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The Dark Night of Neoliberalism

March 10, 2014

For more than twenty centuries humanity has inched forward before sliding back; the great thoughts, ideas and actions of a William Shakespeare, Nicola Tesla or Mark Twain, versus a Pol Pot or a Joseph Stalin. It is not the guns themselves which kill, but the ideas of men which prompt them to pick up the guns and kill. As essential as bullets or bombs is the destruction of our common humanity in order to enable us to kill.

The world well knows of the megalomania of an Adolph Hitler, weaving oratory into a tapestry of nationalism, militarism and corporatism, giving birth to modern Fascism — attempting to right the wrongs of the Treaty of Versailles, by infecting the human soul with vengeance as a proper remedy for a political wrong. This is the germ to be captured and contained. This is the source of our perpetual suffering and the reduction of our common humanity into intellectually false arguments. All arguments which are not based in our common humanity are false. Compare:

So, let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal. ~ John F. Kennedy

The case for individual freedom rests chiefly on the recognition of the inevitable and universal ignorance of all of us concerning a great many of the factors on which the achievement of our ends and welfare depend. It is because every individual knows so little and, in particular, because we rarely know which of us knows best that we trust the independent and competitive efforts of many to induce the emergence of what we shall want when we see it. Humiliating to human pride as it may be, we must recognize that the advance and even the preservation of civilization are dependent upon a maximum of opportunity for accidents to happen. ~ Friedrich Hayek

Quotes such as the one above are the reason I would include Hayek’s ideas among the most destructive of the 20th Century. His ideas are repugnant — chance and accident are the leaders of humanity? Humans are generally ignorant and only through individual freedom can we thrive? What an arrogant and repulsive idea, but even more than just a basic belief in an intelligentsia and an untermunchin class are Hayek’s ideas of what freedom means.

“While an equality of rights under a limited government is possible and an essential condition of individual freedom, a claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.” ~ Friedrich Hayek

This is the central tenet of neoliberalism: money is freedom, where money is all-powerful, where money rules. If a hurricane drowns your city, destroys your home and kills your entire family, it is only a maximum of opportunity. Human life means nothing under a limited government. Limited government should only concern itself with whether the traffic lights work, but if capitalists wish to work people to death in sweatshops it is just a case for individual freedom. If the workers don’t like the conditions they can pack up their bags and move to somewhere else where conditions are better.

This is the cancer infecting our own government. From Obama Care to school vouchers the social Darwinism of neoliberalism declares those with money will have access to the best health care and schools and the rest will just die off. Twenty-first Century feudalism; the lord of the manor in a castle on the hill with computers and cameras to watch the peasants in their hovels in the valley. Compare Hayek’s beliefs to those of Heinrich Himmler:

Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture: otherwise it is of no interest to me. Whether ten thousand Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be tough and heartless where it is not necessary, that is clear. We, Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. ~ Heinrich Himmler

From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time. ~ Friedrich Hayek

This dark intellectual philosophy; this truly pernicious belief best illustrates the descent of man into the ooze of a new dark age. Free trade is a tenet of neoliberalism, so the closing of 42,400 American factories since 2001, with the direct loss of 5.5 million American jobs is just happy accident; a chance for the neoliberalists to exploit their freedom under a limited government.

“Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another.” ~ Friedrich Hayek

Why did Bush and Cheney invade Afghanistan and Iraq? Because they could, there was no moral compulsion to protect the rights of innocent civilians, because if they have no money, they have no rights. Bush had the power and the ability to create wars of aggrandizement for profit. The administration used the events of 9-11 to create a maximum of opportunity for accidents. Morality is relative in neoliberalism.

Freedom to order our own conduct in the sphere where material circumstances force a choice upon us, and responsibility for the arrangement of our own life according to our own conscience, is the air in which alone moral sense grows and in which moral values are daily recreated in the free decision of the individual. Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one’s own conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to bear the consequences of one’s own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name. ~ Friedrich Hayek

We are living under a corrupt government; not politics of the left or of the right, but a political philosophy which exempts the basic dignity of our shared humanity. Lacking all moral compass, because morality is relative in their philosophy. It is nothing less than fascist thuggery disguised and legitimized with college robes and mortar boards and disingenuous intellectual innuendos distilled into “because I can, I will.”

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” ~ Robert H. Jackson, Chief American prosecutor, Nuremburg Trials

“And then many things became very clear… we learned perfectly that the life of a single human being is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.” ~ Che Guevara


About the author: David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, “The Servants of Pilate.”


4 Responses to The Dark Night of Neoliberalism

  1. SteveH on March 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    You may have misinterpreted some of what Hayek is saying. Whether you love Hayek or despise him, he has some interesting things to say and the quotes above are merely observations about the nature of the world. I don’t see why you are bashing Hayek for these quotes since even leftwing economist would largely agree with them; particularly the observations about the reciprocal relationship between treatment and equality.

    • David Cox on February 10, 2015 at 5:17 am

      No, I’m sorry you’re incorrect, Neoliberalism is evil. It is Nazism without the jackboots. If left to fester it will destroy the planet, the climate and the economy.

  2. liberalvoice on March 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Those few on the right who do acknowledge climate science still can’t resist saying “so what, more business opportunities.” (Bill Krystol comes to mind, who said something very much like that on Fox). So if your home is destroyed by rising tides or powerful hurricanes, someone, somewhere can make money off of that. Good for the economy, right? It’s knee-jerk spin, and nothing more. The nature of our society almost guarantees that the one-percenters will remain largely insulated from the destruction that may be wrought by climate disasters, continuing to cash-in on human misery.

    • David Cox on March 13, 2014 at 6:11 am

      The National Geographic did an issue about climate change, showing how high the seas would rise into New York but didn’t say one mumbling word about the effect this would have on us all.

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