Sunday, February 28, 2012 — Made For Each Other: The Conservative Love Affair with Communism and How It Is Destroying Us

This is a blog, not an aca­d­e­mic paper, and the con­tent is dri­ven by per­sonal pas­sion. I am very angry about what is hap­pen­ing to my coun­try, and to North Amer­i­can soci­ety as a whole, and this blog will not be tem­per­ate in tone.

Con­tem­plate the fol­low­ing details very closely, because they are what is planned for you.

You are an employee in a fac­tory. You have no union. Any­one who attempts to form one, or even casu­ally speaks of the pos­si­bil­ity, will be arrested and sent to a con­cen­tra­tion camp. In fact, all sorts of polit­i­cal and reli­gious dis­si­dents are sent to camps, where they are often dis­as­sem­bled for med­ical parts [1]. This sug­gests cau­tion is in order. Any­way, the issue never comes up, for noth­ing along those lines has ever hap­pened in your fac­tory, and you have no notion of how work­ers could chal­lenge or influ­ence any­thing. Your employer mon­i­tors and con­trols every aspect of your per­sonal life. You have no “pri­vate” life. You are unmar­ried, and will remain so. You live in sex­u­ally seg­re­gated bar­racks. There is lit­tle free time to do any­thing about it, any­way, because your work shifts occupy most of your time awake. If there is a sud­den need for some change in pro­duc­tion, you are roused by supe­ri­ors at four in the morn­ing and sent to the assem­bly line. If you are injured on the job, or expo­sure to pol­lu­tants ren­ders you inca­pable of work­ing, you are sim­ply thrown out with­out com­pen­sa­tion. You earn a pit­tance. The shiny prod­ucts you pro­duce are for export, and you could not afford to buy any of them. Not that you care. All you are con­cerned with is keep­ing this “good” job, which is actu­ally one of the cov­eted ones. All the other alter­na­tives are worse.

The fac­tory you work in is gleam­ing and new. All the best archi­tects and engi­neers have been employed in build­ing it, and it is a mar­vel of pro­duc­tive effi­ciency. The cor­po­ra­tion incurred very low costs, and con­structed it in record time. There were no envi­ron­men­tal inquiries, no tedious legal bar­ri­ers, and no annoy­ing reg­u­la­tions to worry about, once the Party okayed the deal. Sev­eral thou­sand peo­ple lived on the selected site, but there is no “pri­vate prop­erty” in this set up, at least when it comes to ordi­nary peo­ple. The State owns all land. They were all cleared away at gun­point, and their homes bull­dozed. They now live in a shan­ty­town slum. Few of them were for­tu­nate enough to get jobs in the new fac­tory, like you were, so you give thanks for your good luck. What­ever the Cor­po­ra­tion needs to thrive is pro­vided by an omnipo­tent State, which owns and con­trols every­thing in the final analy­sis. It has at its dis­posal a huge army, a vig­or­ously active Secret Police, and a horde of local inform­ers who will rat on you if you step out of line. It con­trols all com­mu­ni­ca­tions, chooses who will be edu­cated and who will not, and makes sure that edu­ca­tion includes a com­pletely fic­ti­tious “his­tory”, with sub­stan­tial events sim­ply erased from the past. Life, even out­side work, is sex­u­ally repres­sive, rigid, and con­formist. A small “mid­dle class” of tech­ni­cal pro­fes­sion­als, man­agers and Party offi­cials has access to a much more pleas­ant lifestyle, shops in shop­ping malls, goes to amuse­ment parks, looks up things on the (heav­ily cen­sored) Inter­net. Their life is a lot looser, but they are adept at feel­ing out the lim­its that they must stay within, which con­stantly shift with state pol­icy. Any­way, things for this group are immea­sur­ably bet­ter now than they were in the past, and they are not going to “rock the boat.” How­ever, as an ordi­nary indus­trial worker, this does not con­cern you. You have no access to any of these priv­i­leges and you don’t expect to ever have, though you main­tain a dim hope that your “good” job will enable you to keep your fam­ily from sink­ing back into the squalor of your native vil­lage. Any­way, you have lit­tle to com­pare with. The events of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion were so hor­ri­ble, that your par­ents won’t even talk about them. As far as every­one around you is con­cerned, things just keep get­ting bet­ter and better.

This, of course, is the Con­ser­v­a­tive Utopia, the kind of soci­ety that every Con­ser­v­a­tive intel­lec­tual yearns for, and con­tem­plates with saliva drip­ping from their lips. It’s called “Com­mu­nism.” The work­ing con­di­tions described above are not from some dystopian sci­ence fic­tion novel. They are the recently doc­u­mented con­di­tions in some of the most pres­ti­gious facil­i­ties of global cor­po­ra­tions man­u­fac­tur­ing in China. Any­one famil­iar with China knows that con­di­tions in many other Chi­nese fac­to­ries are much worse.

Com­mu­nism is an ultra-conservative ide­ol­ogy pro­mot­ing exploita­tion, slav­ery, and geno­cide. It has no con­nec­tion what­so­ever with any­thing pro­gres­sive, demo­c­ra­tic, egal­i­tar­ian, or “lib­eral.” It is, how­ever, very closely con­nected to the mod­ern Con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, which emerged in the United States dur­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, sat­u­rated Amer­i­can life, and was sub­se­quently exported in var­i­ous per­mu­ta­tions to other coun­tries (includ­ing my own, Canada). It is this con­nec­tion that I intend to explore. It’s a very inti­mate con­nec­tion, which has resulted in the trans­feral of most of North America’s wealth to the Com­mu­nist Party, a decades-long process that is now almost com­plete. Con­ven­tional polit­i­cal thought con­tin­ues to rep­re­sent Con­ser­v­a­tives as ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­nents of Com­mu­nism. Noth­ing in the events of the last few decades sup­ports this mind­lessly repeated notion.

When you look at the many zeal­ous Con­ser­v­a­tive ide­o­log­i­cal mis­sion­ar­ies, you are see­ing exact repli­cas of the Com­mu­nist Party appa­ratchiki that once preyed on East­ern Europe, like so many were­wolves. Peo­ple such as Bill O’Reilly or Ann Coul­ter are Com­mu­nism incar­nate, per­fect exam­ples of ruth­less, morally cor­rupt ide­o­log­i­cal fanat­ics claim­ing to voice the revealed “laws” of his­tory and eco­nom­ics, obliv­i­ous to any human suf­fer­ing, con­temp­tu­ous of the “weak­ness” of those they would destroy, and will­ing to tell any lie to advance their cause. Like most such loud pub­lic bul­lies, they are snivel­ing cow­ards in real life. Any per­son who grew up in a Com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor­ship would rec­og­nize them in an instant. The Con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment that con­sol­i­dated in the 1970s, in great part inspired by the philoso­pher Leo Strauss, attracted exactly the same kind of per­son­al­i­ties as the Com­mu­nist Party did in an ear­lier gen­er­a­tion. Ruth­less, vin­dic­tive, back-stabbing zealots who crave the thrill of telling lies and manip­u­lat­ing peo­ple. (Strauss, in fact, openly taught the virtue of telling lies, as Lenin did.) Many were old Marx­ists, anx­ious to jump from a sink­ing ship with­out the incon­ve­nience of actu­ally chang­ing their ideas. These drew heav­ily on that ear­lier move­ment for both their tac­ti­cal meth­ods and their ide­o­log­i­cal under­pin­nings. In short, Com­mu­nism was rebranded and remar­keted with the label “Con­ser­v­a­tive.” The most appro­pri­ate term for this move­ment would be “Neo-Communism.”

But the main dan­ger to our free­dom is not from loud-mouthed colum­nists and ide­o­logues, or even Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. They are merely shlubbs who take orders from on high. What really does dam­age is the solid core of wealthy and pow­er­ful peo­ple who drive the Con­ser­v­a­tive agenda in our soci­ety. These are not “true believ­ers,” but cyn­i­cal, cold, cal­cu­lat­ing experts, who know where their inter­ests lie. They cre­ate an atmos­phere of ide­o­log­i­cal fait accom­pli in the major insti­tu­tions of our soci­ety, whether busi­ness, indus­try, edu­ca­tion, civil ser­vice, or gov­ern­ment. They have built an enor­mous stock of glib asser­tions and for­mu­lae, with which they can move any insti­tu­tion in the direc­tion they want. Few oppo­nents get past this bluff­ing stuff, which is equiv­a­lent to the spu­ri­ous “sci­ence” of Dialec­tic Mate­ri­al­ism, or the con­vo­luted the­ol­ogy of the Mid­dle Ages.

Con­ser­v­a­tives, like Com­mu­nists, are always talk­ing in code. When they talk about the “need to be com­pet­i­tive in a global econ­omy,” or the neces­sity of fac­ing “eco­nomic real­i­ties,” it is a disin­gen­u­ous code for “we will not be con­tent until the aver­age Amer­i­can and Cana­dian is reduced to the kind of exploita­tion and degra­da­tion that the Chi­nese worker suf­fers, and we will not be stopped until we achieve this goal.” That degra­da­tion is, in fact, their ulti­mate aim and ideal. Com­mu­nism, and the kind of oppres­sion that Com­mu­nism means for the aver­age human being, is the final and com­plete polit­i­cal expres­sion of Con­ser­v­a­tive values.

Long ago, in this blog, I heaped jus­ti­fied scorn on those who claimed that the rul­ing Party in Bei­jing had “aban­doned Com­mu­nism,” and that democ­racy in China was just around the cor­ner, part of an inevitable process of reform that should not be tam­pered with by ques­tion­ing the Party’s poli­cies or motives. In 2007, I wrote :

It is this hold on cen­tral power that is the heart of the Com­mu­nist ide­ol­ogy, not some par­tic­u­lar arrange­ment of man­age­ment pol­icy. If the regime chooses the looser option, it is not any less Com­mu­nist, and it is not in any sig­nif­i­cant way chang­ing its ide­ol­ogy. Much non­sense has been writ­ten about China “aban­don­ing Com­mu­nism”. This is not even remotely the case. Any­one who is naively wait­ing for “demo­c­ra­tic reforms” to blos­som in the regime will wait for eter­nity. As long as the cash flows in abun­dance, from global cor­po­rate and state trans­ac­tions, the Com­mu­nist aris­toc­racy will never vol­un­tar­ily relin­quish their power. Why should they? What would make them? In fact, the Party in Bei­jing has made it per­fectly plain that any move­ment toward democ­racy among the peo­ple of China will be swiftly and bru­tally crushed. This will not change. Ever.

I think my point can be taken as proven. For a long time, much was made of the notion that the emer­gence of a “mid­dle class” by itself auto­mat­i­cally set in motion a process of dem­o­criti­za­tion. There were few con­vinc­ing his­tor­i­cal exam­ples of this, but it was much repeated. But after decades of wait­ing, this was more or less set aside. Claims that China was democ­ra­tiz­ing, how­ever slowly, had already worn pretty thin when I wrote that piece. They were rit­u­ally trot­ted out by politi­cians when they made another trib­u­tary pil­grim­age to Bei­jing, in order to shrug off ques­tions about human rights. Now, the bulk of com­men­tary assumes that, as long as China devel­opes a “mar­ket econ­omy,” democ­racy and human rights are mere trim­ming, nice things that will prob­a­bly “evolve” in some remote future, but are not really impor­tant. Few imag­ine that China will “democ­ra­tize” or “lib­er­al­ize” sig­nif­i­cantly any time soon, and even fewer care. Progress is to be mea­sured by sky­scrap­ers and indus­trial out­put, not be human free­dom. This, of course, is the inevitable con­se­quence of assert­ing the pri­macy of eco­nomic struc­ture over both moral­ity and polit­i­cal forms. This asser­tion under­pins both Marx­ist and Con­ser­v­a­tive ideologies.

What fas­ci­nates and attracts Con­ser­v­a­tives is not China’s poten­tial for demo­c­ra­tic progress, but some­thing much more resem­bling the stuff that devoted Com­mu­nists used to preach: China’s rise as the next global eco­nomic super­power, taken as self-evident, and inevitable. His­tory (rei­fied and per­son­i­fied, in the tra­di­tional Marx­ist fash­ion) is On The March, and the drum­beat is to be set by the Com­mu­nist Party.

Con­ser­v­a­tives are keen to pro­mote this notion, but it con­flicts with the tra­di­tional mum­mery of “anti-communism” ped­dled in the domes­tic tent-show. The trick, then, is to avoid say­ing the words “Com­mu­nist Party.” The bulk of dis­cus­sion in the media merely refers to “China”. Few notice the dif­fer­ence. In my writ­ings, I’ve always been care­ful never to refer to any polit­i­cal or eco­nomic activ­ity by the Com­mu­nist Party of the Peo­ples Repub­lic of China as being done by “China” or “the Chi­nese.” I am on the side of the peo­ple of China, who are quite dis­tinct from the crim­i­nal scum who rule over and exploit them. You will never hear me refer to these crim­i­nals as “China”. They are the Com­mu­nist Party, and should always be called by that name, and by no other.

His­tori­cism ― the doc­trine that some par­tic­u­lar polit­i­cal entity is mys­ti­cally fore-ordained and des­tined to rule ― is a clas­sic com­po­nent of Marx­ist and National Social­ist think­ing, and has been applied to every empire-on-the-make. His­tori­cism has always appealed to the greedy and power-hungry, who are eager to re-inforce the notion that they’ve hopped on the right band­wagon. In 2012, the right band­wagon is the (dis­cretely unnamed) Com­mu­nist Party. Every­one eager to make a buck, or pro­tect their bucks, is going to pro­claim that its supremacy was pre-ordained, is unstop­pable, inevitable, and right. See what hap­pens if you sug­gest, in any respectable pub­lic forum, that a pub­lic pol­icy be pur­sued in the United States or Canada that in any way con­flicts with the pros­per­ity and future dom­i­nance of the Com­mu­nist Party. The cho­rus of denun­ci­a­tion will be defean­ing, and it will be tricked out in the “mar­ket” ver­sion of pre­des­ti­na­tion, lit­tle dif­fer­ent from the old Marx­ist his­tori­cism. If the prod­ucts exported from China are cheap because the peo­ple of China are crim­i­nally exploited, experts in the media will insist, the solu­tion can never be to pre­vent or limit the pur­chase of goods pro­duced by crime. Peo­ple who down­load a copy of a tv show from the inter­net are deadly men­aces whom the tax­payer must pay to hunt down and pros­e­cute, but some­one who locks a hun­dred women in a fire­trap build­ing and chains them to their sewing machines, beat­ing them with a stick when they don’t pro­duce, and can deliver a cot­ton gar­ment for fifty cents to be sold here for fifty dol­lars, is not to be hin­dered in any way. The rea­son given is always lit­tle more than some indi­rect way of stat­ing that the whole world must con­form to the stan­dards, poli­cies and morals of the Com­mu­nist Party, because its supe­ri­or­ity and des­tined supremacy is inevitable and unstop­pable. Again, it is polit­i­cal Con­ser­v­a­tives who most con­sis­tently put forth this argu­ment, echoed by cor­po­rate power and the rich in general.

For us to under­stand how this ide­o­log­i­cal imper­a­tive has been fol­lowed, I will have to make clear who most ben­e­fits from the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. It is not the peo­ple of the United States and Canada, nor is it the peo­ple of China. It is a small group of indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies who con­sti­tute the global aris­toc­racy. The present global aris­toc­racy, who pos­sess wealth unimag­in­able to any ordi­nary per­son, include a hand­ful of tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tors who built indus­tries, but the over­whelm­ing major­ity of them are mem­bers of ancient Euro­pean aris­to­cratic fam­i­lies, old Com­mu­nist Party gang­sters, scions of the third world mon­archs who were installed by the colo­nial pow­ers (such as the Saudis), drug lords, arms deal­ers, stock mar­ket and real estate manip­u­la­tors, or mil­i­tary thugs sit­ting on valu­able chunks of nat­ural resources. The cor­ner­stone of the global econ­omy, the oil indus­try, which directly or indi­rectly deter­mines the nature of every trans­ac­tion on earth, is owned over­whelm­ingly by hered­i­tary nobil­ity, mil­i­tary dic­ta­tors, or ex-KGB goons.

This is not, how­ever, how the mem­bers of this aris­toc­racy view them­selves, or like to talk about them­selves. Every one of this mangy assort­ment sees them­self as a sort of Ran­dian super-hero ― a per­son who deserves every penny of their wealth because of the inate supe­ri­or­ity they pos­sess as a mem­ber of the “cre­ative class.” The more obvi­ously these “cre­ative” super­men acquired their wealth through inher­i­tance or crime, the more aggres­sively they will pro­mote them­selves as a mer­i­toc­racy. This is echoed even more vocif­er­ously by the small fry, the par­venus aching to join the upper echelons.

This psy­chol­ogy can be shown with a very small exam­ple. Leo Den­nis Kozlowski was the CEO of Tyco Inter­na­tional from 1976 to 2002, and was briefly among the wealth­i­est men in the United States. Tyco Inter­na­tional was a hold­ing com­pany that may, in its early days, have financed and nur­tured some cre­ative endeav­ors, but by the time Kozlowski became CEO it grew fat by buy­ing up com­pa­nies, strip­ping them of their assets, and destroy­ing them. Tyco absorbed over a thou­sand com­pa­nies in this way, in fields as var­ied as fiber-optic cable and dis­pos­able dia­pers. Those that were not shut down were agres­sively “down­sized,” their Amer­i­can employ­ees elim­i­nated, the remain­ing jobs exported. Kozlowski, in this way, sub­tracted a con­sid­er­able amount of pro­duc­tive indus­try from the Amer­i­can econ­omy. For this achieve­ment, he was the object of gush­ing admi­ra­tion among Con­ser­v­a­tives colum­nists, and graced the cover of Busi­ness Week. Fewer jobs for uppity, demand­ing Amer­i­cans, and more jobs for obe­di­ent and con­trol­lable Chi­nese work­ers! More Amer­i­can pro­duc­tion was being elim­i­nated. Kozlowski was another hero push­ing the heavy wagon of his­tory down the cor­rect path of des­tiny. But the only “cre­ativ­ity” that Kozlowski brought to the enter­prise was the inspi­ra­tion of team­ing up with CFO Mark Schwartz, who helped him cook the com­pany books and steal a hun­dred and fifty mil­lion dol­lars from share­hold­ers. Even within the lim­its of what’s legal, share­hold­ers ended up pay­ing for the $6,000 shower cur­tains in our hero’s $30,000,000 apart­ment, a $15,000 umbrella stand, and a mil­lion dol­lar birth­day party graced with a life-sized ice sculp­ture of Michelangelo’s David uri­nat­ing Stolich­naya vodka. Nev­er­the­less, when Kozlowski sur­pris­ingly faced prison for his crim­i­nal activ­i­ties, he was widely regarded as a mar­tyr in the busi­ness press. He cer­tainly regarded him­self as such. From his pub­lic pro­nounce­ments, it is appar­ent that he con­sid­ered him­self the supreme exam­ple of the innately supe­rior per­son, the quin­tes­sence of the “cre­ative class,” a noble exam­ple of the aris­toc­racy of merit brought down by the jeal­ousy and resent­ment of the rab­ble. Didn’t they know that he deserved a $15,000 umbrella stand, and that mere laws and reg­u­la­tions should never have stood between him and and its acqui­si­tion? Mul­ti­ply Kozlowski a thou­sand times, and you get the clam­or­ing horde of self-styled “entre­pre­neurs” who have strip-mined the Amer­i­can and Cana­dian economies, and you get an idea of the tone on the pre­car­i­ous fringes of the global aris­toc­racy. Greg Palast, a jour­nal­ist who uncov­ers busi­ness and stock mar­ket fraud, once asked a par­tic­u­larly loath­some bil­lion­aire why he both­ered going to con­sid­er­able trou­ble, merely to devise a com­pli­cated fraud that robbed a few hun­dred dol­lars worth of fuel from every­one who lived on an impov­er­ished Indian reser­va­tion. His answer: “Because I want every penny that’s com­ing to me.” There are hun­dreds of this type, small fry with a few hun­dred mil­lions, but they remain inse­cure. The really wealthy and the really pow­er­ful have less neu­ro­sis and more con­fi­dence in the per­ma­nence and inher­i­tabil­ity of their power. They gen­er­ally do not pub­licly boast about how cre­ative they are. But they hold, in the long run, the same sense of entitlement.

Nor do these upper ech­e­lons bother to talk among them­selves about the “free mar­ket”, which is always good for impress­ing the yokels, but is not taken seri­ously. Any­one who imag­ines that the rich believe in the mer­its of com­pe­ti­tion or free mar­kets is, to put it bluntly, a fool. Com­pe­ti­tion and free mar­kets can poten­tially take away wealth from the already wealthy. Nobody who has real wealth or exer­cises real power wants any kind of free mar­ket to exist. “Free mar­ket” rhetoric among the rich is merely the equiv­a­lent of “social jus­tice” blather from Marx­ists. Nei­ther group ever has, or ever will, have the slight­est inter­est in these con­cepts, except as pro­pa­ganda tools. When pro­test­ers take aris­to­cratic claims at face value, and imag­ine that they are fight­ing against “free mar­ket cap­i­tal­ism,” or some such non­sense, instead of against ordi­nary, his­tor­i­cally tried-and-true aris­toc­racy, they pro­foundly mis­un­der­stand the nature of power. They then have lit­tle hope of suc­cess­fully fight­ing it.

Con­ser­v­a­tive ide­ol­o­gists are, in fact, no more sup­port­ive of a free mar­ket than was Lenin or Mao. They aggres­sively oppose the three most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of a free market.

The first prin­ci­ple of gen­uine free mar­ket the­ory is that a free mar­ket can only exist among a free peo­ple. Polit­i­cal free­dom and democ­racy are the fun­da­men­tal pre­req­ui­sites of any free mar­ket. The Con­ser­v­a­tive doc­trine is quite the oppo­site, that polit­i­cal democ­racy is irrel­e­vant to the mar­ket, and that “eco­nomic free­dom” (mean­ing the unhin­dered activ­ity of cor­po­ra­tions and aris­to­crats) can exist inde­pen­dently of polit­i­cal free­dom. Thus, the econ­omy of Augusto Pinochet’s dic­ta­tor­ship in Chile, in which slices of the pie were divided among Pinochet’s rel­a­tives, in exactly the same way that the slices of the pie in Cuba are divided among Fidel Castro’s rel­a­tives, was nev­er­the­less uni­ver­sally described as a “free mar­ket” economy!

The sec­ond prin­ci­ple is what is called the “level play­ing field”, by which is meant that trade in a free mar­ket requires all par­tic­i­pants to be sub­ject to the same rules. Con­ser­v­a­tive doc­trine insists that there should be no “level play­ing field,” that Amer­i­can and Cana­dian work­ers in a democ­racy should “com­pete” with slaves in slave labour camps, or peas­ants bru­tal­ized by tor­ture and ter­ror, and that these dif­fer­ences merely amount to juris­dic­tional vagaries within “the market”.

The third prin­ci­ple is that the par­tic­i­pants in a free mar­ket must be indi­vid­u­als, each account­able for their actions, each respon­si­ble for their out­comes. The very con­cept of a mod­ern cor­po­ra­tion, of course, vio­lates this prin­ci­ple, as it attrib­utes “per­son­hood” to an abstract col­lec­tive entity, one that can­not be held account­able in any real sense, or face real pun­ish­ment for wrong-doing. Any of the injus­tices and inef­fi­cien­cies that Friedrich von Hayek iden­ti­fied in the “com­mand economies” of the total­i­tar­ian State log­i­cally apply to the equally cen­tral­ized “com­mand economies” of cor­po­ra­tions. (Hayek’s argu­ments were based on the nature of infor­ma­tion flow in any col­lec­tive orga­ni­za­tion. If inef­fi­ciency and injus­tice are innate to a “state” with a bud­get of a bil­lion dol­lars, then the same inher­ent prob­lems apply to a cor­po­ra­tion with a bud­get of a bil­lion dol­lars.) Mod­ern Con­ser­v­a­tives not only espouse this kind of bla­tant col­lec­tivism, they extend it to its log­i­cal end: the Com­mu­nist Party is seen as just another cor­po­ra­tion, a con­stituent part of the Mar­ket. You or I might be tarred with the sin of “social­ism” if we joined in a union, or even opened a con­sumer co-op. But the Com­mu­nist Party itself, guilty of mass-murder and crim­i­nal­ity on a vast scale, cen­trally planned and claim­ing the absolute own­er­ship of a bil­lion human beings, is a mem­ber in good stand­ing of the “free mar­ket.” All you have to do is add “Inc.” to the end of “Com­mu­nist Party” and the logic works out thus: the Com­mu­nist Party is a legit­i­mate cor­po­rate part of the free mar­ket; mar­ket forces reward con­sol­i­da­tion and cen­tral­iza­tion; if mar­ket forces made the Com­mu­nist Party the sole eco­nomic entity, then that would be quite within the rules; ergo, the ulti­mate expres­sion of the Free Mar­ket can be total con­trol of the world by the Com­mu­nist Party. But the argu­ment is never car­ried that far, because it would expose its inbuilt absur­dity. Besides, it is all just agit­prop. The “free mar­ket” is merely a rhetor­i­cal tool for bam­boo­zling the suckers.

The “un-level play­ing field” is more than just a con­tra­dic­tion in Con­ser­v­a­tive rhetoric. It is the prin­ci­ple tool that Con­ser­v­a­tives have used to destroy the pro­duc­tive economies of the United States and Canada, and to trans­fer their wealth to the pre­ferred polit­i­cal entity, the Com­mu­nist Party. The pro­duc­tive indus­try of the United States and Canada has been sys­tem­at­i­cally dis­man­tled over the last gen­er­a­tion. The United States is bank­rupt (in truth, if not in name), with a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of its astro­nom­i­cal debt in the hands of the Com­mu­nist Party, and much of the rest scat­tered among an assort­ment of dic­ta­tors, kings, and gang­sters. Canada is in bet­ter fis­cal shape, but it’s pro­duc­tive indus­try is under the same kind of attack through its cur­rent Con­ser­v­a­tive Party admin­is­tra­tion. Prime Min­is­ter Harper (freshly back from a grov­el­ing trip to Bei­jing) is eager to have it return to its colo­nial sta­tus as a back­woods exporter of nat­ural resources. Plans are afoot to hand over con­trol of key Cana­dian nat­ural resources to a PRC state enter­prise. Mean­while, every Con­ser­v­a­tive party pol­icy con­sis­tently side­lines indus­try. Our once most cre­ative indus­trial cor­po­ra­tion, Research In Motion (with its ground­break­ing Black­berry), is col­laps­ing in a sham­bles of man­age­r­ial chaos, which I sus­pect will turn out to be rooted in malfea­sance or finan­cial gut­ting. The great fac­to­ries that once ringed Toronto and Mon­treal are now mostly silent. Que­bec and Ontario, the country’s indus­trial heart­land, are not much bet­ter off than the United States.

The United States does not have the same bankroll of nat­ural resources, and has suf­fered longer rule by more fanat­i­cal Con­ser­v­a­tives. It’s indus­trial base is pretty much gone. Recently, when Pres­i­dent Obama invited the new CEO of Apple, Inc. to the White House, it is said that he asked him “what would it take for Apple to man­u­fac­ture the iPod in Amer­ica?” The answer he got sur­prised him, but it would not have sur­prised me. The mak­ing of an iPod by Amer­i­can work­ers would only add a triv­ial amount to its man­u­fac­tur­ing cost, eas­ily absorbed by a com­pany with such spec­tac­u­lar profit mar­gins — but it would never hap­pen. Why? Because there is no longer a func­tion­ing Amer­i­can sup­ply chain. The intri­cated web of sup­port­ing indus­tries, sub-industries and ser­vices that once made the United States the dom­i­nant indus­trial power of the world, a net­work built up by gen­er­a­tions of dynamic eco­nomic cre­ativ­ity, no longer exists. The last gen­er­a­tion has seen its com­plete dis­in­te­gra­tion. The oblit­er­a­tion of both America’s heavy indus­try, and the com­plex sup­ply chain that sup­ported it, is not the result of blind chance. It is the out­come of delib­er­ate pol­icy. I would con­tend that much of that pol­icy is made to please a global aris­toc­racy that has no par­tic­u­lar inter­est in the well-being or future of Amer­i­cans and Cana­di­ans, but has con­sid­er­able access to elected offi­cials. As long as the bulk of vot­ers are pre­oc­cu­pied with silly “per­son­al­ity” issues or reli­gious obses­sions, these eco­nomic poli­cies will be shaped with­out their knowledge.

With their chil­dren attend­ing Swiss schools, their houses in France or the Caribbean, and their emo­tional loy­al­ties with an inter­na­tional sub­cul­ture of wealth and pres­tige, the (tech­ni­cally) Amer­i­can and Cana­dian rich don’t much worry about most domes­tic issues. But they do care about tax­a­tion. No mat­ter how lit­tle they pay after the appro­pri­ate off-shoring, kick­backs, exemp­tions and spe­cial priv­i­leges, it is a point of Aris­to­cratic Hon­our to resist even the impli­ca­tion that they should pay. Out come the sound bites about the men­ace of “social­ism.” It is cus­tom­ary to inform us that “the fall of the Soviet Union demon­strated that redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth leads to dis­as­ter.” This is typ­i­cal Con­ser­v­a­tive sophistry, based on a mix­ture of mys­ti­cal rev­e­la­tion, fan­tasy, and lies. No Com­mu­nist regime ever “redis­trib­uted” any­thing, except in the sense that the Com­mu­nist aris­toc­racy stole every­thing from every­one and gave it to them­selves. The Soviet Union did not fall because it was gen­er­ous to its peo­ple, or because it taxed the rich. The Soviet rich lived in fab­u­lous lux­ury, the aver­age Soviet cit­i­zen lived in squalor. The few soci­eties in the world that do prac­tice a sig­nif­i­cant amount of “redis­trib­u­tive” tax­a­tion, such as the Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries, are democ­ra­cies, and are also pros­per­ous soci­eties, with a higher stan­dard of liv­ing than the U.S. or Canada, and thriv­ing com­merce and man­u­fac­tur­ing. Curi­ously, the evils of “social­ism,” are never on the table when it comes to China and its Com­mu­nist Party.

Sim­i­lar sophistries appear when it comes to the mas­sive unem­ploy­ment and under-employment that has appeared in the United States, and the less dra­matic, but still wor­ri­some under-employment in Canada. Con­ser­v­a­tives insist that we must never tax the wealthy, because they are the “cre­ative ele­ment” of the soci­ety that “makes the jobs” for us. When we ask in turn, “so where are the jobs we used to have, in fac­to­ries and lab­o­ra­to­ries, rather than in burger restau­rants?” they quickly change their tone. In the man­ner of a par­ent dis­miss­ing a whin­ing child, they scold: “those jobs are never com­ing back again.” End of dis­cus­sion. Appar­ently we must not tax them for fear that they will not “give” us the jobs that they are not cre­at­ing any­way, and have no inten­tion of cre­at­ing. In real­ity, as the United States and Canada have acquired greater and greater income dif­fer­en­tials, with the wealth­i­est stra­tum get­ting more and more absurdly well off, these same peo­ple have not only refused to make any sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment in pro­duc­tion in our coun­tries, they have sys­tem­at­i­cally destroyed what pro­duc­tion we had.

There are sev­eral ways to get wealthy. One is sim­ple enough: steal stuff. Much of his­tory con­sists of aris­toc­ra­cies sim­ply plun­der­ing what­ever is avail­able. The peas­ants grow the crops because they must, if they hope to sur­vive. Aris­to­crats ride in with swords and armour, and take it. If they’re espe­cially clever, they leave enough so that some peas­ants sur­vive and grow more crops; or they make a “pro­tec­tion deal” where they steal a lit­tle bit less than the aris­to­crat down the road, and promise to keep him from com­ing in. On such pro­tec­tion rack­ets, the basic Con­ser­v­a­tive world­view was founded. In return for not being killed, the bulk of human beings sub­mit to rule by a “nat­ural” aris­toc­racy, gen­er­ally hered­i­tary, always deferred to and priv­i­leged above the com­mon crowd. The his­tory books write about them (and pretty much only them), and they get to be the “real” peo­ple, while the rest of us are dis­pos­able spear-carriers.

Another way, much more dif­fi­cult, and char­ac­ter­is­tic of rel­a­tively free peo­ple, is to cre­ate things of value and trade them to other peo­ple, who also cre­ate things of value. This is a lot of work, requires you to be rel­a­tively smart, and can­not be achieved merely by being born of the right fam­ily. It also requires you to deal justly and fairly with other peo­ple. If you are inclined to Con­ser­v­a­tive ide­ol­ogy, this part is par­tic­u­larly oner­ous, because deal­ing fairly with peo­ple requires you to treat them as equals, and under­mines the fun­da­men­tal Con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues of rank and def­er­ence. Hon­est trade of this kind does not involve the thrill of dom­i­nance and bul­ly­ing, the delights of theft, and the orgas­mic rush of hav­ing peo­ple grovel before you. The wealth that you get this way is not much fun. It cer­tainly doesn’t appeal to some­one who feels an urgent need for an ice–David that pisses vodka.

If you are a true Con­ser­v­a­tive, and a suc­cess­ful aris­to­crat, the ideal way of get­ting wealth, which does not involve the incon­ve­nient risk of fight­ing for it, and the unsat­is­fy­ing bore­dom of work­ing for it, is to posi­tion your­self some­where where the wealth flows through you. Money must move, in large amounts, from one place to another, pass­ing through you, cre­at­ing the world of lux­ury and pres­tige that you crave. This requires there to be an “upstream” and a “down­stream.” When local economies are dynamic and cre­ative, in a demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety, they are con­stantly re-absorbing their own cap­i­tal. Wealth is being cre­ated in great quan­tity, but it is always being re-invested. It is always being used, and it always group­ing and regroup­ing in unpre­dictable pat­terns among a great num­ber of peo­ple. Peo­ple in gen­eral are pros­per­ing. In an eco­nom­i­cally cre­ative soci­ety, it is actu­ally quite dif­fi­cult for any­one to accu­mu­late a huge per­sonal for­tune. A pro­duc­tive econ­omy, the kind that pro­duces the com­plex and adapt­able sup­ply chain that the United States and Canada once had, has bet­ter uses for money than $16,000 umbrella stands and vodka-pissing stat­ues. Such things are char­ac­ter­is­tic of back­ward, prim­i­tive soci­eties, ruled by sleazy mon­archs and inbred nobil­ity, not advanced economies. A thriv­ing, dynamic, free econ­omy can­not be eas­ily “milked” by a small coterie of wealthy aristocrats.

So the free econ­omy has to go ― the real one, that is, not the erzatz one ped­dled by Con­ser­v­a­tives. The United States, Canada, and a hand­ful of other coun­tries have accu­mu­lated a tremen­dous amount of cap­i­tal over many gen­er­a­tions. This cap­i­tal has been gen­er­ated by demo­c­ra­tic and egal­i­tar­ian val­ues, and the bulk of it is in a mul­ti­plic­ity of small enter­prises, and the homes and sav­ings of mil­lions of ordi­nary peo­ple. Much was invested in infra­struc­ture, all directed at the use of the bulk of the pop­u­la­tion. These coun­tries were con­structed, polit­i­cally, for their ordi­nary peo­ple, and their economies were designed to serve ordi­nary peo­ple. To unlock the money, and get it to flow rapidly into the hands of a few, these extremely diverse and pro­duc­tive economies have to cease being pro­duc­tive, and become pas­sive con­sumer soci­eties. It is spend­ing, espe­cially spend­ing on imports, that gets cap­i­tal to move through a small num­ber of hands in amaz­ing quan­ti­ties. Easy con­sumer credit, cou­pled with cur­tailed invest­ment in infra­struc­ture, and large-scale mil­i­tary spend­ing get the ball rolling. But to main­tain a fast pace of divest­ment, every fac­tory must be shut down, every cre­ative avenue sti­fled, every new man­u­fac­tur­ing enter­prise nipped in the bud. If this can be done, then mil­lions of pro­duc­tive peo­ple can be stripped of their sav­ings, their hard-won social ser­vices and risk-reduction sys­tems, their homes, their mod­est plea­sures, and their self respect. All this vast cap­i­tal will pass through a small num­ber of hands. The “un-level play­ing field” takes care of this. Pro­duc­tion ceases to ben­e­fit mil­lions in democ­ra­cies, and is refit­ted to ben­e­fit the few in Con­ser­v­a­tive, anti-democratic societies.

I came to under­stand the true nature of Con­ser­vatism when I stud­ied vil­lage life in India. Not only under its medieval rulers, and under the thumb of the British Empire, but well into the post-independence era, the rural Indian vil­lage remained a caste-ridden soci­ety, dom­i­nated by true Con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues. In such vil­lages, a small class of Brah­mins, aris­to­crats by birth, lived quite well. Their dom­i­nance was firmly sup­ported by reli­gious ortho­doxy and tra­di­tion. They were the “real” peo­ple, who also saw them­selves as inher­ently “cre­ative.” A small layer of skilled arti­sans sup­plied them with the req­ui­site amuse­ments and lux­u­ries, in exchange for a slight improve­ment in pres­tige. The Brah­mins’ duties were entirely spir­i­tual, unsul­lied by the unclean­li­ness of craft or com­merce. But there was one finan­cial task that they were always eager to per­form: lend­ing money. In fact, is was vir­tu­ally impos­si­ble for any of the great mass of peas­ants to sur­vive for long with­out get­ting in debt to a Brah­min. A bad har­vest, a sick child, or a cow that stopped giv­ing milk would be enough to push a fam­ily over the edge. Almost all peas­ants of the lower castes were per­ma­nently in debt. As debtors, they could be called upon to do almost any unpaid ser­vice, and hav­ing a hun­dred peas­ants in debt to you was equiv­a­lent to hav­ing a palace with a hun­dred, cring­ing ser­vants at your beck and call. At the bot­tom of this sys­tem were the dalit, the “untouch­ables,” whose very essence was rit­u­ally impure, and could barely by con­sid­ered human. Once in awhile, on a very rare occa­sion, a dalit, or a very low caste peas­ant would have a stroke of good for­tune. Per­haps a rel­a­tive would get a job on the rail­road, or a son would escape to the city, dis­guise his caste, and get a pay­ing job. When this hap­pened, the for­tu­nate fam­ily would be very fool­ish indeed to pay back its debt to the Brah­mins. The value of a debt was in its being a debt, not in the prospect of its being repaid. If a low caste or dalit was not in debt, he might not show the right respect. He might walk around with his head unbowed, and think he was as good as his bet­ters. Any debtor pay­ing off a debt was a bad exam­ple, a bad exam­ple indeed. Such rad­i­cal inso­lence would have to be nipped in the bud. The idle sons of the high castes, raised from birth to abuse and bully their under­lings, were always avail­able and eager to burn down the hovel of any peas­ant with the temer­ity to repay a debt. If it was a dalit fam­ily, it was con­sid­ered more appro­pri­ate to burn them alive, along with the hut. It made the point clearly. As the the Brah­mins learned, debt can be a very good thing for some peo­ple, espe­cially if only a few peo­ple are counted as “people.”

This, in a nut­shell, is the fun­da­men­tal basis of Con­ser­vatism, as it is of Com­mu­nism. Soci­ety is envi­sioned as divided into classes or castes of peo­ple, with dif­fer­ent func­tions, and ranked accorded to a inate sys­tem of worth. In the estab­lish­ment of a rul­ing class, all sorts of claims of spe­cial worth and cre­ativ­ity are made, usu­ally exag­ger­ated fan­tasies of a self-described “mer­i­toc­racy”. This is always pre­sented as some­thing new, an entirely new stage in his­tory, or the arrival of a divinely ordained group of “the elect”, or “entre­pre­neur­ial geniuses”, or “genetic super­men”, or “new men”, whose tri­umph is pre­de­ter­mined by the laws of his­tory. If nec­es­sary, a lot of pseudo-egalitarian clap­trap will be spread about ― every­one will call each other “com­rade”, or “cit­i­zen”, or the new rulers will strut about in “pro­le­tar­ian” cloth­ing or play at being ultra-pious, or a great pre­tense will be made that any­one might “make it” in the sys­tem of rank and suc­cess. It’s a lie. It’s always a lie. Every aris­to­cratic dynasty in his­tory has claimed to be some kind of new thing, com­ing into power through merit, rather than inher­i­tance. Com­mu­nists came into power with that lie, shrieked it from every loud­speaker as they herded their “com­rades” into exe­cu­tion pits, or set them to dig­ging coal with their bare hands, or trudged them off to the cane fields at gun­point. But Com­mu­nist power is every­where exer­cised, now, by a hered­i­tary aris­toc­racy. The indus­tri­al­ists of the early Indus­trial rev­o­lu­tion claimed to be new, as well, ris­ing through work and intel­li­gence to chal­lenge the old landed gen­try. But the first thing they did when they got rich was to marry into that landed gen­try, and their chil­dren inher­ited palaces and cham­pagne frol­ics, not non-conformist piety. The same is true of the cur­rent global aris­toc­racy, which can point to a hand­ful of gen­uine indus­trial or busi­ness cre­ators among their num­ber, but largely con­sists of mere thugs, finan­cial swindlers, and titled par­a­sites. The few who did some­thing cre­ative are not to be counted on any higher moral plane, for they are not inclined to buck the sys­tem, and read­ily absorb the atti­tudes and swag­ger of the others.

But, back to the un-level play­ing field, for it is the key to our com­ing destruc­tion. Con­ser­v­a­tive ide­ol­ogy insists, with more hys­ter­i­cal cer­tainty than any of its other ortho­dox­ies, that we must not make things for our­selves, and must buy things from Com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor­ships. Every other doc­trine has some wiggle-room, can be empha­sized or de-emphasized, or can be skipped over with a wink. But this one must never be chal­lenged, never be doubted, never even for a sec­ond. Never mind that these are stolen goods, sold by habit­ual crim­i­nals engaged in vio­lent crime and fraud. We must buy them. Never mind that the “com­pe­ti­tion” of stolen goods dri­ves the hon­est mak­ers and sell­ers of goods into bank­ruptcy. Never mind that the end­less flow of cash into the cof­fers of the slave trade dri­ves every hon­est employer out of busi­ness, and throws us out of work. We must still buy the prod­ucts of the Com­mu­nist sys­tem of exploita­tion —- we must, we MUST, WE MUST!!!!!!

Yet there is no escap­ing real­ity: every time an Amer­i­can or a Cana­dian has walked into a store and bought an arti­cle pro­duced in China’s exploita­tive Com­mu­nist fac­to­ries, they have helped seal their own doom. Fake “free mar­ket” trans­ac­tions that are car­ried out on a play­ing field as dra­mat­i­cally un-level as that between a democ­racy and a dic­ta­tor­ship are unmit­i­gated dis­as­ter for the cit­i­zens of the democ­racy. They set up a uni-directional flow of cap­i­tal. Accu­mu­lated trans­ac­tions of this sort trig­ger the dis­man­tling of pro­duc­tive domes­tic indus­tries. A pro­duc­ing econ­omy trans­forms into a “ser­vice” econ­omy, in which the only jobs are the jobs involved in dis­trib­ut­ing con­sumer goods, the pur­chase of which in turn strip the econ­omy of more pro­duc­tion, and so on. Debts accu­mu­late. The coun­try feeds off itself, slowly pro­cess­ing the rem­nants of past cre­ativ­ity and enter­prise, like a fat man on a desert island liv­ing off the meals he con­sumed before he was ship­wrecked. The finan­cial sec­tor booms and thrives, replac­ing indus­try as the prin­ci­ple activ­ity in the econ­omy. This is much like how your wal­let would fill up with cash if you stopped pay­ing bills, took your chil­dren out of school, and sold your car, fur­ni­ture and appli­ances for cash. Your wal­let would be a “healthy finan­cial sec­tor.” But you would be unhealthy.

Cana­di­ans seem to have the bet­ter prospect, tem­porar­ily. Our indus­try is trashed, but there are lots of nat­ural resources to sell. While China is still man­u­fac­tur­ing and sell­ing stuff, we can make a liv­ing sell­ing them oil, trees and rocks, much a we did for the British Empire when we were a bunch of back­ward rural hicks. I’m try­ing on my porkpie hat, and learn­ing to chew toba­kee, so I’ll be ready. But of course, as the Amer­i­cans run out of credit, the num­ber of sol­vent cus­tomers for China’s indus­trial pro­duc­tion will quickly dry up. So will its demand for our resources. We will rapidly move from a sell­ers’ mar­ket, do a lot of “belt tight­en­ing”, then join our Amer­i­can friends in oblivion.

Only sus­tained inter­nal growth in China would pre­vent this, but increas­ing domes­tic con­sump­tion in China would mean sig­nif­i­cantly spread­ing the wealth, which would sub­stan­tially weaken the stran­gle­hold of the Party. It con­sid­ers itself lucky to have sur­vived spread­ing the wealth to the extent it already has. The coun­try is bristling with angry peas­ants and micro-revolts. The boom­ing cities will go sour as more and more peo­ple learn that they aren’t going to be let into the priv­i­leged “mid­dle class” and that try­ing to sneak a wank from a porn mag­a­zine when you get off your shift is as good as its going to get. Ten to one the Party will take the course that all other dic­ta­tor­ships have taken in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances: war abroad and ter­ror at home. That is the solu­tion that Con­ser­v­a­tive soci­eties have usu­ally cho­sen, and the People’s Repub­lic is the quin­tes­sen­tial Con­ser­v­a­tive soci­ety. In the long run, the unlevel play­ing field is no bet­ter for the peo­ple of China than it is for us.

Much atten­tion is now focused on America’s debts. This con­trasts sharply with the atmos­phere at the height of the Bush, Jr. admin­ista­tion. When I was post­ing about its dis­as­trous import in 2006, I was in a decided minor­ity, as Con­ser­v­a­tives sang the tune “deficits don’t mat­ter.” Con­ser­v­a­tives pro­moted gov­ern­ment spend­ing on a scale dwarf­ing any­thing ever seen before in the country’s his­tory — mostly mil­i­tary spend­ing, almost noth­ing on pro­duc­tive invest­ment. Spend­ing, not sav­ing or build­ing, was the Con­ser­v­a­tive notion of fis­cal wis­dom. When the coun­try was attacked by a group of well-organized reli­gious fanat­ics (who were bankrolled by the the Conservatives’s best bud­dies), Amer­i­cans were told to go to the malls and shop. Few Con­ser­v­a­tives wor­ried about the mount­ing debts, because their ide­ol­ogy was promis­ing unend­ing pros­per­ity in a utopian future, which would arrive the minute the last rich man ceased to pay even a dime of taxes, and the last bur­den of “reg­u­la­tion” was lifted from the “cre­ative class.” But when Democ­rats ― slightly less Con­ser­v­a­tive than Repub­li­cans (sort of Men­she­viki to the Bol­she­viki) ― came into office, Con­ser­v­a­tive tub-thumpers sud­denly dis­cov­ered the debt, which is now mys­te­ri­ously and mag­i­cally blamed on “lib­er­al­ism,” a bit of con­cep­tual magic that reminds me of Stalin blam­ing crop fail­ures on a plot of Jew­ish Doc­tors. But the prob­lem is now beyond any con­ceiv­able polit­i­cal solu­tion, who­ever holds office. There is lit­tle prospect of the United States ever repay­ing these debts. Canada’s debts are not as dis­as­trous. The pre­vi­ous, Lib­eral admin­is­tra­tion had bal­anced bud­gets for a decade, and built up sur­pluses. Their Con­ser­v­a­tive suc­ces­sors went on a spend­ing spree, and pissed away the sur­plus, then were caught up short by the finan­cial cri­sis. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is bad, but a return to fis­cal respon­si­bil­ity might put us back in the black, if the cur­rent Con­ser­v­a­tive anti-industrial, pro-export-resources pol­icy is reversed. But if the cur­rent poli­cies are pur­sued, we too will even­tu­ally go bankrupt.

But bank­ruptcy for our two nations and our new sta­tus as peas­ants is no rea­son for gloom. It’s the play­ing out of the mar­velous Laws of His­tory. Every real Con­ser­v­a­tive is delighted at the prospect. Our friends in the Com­mu­nist Party have pointed the way, and Utopia is just around the cor­ner. The “cre­ative class” will be com­fort­ably in the sad­dle, and free of ungentle­manly reg­u­la­tions. As for the rest of us, the “non-creative” class, we are to be plenty reg­u­lated. In fact, every aspect of our per­sonal and pri­vate lives will come under the thumb of the State, which will, by and by, acquire the power to spy on us at will, con­trol our sex lives, tell us who we can marry, and make us pee in cups on demand. Tor­ture will again be a Good Thing. That pesky Bill of Rights (U.S.) and equally pesky Char­ter of Rights (Canada) will be flushed down the toi­let. Mil­lions of us will be shoved into pris­ons, which will use up a sub­stan­tial part of our Gross National Prod­ucts, and pro­vide a lucra­tive busi­ness for friends of the elite. There may even be some excit­ing devel­op­ments in the field of body part mer­chan­diz­ing. All these won­der­ful Utopian ideals are already on view in the People’s Repub­lic of China, which is where most Con­ser­v­a­tives learned about them, and learned to love them.

We’ll learn to love them, too. Who wouldn’t love a real Con­ser­v­a­tive world, full of tra­di­tion and good old fam­ily val­ues? None of that trou­bling, con­fus­ing indi­vid­ual free­dom. As happy peas­ants, we’ll learn a dis­tinc­tive shuf­fling gait (don’t let those feet get too far off the ground!), and call our cre­ative supe­ri­ors “Massa.” At night, after an inspir­ing lec­ture, we will con­tem­plate the delights of a soci­ety that respects tra­di­tion, where some are born to the manse, and the rest of us sing spir­i­tu­als as we trudge to the fields and work sta­tions. The schools will be gone for most of us, of course, at least the sort where nasty lib­eral ideas are dis­cussed. No sense in “redis­trib­ut­ing” knowl­edge. Noth­ing but uppiti­ness can come of it. Instead, plenty of healthy cal­is­then­ics, pledges of alle­giance, and cool stuff, like Cre­ation­ism, or Dialec­ti­cal Mate­ri­al­ism, or what­ever ding­bat hokus pokus our mas­ters think we should think. Come to think of it, most of the things that we once con­sid­ered nor­mal attrib­utes of civ­i­lized soci­ety will, one after another, go to the chop­ping block. Each will require “fac­ing up to the real­i­ties of the global econ­omy.” The “real­i­ties” will be our cred­i­tors, the ones we’ve been clos­ing down our fac­to­ries so we could pay to build their factories.

Any­way, not to worry, our prin­ci­pal cred­i­tors are nice, respectable peo­ple, much admired by Con­ser­v­a­tives: the Com­mu­nist Party of the Peo­ples Repub­lic of China, who mur­dered, in their younger, impul­sive days, roughly sev­enty mil­lion people.


  1. Very true. But I wouldn’t exempt any polit­i­cal lean­ings from the global elite. The late Steve Jobs was a politically-active, lib­eral Demo­c­rat, yet he saw noth­ing wrong with man­u­fac­tur­ing Apple’s prod­ucts at Fox­conn. Exploit­ing China’s labor mar­ket, in fact, gave Apple it’s $96 bil­lion cor­po­rate cash bal­ance. Had Apple man­u­fac­tured its iPods and iPhones and iPads in a free coun­try, this cor­po­rate cash pile would be much smaller — because a lot of that money would have gone for decent wages and ben­e­fits. But Rupert Mur­doch, I think, fits your points very well. Here is a media mogul whose empire is built on tabloids and con­ser­v­a­tive news net­works like Fox, yet who main­tains a res­i­dence in Bei­jing and flirted with Marx­ism when young. The divid­ing lines between Left and Right are much thin­ner than we often think, espe­cially where the polit­i­cal spec­trum ends and more closely resem­bles a cir­cle than a line. There is lit­tle that sep­a­rates anar­chism, for instance, from lib­er­tar­i­an­ism. The far Left and far Right, enam­ored by the power of the state and deter­mined to impose their will on soci­ety, are polit­i­cal soul mates.

    What should con­cerned peo­ple do? It’s time to form new polit­i­cal move­ments and par­ties, time to embrace local­ism instead of glob­al­ism, time to reassert the role of gov­ern­ment in restrain­ing the excesses of those of our fel­low cit­i­zens who would gladly impov­er­ish the rest of us to enrich themselves.

    • My polit­i­cal thought has always rejected the notion of a “left/right” polit­i­cal spec­trum as non­sense. I never employ the terms, and con­sider their elim­i­na­tion to be the first and nec­es­sary step to ren­der polit­i­cal dis­course intel­li­gi­ble. You’ll notice that I define Com­mu­nism as an ultra-conservative ide­ol­ogy. It’s suc­ces­sor, the Con­ser­v­a­tive ide­ol­ogy that has swept over the United States, has influ­enced both that country’s par­ties. The only dif­fer­ence seems to be that Repub­li­cans are cut-throat, ultra-zealous pro­mot­ers of the ide­ol­ogy, while Democ­rats tend to be goofy, incon­sis­tent me-tooers of it. They merely quib­ble over points, or fog the issues, but long ago con­ceded all the prin­ci­pal ideas to their rivals, and let Con­ser­vatism define all terms, map out all issues, and frame all debates. This is an evil that has sat­u­rated the WHOLE of your soci­ety. Cer­tainly, we Cana­di­ans, when we lis­ten to Amer­i­can Democ­rats cam­paign­ing, can barely dis­tin­guish them from Republicans.

  2. The con­ser­v­a­tives do not appear to be smart enough to con­coct an ide­ol­ogy, they are all over the place. Their lead­ers are as vac­u­ous as Palin appears to be. They shout slo­gans, quote fore­fa­thers out of con­text and appeal to the basest of our nature, greed. One could just as eas­ily make the com­par­i­son to Fas­cism. Truth is, they are not the smartest in the room, never were.
    I am a pro­gres­sive, a lib­eral. I dream of more rights and the abil­ity of bet­ter­ing myself through hard work and a respon­si­ble lifestyle. I am not com­fort­able with oth­ers not hav­ing rights and believe it is my duty to pre­vent this even if it is costly to me as it ulti­mately harms our nation, and I want a bet­ter life for my grand­son. The dif­fer­ence between me and a con­ser­v­a­tive? I dream.

  3. Nev­er­mind all this talk about con­ser­v­a­tives and com­mu­nists, that’s just win­dow dress­ing. For­get even the Chi­nese, that’s not what you’re most afraid of. No, it’s the neigh­bors to the south, the big, strong U.S. of A., they’re the big threat.

    It starts when the rich, ‘money peo­ple’ of New York come in and start buy­ing up Canada’s vast wealth. They’re of course in cahoots with China, and for good rea­son, since there’s well over a bil­lion of them. Out­num­bered by around 40 to 1, Canada will need help. But who can they turn to? Europe? No, they’re too far removed, plus they’ve got their own prob­lems? The US? Why they’d be glad to help — because that’s exactly what they want! The US saves the day and fends off this swarm but there’s one small price to pay: Canada’s inde­pen­dence. It’s the per­fect trap!