The Gutter Trash oracles, Part III
(copied from Wikipedia, without edit).
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy decision-making and investments are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.
This is actually a good definition (for Wiki), whether you’re for or against the notion of free market capitalism. On each of the highlighted subjects, above, many of you could write short essays explaining what each means in terms of human liberty, either keeping with Jefferson’s axiom about the natural law right to pursue life, liberty and happiness “without the permission of the state”, or Karl Marx’s argument against it. Or even Darwin’s third way if you want to look at Nature through the back end of a telescope. For I could write a few thousand dreary words myself as to why it’s in the “nature” of Man (men and women) to instinctively want to be able to make all those decisions for themselves; buying and selling, risking and producing or even choosing to work for other producers instead of themselves while directing their attention mostly to consuming products (spending), thus closing the circle on free market capitalism, all the while raising families and building their own small empire based upon their collective efforts.
And then passing it on.
The riskiest part of capitalism is that “voluntary” part, i.e., the freedom of people to choose how and where they want to participate in a “free-market economy”. (Note, I use “free market” to describe American capitalism because it’s not the same as how Karl Marx, fifty years after the United States was born, defined capitalism, based on what he and his intellectual peers witnessed in Europe. Unaware, or indifferent, to what a bunch of farmers and small business traders in North America were doing with Adam Smith’s idea, Marx might have shot himself had be bothered to connect the dots that defined America’s capitalism, for it refuted virtually every marker he used to define capitalism in Europe, as not so much a thief of man’s labor, but a thief of intellectuals’ right to be the board of directors…(give this some thought, for we’ll revisit this) without having invested a single ounce of their own skin in the game (risk) that created that for-profit enterprise in the first place.
With this simple organic scheme, from the bottom up, America disproved everything Marx preached while viewing his economic world entirely from the top down, and from a very great distance. His ideology survived and grew for psychological reasons peculiar only to the intellectual class to which he belonged, having little to do with the economic swill he (and Engels) poured out in the Communist Manifesto and Kapital.
Marxists are not even remotely connected to Joe Biden or his kind. But in all fairness, they are easy to confuse since the modern Joe’s employ so much Marxist rhetoric as their political cant…scripted for the masses much as the “Almighty” was a century before. With the exception of Bernie Sanders, I doubt there has been a true ideological Marxist since Norman Thomas (d1968), although many would argue otherwise. Bernie held out for many years, but only until he saw his first bank statement with six zeroes on it. The impulse suddenly came over him to believe he had actually “earned” that money rather than having repatriated it, as Marxist scripture prescribes. (For comparison, this psychology of “deserving” is no different than Harvey Weinstein planting his first starlet on the office couch in exchange for a speaking role in a film, then Harvey looking in the bathroom mirror while cleaning up and thinking, with satisfaction, “I am too good looking.”) You can imagine how Gerald Nadler felt when he discovered he wasn’t a real communist either.
You see, in America capitalism is generally a three-generation proposition, and most start out at the getting-a-job end (working for another man’s pay), also called “the bottom”, raising their kids to improve the family’s lot in life.
Most of the people who came here began at that bottom end until around the 1960s. But while poor most also came here with a valise full of moral values, mostly wrapped up in their various religious faiths. They were not tabula rasa, with a few exceptions from wild, untamed country such as Northern Ireland in the early 1700s, and Sicily in the early 1900s.
Sky, or skyline, determined.
(The 1960s were when the professional green card generation began, and which today figures into the rise of the worldwide League of Gentlemen who eventually plan to pay for everything by controlling everything. I’ll get discuss them last, once we’ve analyzed their facilitators.)
This inquiry begins with how “gutter-trashery” skipped the light fantastic, moving from Huck Finn’s pa, living across the tracks in a Missouri shanty in the 1850s, to a born-and-bred white middle class Joe Biden raking in millions selling influence to America’s enemies or anyone else who will pay, thinking, just like Pa Finn, it was all right as long as he didn’t get caught.
At one time that was a serious moral leap. Now it’s not.
And in Joe’s world today the risk of getting caught has become pretty remote.
Through the likes of Joe Biden, snatch-and-grab thievery has been able to set down deep roots in the American political establishment the past century or so. The urge among politicians was probably always there, they just were never able to rise to the surface, in part because it was wrong according to one Law, and illegal according to the other.
Both carried sanctions.
I want to outline just what it is that connects free market choices in capitalism from Pa Finn to Joe Biden, and for that matter, Alphonse Capone, for the psychology is almost identical.
Pa Finn reminds us, not to mention Da Mob, at both ends of the economic spectrum there will always be a pursuit of a leisure class.
In the voluntary pursuit of capitalism, these are people who choose short-cuts, including crime, to achieve their goals of economic prosperity. (Some even choose crime for the thrill of it, sociopaths such as Lex Luthor, 1940s genius-villain enemy of Superman, where pursuing wealth the old fashioned way was just too boring and easy.)
But for most there is no great psychopathy involved. Most people who were raised “hard” stayed hard without the intervention by a third party; a school teacher, a priest, a fine woman. Pa Finn’s kid, Huck, met a kid across the track, named Tom. That’s how a social scientist would describe it.
Because of mass immigration after the Civil War America spent a good portion of its history trying to assimilate those newcomers into America, but from the community level. Mostly schools. Even Hollywood chipped it.
But civilizing America wasn’t the primary purpose of creators or producers of popular fiction or film. Profit was, along with a certain level of public celebrity and a status among peers. Social circles. To a certain extent we pursue the same things on the internet today. Dig me.
So while millions who may have been brought up hard, without benefit of clergy, and received doses of morality and virtue through books and film that were never taught in their homes, the purveyors of those moralities were not bound to that mission. Other rules applied. Always have, always will.
It was in the 1960s that sexual propriety, music, even the delicacies of language, morality and religion in general, became less profitable, and the ways and wages of sin more profitable. Profit drove authors, publishers, screenwriters and producers toward new genres. I didn’t know any of these things at the time, I was in my teens, but I was on board with almost everything the purveyors of these new sins were selling. My mother called it “the valley of the shadow of death” and told me many years later that she’d prayed all her children through it, and that we’d all come out on the other side, re-affirmed in the things she and my father had tried to teach us.
I selected Joe Biden as my gutter-trash poster boy because he, like my big sister pre-dated most of that. They were supposed to have been raised without the benefit of Madison Avenue. Joe certainly was…parochial school, university and law school…but lower 25% in all, which probably explains more about how he envisioned the world than his 5 years’ tutelage by nuns.
I recall a film in which the protagonist was called a “bastard” by his dishonest employer, to which he replied, “Yessir, but I was born that way. But some others are self-made men.” Joe Biden is a self-made man on the lower rungs of a leisure class for which he aspires.
How all those natural laws of capitalism affected our political class are simple to understand. When the first Americans stepped ashore they already knew how to organize their communities from the bottom up. Later, the Constitution memorialized those reciprocal understandings when it created the Congress, by dividing and limiting its powers, and all their powers subject to the will (permission) of the people. The power of the purse was intentionally denied them.
In short, the people at every level of government controlled how money could come into the hands of Congress, and how much of their money (taxes) could be used by Congress to pursue its aims.
The descent of Congress into the gutter is a simple history of how Congress came to acquire great sums of money via taxation, and how, in dispensing it, individual Congressmen were able to squirrel away “a piece of the action” in ways by now too numerous to mention.
Mark Twain said, and often I’m told, that Congress was the only native criminal class in America.
Since Twain said this before Wilson and his 17th Amendment (Income Tax) in 1913, he observed the pickings to be pretty good for the “Congressional criminal class” before 1900.
The power to gather and spend other people’s money sealed only by a pledge to citizens to be a prudent caretaker of their taxes…all earned through free market capitalism, remember…at some point was just too great a temptation to ignore.
A Democrat idea, the 17th Amendment was followed by the rise of the administrative state, set into stone by FDR, the quintessential Democrat, 20 years later.
It was in 1819 that Chief Justice John Marshall first wrote that “the power to tax is the power to destroy”, and within a century later that prophecy began its journey to where we are today, still another century later.
Next: Congress, with palms up, as the gatekeepers between the No-Skin-in-the-Game cartelists and the national treasury.
Hint: The Bureaucracy, not the people, is the true constituency of most members of Congress.
At some point this becomes fascism.