PITHY POLEMICS

In Economic Matters, Who Gets to Vote (BG)

Every enterprise consists of people who do the work and the tools they use
to do it. The people who do the work are the employees. Those who
provide the tools (supplies, equipment and space) are called
"capitalists" and are considered owners of the enterprise; they get to
vote on the decisions or to select those who vote. Those who do the
work aren't considered owners and don't have a vote. This inequality is
enforced by the courts and, if necessary, by physical force using police
and troops.

This preference for the tool providers is called "capitalism". It's
an "ism" because it's an ideology. Its proponents claim that it's a
natural condition, but they're wrong: it's a product of man-made laws
and their enforcement. If the government did not impose this
inequality, the capitalists would have to share decision-making power
with the more numerous people who actually do the work. That is the
natural condition.

In Germany, union representatives sit on corporate boards of directors by law, thereby having a voice in their decisions. German companies are
successful in the global competition to export, so it clearly doesn't
hurt efficiency. It may even help. Why not in the USA?

The inequality of power enforced by government in the USA is
completely upside down. The people who do the work are more essential
than the tools which the capitalist provides. People can perform work,
although inefficiently, without tools which go beyond what they can
provide for themselves. Tools, however, can't work by themselves,
without the involvement of people (even robots are designed, built,
programmed and maintained by people). The working people's
representatives, not the tool providers' representatives, should have
the majority voice in the enterprise because they make the dominant and
more essential contribution to it.

Listening to the Bad Guys (MR)
While writing the piece included in this issue of Progressive Democracy about Incel I talked about what I was doing to several friends and acquaintances. When I explained to them that there is something of interest buried beneath the misogyny of the Incel-ers they looked at me like I was crazy – they thought it was ridiculous that I was treating that group as of some interest.

That response reminded me at once of John Stuart Mill’s famous book On Liberty. In it Mill provides the paradigm defense of free speech, that we as a people and a country will lose more by banning unliked speech than allowing it.

Now Mill’s defense of freedom of speech has various shortcomings. One of them became apparent during the Vietnam War. The administration proudly flew its Millian flag and patted itself on the back for allowing dissent from its war policy. But they also did not pay the slightest attention to what was said in that dissent.

That is, Mill, while defending allowing speech that runs counter to what is commonly accepted, does not pay any attention to the opposite side of that: that in order to achieve the valuable results of speech there is also some duty on the part of those in the majority to listen to what is being said. An obligation to attend to what is being said is not part of our political heritage.

Similarly, the immediate writing off of people as obnoxious as the Incel-ers are is another way of not listening – for as Mill allows there may well be something to be learned from those defending an absurd position and by an immediate rejection we lose the opportunity to see something of value or interest.

So even if you think the Incel-ers are mad, stay and listen a minute – read my piece and see whether there isn’t something to be learned from them.

Looking for Illegal Immigrants (BG)

A few years ago, a news report in a local southern California paper informed its readers that Border Patrol agents, cruising on a major city street, had stopped a pickup truck because the passenger was a woman who looked Central American. The agents detained and questioned her, finally determining that she was a U.S. citizen. They asked no questions of the white male driver. He was from Europe, had come here on a student visa, and had
illegally stayed to work after graduation.

Whites come from Europe on a tourist, student or temporary work visa, or
from a country where a visa isn't required, and then they stay here
illegally. They were once as many as 40% of the immigrants in the USA
illegally, and now with the drop-off in immigration from Mexico and
Central America they may be the majority.

It is not uncommon for a Sheriff's deputy, local police officer or federal immigration agent to suspect a Hispanic of being here illegally. The same suspicion should be attached to a non-Hispanic. An officer who has contact with white people should ask them for their papers. If they don't carry proof of citizenship or permanent residence, or a still-valid visa, or a date-stamped passport showing that they haven't overstayed their allowable time, the officer should turn them over to Homeland Security for detention and probably deportation. They should be presumed illegal unless they can prove
their legality without the benefit of legal assistance, just as if they were Hispanic. That includes children, by the way.

This would be enforcing the laws equally on everyone right? No discrimination on the basis of skin color, ethnicity, race, etc.