Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Open Letter to Alan Perlman

My friend Alan Perlman has an outstanding blog site "The Jewish Atheist".  Alan is an ardent libertarian, a political and socioeconomic viewpoint with which I strongly disagree. He and I have been exchanging comments on his perspective, which is well illustrated in his post  "The Incentivized (Compassionate) Society". Alan's position may be summarized by his last entry in response to my comments:

Yes, we’ll always have elites running things, and unequal distribution of wealth is an inevitable result of capitalism. Some people (or their talents) will always be (perceived as) worth more than others.

But a return to Constitutional government means less, MUCH less opportunity for collusion between business and government. This revolving-door BS, where CEOs get govt. posts and set the rules for their industries — there would be a lot less of that.


If as you say, the elites will always run the show and unequal distribution is the result of capitalism, then I'm afraid we do indeed have the ingredients for a  barbaric "Lord of the Flies" society which I previously asserted and which you refuted, in which the strong would trample the weak.

Beginning with the Reagan era, that is the direction  in which the U.S. has been heading anyway as moneyed interests have  been allowed to take  over the government, including the Supreme Court.  This is why we need the restoration of  regulatory agencies and policies that will doggedly protect (yes the "P" word which I know libertarians hate)  the interests of the people.   As I've previously proposed, in order to prevent the revolving door conflict of interest, these agencies would be barred to employment for executives associated with the monitored industries.

Never in American history have so few owned so much of America's wealth which has resulted in the "elite" to which you refer: the 1% for whom the economic ideology is "State socialism for us, social Darwinism for everyone else".  Deregulation has allowed concentration of wealth to that small segment of society. Under a libertarian culture in which the government would have extremely limited powers to prevent plutocratic abuses and excesses, wouldn't the Golden Rule ( "The one who has the gold makes the rule") be considered the natural order of things?