Saturday, July 19, 2003

Someone at Eschaton is getting all intellectual about fascism. But 'The Farmer' misses the point. Fascism does not begin—or return—with Bush or right wing republicans, but with a fixation on finding simple solutions to complex problems. In this country, at this time, the right wing is not alone in this. The left barely exists so I'll ignore it; the problem I'm talking about is with the mainstream.

Technocracy is a failure. The people who defend it, who speak as liberals, do so without being able to explain its purpose: progress? stability? money? What is the its first principle?
As I mentioned in passing here, the two most important SC decisions, Michigan and Texas, regardless of whether they contradict each other in terms of the the primacy of the individual, have in common the preservation of the market. Check out also—if you want—my comments on Jack Balkin's argument about symmetry, and my problems with Nathan Newman's dislike of judicial review.
All social organization is a game made up of rules, without rules, there is chaos; but there needs to be some flexibility. What those rules are does not matter, but they need to be respected just enough to keep the peace. [Scalia is a monarchist, the only problem is that he lives in a democracy, where the rules are flexible. In a monarchy on the other hand the flexibility is on the part of the king.] Nathan Newman is impatient with the rules. In this he has something in common with republicans, who value victory only. but Balkin, though he defends rules, as economists like Max Sawicky do, does not understand the reasoning behind them. As in his 'defense' of Posner, he defends the idea that if an argument can be made, it should be taken seriously. But idiots make arguments all the time. Balkin's respect for rules is a respect for the system as such. Its moderation, I have to ask, is a defense of what?
That is what Nathan would ask. The answer is: The Market. And again at this point, this is not a defense the inevitability of the market, of the inevitability of greed, but of its moral value, and there is a difference.

Watch every Hollywood movie, read every pop novel, or self conscious literary 'work of art' listen to any radio station, and you will not hear one defense of the moral value of the market. On the contrary, again and again, you will hear, along with the love songs and the stories about the importance of family: "Greed sucks, but give me the cash." The reason for the popularity of philosophical defenses of religion, or mysticism, or even Balkin's soggy defense of indeterminacy via the I Ching, stripped of any real weight, is the moral failure of the rationalism of the market. But these arguments persist. Liberal technocrats defend the morality of a culture that is producing nothing but screaming predictions of its own destruction. So what am I to say about the farmer's literary intellectual references on fascism? I'm not a Stalinist or a hypocrite. Greed is with us until we blow ourselves up, but isn't it an intellectual's job to find it—at the very least—distasteful? Read more on fascism: here and here

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