Monday, July 09, 2012

The capitalists who love dictatorships of or for capitalists

This post from Corey Robin provides yet another example of a business libertarian avatar of capitalism supporting an outright fascist dictator.

Hayek loved Pinochet more than Paul Robeson ever loved Joseph Stalin.

What's remarkable about this is not that it occurred, since the story of Milton Friedman's affair with Pinochet is well known. What is remarkable is that Hayek's most penetrating analysis for lots of people is Hayek's belief that the reason we can't have the "command economy" (i.e. the welfare state) is because the best results come from allowing the market's cacophony to sing, with its essential sense of the "unplanned." Hayek said it was a conceit to think our government could organize industrial policy to pick winners or losers.

This sort of analysis has many adherents, including Nassim Nicholas Teleb's "The Black Swan."*

Yet, there is Hayek gushing forth with praise for "transitional" dictatorships of the capitalist and military class, as if he was Karl Marx and Lenin waxing about the transitional dictatorship of the proletariat, and being very specific in supporting Pinochet in Chile and Salazar in Portgual.

This, again, is not unusual. Bill Buckley openly loved Salazar and especially Franco in Spain, yet Buckley never had to endure the attacks still made on I.F. Stone for supposedly loving the North Vietnamese government, which was simply a lie made "truthy" by constant repeating (nearly the same can be said about Stone's "support" for Castro, which was tepid in the beginning, and then outright critical of Castro by 1962).

And we know the Dulles brothers played as much if not more "footsy" with Nazi and Fascist leaders in Germany and Italy before, during and after WWII, as well as the Japanese warlords before and after WWII, than Alger Hiss played with the Russians--yet, the Dulles brothers are venerated, and Hiss assigned to the dustbin of history or infamy. I am not defending Hiss here, but making a simple point about the inconsistency of language we use and conclusions we are told to draw about the way in which the intellectuals and political elite divide up their loyalties to dictators and which get the protection of corporate media and "History" and which are attacked.

Oh well. Hayek is nicely exposed by Corey Robin as another business libertarian who loves his dictators. And it further develops Robin's thesis of the consistency of those on the so-called political Right in defending the economically privileged few against the masses.

And this year, those folks tend to be supporting Romney...See this delicious NY Times article about the way the current American rich folks have completely left any sense of how regular Americans think...

* I read most of Teleb's fairly entertaining book. The book started off very strongly, but then faded due to its repetition and ultimate smugness in making the point that since we can't predict the unpredictable, it makes no sense to ever expect the predictable--as if just because we are not perfect, we should not even try for the reasonably effective.


At August 4, 2012 at 8:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Rad Geek said...

You write: "Hayek loved Pinochet more than Paul Robeson ever loved Joseph Stalin."

Is this comparative judgment based on some evidence? Or on anything other than political loyalties and enmities? If so, on what?

I ask, because Hayek's published comments on Pinochet are really awful exercises in politically-motivated excuse-making. And Robeson was in many ways an admirable man and a great one. But admirable men can be dreadfully wrong, and if you are going to fling in an out-of-left-field comparative statement like this, then I have to wonder what it is supposed to be based on. If we are to look at his writing and his public statements, it is hard to think of what Hayek could possibly have said that would outstrip the kind of sycophancy that Robeson displayed in, say, "To You Beloved Comrade." A sample:

"Suddenly everyone stood—began to applaud—to cheer—and to smile. The children waved. In a box to the right—smiling and applauding the audience—as well as the artists on the stage—stood the great Stalin. I remember the tears began to quietly flow and I too smiled and waved. Here was clearly a man who seemed to embrace all. So kindly—I can never forget that warm feeling of kindliness and also a feeling of sureness. Here was one who was wise and good—the world and especially the socialist world was fortunate indeed to have his daily guidance. I lifted high my son Paul to wave to this world leader, and his leader. For Paul, Jr. had entered school in Moscow, in the land of the Soviets. . . .

". . . Colonial peoples today look to the Soviet Socialist Republics. They see how under the great Stalin millions like themselves have found a new life. They see that aided and guided by the example of the Soviet Union, led by their Mao Tse-tung, a new China adds its mighty power to the true and expanding socialist way of life. They see formerly semi-colonial Eastern European nations building new People’s Democracies, based upon the people’s power with the people shaping their own destinies. So much of this progress stems from the magnificent leadership, theoretical and practical, given by their friend Joseph Stalin. They have sung—sing now and will sing his praise—in song and story. Slava - slava - slava - Stalin, Glory to Stalin. Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands. In all spheres of modern life the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. From his last simply written but vastly discerning and comprehensive document, back through the years, his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin—the shapers of humanity’s richest present and future. Yes, through his deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage. Most importantly—he has charted the direction of our present and future struggles. He has pointed the way to peace—to friendly co-existence—to the exchange of mutual scientific and cultural contributions—to the end of war and destruction. How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom. He leaves tens of millions all over the earth bowed in heart-aching grief. But, as he well knew, the struggle continues. So, inspired by his noble example, let us lift our heads slowly but proudly high and march forward in the fight for peace—for a rich and rewarding life for all. . . ."

At August 25, 2012 at 5:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...

Point taken, Rad Geek. I missed that one from Robeson....That was something to read, especially as Robeson wrote it in 1953. Hyperbole got the best of me in that one line comparison...


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