I left comments on the "Classically Liberal" blog post: "What makes Big Business bad," by [someone who apparently prefers to remain anonymous who uses the initials cls (Classically Liberal Student)] of November 19, 2008, which comments I've duplicated below and included here for your edification.
I am assuming that the blog posts attributed to "cls" are all authored by the same person. It would be rather disingenuous to mask multiple authors and then claim I'm stupid for not considering that the post could be by different people holding differing philosophical and ideological views. Such a level of twisting though is possible with people.
The post "What makes Big Business bad," by cls, blames government for the sins of big business.
A snippet (the thesis):
If, however, the marketplace is politicized through strings of regulations, controls, subsidies, taxes, etc., then the corporation has every incentive to use its size and wealth to buy political influence in order to skew the results in their favor. Considering that their competitors will be doing this as well any corporation would be stupid not to act in this manner.
But Big Business becomes a threat only to the degree that it can impose its will on people. And that can only be done through the use of Big Government.
Cls elaborates at some length on this general notion.
"...any corporation would be stupid not to act in this manner." This is hardly correct. It's rather, however, truly stupid (evil) to cave into the temptation to corrupt others, including to corrupt government.
I did not comment that Big Business is not "limited to becoming a threat only to the degree that it can impose its will on people" and "that can only be done through the use of Big Government." Of course, Big Business is not limited to imposing its will on the people via Big Government. Where government has been weak, big business has taken the path of least resistance to dominate. They simply make themselves the government (whether seen as large or small; they control).
The problem isn't with big business or big government. It's with the very selfishness upon which laissez-faire capitalism is founded. That's not to say that one cannot find selfishness in other systems. Socialism has been twisted to selfishness before. However, the true economy that is the political economy put forth in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not founded upon selfishness but rather the highest calling.
Of course, there are times when a large corporation. or powerful local business. may actually violate the rights of people without access to government power. It might even have "enforcers" who impose the corporate will by force. But such incidents in history have been rare relative to the frequent and flagrant use of state power to kill, maim and destroy.
But when Business has acted this way the problem hasn't been that government was too small. In many such cases government was simply corrupt and bought off.
The alleged rarity does not mean that business wouldn't kill, maim, and destroy in the absence of the state, as cls uses the term "state." Cls is making distinctions that are irrelevant. Who bought off or corrupted the governments to which cls is referring? The answer is business people, capitalists. Why didn't they remain decent people and not corrupt government, coming to control it? The answer is that the corruption lies within the hearts of those capitalists.
My comment to cls ():
The role of government is to control, regulate, and restrain: To govern. You are advocating that things be governed your way. You are trying to convince others that you know what is best for one and all.
You emphasize property rights. You define property and rights in accordance with your mentors. People are not obliged to agree with you. They don't have to accept your definitions. I for one do not.
What you define as the state is not what I hold it to be. The same applies to life, freedom, and the other terms.
Your starting place and mine are different. You don't believe in the message of Jesus Christ. At one point, I didn't either. I didn't know the message.
I have heard the words of the Libertarian Capitalists, and I have heard the words of Jesus. I choose Jesus. His appeal is compelling. For me, yours is base.
Your appeal is to selfishness. The real Christian appeal is to overcome that. It is a learning experience.
We don't coerce outsiders to conform. Those who join may leave if they don't wish to govern themselves in accordance with the principles of Christ. Those who voluntarily enter who don't conform, repent, and atone, may not stay. In fact, they have not truly entered. Your system coerces regardless. It employs war and violence to force itself upon others while complaining when others do that very thing to it. That's hypocrisy. It's a mistake in logic.
Real Liberal Christian Church
Here is cls's reply:
Tom: My definition of the role of government is the one provided by the founding fathers. I am not advocating things be "governed" my way. I'm advocating that people be free to govern themselves which means they govern their own life. That is the complete opposite of what you attribute to me.
As for the rest of your comment either you are dishonest, stupid or speaking about something you don't know. This site is antiway yet you attribute me with being pro war. That is dishonest. Apparently your vaunted morality doesn't forbid lying. Government is force and I'm opposed to force. The most I accept in the way of force is the right to defend oneself from an attacker but never as a means of imposing on others. You want a government that controls, regualtes and restrains — in other words one that imposes coercion on others, peaceful or not. Yet you then accuse me of holding the view you just expounded.
As for your religious beliefs keep them to yourself. They have no power here.
You wrote, "My definition of the role of government is the one provided by the founding fathers. I am not advocating things be "governed" my way."
However, your chosen way is the way you attribute to the founding fathers. You are advocating things be governed that way, which is your way. That's inescapable logic.
Your post specifically states that the legitimate power of the state is to "protect life, liberty and property." You claim that you hold with the founders, who employed violence to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (deliberately avoiding the Lockean term "property").
Using your definition of property rights and self-defense though, were the American Indians correct in fighting the Whiteman who was taking over all the land claiming title simply because he could, or was the Whiteman right to kill and confine the Indians who were trying to deny those Whites from coming to possess and control the land to call it their own private property?
Also, what is your position on slavery? Are others right in using violence to put down slavery to protect the life and liberty of the slaves, to free them?
What about secondhand smoke? Are others justified in using violent self-defense to put out burning tobacco in their presence?
Are others justified in using violent self-defense to protect the environment? Where do you draw the lines? Are you able to draw them without falling into hypocrisy? I say you are not.
You wrote the following in your post, "Corporate plunder as the consequence of state power":
My tendency toward limited pacifism means that I prefer the latter sort of social structure. I say "limited pacifism" because I believe it is immoral to initiate force against others but not necessarily immoral to use force to defend one's self against violence from others.
Where do your person and your so-called private property start and stop? Is taking your private property violating you such that you may violently resist?
We have the answer via your post, "Hypocritical peace activism," at the end of which you state, "The position that I think makes the most sense is the one of liberalism: that no individual or collective of individuals may initiate force against the life, liberty or property of anyone else."
You'll pull out your gun(s) and start blasting away at anyone who disagrees with you concerning your claim to what you possess.
Of course, I give you the benefit of the doubt that you would first exhaust the governmental system (courts and such) before doing this violence in defense of your supposed private property and that you might not truly turn to shooting others out of fear of being thrown in jail for failing to adhere to the edicts of the people through their ostensible limited, representational, republican democracy. Perhaps though you'd be willing to martyr yourself for the cause of libertarianism, as so many of the underlings of the slave-owning founding fathers did for the sakes of the private estates of so many of those founders who used violent coercion to ram their ideas down the throats of even the Peace Churches who had so often moved to these shores to escape the murderous persecution of the coercive (usually Calvinists, budding capitalists, cross-seduced by other mammon and false-hearted power lovers).
You blame government first always it appears so far to me. This makes zero sense. Government (as you're abusing the term) is a revolving door with business. There are people within government and there are people within business who are scoundrels. There are others in both who are endeavoring to be quite the opposite. The idea that government or the state is necessarily the starting place of evil business is a semantical mess. It's confused and muddled thinking that appears to mask or excuse selfishness rather than overcoming.
Would you forbid private armies? Are capitalists forbidden under your system from waging wars against indigenous peoples who claimed the land first?
You wrote in your post, "Hypocritical peace activism" that "...we can advocate the use of government only to protect rights and not to achieve specific ends in society." That's the position you hold (hired self-defense so to speak). This is to say that protecting rights as you define "rights" is not to be a specific ends in society. That makes no sense.
You believe in using violence to protect your property but don't want others to come take your property away when those others believe that the only reason you hold that property is because you are being protected under a corrupt philosophy with twisted definitions that have afforded you some strangely based psychological comfort where you aren't guilt ridden by your fundamental selfishness.
Why bother with the Golden Rule, right? Why bother with the New Commandment? Why bother with issues of hypocrisy. Just don't ask such probing questions, and you won't be guilty, is that it? Yes, that's it. That's your position.
You've attempted to escape the broken logic of many libertarians by assuming your qualified position regarding the use of violence. Your position fails though. It is inconsistent.
You wrote of me that I "want a government that controls, regualtes and restrains — in other words one that imposes coercion on others, peaceful or not. Yet you then accuse me of holding the view you just expounded." Wrong. That's not what I said.
I wrote, "We don't coerce outsiders to conform. Those who join may leave if they don't wish to govern themselves in accordance with the principles of Christ. Those who voluntarily enter who don't conform, repent, and atone, may not stay. In fact, they have not truly entered."
The government for the real Christian is self-control by the Holy Spirit indwelling imposing nothing on others by means of violence. Jesus did not teach violence as a means to impose the spirit upon anyone. When he cleaned the temple, nowhere is he accused of violence or coercion imposing religion on any. The temple is a place where entry is voluntary. There are rules inside though. If you don't want to abide, don't enter. Don't stay.
The founders left no place in the U.S. where one may escape. Other founders in other nations have done likewise.
Do you see Jesus leading an army killing people? Do read that he did? I read that he rebuked his disciples for not knowing better. They learned. You don't read about any of them leading armies killing people to protect anything in this world. You only read about those who came later twisting the message to self-defense. Those later ones will have ruined, until things are set straight by the truth.
You also wrote, "As for your religious beliefs keep them to yourself. They have no power here." One may easily see that you fear my beliefs; therefore, they obviously have great power here. To keep my beliefs to myself would be to not hold those beliefs. Also, you are asking that your beliefs not be challenged. That's telling. Do you hold the same in reverse? I don't fear debate in the open market place of ideas with you. However, you apparently don't reciprocate that position.
Of course, there is a point at which discussion becomes a waste of time or too hostile. Had we reached that point before I left my first comment?
Why don't you identify yourself? Why do you hide your identity?
May God bless you with the whole truth,