Why 1601? Because those were the good old dogma days when “truth” had no obligation to conform to observed reality and measurement! Those were the days before the enlightenments of Galileo, Bacon, Locke, Newton, etc. Those were the days when the Church (or King or Baron or local aristocrat) spoke and “truth” reigned.
Now, in 2011 we begin a new cycle of good old dogma days for libertarians are announcing their run for POTUS. And what have they to offer? Plain and simple dogma espoused by the Church of the Laissez-faire (CLF).
None of the staunch members of the CLF seem the least bothered by the follies, fabrications, failings, and frauds of laissez-faire. Like the generally compliant masses of 1601, these latter-day devotees have received their wisdom from ivory-towered contemplations or pronouncements therefrom, and such is sufficient. No need to ponder, analyze, evaluate, understand, or actually consider the reality of:
▪ the inevitable concentrations of wealth and power in Big Business and the monied aristocracy under CLF dogma
▪ the inescapable greed and corruption that prevails when profit-motive runs rampant, unbalanced by other values
▪ warnings from founding fathers (and others) about monied aristocracy and concentrations of economic power
▪ the necessity of checks and balances upon any and every power
▪ ubiquitous, recycling booms and busts (which booms the few and busts the many)
▪ the fact that most share purchases contribute NOTHING to business capital—the prime purpose being to extract WEALTH after acquiring shares FROM other speculative shareholders—setting up the ultimate, ubiquitous MORAL HAZARD where those who contribute nothing, command corporate loyalty and mine the WEALTH produced by someone else’s LABOR1
▪ the laissez-faire Chilean debacle (and every other mangled country where laissez-faire has been imposed—in the name of freedom!)
▪ what Adam Smith really said
Perhaps it is time for the Church of the Laissez-faire to have a little Baconian method and Newtonian observation applied. Perhaps it is time we quit being so gallingly complacent about the dogma that prosperity revolves around the self-interested global globe of laissez-faire. Shouldn’t we have learned a thing or two over the span of four centuries about self-serving, revolving dogma?
Next time you hear a POTUS applicant (or supposed pundit) serve up justification for laissez-faire dogma, take a page from the book of Galileo, Newton, and friends and ask: Does this reflect fact or prevailing fantasy?
Surely, it’s time for the challenge to escalate—let us put every dogma of the Church of the Laissez-faire into the cross-hairs of unflinching examination.2
1. Reference: Marjorie Kelly’s Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy, © 2001, 2003
2. Perhaps a beginning, fruitful inquiry could address the question: If a few bad apples dominate the top of the idea barrel, is spoilage speeded and exacerbated by Newtonian gravity? (Note: Revelations will follow here, in the coming week, concerning “A Few Bad Apples?”