona fide "conservatives" have far more in common with "liberals" then they would ever have with globalist neoconservatives and neoliberals - with all the smoke and mirrors, they just haven't figured it out yet.
Posted by Dave Jr on 07/27/11 01:45 PM
At 34 years old, I could've cared less about politics, yet I sensed an honest quality about Ross Perot, and voted for him. And nowadays I will always support Ron Paul. I have totally lost faith in the system, so whatever America decides is what it will be. Since any victorious canidate will owe their soul to their financiers, it has become about as meaningless as voting for the next American Idol. There are no other politicians I can get excited about except Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin. They are both hot!
Posted by gabe on 07/27/11 11:55 AM
Exactly, Bachman is clearly one of those assigned to make us impotent. I dislike communism and socialism with my soul, this is true for most who think. However, I have to continue thinking...does opposition to communism mean I have to support the idols( put forward by the MSM and our corrupt political system to lead me). Or should I be wary of supposedly free-market types who have a long history of supporting the neo-con backed perpetual state of war, people with long histories of associating with those who support the corrupt drug war and the prison/military industrial complex, should we support those who are against free trade with Cuba? or those who are overly quick to accuse others of Anti-semitism? should we support those who had no problems with bush and Cheney creating new socialist programs(no child left behind, drug plans etc?)
Should we trust those who had no big problems with Bush 1 lying about no new taxes? that betrayal alone was enough to shock my 17 year old brain from ever trusting republicans again...anyone "conservatives" my age or older who didn't have similar problems with Bush 1 and his family from 1990 forward....is questionable in my view. I am no genius...if lies and shennanigans/socialist policies like Bush 1 comitted didn't raise alarm bells for a person my age or older then I would be voting for someone even dumber than myself. No thanks.
Posted by gabe on 07/27/11 11:43 AM
Bachmann is a tool. She has more loyalty towards the IRS(her old employer) than Rothbard.
Posted by tsunami on 07/27/11 10:36 AM
In our country it is the left who by and large have created the problem with social programs that we cannot afford and immigration programs we cannot afford.
The cost of the programs keep rising but the revenue is dropping.
I do not thing this is a RIGHT/LEFT thing but a stupidity thing.
Gov. should be charged with regulating and ensuring compliance with the laws that have been passed regardless of who passed them.
Bank regulators are essential
Posted by Frank on 07/27/11 09:38 AM
A nice article that needs to be read with reference to the multiple definitions of words used: "conservatism", "classical liberal" & more modern "liberalism-socialism". Upon re-thinking all these definitions, it becomes ever more apparent to me we have a "2 party system" in the USA in which both are surprisingly similar: both "big government". One needs to disappear & be replaced with a "small government" party, in order to offer the voters a clear choice again. Something along the lines of a Tea Party/Libertarian coalition with "classical liberals" that might also be found in both the Democratic or Republican parties.
Posted by w9pnr on 07/27/11 09:29 AM
I am not particularly a fan of Michelle Bachmann but when you publish statements such as "she carries a copy of Mises but probably has not read it" diminishes your stature. Don't allude to "people close to ---" - NAME NAMES! Your statement epidifies exactly what I hoped NOT TO FIND in your postings. SHAME!
Posted by kaydellc on 07/27/11 08:41 AM
Maybe the Left are the big spenders trying to spend other people's money for their own power and greed! How about the trillion of dollars spent in the USA for poverty and the programs that literaly spent trillion to lift people out of poverty and now 40+ plus years latter we have more on poverty that when we began. We began with about 14 percent and now are at or close to 15%. Which are more greedier? Looks live the pot calling the kettle black.
Posted by Aloysius McGuinness on 07/27/11 08:40 AM
"You ask, "It requires being a conservative to have a conversational extended family dinner?"
Of course not.I'm not sure from where you drew such a direct conclusion as that.
Posted by peri1224 on 07/27/11 08:39 AM
DB: Since Moore and many others like him cannot even define the problem it is doubtful that they will ever discover the solution.
Are all journalists stupid? In other fields they can be remarkably inquisitive and thorough. Nothing big sits in rooms, unnoticed. Certainly not elephants like central banking, unlimited money printing, the City of London who controls it all, etc.
Is it just editors and editorial policy that keep enterprising journalists under control? Or is it straightforward hardball by the owners, don't touch that or you are gone?
Are all or most journalists cowards? Not even a few heroes?
Reply from The Daily Bell
It is a self-enforcing regime. Just look to the US Congress and you will see the same thing, a noxious stew of fear and greed.
Posted by Dave Jr on 07/27/11 08:19 AM
It requires being a conservative to have a conversational extended family dinner?
Posted by Aloysius McGuinness on 07/27/11 08:12 AM
Third last paragraph should NOT read Conservationism, but Conservatism. Thanks.
Is there a way to edit our posts?
Posted by Aloysius McGuinness on 07/27/11 08:06 AM
Mr. Anthony Wile, with all due respect, you may have the Honourable Edmund Burke turning in his grave.
Within the three following quotes of yours, Sir, you appear to assign (mistakenly IMHO) to Conservatism such qualities/faults as, its nostalgic leanings, its resistance to change and its lack of necessary calibration :
1. 'Nonetheless, conservatism remains in our view more of a state of nostalgia than a coherent ideology.'
2. 'Yearning for a perceived past does not create a workable environment for the present'.
3. "English conservatism (Toryism) supports the monarchy, for instance. But the monarchy is a tool of the entrenched Anglo-American power elite, which values rank and file conservatives no more than anyone else. One is left ultimately with an amorphous philosophy that is resistant to change and endorses the status quo without a great deal of calibration as to what that status quo actually represents."
Edmund Burke, would emphatically riposte - and this is from the 2nd paragraph of his quite famous letter ' Reflections on the French Revolution' ;
' A spirit of innovation*** is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backwards to their ancestors. Besides, the people of England well know that the idea of inheritance furnishes a sure principle of conservatism and a sure principle of transmission, without at all excluding a principle of improvement.'
(*** - a fleeting, ephemeral project, without true affilation to our human condition - my defination)
I believe Mr. Burke means that a (perverse) spirit of innovation ( nuclear bombs, TVs, computers) can also be a very dangerous impediment to society's proper evolution. For example, if a people hastily allows to enter into its mores and rituals new behaviours (rampant multi-culturalism), gadgets, plastics, chemicals and weaponry, without first them being found to be in accordance to nature's laws and principles, then all Hell can rapidly break loose. He definately is not 'excluding a principle of improvement' in his constitutional monarchy, Mr. Wile. He doesn't want to allow just ANY novel invention just for the sake of modern-ness.
'Improvement' for Mr. Burke, would be, as he writes 'the result of profound reflection, or rather the happy effect of following Nature, which is the wisdom without reflection, and above it.' Further on he continues;
' Thus, by conserving the method of Nature in the conduct of the State, in what we improve we are never wholly new; in what we retain we are never wholly obsolete.'
A favourite quote of mine, linked to this argumentation, comes from a Canadian journalist, I believe, a Michael Valpy, if my memory serves me, he wrote that, in our day and age 'the time-scales of economy are at odds with the time-scales of Nature.' I've met some adolescents who cannot name, in order, the four Seasons !
Well then, my two cents is, that true Conservationism, nor nostalgic tendencies does not necessarily negate Progress - contrary to Mr. Wile's assertions. I would claim that it'd be GREAT progress if we could find a way to return to the gaiety of conversational extended-family dinners, as they still do exist here in southern Europe, chez les PIIGS.
A strong Conservative component in governing nations is of utmost necessity, in my view, so that it rhythmically stream-lines its Seasonal economic objectives and needs with Nature's prerogatives. (Yeah, I'm an old-fashioned 'old' fart - 47yrs old). Otherwise we will continuously throw the baby out with the bath-water, making of our future generations a simple mongrel-led breed of dehumanised, demoralised and automated debt slaves - of which we are, sadly, already starting to resemble.
( Believe it or not I'm quite positive about the future - awaiting the GPS (Great Pendulum Swing) à la nouvelle Rénaissance. Cheers! )
Posted by Dave Jr on 07/27/11 08:01 AM
When I was young I was given two choices, communism or capitalism. Since I didn't agree with communism, then I must be a capitalist. And same with liberal and conservative, I must be a conservative.
But in my personal attempt to deprogram myself I have come to understand the divide and conquer principle of those who desire to rule and control. Assigning labels is an affront to freedom. None of these labels describe the practice of free enterprise in a free market. These labels have everything to do with killing free enterprise and free markets.
You can be pulled away from the principles of freedom either to the left or to the right. Which do you choose? Very few choose "hands off!".