Tuesday, October 07, 2008

People Who Despise the State

H/t, Susie at Suburban Guerilla, Michael Walzer has an essay up at Dissent, A Note on Greed: Who is Really to Blame for the Financial Troubles? Concluding paragraph, my emphasis:
If we are looking for people to blame for the current crisis, the right people are the market ideologues and the politicians they seduced. They are the ones who will benefit from scape-goating the bankers. And the appropriate response to them is political, not moral. We don’t have to abolish greed (good luck!), but we do have to find our way to a better understanding of the role of the state in the economy. We have to take state power away from people who despise the state. We have to defeat the champions of deregulation. The place to begin is in the debate over the bailout, but this is a long political struggle.
It is more than deregulation. It is, as I have argued for years, as the thinkers and writers and political actors I most admire keep saying, vital that people who hate the state for everything except the ability to amplify their own brute force be prevented from gaining power and tearing down the institutions and boundaries that defend us from exactly those desires.

Those who want to be in command, yet claim that government is the problem, are no friend of democracy.



CMike said...

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness," John Kenneth Galbraith explained. True, greed is part of our nature. What distinguishes our political/cultural era, what is bringing us to ruin, is our society's celebration of the love of money as a virtue.

How did we get here? (Via Avedon Carol's The Sideshow):

Amy Goodman: Naomi Klein spoke at the University of Chicago last week, invited by a group of faculty opposed to the creation of an economic research center called the Milton Friedman Institute. It has a $200 million endowment and is named after the University’s most famous economist, the leader of the neoliberal Chicago School of Economics.

You can read from a transcript or listen to a recording of Klein's presentation at this Democracy Now! link. Unfortunately, what was surely a lively Q&A that followed is not included.

lakelobos said...

emxnsI don't believe that "the state is the problem" is a useful litmus test. The reasons for that are substantial.

First, the state may some day become the problem. The current state of HHS, which I am familiar with, excluding NIH, but including a demolished CDC and several other organization, is harmful to the population they are supposed to serve and are also harmful to HHS employees mental health, functionality and well being. If Reid and Pelosi would run HHS I would not expect good results either.

Second, DOD's size and political power is probably the reason we got into many unneeded wars in the past and may be the future. I see a prolonged war in Afghanistan almost a certainty. I am convinced that war can be avoided with decent results.

Third, a politician doesn't have to declare hate or opposition to the state to cause enormous damage to the state.

Fourth, it will be worth while to change the constitution, that Americans became convinced to be more holy, just and infinitely valid than the Bible or the Korean, to include right for health care, right to have a job, to form a union and right to marry whoever they want as long as they are adults and not family

The best way to drive the enemy out is get socially more balanced and strong. Republican will change back to middle of the road guys once there will no clear way to upset the current order.

Currently even the so called Democrats vote for a joke called Bail out, which is Bush's repeated attempt to transfer more money from everyone to the rich.