Louis B. Hartz Must Be Laughing…

Louis B. Hartz Must Be Laughing (and crying) What’s Left (oh right–there is no left) of His Ass Off

Yes folks, just in case we needed any more proof that, when you really get down to it, there is no (significant) oppositional thought in America, the good folks at Fanboy Rampage (except for James Smith–who is, and always will be, awesome!) are performing supererogatory feats of capitulation to the Man…

You want “Moral Capitalism”? Could someone please explain to me what the fuck that means?

Yeah, yeah–John Byrne is evil. But what makes you think he isn’t right? (and why do you care if people who have enough money to mount massive lawsuits get a little more of that shit?)

my own comments are pretty far down in that thread–so here they are again:

John Byrne is absolutely right (this is a one-time only thing, so let’s not get used to it!)

there’s
nothing “fair” about capitalism, and copyright itself is an abomination
in the eyes of all good folk… anything anyone creates (especially an
easily-disseminated wonder like a story) belongs to the world, on a
need basis… Who the fuck cares whether the Siegel and Shuster heirs
win this petit-bourgeois struggle against Warners? I want to take those
little green shares in oppression away from all of them…

Okay America–resume squabbling over the spoils of war!

but let’s not forget what’s really important here (to me anyway)–Cerebus!

I think I’m gonna take Mulholland Dr. for another spin later too… (thanks to David Golding’s excellent suggestion that I read this piece by Mark K-Punk)

Good Aftanoon friends!
Dave

21 comments

  1. Tom pretty much gave an appropriate response. Even many radical advocates of capitalism don’t argue it’s moral, but so what? If it’s not moral, how do we get moral results within such a system? Byrne clearly thinks that the outcome was moral, and that’s not “absolutely right.”

    Charles

  2. Charles wrote:

    “If it’s not moral, how do we get moral results within such a system?”

    —-we don’t!!!—-

    Dave

  3. So, we say, “fuck it all” and begin to feed on the flesh of our neighbors? That’s ridiculous, Dave. We don’t live in STAR TREK, so this is the economic system we have to deal with. You can give away all your work (including not being paid for any grad work or any potential academic research or teaching you might do in the future), but that’s hardly a feasible solution to free market amorality.

    Charles

  4. I want to give away all of my work Charles…and all I want in exchange is some ultra-basic food, a roof + access to information…

    Dave

  5. Dave, you know I love you, but it is impossible to read your “critique” or whatever you want to call it of copyright as anything but you trying to impose your personal artistic whim on everyone else by ascribing moral superiority to not giving a tinker’s cuss what happens to your art once it leaves your brain and hits the page. I simply can’t accept the notion that those of us who feel differently are in some way immoral, rather than just “different from Dave.” -Sean

  6. sure, and difference is important Sean–but not when the eventual outcome is worldwide oppression…

    property (even intellectual property) is a luxury that we don’t have–and a habit we must break ourselves of…

    (and look at this case–it’s not about the integrity of the character or any of that halfway meaningful stuff… it’s about people who aren’t badly off getting paid…)

    Dave

  7. As best I can tell, Dave, the only thing that separates your view from work-for-hire is a utopian delusion. Corporations would love to have employees like you. They’re certainly not going to give away the product of others’ creativity.

    Charles

  8. I might add that I see no problem with copying an Eminem song as long as the copyist isn’t going to make money from it (well, listening to Eminem is inherently wrong, but I’m putting that aside).

    C.

  9. Charles wrote:

    “As best I can tell, Dave, the only thing that separates your view from work-for-hire is a utopian delusion.”

    you’re right on this one! I refuse to participate in a discourse of “ownership”… as soon as you open your mouth to say “that’s mine”, the corporations have won…

    Dave

  10. Thanks, Dave, but don’t misunderstand me. In that thread, I was really just trying to avoid engaging in more mangling of copyright laws that most of us don’t understand.

    I understand what you mean, that there can be no moral capitalism. However, I think any argument that begins with the absence of markets is utopian and fatally flawed. The best I can ever expect of myself (much less my fellow man) is to harm as few people as possible.

    I’m not a big fan of guns, and all they do is kill people anyway. The only revolutions I have faith in are the ones that come on slow, and they have to start somewhere. Sometimes a well-functioning court means criminals go free, and the rich get a payday.

    I should point out, also, that not wanting a lot doesn’t absolve one of wanting. Ultra-basic food and a roof are exactly what paychecks are for.

    –james

  11. James wrote:

    “The best I can ever expect of myself (much less my fellow man) is to harm as few people as possible. ”

    sure, me too (and I’d add in animals, of course)…but the problem is that, under the current system, we never even get the chance to make an educated decision (re: harming others, I mean!)

    I’m not interested in violent revolution either (that’s why you will often find me pursuing an argument long after most people would have given up–I am absolutely committed to dialogue…)

    and as to that last–sure, that’s what paychecks are for–but, at this point in human social and technological development, I think that there are far better ways to fill the gap between material need and the available resources… we don’t need the protestant work ethic anymore…

    Dave

  12. I should add that I am not arguing here in favour of a government that caters to its subjects’ spiritual needs… that’s not possible, and every attempt to do so has degenerated into a motherfuckin’ football rally… I’m a straightahead Calvinist in this regard–God/Fate hates you, and alienation is not an option–but let’s get rid of all of this needless material privation in the world and start suffering for the right reasons!

    Dave

  13. I have to admit your utopian view is very attractive–I too would be willing to give up earning money if I could be guaranteed food, housing, etc (though my standards are a little higher than yours, I would require good food, a nice little apartment, and access to entertainment as well as information.)

    The trouble is, this is a pipe dream, largely because of human nature. There would still have to be people responsible for distributing the food, etc. These people would, inevitably, become corrupted by the power of their position, and then the whole system would be corrupted. You could argue that the free flow of information would prevent this–but again, there would have to be a bureaucracy to handle the free flow of information, with all that entails. I think history has shown pretty decisively that communist systems dont work on anything beyond a small community setting–humans just arent self-aware enough to truly work for the greater good.

    So whats the alternative? I would suggest a capitalist system with incentives for companies that have favorable social policies, overseen by a democratic republic. Of course, the danger with such a system is that the companies will suborn the representatives of the people…

    Sorry for the length,

    Doug

  14. Doug wrote:

    “Of course, the danger with such a system is that the companies will suborn the representatives of the people…”

    it’s worse than that though–they don’t have to suborn anyone, because “we the people” are the enemy! this is why I can’t get with michael moore and bush-haters of that stripe… the big doub’s rapacity is just a reflection of our own… reform would have to go deeper than voting a democrat into power… the game of small businessman vs. big businessman is always good for business, because it keeps people thinking inside the business ethics box–that’s what prompted me to throw my jokey little fit yesterday…

    I don’t believe that I’m any kind kind of utopian (my patron saints are Jonathan Edwards, Hawthorne, and Emerson in Experience mode)…

    I just don’t see any reason why our undeniably alienated and uncooperative natures ought to be yoked to “the struggle for (material) existence” any longer… it was a survival mechanism…but now it’s a lame excuse for not finding more creative ways to sublimate your angst… we’ve come a long way and there’s really enough basic stuff to go around for everyone on the planet and there are far better means, at this point, of dulling the edge on that competitive spirit (I, for instance, like to embark upon romances that are doomed to fail, write constantly, argue even more, and play diplomacy strat-o-matic and hearts… I used to pitch, but hitting a kid in the head with an 89 mph fastball took all of the fun out of that for me–plus I couldn’t throw the ball where I wanted to anyway and I just stopped growing…)

    and I certainly agree that I want access to entertainment (but my definition of information is a vast one–it includes anything produced by my fellow beings!)

    and Doug–thanks for commenting–no need to censor yourself (or cut yourself short!) here…

    Dave

  15. I hate to belabor a point (oh heck who am I kidding, i love it..) but I absolutely agree with you when you say “we’ve come a long way and there’s really enough basic stuff to go around for everyone”–there is certainly enough food production to eliminate world hunger. And it isnt lack of will on the part of the wealthy countries either–the US alone donates enough money to feed many smaller countries. The problem is, again, distribution. The African nations are a prime example of this–we give the food and money, and the strong men just seize it. How then do we guarantee equitable distribution? Force of arms? Of course not.

    What it comes down to, in my opinion, is that humanity needs to develop a new “morality”, one that situates the individual in a more positive relation with the whole of the species. (and, as you would no doubt argue, other species as well, though thats a whole ‘nother debate.)

    Of course, I’m not sure how this new morality would develop, barring a concerted effort to force it, and there we get into Brave New World territory.

  16. That was me of course,

    Doug

    Incidentally, just to give you an idea of where I am coming from, I think Brave New World was the most visionary book of the 20th century; I also think the fact that most people refer to it as a “dystopia” merely reflects the fact that most people dont know what they want in a human utopia.

  17. I absolutely agree Doug–these kinds of questions have provided the backbone of the course I’m teaching, and there’s no answer to them… I definitely am on record as desirous of seeing the development of a world state–but how do we get there? I have absolutely no idea…

    Dave

  18. That’s not too hard to envision: the same way that every small town now looks alike, with all those little differences disappearing (being “disappeared”) as people all want the same thing, coincedentally what corporations are selling. Eventually, it’ll happen worldwide. And you utopianists can celebrate as corporations own everything but your subjectivities (’cause they can never own that, oh no). What a wonderful life!

    Dolorously yours,

    Charles

  19. I don’t see it that way Charles–I mean, I don’t want the things I’m supposed to want, and neither do you… how many people actually do? not many I’d wager–that’s why everyone makes fun of commercials…

    and if those precious cultural differences of yours are so easy to disappear, what makes them any different from the new corporate programming that you seem to fear? I’ll risk boredom (and “cultural genocide”) if it gets rid of pogroms, lockdown Apartheid, the Shell Oil stormtroopers and real genocide…

    it seems to me that my “utopianism” offers a much more complex vision of human nature than your nostalgia for a world of “difference” that’s actually just parochialism…

    there’s no getting rid of otherness–it’s inside of us… throughout the course of human history it has been entirely too easy for people to screen that difference onto the exterior world–with predictably horrific results…

    but things are changing (thanks in large part to the very medium that makes our own conversations possible!)… the same number of people (or, actually, a lot more, because none of the candidates will have to worry about starving to death whilst pursuing their individuality) will be “truly alive” in the way that you want them to be in a world state as they ever were Charles…

    Dave

  20. “and if those precious cultural differences of yours are so easy to disappear, what makes them any different from the new corporate programming that you seem to fear? I’ll risk boredom (and “cultural genocide”) if it gets rid of pogroms, lockdown Apartheid, the Shell Oil stormtroopers and real genocide…”

    Well, you’ve fixed the question, haven’t you? If a one-world government can achieve the paradise that no smaller nation state has been able to accomplish, who wouldn’t want that? I’ve watched my STAR TREK, man, I know that’s a good life (provided you’re a secular humanist with fairly liberal values). But, how is that going to happen with an even bigger population to rule than what each government currently has? Given all available evidence, a unified world would simply be a world with even more Walmarts and Starbucks than what we currently have. For a guy concerned with otherness, you don’t seem to think it’ll have much impact on creating a utopia. Either the utopia will be what the most powerful want it to be, or it’ll be something like a synthetic average of all these parochial differences. Neither way seems much better than what we now have, but I suspect it would it probably be unification through an even larger culture industry. As for the differences disappearing, well, it’s cheaper to eat at McDonalds than cook real food. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but I think your utopia will probably mean more fastfood and not more people eating Indian food.

    Charles

  21. i’m not asking for paradise Charles–just basic civil rights… And we’ve come a long way towards actually obtaining them in North America–the question, do we now have the right to luxuriate in our situation at the expense of the rest of the world?

    but come on man! Do you really think that eating Indian food constitutes some kind of an exchange with “the other”…

    (I eat the same three combinations of grain, nuts, seeds, fruit, and soy milk every day, by the way…)

    You can’t ingest “otherness” (it’s constitutive of subjectivity)–but you can definitely force yourself to projectile-vomit it upon the external world… and sure, you can ease your nausea that way too, if you don’t care about messing up other people’s lives…

    again–a world-state wouldn’t be any more or less coercive (by which I mean, available for use by lazy sublimators who would do anything to put off thinking about their existential situation) than our current state–but it would do a better (I don’t say perfect) job of short-circuiting the natural human tendency to disregard the rights of anyone that can be construed as outside the “social contract”…

    it wouldn’t be all peace and harmony within this enlarged sphere of human relations–but the battles would be a lot more interesting, because internal struggle is what we’re all here for!

    Dave

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