Dominion Over the Earth: The Pathology of The Market

by Larry Bish on April 30, 2013

2010-01-23-00299I do not support the libertarian notion that complete freedom of choice results in the best possible outcome. In fact, I have not found compelling evidence that free will even exists in any straightforward way regarding human decisions. I look back at the policies of Reagan and Thatcher  with as much revulsion as I do the Bush/Blair atrocities. That said, the Libertarian philosophy does have some merit regarding tyranny. An interviewer recently asked Stefan Molyneux if he will continue to promote libertarian ideas of freedom from state tyranny in the event that it threatens his own liberty. He replied with the analogy of a mountain climber who has always dreamed of climbing to the peak of Mt. Everest and eventually, after training and planning his entire life, finds himself almost at the peak, then realizes he won’t have enough oxygen to get back down. He starts the decent with little hope of making it—but he can’t give up. To give up would mean to die. Apparently, Molyneux plans to stay the course. He seems to share that kind of tenacity with other intellectuals, some with whom I think he heartily disagrees (e.g. Noam Chompsky).

Of the many ideas and stories that surface in my researching for the classes I teach, two persistent and wrong assumptions of our cherished belief systems emerge; separation and control. If enough people come to an understanding of how we have turned these two problems into the false notions of effective solutions (rugged individualism and safety through rigidly imposed social order) and not only realize but advance the logic of why and how these ideas do not work but, indeed, threaten civilization we might achieve the moral and principled world society that exists as potential in our children. This would take a great deal of care, energy and sacrifice. I do not feel optimistic. Of these two false assumptions, I have a sense that the problem of control presents the most easily brought to light. Charles Eisenstein has recently presented it clearly.

“The evident futility of the responses that we are capable of imagining also points to this deep ideological breakdown. The responses are all about more control. Yet control, as we may or may not realize, is a key thread of the old story of humanity rising above nature, imposing technology and reason on the wild world and the uncivilized human. All around us, we see our efforts at control backfiring: wars to fight terrorism breed terrorism, herbicides breed superweeds, antibiotics breed superbugs, psychiatric medications lead to explosive outbursts of violence.”    — Charles Eisenstein.

Humans did not come here from some supernatural paradise to which we will return once we’ve destroyed ourselves. Humans, like everything else on the planet, emerged from it. We emerged and evolved as social animals that perish without connection to the other humans in our group. At this point in our history, our group includes all of humanity. The notion that anyone has ever lived a full life solely on the merit of his or her own effort is preposterous. This isn’t to say that we should bear another’s burden at our own expense, but that we need one another to properly share the travails and joys of life. This cannot happen while we cling to false notions of superiority and separation. We cannot test a better idea until we stop beating up on children.


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