Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Corporate America Wins! / The Fight Continues

Barack Obama was able to capture the election, as he easily carried the media glow of celebrity through the night. Even worse, McCain attempted a dismal "Country First" campaign that even isolated conservatives by his servant-slave-state pronounciations. But even Barack Obama's CHANGE campaign openly enumerated its corporate agenda. Famed economist Milton Friedman strongly objected to such political imagery. In his interpretation, the idea of a sheltering nanny state wreaked of totalitarianism. And he in his writing is unfraid of calling it so.

In Milton Friedman's 1962 masterpiece Capitalism and Freedom, he addresses the challenges facing modern society, much which, its institutions have helped to create. In a benevolent and just fashion, Friedman conveys the major benefits society has reaped from liberalism and the laissez faire culture our society is rooted in. He speaks of the liberation from authoritarian rule which humanistic movements in the Rennaissance and Enlightenment championed. This progress in thought revolutionized society from a shell of slaves and masters into a world of independent action and destiny.

Much prosperity and advance can be celebrated. But, Friedman argues that with the rise of the corporate nation state since the 1930's, free man's progress is now threatened by a new form of innocuously phrased authoritarian rule. The power to heavily tax, distort monetary value, and make major closed international trade agreements serve an unfree nationalist agenda that smacks of fraud. In Friedman's delicate, sensible and logical way, the reader is left to ponder the fate of freedom in practicality. Convincingly so, putting into practice Friedman's arguments for allowing non-regulated open-market solutions would greatly improve our lives.

Education is an invaluable measure of a People. It is the basis for many's status and well-being. Even the success of their future depends on their attainment of education. But, in a nation where our Constitution explicity leaves all matters of local education to local authorities, it is astonishing to think of the shallow federal programs for education. Sadly, as Friedman points out, much federal meddling ammounts to little educational advances and in most cases, contributes to the demise of educational standards.

Calling for local communities to voluntarily cooperate to form schools with admission open to all, Friedman claims that much competitiveness would be maintained. For they would be a "shareholder" in this cooperative effort and care for the success in education above other nearby schools. Friedman stresses that "this would eliminate government machinery required to collect tax from all residence" (87). Thus, would be a just in a free and open society.

Friedman does concede to some federal aid to extreme considerations in which one's livelihood is now entirely depended on the state. Wisely, and in the name of laissez faire, he argues for "a combination of public and private schools" (93). He continues that, "It would permit competition to develop, the development and improvement of all schools would thus be stimulated. The injection of healthy competition would do much to promote a healthy variety of schools" (93). But private schools would eventually excel because once controlled by the state, "the parent or local community comes to exsercise little control" (95). Throughout his writing, Friedman's tone smacks of well-thought out indignance of the present status quo.

His writing screams out like a defender of a great unintangible prize. But, his steadfast belief that "government intervention reduces freedom and limits voluntary cooperation" (113) convinces of the power of a voluntary society. His further assertion that, "in a society based on free discussion, the appropriate recourse is for me to seek to persuade them that their tastes are bad and that they should change their views and their behavior, not to use coercive power to enforce my tastes and my attitudes on others" (111). The well-meaning virtue weaved through his work is all the more a testament to the principles of liberalism.

For now government affects society in boundless ways. Friedman asserts that

"the direction in which policy is now moving, of permitting corporations to make contributions for charitable purposes and allowing deductions for income tax, is a step in direction of creating a true divorce between ownership and control and of undermining the basic nature and character of our society. It is a step away from an individualistic society and toward the corporate state" (136).

Friedman continues on to champion the free market and its "invisible hand" as a critical link necessary to unleash the goodness and creativity of man. In describing his process he argues that in a long term look the United States' progress (as of 1962) in technological advances, living standards, and social culture proves that freedom works. Friedman explains that,

"The United States has continued to progress; its citizens have become better fed, better clothed, better housed, and better transported; class and social distinctions have narrowed; minority groups have become less disadvantaged; popular culture has advanced by leaps and bounds. All this has been the product of the initiative and drive of individuals co-operating through the free market. Government measures have hampered not helped this development. We have been able to afford and surmount these measures only because of the extraordinary fecundity of the market. The invisible hand has been more potent for progress than the visible hand for retrogression" (200).

As government has grown larger and more intrusive than ever under the cleavership of George W. Bush, it is frightening to see what the future holds now that the private banks are now directing our federal government. Through the guise of the now dictatorial Secretary of the Treasury, the banks have their own "President", able to command the economy at will. After Congress voted down the initial horrendously hashed Bailout, we have both Obama and McCain to thank for the media wind they used to steal from the poor to give to the super-elite rich of the greater Goldman-Sachs community. Such fraud still stings for the average losing American. After all, considering the history of America's government in the first decade of the 21st century, maybe favoring the consciously guided path of laissez faire freedom isn't such a bad idea.

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