Grassroots democracy at the political level! Down with the monolithic state who robs the wealth we create! End the wars and the world policing that is costing us billions!
These cries are often raised by a rising number of young “libertarians” who are serious about civil liberties. Fueled by the ever-growing evidence of government surveillance, high taxes, and astronomical national debt these young people are challenging the status quo. This libertarian cadre is opening the door to third-party politics and a political philosophy that blurs the classic lines of “republican/democrat”. There is much to commend. However, there is much that needs to be discussed. It is easy to react, but it’s a whole other thing to be revolutionary.
It is true that the state is a wealth wasting, liberty crushing, perpetrator of violence. However, every beast has two hands. The libertarian movement is drawing attention to the need for grassroots democracy on a political level. But they have failed to introduce a fresh economic paradigm that incorporates a truly “libertarian” ethic. Instead, they have reverted to old-time “laissez-faire” capitalism. They call us back to that old system that has inevitably morphed into that strange monster that we call “corporate capitalism.” While breathing fresh air in the political realm and in the area of civil liberties, they have managed only to blow hot air into economics.
If each person is able to govern his/her self on a political level then why not at an economic level? If local communities can come together to govern themselves democratically without the intervention of the state in a political sense, then why can’t they do so economically? If we are to be free from the tyranny of kings and priests then why shouldn’t we be free from the tyranny of CEO’s, and yes, even small business owners. Big kings and small kings alike have no place in a libertarian society.
For those who advocate a return to old school capitalism I say, so be it. Let us go back to the very system that gave rise to the Rockefellers, the Mellons, the J.P. Morgan’s, and the Andrew Carnegie’s. A utopia of small business owners will never exist under “free for all” capitalism. In capitalism money is the only power, especially if you remove the restricting power of the state. And those who are getting more money will consolidate their power, their wealth, and will take control of the market. In fact, that is what happened. And with the evolution of the robber barons came the evolution of the corporate state. A government that exists to protect property and business.
You may hate the wars that are costing us billions, but the arms companies don’t. They are raking in billions. You see, you are not important to the government. You don’t finance political candidates. The government exists for the maintenance of our economic system. Business takes care of the politicians and the politicians take care of business.
The biggest tax the working class receives is not from the government. It is from the business we work for. The wealth we create is taxes by our company and only a portion of the wealth we create, a wage, is given back to us? And why? Why is this acceptable? Because they had the capital (through inheritance, robbery, hard work?) to buy and control the means of production. In bygone days our forefathers tore down the idol of “the divine right of kings”. Today, we must tear down the idol of “the sacredness of property”. No man has a divine right to rule politically. Equally so, no man/woman has the right to rule economically. The state does not belong to a king or government. People do not belong to a king or government. Equally so, we do not belong to a corporation or a market.
Political power belongs to the community and to the individual. Equally so, economic power belongs to the community and the individual. Wealth belongs to the community. Labor belongs to the community. The means of production created, tweaked, and perfected by thousands of nameless faces over the years, belongs to the community. It’s time to cast off tyranny and take back what is rightfully ours. The specifics can be worked out later. But first we must come onto the common ground that capitalism is economic tyranny as redundant and destructive as kings and a monolithic state.