Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One for Mitt

Mr. Romney did well in this situation. One thing he does not seem to lose is his cool.

Taking questions from a (rather hostile) crowd, a confrontational woman told him that what makes her happy is free contraception.*

Mr. Romney waits while the little mob woo-hoos about that and then, calm, smiling and friendly, "Well, if you want free stuff, vote for the other guy. That's not what I'm about."

*A statement which says volumes about the corruption of the Republic.


Anonymous said...

IMHO, even better had Mr Romney added that according to the Declaration, happiness is not for government programmes to provide, but for individuals to pursue (presumably in voluntary assocations in civil society, and not only as solitary promenaders).

Even the Marxist tradition teaches that government is necessary because of the injustice of Selfs or individuals (they can't cooperate freely but only exploitationally), not because Selfs need government to labour vs scarcity for them and provide for their needs.

I suppose a socialist Self could fancy that a certain sort of artificial Self call'd "Government" could become the primary labourer, with the unartificial Selfs the stockholders or owners of this artificial Labourer. Along this line, the communist motto from Critique of the Gotha Programme should have been "From each only demands, and to each according to his or her demands."

Obviously the collapse of Communism makes impossible any proposal to set up government as producer of infinite affluence for each. Even JKG supposed only that technological economics exploiting selfish motives of selfish producers had achieved infinite productivity so that government could redistribute the wealth produced by technological labour. The JKG government is not itself a Labourer but only a redistributor of the fruits of the labour power of labourers more or less alienated from them by modern systems of ownership.

The free stuff funding that one looks to from government (subsidies for conservative farmers, plus some more subsidies for conservative farmers, as well as conservative ranchers using public lands for free or absurdly low fees; plus armament systems contracts for weaponry superintended by poorly pay'd soldier boys, and free prescriptions galore and medicare for the technologized medicine system, plus a few additional expenditure items) still depends upon Labour power that isn't government.

If the labouring isn't done in America, then it is done in China, and bought by OCOUs [our children owe you s]. Let's suppose that the labourers and labouring systems whose products various consumers get to consume according to their positions in the pipeline will continue to massively produce stuff no matter what.

But we can't seek value in the products of the system that are produced unequally and consumed unequally (with no necessary just proportion between labour and consumption): Labourers and labour power is emphatically slavish, instrumental. The culture isn't in the least respectful toward production let alone producers, labourers -- unless we go far afield via PBS into a nonWestern locale where some sort of traditional items are made. Shawls made by indigenous peoples should strike us with awe according to the better sort of college lecture halls and documentaries; but iPods may as well just happen at BestBuy.

Okay, then, but Selfs still merit 'free stuff' in their pursuit of happiness. How does this happen? How is value created by Selfs as they pursue happiness?

In his German Ideology Marx fancy'd that Selfs in the communist era would "hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, do critiques after dinner" but the contemporary arrangement seems to dispense with this, as though Marx had said not that "society regulates the general production" but that "labourers somewhere do a bunch of production" -- which makes it possible for me to use free stuff in the morning, use some other free stuff in the afternoon, use additional free stuff in the evening, and then send an after-dinner demand to the government for the free stuff I want next day."

We do not see value occurring via labour, but by getting and using free stuff.

Anonymous said...

Having voyaged to Japan in 1959, Kojève thought that formalist consumerism in Japan maintain'd a distinction of noble/base vis-a-vis "American" (also Communist) consumerism (Introduction to how to Lecture on Hegel, p. 161; addition to second edition publish'd in 1968).

I suppose it is in this sort of consideration that we should seek out the value, if any, in the prevailing economics.

For Kojève there is no meaning in Labour that isn't a conquest of nature; and since presentday labour isn't by a spirit in subjection to the object (ibid), there isn't any value in it. Superbusy careerist workaholism notwithstanding, then, »There is no longer fight nor work. History has come to its end. There is nothing more to _do_.« (quoted by Strauss, On Tyranny, p. 223, using the first edition of Kojève's Hegel book, which lacks the additional footnote on Japanese elevation).

In a curious intervention to the "American" equalitarian resolution of History, Friedan rally'd the girls of the educated class to achieve Recognition by career struggle in systems that had already lost all serious value for Mensch.

While I don't accept that the presence of women in a field inevitably drives men to abandon it; certainly this doesn't happen instantly, for we see the continuing presence of men and women in law profession and medicine. Nevertheless, the entry of women into the prestige careers and into factory work etc does mean that such employment can't be the expression of manhood, which may be convenient to various re-interpreters. (If the Bible leads to emancipation of women, then the Bible must be rejected.)

... We may say that the "Free Stuff" arrangement makes of each Self or each wise Self a "drone" in the sense emphasized by Strauss, for instance in his essay on Aristophanes' "Wasps" where the warrior wasps who grasp livelihood by stinging (setting political ego ideal against religious superego) object that stingless men who don't serve in war receive the pay of judges of jurymen (for instance in a jury judging the plea of John Galt) (Socrates and Aristophanes, pp. 127f).

We see then the sophisticated Jacob Klein who wishes to seem a drone (having the recognition of other Selfs for attaining wisdom -- being a slacker who does no work or war or struggle, but who enjoys free stuff of the fanciest sorts [cf the elevated Japanese consumerism that was to impress Kojève]). Strauss stings this drone by calling the name of "Nietzsche!" -- which drives Klein into the study of Heidegger (Strauss, Jewish Philosohy and the Cry-Sissy of Modernity, p. 450).

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