Skip to comments.Progressives really do believe that free markets are a form of anarchy
Posted on 03/07/2013 9:25:36 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica
That is, if you use the definition of anarchy that conforms with the concept of absolutely no government - completely out of control and destructive.
As I've written in the past, Stuart Chase, Woodrow Wilson, and John Dewey have all made this belief clear.(I'll give the quotes below) Now, FDR. Raymond Moley eventually split with the Brains Trust and coughed up all kinds of details. For some, he's infamous. For others, he delivered some of the most valuable insights into the New Deal at the time, perhaps ever. In his book "After Seven Years", Moley writes something that is probably overlooked by most despite it's importance. From page 184: (Direct quote links in-line)
The source of that philosophy, as I've suggested earlier, was Van Hise's Concentration and Control, and it was endlessly discussed, from every angle, during the 'brain trust' days. In several of his campaign speeches F.D.R. had touched upon the idea of substituting, for the futile attempt to control the abuses of anarchic private economic power, by smashing it to bits, a policy of cooperative business-government planning to combat the instability of economic operations and the insecurity of livelihood.
The beliefs that economic bigness was here to stay; that the problem of governmentwas to enable the whole people to enjoy the benefits of mass production and distribution (economy and security); and that it was the duty of government to devise, with business, the means of social and individual adjustment to the facts of the industrial agethese were the heart and soul of the New Deal.
Its fundamental purpose was an effort to modify the characteristics of a chaotic competitive system that could and did produce sweatshops, child labor, rackets, ruinous price cutting, a devastated agriculture, and a score of other blights even in the peak year of 1928. Its chief objective was the initiation of preliminary steps toward a balanced and dynamic economic system. And if ever a man seemed to embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly, that man was Franklin Roosevelt.
There he is, FDR with his belief that free markets need to be controlled from on high because they're chaotic/anarchic. This is entirely in line with earlier progressives, and one even who was one of his advisors. Stuart Chase, a Fabian Socialist, wrote the following:
Political democracy can remain if it confines itself to all but economic matters; democracy in consumption will make enormous strides as standards of living are leveled upward; industrial individualism - anarchy is a better term - in the sense of each businessman for himself, each corporation for itself, must be disallowed.
John Dewey wrote this:
Peoples who have learned that billions are available for public needs when the occasion presses will not forget the lesson, and having seen that portions of these billions are necessarily diverted into physical training, industrial education, better housing, and the setting up of agencies for securing a public service and function from private industries will ask why in the future the main stream should not be directed in the same channels.
In short, we shall have a better organized world internally as well as externally, a more integrated, less anarchic, system.
And finally, Woodrow Wilson. He wrote this: (Coming from page 6)
Such a commission would be in fact a commission to discover, amidst our present economic chaos, a common interest, so that we might legislate for the whole country instead of for this, that, or the other interest, one by one.
There is much more to all of these quotes, so you can either read the original sources or my prior entries on this, here and here.
This last quote, from Wilson's is a little less direct so it's not as clear. Here's what he says above this, on page 4:
Take the case of the United States. It has been a great spectacle of splendid force released and challenged by every circumstance to work its will. It has, too, been a regime of utter individualism. The forces as well as the men have acted independently, of their own initiative, at their own choice in their own way. And law has not drawn them together,- it does not appear that it was its object to draw them together.
This makes entirely clear the false equation of free markets and individualism into the category of anarchism, and it is a completely bastardized view of "the law". The law is not supposed to draw people together in a centrally planned authoritarian state, the law is there to deal with people who do wrong things to one another such as murders, thefts, rapes, and other such things which are actually wrong, not just wrong because he the planner dictates that they're wrong. That's the rule of man, not the rule of law.
It is the law that keeps markets in line, without the need whatsoever for dictators. Either you have central planning, or you have anarchy, the progressives say. Which is an entirely false choice.
Through the two Roosevelts, Wilson, and all the planners beneath them in both elected and non elected positions alike, the law was changed in order to draw us closer, and now we're stuck in the mud of centralized planning.
To leftists and sort freedom must be strictly controlled and rationed by the government.
To leftists any sort freedom must be strictly controlled and rationed by the government.
The author picks a point in time and examples that support his argument but it wasn’t always that way. Early Progressives believed strongly in the family as the fundamental basis of American society, and did a lot to seek out, expose, and eliminate inefficiency and corruption.
I’m not a fan of modern progressivism by a long shot, but it’s unfortunate that some of the good and valuable ideas were bastardized and misapplied under FDR and others who drove central planning and increased governmental control.
Well of course it is anarchy. It isnt an organized controlled activity.
However, the impulse to organize and direct the population is the root of every single evil ever inflicted on the human race. Our government recognizes absolutley NO activity where it does not have an abiding interest,,, even down to going to the toilet. HOw much toilet paper, how much water does the toilet use? etc etc.
There is no greater equalizer of society than the free market.
Marxist tripe as far as I am concerned.
Which ones? Many of them supported eugenics, like Margaret Sanger
The free market is regulated, by the invisible hand of enlightened self-interest.
Then the progressives should be for it, because they like anarchy.
First, the free market can only exist when the simple rules are followed by all participants and there is the ability of people to have their disputes adjudicated by a competent and neutral third party. None of this requires government coercion despite how many people think otherwise.
Even when the only law that governs an exchange is the Ten Commandments (particularly the Commandments that forbid lies, coveting and theft, the three legs of socialism), the free market is the forum in which a mutually acceptable price can be discovered. The socialist cannot accept that the parties in a private and voluntary exchange can come to that agreement, but he insists that one party or the other will do something that the socialist doesn’t approve of, or will be “exploited”.
This of course is absurd if only because when one party cannot accept the deal they must be free to decline to it. But the socialist thinks he has the power to coerce market participants, which of course he only can do when he can use deadly force in some way or the other.
The socialist cannot know the value of anything in economic terms because he destroys the very thing that the entire economy must have in order to be “sustainable”, a concept that socialists love to scold the rest of us about.
The socialist must come up with a price he deems ideologically “fair”. When he does so based on his opinion or by using a panel of experts who meet once a year in a distant city, his price is never the real price, that is the price based on real costs at the moment where the exchange must of necessity take place. Thus the socialist cannot make a rational and sustainable economic calculation. The more he intrudes in a market, the more often the price he determines will not fully pay for the total economic costs of the item. The iron law of economics is that when an item must be sold for less than it costs, then the difference must come from somewhere else. Most often this is capital of the producer.
All this is why Ludwig von Mises wrote that under socialism, the economy cannot succeed for long.
 Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth by Ludwig von Mises
 Why a Socialist Economy is “Impossible” by Joseph T. Salerno
Onst a do-gooder gets the bit in his mouth, it’s hard to stop him. When the government intrudes into what should be strictly private matters, it’s hard to draw boundaries.
The only justification for government is to protect people from coersion from others, either domestic or foreign. The U.S. Constituition was originally intended merely to create something only slightly stronger than mutual defense pact among the states.
Whatever liberals or progressives think now, whatever motivates them today, there isn't quite the same utopian enthusiasm for centrally planned command economies there was a century ago, or if there is, it's a lot more ethereal and cloudy than the very real faith early 20th century progressives and socialists had in central planning.
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