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Discussion => Philosophy, Economics and Justice => Topic started by: DoctaFeelgood on November 03, 2012, 08:53 am

Post by: DoctaFeelgood on November 03, 2012, 08:53 am
I am sure many will be glad to hear that we are finishing up our last week on Lew Rockwell's "The Left, The Right, and The State."
If you have anything to get off your chest about this book that you have been holding in, this week is the time.

We will be finishing Part III: The Right, starting where we left off at the top of page 259 (274 pdf) and reading until the end of Part III on page 322 (337 pdf). Again, that's 259-322 (274-337 pdf)

The book can be downloaded for free or purchased at :

If you can stick with us one more week we will be doing something really special and fun next week.... MOVIE NIGHT!!  ;D
Post by: davebowman on November 04, 2012, 11:44 pm
Here are my thoughts on, "War and the Economy." I've been reading through it all and making notes but I paused here to write and post this. I'll finish the reading before I come back.

"Behind the current confusion of ideological categories is the longstanding canard that war is good for the economy," (276). I was so outspoken about the history curriculum in grades ten and eleven, especially in this regard, (e.g. textbooks which claim that wartime production ended the great depression), and my complaints always fell on deaf ears. In my experience this is one of the more pervasive mistaken beliefs amongst academics, historians and laymen alike. War is the ultimate 'make work' project. It is destructive rather than simply unproductive and it is driven to its only possible conclusion, the destruction of the means to wage war, by a snowballing moral momentum rather than by mere desperation and faith in Keynesian economics.

   "It [war] does not stimulate productivity. It destroys capital, in the same sense that all government spending destroys capital. [...] All decisions made by government bureaucrats are economically arbitrary because the decision makers have no access to market signaling," (279). Yes, and in the case of war the spending is explicitly destructive, because basically every dollar spent on a war goes exclusively towards killing people and destroying their things. Wartime industry is financed by the government, so one part through taxation and five parts through inflation (arbitrary figures, but as Rockwell says they get it out of the people), to build bombs, bullets, airplanes, tanks, ICBMs, artillery shells, etc. You have capital being repossessed from the public on moral grounds and that capital is spent on destroying the capital of your enemy, who are in the same situation you are. I'm thinking of the bombing of cities during world war two as a good example of that. And so people in your country are being paid by the government to work in war industries and produce the tools of destruction, and they can spend their wages in the domestic economy, purchasing heavily rationed goods and war bonds. People are getting back to work, and our cities on this side of the ocean are still standing at least, and it looks like the cogs of the entity we call economy are turning again, right? There is no economy which is healthy or unhealthy. Only the sum of all voluntary transactions.

Now if all the soldiers were at home working and no war was being fought, the rightful owners of this capital could be spending all of it on those goods which are heavily rationed in wartime, like food and fuel, which people everywhere really want all the time, so much that with enough of the workforce dedicated to producing them they could be available cheaply and in abundance. But instead we should murder half the workforce in gruesome battles of attrition, destroy as many buildings as possible, eat meager portions of rotten food, etc etc all so that good may triumph over evil, and to simultaneously bring ourselves out of an economic depression. World war two is the most absurd period in all of human history, as far as I know.

   More recently however, the United States can pretty much constantly be at war without conscripting anyone or rationing anything, or raising taxes or involving the average citizen in any capacity at all. The president no longer even needs the consent of congress or a declaration of war to authorize military action. World War Two was a collective effort which affected every single person in every country involved. Today the individual citizen is completely alienated from the war, except for what he sees of it on TV, and the opinion he forms about it when talking with his friends or placing a bumper sticker on his car which reads, 'support our troops.' It exists only in his mind. It is easier than ever for citizens to be complacent with war because it really doesn't affect them at all, until the homeland is attacked as a result of blow back, like on 9/11, and then citizens feel vulnerable, afraid, and more eager than ever to be complacent with their government's mysterious activities overseas.

"The War on Terror is impossible, [...] in the sense that it cannot finally achieve what it is supposed to achieve, and will only end in creating more of the same conditions that led to its declaration in the first place," (288). I think this is the purpose of the war on terror. It is meant to occur continually, because it feeds an industrial complex and it justifies the use of 'war time powers' (unlimited powers) by the government in the minds of the populace. "He [Bush] has unleashed the federal police power against the American people in violation of the constitution," (279-80).

How could you make the goal of a war any more ambiguous, or any more hypocritical, than by calling it a war on terror? And how else could you appeal to such a simplistic blanket moralization of your activities, other than by saying that you are doing all of this to prevent and reduce terror? So by opposing terror the government is justified in siphoning value out of the dollar to destroy an enemy vaguely described as 'fundamentalist Islam' in a distant part of the world, using a variety of costly technological innovations providing by a few military contractors, who now have a perpetual captive market for their products, which can only be used to kill and destroy. You kill non-combatants, man woman and child alike, inspiring the hatred which motivates a few people to become combatants, so that there are always enough people to kill that you need to be at war.

You need people to kill, things to destroy, and a reason to justify those things to the taxpayers, so that you can subtly strip the taxpayers of their rights, indirectly deprive them of their wealth, and they won't make a fuss about it. It's the perfect scam. The US government is accountable to no one, and at face value they are accountable to their own citizens, but not in actuality because they technically don't seem to need their citizens to do what they want. The war on terror is a scenario which can be sustained indefinitely, until there is a dollar crisis of course.
Post by: Dread Pirate Roberts on November 09, 2012, 09:39 am
very well put bowman.  It's amazing people can buy into this lie.  It's classic double speak: destruction is production.
Post by: CiscoYankerStuck on December 28, 2012, 10:19 am
I have just finished reading the entirety of "The Left, The Right, and The State", and I must say, this book has really opened me up to ideas I have never even considered before.

While I don't agree with everything Rockwell has to say (I especially felt there were some oversights and fallacies), I think the large majority of it is incredibly true and insightful. I'd recommend everyone here check it out, even if you don't necessarily identify with Libertarian principles.

 I do, however, feel more references would have been prudent.

Also, in regards to  davebowman's and Dread Pirate Roberts' posts on "War and the Economy" and double speak, I highly highly recommend reading "Emmanuel Goldstein's Manifesto" from George Orwell's "1984". (and hell, read the whole book)

Emmanuel Goldstein's Manifesto is an entire chapter intricately describing the cycle of war and destruction, the economy, the ruling elite, and the burgoiese in the 'example' universe of  "1984" and Big Brother.