Sunday, August 13, 2017

Against Marxism; For Clean Energy

On the Internet I have been seeing Marxist rhetoric about the workers controlling the means of production and about the propertied classes exploiting the workers.

I know a number of businessmen. Most of them came from humble backgrounds and worked hard and struggled to get where they were. They did not come from “propertied classes”; they came from nothing. They were not born with what they had. They had to work at it.

In America, we see a phenomenon inverting the claims of Marx. Marxism appears to carry its greatest appeal to university students from middle-income and upper-income backgrounds. Whereas conservatism appears to carry its greatest appeal to people coming from humble backgrounds. Seeing this, Ronald Reagan inverted the Marxist rhetoric. He stated instead that “liberal government” and “liberal academia” were dictating to American people an order that was against their values. This was a brilliant political move, and Reagan became a very powerful president.

In fact it is most likely that business world would discriminate against the high-born. It is likely to see them as not being willing to work hard and expecting everything to be given to them. It would instead look for workers among the people from lower income backgrounds who know what it is like to struggle and to work hard.

This makes people from higher-born backgrounds less, not more, competitive in the business world. However that does not render them useless. There are all sorts of things that these people can do that needs to be done. There is a need for science and education. There is a need for creating a culture worthy of being called a culture. There is a need for priestry and spiritual knowledge.

I have of course heard it from all sides. I come from a complex background that had many different influences. I was born in the Soviet Union; moved with my family to America at age 12; and while in America lived a variety of lifestyles and had a variety of education and jobs. I have dealt with any number of people in positions of wealth or influence, and I have dealt with any number of people who were in humble situations. A negative result of this was having a mess in my head that it has taken me lots of work to resolve. Positive results of this included understanding the perspective of many different kinds of people and having all sorts of input that I otherwise would not have had.

What I found with businessmen is that they were not part of a class. Once again, most of them came from humble backgrounds and got where they were through their own efforts. Many of them actually worked harder than their workers; and even those who did not once had.

Reagan was also wrong in a number of ways. He was completely wrong about education. When the higher education is unaffordable and the primary education system is weak, people lack the knowledge that they need to make informed political and personal decisions. He was dead wrong about the environment. We have not created nature and cannot re-create nature; and it is wrong to blindly plunder what you have not created and cannot re-create. He was however absolutely correct to affirm entrepreneurship and economic opportunity, and he was also correct to oppose Marxism.

The idea of propertied classes exploiting working classes is credible in places with rigid class lines. It is much less credible in places where someone can come from nothing and become a successful entrepreneur. Once again, I have known a number of such people. None of them struck me as greedy, and none of them struck me as exploitative. When I worked in computer industry I was being paid right and I was being treated right. I grew to respect a number of these people.

Should workers be treated well? Yes they should. The inspiration from that however should not come from Marx. It should come from the Bible. You treat others the way that you want to be treated. You are good to people regardless of their background. And if you are getting something of benefit out of your interaction with someone, then you are obligated to treat them rightfully whatever you believe their character to be.

The last of this, of course, has applications in personal relationships as much as it does in economic and political issues.

Marxism, in itself, is ridiculous. There is no such thing as historical inevitability. History is not driven by dialectics but by people's choices, and even in the situation of the dialectic there is nothing at all inevitable about it working out for the better. It can work out in any number of possible ways. The businessman is not a thief, he is someone who gets things done. And the idea of class struggles and history being driven by such a thing may have been credible in 19th century Europe, but it is not at all credible in much of the rest of the world. Some places do not have anything such as classes. In other places, such as America, there is – or at least there is supposed to be – social mobility, in which someone can come from nothing and become a successful entrepreneur.

When one creates a false god, that god will turn against him. If you deify “the people,” you will be confronted with the worst from the people whom you have deified. They will be guaranteed to be on their worst behavior and will most likely lynch you. We saw this with Stalin and Mao. This was not an aberration. It is a logical outcome of the beliefs that they had espoused. People – all people – are capable of both righteous and non-righteous behavior. The people not in positions of power are not necessarily better than people in positions of power. The first can mean anything from Joan of Arc to the Westboro Baptists. The second can mean anything from Theodore Roosevelt to Genghis Khan.

Is it rightful to insist that business be good to workers? Yes it is. It is not rightful at all however that this be done according to beliefs that are transparently wrong. You do not deify “the people” or their claimed representatives. You do not adopt an obviously wrong concept of history or its future. You do not discredit yourself by adopting a transparently wrong ideology.

There is in fact a way to correctly address and attain the legitimate aspirations of people who are attracted to Marxism. Converting to better energy technologies will create a large field that will hire both the brawn and the brains. The people who have been dislocated by flight of manufacturing jobs to places like Mexico and technical jobs to places like India stand to be hired in large numbers to put into place better technological solutions. And this will create a significant field in which such people can work and be constructive citizens while remaining true to their rightful values.

This then becomes the best solution to the mess that we are now facing. Put into place a large-scale conversion toward better technologies, hiring both the laborers and the techies. To me, it matters absolutely nothing to which extent this is done by business or by government, for as long as it is done.

The computer jobs are gone to India, and they are gone forever. So are the jobs that have gone to China and Mexico. However converting to better energy technologies will create millions of jobs in both sectors and put to work the parts of America that have been dislocated by job flight abroad.

If you are attracted to Marxism for legitimate reasons – as opposed to wrongful reasons – then this is the solution on which you need to be working. Create a big field that will hire both the brawn and the brains of the country. Put all these people to work doing something that's actually beneficial. That will do much more to benefit the worker than would Marxist agitation. And that will give people who are attracted to things such as Marxism a better reputation even as it will be a way for them to constructively apply their rightful values.


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