Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"Counterfeit Philosophies"

In the days of his wisdom, in Slow Train Coming back in 1978, Bob Dylan said it just right - "Counterfeit philosophies have polluted all of your thoughts."

Like General Motors, the world has a counterfeit philosophy for every taste.  Back in the day in the Soviet Union, Marxist-Leninism was the ideology into which everything needed to fit.  Alexandr Sozhenitsyn has a great dialog on a prisoner transport in The Gulag Archipelago with a faithful Communist who had been flung into camp with all the other politicals.  This - being only real experience - in no way shook his "faith:"

"Have you been in the jug a long time?"
"Long enough."
"Are you past the halfway mark?"
"Just."
"Look over there: how poverty-stricken our villages are - straw thatch, crooked huts."
"An inheritance from the Tsarist regime."
"Well, but we've already had 30 Soviet years."
"That's an insignificant period historically."
"It's terrible that the collective farmers are starving."
"But have you looked in all their ovens?"
"Just ask any collective farmer in our compartment."
"Everyone in jail is embittered and prejudiced."
"But I've seen collective farms myself."
"That means they were uncharacteristic."
"Just ask the old folks: under the Tsar they were well-fed, well-clothed, and they had so many holidays."
"I'm not even going to ask.  It's a subjective trait of human nature to praise everything about the past.  The cow that died is the cow that gave twice the milk.  And our people don't like holidays.  They like to work."
"But why is there a shortage of bread in many cities?"
"When?"
"Right before the war, for example."
"Not true!  Before the war, in fact, everything had been worked out."
"Listen, at that time in all the cities on the Volga there were queues of thousands of people . . ."
"Some local failure of supply.  But more likely your memory is failing you."
"But there's a shortage now."
"Old wives' tales.  We have from seven to eight billion poods of grain."
"And the grain itself is rotten."
"Not at all.  We have been successful in developing new varieties of grain."
":But in many shops the shelves are empty."
"Inefficient distribution in local areas.":
"Yes, and the prices are high.  The workers have to do without many things."
"Our prices are more scientifically based than anywhere else."

And on it went.  As Solzhenitsyn explained, the armor-piercing shell to penetrate iron heads has not yet been invented.

In that spirit, I present one of the sharpest pins to puncture one of America's controlling delusions, free market ideology - in biblical terms, the idolatry of free markets - that I have seen to date:

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/04/fundraising-in-extremis.html

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