The Question of Violence and the Poverty of Libertarianism

Kevin Cabral kcabral at
Mon Feb 5 05:48:21 MST 1996

On Sun, 4 Feb 1996, Brian Carnell wrote:

> prefer to know what the other side believes and why, if only for my further
> education, and as an insurance against error (unlike the Pope, I don't claim
> infallibility for my claims).
> statist world we inhabit now is either, and I don't believe the Marxist
> alternative would be either.

	I'm not sure how well you undertand the Marxist alternative, as
your reliance on state monopoly business to solve the problems you
identify seems contradictory to what can be observed in history, and the

> Hahaha.  First, I live very close to a university, and trust me it isn't
> very safe.  In fact I had three criminal acts committed against me last week
> (although they were all property crimes and I guess under the Marxist or
> perhaps even radical democrat idea I probably qualify as bourgeoise).

	This further seems to show how you have some very false
stereotypes about Marxism. Contrary to what perhaps some high school, or
even college teachers might tell you socialism isn't about taking away
your toothbrush, or even your house and car. The bourgeoisie description
has nothing to do with owning property, what is does have to do with is
owning human property in the form of exploited wage labor. 

	The elimination of the market isn't even a neccesary condition for
socialism, as if you notice many equally dedicated human rights advocates
and socialists have been arguing forms of market socialism for years. 

	But there is a major difference between the capitalist markets
that libertarians envision, and the socialist markets that market
socialists envision. It all has to do with the exploitation of labor, and
the naturally inhumane and imperialist tendencies that those practices are
intertwined with. Enterprise isn't a given for elimination, as enterprise
can be a computer technician, or Grandma's grocery store on the corner.
Capitalism is having Walmart come into town, and causing them all to file
for bankrupcy: or GM moving assembly jobs to Mexico to pay workers $1.70
an hour, and other companies using a move as a threat, in order to cut wages
across the board. 

> I also think this is a clear example of why I would reject anything but the
> minimal state.  The U.S. used every legal sophistry and trick in its book to
> use its central political and moral authority to thwart African Americans'
> attempts to gain equal recognition and opportunity.  The civil rights
> movement succeeded not because of a supra-minimal state, but *in spite of
> it* and after more than a century of work -- and then it succeeded only
> partially against the state-imposed apartheid.

	And who runs the government now? Mostly the same business types
you seem to so envey as innocent victims of government regulation.

> Left to its own devices, the market never would have produced these sort of
> conditions.  It was only government, which essentially subsidized Jim Crow
> that this sort of inhumane system was allowed to grow to the levels it did.

	I must admit I find you're openness to new ideas to be a good
sign, especially coming from a libertarian (whom, many I meet, hold their
views to be infallible) but I must critique two points:

1) Your insistance that all Marxists want is a strong centralized
government to command economies. That appraisal is certainly not true at
all, nor is the proposition that all socialists have the same infallible
plan for socialism. I hope you'll stay around this list for a while, then
perhaps you'll start to learn about the wide variety of opinion around the
Marxism List. 

2) Your proposition that the market would never allow the oppression of
millions. This is very untrue, as a look at American History notes the
support of the same businesses you uphold as the core of democratic
society have supported apartheid, massive repression of civil rights
especially for labor, intervention to destroy popular revolutions when
they threaten the property of U.S. business by making an attempt to help
the exploited in their respective countries (see Nicaragua, Cuba, Grenada,
etc.), and they have also overthrown capitalist governments unfavorable to
U.S. business such as in Guatemala during the 1950s. Not to mention the
fact that most of these "successes" (as heralded in the reactionary media)
were accomplished by CIA backed death squads and covert funding of often
ex-Nazi dictators.
  a) A further critique of the capitalist market goes to show it doesn't
advance civil rights, actually the overwhelming tendency is it to reduce
them. Driving standards of living for the majority towards the bottom, and
profits towards the top. Economic and military Keynesian measures attempt
to curve these trends, but it generally just provides another
demonstration for them as real wages have continued to decline under
Keynesian policy. 

Cols, Oh

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