Sunday, December 19, 2010

Economic Imperialism

It is long since that I realized that Walmart, Home Depot, and the like are the avatars of the “soft fascism” of which you speak. Somehow I have developed the impression that Rand was never quite as exercised over government-corporate collusion as she was over the bogeyman of “collectivism,” which is the brush with which social atomists tar every institution that transcends the individual -being precisely what public corporations do. Indeed, the law that gives to corporations the rights and prerogatives of individuals is one of the chief means by which the same have siezed the reins of the economy. In Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, the enterprises which are to stand as exemplars of the operation of her economic principles are all privately-held companies (if I remember correctly) headed up by her erstwhile ubermenschen -including the very mannish, pants-wearing Dagney Taggart. Their amoral power religion is economic nihilism in action, despite the scent of “natural law” she wishes to impart such patent Darwinism. I’ve often remarked that Rand is nothing if not watered-down Nietzsche, sans the literary talent. Her books are low melodrama, and she was obviously stylistically influenced by television’s crudity and the mass-hypnotic cinema. In fact, she began her American career as an unsuccessful screenwriter.

Of course, even in Rand’s time, her portrayal of the corporation was disingenuous, and did not reflect the chief forces of the marketplace at work -forces which were engineered to undermine the operation of true market principles. Inter-corporate and public-private collusion literally defines the economic system of the United States in modern times. The social-economic insensitivity of the publicly-owned corporation is defining: the free play of economism, that is, the exclusion of all considerations other than profit maximization in economic activity, and the prioritization of economic values above all other values in society. This characteristic of corporations is practically guaranteed by public ownership. The drive for passive income (wealth without production or work) is at the heart of this historical anomaly.

We are deracinated in a way that disconnects us from our progeny. If we think of the future at all, we think of it either in private terms, or through the medium of that abstraction called “the people.” Oddly enough, the population of Europe tends to remain more fiscally conservative on a personal level than does that of North America, yet we think of Europe as “socialist.” Americans carry far more personal and household debt than do Europeans, and money is more cheaply gotten here than it is there. In Europe, there is something very shameful, still, about being deeply in debt. Thus we see that there are genuine psychological differences. The Americanization of Europe is eating away at these personal values. The “socialism” or “social democracy” of Europe is the result of the institutionalization of a kind of high sentimentalism that is but the degraded modern form of noblesse oblige. In America it is called “fairness,” a more egalitarian, classless term to be sure. Thus, America is headed down the path of a deeper and more profound economic fascism, while at the same time retaining none of the essential personal conservatism of the common European. It is a deadly combination. We are seeing the outworking of debt-based consumerism in our own generation. We no longer need speculate about its effects. Now the prevalent error among the intelligentsia is two-fold. One form of the error is progressivist: the expectation that public outlays from the printing presses can effect their utopia of “fairness.” The second and related error is to expect that putting in place certain controls short of a complete overturning of the “money powers” will avert the approaching catastrophe. Certain forms of Christianity contribute to this misapprehension through their post-millennial and ahistorical optimism. History has ended in this view, and man can only expect gradual improvement of conditions (economic and social) until we arrive at the Church’s millennium. Such thinking represents a profound misunderstanding of the biblical passages on which this eschatology is based. Super-added to this belief in “controls” (also referred to as fiscal conservatism) is the belief that the effects of our historical deviation from sanity will express themselves in a linear fashion as extrapolated from currently observed phenomema, whereas the hard reality is that a geometric or even exponential worsening of conditions is now almost certainly unavoidable -resulting from our abandonment of God’s laws, and our abandonment of restraints upon the money powers. God will not be mocked, and our fraudulent money economy will soon be seen for what it is -if it is not already. Domestically there still seems to be the continued belief in the nostrums offered by political charlatans. Overseas there is more realism.

You are correct to think of colonialism as nothing but trans-racial imperialism. Quigley has shown that it is no more than liberalism at work on a global scale, and was never animated by a sense of racial superiority, but rather by a sense of cultural-civilizational obligation. Rhodes and his circle were not race supremacists. They were “enlightened liberal globalists,” as you correctly point out. The program of “uplift” was intended to make of the African and Indian an equal within the white in the imperial project -which was a precursor to Lincoln’s notion of a “proposition nation” -that is, to be English is a matter of belief and not birth. All imperialists think this way of necessity. Imperialism is nothing more than the embassy of, the foreign policy of economism. Rudyard Kipling left us a literary record of this thinking in the “White Man’s Burden.”

Anonymous Correspondent

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