On Land and Work
I doubt it will do any good, but I also will reply briefly to your screed against God and the Scriptures.
If you will recall, you insisted on trying to make a political point about Christ's treatment at the crucifixion, a point that was factually wrong. I corrected you, and that set you alight.
I know that you are a materialist, but materialism simply does not explain the world around us. It cannot explain where we came from, or the incredible complexity of life. It also cannot provide us with morality, ethics, or answers to questions about eternity.
Paul the Apostle pointed out that no man has any excuse to deny God's power and glory, because the invisible things of Him are clearly seen in the things that can be seen, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that all men are without excuse.
You may deny God's power as displayed in the creation, but that denial is a lie. Ultimately, as you yourself demonstrate in your writings, you do not like to retain the knowledge of God in your mind, because you do not wish to submit to His righteousness and law.
Like all men, you are a rebel against His authority. There is only one cure: that the light of his glorious Gospel shine in your heart and make alive that which is now dead.
It happened to me, and I worship and praise Him for it. By Jesus Christ and His death, my guiltiness has been expunged, and I am free.
You bring up the problem of determinism, and whether God is the cause of sin. I cannot answser those questions, because they involve an infinite and all-knowning power that frustrates any proper analysis of cause and effect (briefly, every effect has its cause, but how does that operate for one who knows everything before it takes place?).
There is no doubt that God works out all things according to His sovereign will, and yet He makes it clear that man is responsible for his rebellion and sin. Your objection is precisely the one that Paul answers in Romans 9:19-20:
"Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he [God] yet find fault [for my disobedience]? For who hath resisted his will [it being irresistable]? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
What God declares is so whether you like it or understand it or not.
The problem with your comparison between God and Santa is, first off, I never believed in Santa, because my parents were careful to speak only the truth to me as a little one, so that I would not compare their teachings about God with any lies about Santa Claus.
Secondly, if a person believes in Santa Claus, he sees certain things that tend to confirm that belief - the presents that show up on Christmas day. Then one day he finds an alternative explanation.
But there is no satisfactory explanation for the creation other than God's power. All the "explanations" used to explain away God are themselves the "Santa Clauses" that men construct to deny the truth. Because men want to deny the power of God, because they don't want to submit to His rule.
Your description of how industry and production could take place below is mere fantasy.
If you look back in history, you will see that, without mechanisation and modern technology, indeed, a few people farming could only feed a few more people.
It's not just land that the workers will be needing to be successful in production, it is in fact all sorts of capital they will be needing to work efficiently.
And where will they obtain such capital? Either a) by force seizing it from others, or b) by hard and long years of labor, building it up themselves.
But then they will be capitalists. If your ideal were workable, it would have happened already. The problem is, when a person or a group of people accumulate the capital needed for efficient and profitable production, they hire other people to do the work while they manage their assets.
If the ownership is truly so diluted amongst the workers that nobody can claim personal or corporate ownership, then some of the workers will attempt to free-load off the others, and disputes will break out who is "really" pulling his or her proper weight, etc. and how to divy up the profits or the benefits.
Your idea that men are naturally desirous to work is the flaw in your logic. Men will always seek the easiest way to escape hard labor, and a communal organization is almost always destroyed by that tendency.
As I mentioned to you before, if you handed over to the "workers" all those closed shops and abandoned fields, nothing substantive would happen with them, for these and other reasons.
There are plenty of capitalists that would be glad to lend their unused lands and equipment for use by the idle, but they won't take advantage of it, and they won't care for it. These ideas have been tried and tried and tried, and they almost never work.
It amazes me that one make can start with nothing, and with hard work and saving and ingenuity, can become a rich capitalist, creating jobs for hundreds or thousands of people, and you despise him.
But a group of men cannot do the same thing, according to you, because of the "high cost of entry" that bars them from doing so.
I say the real reason is that your ideas won't work. If they would, then we would see thriving cooperatives springing up all around us, just like we see thriving businesses springing up all around us.
Thanks for the response -- I truly appreciate it.
Note that the military bases throughout the world are usually enforced to support some cruel and vicious local dictator -- American foreign policy has been covertly and decidedly pro-dictatorship. But not just to give in to some desire for cruelty. No, they are all used for benefiting some isolated, minority that owns the majority of wealth. Reagan sold Cocaine in the US to help pay for military efforts against pro-Democracy guerrillas in Guatemala and to fund terrorism in the Middle East. A coup led in Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Haiti, Cuba, and Uruguay, all with military support from the United States. We've left the area of our backyard where police beat strikers at the picket line -- we're now talking about massive, armed assault of third worlds in favor of a few, privileged. Indonesia and Burma, Vietnam and Iraq, the invasion of Panama to the overthrow of Iran's representative government -- our presence has been tremendously harmful to the people, but it has done wonders for the profits of a few at the top of the human, food chain.
From the Mexican-American War, to the Spanish-American War, to so many foreign conflicts in our history's past, all this military aggression benefited someone. It benefited the landlords, the investors, and the capitalists; with the blood of the poor, governments have bought higher profits for their richest. You may remain unconvinced, but that is your right. Feel free to check out the books "A Peoples' History of America" by Howard Zinn and "Rogue States" by Noam Chomsky if you need detailed and thorough proof. We've covered all of this before, though. It seems rather overly-apparent that the state is a puppet for wealthy interests.
Yes, it was done in the name of "the workers," -- but you and I know the truth. We know that Chavez seized industries and didn't give them to the workers; he gave them to himself, to be managed, in the name of "the workers." So, by all technical definition, Chavez is just another Capitalist. He fulfills the definition, because he possess productive wealth, and makes his living off of the labor of others. It is the same as a capitalist, who might campaign with the Republican Party, to support a war, that brings them greater wealth, like Halliburton, or Bechtel. The Socialist Party, in possessing and living off of productive wealth, is as much of a parasite as the Capitalist -- and not shy about using violence. If you oppose one so viciously, why do you accept the other with open arms?
I oppose both. I oppose Capitalism, no matter whose name it is in -- whether it is done for country, god, the socialist party, or the heavenly mandate. My recommendations to you have not been to make land your property, or the property of the political party. I'm not asking you to do anything in the name of the workers. I am only asking that you let the workers control and manage the industries that are not being set to use at this time. Not management by the government, but independent management by local communities of laborers.
Yes, the fact is, you have to look at it from an economics position. If you allow monopolies, then every industry would be organized by monopolies. We know this since, before federal laws prohibiting them, cartels were the standard, and even with such weak enforcement of the law, they continue. Perhaps you don't understand quite the inherent evil of such agreements. Capitalists are making a deal, to cut back production, to lay off workers, and increase profits -- only because they can make more when they starve the market. When there is not enough bread, bread prices go up, and so it is in the self-interest of bakers to fix prices, and this is the natural situation of a free market. That is, it is not very free for the individual.
Poverty, unemployment, and homelessness are not natural products, caused by lack of ambition. They're caused by markets being fixed for poverty; they're caused by the intentional mismanagement of society's resources. The capitalist can have an interest in starving families, in driving them to the streets, in making them beg and want for whatever wage is given to them. But the individual worker, cannot have this interest. Yet you want to put the one with evil desires in charge, and you want to make the good-spirited obedient to a daemon. Sure, no force may have been used in setting up a cartel, but you leave starving children on the streets, left to die, because some wealthy speculator can make a few cents more when there is not enough bread for all. There is more than one way to kill a man, and disallowing them from working the earth is certainly one way. For all the absence of force you're preaching about, your system still slaughters people.
Yes, but you must also consider the reverse: more people probably didn't file a complaint because they feared retaliation, than people who did file a complaint over something silly and ridiculous as taking a parking spot. Right? For all we know, of the 13.6% reports that are filed, perhaps this represents only half of the population who were victimized, and felt strong enough to report it. And of those who did report it, many claimed that it was a horrendously intimidating process.
In the Bible, Chapter 31 of Numbers, god orders the rape of thirty-two thousand children. You worship a rape accomplice of a god -- who, somehow, made the world only six thousand years ago. He was so perfect in creating beings, that he made empty eye sockets in organisms that lived in caves, and sometimes blind fish in cave fish. So perfect in creating, that useless organs abound everywhere in nature. All made, perfect and whole, in six thousand years, by a god who is also an accomplice to rape. Come on -- a child could make up a better explanation.
Yes, but if god is so clear, why do more people believe in OTHER RELIGIONS than in god's religion? That is to say, if god has made himself (or herself) heard, why is the universe not convinced? (To paraphrase Percy Shelley.)
The righteousness and law of someone who supports rape? Someone who believes in war? Someone who cherishes slavery and sends bears to maul children who make fun of his prophets? This is "righteousness and law"? Honestly, I don't think child rape is righteous. I'm not sure how else to put it. Could you explain?
Why hast thou made me thus? My question is actually: "Why am I naturally appalled and offended at the concept of child rape, and yettt.... you, the Child Rapist of a God, are telling me what's right and what's wrong?" That would be my question to god if he ever suddenly materialized before me.
Let's do some basic logic. "A: The Universe is so complex. B: It must be explained by god." But therefore, "C: God is so complex. D: It must be explained by another god who created him." And so on. However, IF *NOT* C, then D, then not A then B. If God is so complex, but does not require a creator, then why does the universe need a creator? (Because, being complex is why the universe needs a creator, but if god's complexity doesn't necessitate a creator explanation, then neither should the universe's.) This is all fairly standard logic, and it makes sense. Basically, if god doesn't need a creator, why does the universe? And if the universe requires a creator, why doesn't god?
You seemed to be so completely willing to admit that all of history of government is the use of violence to secure the interests of the workers -- but that, somehow, without reason or cause, this trend suddenly ceases in our modern era. Not for any reason, but just because you don't feel convinced enough that violence is still being used to maintain the privilege of a few and the poverty of the many. Given this type of historical model, where governments always oppress those who try to organize their lives for themselves, why would you argue, "If your ideal were workable, it would have happened already."?
From the Plebeians in the year 300 BC, to the Levellers in the 1600's in Britain, to the later industrialized labor movement in the late 19th and 20th century of Europe. Every time that the people had a chance to finally become economically and socially self-governing, the club of the state spoke, and made itself heard. It seems, actually, quite the opposite of what you're claiming. It's not that the ideal is "unworkable." It is that the ideal has come close to the point of working, in so many cases, from the Catalan Anarchists of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, to the union insurrection in Russia, 1917, that overthrew the Tsar. But it was checked quickly, not because of the idea collapsing on itself, or the people becoming disenchanted, or the revolution turning on the people. No, it has never been that -- from the German Workers' Social Democracy in the 1920's, to the 1968 General Strike of the Situationists in France. And in our own country, too, from the Seattle General Strike to the Minneapolis Teamsters General Strike.
In every case, autonomy and liberty blossomed within the workers who sought to become their own political, social, and economic masters. They didn't "fade away and die out." They were violently and bitterly crushed by the state, and those who propped up and built the state, the Capitalist class. Since the state depends on the Capitalist, and the Capitalist depends on the exploitation of the laborer, they work together in order to secure their mutual self-interests.
You have the right to call it an unworkable system all you want. But what is more accurate is that liberty is too gentle, and withdraws, when it sees its sons and daughters imprisoned, tortured, and murdered by the millions.
In these past movements, these social movements of laborers, they overthrew British rule in India, French rule in Syria, and Tsarist rule in Russia. These revolutionary labor movements didn't seek the empowerment of one group of workers over another. They did not seek domination and control. These movements sought the empowerment of the individual, not their domination. There is only one way that a worker who owns wealth would retire and hire other workers to labor on their machine. That is, where the other laborers are dispossessed of the means of production. If each individual had the tools of productivity, they would not need to submit to the employment conditions and wages of a Capitalist. Which is exactly why capitalists and corporations "work for themselves," because that is profitable and desirable.
If the Capitalist does what is profitable, so must the laborer. And where each has access to the tools of production, then there are no longer any artificial barriers to employment, prosperity, or wealth. No one would have an interest in working for someone else -- because there is no advantage in it. Either case, you work to produce value. But when you are working for someone else, you only get part of that value back -- a "tax" is levied by the Capitalist. The modern toll of living, imposed not by a state authority, but by an economic authority. If you cannot see the meaning of Democracy in economy, or self-government of each individual economically, then at least you should see how it is advantageous to the common people ourselves. Each individual laborer, instead of being taxed, would reap the whole of their harvests, and would therefore have every motivation and incentive towards working for their benefit.
Actually, it seems quite the opposite. We are living presently in a society where the most idle, unproductive are also those who make the most money; and where those who do the most work, who give the most labor, must live in absolute, bitter, grinding poverty. There's no need to worry about "freeloaders" in Collectivism. Nothing could be worse than our present system, where one or two out of a hundred live in absolute splendor produced by millions of people.
That is if you were genuinely concerned about freeloaders. If you were, you'd be caring about those who live off of others: Capitalists, landlords, investors, and CEOs. Now, I have not advocated equal wages or equal pay for people. I have always argued for each according to their contribution. Since the Capitalists contributes by "owning," they are not actually contributing anything of value, since ownership doesn't effect value.
Equal pay won't stop exploitation. But equal ownership of society's productive powers certainly will. Where each has an equal right to manage, control, and benefit from their labor, then everyone will be awarded according to what they give. Those who produce more, receive more, and this naturally serves motivation. Those who produce less, receive less, and this serves the same purpose. Motivation is tremendously weakened, when a large chunk is taken out for profit of the Capitalist, or the tax of the State. Similarly, there is no motivation for someone who lives by consuming the labor of others, and by no other means.
As far as the workers organizing for themselves, it is certainly true that the workers will better evaluate their own skills than their masters. Especially when each worker-managed firm or industry is organized by workers, and every worker suffers when other workers refuse to work.
It is true that every individual seeks what is easiest for them. But cooperative and collective management of industries is historically much more than "Nothing substantive." Spanish Anarchists overthrew the state and created a worker-managed society, in 1936, and resisted the onslaught of the Nazis for three years. The French Liberals and Conservatives wasted time, built concentration camps, and broke international treaties. While Anarchists produced for their communities and defended their people, the Republicans did everything to hurt their own people. France Conservatives lost their nation in one week, but Spanish Anarchists kept their territory for three years.
The historical precedent is actually the exact opposite of your hypothesis. During the Paris Commune of 1871, men, women, and children rushed to the barricades to defend the city from the Monarchist armies of France and Germany. Actually children, pushing cannons to the front lines, while women for the first time joined men in equal participation of labor. The people were not doing "nothing substantive." Quite the opposite! They were enthused and impassioned by the fact that they had control over their lives for the first time.
Does it not seem "undemocratic" to say that people are worse off, when they have more liberty? That the people are killing themselves, by trying to become free? In the ancient Roman battles, a precedent was set, that a free people resisting an oppressive people always have greater energy, strength, and potential. So it naturally follows with those who own their own industries, and must live or die according to their labor. If people fear their death and poverty, wouldn't they labor to feed themselves? And if this is not true, then it must be false that a free people can resist the onslaught of a violent empire. Either the people learn to develop responsibility from their liberty, or they are worsened by their freedom. It is not one case for political freedom, and another for economic freedom -- not one situation for religious liberty, and another one for cultural and social liberty.
As I've explained in the many historical examples provided, groups of people HAVE done this, but they are violently and oppressively removed from society. Far from denying all that has happened in the past, I'm more concerned with how people and workers lived where they managed society for themselves.
And which capitalist should I thank? Show me one whose capital is not built on slave labor -- show me one who uses land that was made usable by slaves. Show me one that doesn't make wealth off of child labor, off of sweatshop workers, off of dictators, concentration camps, and extremely close relationships with all politicians. Show me one, and I'll thank them.
Furthermore, "barriers to entry" is an economic term, and it's hardly denied or questioned by anyone in economics. I could thoroughly explain it to you, but I'll just link you to the Wikipedia page on it: Wikipedia on Barrier to Entry.
Land, intellectual property, domination of markets, effective use of state force, etc., etc.. These things destroy many startups, worker-managed or not. And the one individual firm that makes it through, it's a proof of the many that did not make it. As I said before, people don't need a craps game as a means of providing for themselves. They need something that genuinely and really provides for them. Nobody wants to gamble on whether their children eat. That is why startup firms of cooperatives face such difficulty: by the workers having an interest in their people, they lose in a competition with those who have an interest in their profits.