There’s some background info on how I arrived at my conclusion for this post. You can skip it by going down to “The Argument” header in bold.
When you study anthropology, inevitably it leads to you trying to understand politics. This is because anthropology is the science of humanity in all it’s forms, from our physical evolution to the dynamics of our differences in organized societies. And like most other academic fields it has it’s own jargon, it’s own terminology, it’s own memes and benchmarks. Outsiders, particularly those used to stuffy, arrogant academics, tend to view it as just another liberal enclave designed to justify their policies. After all, Marx is required reading in many of these courses, and the faculty is composed of hardcore leftists.
Well, the thing is that all knowledge is a two-edged sword. The knowledge of atomic power can lead to massive amounts of power for a society and grant it prosperity, or it can be used for weapons of mass destruction and cause, well, destruction. Despite the Leftist bent of anthropology, despite the long line of Marxist anthropologists, when you strip away the political bias you are left with a simple but useful diagnostic tool that can be used by anyone.
The best part is? You don’t have to read Ayn Rand. You can thank me later.
(Not that she didn’t have good ideas but the book itself is badly written. Guh…)
So I’m going to share the simplest but most powerful academic argument you can make against a Leftist. True, they’re pretty much reduced to shouting nowadays to get their way, but that smug self-satisfaction the elites carry with them is a result of them thinking they are so much better educated, so much smarter than everyone else. Occam’s Razor (another intellectual argument you can make) holds that the simplest answer is usually the best one. And the best part of this argument is that it’s derived from a Leftist’s own meticulous study with the bias stripped away.
The French Marxist anthropologist/sociologist Pierre Bourdieu theorized that economic capital was not the only source of power in a society. He defined capital in many forms. Symbolic capital the power symbols hold for us, cultural capital the power of knowledge, political capital the power to change people’s minds, and so on. However, at the root of society is economic power. Without it, nothing else is possible. So money is, for the purposes of this argument, power.
Money is power. If the government produces all the means for getting money or buying things, then it has all the power. It doesn’t matter what the law says, because that’s just a means of managing power in a society and it only works when there is incentive by those with power to do so–That is, checks and balances. In a society where the government has all the power, it has no incentive to check it’s own power, so the only means of the citizens getting change in their favor is for either their rulers to be benevolent, or outright revolution.
Capitalism allows for power to be distributed and for those checks and balances via laws to work, and it provides the means for regular citizens to gain power by converting it into cultural, symbolic, political or other forms of capital, which can get you more economic capital and so on. Laws and constitutions only work so long as the citizenry has both the means and the will to ensure that power is distributed and those with great power are kept in check, just as the Constitution was intended to do.
There. I just summed up the moral and intellectual argument the GOP should have been making in two paragraphs.
Admittedly, it’s wordier than a campaign slogan should be, but this isn’t a campaign slogan. This is an intellectual argument that anyone can use in a serious debate, that anyone can extrapolate and expand upon. And it’s the same thing we need to introduce everywhere. Our culture is saturated in an anti-capitalistic haze due to years of cultural warfare taking it’s toll. This simple argument can be turned into something far more effective by people much smarter than I am.
Sure, it’s not a call to become a precinct committeeman. It’s not money for a political campaign. It’s not even a sign on a poster at a rally.
But the Left has held dominion over academia for decades and it shows in our culture, and unless we can turn that around people like Obama will keep rising because of an uniformed, apathetic electorate.
So to do that, we must make the argument. The hardcore leftists will scream and try to hide it because they have nothing to use against it, but we MUST have the argument and keep making it until the radical Left is marginalized, out of power, and kept that way.
So here it is. Go to it.