Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Posner Holocaust

What follows is what I always write on my blog:  self-serving drivel that interests only me.  It is lovely to think I could never be accused of marketing.

So today my four nephews stopped by with my sister-in-law and luckily they were in top form and we were able to have a vehement political discussion, very well argued from all sides, in a matter of moments.  I do love that about them.  Sister-in-law asked about the teaching of evolution in America; she is a teacher here.  She was very interested in the prevalence of intelligent design, which I think it is fair to say she saw as an idea that should not compete directly with the prevalent and accepted science in a science class.

Sure, it's weird for people outside the United States, the whole creation thing, but it's not as damaging as one I don't hear discussed very often.  At least the creationists are straightforward in promoting their ideology.  You know who they are and what they want.  When I look back at my education, my objection is not to intelligent design.  My objection is to the fact that every system for the distribution of goods and services in society except for capitalism was extensively and willfully ignored.  In my law school classes, in my college economics classes, in my philosophy of justice classes, in my city planning classes . . . the ideology of capitalism is so insidious in the United States.  Socialism and communism was dismissed outright as absurd and bad.  But that isn't the worst thing.  Now that we find capitalism failing the people so obviously in the United States what really enrages me is that in all my training in thinking and law, I was never trained to apply principles of justice to capitalism.  That faculty - that possibility -was not taught and today I am pissed off. 

I blame Richard Posner.  Maybe not only him, but we can't overestimate the neo-liberal damage done by the Rawls-Dworkin-9th Circuit syndicate that made it somehow impossible to people to apply justice to numbers.  Law and Economics as a way of thinking about law was and is insanely popular in most law schools.  But in that ideology, somehow the economics always won.  The basic equation of law and economics is that growth is always best, more profit, more industry, less regulation, basically, in Law and Economics, economics gag law, and law never wins.  The humanity of justice, its complexity and importance is systematically dehumanized in law and economics to ultimately mean that the biggest number wins. 

So you can see why I feel let down.  You know, Marx saw this coming.  But we aren't allowed to think about Marx because he's a goddamned communist and what could be worse than that?  Well, I'll tell you what could be worse than that.  A corporate oligarchy masquerading as a democracy.  What is worse than that is exactly what we have now.   

And the funny thing is I still think that capitalism is not bad.  All of these systems are not bad or good, just a thing that can be regulated by the people in the way they regulate their democracy.  I like capitalism.  I think it's the way to go. I think competition produces great results. Anyone who watched the Olympics probably agrees with me there.  I think it would be nuts to suggest replacing the current system.  But I feel like its something we don't even have the ability to talk about in any meaningful way.  The general counsels defer to the CFO's.  Always.  Capitalism has been made inevitable by our universities, and we feel it controls us rather than we control it.  But no one seems to talk about this particular holocaust.  Maybe holocaust is too strong a word.  But how strange that something can be instantly dismissed with one word - socialist! communist! - and we don't even have an idea of what those words mean, or how those words could serve us.  And we don't even have an idea of how to put an economic transaction on the scales of justice.

To me that is much more unnerving than the intelligent design people.  At least in that debate, we can discuss both sides.  I feel like the other side of this debate - the ideas of justice and money exterminated in the Posner Holocaust has not been addressed.  I don't know what it looks like.  Although, you know, I am trying.  It is what the play I am working on is about.

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