conservatives and communism

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Jonny Thakkar writes at The Point that "Conservatives Should Read Marx" (h/t: Arts & Letters Daily) suggesting that "conservatives can be stupid by not taking Marx seriously."

"If they want to be consistent," writes Thakkar, "conservatives ought really to be anti-capitalist" because "to the degree that technological change is built into capitalism, so must institutional change be. In every single generation certain institutions will become obsolete, and with them their attendant practices and values." As defenders of the status quo, conservatives should be particularly wary of the rapid change driven by capitalism, but this obvious observation seems to have been buried by their reliance on market fundamentalist theory. Thakkar makes the point that, Republican rhetoric aside, our life experiences with unaccountable bureaucracies stem more from corporations than from government:

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'," Ronald Reagan famously said. He must have led a sheltered existence, but in any case it is worth asking when this has ever happened to anyone. The closest most of us come to opaque, arbitrary and unwieldy bureaucracy is with insurance or telecommunications companies. The scariest nine words might actually be spoken by the faceless operatives of my far from local and earth-sprung health insurer: "I'm going to transfer you to the correct department."

I'm surely pushing my luck with two reading lists in a single day, but the number of pro-communist books that have appeared since the crash suggests that we should all try to understand non-capitalist economics:

Badiou, Alain. The Communist Hypothesis

Bensaid, Daniel. Marx for Our Times

Harvey, David. Companion to Marx's Capital

Zizek, Slavoj. The Idea of Communism [8 November]

Of course, some will prefer to avoid learning out of fear that they'll have to change their current opinions. They can continue calling everything they don't like (or don't understand) "socialism" or "communism," demonstrating their lack of comprehension with every ALL-CAPS rant and misspelled sign. I suspect that today's Teabagger rally will provide numerous examples.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 28, 2010 11:13 AM.

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