I’d like to have a real conversation with you so we can explore the differences in our ideas. Now, I understand that the nature of this forum makes this difficult, so here’s a proposal. I will start with an observation and a series of questions for you. You think about them and answer me in the comments section. Feel free to add your own observations and questions. I will then paste your reply into the main body of this post and reply in kind. We’ll continue this way for as long as we can keep things civil. There’s just one request I must insist upon: that, when you are asked a question, you give an actual reply. I will give you an affirmative answer to your questions, but only if you will do so in return. I do not want you trying to deflect the issue by asking me a question instead. Do we have an agreement? I hope so, as I would love the opportunity to hear you defend your position (no, seriously, I want to hear your reasoning).
Since you have already chosen Karl as your name, let me chose one for myself. I’ll use “Thomas.”
You tell me there is no such thing as a Natural Right. Supposing I accept this assertion for the sake of argument, could you tell me by what reasoning you attack the Capitalist? If there are no Natural Rights, then how can the Capitalist steal anything from the worker? Stealing would denote a right to something, but you have said there are no rights. Therefore, there can be no theft. Likewise, how can you claim the Capitalist is guilty of coercion? If there are no Natural Rights, then the worker has no right to his labor or even himself, therefore, there can be no moral value placed on the Capitalist’s actions. If he is coercing the worker, then the worker must be the weaker. In this sense, it would seem that the Capitalist is actually the more “evolved” between himself and the worker, and thus, the more preferred. Furthermore, if there are no rights, the Capitalist’s accumulation of wealth should be viewed as a virtue: a measure of his “evolution” above the worker. So I’ll ask you again: if there is no such thing as Natural Rights, how do you justify your attack against the Capitalist?
I’m not available all hours of the day.
The attack on the capitalist stems not from natural rights, but from the idea that one day the majority of human beings the working class, will get grinded in between the millstones of unemployment and low wages and decide that the bourgeoisie are not necesarry and in doing so, will become class conscious and engage in class struggle. This stems from what Marx theorized, was the way the world worked. So far the workers have yet to become class conscious and revolt, but it is still a beautiful ideal. They say capitalist fairy tales begin with the words “once upon a time,” and Marxist fairy tales begin with “onde day there will be a worker’s revolution.”
Marx said it is a, take if you can world, and right now the capitalist are taking, He theorized the workers would get fed up and start fighting back. There is no right and wrong aspect about. His theories say the bourgeoisie will try to justify their taking, and the worker’s would be wrong to actually heed the words of bourgeoisie philosophers, because the bourgeoisie philosophers would use their words to justify their actions.
Marxism isn’t about right and wrong, it is about competing interest, and class struggle.
The attack on the capitalist comes from the fact that I’m working class, I have seen the deplorable conditions of the working class and I have seen the amazing wealth and power of the bourgeoisie. As a member of the working class I seek for my class to hold more power in society, I see the bourgeosie as ineffective parasite holding the working class down. In essence working class interest are at odds with bourgeoisie interest.
OK, so you deny any question of right and wrong in the current situation. You say it is merely a matter of power and the struggle for more. I’ll accept that — for the sake of argument.
Now, answer me this. Why not just fight to become a Capitalist? You have just pointed out that the Capitalist is the one winning this struggle so far. This is an admission that the working class has not shown an ability to fight back. So it would seem that you are taking an irrational position: that of “hoping” for what has never been when you have a clear path to what you want that you, yourself, admit works. Therefore, the rational conclusion is for one to become a Capitalist and not sit around hoping for what has never been.
Next, you claim that the workers will unite as a class, but this is impossible. It is impossible because it rests upon a fictitious premise: that the working class is a single entity. In reality, there is no such thing as “the working class.” Even within the group of employees there are different “classes” that serve to prevent the collectivist movement for which you are “hoping.” The white collar worker will work against the blue collar union man, who will work against the wage laborer. Actual events have already demonstrated this to be true. But more to the point, the collective is a fiction designed to allow men such as Marx to write about how to control it. While, in reality, what Marx thinks of as a class is nothing more than a collection of individuals, and the only way to get a large group of individuals is to organize them. When it comes to production, you call that organizer a Capitalist and you hate him. But when it comes to trying to force your reality on the natural order of this world, he is called a dictator and you love and praise him. However, the result is always the same: your beloved “working class” remains oppressed. The only thing that changes is the person doing the oppressing.
Which brings us to my original accusation against your ideology: that you are merely looking for a justification for your greed. You want to take what others have earned (stolen in your view) and you want people to tell you that you were right to do so. And that is an indication of the Natural Law you refuse to acknowledge — because it shows you do have a conscience, and your conscience is telling you that you are wrong, but you refuse to acknowledge this inner law in favor of your own greedy and lust for power. If it were not the case, you — as a worker — would simply say “Oh, well, this is just the way things are.” But you don’t — because you feel you have suffered some sort of wrong, and that takes us right back to the morality issue.
Many people want a sense of purpose in life. I would like to work for my fellow man, rather than work for individual wealth. I see how the “free-market” allocates more resources on electronic gizmos and 72 inch HDTVs rather than far more pressing issues.
I want my work to have purpose, the “free-market” provides purposeless work and does not even compensate that well for it.
If I became a capitalist, my life would still be purposeless, rich and powerful, but without purpose.
Working class unity, MIGHT not be possible, the Leninist solution to this is a vanguard worker’s party to lead/force the workers into unity. I don’t know the answer to, or even the possibility of working class unity.
The capitalist organizes labor for the benefit of private profits. This is at odds with the interest of the working class. Profits do not equal what society needs or requires.
If it were not the case, you — as a worker — would simply say “Oh, well, this is just the way things are.”
Why would anyone ever utter such a thing, when there is a possibility of improving the situation?
The bourgeoise will accuse the other side of being greedy, and the other side will accuse the bourgeosie of being greedy. This is how class politics work. I reject any claims that I am greedy because I don’t respect private property claims. In Real life I do, because I’ll get arrested, but in theory private property is a shackle holding back the working class. Back in my libertarian days, i could not advocate socialism because I respected private property, but now, I see it as detrimental to the working class.
You are making value judgments again, and inherent in value judgments is the notion of what is right vs. what is wrong: otherwise known as morality. So, once again, you are really just trying to justify your definition of morality and, in the sense that you are willing to use force to enforce it, you are trying to be god (little g).
As for working for others: who is to say the Capitalist is not working for others? If the owner of a company provides a service that makes the lives of his fellow man easier or more enjoyable and he grows wealthy from it, where is the harm in that? By your own words, you should see NOTHING wrong with that – yet you just assume that wherever someone has more than you, there must be oppression. I think the word you really want is “envy.”
Now, as to your question about the worker’s class “might” not be possible: can you show me one time in history when it has ever existed? NO! So unicorns “might” not be possible, but if I desire them to exist, I can tape horns on horses until they start growing them. And as to the vanguard: you reveal your greed and envy by supporting the use of force (i.e. the same oppression you fight against when you see the Capitalist doing it) to better your lot in life, yet all you do is swap one master for another. I think that leaves you just as “purposeless” as when you started.
Finally, you suggest that you can improve your situation? How? For you, the answer always seems to be measured against material gain, but purpose is not a material thing. Doesn’t a monk have purpose? Yet he swears a vow of poverty. But you say you do not respect private property claims. OK, then why worry about trying to improve your lot in life? Since you cannot claim property, if you gain it, I can come take it for my needs – thus, leaving you back where you started. And if there is no private property, how will you improve your lot in the first place as no one will work when they get no reward, thus there will be nothing to share.
Karl, my friend, we’ve had three round of this now and every time I have used your reasoning to turn your own words against you. I can do this all day long – no matter what you come up with. The secret is, if you understood the issues, you could do the same to me. This is because logic and reason are useless when it comes to establishing matters of right and wrong. The truth is, you are envious and greedy, but we all are – to a point. However, you have allowed it to turn your reason against you. Rather than looking for ways to improve your lot in life by serving your fellow man, you waste your time and energy trying to justify what is nothing more than theft, and that will never succeed because it can’t – it violates natural law. So why don’t you try what has been shown to work throughout human history and work within that law?