Thursday, January 21, 2010

All Americans have equal rights

But, the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled, some people are more equal than others. Because, they ruled, money is speech and thus if you have more money than someone else, you have more free speech rights than that person.

Reminds me of George Orwell's critique of Communism in Animal Farm: "Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer— except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs." Sounds like a description of American society over the past ten years... with bankers in the role of the pigs, and the security establishment in the role of the dogs. Welcome to Soviet America, citizen! Except instead of Party membership, your membership in the Millionaire's club determines whether you're one of those people who are more equal than others.

-- Badtux the Orwellian Penguin


  1. One small step for the supreme court, one large step for fascism.

    We are SO fucked!

  2. Yeah, what else is new? We've been fucked since Reagan at least. Except the American people have just kept bending over and saying "give me more, sir!" every time they've been cornholed. Or else the folks doing the cornholing say "hey, we're not cornholing you, it's those lie-berals/Messicans/whatever over theah!" and the American people go "hyuck hyuck garsh I knew that!". So it goes...

    - Badtux the Fucked Penguin

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  4. Wow, Purple, I hadn't fingered you as an anarchist. You just put your hands on the primary anarcho-socialist critique of anarcho-capitalism, that is, the fact that capitalism inherently results in some men having more rights than others due to having more power (enabled by having more money) and thus anarcho-capitalism, by removing the check of democracy upon power yet by not removing the power of the wealthy, results in the dictatorship of the many without money by the few who have money.

    The anarcho-socialist goes further to point out that this is inherent in the notion of any property beyond personal property (that which can be carried upon one's person), since if someone "owns" the water supply for a city (for example) he has power over everybody in that city and, for example, can simply shut off the water supply for those who would challenge his power. Property is power, in other words, and the central area of study of anarchism is the study of the problem of power.

    Corporations are property, and this ruling now gives property equal rights with human beings, which is bizarre. So it goes. Note that I am neither an anarcho-socialist nor an anarcho-capitalist ("Libertarian"), since pragmatically speaking, the only solution we've ever found that even halfway works to resolve the problem of power is democracy (representative democracy, specifically). I think democracy in the USA would be a great idea. Too bad lots of other folks are scared of democracy and do everything in their power to keep it from happening.

    Regarding your critique of FDR, I suggest that you read something other than the National Review to find out what FDR did and didn't do. FDR was the scion of a wealthy New York family and his principal achievement was saving democracy given the reality of both left wing and right wing revolutions waiting in the wings if he didn't do something to prevent mass starvation amongst the American people. Both his opponents on the left and on the right were ready and waiting to impose a Communist or fascist dictatorship upon America if mass starvation gave them a critical mass of brownshirts or cadres to use as cannon fodder for revolt, so he did what he had to do to preserve the Republic. I find it hilarious that the right now wants to demonize FDR, when if it wasn't for FDR, it's likely that we would have had a Communist revolution in the USA in 1934 or 1935 and there wouldn't *be* an American right anymore because they would have been exterminated like Stalin exterminated the right wing in the USSR. Even the non-Communist opposition from the left, like the "Share Our Wealth" movement, would have basically exterminated today's right wing by seizing the wealth of the parents of the current leaders of the right at gunpoint. FDR never did anything like that, Prescott Bush for example emerged from the Great Depression with his wealth intact, but now the right wants to attack FDR for preventing a revolution that would have ended up with Prescott Bush's head on a chopping block somewhere? Hilarious, dude! Just more cannon fodder for my notion that most right wingers are morons with no knowledge of history, economics, or any other subject other than whatever talking points they've been handed by their Party commissars.

    - Badtux the History Penguin

  5. The Supremes just finished the job begun by a court clerk back in the 1880s when corporations first gained personhood.

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  7. No no, it was your point about people with more money being able to buy more guns that I was riffing off of. That's a point that anarcho-socialists make to anarcho-capitalists as to why their anarcho-capitalist ("libertarian") philosophy does not work in practice -- because anarcho-capitalism does not actually solve the Problem of Power that is central in anarchist theory. (Yes, there is such a thing as anarchist theory). That is, yes, anarcho-capitalism solves the Problem of Power insofar as governmental power is concerned, but does nothing about non-governmental power enforced via rich people buying more/better guns (and the people to use them) than the remainder of the population can afford.

    Sorry if you were confused by my digression into anarchist theories of power. It's just that this whole issue of money=speech is intrinsically tied to that subject. Money is power, basically, and the Supremes just removed a major impediment to use of that power in order to give one group of people (the wealthy and the corporations they control) more power than another group of people (us ordinary sods on the streets). You might want to read up on the subject, the anarchists may have no solution to the Problem of Power (they use the Underpants Gnome theory of how to deal with the problem of power: 1. Identify all power structures in society 2. ??? 3. No more power structures in society!), but that does not change the validity of their central observation.

    As for FDR. what interests me most looking at FDR's actions is just how different they are, looking at the actual history, than has been presented by either conservatives OR liberals. Veneration or vilification of FDR has been a staple of American politics since the day he was first elected. But step beyond the veneration and/or vilification, and you see a completely different story -- one of a pragmatic politician who was trying to steer a middle way between capitalism and socialism in order to prevent a Communist overthrow of the government. In short, the same motivations that led to social democracy in the post-WWII Western European nations -- the fear that if they didn't steer that middle course between pure capitalism and pure socialism, the Communists would take over from within. It was the same motivation that led Prime Mister Atlee to create the Public Health Service in England in 1948, and de Gaulle to create the Sécurité Sociale in France in 1945... the fear that if they didn't, the next sight they would see would be the hammer and sickle flying over their respective government buildings.

    It was a different time, one which is almost inconceivable in this era where the threat of Communism is more than twenty years distant in the past. Let us just say that the most important factor that kept the West out of the Communist bloc was not force of arms, or red scares that led to squashing of free speech, but, rather, the realization by our plutocrats that if they did not create a society with some degree of equality and economic opportunity, the Communists would take over. And it worked -- during the time period when equality and economic opportunity were the watchword for the West, the GDP of the West soared in a way never seen before in human history. Now that Communism is gone, it is easy to second-guess those who created things like the National Health Service in England, or Social Security, or whatever. But if they had not created those things, capitalism would not exist today.

    - Badtux the Democracy Penguin

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  9. I do hope you're not this humorless and dense in real life, what a pain for those around you. Uhm, you realize you're talking with a penguin? Perhaps some things get named on this blog in ways which are intended for humor rather than seriously? Or do you honestly believe that you are purple and that I live on an iceberg? Hmm....

    You mentioned something that anarchists also say, though it was clear to all involved that you did not mean it the same way as anarchists -- but that you didn't know you'd just said something that anarchists say. I riffed off of that. You got your feathers in a fluffle about it, rather than go look at some anarchist theory and riff on whether you thought the anarchists were right or not about that aspect of the Problem of Power that is central to anarchist theory. Your loss, coulda got some intellectual stimulation, instead got offended. Oh well!

    - Badtux the Iceberg-dwelling Penguin


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