Friday, 26 August 2011

Anti-elitism does not mean anti-competitiveness; Human Events wrong again

No. 232 of 365
Pick a fight with a liberal on:

Liberals believe in egalitarianism. They don't often get called on it, though, because no one bothers to defend elitism—but you should. Ask a liberal, “So you really disapprove of competition and hierarchy and achievement and want everything to be equal do you? Well, answer me this, if you were president and you needed a handful of troops to do a delicate, dangerous job, who would you turn to—a unit of racially and sexually and disability diverse troops or the elite: Special Forces, Navy Seals, Delta Force? When you watch football, assuming you're willing to watch something so violent and competitive, do you want to watch the elite, the best of the best, the professionals who made it to the NFL on the basis of their talent and training, or a United Nations coordinated rainbow coalition of teams drawn from men and women from around the world to make it a truly global unisex game? Or suppose you needed serious surgery, would you prefer the operation to be done by a surgeon with years of practice behind him, drawn from the elite of the medical profession, or by a deserving recent immigrant, selected for the task as a result of the new Obamafair™ social justice program designed to boost the self-esteem of low-skill workers while simultaneously combating society's sexist, racist, elitist hegemony?”

This is a familiar argument from the Right against the radical egalitarianism of the Left which they think so consistently undermines all incentive for achievement. The case study is problematic in an odd kind of way: whilst the Left really want equality of outcome, they equally love competition in the most aggressive manner possible.

The relationship between these goals is at first sight hard to see, since equality of outcome would rule out activities where one gender and some races (e.g. Asian-Americans and Native Americans, owing to their light bones) are at the most extreme disadvantage. However, even before the radical masculinisation of the Enriched World during the 1970s and 1980s, it is noteworthy how the most violent sports, like ice hockey and gridiron, were popular in the most socialistic and egalitarian regions like Scandinavia and the Pacific Northwest. This does suggest that aggression, even hypermasculinity could be inherent in the whole idea of socialism - and if you believe Hans Hoppe, in democracy itself.

The whole idea of showing the world that America is the best or the biggest seems to attract the attention of liberal leftists. At least showing that America can equal Europe and East Asia in environmental sustainability and income equality seems to be a goal.

The problem with this whole idea is the very notion that most people are attracted by these things. In fact, the government spending and taxation required for these things, especially in a country which is fairly well-endowed with coal and other fossil fuels does not attract migrants or investment. Russia’s restrictive government in its resource-rich Far East is a good example. Trying to encourage noncompetitiveness and harmony, which require a limited government, actually is much more conservative than the reverse.


Anonymous said...

Seriously, Hans Hoppe is screwy in the head. I've always found it hard to take him seriously. He seems to think that if we are our own personal lords and dictators, everything will be fine. Imagine- a million little Gaddafi's as your nextdoor neighbours. Don't it bring a smile to your face? Not mine. My question is, then, who are the serfs? Because if everyone is a lord, there are going to be serfs to carry out the bidding of lords. What the hell are the serfs going to be,robots? Most likely it will simply be the majority of the population. With the most "well endowed and competitive" (cough, cough) emerging on top, after crushing the skulls of everyone in their way. Its merely propertarian oligarchy, which will lead inevitably to some kind of Social Darwinist tyranny. But then of course, I'm probably just a weak, infantile leftist who hates "success" and wants to drag everyone else down. Sigh. And why does no one stand up for co-operation? I mean, I understand we live in a capitalist society (which certainly doesn't reward big corporations and CEO's at the top, who in fact love being state supported or excercising their monopoly, and send their children to schools were they can expand their skills without being trapped in a hyper competitive race to make oneself into a slave willing to be bought and sold on the block of the labour market) even on the most crass measurement of efficiency, its far better than competition. See Mutual Aid by Kropotkin, who makes the most scientific, rational, and moral case for co-operation. Also, See here for an effective deconstruction of Hoppe's nonsense: " Hoppe prefers monarchy to democracy, considering it the superior system... order."

Anonymous said...

Capitalism doesn't reward competition for big corporations and CEO's at the top- in fact, all these capitalists try to do is crush any trace of competition and maintain their monopoly. It is the huge collaboration between those at the top which maintains their power, which would fall apart if they were divided- same applies for the rest of society- the more co-operative an organisation is, the more likely it will suceed at its task sooner.