A False Dichotomy – Part 2


… continued from Part 1

As I think about the false dichotomy of totalitarian government vs. anarchy (no government), it gets me thinking about the economic principle of the free-market.  I wonder how this compares to anarchy, which has historically always resulted in thug tyranny.  Does a free-market environment naturally result in economic thugs taking advantage of

those struggling to figure out how to survive in the market-place?  If so, what is the correct solution?

Portrait of Louis XVI

Portrait of Louis XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I think about these questions, I ponder about the oppression of the poorer classes by the upper classes that led to the Chinese Revolution from Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese class system, the Bolshevik revolution from the Czars and Russian aristocracy, and the first French Revolution of 1789 from Louis XVI and the French aristocracy.  It occurs to me that each of these revolutions had reasonable motivation, even if I don’t agree with how they handled it and their outcomes.  The aristocratic abuse was inexcusable.  The poorer classes were led to believe a fallacy that it was the differences of their social status that was the cause of the abuse, rather than the lack of virtue on the part of the abusers.  The people leading the revolutions took advantage of the sense of injustice felt by the lower classes to feed the emotional support for their cause and turned it into a desire for revenge, thus resulting in a violent revolution where people, innocent of any crime, were punished for the sins of the abusers.

While there is a self-destructive problem inherent with seeking revenge, I want to address the reality of the injustice which was the motivation of each of these revolutions.  The injustice was real and it was reasonable for the lower classes to feel a sense of injustice and have a desire for revenge – not that the resulting actions of the revolutionaries were justified in my opinion, just that the feelings on the part of the poorer classes are reasonable.  This demonstrates that it is ultimately in the best interest of the holders of power and economic capital to exercise restraint in how they wield the influence and power that comes with their relative economic and political situation.

Throughout history, it is always those who abuse the power and influence they have which give motivation for revolutions.  Therefore it is important that those who only exercise power and influence to serve and respect all individuals equally, are also aware of and take action to counter the destructive or careless actions of others with power and influence.

Vouet, Simon -- Allegory of Virtue - c. 1634

So what is the solution?  The solution is both private and public virtue on the part of everyone.  When our primary concern is to bring about the most far-sighted happiness for everyone involved, including, and especially for ourselves, we will have the education to learn from history, and the courage to do what is necessary to stand up for what is right.  The more people who do this, the better society becomes.

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3 thoughts on “A False Dichotomy – Part 2

  1. Pingback: A False Dichotomy – Part 1 | The Free Commots

  2. Great thoughts Ammon. I’ve been pondering the ramifications of what happens when free market is permitted to run without reigns. Even with some regulations corporations are committing some egregious crimes against society and humanity. Why do the “thugs” take over? How do people learn to “concern themselves with everyone’s happiness” instead of their own?
    I believe it takes a lot of work to bring “selfishness” to an end. Especially when groups come together to out do another group. My studies have led me to realize that everyone needs to tame their lizard brains. Then caring and an understanding of interdependence can take hold. I would be honored if you would check out my website and see if you would like to publish some of your writings there.

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  3. Thank you for your comments. I am interested in what you mean by “lizard brain,” and why it needs to be tamed. While I don’t necessarily agree that “sefishness” as I understand the term, needs to come to an end, I do agree that the concepts described by some definitions of selfishness do need to end. I will definitely check out your website to find out more. Thank you again for the comment.

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