Monday, May 25, 2015

Chuck Johnson's radical attack on Capitalism

Economic actors within a free market can't coerce each other -- so the Capitalists tell us. Since the state exercises a monopoly on violence, economic actors can only enter into voluntary arrangements with each other. And since the invisible hand optimizes these arrangements, any problem in the free market is necessarily a consequence of government constraints on market efficiency. Therefore, when problems arise, the correct response is not to intervene and regulate them, but to eliminate constraints on economic actors, so that the problem will solve itself.

This is the general form of Capitalist arguments against regulation. Obviously, right-wing troll Chuck Johnson is going to have to overcome this argument if he wants the courts to intervene and force Twitter to reinstate his recently banned account. But how he does so is deeply revealing:

Chuck is not just endorsing any old argument against his ban: he is openly invoking a radically leftist argument against Capitalism. Not only has the market malfunctioned, granting Twitter a "monopolistic position" -- it also cannot be expected to correct itself. Note that Johnson's lawyers aren't even calling for standard remedies like monopoly busting, which would be the logical Capitalist response to this situation. Instead, as soon as Chuck's own interests are at stake, he immediately demands that the democratic state wield its authority on his behalf against an economic system that cannot function correctly.

There's a reason Chuck is relying on this line of defense: it's the simplest, the most obvious, and the most effective. He did not need to read Marx to know how Capitalism can create unjust situations, or to understand that the only plausible remedy is for the democratic will to trump so-called private property rights. He didn't defend Capitalism all of these years because he failed to understand it, nor did he attack the critics of Capitalism because they failed to aggressively and persuasively make their case. He simply relied on Capitalism when it was too his advantage, and now that it's attacking him he's attacking it back.

People are ready to turn on Capitalism. They're just waiting for an opportunity.