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CHAPTER 7

Only Masters Are Entitled to the Good Life

 

The Great Question. 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 and innovation"
  • protecting consumers
  • reducing the deficit and cutting taxes
  • devolution
  • 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 instruments."5

The Family. The 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 immemorial.

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 servitude.

CAPITALISM 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 MACHINES.

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.

 


Navigator
1 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 (1253b1).

7 Ibid., at 13 (1253b14).

8 Ibid., at 16 (1254b2).

9 Ibid., at 13-14 (1253b23-1254a1).

10 Ibid., at 13 (1253b23), and 20 (1255b16).

11 Darwin's 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.

  

 


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