Monday, March 21, 2016

Collectivism and Property

If there is one thing worshiped by the propertied rich, it is property. If property is their God, collectivism is their Satan. Ultimately though, property is a collective notion. For our hunter-gatherer forbears, property consisted only of stuff one could carry on one's person. Something like the modern notion of property only came into existence with agriculture, with land and domestic animals to defend. The thing is, an individual by himself is nearly as helpless to defend a patch of agricultural land as Charles Koch would be to defend his far flung empire without the collective apparatus of the state and it's appendages. The state originated and grew in response to that need.

In the libertarian fantasy, the state exists for no other purpose. But the essence of a state is its collective nature - it can only exist as some kind of a bargain among its participants. In particular, a state is a concentration of power, and those who control the power wield it for their own purposes. The American plutocracy, or at any rate the most politically active part of it, the network of right wing foundations, institutions, universities, and the billionaires who control them have managed nearly total control of one of the American political party apparatuses only to find that there is still one part that they can't manage full mind control for - the voters. The voters they have roused with racism, jingoism, and hatred of the government aren't quite ready to march lockstep into Marco Rubio style robotic allegiance to the Koch machine.

Instead their would be pawns, the plebes, seem to be embracing that demon the founders feared, the man on horseback, except that this time he rides on his private jet. Of course Trump is one of them, so why should they fear him? After all, Trump is hardly likely to go for Bernie Sanders style confiscatory taxes. What they quite reasonably fear is that he will use the powers of the government to make himself the king of the oligarchs, Putin style. The little rich, a Reagans, a Nixon, the Bushes and their like, the super rich can tolerate, knowing that they will be happy with the larger of the crumbs that fall from their tables. A fellow oligarch is a real threat.