Author Topic: Ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist; ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist...(ad nauseam)  (Read 3558 times)

SingleTax

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Since the Alex Jones Show has degenerated into a frothing-at-the-mouth obsession with political labels ending in either "ist" or "ism," I thought the following might prove useful to relative newcomers who are curious as to what these terms actually mean:

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http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-socialism.htm

Myth: Liberalism is socialism, and socialism is big government.

Fact: Liberals believe in private ownership of the means of production; socialists, public.


Summary

Modern American liberals are democratic capitalists. That is, they believe that private capitalist individuals should own and control the means of production, as long as they operate within the democratic law. By contrast, socialists believe that everyone should own and control the means of production. Socialism has been proposed in many forms. Perhaps the most popular form is social democracy, in which workers vote for their supervisors, company policy, and industry representatives to regional or national congresses. Another form of socialism is anarcho-socialism, in which employee-owned firms would compete or cooperate on the free market, absent any centralized government at all. As you can see, a central planning committee is not a necessary feature of socialism; only worker ownership of production is. Dictatorships can never be socialist, because workers do not own or control anything when a ruling elite is telling them what to do. For this reason, socialists reject the claim (made by the Soviet Union itself) that the Soviet Union was a socialist country. It was instead a brutal dictatorship over workers.

Argument

One of the main features of the Great American Debate is the perversion of basic political terms. The far right, for instance, has succeeded in promoting the myth that "liberalism equals socialism equals big government." In reality, there are a great many distinct and opposing ideologies on the left. These include:

     Liberalism
     Progressivism
     Socialism
     Social Democracy
     Anarcho-socialism
     Anarcho-syndicalism
     Mutualist anarchism
     Social anarchism
     Communism
     Marxism
     Stalinism

This list may confuse some readers who have inadvertently accepted the far right's revisionism; after all, isn't the term "anarcho-socialism" an oxymoron? If this is your reaction, then it is an excellent example of how successfully the far right has redefined the left. This essay will clarify these terms using definitions drawn up by the adherents themselves. Knowing these distinctions is vital, because most people only embarrass themselves by attacking an ideology, only to discover they can't even define it.

Who owns the means of production?

One of the central questions of any political ideology is "Who should own and control the means the production?" (Means of production refers to factories, farmlands, machinery, office space, etc.) Generally there have been three approaches to this issue. The first was aristocracy, in which a ruling elite owned the land and productive wealth, and peasants and serfs had to obey their orders in return for their livelihood. The second is capitalism, which disbanded the ruling elite and allows a much broader range of private individuals to own the means of production. However, this ownership is limited to those who can afford to buy productive wealth; nearly all workers are excluded. The third approach is socialism, which is defined as "the collective ownership and control of the means of production." That is, everyone owns and controls productive wealth, which is accomplished through the vote. As you can see, there is a spectrum here, ranging from a few people owning productive wealth at one end, to everyone owning it at the other.

Socialism has been proposed in many forms. The most common is social democracy, where workers vote for their supervisors, company policy, and industry representatives to regional or national congresses. Another proposed form is anarcho-socialism, where workers own companies that would compete or cooperate on a free market, without any centralized government at all. As you can see, a central planning committee is hardly a necessary feature of socialism. The primary feature is actually worker ownership of production.

This point is probably the most confused and misunderstood aspect of socialism. "Collective ownership" does not necessarily mean "government ownership," as the case of anarcho-socialism shows. For those who automatically equate socialism with big government, the mere existence of an ideology called "anarcho-socialism" is a direct refutation of that belief.

And in those variations of socialism which do call for a centralized government, that government is always a democracy -- never a dictatorship, central planning committee, or other form of ruling elite. Workers do not own or control anything when a dictator is telling them what to do. "Collective ownership" means that the group is in control; "dictatorship" means that a single person is in control. Therefore it is a logical impossibility to have "collective ownership" by a dictator. It is for this reason that socialists reject the claim (made by the Soviet Union itself) that the Soviet Union was socialist. It was instead a brutal dictatorship over workers. True socialism has never been tried at the national level anywhere in the world, although some employee-owned firms have successfully employed it in the West.

Socialism may always be democratic, but what type of socialism depends on what type of democracy is practiced. There is actually a spectrum of democracy, ranging from direct democracy at one end to republicanism at the other. Let's briefly review both:

In a direct democracy, voters vote on their laws directly, without representatives. To the extent that government exists, its only function is to enact the decisions of the voters. Most scholars reject strong forms of direct democracy on the grounds that it is unworkable. Democracy only works if the people are educated, but voters would become overwhelmed trying to educate themselves on the best bicycle parts society should build, what 32 flavors of ice cream a store should sell, and what electronic components should go into microwave ovens. Obviously, a lot of ignorant votes would be cast in such a behemoth system, even if it were possible to build it.

So most democracies are actually republics, or representative democracies. In these systems, voters elect representatives who legislate laws for them. Again, there are varying degrees of republicanism. A more "direct" form of republicanism is the U.S. House of Representatives, where legislators represent smaller districts and serve two-year terms. A more "republican" form is the U.S. Senate, where legislators represent entire states and serve six-year terms. The extreme in republicanism is the U.S. Supreme Court, where judges are nominated and voted upon by the people's representatives, but enjoy lifetime tenure.

In designing a well-functioning republic, the main goal is to avoid making it so direct that voters become overwhelmed by its requirements, but not so republican that representatives can operate impervious to the will of the people. Somewhere in the middle there is an optimal balance.

How does this apply to social democracy? Social democracy merely takes the republican principle and applies it to the workplace. It should be noted that the U.S. has enjoyed an increasingly successful republic for 220 years, with no reversion to dictatorship or tyranny. Indeed, American history shows that inherited tyrannies like slavery, child labor and discrimination have been eliminated or greatly reduced as democratic reforms have grown stronger. In short, the republican system of government has a track record of success and continuing improvement that can be well-defended. And it is this system, not dictatorship, that social democrats would apply to the workplace.

Socialists argue that the workplace is one of the last bastions of dictatorship still in existence in Western society. As Noam Chomsky points out: "There is no human institution that approaches totalitarianism as closely as a business corporation. I mean, power is completely top-down. You can be inside it somewhere and you take orders from above and hand 'em down. Ultimately, it's in the hands of owners and investors." Capitalists argue that voluntary contracts on the free market prevent the abuse of such totalitarian power by business executives. But this presumes the nonexistence or nonimportance of market failure and contract failure, in the face of widespread evidence to the contrary.

Socialism thus defined, what is the difference between socialism and modern American liberalism? The difference is rather profound, and lies in who owns the means of production. Liberals are capitalists, meaning they favor a system where private individuals can own productive wealth, choose their own management teams, and set their own industrial policy. Liberals would prevent business owners from abusing their powers through checks and balances like strong labor unions and democratic government regulations. Liberalism is a compromise between individual freedom and social responsibility: you can do what you want, as long as it's within the law.

In general, the only thing that unites liberals and socialists is the belief that corporate totalitarianism should be avoided. But they differ on how to make businesses more socially responsible, and uninformed critics who lump the two together should not be taken seriously.

A POLITICAL GLOSSARY

Below is a glossary of common political ideologies on both the left and the right. Self-definitions are indicated by quotation marks and footnotes.

Socialism

"Socialism is the collective ownership by all the people of the factories, mills, mines, railroads, land and all other instruments of production. Socialism means production to satisfy human needs, not, as under capitalism, for sale and profit. Socialism means direct control and management of the industries and social services by the workers through a democratic government based on their nationwide economic organization.

"Under socialism, all authority will originate from the workers, integrally united in Socialist Industrial Unions. In each workplace, the rank and file will elect whatever committees or representatives are needed to facilitate production. Within each shop or office division of a plant, the rank and file will participate directly in formulating and implementing all plans necessary for efficient operations.

"Besides electing all necessary shop officers, the workers will also elect representatives to a local and national council of their industry or service and to a central congress representing all the industries and services. This all-industrial congress will plan and coordinate production in all areas of the economy. All persons elected to any post in the socialist government, from the lowest to the highest level, will be directly accountable to the rank and file. They will be subject to removal at any time that a majority of those who elected them decide it is necessary.

"Such a system would make possible the fullest democracy and freedom. It would be a society based on the most primary freedom: economic freedom.

"For individuals, socialism means an end to economic insecurity and exploitation. It means workers cease to be commodities bought and sold on the labor market and forced to work as appendages to tools owned by someone else. It means a chance to develop all individual capacities and potentials within a free community of free individuals.

"Socialism does not mean government or state ownership. It does not mean a state bureaucracy as in the former Soviet Union or China, with the working class oppressed by a new bureaucratic class. It does not mean a closed party-run system without democratic rights. It does not mean nationalization, or labor-management boards, or state capitalism of any kind. It means a complete end to all capitalist social relations." (1)

Social democracy

The most commonly proposed form of socialism, calling for worker ownership of the means of production and centralized democratic government. In democratic elections, workers would vote for 1) their supervisors, 2) their representatives to a local and national council of their industry or service, and 3) their representatives to a central congress representing all the industries and services.

Anarcho-socialism

A term which broadly refers to anarchism (social) and anarchism (mutualist). Most anarcho-socialists deem the term redundant, however, and prefer to be called "anarchists," not "anarcho-socialists." This is because they believe that the only true anarchy is socialist, and the only true socialism is anarchic. However, it remains a useful term, because it distinguishes them from others who, right or wrong, also consider themselves anarchists and socialists: for example, anarcho-capitalists and social democrats.

Anarchism (mutualist)

"A proposed socialist economic system calling for businesses to be owned and controlled by employees, not private capitalist individuals. These businesses would then compete on the free market, without a central government." (2)

Anarchism (social)

"A proposed classless, stateless socialist society of directly democratic self-governing communities and workplaces freely united in a confederation by a system of mandated, recallable delegates. Decisions flow from the bottom up and are based upon intensive discussion by those affected by them. Production is for use, not profit, and the community owns and workers control the means of production. Anarchists think that direct democracy within voluntary associations and the abolition of wage slavery is the best way to maximize individual liberty. Also known as libertarian socialism or libertarian communism." (3)

Anarcho-syndicalism

"A political philosophy that proposes that workers organise into decentralised, self-governing workplace and community organisations to take over and run the means of production and create a left-libertarian society. Heavily influenced by social anarchist ideas." (4)

Liberalism

"1) Openness to progress or change. 2) Generosity and willingness to give. 3) In the 18th century, a political philosophy that advocated smaller government and greater individualism, much as modern conservatives do today. Also known as "classical liberalism." 4) In modern times, a political philosophy that advocates greater public support, defense, regulation and promotion of the private sector." (5)

Progressivism

"1) A political philosophy advocating change and progress, especially as led by science. Colloquially, a "progressive" refers to a very liberal person. 2) The U.S. Progressive Movement between 1890 and 1920, which is also known as the Progressive Era. This movement was responsible for introducing the campaign primary in many states (replacing caucuses), the initiative, the referendum, and the recall, among other reforms." (6)

Marxism

The philosophies and teachings of 19th century economist Karl Marx. Although Marx is credited with the idea of socialism and communism, Marx did not really elaborate much on his utopian government. The vast majority of his writings were critiques of capitalism. However, he viewed the struggle of workers as a continuation of historical forces that would one day lead to communism. This would occur in three stages. The first stage was capitalism, in which the proletariat (workers) are exploited by capitalists (business owners). The second stage would be socialism, or a "dictatorship of the proletariat." Marx envisioned that this stage would be brief. In the final stage -- communism -- society would become so classless and collectivist that the formal state would wither away, and society could spontaneously operate as a collective whole without government.

Communism

1) A social and economic system in which all (or nearly all) property is public, not private. That is, resources are shared by everyone. Not to be confused for socialism, which only grants to everyone the ownership of the means of production -- not necessarily all property. 2) A technically incorrect but widely used term for the system practiced by the Soviet empire. 3) In Marxist ideology, a utopia achieved in the third and final stage of workers' struggles. (See Marxism, above.)

Stalinism

1) The type of dictatorial government practiced by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. This system was characterized by totalitarian control not only of society, but the economy as well. Stalinism was not socialist (if it had been, workers would have voted on all government policy), nor was it communist (in which case the state would have disappeared completely). However, Stalin co-opted these terms to describe his rule, and they are still used to describe it today. 2) The type of government practiced by all nations in the Soviet and Red Chinese empires after Stalin.

Conservatism

1) The disposition to preserve tradition and resist change. 2) A political philosophy calling for reduced government and greater individual freedom in the private sector.

Capitalism

An economic system in which private individuals or corporations own and invest in the means of production.

Anarcho-capitalism

A proposed economic system calling for an anarchic society with sovereign individual property rights and a capitalist free market. Any public services that are deemed valuable, such as law enforcement, would be privatized.

Libertarianism (left)

"A political philosophy calling for as much self-government for individuals as possible. Opposes all forms of hierarchical authority (particularly those associated with capitalist companies and the state) and social inequality in favor of group direct democracy, individual liberty and social equality. This would be accompanied by either no government or government reduced to a minimal level." (7)

Libertarianism (right)

A political philosophy calling for very strong or even sovereign property rights for individuals. This would be accompanied by either no government, or government reduced to its minimalist functions: for example, police and military defense.

HISTORICAL MISDESCRIPTIONS

One of the most common fallacies in political argument is that a nation or leader who adopted a political label actually practiced that ideology. However, experienced political scientists know that misnomers abound in the history of political labels. Here are but a few examples:

The "Social Democracies" of Northern Europe: The Scandinavian states are actually progressively liberal. Private capitalist individuals own the means of production, coexisting with large labor unions and democratic governments. These states are colloquially known as "social democracies" only because the Social Democrats are the largest or ruling parties. But they are only one among many.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: Neither socialist nor a republic, this was actually a dictatorship by a ruling elite over workers.

The German Democratic Republic: Neither democratic nor a republic, East Germany was actually Stalinist.

Hitler's National Socialist Party: When Hitler first joined the party, it was a true socialist party dedicated to the cause of German workers. As Hitler rose through its ranks, he changed the ideology to dictatorship, but didn't change the name.

The People's Republic of China: More like Mao's Dictatorship over China.

Vladimir Zhirinovksy's Liberal Democrat Party: Neither liberal nor democratic, this Russian demagogue is actually a czarist or monarchist.

There are countless more examples, but these should be enough to make the following point: political ideologies should be identified by their actual features, not their labels.


Endnotes:

1. The Socialist Labor Party. The SLP publishes a variety of literature on Socialism. The People, Marxist bi-weekly since 1891, is available on-line. Address correspondence to: 75702.1036@compuserve.com, or thepeople@igc.apc.org. Snail Mail: Socialist Labor Party, P.O.Box 70517, Sunnyvale, CA 94086-0517; (408) 245-2047; FAX (408) 245-2049.

2. Personal communication with Scottish anarchist Iain MacSoarsa, in collaboration with several anarcho-socialists.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Steve Kangas.

6. Ibid.

7. MacSoarsa.


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^^  Note: One doesn't necessarily have to agree with Steve Kangas on issues such as gun control, compulsory schooling and Keynesian economics to generally agree with his definitions of the above terms.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 11:11:26 AM by SingleTax »



SingleTax

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Re: Ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist; ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist...(ad nauseam)
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2016, 08:56:02 PM »
The reason I created this thread is that I've noticed that -- despite all that's been said in recent years about the false "left-right paradigm" -- an alarming number of people within the anti-NWO/pro-America movement still have a self-discrediting tendency to mindlessly label as "socialist," "communist" or "collectivist" anything (not just the agenda being promoted by Bernie Sanders) that falls outside the microscopic-sized intellectual box known as Austrianism.

To understand what I mean, consider the following analogy.

Imagine someone has an extreme hatred of cats. Then imagine that, upon seeing seeing a horse, he goes on a ridiculous tirade about how the only thing worse than a regular-sized cat is an oversized cat. You, of course, try to explain to him that it’s not a cat at all, but a horse. And he replies: "But all cats have four legs and a tail, and so does that thing, so it must be a cat."

You then spend the next half-hour explaining to him (very slowly, of course) all of the things that make horses fundamentally distinct from cats. And he responds by accusing you of being a disinfo-spewing cat lover who’s just trying to conceal the fact that the animal he’s looking at is really just another breed of cat. “A cat by any other name is still a cat!” he exclaims. And if he’s particularly arrogant, he’ll then start asking you ridiculously loaded questions such as: “Why do you love cats so much?” and “How long has it been since you first realized you had an eery fondness for cats?”

If you’re like most people, this childlike tactic will evoke from you a not-so-kind response, at which point he’ll play innocent by saying something along the lines of: “Hey, no need to get upset. I’m just trying to have a calm, rational discussion, here, because I’m merely curious to know what it is, specifically, about cats that makes you love them as much you do, and why it is you feel the need to conceal this fact from others.”

You think you might feel just a little disgusted at that point?

Well that is exactly what economic right-wingers do whenever they equate with “socialism," "communism" and/or "collectivism" anything that in any way conflicts with the anarcho-capitalist dogma of the privatize-everything-everything-under-the-sun (including Mother Nature itself) Austrian School.

If I say -- "All cats have four legs and a tail, but not everything with four legs and a tail is a cat.” -- most rational people would regard that as simple, common sense discernment -- the sort of discernment that even a five-year-old can employ. But not Austrian Schoolers. That requires way too much thought. They just want to know whether or not the person in question falls outside of the aforementioned "box" they’re in. If he does, then rather than exercise even the most basic of common sense discernment, they immediately jump to the conclusion that he’s a “socialist,” "communist" and/or "collectivist," and begin lecturing him for being anti-"liberty." (In that sense they're every bit as reactionary as Obama supporters who mindlessly attach the word "racist" to any political viewpoint they happen not to agree with.)

If you were part of the NWO, isn’t that exactly the sort of people you would want to territorialize any grassroots movement against you, since this would keep most if not all of the countless millions of people out there who aren’t reactionaries from ever joining that movement in the first place, since they have better things to do with their time than listen to right-wing ideologues invoke red-baiting labels all day long whenever they hear something that in any way conflicts with Austrian School landlordism "capitalism"?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 02:55:14 AM by SingleTax »

SingleTax

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Re: Ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist; ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist...(ad nauseam)
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 11:57:43 PM »
The reason I created this thread is that I've noticed that -- despite all that's been said in recent years about the false "left-right paradigm" -- an alarming number of people within the anti-NWO/pro-America movement still have a self-discrediting tendency to mindlessly label as "socialist," "communist" or "collectivist" anything (not just the agenda being promoted by Bernie Sanders) that falls outside the microscopic-sized intellectual box known as Austrianism.

Lest anyone jump to false conclusions about where I stand politically, allow me to further clarify and amplify the above statement.

I believe wages, sales, improvements, capital goods and carbon dioxide should all be exempt from taxation.

I also believe that victimless crime laws, compulsory school attendance laws and federal gun control laws should all be abolished, and that the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, American Freedom Agenda Act and Surveillance State Repeal Act should all be passed and implemented.

Yet despite all that, Austrian School ideologues have repeatedly -- and mindlessly -- accused me over the years of being a freedom-hating "socialist," "communist" and/or "collectivist" merely because I believe the Founding Fathers had the right idea when, in the Articles of Confederation, they called for financing the U.S. government from the revenue generated by a tax levied upon "the value of all land within each State."

-- http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html

They tend to have a similar Pavlovian response whenever I call for categorically separating the "issuance" of money from the "lending" of it via the passage and implementation of the NEED Act:

-- http://www.monetary.org/occupying-the-need-act/2014/04

In that sense these Austrians are every bit as reactionary -- and every bit as obsessed with attaching emotionally charged labels ending in "ist" or "ism" to any viewpoint with which they disagree -- as "liberal trendies" are; they merely have a different vocabulary.

That's why I'm equally disgusted with both groups.

SingleTax

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Re: Ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist; ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist...(ad nauseam)
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2016, 04:19:10 AM »
On the left we have Keynesianism; and on the far left, Marxism.

Is Austrian School "libertarianism" (as is so often asserted or implied) truly the only worthwhile alternative to either of those two leftist ideologies?

To those whose minds are enslaved within the microscopic confines of the Keynes-Marx-von Mises paradigm, the answer to that question is a resounding "yes."

But those who've taken the red pill see things a little differently:

------------------------------------

http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html


Are you a Real Libertarian, or a
ROYAL
Libertarian?


by Dan Sullivan, founder, Geolibertarian Society, and
former chair, Libertarian Party of Allegheny County, (Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania


We call ourselves the "party of principle," and we base property rights on the principle that everyone is entitled to the fruits of his labor. Land, however, is not the fruit of anyone's labor, and our system of land tenure is based not on labor, but on decrees of privilege issued from the state, called titles. In fact, the term "real estate" is Middle English (originally French) for "royal state." The "title" to land is the essence of the title of nobility, and the root of noble privilege.

The royal free lunch

When the state granted land titles to a fraction of the population, it gave that fraction devices with which to levy, and pocket, tolls on the fruits of the labor of others. Those without land privileges must either buy or rent those privileges from the people who received the grants or from their assignees. Thus the state titles enable large landowners to collect a transfer payment, or "free lunch" from the actual land users.

The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent.

-- Carlyle

Tortured rationalizations

According to royal libertarians, land becomes private property when one mixes one's labor with it. And mixing what is yours with what is not yours in order to own the whole thing is considered great sport. But the notion is filled with problems. How much labor does it take to claim land, and how much land can one claim for that labor? And for how long can one make that claim?

According to classical liberals, land belonged to the user for as long as the land was being used, and no longer. But according to royal libertarians, land belongs to the first user, forever. So, do the oceans belong to the heirs of the first person to take a fish out or put a boat in? Does someone who plows the same field each year own only one field, while someone who plows a different field each year owns dozens of fields? Should the builder of the first transcontinental railroad own the continent? Shouldn't we at least have to pay a toll to cross the tracks? Are there no common rights to the earth at all? To royal libertarians there are not, but classical liberals recognized that unlimited ownership of land never flowed from use, but from the state:

A right of property in movable things is admitted before the establishment of government. A separate property in lands not till after that establishment.... He who plants a field keeps possession of it till he has gathered the produce, after which one has as good a right as another to occupy it. Government must be established and laws provided, before lands can be separately appropriated and their owner protected in his possession. Till then the property is in the body of the nation.


"But we're used to it"

A favorite excuse of royal libertarians is that the land has been divided up for so long that tracing the rightful owners would be pointless. But there can be no rightful owners if we all have an inalienable right of access to the earth. It is not some ancient injustice we seek to rectify, but an ongoing injustice. The piece of paper granting title might be ancient, but the tribute levied on the landless goes on and on.

One might as well have accepted monarchy under the excuse that whatever conquest led to monarchy occurred centuries ago, and that tracing the rightful monarchs would be pointless. Indeed, landed aristocracy is the last remnant of monarchy.

Phony Laissez Faire

After conquest and confiscation have been effected, and the State set up, its first concern is with the land....In its capacity as ultimate landlord, the State distributes the land among its beneficiaries on its own terms.

-- Albert J. Nock, Our Enemy the State, p. 44

The English free-trader Cobden remarked that "you who free the land will do more for the people than we who have freed trade." Indeed, how can anyone speak of free trade when the trader has to pay tribute to some favored land-entitlement holder in order to do business?

This imperfect policy of non-intervention, or laissez-faire, led straight to a most hideous and dreadful economic exploitation; starvation wages, slum dwelling, killing hours, pauperism, coffin-ships, child-labour--nothing like it had ever been seen in modern times...People began to say, if this is what State abstention comes to, let us have some State intervention.

But the state had intervened; that was the whole trouble. The State had established one monopoly--the landlord's monopoly of economic rent--thereby shutting off great hordes of people from free access to the only source of human subsistence, and driving them into factories to work for whatever Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bottles chose to give them. The land of England, while by no means nearly all actually occupied, was all legally occupied; and this State-created monopoly enabled landlords to satisfy their needs and desires with little exertion or none, but it also removed the land from competition with industry in the labor market, thus creating a huge, constant and exigent labour-surplus.
[Emphasis Nock's]

-- Albert J. Nock, "The Gods' Lookout" February 1934

State land vs. common land

The distinction between common property and state property is lost on royal libertarians. Common property is that to which we all have inalienable rights. State property is that which the state actually owns, and can dispose of as it sees fit. For example, a public right of way is literally a right of way. Under principles of common law, nobody, not even the king, could close a traveled road and make it private property. A state maintenance truck, on the other hand, is state property, which can be sold if it no longer suits state purposes.

The earth, therefore, and all things therein, are the general property of all mankind, from the immediate gift of the Creator.

-- William Blackstone

It is a royal libertarian notion, and not a classical liberal ideal, to treat land as state property, for if land did not rightfully belong to the state, how could the state have granted it to favored citizens?

Classical liberals, not royal libertarians, are the ones who deny the state's right to appropriate the earth and allocate it to privileged individuals on favored terms. Classical liberals are also who hold the key to abolishing taxation, by suggesting that the community (not the state) charge a user fee to landholders based on the value of the land.

The ultimate user's fee

Classical liberals recognized that exclusive access to land, and especially to more land than one was using, was a privilege that should be paid for, thereby eliminating the need for taxes. It is not a fee for using land, but a fee for the state privilege of denying use of that land to everyone else.

Men did not make the earth....It is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property....Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.

-- Tom Paine, Agrarian Justice, paragraphs 11 to 15

Another means of silently lessening the inequality of [landed] property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise.

-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, Oct. 28, 1785

Today's land value tax advocates consider graduated land value tax to be unnecessary and problematic, leading to artificial subdivision (and phony subdivision) of land. The point is that Jefferson, to whom libertarians pay homage, considered land monopoly a great evil and land value tax a remedy, as did many other classical liberals:

Both ground-rents and the ordinary rent of land are a species of revenue which the owner, in many cases, enjoys without any care or attention of his own. Though a part of this revenue should be taken from him in order to defray the expenses of the state, no discouragement will thereby be given to any sort of industry....Ground-rents and the ordinary rent of land are, therefore, perhaps, the species of revenue which can best bear to have a peculiar tax imposed upon them.

-- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Bk 5, Ch. 2, Pt 1

Suppose that there is a kind of income which constantly tends to increase, without any exertion or sacrifice on the part of the owners: those owners constituting a class in the community, whom the natural course of things progressively enriches, consistently with complete passiveness on their own part. In such a case it would be no violation of the principles on which private property is grounded, if the state should appropriate this increase of wealth, or part of it, as it arises. This would not properly be taking anything from anybody; it would merely be applying an accession of wealth, created by circumstances, to the benefit of society, instead of allowing it to become an unearned appendage to the riches of a particular class.

Now this is actually the case with rent. The ordinary progress of a society which increases in wealth, is at all times tending to augment the incomes of landlords; to give them both a greater amount and a greater proportion of the wealth of the community, independently of any trouble or outlay incurred by themselves. They grow richer, as it were in their sleep, without working, risking, or economizing. What claim have they, on the general principle of social justice, to this accession of riches? In what would they have been wronged if society had, from the beginning, reserved the right of taxing the spontaneous increase of rent, to the highest amount required by financial exigencies?


-- John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, Bk 5, Ch. 2


Two different kinds of indirect taxation

One of the most perverted twisting of concepts is reflected in what Hamilton called "indirect taxation." To him, and to many royal libertarians, indirect taxation is "hidden" taxation, as a value-added tax or sales tax that is buried in the price of purchased goods. This kind of indirectness is hardly admirable, and is similar to the kind of indirectness involved in chicanery and duplicity. Small wonder Jefferson called Hamilton a monarchist.

The Articles of Confederation embodied an entirely different concept of indirect taxation. The United States was to levy a tax, not on individual property holders, but on each state, based on its aggregate land value. The assumption was that each state would levy a similar tax on each county, and so on down to the individual. In this way, the individual would never have to face a federal tax agent directly, and if the federal government did not have the full support of the states, it could not bully them as easily as it could bully individuals.

Unfortunately, states did not support the federal government to its satisfaction from the beginning (being strapped from the war). Rather than working things out patiently, Hamilton introduced power-centralizing measures into the new Constitution. One was the other kind of indirect taxation, the mosquito-bite kind that you don't see happening. Royal libertarians trumpet this covert taxation as a virtue over direct real estate taxation, even when it means that "free trade" is being taxed.

Socialist Confusions

The classical liberal distinctions between land, labor and capital were greatly confused by socialists, and particularly Marxists, who substituted the fuzzy abstract term, "means of production," for all three factors. They also blurred the distinction between common property and state property, for socialists believed, as royalty also believed, that they were the people.

Today, the confusions between land and capital and between state property and common property are shared by socialists and royal libertarians, and only classical liberals keep these distinctions clearly defined. Yet royal libertarians frequently duck the land issue by charging that it is the classical liberals, not the royal libertarians, who have embraced socialist ideas.

Blocking Locke

John Locke is often misrepresented by royal libertarians, who quote him very selectively. For example, Locke did say that:

Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.

But Locke condemned anyone who took more than he needed as a "spoiler of the commons":

...if the fruits rotted, or the venison putrified, before he could spend it, he offended against the common law of nature, and was liable to be punished; he invaded his neighbour's share, for he had no right, farther than his use called for any of them, and they might serve to afford him conveniences of life.

The same measures governed the possession of land too: whatsoever he tilled and reaped, laid up and made use of, before it spoiled, that was his peculiar right; whatsoever he enclosed, and could feed, and make use of, the cattle and product was also his. But if either the grass of his enclosure rotted on the ground, or the fruit of his planting perished without gathering, and laying up, this part of the earth, notwithstanding his enclosure, was still to be looked on as waste, and might be the possession of any other.


Locke also restricted appropriation of land by the proviso, ignored by royal libertarians, that there must be

still enough, and as good left; and more than the yet unprovided could use. So that, in effect, there was never the less left for others because of his enclosure for himself: for he that leaves as much as another can make use of, does as good as take nothing at all.

Now if the situation is that there is enough free land, and as good, left after you take and cultivate your land, than your land has no market value, for who would pay you for land that is not better than land that can be had for free? So, besides the fact that Locke's justification of privatizing land is far more limited than royal libertarians portray it to be, it is irrelevant to the question of land value tax, as it applies only to land that has no value.

Furthermore, Locke based his scenario on pre-monetary societies, where a landholder would find that "it was useless, as well as dishonest, to carve himself too much, or take more than he needed." With the introduction of money, Locke noted, all land quickly became appropriated. Why? Because with money, those who can take more land than they have personal use for suddenly have reason to do so, as between them they will have taken all the land, and others will have to pay rent to them. So, with the introduction of money, the Lockean rationale for landed property falls apart, even according to Locke. And while Locke did not propose a remedy specifically for to this problem, he repeatedly stated that all taxes should be on real estate.

The tragedy of the common misunderstanding

In their search for excuses to deny any common right to land, royal libertarians are fond of citing Garrett Hardin's work, "Tragedy of the Commons." Or at least they cite the title, which is all most royal libertarians are familiar with. Hardin is himself an advocate of land value taxation, and has criticized misinterpretations of his work with the lament that "The title of my 1968 paper should have been "The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons.'" [Emphasis Hardin's]

Thoughtful Libertarian Party leadership

Fortunately, the bias toward royal libertarianism has been shaken off by many of the philosophical leaders of the party. Founder David Nolan supports land value tax as the only tax that does not fall on productivity, and the late Karl Hess often described land value tax as the one tax to levy until the state could be abolished entirely. It is mostly the von Miseans, the Objectivists, and the wishful thinkers who adopt the royal rationalization that they can hoard all the land to themselves with impunity.

The red, red herring

Royal libertarians are fond of confusing the classical liberal concept of common land ownership, particularly as espoused by land value tax advocate Henry George, with socialism. Yet socialists have always been contemptuous of George and of the distinction between land monopoly and capital monopolies. However, Frank Chodorov and Albert J. Nock (the original editors of The Freeman) were both advocates of George's economic remedies as well as lovers of individual liberty.

The only reformer abroad in the world in my time who interested me in the least was Henry George, because his project did not contemplate prescription, but, on the contrary, would reduce it to almost zero. He was the only one of the lot who believed in freedom, or (as far as I could see) had any approximation to an intelligent idea of what freedom is, and of the economic prerequisites to attaining it....One is immensely tickled to see how things are coming out nowadays with reference to his doctrine, for George was in fact the best friend the capitalist ever had. He built up the most complete and most impregnable defense of the rights of capital that was ever constructed, and if the capitalists of his day had had sense enough to dig in behind it, their successors would not now be squirming under the merciless exactions which collectivism is laying on them, and which George would have no scruples whatever about describing as sheer highwaymanry.

-- Albert J. Nock "Thoughts on Utopia"


Von Mises misses

Ludwig von Mises acknowledged in several places wholly unique distinctions between land and capital, but in his zeal to denounce land value tax, stated that,

Classical economy erred when it assigned land a distinct place in its theoretical scheme. Land is, in its economic sense, a factor of production, and the laws determining the formation of the prices of land are the same that determine the formation of other forms of production.

Or, paraphrasing Jay Leno, go ahead and buy up the land; we'll make more. The difference between land and capital is huge, and explains why the cost of silicon chips goes down as demand goes up, while the cost of Silicon Valley goes up as demand goes up. There is no natural monopolization of capital, but, with state sanction, there is monopolization of land. But von Mises would sooner obscure these distinctions in socialist fashion than to embrace a proposal he mistakenly thought to be socialist.

In his first edition of Human Action, von Mises attacked land value tax as based on the socialist principle that legitimate property flows only from labor. But that is also a libertarian principle, a classical liberal principle, an Austrian principle, and even the von Misean principle behind private property! So, by the third edition, von Mises changed his text to read that land taxers claim legitimate property flows only from manual labor.

This is much more logically consistent, but factually incorrect. It is a correct assessment of what many socialists believe, but it is not a correct assessment of what land taxers believe. Henry George, the most prominent land taxer of all, wrote in his magnum opus, Progress and Poverty,

Thus the term labor includes all human exertion in the production of wealth, and wages, being that part of the produce which goes to labor, includes all reward for such exertion. There is, therefore, in the political-economic sense of the term, no distinction as to the kind of labor, or as to whether its reward is received through an employer or not....

George also defended the ownership of property that flows from the employment of capital.

Perhaps von Mises was biased by his location in Europe, where classical liberalism had not fared as well as in America. He might also have first seen land value tax in the Communist Manifesto, and not realized that it was there as a socialist ploy to co-opt support from classical liberalism. (Marx expressed contempt for land value tax as a reform in its own right, and openly stated that his support of it was only to draw people to what he really wanted, which was to control capital.) If this is where von Mises got his first exposure to the idea, it would not be surprising to see him close his mind to it.

Ayn Rand comes sooo close!

Ayn Rand made arguments against perpetual intellectual property that are remarkably similar to arguments against perpetual landed property. She also saw the distinction between land and capital in terms of common vs. private property, but fell back into confusion at other times. She rightly chastised the Encyclopaedia Brittanica's definition of capitalism for confusing land and capital, which she quoted as follows:

Fundamental to any system called capitalist are the relations between private owners of nonpersonal means of production (land, mines, industrial plants, etc., collectively known as capital) [emphasis Rand's]

Then she quoted a John Galt speech in Atlas Shrugged in which Galt stated sarcastically, "A factory is a `natural resource', like a tree, a rock or a mud puddle."

By Jove, I think she's...

But are the heroes of Atlas Shrugged real capitalists? The inventor John Galt is, and perhaps Hank Rearden of Rearden Metals is, too, although one wonders where he got his ore and fuel. But Taggart Railways enjoys extremely valuable right-of-way privileges from the state. (Once land is parceled out, it is virtually impossible to build a railroad without either land value tax or eminent domain.)

Then there is Francisco D'Anconia, who owned the world's richest copper deposits, and who took delight in blowing up his mines and driving the price of copper through the roof--something that would not work nearly as well for a capitalist as for a resource monopolist, as there is no way competitors can make copper ore that doesn't already exist, and, buried or not, D'Anconia's copper ore still belonged to him.

The economics of Galt's Gulch

Most revealing of all is the Randian utopia, Galt's Gulch, which was financed entirely from, yes, land rents. Midas Mulligan owned the whole place, and was, in essence, the government. All the common services, from Galt's magic energy machine to Hank Rearden's village railroad, to their defense system (some sort of jammer that made the valley invisible to passing planes) were financed from ground rents collected by Mulligan from the landholders. Although politically Galt's Gulch was a monarchy, economically it was a Georgist Single-Tax community, with all community services paid for from the rent of land.

Who has the authority to collect land rent?

Many libertarians struggle with the legitimate question of how any governing body achieves rightful jurisdiction in a community, and we join them in opposing collection by such super-statist organizations as the United Nations, which is substantially a federation of tyrannies. However, royal libertarians raise the question selectively and rhetorically in regard to community collection of land rents. They acknowledge that there must be courts to settle, among other things, property disputes. It seems rather obvious that whatever entity has authority to rule on who gets the land also has authority to rule on who gets the land rent.

Fear of a funded government

There is also a well founded libertarian concern that land rent could provide funds enough to support a corrupt and oppressive government. Most libertarian supporters of the governmental collection of land rent therefore fall into two camps. One would give the people power to limit how much money the government can take, but would stipulate that all such money come entirely from ground rents and natural resource severance royalties. The other would take the full rent, but would stipulate that the government can still only spend what the citizens authorize it to spend. The rest would be distributed on a per-capita basis.

Ending excuses for big government

Much of the government spending to which libertarians strenuously object is made necessary by its taxing productivity instead of land values.

The property tax falls mostly on improvements, so less housing is built, giving the government an excuse to build public housing. Profits are taxed, leading to less employment and giving government an excuse to spend money on economic stimulus projects. Family income is taxed to the point that they have difficulty buying a house or sending their children to college, so government institutes subsidized mortgages and student loans.

Even the indirect effects are substantial. Land speculations gone sour chew up inner cities, so poor people turn to crime (if drug selling and prostitution be crimes) and the government gets an excuse to beef up the police state.

Politically connected real estate interests see that they can buy up land in the boondocks for a pittance and then get other taxpayers to build them a superhighway, increasing the value of their holdings by orders of magnitude. With land value tax they would have ultimately paid for their own highway or more likely would not have had it built in the first place.

Even welfare increases do not stay in the hands of welfare recipients, but are quickly greeted by higher rent demands from ghetto landlords. (The War on Poverty did little to end poverty, but it did a lot to enrich absentee owners of poor communities.)

[Continued...]

------------------------------------

The bottom line is this: if rent-seekers could hoard the air the way they already hoard land, and thereby confer to themselves the power of exacting a monthly ransom fee from those needing access to it to live, then, as long as there was a “free market” in the sale and purchase of air titles, there’d be slogan-parroting Austrians all over the place shamelessly defending this extortion racket in the name of (you guessed it) “liberty” and “private property." They’d be saying things like, “Airlords aren’t parasitizing people through a form of legalized extortion as certain freedom-hating socialists and collectivists have claimed; they’re merely ‘allocating’ the air to the most productive breathers.”

Sound familiar?

SingleTax

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Re: Ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist; ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist...(ad nauseam)
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2016, 04:26:44 AM »
"For the first years of Mises’s life in the United States...he was almost totally dependent on annual research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation.”

-- Richard M. Ebeling, “The Life and Works of Ludwig von Mises,” The Independent Review, Summer 2008


"In essence, the Rockefellers maintain a monopoly on economic theory. To understand how they gained such control takes us back to the 1920s, when two economists rose to prominence: Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek. Both were helped by Rockefeller money. Von Mises toured the United States in 1926. The tour of American Universities was sponsored by the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Foundation and was greatly successful in promoting the views of the Austrian School of Economics. Hayek personally tutored David Rockefeller in economics.

"In 1950 von Hayek was brought to the United States to teach at the University of Chicago, but he didn't teach economics, he was actually made a professor on the Committee on Social Thought. This was an exceptionally dangerous position for a man that held the views von Hayek did. In 1945, von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom was published. This poorly written book was an attack on the concept of the nation-state. In it, von Hayek argued that the nation-state was a hinderance to peace, and socialism led to totalitarian systems, which treated their citizens as serfs. In place of the nation-state, von Hayek proposed a super-national authority or world federation consisting of the financial elite.

"The elite would then be free to rule the world according to their own interest. In 1947, von Hayek created the Mount Pelerin Society, made up of the financial elite of Europe, as a first step toward his supernational authority. In the years since, the Mount Pelerin Society has been influential in creating numerous 'conservative' think tanks, which promote free market economic policies for the Establishment. The society has expanded to include the following think tanks: the Heritage Foundation in 1973, the Fraser Institute in 1974, the Manhattan Institute in 1977, and the Pacific Institute for Public Policy Research in 1978....

"The connection between the University of Chicago and fascism was renewed in the 1960s under Gen. Pinochet in Chile. It was the 'boys from Chicago,' students of Milton Friedman, who destroyed the economy and reduced the citizens to serfdom in Pinochet's fascist Chile, where dissent was eliminated by right-wing death squads.

"According to von Hayek's prescription, corporations are given the status of sovereign nations while the nation-states are reduced to mere quislings of the corporate sate and enforcer of their laws. This is the same agenda as that of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the many so-called 'free trade agreements.' Many of the Bush neocons are further linked with von Hayek by their beliefs in Mandeville. Von Hayek rejected the idea that man was created in the image of god and traced his philosophical ancestry to the early eighteenth century Satanist, Bernard Mandeville.

"Thus, the Bush administration's philosophy is clearly rooted in fascist ideology and in the fascist dogma of the corporate state. That these roots come from two of America's richest families confirms fascism as a top-down revolution by the elite to maintain their control and power."

-- Glenn Yeadon & John Hawkins, The Nazi Hydra in America: Suppressed History of a Century, pp. 18-20

SingleTax

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Re: Ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist; ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist...(ad nauseam)
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2016, 04:34:19 AM »
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0812/S00378.htm

Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Libertarian Movement

William S. Volker (1859-1947)
Mr. Anonymous

William Volker, alias "Mr. Anonymous," alias the "First Citizen" of Kansas City, Missouri, "was an extremely modest, enormously wealthy home-furnishings tycoon. He became the unrecognized donor of thousands of gifts, large and small."

Volker was born on April 1, 1859 into a prosperous household in Hanover, Germany. At age 12, Volker's family immigrated to Chicago. At 17 he went to work for a picture frame manufacturer. With the death of his employer in 1882, Volker bought out the company and moved the enterprise to Kansas City. From there, his "little window shade business" grew into a national giant.

In 1911, 52 year old William Volker married. Returning from his honeymoon, he announced he had put one million dollars in his wife's name and, he said, intended to give the rest of his enormous fortune away. Over the next 36 years, he donated millions of dollars, much of it anonymously. When Volker died at age 88 on November 4, 1947, many schools, parks, and public spaces were named for the furnishings tycoon.

So why pick on this guy?

The answer is that the overwhelming priority of Volker's "philanthropy" was focused, not on public spaces but on reactionary ideology. Dismayed by the rise of Socialism in America and doubly dismayed by what he saw as the evolution of government and political thinking towards accommodation and a "new liberalism", eventually personified by the widespread adoption of the economic views of John Maynard Keynes and the New Deal policies of Franklin Roosevelt, Volker set out to create a new and much more reactionary "mainstream" ideology based loosely around his own ideas of "laissez-faire" capitalism (i.e. a largely unregulated economy) and social Darwinism (the pseudo-scientific notion that in society, unhindered competition would allow the "cream to rise to the top").

In truth, Volker was no great scholar or thinker. The ideology he set out to create was built upside down, starting only with a set of foggy conclusions for which he had a predisposition. From these conclusions, it was the task of Volker's considerable fortune to find a set of justifications, then an enabling ideology or "theory" that gave it all perspective and unity and, eventually, a true philosophical platform from which to launch the whole. But if this task was analogous to building the Great Pyramid, starting from the top, Volker was undaunted. He may not have had a brain but he had money... and he had a personal connection to one of the most reactionary sections of that most reactionary of organizations - the National Association of Manufacturers. Volker's "associates", who would all participate closely, included Jasper Crane of DuPont, B. E. Hutchinson of Chrysler, Henry Weaver of General Electric, Pierre Goodrich of B.F. Goodrich, and Richard Earhart of White Star Oil (which through many mergers and acquisitions would eventually become Mobil Oil). Moreover, Volker had "influence" at the leading scholarly institution in his home town: The University of Chicago was founded by none other than John D. Rockefeller and created with a certain ideological "bent".

In 1932 Volker established the William Volker Fund and, with that, started on the road to becoming perhaps the most significant anonymous a-hole of our times. In every way, William S. Volker was the true "father" of Libertarianism and Modern Conservatism.

For the first dozen years, the fund largely floundered. There is some evidence that Volker may have flirted with Fascism. That ideology though, which attracted such celebrities as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, was thought to have a limited future in America. In the face of Keynesian economics, widespread social spending, and the CIO, what was really required was a return to pre-New Deal economic policy and an anti-communist/anti-union social policy.

Eureka!

The breakthrough came in 1944, when Volker's nephew, Harold Luhnow, took over, first the business and then the Fund. In the same year, Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom was published. The book was a product of the "Austrian School" of economists, originating at the University of Vienna and first coming to modest prominence at the end of the 19th century in its attacks on Marxist and Socialist economics. Hayek's book was an almost mystical (and hysterical) defense of laissez-faire capitalism and the "free market". According to Hayek, market prices created a "spontaneous order, or what is referred to as 'that which is the result of human action but not of human design'. Thus, Hayek put the price mechanism on the same level as, for example, language." In turn, any attempt at regulation would inevitably lead to "totalitarianism" and in this, both Marxist and New Deal "socialism" were essentially similar. The theory was perfect. Volker and Luhnow had found their ideology. The cash began to flow.

In short order, the Volker Fund and its larger network arranged for the re-publication of Hayek's book by the University of Chicago (a recurring and important connection) despite the fact that it had been almost universally rejected by the Economics establishment. A year later, the book was published in serial form by the ultra-reactionary Readers Digest not withstanding the fact that it was supposed to be a "scholarly text", ordinarily inappropriate for the readership of the Digest, and despite the fact that it had also had been panned by literary critics. In 1950, the Fund arranged for Hayek to secure a position at the University of Chicago and when the University only granted an unpaid position, they arranged for the Earhart Foundation to pay him a salary. Hayek was only the first of a veritable flood of émigré, "scholars".

Recruiting the Homeless

Hayek's teacher in Vienna had been one Ludwig von Mises who, in turn, had been the student of Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk (who had gained fame for his attack on Marxist Economics) and who, in his turn, had been the student of Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian school. Each of these had published several books that were virulent attacks on Socialism and defended "pure capitalism". It was all very good. Von Mises book was called Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis and it too had been received with yawns when it was published in English in 1936.

While von Mises really had "taught" at the University of Vienna, his was an unpaid position. The University had turned him down on four separate occasions for a paid position. Not surprisingly, in 1940 the nearly destitute von Mises had emigrated to the United States. In 1945, an unpaid "visiting professorship" was obtained for him at NYU while his salary was paid by "businessmen such as Lawrence Fertig". Fertig was an associate of the Volker Fund and a friend of Henry Hazlitt, the Fund's friendliest journalist. In all, they would fund von Mises for 25 years and von Mises never would need a "real job".

In fact, this was typical of the Fund's "bait and switch" tactic for developing resumes. In the United States, von Mises was the "famed economics professor from the University of Vienna". In Europe, he would become the "famous American economist from NYU".

Local Reinforcements

The economist Milton Friedman, during his fifteen minutes of fame, took the opportunity of the publication of his opus, Capitalism and Freedom to decry the shabby treatment that the likes of Hayek and Mises had received from the Economics "establishment". On his own similar reception, he wrote in the 1982 preface of his book:

    "Those of us who were deeply concerned about the danger to freedom and prosperity from the growth of government, from the triumph of welfare-state and Keynesian ideas, were a small beleaguered minority regarded as eccentrics by the great majority of our fellow intellectuals.

    "Even seven years later, when this book was first published, its views were so far out of the mainstream that it was not reviewed by any major national publication--not by the New York Times or the Herald Tribune (then still being published in New York) or the Chicago Tribune, or by Time or Newsweek or even the Saturday Review--though it was reviewed by the London Economist and by the major professional journals. And this for a book directed at the general public, written by a professor at a major U.S. university, and destined to sell more than 400,000 copies in the next eighteen years."

It is attractive to believe that Friedman was really this foolish and that his expertise in the "politics of fame" was similar to his expertise in Monetary Policy. In fact, his separate acknowledgements of the importance of the Volker Fund belie this possibility. In truth, the Fund and its progeny identified Friedman early on, shepherded his career at the University of Chicago, subsidized him through a paid lecture series (which eventually were combined into Capitalism and Freedom), paid his way to Mont Pelerin, arranged for the serialization of his book by Reader's Digest, and bought a significant number of the books that Friedman was so proud of "selling".

Friedman was only one of dozens of such local "scholars" who were suddenly "discovered" through the efforts of the Fund.

The Fund also now began to recruit friendly young "future-scholars" and subsidize their development. Not only was the cause thus advanced, but a modest intelligence network became a part of the "Libertarian Movement". One such early recruit was Murray Rothbard, later to become famous as the "father" of "Left Libertarianism", "Libertarian anarchism", and "anarco-capitalism". Later much castigated for his "sellout to the Right-wing Republicans", Rothbard had, from the first, been intimately wrapped up in Anti-Communism, McCarthyism, the "Old Right", and the right-wing ideology of the Volker Fund. It was through the Fund that he became an associate of Ayn Rand and a student of Mises.

Rothbard began his consulting work for the Volker Fund in 1951. This relationship lasted until 1962, when the VF was dissolved. A major part of Rothbard's work for the VF consisted of reading and evaluating books, journal articles, and other materials. On the basis of written reports by Rothbard and another reader - Rose Wilder Lane - the VF's directors would decide whether to undertake massive distribution of particular works to public libraries.

The VF also asked Rothbard to submit reports on particular questions, such as how to rank sundry economists in terms of friendliness to the free market, surveys of the literature on monopoly, Soviet wage structures, etc., etc. Rothbard's memos number several hundred, covering works in economics, history, philosophy, and political science. The memos, which range in length from one page to seventy pages, provide a window into the scholarship of the period - and Rothbard's views on that scholarship. They thereby shed much light on Rothbard's emerging worldview and his systematic defense of "liberty."

They also shed "much light" on how the Fund decided which "scholars" to promote, and which to attack. Rothbard later called his work with the Volker Fund, "the best job I've ever had in my life".

Multiplying Like Rabbits

In support of the imported scholars and the new ideology, the Volker Fund also pioneered a process which would become the hallmark of the "Libertarian Movement". The Fund started to spin-off organizations by the boatload, each intended, not just to serve specific purposes but to give the appearance of many "independent" efforts spawned by a "mass" appeal. The list of "begats" is too numerous to chronicle but the first set are illuminating.

Among the very first "front organizations" of the Volker Fund was the "National Book Foundation". While the Foundation's affiliation to the Volker Fund was not hidden, it was circumspect enough to suggest, even to most "Libertarians", that it was independent. The fund began modestly enough by distributing free copies Eugene Böhm-Bawerk's works to thousands of libraries and universities across the country. As the Volker efforts geared up, the Foundation began to distribute millions of books from dozens of authors, all coming from the Fund's stables. Many educational "incentives" were initiated such as "teach a course on Hayek, get 10 (or 100) textbooks for free"...

The Foundation for Economic Education was spun out in 1946, under the leadership of Leonard Read, a leading figure in the Chambers of Commerce. The grand-daddy of all libertarian "think-tanks", the FEE initiated the original Mont Pelerin Society meetings. Its own publication, The Freeman, became the founding journal of "Libertarianism". The rent was paid by Volker.

The Institute for Humane Studies was created by Floyd "Baldy" Harper, the "ace recruiter" of the Volker Fund, in 1961. The IHS identified and subsidized "bright young students" and "promising scholars" friendly to the new "Libertarian" doctrine. Not only did the IHS fund thousands of "students", but it spawned dozens of similar organizations throughout the world. After the Volker Fund was finally closed, subsidies for the IHS shifted to some of the most reactionary organizations in America: The Scaife Foundation, Koch Family Foundations, The Bradley Foundation, and the Carthage Foundation.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute was founded in 1953 to combat what they would eventually call "political correctness" and "'left-bias" in colleges and universities. The organization now consists of 50,000 college students and faculty and through its lavish subsidies, sponsors dozens of programs representing the entire spectrum of right-wing "Libertarian" causes. The first president of the ISI was a young William F. Buckley Jr.

The Earhart Foundation was created by and named for Richard Earhart of White Star Oil, one of Volker's original collaborators in the National Association of Manufacturers. This foundation was used to subsidize various émigrés and not only financed Hayek but also Eric Voegelin, yet another "Austrian". Through Voeglin, the Earhardt Foundation became connected with the infamous Leo Strauss and, since then, various "projects" of not just a "libertarian" but of a "neo-conservative" perspective have been beneficiaries of the Foundation. In addition, The Earhart Foundation helped to pioneer still another use of the newly-emergent Libertarian think-tanks. As the network of these think-tanks grew, they undertook not only to promote ideology but also specific points of policy, particularly in support of private corporations. The culmination of the Foundation's efforts in this direction came with the founding of the George C. Marshall Institute in 1984. The Institute was initially a foremost proponent of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), heavily promoted by the Defense Industry....The CEO of the Institute is currently a registered lobbyist for ExxonMobil.

Through the list of organizations, above, the Volker Fund's near-biblical "begats" encompass nearly every single prominent individual and organization of the "Libertarian" and "New Conservative" movements of today.

The Not-So-Secret Society

"In 1947, 39 scholars, mostly economists, with some historians and philosophers, were invited by Professor Friedrich Hayek to meet at Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, and discuss the state, and possible fate of classical liberalism and to combat the "state ascendancy and Marxist or Keynesian planning [that was] sweeping the globe". Invitees included Henry Simons (who would later train Milton Friedman, a future president of the society, at the University of Chicago); the American former-Fabian socialist Walter Lippmann; Viennese Aristotelian Society leader Karl Popper; fellow Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises; Sir John Clapham, a senior official of the Bank of England who from 1940-6 was the president of the British Royal Society; Otto von Habsburg, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne; and Max von Thurn und Taxis, Bavaria-based head of the 400-year-old Venetian Thurn und Taxis family."

If the above rings of "Bohemian Grove" and similar fodder for conspiracies, it is because informal "retreats" at out-of-the-way resorts are one of the favorite methods by which the wealthy of many countries formulate a common international policy. What distinguishes the Mont Pelerin Society, however, is that it did not consist primarily of the wealthy. Instead, it was comprised of a majority of marginal, thread-bare "scholars", united only by their common hatred of "socialism" and Keynesianism (which were one and the same for most of them) and sprinkled with only a handful of rich patrons and journalists. In fact the Mount Pelerin Society was organized as much by the Volker Fund as by Hayek himself and the Foundation paid the way for all 10 of the American "participants".

Once in Switzerland, the "scholars" agreed on their hatred of "socialism" but on little else except to meet yearly to "facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society and to study the workings, virtues, and defects of market-oriented economic systems."

From this not-so-secret-but-thoroughly-right-wing society's more than humble beginnings, the phoenix of laissez-faire capitalism would rise, propelled skyward by unlimited funds. Over a dozen of the scholars who could not previously get a job, a review, or a book deal would go on to win the "Nobel Prize in Economics" (this "epic" story will be told separately). More importantly, the Mont Pelerin Society would itself beget 500 foundations and organizations in nearly 80 countries... again with strategic contributions from Mr. Anonymous. Once transformed into an "international movement", there was no end to what was possible. One example tells the story.

Initiated at Mont Pelerin and copying the FEE, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was created in London in 1955. Serving as a conduit for both cash and "ideas", the IEA set about the task of "rejuvenating" the dead and decaying British Tories. By 1985, the "Iron Lady", Margaret Thatcher, would positively gush on the occasion of the Institute's 30th Anniversary: "You created the atmosphere which made our victory possible... May I say how thankful we are to those who joined your great endeavor. They were the few, but they were right, and they saved Britain." With that, the IEA begat the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, which in turn created a network of over 50 "think-tanks" in more than 30 countries.

[Continued...]

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Note: In my view, a more accurate title for the above essay would be, "Mr. Anonymous and the Not-So-Spontaneous Birth of the Royal Libertarian Movement."

Also, notice how it dovetails with the following interview of Webster Tarpley:








GCNLive Community

Re: Ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist; ism, ism, ism; ist, ist, ist...(ad nauseam)
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2016, 04:34:19 AM »

SingleTax

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I'd like to thank Alex for going out of his way in yesterday's show to validate this thread.

Johnny gave at the office

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As in all believes the common  thread is there  will always  be those that are willing to take    from the productive people and give to the  unproductive. This is  usually done through  a  group of people calling themselves government willing to use force as a means to an end,telling their slaves its for the greater good.  Ism is a common prefix  to their group  title. No group of people has ever been kind to  their slaves. No where on earth no time  has an ism been good for the productive people.

" Freedom is just  an other word for nothing  else to lose."  Janis Joplin

Johnny gave at the office

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"There are only two types of people, those that want to be left alone and those that will not leave them alone." Marc Stephens ; THE NO STATE PROJECT

 

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