måndag 16 juli 2012

Neo-libs, Georgists and the bigger picture

The neo-libertarian narrative is not one that was being peddled in the 1970s but is widespread today. One has only to look on the newspaper websites and read the comments. It is mainstream in the politics of the right. It has soaked widely into popular consciousness. It has important elements of truth, which are easy to recognise. The left has no answers. One is obliged to take the yes-but view. Our task is not to convert the "right" except to the extent that we alone within the world of political economy can expose the underlying fallacy, as we alone are aware of the nature of property rights. The bigger task is to move the left, as they are stuck in old discredited paradigms which have been proved to fail. The left is pretty much defenceless against the neo-libs, anarcho-caps and other political economies at that end of the spectrum.

The neo-lib analysis is well supported in the background by the extremely wealthy and powerful, who will be the main, probably sole, beneficiaries of the policies that are being argued for. The weakness of the left means defeat for them. They might win elections, as in France, but they have no effective policies or even a narrative that is remotely realistic. Neither has the mainstream right. There is a pressure to prevent civil unrest and efforts have to be made to contain it. I don't think that anyone anywhere on the mainstream political spectrum has solutions.

In the face of the ongoing and intractable problems with finance and the economy, the widening gap between super-rich and the rest, the banking scandals, family breakdown, drug abuse and Islamic extremism, we are in for a difficult century. The political economy we are proposing could help in the realm of economics, and we need to sharpen our game. However, these movements exist under the higher dispensation of a civilisation, and it is at that level that a breakdown is occurring as well.

This is worth a further look. Christianity is now coming to the end of its second millenium, having suffered a grave challenge with the rise of Islam, a damaging split with the schism, a catastrophic one at the reformation. Each of these events falls, rather too tidily, at 500 year intervals.

At the same time there was Gnosticism. Christianity is itself Gnostic but in a different sense. Common to Gnosticisms is the notion that one can reach perfection and do it by one's own efforts through following some kind of path, in which each step is revealed once the individual has reached a certain point on the path, and not before.

The revival of Gnosticism seems to have coincided with the Renaissance and gathered force with the Enlightenment. Important fruits were modern science (nothing wrong with it until it becomes a religion in its own right), empiricism, the French Revolution, Marxism, Socialism, Fascism and its relative, Nazi-ism, Freemasonry, and, in part, Calvinism.

The protestant churches have run their course and have nothing to offer. The bible-believing protestants persist because they have a lot of money behind them and are now being used to promote the neo-lib message. For the rest, protestantism has descended into vagueness to the point that it is impossible to establish what the protestant churches are actually teaching.

The only body that has stood, and stands, reasonably consistently (though not consistently enough) against all of this has been the orthodox group of Christian churches ie Catholic/Eastern Orthodox. These too have been going through their own traumas during the past 100 years, what with outright corruption in high places, scandals all over and liturgical reforms which have obscured the fundamental teachings. In my view the only real hope is with the renewal movement that is currently taking place within the Catholic church.

From a bigger perspective it offers a solid critique of neo-liberalism, objectivism, Marxism, socialism and all the other false -isms that have dominated western thinking for the past three centuries.

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