Volatility

April 5, 2012

What Is the Government?

>

Don’t fall for any kind of “public vs. private” scam. These are infinitely mutable terms with no objective content, but which are used only for the purposes of power.*
 
For example, conservatives claim to want small government, but they really want ever bigger, ever more aggressive government. They claim to want less taxation and regulation, but they really want ever more crushing taxation and regulation. It’s just that they want government to function only as bagman and goon for the 1%, and want all taxation and regulation to be of, by, and for the 1%. Their favorite mechanism is to shift power from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations.
 
But corporations are nothing but artificial extensions of the government. Government artificially creates them in order to shift government power to them. The nominally public entity then serves as bagman and goon for its private extension. But everything remains one holism of power and aggression. Taxation is taxation, whether imposed by the nominal public entity or the nominal private one (for example, banks charging us for access to what should be our sovereign money; similarly, there’s no difference between a public park or private club charging admission fees – both are charging we the people for access to our land and recreation). In the same way, regulation is regulation. For Monsanto to force farmers to buy stacked genes they don’t want in order to get the one they do, or for banks or telecoms to force one to accept all sorts of pricey ornaments and gotcha fees in order to gain basic service, is the same as the government forcing us to jump through every kind of hoop in order to also gain its allegedly necessary services.
 
The best way to cut through all the lies is to ignore the words “public” and “private” and instead simply see where power is concentrated. There, by definition, is the government. Anyone who wants power to concentrate anywhere wants big aggressive government. Anyone who wants any kind of centralized, top-heavy hierarchy wants big aggressive government.
 
*Other examples of these might-makes-right mutabilities: Capitalism, property, constitution, jurisprudence, law, contracts, rights, free trade/protectionism, competition, journalism. This list is not exhaustive.

>
>

Advertisements

18 Comments

  1. Yes, I’m afraid for years I was deluded by this “private vs. public” word game.

    I don’t know if I agree with the footnote at the bottom of your post, but that’s probably because I am not an actual anarchist and I also haven’t studied these things extensively.
    I guess as long as one knows wrong when one sees it and avoids participation in the wrongs, that’s what’s most important.

    Comment by DualPersonality — April 5, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    • Well, which of those are you unsure about? For example, whatever individual citizens think about constitutions, no one in the power system cares anything whatsoever about them. “Strict” construction, “loose” construction, “originalism”, etc. are all scams used to snooker people into believing those describe the principles of those in power. In reality these are used and abused, always in order to achieve whatever result power wants. For example, Scalia’s an “originalist”, except where it comes to corporate power. Thomas is a “federalist”, except where it comes to corporate power. I’m sure we’ll all be very impressed at their federalism, originalism, and 10th amendmentism, when we see the decision on the health racket mandate.

      And then there’s simple direct contradiction of what the Constitution clearly says. Thus we recently had a decision written by the “liberal” Ruth Ginsburg (joined by various “conservatives”) which contradicted what Article 1 section 8 says about intellectual property:

      To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder

      It turns out that “Progress” doesn’t have to mean progess, “useful” doesn’t have to have any use, and can instead be destructive, “limited Times” can mean eternity, and “Authors and Inventors” can mean any rentier parasite.

      According to our supremely corporatist court, none of these terms actually means anything other than what the likes of Monsanto and Apple want them to mean.

      And then there was this gem from just a few days ago.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/us/justices-approve-strip-searches-for-any-offense.html?_r=2&ref=us

      I’ll just compare two quotes, one from the Fourth Amendment, the other from the article.

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

      (The Obama administration asked for the court to rule this way.)

      These are typical examples of what “the constitution” is in the hands of the corporate/government system, nothing but a piece of paper, meaningless in itself, to be used in whatever way is advantageous to power. That’s why I called it a Might-Makes-Right mutability, and why I said we should never let anyone fool us into focusing on the “constitutionality” of anything. This is a misdirection ploy, like the sham public/private distinction. In any case, the only real issue is power.

      Certainly, where appropriate we can add the constitutional argument for the sake of those who do insist on focusing on it. But this should only be to highlight how the system cares nothing about the Constitution or any constitutional principle. If the people want a real constitution, they’ll have to reclaim it from the bottom up, through action outside the system.

      https://attempter.wordpress.com/series-on-federalism-and-the-constitution/

      Comment by Russ — April 5, 2012 @ 9:38 am

  2. The Constitution has no power in and of itself to do anything. It IS just a piece of paper – nothing more and nothing less. You need human beings to enforce it. The only principal that reality matters and that has mattered throughout all of history is that might makes right. The ends truly justifies the means. You may not like that, but that is the way human beings operate. In time, other human beings grow tired of it and and kill the simians that hold power. The cycle then starts all over again.

    Welcome to nihilism.

    Comment by antiks72 — April 5, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    • Well, make up your mind. Is that naturalism or nihilism?

      Obviously, in the broadest sense, might makes right (gravity, quantum phenomena, cell deterioration, the sun’s diminishing fuel, etc.) is the only thing that’s ever true. But as for the conventional political use of the term, for example as highlighted in Plato and Thucydides, what you say is false. The anthropological evidence of natural history, as well as all the empirical evidence of today, is that humans are naturally cooperative. History proves this, and the fact that even under such extremely hostile conditions as today the vast majority of human action remains cooperative and so-called “altruistic” proves it even more.

      Comment by Russ — April 5, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    • Hurrah! Another cynic!

      People are evil, life stinks, accept it and just become part of it.

      You folks make life worth living.

      Comment by DualPersonality — April 7, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  3. Russ said; “But corporations are nothing but artificial extensions of the government. Government artificially creates them in order to shift government power to them. The nominally public entity then serves as bagman and goon for its private extension. But everything remains one holism of power and aggression.”

    Yes, government artificially creates corporations, but not before the wealthy elite first corruptly bought the government to allow creation of their favored corporate status. And, over time then, through continued corporate corruption of government, they now own and control the government.

    Corruption of government by the immoral wealthy elite to form and grow corporations is the problem. Government is not the problem.

    You appear to have absorbed some of Ronnie Reagan’s intentionally created false, and intentionally meant to divide meme; “Big government is the problem!”, yet you also appear to see clearly through the fallacy of the ‘public’ ‘private’ sub meme that emanates out of the top level, “Big government is the problem!” supporting meme.

    It is that racist like, and despicable, “Big government is the problem!”, meme, which is the foundational basis for the equally false; ‘private sector’ vs the ‘government sector’ sub meme. It is that top level, “Big government is the problem!”, meme which is the foundational basis for divisively demonizing government workers as; useless, lazy, shiftless, overpaid slugs who are a real drain on humanity, while at the same time elevating the private sector worker as; an entrepreneurial, walk on water, Horatio Alger, “individualist” hero (just like scum bag phony baloney cowboy Ronnie Reagan).

    This meme is the racism meme rerun in a new suit. Instead of skin color as the natural difference that is focused on and blown out of proportion to divide us (with black skin being imbued with the lazy, shiftless, no good qualities, and white skin with the intelligent, far superior qualities) we now are divided by the natural difference of where we choose to work to get our daily needs met. Just as it was “natural and normal” in the past to call another human being the code words. “lazy niggers”, that triggered, crystallized, and expressed the entire racist meme, it is now similarly, “natural and normal”, to refer to another human being with the code words, “lazy government worker”, to trigger, crystallize, and express the entire; “Big government is the problem!”, meme.

    Like the racist meme, not only is it divisive, it also serves to deflect from the real problem; the immoral wealthy corporate elite who corrupted and now own and control the US government. Power is not concentrated in the government. Power is concentrated in the corporations that control the government. THEY have centralized the power. The people have not centralized the power. The people have no electoral process. It is a scam.

    Government size is not the problem. It is being used as a deflection. Strive for the ‘one’ sector where we will all be in government.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    Comment by i on the ball patriot — April 6, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    • Sorry. Mesopotamian myth implies that government has always been by and for the wealthy elite. It was captured from inception.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — April 7, 2012 @ 12:33 am

      • Government is always by and for those who create and control the best deceptions.

        The corporate structure is a relatively new deception in the time frame you imply that makes the present government(s) trend towards being more captured.

        But government is never captured, it is always dynamic, as new deceptions always arise, from within and without, to defeat old deceptions. The degree of capture as opposed to the degree of freedom represents the underlying moral struggle to rise above our cannibalistic nature so as to live in peace and harmony with each other.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        Comment by i on the ball patriot — April 7, 2012 @ 9:04 am

      • You seem to have your own definition of “government,” so let’s use a different term. How about “the State”? There can be no doubt that the central State of the United State of America was created by and for the benefit of its creators, the wealthy elite. This State, founded on a bargain to perpetuate slavery, was corrupt from its inception and remains corrupt to this day.

        Yes, the modern corporate form is only about 120 years old, and yes, the State helped create the modern corporate form, but only to help perpetuate the interests of its true constituents, the wealthy elite. In other words, the modern corporation was not the result of a corruption of the “government” (as you seem to define it) but a natural consequence of the State as it was designed to operate.

        And by “government,” I think you mean the body of men and women who administer the power of the State, as that is the only way your injection of the racism discussion makes any sense. So, what you are really saying is that people are people, whether they work in the public sector for the State or in the private sector for a corporation, so neither the public sector nor the private sector is inherently good or evil.

        Okay. I accept that (and I’m sure Russ does, too). What does that have to do with Russ’s post, which tells us to avoid false distinctions such as “private v. public” and focus on how power is accumulated and wielded? Russ is using the term “Big Goverment” not to refer to having too many government employees but to refer to the amassing of State power to define and constrain private action in a manner that benefits the wealthy elite.

        You know, I sometimes hate words, especially iconic words that promote unrecognized misunderstanding.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — April 7, 2012 @ 11:59 am

      • Tao, you might be interested in this post, which is probably saying something similar to what you think about the term “democracy”.

        http://whoisioz.blogspot.com/2012/04/s-wha-deez-ant.html

        If I understand you correctly, you think if someone says “true democracy” or “positive democracy” and contrasts that with pseudo-democracy, that’s the same kind of yahoo thing as saying “real free markets”, “true capitalism”, “Monsanto isn’t capitalism” when in fact Monsanto is exemplary of capitalism and “free markets” as they’ve always been and always will be for as long as they exist.

        Maybe I need to become more clear, including to myself. When I say positive democracy I really don’t envision voting as a primary activity. I’m saying democracy is action, being a human citizen isn’t “being” free, it’s doing free, it’s living as a free, democratic human being. That’s also what I mean by my insistence that we must abolish and transcend the false producer/consumer dichotomy.

        Maybe I’m trying to completely revalue the term, and maybe that’s a project without a good prospect. But then my whole use of “democracy” was originally and throughout supposed to be a more inclusive synonym for “anarchism”. I am liking the term cooperative, including all sorts of variants and variant coinages, more and more.

        Comment by Russ — April 7, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

      • @Russ,

        If I understand you correctly, you think if someone says “true democracy” or “positive democracy” and contrasts that with pseudo-democracy, that’s the same kind of yahoo thing as saying “real free markets”, “true capitalism”, “Monsanto isn’t capitalism” when in fact Monsanto is exemplary of capitalism and “free markets” as they’ve always been and always will be for as long as they exist.

        You sort of understand me. I do not believe that your use of the term “democracy” is some kind of “yahoo thing.” You are actually quite clear in what you mean by it. I just think it is a loaded term that comes with so much baggage– baggage that differs depending on who you are– that you can never be sure that each audience member has the same understanding, and you also open yourself up to attacks that appeal to emotion over reason.

        As a complete aside, I’ve been doing research on Aristotle, and I ran into his Constitution of Athens:

        http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/athenian_const.1.1.html

        I find his prefatory history of the time quite interesting (and familiar).

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — April 8, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

      • you also open yourself up to attacks that appeal to emotion over reason.

        I think I’ve done OK on that front as well. That’s where the war’s going to be won, after all.

        What are you looking for in Aristotle? I mentioned him here.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/co-production-and-the-core-economy/

        We can see from this that co-production is a proven practical alternative to the market economy. But then, history has already proven this, since what we know as “the market” didn’t exist for the vast majority of humanity’s sojourn on this soil. The very word “economy” is derived from ancient Greek philosophy, where Aristotle’s oikonomia meant literally “management of the household” and referred to the economy of family and community, the core economy, what we today disparagingly call the “informal economy”. Meanwhile the rudiments of “the market” were relegated to a peripheral position, as they would be in any rational economy.

        Comment by Russ — April 9, 2012 @ 4:09 am

    • I didn’t say a word about government workers and divisive “memes”. You’re the one who has all that on the brain, evidently.

      Meanwhile, the people provided for themselves for hundreds of thousands of years without government. How did we ever do it?

      The real fraudulent “meme” is that the state, which has existed for only a few moments of our natural history, is necessary for the flourishing of humanity. The evidence is the contrary. Humanity shall truly flourish once we purge ourselves of parasitic elites once and for all. Part of this is purging the state, which is nothing but the most efficient mode of domination these elites have developed.

      Comment by Russ — April 7, 2012 @ 3:34 am

      • Russ said; “I didn’t say a word about government workers and divisive “memes”. You’re the one who has all that on the brain, evidently.”

        Your whole post was about the racist like ‘public/private’ meme.

        Russ said; “Meanwhile, the people provided for themselves for hundreds of thousands of years without government. How did we ever do it?”

        Not true, there have been thousands upon thousands of alliances all formed to get needs met.

        Russ said; “The real fraudulent “meme” is that the state, which has existed for only a few moments of our natural history, is necessary for the flourishing of humanity. The evidence is the contrary. Humanity shall truly flourish once we purge ourselves of parasitic elites once and for all. Part of this is purging the state, which is nothing but the most efficient mode of domination these elites have developed.”

        Alliances, the state, are necessary for humanity to flourish. The evidence is overwhelming. You again throw out the baby with the bath water. Keep the baby but change the parasitic elite water. And you will never eliminate them “once and for all”. The bath water will always require constant vigilance for its cleanliness.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        Comment by i on the ball patriot — April 7, 2012 @ 9:05 am

      • Not only did I say nothing against the public employees as “austerity” targets, but I already wrote a post on the subject.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/corporate-welfare-austerity-and-public-sector-unions/

        The gist: We condemn the government as such, but that doesn’t mean siding against government workers in austerity contexts. On the contrary, we always oppose all austerity measures, and side with the target, according to the principle:

        Total Austerity for the Criminals, Not One Cent More From the People.

        Alliances, the state, are necessary for humanity to flourish. The evidence is overwhelming. You again throw out the baby with the bath water. Keep the baby but change the parasitic elite water. And you will never eliminate them “once and for all”.

        There’s no end of types of communities, alliances, which have nothing to do with coercive hierarchies or concentrated power.

        The bath water will always require constant vigilance for its cleanliness.

        I wrote about that too.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/to-restore-the-american-spirit/

        A basic principle of positive democracy is that the people must maintain vigilance toward any concentrated power. Since we know such vigilance, if it ever exists, cannot maintain itself in perpetuity, it follows that allowing power to concentrate doesn’t work. (There’s many other reasons as well.)

        By “doesn’t work” I here mean just that it cannot be controlled. There’s also the fact that it also doesn’t accomplish any of the things it claims to accomplish – providing permanent prosperity, full employment, social stability, psychological security, happiness or even “the pursuit of” happiness, peace, and so many other things hierarchical power promises. It has completely failed to keep any of these promises, and by now we know it was lying about all of them.

        Another lie is that humanity has a “cannibalistic nature”. This is refuted by all the evidence of anthropology, e.g. here

        http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/zunguzungu/david-graebers-debt-my-first-5000-words/

        and by the evidence of today’s humanity, still struggling to cooperate as much as possible even under the most vicious assault humanity has ever sustained.

        Humanity’s only way forward is to go beyond concentration and hierarchy as such, once and for all.

        Comment by Russ — April 7, 2012 @ 9:36 am

  4. Hi Russ,

    I was looking for a comment from the ‘Attempter’ over at Naked Capitalism wrt the article by William Lazonick (April 6, 2012) entitled “Three Corporate Myths that Threaten the Wealth of the Nation”. Lazonic says:

    “The wealth of the American nation depends on the productive power of our major business corporations. In 2008 there were 981 companies in the United States with 10,000 or more employees. Although they were less than two percent of all U.S. firms, they employed 27 percent of the labor force and accounted for 31 percent of all payrolls. Literally millions of smaller businesses depend, directly or indirectly, on the productivity of these big businesses and the disposable incomes of their employees.

    When the executives who control big-business investment decisions place a high priority on innovation and job creation, then we all have a chance for a prosperous tomorrow. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, the top executives of our major corporations have turned the productive power of the people into massive and concentrated financial wealth for themselves. Indeed the very emergence of “the 1%” is largely the result of this usurpation of corporate power. And executives’ use of this power to benefit themselves often undermines investment in innovation and job creation.

    These corporations do not belong to them. They belong to us. We need to confront some powerful myths of corporate governance as part of a movement to make corporations work for the 99%. To start, we have to recognize these corporations for what they are not.

    • They are not “private enterprise.”
    • They should not be run to “maximize shareholder value.”
    • The mega-millions in remuneration paid to top corporate executives are not determined by the “market forces” of supply and demand”

    A good percentage of the comments appear to defend the criminal behaviors of corporate CEOs and their crony fellow CEO ‘directors’/buddies on the assumption that corporations represent private enterprise rather than institutions whose purpose was originally perceived to be to provide for public benefit. I think that your investigations support such a view; perhaps the troops would benefit from your comments. Personally, I suspect that many of the commenters do not appreciate just how corrupted the whole of today’s society has become.

    Comment by William Wilson — April 6, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  5. Here’s the link which I omitted from the above post:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/three-corporate-myths-that-threaten-the-wealth-of-the-nation.html

    Comment by William Wilson — April 6, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    • Thanks William. I gave up on NC many months ago, when its turn back toward pro-corporatism was becoming clear. An article like this, and the comments you describe, sound like I made the right move.

      This is typical reformist nonsense. At first I wondered if the “job creation” lie was referring only to this criminal system. I.e., “as long as we’re in the hands of big corporations, we depend upon them…”

      But no, this:

      When the executives who control big-business investment decisions place a high priority on innovation and job creation, then we all have a chance for a prosperous tomorrow.

      indicates the author is really pushing the Big Lies about “job creation” and “wealth creation”, and really wants people to believe we’re dependent upon these corporations, when the fact is we’d be far better off in every way if they were eradicated. As Krugman put it, Goldman Sachs is “bad for America”, but nevertheless we have to bail them out and remain under their thumb. “There is no alternative.”

      And thus we get this drivel about “reforming” entities that are in their essence criminal rackets. We’re going to maintain the Gambino family but make it behave better and in the public interest. We’re going to have “kinder, gentler” organized crime.

      To change the lie quoted above to truth:

      When we the people control all economic decisions including investment decisions, when we get rid of big business, “executives”, the “job creation” Big Lie, and the job model itself, then we shall exercise the maximum innovation and economic freedom, and all have a prosperous tomorrow (not just the fraudulent “chance” at it).

      Comment by Russ — April 7, 2012 @ 3:46 am


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: