2013. The “Defunct Economist” And The Psychopathology Of Stephen Harper.
Written by Robin Mathews
2013. We know a few fundamental truths about human society, now, at a point where we have the most dishonest federal government in Canadian history.
A very few truths must be acted upon if individual and community freedoms are to be maintained, if justice is to be upheld, and if reasonable measures of security, tranquility, and good health are to be assured for all.
The first truth to be noted and acted upon is the one uttered by Lord Acton – that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is so in any political (or other) system. We do not act upon that knowledge sufficiently. Power must not be entrusted to any one person or group without automatic and effective safeguards more stringent than any present in so-called ‘democracies’ … or anywhere else.
The second truth we are coming to know is closely related to Acton’s. It speaks to a medical condition of inequality that must be identified and controlled by equally automatic and effective safeguards. As I write – by merest coincidence – public debate surrounds the desire of scientists to examine the DNA of a serial murderer to see if there might be an ascertainable genetic composition which guarantees the production of serial murderers.
Freighted with ethical and moral questions, that kind of inquiry won’t abate. By the same token, research into the presence of psychopaths, sociopaths, and other social psychotics in responsible political and corporate positions has been shaping for a few decades, at least. The subject is still in flux and strenuously argued over. But with research of the kind by Robert D. Hare on psychopaths and psychopathy at UBC it won’t go away.
On the one hand, there is the normal person who is swayed by a position of power to become corrupted. On the other hand, there is the person who is corrupt by nature, devious, power-driven, without conscience, a pathological liar who works hard to mislead and oppress others on his or her way to gaining power as close to absolute power as possible.
One of the assumptions of psychopaths and supporters of a world dominated by psychopaths is that human beings are unequal. A part of Reactionary (Stephen Harper style) political philosophy insists upon human inequality - though it usually claims to believe in equality before the law. The economist and self-described political philosopher Friedrich von Hayek (1899-1992) insists upon human inequality. As might be expected from a Reactionary, an ardent Free Market advocate, and a supporter of neo-liberalism, he does so, I believe, in order to urge the release of specific kinds of people – unfettered, uncontrolled, unsupervised – into economic activity.
The kinds of people he would release and those who champion them, I suggest, may be those who science may well come to prove are psychopaths, sociopaths, and other kinds of social psychotics.
2013. The present brutality and desolation being wrought in the world by corrupt power and deranged leadership are visible to all sane people. The actions of those “leaders” have come to threaten life as we know it on the planet. Addressing the problems they present must be of primary importance.
Friedrich von Hayek and his school are a major influence in all reactionary Canadian institutes, think-tanks, in the Canadian Conservative Party, and in the cabinet of Stephen Harper. Aping U.S. neo-liberalism, its economic monopolization of the economy called ‘the Free Market’, its anti-democratic governmental partnering with unchecked corporate power, the Stephen Harper Junta operates a barely disguised despotism in Canada.
In more than one election the Harper Junta has attempted to invalidate free elections by highly organized fraud. Stephen Harper has not shown any alarm at the lawlessness and has done what he can to cover it up. He is believed by many to be a pathological liar, and to force dishonesty upon all the members of his caucus.
In a summing up of the year 2012 in Ottawa, decades-long Ottawa columnist Susan Riley can’t find one honest Harper Conservative in Parliament. (The Hill Times, Dec. 17, 2012, pp. 1,12). Even of promising Chris Alexander, a former Assistant Deputy Minister and “star” candidate, Riley remarks that his claims about the F35 aircraft debate “are transparently and demonstrably false”. Of ALL the Conservative Members of Parliament she asks: “Is there no limb too long, no lie too outrageous?”
Are those people terrified, robotized beings driven by a psychopathic, sociopathic Junta?
The Harper Junta is rendering Parliament almost ineffective by lies, deceptions and majority-steam-rolling passage of gigantic multi-subject legislation driven by Global Corporate Ideology that wholly discounts Canadians and Canadian interests except when challenged by massive thrusts of public opinion that might threaten to overturn the Junta. In their latest move, the Harper Junta has attempted to gut First Nations rights and freedoms without referring to history or the constitution or existing treaties.
Racist responses on Social Media to First Nations, Idle No More stories are even suspected to be manipulated from Harper Junta sources. Since evidence exists of repeated tawdry and illegal behaviour by Harper supporters no one can categorically deny the claim of Harper-supporter staged racism to inflame public opinion.
Much of the “reasoning” for Stephen Harper Junta policy comes from Friedrich von Hayek and his school. Von Hayek’s presence in Harper policy-making calls up a statement by economist John Maynard Keynes. He writes: “Practical men who believe themselves exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”
The “academic scribbler”, “the defunct economist” for the Harper Junta is Friedrich von Hayek.
Friedrich von Hayek believes power corrupts – but only government power exercised on behalf of the well-being of the general population. His work is dedicated to getting the hands of democratic government away from power and releasing the ‘free individual’, unhindered, into economic activity.
He believes that wealth and poverty are both necessary, apparently so the poverty stricken (by being grossly exploitable) can assist the wealthy to make material advances. The advances, then, eventually leak down to those among the impoverished who have survived the brutality of their exploitation. It is perhaps no accident that Margaret Thatcher is said to have thrown on the table von Hayek’s book The Constitution of Liberty at a Conservative Party meeting, saying “THIS is what we believe”.
Von Hayek wants strict limits on the powers of government and unions, but almost none on entrepreneurs and corporations. “There are good reasons why all governmental concern with economic matters is suspect”, he writes. (The Constitution of Liberty, pp. 330-331). He admits that a free system might show concern for the economy within the rule of law.
But … as one might expect, Hayek’s rule of law is Stephen Harper’s. It is a total sham. Erecting ‘rule of law’ that can be almost completely eluded by private enterprise is von Hayek’s and Harper’s ideal. The rule of law must be the basis of a free society, von Hayek, argues. But any legislation [the making of law] that requires respect for human dignity and human rights von Hayek considers offensive. Such law-making he consistently attacks and
rejects as outside the rule of law!
If that suggests a touch of psychopathy, there is more in von Hayek’s book The Constitution of Liberty (1960) to back up the suspicion.
In the fashion of people who believe all social ideas of fairness and equality are, in fact, the product of selfishness and greed, von Hayek claims the attempts to assure equal opportunity for all rests “to put it bluntly, on envy”. (p. 155) By the same token, questions about the legitimacy of wealthy people involved in “ostentation”… “bad taste”… and… wastefulness” arise “through envy”.
The idea of progressive taxation in which huge corporate and private profit-makers pay more tax than wage-earners is, he writes, about permitting “gratification of the envy of the less well off” (p. 438) Progressive taxation for von Hayek, “even elevates into a principle what in fact has no better basis than envy”. (p. 450)
There is something bizarre and twisted about a “political philosopher” seeing only narrow and selfish motivations in the actions of social reformers. That happens, I suggest, because von Hayek doesn’t possess normal humanity. He cannot accept that human beings often, at their best, engage in selfless actions.
I think it may be said of von Hayek – and followers like the Stephen Harper Junta – that they have no moral intelligence. They can learn the phrase “the rule of law”. They can use it. But they rebel when law is made that sanctifies something else than The Law of the Jungle by which they wish to live.
If that seems a strong statement, it is backed by von Hayek himself who not only fails to understand the humanitarian motivations of social reformers, but even denies the motivations can exist. “General altruism is a meaningless conception”, he writes (p. 141).”A free man”, von Hayek goes on, can decide for himself “what and whose needs” are important. He makes clear that the “free man” will decide important needs exist for only a small, closely related few.
That is because the free man, in von Hayek’s view of reality, cannot register as real – cannot understand – what social reformers do over years and what whole segments of the population do at times of earthquake, disease, or other calamities on behalf of people they will never meet – give selflessly and generously to assist.
As if to validate his brutish views of humankind and human community, von Hayek declares that for people like him “the spiritual and temporal are different spheres which ought not to be confused”. (p. 528) In Western democracies which contain a variety of religious beliefs we ask that the spheres of the Church and State are kept clearly separate.
That isn’t what Friedrich von Hayek means.
He means (as most neo-liberals do) that if the temporal sphere – for him the sphere of economic activity – requires the brutalization of other human beings in order to gain profit, then ideas of justice, mercy, benevolence, sharing, law and love which might come from, say, the spiritual sphere of Christianity must not be permitted “to be confused” with the temporal, economic sphere.
All is of a piece. Like the “religious” Stephen Harper, von Hayek wouldn’t let the teachings of Christian spirituality get confused with the values of global corporate capitalism. And, like Stephen Harper, von Hayek reveals that his free society has severe limits. He is enraged that labour unions possess the right to free association. He would forbid peaceful picketing (p. 393) as coercive, especially since he argues – as if he believes it – that unions have more power than capitalist enterprises in the Market Economy. Peaceful picketing offends von Hayek as well because it can be used for “purely political purposes” – as if free association for political purposes is somehow a violation of democratic society.
Friedrich von Hayek finds peaceful picketing offensive as Stephen Harper finds free collective bargaining offensive. Despite convention, law, and established practice, the Harper Junta has, more than once, erased free collective bargaining in order to assure profit-making by big employers.
Friedrich von Hayek touts the free society. He extols the rule of law. He battles for the unhindered activity of the ‘free man’.
But, nevertheless, in his section on education and research von Hayek declares that “a Communist should not be given ‘tenure’” (a permanent position and opportunity for promotion in professorial ranks). (p. 513) The danger is, of course, the person might talk about class [which von Hayek never mentions], class interests, Capitalism, and the role of working people as the providers of “surplus value” – or profits – that corporation owners claim they alone create.
2013. Friedrich von Hayek, it would seem, has planted seeds that have helped lead to a Conservative Party of unrelieved liars in the Canadian Parliament. They undertake wholesale and vicious attacks upon social reformers. They concentrate attacks upon labour unions, give consent to or participate in major law-breaking, and in secret foreign treaty-making. They accept scandalous election violation and repression of information absolutely necessary to democratic society. They make up a Party in power in which a serious and experienced Ottawa newspaper columnist cannot find a single, honest, upright person.
Welcome Canadians to 2013 in Canada.
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open