Recently returning to Twitter after more than year, seems there are now a diverse amount of news feeds more than was the case when I last ventured there. And, I’ll even add, a lot more rabid demagogues from the last time I ventured onto Twitter. But then, I am not surprised. They rear their ugly heads on Facebook as well. Mr. John Hunter is on a Twitter account, following the various news feeds. Which is how I ran across him. I wished to address a few things with him, and immediately, “Obomunist” becomes a slur of choice. About three days later, he is referring to Marxism as “Wealth and power distributed through the state.” Which I find to be interesting. But, not having on hand “Das Capital,” or the “Communist Manifesto,” I can only kind of figure out what Karl Marx was trying to get at by other means. So, let us begin with what “state” means, according to a 40 year old dictionary.
State=7. A politically unified people occupying a specific area of land; nation. Something that does not exactly describe this country today. To say the least. But, it is not an argument of “state” that controls and distributes wealth and power… So let us instead turn to State Capitalism=A form of capitalism in which the central government controls most of the capital, industry, natural resources, etc. Definitely applicable to the Soviet Union when it still existed. For the then existing Communist party (applicable to other Communist run states as well); the capitalism that existed in all of its forms, was controlled by the government. However, even before the Bolshevik revolution, authoritarian governments from Russia through most of Europe, even to Great Britain itself, did have a tendency to control capitalism, industry, trade, etc. Something that a lot of people today, don’t seem to realize. Back in the 18th century, Adam Smith was on record as opposing this state capitalism. One imposed on the British/American colonies by King George the 3rd. So, a single quote, “wealth and power distributed through the state,” becomes applicable to what?
When the British/American colonies were founded, one of the incentives for immigration to this new country, was for King George (as an example), to grant vast acres of land to people, who made the crossing from England to America. Now there is a definite demonstration of a central government that controls the resources. Further, King George determined how and under what circumstances the colonies could trade with England and other European nations. A definite demonstration of state capitalism. Which would definitely suggest, that the people who proffer this quote, are remarkably ignorant about actual history.
State=11. Civil government as distinguished from individuals, ecclesiastical authority, etc. Applicable to the facts since the institution of the U.S. Constitution. Through that document, our founders instituted a civil government. Instead of a military or ecclesiastical government. State=13. Of or pertaining to the central civil government or authority. Each of the states of the United States has one. State=8. Any of the territories, each with its own government, that are combined under a federal government. A description of the U.S. So effectively: state is a nation (citizenry) and geographic location, as well as a government. So I would guess that the state (citizenry, geographic location, and government) will in fact distribute wealth and power within its environs. It is merely a matter of how the “state” will go about it.
Here in this country, we do have natural resources somewhat controlled by private enterprise. However, for that to happen, the federal government grants specific leases for the mining and etc. of those resources. Unquestionably, each state that has some kind of control over natural resources within its boundaries, can grant such lease rights too. But unlike the Soviet Union, private enterprise sees a clear profit from the extraction of natural resources… Just the facts. Thus, the civil government provides the lease rights, the private enterprise makes the money. “The distribution of wealth and power through the state,” interesting. I wonder when Mr. Hunter took a good long look at the actual practices of this nation? Now, back to 18th century England. Thomas Paine was one of those Utopian dreamers who opposed the landed aristocracy, did believe that on “merit”—what people earned through their own efforts—was significantly better than anything granted through the authoritarian rule of kings. King George the 3rd after all, did distribute wealth and power by way of his authority. And Mr. Paine made it quite clear, that he was utterly opposed to the idea. According to the Craig Nelson biography of Mr. Paine, “Common Sense” was transcribed into foreign languages and found homes within various countries of Europe. Decades after his death, why would it not be possible for a philosopher, by the name of Karl Marx, to have access to such a book? Perhaps his “Communism” was a direct argument against wealth and power being distributed through the state. If the state was authoritarian, if the state was run by royalty, if the royalty was engaged in such practices of that sort of distribution. And yes, the abuses that came as a consequence of such a distribution. So, in the absence of historical fact, a quote taken out of context could be applicable to just about anything and apropos to nothing. Was Karl Marx for such a “state” distribution, or against such a state distribution? Referencing Beverly Gage’s historical work, “The Day Wall Street Exploded,” Karl Marx wanted a “people owned government.” Which would suggest that he wanted a democracy. No matter what label he wished to apply as a description of what he wanted, he effectively wanted a type of democracy. To mean the people as the actual state would be the ones to distribute that wealth and power. The Bolsheviks of the Russian revolution had other ideas. The party would distribute that wealth and power, between themselves. Not unlike the royalty and aristocrats they overthrew. Also the party maintained the same sort of serfdom that existed before the revolution. Regrettably, Twitter can enable you to outline historical facts, but doesn’t permit much in the way of in-depth analysis. In effect, the Bolsheviks engaged in a palace coup. Calling “communist” what still amounted to nothing more than an authoritarian dictatorship. The signal difference between the Communist state and a Royal dictatorship, ideas had to be vetted and approved by the state before they could enter public usage. Thus, the Communist party created a totalitarian type of existence.
I think we have no problem recognizing what “control” means. Having domination over something or someone. By the very facts of “state:” materially geographic, citizenry, and government; state will exercise a material domination. For a guy such as Mr. Hunter to “flip a wig” over that prospect and then immediately label it as “communist,” suggests that he is a rabidly anarchist fellow. I am also sure that we don’t have a problem understanding what anarchist is either, a person opposed utterly to the idea of government or the idea that anyone can have dominion over anyone else. Does Mr. Hunter find work in the private sector? Then his place of business has dominion over him. Does he run a business in the private sector, then he as president or CEO would have dominion over his employees. Those are the facts of life.
Now what are the differences between control (i.e. state capitalism) and regulate? Just ask any lobbyist representing say a business group why he or she makes regular appearances before Congress. Why Congressional war chests are typically padded with money from lobbyists during any election year. Obviously and actually, business interests love that symbiotic relationship with government. That is, when it serves their interests. And probably, far more regulations have come about because of this symbiotic relationship between business interests and government, than from any other source, say the people. “Distribution of power and wealth through the state.” Hmmm, sounds like the special interests don’t have a real issue with that. Mr. Hunter should get his head out of the talking points and take a real good look at the real world.