Masters Are Entitled to the Good Life
The great question regarding the future fate of mankind is worth repeating: ".
. . whether man shall henceforth start forwards with accelerated velocity towards
illimitable, and hitherto unconceived improvement, or be condemned to a PERPETUAL
OSCILLATION BETWEEN HAPPINESS AND MISERY, and after every effort remain still at an
immeasurable distance from the wished-for goal"1 [my emphasis].
This great question,
which troubled Malthus, and others in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, still trouble
leaders of the G8, China, India, etc. The Clinton Administration's solution, for example,
is to reinvent government -- by "eliminating outmoded programs designed for
the 19th and 20th centuries, and promoting new ones designed for the 21st."2 But what does this mean?
Apparently, REINVENTING GOVERNMENT means, among other things:3
- reducing the number of
agencies and cutting the Federal workforce by 200,000 positions
- reducing paperwork
- cutting the costs of
regulation by "facilitating compliance"
- making regulations as
"market-friendly and performance-oriented as possible"
- preventing "pension
plans from becoming a vehicle for tax evasion"
- "reducing the burden of
environmental regulations and those affecting the banking and telecommunications
sectors" [my italics]
- promoting "competition
- protecting consumers
- reducing the deficit and
- making, "[i]n the
face of increased income inequality, . . . greater efforts to enhance
educational opportunity so that the vicious cycle of poverty is
not perpetuated"4 [my emphasis and italics].
Should we conclude from the
Economic Report of the President, that, despite the great strides of the American
Revolution, large segments of the population of the United States still continue to be
trapped in a "VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY"? The answer is an unadulterated
"yes." Reinventing the government can help the Federal Government become more efficient.
But it does very little to remedy the Malthusian "perpetual oscillation between
happiness and misery." As a matter of fact, the data from the business cycle
shows clearly that Malthus' "perpetual oscillation between happiness and
misery" has been metamorphosed -- thanks to the vicissitudes of the global
marketplace -- into a perpetual oscillation between misery and even more misery
for much too many. Not only are citizens more indentured than ever to Big Money,
their governments are.
The next millennium is just
a few years away. Despite massive progress in science and technology, Governments still
have little to clue them on how to make the good life accessible to all the
citizens. Peoples and governments can no longer afford to ignore the hidden motives
and intentions behind the economic veil. Not much has really changed since the
days of Aristotle: the "good life" for the few is still predicated upon dominion
over people as slaves or as economically indentured servants -- as "animate
article[s] of property" or as "instruments which are prior to other
Republican opponents of the Clinton Administration and Ross Perot in the U.S., the Reform
Party in Canada, etc., have trumpeted the value and central role of FAMILIES in society.
Political strategists have discovered that the good life starts with the family. It
should therefore be interesting to probe the concept of household since times
Of course, one can start
with the Magians -- the Babylonians and the Sumarians. But, I will limit myself to the
Greeks -- more specifically, to the notion of HOUSEHOLD in Aristotle's Greece. The Greek household
of 322 BC was very different from the modern household. Then, as now, every city
was composed of households. But, unlike the family of today, the "complete
household" consisted "of slaves and freemen."6 Apparently, "slave
ownership" was the same as "household management" -- or
"statesmanship, and kingship."7 Man was Master over his wife and
children -- "the relationship of male to female is naturally that of the superior to
the inferior, of the ruling to the ruled."8 Above all, Man was Master over his
Slaves. The Slave was an "article of property" or "an instrument for the
purpose of life" -- an "instrument of action."9 According to Aristotle, "the
art of acquiring property is part of household management" -- or " . . . the art
of war, or . . . the art of hunting."10
The family today no
longer consists of slaves. So why am I telling you about the Greek household? Because, the North American family has itself become INDENTURED.
And, as if this was not enough, both the government of the United States and the
government of Canada have become INDENTURED -- to Big Money. The chains are invisible --
but they are everywhere, and they are real. They are called debt -- home mortgages,
car loans, credit lines, leases, consolidated government debts . . . Apparently, we have
not been moving "forwards with accelerated velocity towards illimitable, and hitherto
unconceived improvement . . . "
We cannot continue to
delude ourselves about the most important things: our freedom, our rights and
privileges, our good life. True, freedom implies freedom to buy and sell in the
marketplace. But the marketplace has a dark side. The power of its masters is
conquest and dominion concealed as competition. Contrary to the buzzing propaganda,
Capitalism is not accessible to all the people. So
long as democracy continues to be perverted by Darwinistic "advantages, however
slight,"11 for "absurd and oppressive
monopolies,"12 people will be condemned to eternal
MUST BECOME ACCESSIBLE TO ALL. DARWINISTIC NET ADVANTAGES, AT THE EXPENSE OF THE
CITIZEN, MUST BE ELIMINATED -- IN THE CONSTITUTION. SERVITUDE MUST BE RELEGATED TO
People everywhere better
get busy shaping and fulfilling their own irrevocable and inalienable destiny. The
People must leave Plato's Cave and will their destiny -- or it will be willed for
them! The deepest root of human destiny is the rule of law. Since
laws encode the implicate order of a society, these must be realigned to favor goodness
and life instincts over evil and dark forces -- to favor virtues and
intelligence over the stupid, the irrational, or the animal in us. We cannot
allow Faustian money to dictate our lives.
THEREFORE, THE ELECTORATE
HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO BECOME THE MASTER, AND AS THE MASTER, TO
DIRECT THE LEGISLATURE TO CHANGE THE RULE OF LAW -- INCLUDING THE RULES OF
THE MARKETPLACE -- PREFERABLY BEFORE WE CROSS INTO THE 21ST CENTURY. PEOPLE MUST FREE
THEMSELVES FROM SHADOWS OF MARKETPLACE MORALITY, AND FROM PHONEY PUPPETS AND ARTIFACTS.
ONLY THEN, CAN ALL THE PEOPLE ACQUIRE THE GOOD LIFE.
See Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, edited with an
Introduction by Antony Flew, 1970, at 67.
2 See Economic Report of
the President, Transmitted to the Congress, February 1996, Together with The Annual
Report of the Council of Economic Advisers, at 33.
3 Ibid., at
33-36 (Making the Government More Efficient), and 39-40 (Approaching the 21st Century).
4 Ibid., at 40
(markets, increased income inequality, education, and vicious cycle of poverty).
5 See Aristotle,
Politics, translated by Ernest Barker and revised with an Introduction and Notes by
R.F. Stalley, 1995, at 12-20, especially 13 (1253b23).
6 Ibid., at 12
7 Ibid., at 13
8 Ibid., at 16
9 Ibid., at
10 Ibid., at
13 (1253b23), and 20 (1255b16).
expression; see Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (1859), in Darwin, 2nd
ed., edited by Philip Appleman, 1970, 1979, at 54.
12 Adam Smith's
expression; Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776), edited by Edwin Cannan, with
a Preface by George J. Stigler, 1976, Vol. Two, Book IV, Chapter VIII, at 165.