Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Some background on some of the intellectual foundations of neoliberalism

Every once in a while, I will find an article, or a series of articles and blog posts that discuss various ideas by neoliberalism's various proponents. So, consider this just part of a very occasional series of mine - and something of an interlude while I finish something else (given my schedule, it may be a minute before it is complete). Recently a progressive writer named Corey Robin (of the blog Crooked Timber) published an article on Hayek's intellectual roots - Nietsche's Marginal Children: On Friedrich Hayek. It makes for a provocative read, and has indeed provoked a number of criticisms, which Robin has subsequently addressed: Nietsche, Hayek, and the Austrians and The Hayek-Pinochet Connection. Each of these is worth reading, as they help the lay reader understand the foundations of our current toxic economic order.

I highlight all of this as I am in the process of laying out some thoughts about why I consider - whether as an advocate, activist, or candidate - being merely antiwar as insufficient a justification for support of a candidate or movement. My interest here comes from the fact that a number of antiwar sources are explicitly libertarian or paleoconservative and are explicit proponents of the work of Hayek, von Mises, and the emo-neoliberal rantings of Ayn Rand. It is very clear to me that those who uphold the viewpoints professed by these individuals - although ostensibly outraged by the violence resulting from the series of wars started in the aftermath of the Twin Towers attacks of 2001 - feel no shame in advocating the sort of organizational and structural violence that is at the heart of a neoliberal capitalist worldview. Such violence is every bit as damaging, and arguably more so, than that resulting from contemporary warfare. As a worker, I could not in good conscience support violence against my fellow men and women, regardless of the lofty rhetoric in which it is presented.

Update: Via BLCKDGRD, here are a couple other posts worth reading - The 10 commandments of neoliberalism (an amusing, snarky take on our current world order) and The Thirteen Commandments of Neoiberalism (a considerably measured variation on the theme).

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