Saturday, November 26, 2016

Reflections on the Passing of Fidel Castro

Hola mi Gente,
I woke up late this morning (I’m struggling to get up) to discover that Fidel Castro passed away at the ripe old age of 90. My newsfeeds and social media platforms are rife with anti-Castro propaganda. Let’s be clear here, the only reason the corporate media demonizes Castro is not because of his alleged human rights violations, but because he stood up to US imperialism and lived to talk about it. If the US was so concerned with human rights, it would not be enslaving and murdering innocent people here and across the globe.

I have two things to say. One: Are the Cuban people better off today than they were before the revolution? I think the facts (i.e., healthcare, literacy, life expectancy, autonomy, etc.) clearly show they are. Secondly, yeah, Fidel Castro was so evil he offered to send doctors and medical supplies to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, while George W. Bush, who declined his offer, watched poor black people die from the safety of an airplane.

That last one was me being facetious, yeah. Along with Castro’s passing, there will be the usual “debates” on socialism and communism (most US citizens don’t know the difference). Along with those discussions will come the inevitable expression/ belief that capitalism is not only superior, but an inevitable feature of the human condition. Fidel and I disagree… 

Capitalism and Rape

Greed is good.
-- Gordon Gekko, Wall Street

Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.
Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography 

[Note: A blind adherence to the virtues of “free markets” is symptomatic to neoliberal thought. Below, in an essay I adapted several years ago, I try to uncover the faulty reasoning behind the dogma.]

Consider the following:

Rape is a basic and necessary expression of human nature. Sexual assaults have been present in every society since the dawn of time. It is the natural drive of man to reproduce, to compete successfully for advantage in the marketplace of life and evolution. In fact, it is this innate compulsion to reproduce that motivates man to do anything productive and worthwhile in the first place.

It is this competitive drive that motivates man to aspire to greatness. Can you imagine men striving for greatness were they not motivated by their drive to reproduce by any means? Of course not, because the drive to reproduce is at the very core of mankind’s fundamental nature. As long as we disregard childish “God” superstitions and recognize that a man is ultimately responsible only to and for himself, we therefore recognize that any measures that attempt to suppress this natural and intrinsic drive to reproduce by any means are inherently wrong.

To suppress sexual assaults is the perverse anti-human dream of the superstitious rabble. In fact, no human society has successfully eliminated rape, despite innumerable measures designed to curb sexual assaults. If man were only truly free to pursue this integral part of his nature we would walk as the masters of the Earth that we are.

Anyone with a relatively functioning forebrain will see that this is a painfully faulty and dangerous chain of reasoning. Just because the drive to reproduce is inherent in humans, it doesn’t follow that sexual assault and rape stem from that drive and are a part of human nature. Furthermore, that every society has been beset by sexual assault and none has successfully eliminated rape, doesn’t necessarily mean that sexual assault and rape are things that should be encouraged, or that there wouldn’t be disastrous and apocalyptic consequences were people given carte blanche to rape.

Now, reread the above but this time replace every occurrence of the words “sexual assault” with the words “free markets,” and replace every occurrence of the word “rape” with “capitalism,” and every occurrence of the word “reproduce” with “acquire wealth.” It is now word-for-word the position of economic neoliberal types such as Clinton, Trump, and Obama. You will find this same line of thought in rationales against universal healthcare, for example, and free postsecondary education.

Well, boys and girls: what have we learned? First, my aim here is not merely to equate capitalism with rape (not a bad area to explore in future writings). Rather, my goal is to point out fallacious reasoning. Certain things might be inherently part of human nature or cannot be completely eliminated, but that isn’t a sufficient condition for a logically cohesive argument that should be encouraged. If you want to argue that they should be encouraged, you must give other reasons.

The other reason for this is the unthinking and reactionary response of “socialism doesn’t work,” which displays an ignorance of the enormous and diverse body of economic and ethical thought outside of the current U.S. political and moral paradigm.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

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