The Socialist Lie

Here is why I am fed up with all the “conservatives” who send me junk mail about socialist conspiracies:

Socialism is a system where the government directly owns and manages businesses. Corporatism is a system where businesses are nominally in private hands, but are in fact controlled by the government. In a corporatist state, government officials often act in collusion with their favored business interests to design polices that give those interests a monopoly position, to the detriment of both competitors and consumers.

I used to listen to sermons recorded in the 1960s by a straight-arrow, exegetical Bible teacher in Texas. He was rabidly pro-business, so much so that he considered US corporations to be functionally a branch of the military. That is, he would follow the World War II line and say that “Big Business” performed an essential function in ensuring American security at home and dominance around the world.

Maybe that was still true in the 1960s, but it is pure baloney now. Most US corporations have divided loyalties, except when they are simply cash cows for a handful of powerful executives or investors. They claim no necessary obligation to any particular individual or group; whoever happens to pull the levers of power determines the ethical stance. I say this against the absurd claims that corporations in general are supposedly accountable to their customers, employees, management, board of directors, institutional investors, individual investors, state of incorporation, suppliers, local community, regulators, or anyone else. It is simply a lie. There is no practical reason for the modern corporation to be accountable to anyone in particular, despite any language in its charter, its contract, or statutory law at any level.

Yet, they are still vulnerable to various kinds of threats:  revenue problems, credit problems, public relations crises, competitors, lawsuits, wars, embargoes, unfavorable legislation. Most of these threats, for larger corporations at least, operate at the national or international level. That means it is very important to get the cooperation of the US federal government. So how do the hippy-dippy, anti-business, anti-capitalist, pro-communist elites of the Democratic Party cope?

A careful examination of the policies pursued by the Obama administration and his allies in Congress shows that their agenda is corporatist. For example, the health care bill that recently passed does not establish a Canadian-style government-run single payer health care system. Instead, it relies on mandates forcing every American to purchase private health insurance or pay a fine. It also includes subsidies for low-income Americans and government-run health care “exchanges”. Contrary to the claims of the proponents of the health care bill, large insurance and pharmaceutical companies were enthusiastic supporters of many provisions of this legislation because they knew in the end their bottom lines would be enriched by Obamacare.

Oh my! Which flaming liberal wrote that? Was it the demonic Pelosi? The pinko Kos? Who could it be? Could it be . . . Ron Paul?!

And here is why the Galtistas need to quit chasing fantasy commie spies:

When he is a called a socialist, the President and his defenders can easily deflect that charge by pointing out that the historical meaning of socialism is government ownership of industry; under the President’s policies, industry remains in nominally private hands. Using the more accurate term – corporatism – forces the President to defend his policies that increase government control of private industries and expand de facto subsidies to big businesses. This also promotes the understanding that though the current system may not be pure socialism, neither is it free-market since government controls the private sector through taxes, regulations, and subsidies, and has done so for decades.

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4 thoughts on “The Socialist Lie

  1. What? Health care businesses in collusion with the government? Say it isn’t so! 🙂

    On a related note, I’ve often wondered what our world would look like if the corporation – and all it’s political advantages – had never existed.

    What if … when my company lost money, I lost money – including my house and favorite car?

    What if … I were personally responsible for everything done on behalf of my company?

    What if … Wall Street was a place in Manhattan and not a glorified casino?

  2. Well, the business climate would be pretty much the way it was in the 1700s, when Jefferson thought that everyone could be a landowner and run their own small business or farm, thereby ensuring that everyone would be responsible, peaceable, and self-reliant.

    The local churches would be the primary centers for social welfare and childhood education. There wouldn’t be a need for health insurance companies because church members would care for each other and for the indigent.

  3. I’ve been reading about the Amish lately because there are now many in our area. Particularly I just finished a book called “Amish Grace” about the school shooting in PA, which I highly recommend.

    As I read your comment, I realized that they pretty much characterize what you’ve described. I don’t agree with much of their theology, but still … I think there’s a lot we can learn from them.

  4. I don’t know much about their theology, other than the general features of the Anabaptist tradition.

    However, I have studied their philosophy of technology. As I understand it, on the Amish view, technology is always subordinate to community, which serves a strictly Biblical function. Technology is never allowed to disrupt one’s relations with family, community, or God. The most famous application is to evaluate every technology in terms of whether it causes one to become proud and arrogant, thus cutting one off from others.

    I see this in the light of Jacques Ellul’s idea of technology, which was most famously described in The Technological Society.

    If technology is defined as any human invention, then “social technology” can also be included. The corporation would be a social technology that can disrupt my connection with God, my family, and my church. If I treat it as if it were alive and autonomous, I am committing an act of idolatry. Like all technology, it should only be used in the service of the living God.

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