Saturday, November 14, 2009

Libertarians should oppose corporatism.

Why Corporations Are Not People, And The Unsavory Consequences of Pretending That They Are by Mike Hoy.

Points out that corporations consist of government-created special privilege, and that individualist libertarians ought to oppose such things.

The author uses scare quotes for derision: annoying stylistically, but otherwise harmless.

libertarian censorship

An Interview with Mike Hoy,
Founder and President of Loompanics Unlimited
What is Going On Here Anyway?

Q. Is there more? [examples of private censorship]

Unfortunately, yeah, lots. One of the most widespread forms of private censorship is the forbidding of advertising. The “Libertarians” are notorious for this kind of censorship. Reason magazine for years forbade Loompanics to place any ad whatsoever – this from a publisher who claims to be devoted to “Free Minds and Free Markets” (as long as they are not too free, I guess). I remember once, shortly after they had refused one of our book ads, receiving a fund-raising letter from Reason soliciting “donations” on the grounds that they were such big-balled, two-fisted freedom fighters that they had difficulty selling ads in their magazine, and you were therefore supposed to give them something for nothing. These hypocrites refused to engage in a straight-forward honest business deal (selling us ads), instead asking for handouts (and lying about why they were doing it) – this from an outfit which opposes food stamps for poor people on the grounds that giving them something they did not earn would destroy their “incentive” to earn a living.

We used to occasionally rent the subscriber list of Liberty magazine to send its readers a sampler of our books. On these occasions, Liberty would rent their list only “on the condition that no nudity appear in the mailing piece.” Thus does the publisher of a “Libertarian” magazine protect the virgin eyes of his readers from the trauma of seeing a pen-and-ink drawing of a woman's left nipple.

Q. Why do you think that the “Libertarians” are so timid?

Well, these examples are actually more silly than they are threatening – I mean, what a bunch of fucking sissies, eh? But the fact of the matter is that no one has ever done more to discredit an ideology by espousing it than the “Libertarians.” They foghorn away about the necessity of the profit motive, but every “Libertarian” propaganda outfit is a non-profit corporation or foundation. Every one. Being themselves so incompetent that they cannot run an enterprise at a profit, they beseech the government to adopt policies forcing everybody but them to live by trade.

And since their products (books, magazines, treatises, etc.) are so worthless that they cannot support themselves by selling them, they ask the government to grant them “tax-free” status, and then ask corporations to give them “donations.” That is why they are so squeamish about accepting ads – they are afraid some corporate suckfish might be offended by actual “free minds and free markets” and shut off their handouts. And when corporations give the “Libertarians” money, the corporations are allowed to deduct these handouts as a “business expense.” Corporate donors are their real “customers” and they are scared to print anything the corporations might not like.

There has been a number of books published recently which call into question the corporate form of enterprise, especially as it is practiced by American/multinational corporations, but you won't find ads for any of them in “Libertarian” magazines. A recent piece in a “Libertarian” magazine (one devoted to “individual liberty”) warns its readers against even thinking critically about corporations and presents them with their thought-stopping mantra: “anti-corporatism.” Thus, any discussion of the true nature of corporations will be labeled by “Libertarians” as “anti-corporatism” and they will respond to the thing as if it were the label. That is, they will refuse to think about it at all.

Q. But don't these magazines have the right to exclude any content they don't approve of?

Of course, any magazine has the right to exclude any content – I am not advocating that the government pass some kind of law that every periodical be forced to carry advertising for products they don't like. What I am saying is that these “Libertarians” are full of shit. While claiming that they want “less government,” they run to the government and ask to be granted exemption from marketplace forces. Just run down the mastheads of Liberty or Reason and look at all the “editors,” “fellows,” “associates,” etc. and you will see that the majority of these “Libertarians” do not earn their livings in the private sector. The “marketplace” is the last “place” “Libertarians” want to be.

Of course, it isn't just “Libertarian” magazines who have forbidden Loompanics (and others) to advertise; the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, and Soldier of Fortune are among mags that don't want their readers to know that we exist.

Going back to the anti-free-trade nature of corporations, three excellent books on this subject are: The Divine Right of Capital, by Marjorie Kelly, When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten, and Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann. Check 'em out, Homes.[...]