Monday, April 4, 2011

Repeating the Obvious

This is the cover of Ludwig von Mises' 1944 book where he popularized the term statolatry. If you think modern Philippine politics is far away from the sort of delusion depicted in the cover of this book, think again.

Statolatry looks like the new religion of the Philippines. It is defined as worship of the State. Statolatry entails that nothing exists outside of the State. The State is the means of emancipation and human progress. The State can never go wrong because 'We' are the State and 'we' only need to do 'our' part by voting and paying taxes to improve the lot of society. Moreover, the Catholic Church, which is an institution with the staying power of over 2000 years now, an institution which has contributed a lot to the glory of Western Civilization, is being undermined by the empirically unfounded pseudo-rationality of Reproductive Health Bill (RH bill) supporters. (for RH bill rebuttal, see here, here, here, here and here)

Having your heart in the right place is not enough, and could even cause harm when combined with fallacious beliefs.

That was my impression when I saw this photo of students protesting the government, particularly the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), for its failure to provide jobs for Filipinos who then work abroad and become vulnerable to abuse. Although well-intentioned, they cannot think outside the State apparatus. The fact that these students think of the government as job provider when people are employed in private firms everywhere they look is alarming. As George Orwell put it,

"...we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. It is not merely that at present the rule of naked force obtains almost everywhere. Probably that has always been the case. Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking. Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truisms as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a "good" man is squeezing the trigger..."

And whereas those on the Left think of themselves as 'progressive' and independent thinkers who are fighting an uphill battle against the 'neo-liberal' oligarchy, but the powerful influence of Marxism is evident in that its opponents also think like Marxists. As Ludwig von Mises said,

"...the ideas of Karl Marx ... are widely accepted today, even by many who emphatically declare that they are anti-communist and anti-Marxist.To a considerable extent, without knowing it, many people are philosophical Marxists, although they use different names for their philosophical ideas."

Today, only self-confessed morons and over-educated college professors call themselves Marxists, but it is no doubt that the vast majority still think in terms of egalitarianism, collectivism, class struggle, sacrificing the self to society, etc. It would be unfathomable for the leftists to think that it is their ideology which is the cause of social ills. As a political philosophy, Marxism will remain dead from the neck up, but its body is still swinging the bludgeon on the life-giving market order.

The answer to social ills lies in an understanding of basic economics. Its importance cannot be overstated.

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