June 21, 2011

The Eminently Real Free Market (IX): The Kevin Carson (Side-)Show (5)

Mr. Ferrara’s sideshow featuring Kevin Carson is drawing to a close. Unfortunately we must subject ourselves to more of the former’s innuendo and hand-waving.
Even if Catholics cannot possibly go where left-libertarians would take them, one must admire Carson’s intellectual honesty. (14)
Pray, where would left-libertarians take Catholics, for whom Mr. Ferrara presumes to speak, where they cannot follow? Would the implementation of Mr. Carson’s version of the good society pose an obstacle to that of Mr. Ferrara’s? We are given not a hint of an answer, just innuendo.
We charitably presume that his own Distributist arrangements will be peacefully established and maintained, that they will pose neither obstacle nor threat to other peaceful arrangements, even those animated by non-Catholic ideologies, that they would be, in effect, anarchist communities (regardless of what they call themselves). That is, no permanent monopoly of force and violence would be established within Distributist territory.
Realistically, we conjecture that while the state has no redeeming value in the eyes of Mr. Carson, Mr. Ferrara feels compelled to provide permanent employment for the civil magistrate, who would enjoy just such a monopoly. But why does Mr. Ferrara leave it to our powers of conjecture? He had just praised Mr. Carson for his intellectual honesty. Why didn’t exercise a bit of it here? That is, why didn’t Mr. Ferrara just spell out what evil allegedly lurks in the hearts of left libertarians? Doing so would have saved him from the appearance of uncharitably provoking unwarranted suspicion.
We wonder whether the following sentence holds the record for TCATL’s longest:
For the truth he recognizes (not unsympathetically to the Catholic Church, by the way) is that from the time of the Protestant revolt to the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, to the American and French Revolutions, and down to the present day, proto-capitalists and their capitalist descendants have done everything in their power to skew the “free” market their way in an alliance with secular nation states whose unprecedented centralized governments have wielded power no Christian king could even have imagined. (14)
A few observations.
Mr. Carson’s pro-Catholic sympathies, expressed en passant, count for something on Mr. Ferrara’s balance sheet while Murray Rothbard’s positive appraisals of the Church as a libertarian force in the history of the West, more centrally and frequently expressed in his writings, do not.
Obviously, except perhaps to Mr. Ferrara, markets, to the degree that they are “skewed” by political forces, are to that degree not free. If the skewers were and are capitalists, then by libertarian standards -- Austro-libertarian, left-libertarian, and garden variety -- those capitalists stand condemned. We shall infer that Mr. Ferrara condemns all such historical skewing of markets for political reasons whenever he discovers an instance of it, no matter whose ox is being gored, and hold him to that standard.
We shall also defer to Mr. Ferrara’s insight into the imaginative poverty of Christian kings of yore. It seems that the difference is chiefly technological: we shudder to imagine, for example, Louis XIV of France, that ostentatiously pious Christian King, a Catholic “Sun King,” who cordially resented the presence of heretics among his subjects, with modern weapons and methods of surveillance.
Mr. Ferrara respects Mr. Carson’s intellectual honesty, yet fails to realize an implication of one of his chief concerns, namely, the “subsidy of history.” By that phrase he refers to the role of state coercion in the historical genesis of the mutually convenient arrangement between throne room and boardroom. “The extent to which present-day concentrations of wealth and corporate power are the legacy of past injustice,” he writes, “I call the subsidy of history.”
Mr. Ferrara broadcasts Mr. Carson’s indictment yet arbitrarily keeps from his readers’ notice those instances in which the Church was the indirect beneficiary of such subsidies.
That is, Mr. Ferrara expresses no interest in how certain kings who professed Christ acquired the land they then magnanimously donated to the Church, some of which was then “redistributed” by modern editions of the State.
Those beneficent monarchs did not originally homestead the land in good Lockean fashion. They took it by force or inherited it from those who did. The land had blood on it when it was donated. Such circumstances nullify justice in title. The forcible loss of what was never properly one’s to begin with may be experienced as a misfortune, but it entails no violation of rights beyond that of the stolen land’s original owners, who had worked it. Justice demands that title be reassigned to their descendants, ceteris paribus, if they can be identified.
Vulgar Catholicism anyone?
To Be Continued