On Land and Work
Look, for some time now I have suspected that you either do not argue in good faith, or your logical abilities are handicapped by your Marxist ideology.
So let's make this very simple: you quoted twice from Adam Smith to the effect that capitalists "always" seek to use the government to suppress labor.
I told you that just because Adam Smith made such claims, that did not mean that such conduct was a significant factor in TODAY's American business world.
Then you denied quoting Adam Smith on this matter.
Then I excerpted your email in which you did make those two quotations.
Now, you begin your reply to me by stating that I wouldn't "have these questions if I had read the book."
I don't have "questions" about Adam Smith. What Adam Smith I read was 33 years ago when I studied economics in school.
I do not need to read what he wrote to know that your claim is wrong - that labor is suppressed by the government today in America by force on behalf of the capitalists.
That statement is wrong, because it is contract to reality. Your ideology and quotes from Adam Smith don't make it so.
So it all comes down to these two questions: do you admit that what Adam Smith wrote about capitalists using the state to suppress labor DOES NOT prove that they are doing so today in our country?
Do you admit that labor is not routinely violently oppressed by the government today on behalf of the capitalists in America?
Because if you won't admit that, then you are either a liar or mentally unstable yourself.
That's just the bottom line for this whole discussion.
Please respond to these two particular questions. I don't intend to extend this discussion if we cannot get past what appears to me to be a delusion on your part about reality today.
One other point:
"One might as well blame Christ for letting the Roman legionairres put him on the cross. "He is just as guilty of the killing, because he had just as much powers as a massive, militarist empire that dominated his homeland." Christ resisting the situation put upon him by his overlords? It wasn't very likely -- well, excluding the part about being a god. But even a god himself couldn't convince courts to listen to him, couldn't convince soldiers and police of his goodness. On what account, then, do you put this responsibility on the poor, huddled masses?"
You are gravely mistaken about Christ's desires and intentions. He made it clear Himself that He intended to go to the cross. His life and works also made it clear that He could have stopped the whole incident at any time He chose. But instead, He willingly went to the crucifixion to accomplish His purpose. He said "For this cause came I into this world."
The reason Christ deliberately submitted to the crucifixion is so that He might become a sacrifice in the place of all who trust in Him for salvation. He offered His body as a penal substitute, to satisfy the demands of divine justice against the sin of all His people.
For the Scriptures teach us that the punishment for rebellion against God is eternal death. Being just, God cannot in mercy set that aside, so He devised a method of salvation by the substitution of His own Son the Savior - we call this the Gospel, or Good News!
He laid His judgment for our sin upon Christ at the cross, so that His people who trust in Him might be spared. So God's word and His righteous judgment is preserved, and yet He may have mercy upon sinners who call upon Him.
Christ intended to die for His loved ones. He was not overcome by the irresistable force of the Roman government.
And indeed He did overcome that force, and the forces of death and the grave itself, when He arose in power and glory three days later. He ever lives, and one day He's coming again to take His people home and to judge the wicked.
In the meantime, He commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has ordained that coming day of judgment.
I have come to the Savior as a lost sinner, and He has accepted me. Indeed, He will not reject any man who comes to Him and takes Him as prince and savior of his life and soul.
Ah, yes, I love it when it's simple... First, I never denied quoting Adam Smith. And second, any further discussion about which part of Adam Smith I quoted is a red herring -- or, false argument. I quoted Adam Smith, absolutely, several times in support of my economic ideas. One of the world's greatest economists said that there was a conspiracy of the Capitalist class against the common workers in every nation and every era.
What is it that you respond with to this? You've spent several pages complaining that I'm misquoting sections, denying that I quoted him, or something else that I really can't figure out. I've shown this quote to many other, but few have responded like this. They were more concerned about exploitation and oppression than they were with what particular section or footnote I grabbed the quote from.
That's exactly why I told you that you wouldn't have these questions if you read the book! I even linked you to the exact section that I quoted! This, of course, besides posting it in the e-mail several times. These original questions were not about my interpretation of Smith, or my understanding -- they were about which page, chapter, or paragraph the words were coming from. And, generally, this is a false argument.
(If you think I quoted him, and I'm not really quoting his words, that's a bit different than getting mixed up on where I quoted Adam Smith. Also, you could quote him yourself to show me exactly where I may be misquoting or misciting -- it would be far more effective than continuing to respond "No, no, not that section, that other section you quoted!")
Also, I am not a Marxist; if you need a reference point for my ideology, try calling me a Paineian Socialist -- that is, Socialism in the tradition of Thomas Paine.
Adam Smith's treatise on economy effectively proved nothing absolutely. It wasn't a demonstrable proof of the tendency of Capitalists to exploit, nor was it a demonstrable proof of the monetary gains from free trade. It's just one guy, who read a lot of books, and then put his observations and ideas into his own book.
And the routine, violent oppression of the workers? Absolutely -- I see it everyday. The fourteenth amendment of the US Constitution is extremely clear in equal protection before the law. And yet police officers spend more time on prostitution cases than in rape cases. More hours are spent on arresting families of illegal immigrants than in capturing terrorists. And more money is spent on arresting petty shoplifters than in taking down Capitalist and corporate thieves.
All of these acts, in fact, are exactly oppression: one privileged group maintains state power, and uses it in their own self-interest against the majority. Is it not an act of violence, when an industrial trust steals $20-$40 billion from the public, and is completely exonerated? [*1] On the other hand, when two poor and homeless are routing through garbage cans, they are imprisoned for six months! [*2] This is violence! And this type of violent repression is the same everywhere and every place -- it only varies by type.
In 1982, 13% of Americans said that they had personally experienced police brutality. [*3] Statistically, it would be impossible for such violence to happen on a non-daily basis. You're not free outside of prison, and inside, you're less free. In three years, two thousands suspects were executed -- by police and without trial. [*4]
Prosecution of this type of police misbehavior is nonexistent. For instance, a group of police officers held down Oscar Grant and shot him in the back, execution-style. Police officers hurried quickly, and confiscated and destroyed -- at gunpoint -- all video equipment from a crowd; but, one photographer escaped and published the video. Only one, out of the group of murderers, is being charged. And for a case where an execution was caught on tape, it took several months. [*5] The district attorneys cooperated in destroying evidence, all of the police cooperated in arresting witnesses, and all of the judges refused to issue warrants against officers -- is this really just one instance of violence against the people, or is it a trained and methodical process for violent oppression?
The Rodney King beating is another example of non-enforcement. In Alabama, a police officer broke into an African American house and executed a 70-year old black man with throat cancer -- again, no charges at all, not even on the distant horizon. [*6]
Maybe you haven't lived as deeply in dirt as I have. Maybe you haven't seen what it's like to be, as Christ described, "the least of these." But all of this is common for us, the poor and the exploited. We know that the government executes and murders people en masse, on a regular daily basis. And we know that there is no protection against it. It we are beaten, stabbed, raped, or killed, nothing will come of it. This is the thought that is at the front of every person's mind when confronting a police officer: they are uniformed monsters, and far worse than uncivilized beasts, they know of no restraint or mercy.
Sympathizing with a poor, old, cancer-patient who was shot to death by officers -- ah, yes, of course I am "either a liar or mentally unstable."
Oh, and a lovely chat on religion... While the many millions are living in starvation conditions, while the billions wander aimlessly for work -- let us discuss, and in depth, what humanity has no hope of ever knowing for sure...
Let's be fair. Christ didn't just intend to die for his loved ones -- he knowingly created a situation where he would HAVE TO DIE for his loved ones. First, god knows everything right? (1 John 3:19-20) When god created the universe, he knew exactly what was going to happen, right? First, he knew that there were going to quarrels, and that he would have to order the rape of thirty-two thousand virgins (chapter 31 of Numbers).
He saw that the Capitalists were not protected enough, so he had to justify and legitimize slavery. (Exodus 21:2-6; Leviticus 25:44-46) Children were unruly, so he had to set rules for them -- namely, rules about properly executing them when they "cursed their parents name." (Leviticus 20:9) Yes, god was wise, and when he created the universe, he knew he had to do all of these things, "out of his infinite wisdom."
Then a few centuries later, after god kinda lost his shtick for violence and rape, he decides to free man from the hell he created for him. "I'm here to die for your sins!" -- "Wait a minute, Jesus.... Aren't you the one who created me as a person who's supposed to sin -- someone with the desires and gratification for all types of sinful activity?" -- "Well, yes..." -- "So, why would you make me this way, and then tell me that YOU WERE WRONG to make me this way? That doesn't sound like the behavior of a god." And, it probably wasn't.
Eternal death? You mean, god doesn't allow intermittent death if you plea-bargain your sin-case? I honestly just don't care. You don't shake and cry when your parents tell you that Santa won't give you presents if you're bad. At least, not any more. But you behave exactly the same now before god.
God and Santa: they are invisible beings, who speak to you through an authority figure, though they are also somehow "always close to your heart." It's hardly coincidental that the things they say support their authority figure. Long ago, I've made the conclusion that both were puppets, being dangled in front of me, just to control my behavior.
If I live in fear of that which I do not know, then I am hardly living. Those who worked to end poverty and hunger and homelessness, are burning in hell, too, because they did not believe. What an unjust punishment for those who have spent more time in alleviating the misery of the poor and hungry, than in speculating on a world after this one.
*1. USA Today, USA Today page
I was a little disheartened not receive a response from my last e-mail. But, if we cannot agree on the violence of today's government, then let us at least move on. And, consider the real issue that I have been writing to you about this whole time. Land and work, the source of our bread and our wealth.
My simple premise has always been that these two were divided. The problem is not that the worker does not want to work, but that the landlord does not want to provide opportunity. There has always been empty fields ready for farmers, vacant factories ready for laborers, and abandoned buildings ready for the homeless. But the possession of all by a very few has prevented this from being a reality. I've provided ample statistics on how very few people possess the majority of society's wealth, whether measuring the US, Great Britain, or Brazil.
A handful of people can annually produce enough food to feed several hundred thousand families. Just a tiny fraction of the American work force, less than 5%, could feed the entire world. But there are still children starving on our own streets. If only so few are required to feed all, how many are needed for clothing and for homes? How many for making the tools, and digging iron, for these industries? The number rises, but one fact remains: there has always been enough land and industry for each person to work just a few hours a day to satisfy all their needs and luxuries. If unemployment is a tremendous problem, why wouldn't you look into what stops laborers from feeding themselves?
You could argue "lowering taxes is a better way of providing jobs," but it has never fully provided employment, nor has it ever justly compensated the workers. In my last e-mail, I provided a list of several companies that engaged in price-fixing collusion. Companies like Safeway, the RIAA, Heineken, Siemens, Toshiba, Fuji, Hitachi, and The Cheese Company have fixed their prices.
What does that mean for the company? It means tremendous profits for the capitalist, a small minority. When a company cuts back production, and gouges the prices, workers get laid off, and consumers cut back spending, and other industries suffer, as well. A ripple of recession works through the economy. Homelessness, poverty, and unemployment all rise statistically according to this market behavior.
It is the natural inclination to profit that leads Capitalists to excluding others from the land. There is enough land and industry for all to work and be their own masters, but instead, unemployment rises and falls, continuing but never dying. And this will always be the case, so long as there is private ownership of the means of production. The empowerment of a few against the interests of the many: Capitalism. If that is all your party offers, then I have no hopes that you will eliminate poverty, end homelessness, or provide real jobs with just wages.
The dispute over your quotation of Smith is very simple: you quoted him, I reminded you of it, you denied making that particular quotation, I reprinted your verbatim quotaton.
I think the truth is, you got confused about whom you had quoted.
But no matter: you purport to answer my question re: capitalist routine use of violence against workers today, but you provide no such answer.
All the examples you provide are either a) examples of law enforcement against theft, or b) examples of police violence that don't appear to be at the behest of the "capitalist class."
Nobody stands against police misconduct as do I. I have publicly crusaded against it in my own community at some cost to myself. I have witnessed it, I have defended against it, I have spent hours in court fighting against it.
And my party has stood against it as well. Indeed, so concerned are we against the rampant false convictions that we see taking place, that we have called for a suspension of capital punishment until certain safeguards are in place.
But all your examples do nothing to prove your point that there is "routine use of state violence" against the workers FOR THE BENEFIT of the "capitalists." What they do prove is that there is a need for increased safeguards against the power of big government, the state, in its actions against the people.
Indeed, if you look at our state party platform, you will find that we demand the removal of sovereign immunity:
"It being necessary that the right of the citizens to petition the courts for relief and redress from government misconduct be restored, and that such relief be actually granted and not avoided by legal artifice and special privilege, the Party demands the abolition of the protection of sovereign immunity, and that the government and its agents be placed under the same standards of negligence, misconduct, criminal prosecution, and civil damages that now apply to the citizens."
We've been fighting that issue for years - but we realize that socialism when enforced by the state is one of the greatest sources of use of violence and force against the people.
Take, for example, Chavez's stealing by force the assets of the Hilton company just last week. Raw naked police and state violence were used to take property, all in the name of the "workers."
There's an example of the use of police force against the capitalist. Our party opposes such wickedness just as much as we oppose the evil that you describe in previous times in which workers were force to work or barred from doing so by police power.
Your use of the CD price fixing example is illustrative. I read the article, and see nothing wrong with what they did. They made a marketing agreement, to pay out certain funds for the mutual benefit of themselves and the retailers, in exchange for an agreed floor price. Perfectly legitimate in a free market. No force being used by anybody, until the state poked its nose into the situation. Looks like an example of using the force of the state against the capitalists to me.
Your citation from the ACLU police misconduct site is also troublesome. I read the statement you referenced, and it did not support your claim of 13.6% experiencing abuse. That was the figure for people with cause to complain about police conduct. Lots of people complain about police conduct without claiming actual abuse. They are rude, they didn't come until long after we called, they take up all the good parking places around the donut shop, they gave me a ticket that I didn't think was necessary, etc., etc., etc.