Sunday, February 17, 2008

Voting and Markets

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I certainly agree with Sheldon Richman that the "marketplace" of political operatives does not resemble the marketplace of goods and services or ideas.

Most businessmen of my acquaintance are enthusiastic supporters of the marketplace, until one begins to explain it to them. Then they begin to become uneasy. They start to fidget. Their eyes start to glaze over. They fumble under their desks for the security button. Some would reach for a gun if they had one. I haven't met any who do, even in the United States where supposedly everyone has a gun, or two. The problem is that most businessmen do not like the market. They are always searching for ways to avoid competition. They hate government. Yet the most handy — and unassailable — device available to businessmen (and everyone else, we should note) is the government. These fellows invariably hate unions, and communists who would give the businessman's money to the poor (after they give it to themselves). They view businessmen as members of the plutocracy. They view people who do not belong to their country club as, well, as vermin. They identify with the Romans and the lions, not with the Christians. Americans who founded the bastion of free enterprise on earth were fond of "classical revival" architecture and place names from ancient Greece and Rome: "Athens" "Sparta" "Rome" and such. Fasces decorate the front wall in the House of Representatives and more. Did they not know that the Roman republic included only a tiny élite? Of course they knew that. They were a tiny élite. That's how they set things up.

There are problems with the marketplace, beyond the marketplace as it is controlled by fascists. But the world has never seen such a marketplace so we need not bother ourselves with esoteric discussions of them just yet. Generally speaking, voting is a complete waste of time. "I never vote, you know. It only encourages them." Generally speaking, government is the seat of evil in any society. Would that it were not so, but it is so. Look at the record. A tax strike would be useful to curb government. That would serve the well-being of the average person, even the poor, even the rich, even the environment. A free market? Radical . . . Esoteric . . .

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