COMMENTS TO THE LAISSEZ-FAIRE CAPITALISTS: ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

     

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.

Cls states:

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 (posted here):

Hello,

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.

God bless,

Tom Usher
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.

My reply:

Hello cls,

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,

Tom Usher

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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    • @Michael -

      Hi Michael,

      We think alike on many things (not all). The company store came to mind immediately when I was reading cls's post.

      The laissez-faire types will say that Big Government rammed through the railroads. They also claim that capitalism did away with child labor and not Progressive legislation and enforcement. I don't know how they can make such claims and then look in the mirror. Of course, I don't know how they can look in the mirror at all.

      It has to do with the regions of the brain that are most active versus others. They tend toward sociopathy. Of course, the sociopath thinks that's just fine. He or she has no brainwaves with which to compare. They just think everyone else is stupidly sensitive and not informed enough about the reality of survival of, and more so the supremacy of, the most ruthless and cunning, etc.

      I also thought instantly about the right of workers to band together to collectively bargain. The laissez-faire types (many; most) believe that capitalists have the right to band together under contracts to form even private defensive clubs (armies), but they don't extend the right to band together to demand higher wages. They're all for the statists, as they call them, stepping in to break up unions. Somehow, they either don't see the parallel or see it so much that they just don't want to discuss it for fear of being exposed as the hypocrites they are in all cases — some just more ignorant of it than others (dupes on one hand and the elites on the other).

      I hate the loss of pre-industrial farms and farmers. We need more organic farms and farmers. The ADMs and Monsantos are killing the planet, literally. I assume you've read about the suicides in India caused by single-crop, cash-crop, Roundup Ready farming. It's an unmitigated disaster. The same thing has been happening to varying degrees all over the world. Now of course, more and more evidence is coming out about the health hazards associated with GM crops. In spite of that, the capitalist are Hell-bent on bringing forth nanofoods.

      As for the financial crisis, the laissez-faire capitalists point at the Federal Reserve regulating via interest rates as the main problem. Well, there certainly were crashes before the Fed, not that I'm a fan of the Federal Reserve System, quite the contrary, as you may readily read on this site.

      The laissez-faire capitalists are utopian and in direct competition with the vision of Jesus Christ. They are well funded by those who stand to gain the most by duping the masses with their nonsense.

      "Monopolies and unrestricted capitalism, however, is ill-responsive to public will, especially since the public can not "vote" reliably either through stocks or through purchasing power (can the coal miners living in company towns "vote" for change with their company script?)." Great point that. The capitalists, of course, will say let the people work smart enough to get themselves into the deserving position.

      It's Machiavellian of course. They have a public front while behind the scenes they are just rubbing their hands together at the prospect of all they'll gain regardless of the negative expense to the already downtrodden and the planet as a whole.

      The problem is a lack of heart. Their hearts are waxed cold.

      They don't believe it, but they will end up suffering under their own standard. Spirits more cunning than their own will give them a huge dose of their own medicine. I don't wish it on them. It's why I warn people about it. If one is an atheist though, as cls claims, what is there to be done about it? They think there are no consequences beyond the grave.

      Check out Andreas Leiningen's comment and my reply to him if you find the time.

      Blessings to all,

      Tom Usher

    • @Michael -

      Howdy Michael,

      Yes, the whole system is built up on itself. It's Biblical you know. Refer to the feet of clay. The whole thing falls when the foundation is too weak. The first premises of the worldly system are fatally flawed. Every time they put the imperial statue back up, it will just fall over again until it kills them falling on them along with the rock of truth, which it will.

      God bless,

      Tom Usher

    • Tom,

      thank you for posting this here as I might not have had an opportunity to see the conversation and absorb the information. CLS is arguing essentially that "greed is good" for lack of a better term. CLS is also arguing that Government is corrupt and incompetent (in order to be corrupt, one has to be competent first, but I digress). Unfortunately, both premises are historically inaccurate. Greed is not good; hunger for greater profits drove Europeans to import African slaves to North America where they were treated as chattel and worse. Greed did build and entire network of railroads in the country, but also led to the overweening power of coal, steel, and railroad companies so much so that instead of paying workers in dollars, they paid in company script which was used at company stores and which fed company workers; no dollar was ever paid and not a penny of the workers' wages was not recaptured in one way or another. Corporate greed hired strikebreakers and "scabs" to break the will of workers demanding an end to long hours and short pay. Unrestricted capitalism hired children as young as five or six to work with machines that could maim or kill instantly. Government, especially one of the people by the people and for the people, is put in place to check the power of corporations and there is no evidence that restrictions (regulations) upon business ever harmed businesses. In fact, the past four decades have proven the opposite. For instance; farmers were once restricted in the growing of grains until the 1970's - since deregulation, the presence of yeoman farmers in American has since dwindled as agribusiness began to specialize in corn, soy beans and wheat. Now, thanks to lobbying by those corporations, growing broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, lettuce, garlic, or tomatoes is considered a "specialty crop" and is not subject to government aid. Airline deregulation in the 1980's led to the bankruptcy of TWA, Pan Am, and a multitude of other carriers in the decades afterward, leaving only a few (increasingly large) carriers who can control prices at a whim. The finance industry argued for throughout the 1980's and was granted it in the 1990's and we now see the results of that. Yes, government "allowed" it to happen, but if the citizenry is aware of the problem and takes steps to make their voices heard, government will respond positively (as the failed first attempt at the bailout proves). Government can be corrupted, but public will can correct that corruption through elections. Monopolies and unrestricted capitalism, however, is ill-responsive to public will, especially since the public can not "vote" reliably either through stocks or through purchasing power (can the coal miners living in company towns "vote" for change with their company script?).

      Thanks for the opportunity to put my two bits in.

    • Thanks for the reply Tom. I was inspired by your discussion enough to add my own meditations and observations on the nature of the current financial crisis; such as, did you know that thanks to Monsanto and GM seed-producing companies, our ability to get enough food is now jeopardized by the financial collapse of the "free market" system? To borrow a phrase from the BBC "It is the most spectacular case of shooting one's self in the foot in Industrial history."