Thursday, March 7, 2013

Progressives really do believe that free markets are a form of anarchy

That is, if you use the definition of anarchy that conforms with the concept of absolutely no government - completely out of control and destructive.

As I've written in the past, Stuart Chase, Woodrow Wilson, and John Dewey have all made this belief clear.(I'll give the quotes below) Now, FDR. Raymond Moley eventually split with the Brains Trust and coughed up all kinds of details. For some, he's infamous. For others, he delivered some of the most valuable insights into the New Deal at the time, perhaps ever. In his book "After Seven Years", Moley writes something that is probably overlooked by most despite it's importance. From page 184: (Direct quote links in-line)

The source of that philosophy, as I've suggested earlier, was Van Hise's Concentration and Control, and it was endlessly discussed, from every angle, during the 'brain trust' days. In several of his campaign speeches F.D.R. had touched upon the idea of substituting, for the futile attempt to control the abuses of anarchic private economic power, by smashing it to bits, a policy of cooperative business-government planning to combat the instability of economic operations and the insecurity of livelihood.

The beliefs that economic bigness was here to stay; that the problem of government was to enable the whole people to enjoy the benefits of mass production and distribution (economy and security); and that it was the duty of government to devise, with business, the means of social and individual adjustment to the facts of the industrial age—these were the heart and soul of the New Deal.

Its fundamental purpose was an effort to modify the characteristics of a chaotic competitive system that could and did produce sweatshops, child labor, rackets, ruinous price cutting, a devastated agriculture, and a score of other blights even in the peak year of 1928. Its chief objective was the initiation of preliminary steps toward a balanced and dynamic economic system. And if ever a man seemed to embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly, that man was Franklin Roosevelt.

There he is, FDR with his belief that free markets need to be controlled from on high because they're chaotic/anarchic. This is entirely in line with earlier progressives, and one even who was one of his advisors. Stuart Chase, a Fabian Socialist, wrote the following:

Political democracy can remain if it confines itself to all but economic matters; democracy in consumption will make enormous strides as standards of living are leveled upward; industrial individualism - anarchy is a better term - in the sense of each businessman for himself, each corporation for itself, must be disallowed.

John Dewey wrote this:

Peoples who have learned that billions are available for public needs when the occasion presses will not forget the lesson, and having seen that portions of these billions are necessarily diverted into physical training, industrial education, better housing, and the setting up of agencies for securing a public service and function from private industries will ask why in the future the main stream should not be directed in the same channels.

In short, we shall have a better organized world internally as well as externally, a more integrated, less anarchic, system.

And finally, Woodrow Wilson. He wrote this: (Coming from page 6)

Such a commission would be in fact a commission to discover, amidst our present economic chaos, a common interest, so that we might legislate for the whole country instead of for this, that, or the other interest, one by one.

There is much more to all of these quotes, so you can either read the original sources or my prior entries on this, here and here.

This last quote, from Wilson's is a little less direct so it's not as clear. Here's what he says above this, on page 4:

Take the case of the United States. It has been a great spectacle of splendid force released and challenged by every circumstance to work its will. It has, too, been a regime of utter individualism. The forces as well as the men have acted independently, of their own initiative, at their own choice in their own way. And law has not drawn them together,- it does not appear that it was its object to draw them together.

This makes entirely clear the false equation of free markets and individualism into the category of anarchism, and it is a completely bastardized view of "the law". The law is not supposed to draw people together in a centrally planned authoritarian state, the law is there to deal with people who do wrong things to one another such as murders, thefts, rapes, and other such things which are actually wrong, not just wrong because he the planner dictates that they're wrong. That's the rule of man, not the rule of law.

It is the law that keeps markets in line, without the need whatsoever for dictators. Either you have central planning, or you have anarchy, the progressives say. Which is an entirely false choice.

Through the two Roosevelts, Wilson, and all the planners beneath them in both elected and non elected positions alike, the law was changed in order to draw us closer, and now we're stuck in the mud of centralized planning.

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