I’ve been tweeted this video more than a few times, so I figured I’d use this President’s day to put down some thoughts (I wrote this up on Monday, just got around to publishing it).
1:00 – Sean doesn’t define capitalism
It’s a 1,000 word piece, I can’t define everything.
1:21 – Molyneux defines capitalism as “respect for private property” and the “non-initiation of force.”
These are contradictory. There is no way to enforce property rights without violence (i.e. the state).
2:14 – Communism when implemented resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people
I’m defending some of Marx’s predictions, not Stalinism or Leninism. Marx and Engels, of course, believed that democracy, not totalitarianism, represented the road to socialism (a revolution of the working class, not a vanguard party).
2:23 – Marx was wrong about the labor theory of value.
I’m daily amazed that the same people who champion Adam Smith will then pillory Marx for accepting the labor theory of value that the former developed.
2:52 – Millions died in agony
Again, because of totalitarianism. Also, I’m not interested in the vulgar parlor game of counting bodies (too common to debates about religion and Marx) but the slave trade and the Belgian occupation of Congo were both wholly “capitalist.”
3:00 – I’m over-afflicted with compassion for the endless victims
Very selective and politically beneficial compassion, but compassion nonetheless. It may be more useful to aim the frustration at Stalin, Lenin and Mao, rather than Marx, though.
3:37 – Cambodia
Perfect example here. Marx spent very little time on how socialism would come about and what it would look like (Capital was supposed to be 12 volumes, only three -four if you include the partial publication of Volume IV by Kautsky – were published). In the manifesto, Marx notes that the distinction between town and country should be eliminated, the KR did so by a violent forced relocation of the people in the city to the town. It strikes me that there is a more humane way to do this. I never really see a logical way to get from Marx’s work to the violence committed in his name (I would countenance one on the teleological view of history, but then Hegel is the problem. Also, my piece is specifically on marxian economics, not his theory of politics or morality).
5:00 – 11:00 – A list of ways that the U.S. is now socialist
I note that the progressive income tax was something Marx proposed, and it was something that did not exist before he advocated it.
Of course, what is so odd about libertarians is that they would almost certainly agree with Marx’s conception of government as a means for the bourgeoisie class to exert power.
It is odd that in a rebuttal of my argument that Marx predicted 2014, Molyneux literally goes through and shows how to varying levels the ten planks of the manifesto have been implemented. It’s incredibly conspiratorial, and would disagree on many, but it seems to prove my point (and appears to come from here).
11:44 – Capitalism means the government doesn’t interfere in private property rights
Here it is again. Always confused when libertarians make this argument. Without the government, you can have no private property, anyone bigger and stronger will just take your shit. Read Hobbes.
11:51 – Government can’t create currency in a capitalist system
Wow, this is getting very crazy.
12:00 – Children are indoctrinated in government schools
Okay, so we’re talking like, an Alex Jones type of character here.
12:45 – Governments create bubbles
Right, because they never happened before the federal reserve
13:00 – Sean is deluded.
Well, he might be right there
13:30 – The federal reserve caused WW2
I pass this assertion to you, dear reader, without comment. Okay, okay, I’ll comment. Milton Friedman, no friend of Marx, argued that the federal reserve’s folly in the aftermath of the Great Depression is that it did not act enough. So…
14:45 – Asserts that I have never exposed myself to opposing views
I interned at the Reason Foundation and the Fox Business Network and described myself as a libertarian from the age of 13 to about 18.
15:00 – Government causes recessions via monetary policy
Google Dutch Tulip Bubble. Very humorous to hear me described as a fundamentalist by a person who ascribes all evil in the world to governments.
15:34 – War on Drugs!
The war on drugs is a terrible policy. But this is an odd segue.
18:15 – Federal reserve is fascist!
Again… No comment
18:39 – The housing market crashed because of government (Community Reinvestment Act)
19:52 – Government shouldn’t take on debt, because that is a violation of private property
20:29 – Choke back anuerism when struck by [Sean’s] rank insanity
Lots of rhetoric, little argument.
23:38 – Globalization was greater one hundred years ago because you didn’t need a passport, labor was more mobile
I assume he’s talking about immigration controls, not travel. I don’t know the data here. I do know that the mobility of capital and goods has increased dramatically, and I suspect the same is true of labor. Anyone who knows history knows that immigration quotas have been a feature of American society for centuries.
24:00 – Sean lives in cliche
Pull out the plank in thy own eye before examining the mite in thy neighbor’s
25:00 – He views business as a jackal constantly eating up resources
As did Smith, Malthus and Ricardo. Most classical economists felt that imperialism was the invetible result of the tendency of the rate of profit to decline.
25:15 – Sean has never run a business and nor have most economists
I hear this one a lot. It’s a very silly argument rooted in an anti-intellectual mindset.
26:00 – Businesses satisfy consumer demand
Sometimes. I like what I get does not mean I get what I like.
26:40 – The idea that businesses destroy stuff is absurd
Google ozone layer, smoker’s lungs and Amazon rainforest
27:00 – “I don’t know what that means”
Yeah, I know
27:05 – Businesses don’t eat each other, they compete
Google Comcast and Time Warner.
28:41 – Small businesses are good, but unstable
True, and yes, he is proving my point.
29:45 – Walmart more satisfies people and is environmentally friendly
I like what I get, but do I get what I like? Also, Walmart is hardly a paragon of environmental virtue. Studies show it also depresses local economies when it comes around.
30:00 – Walmart reduces inflation
…By keeping wages low
31:21 – Big banks replace small banks because of politics
Always weird how much libertarians essentially parrot Marx’s theory about the bourgeois overtaking the economy and give him no credit for the idea. Also, again, he’s conceding my point.
32:48 – IPR is bad
Yeah, I know, I’ve written about it. Pretty big red herring though.
36:40 – In a free market if there is an excess of labor, the price of labor will go down, or people will become entrepreneurs
Yes to the first part. The second part is only true if there is enough demand.
37:00 – The progressive income tax does not fight inequality
See Thomas Piketty
To sum up:
This guy mainly just shits on the federal reserve for 30 minutes and occasionally references my article. He does know a lot of multi-syllabic words, which I’m sure will impress many, viewers more interested in style than substance.
I’ve been struck through-out this video of how well my prose stands up. Essentially, this is just a denunciation of the straw man I called elsewhere “vulgar Marxism.”