Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Conservative Fallacy

A Lesson in Economics.

The great flawed premise of conservative ideology (secretly believed by many liberals), is that the United States has a free market economy which equitably distributes income and wealth to those who work hardest. Conservative commentators make the argument that high progressive taxes penalize those who are most deserving (our tax system in fact penalizes most the working poor); they claim the rich are entitled to their every penny.

Yet, economic history's chief advocates of the free market, Von Mises and his school, as well as the founding fathers of this country, presupposed a stable currency as fixed touchstone of the economic engine; a rational yardstick unsusceptible to change. Today we have anything BUT this-- the "yardstick" changes its length continually as the value of our currency fluctuates. And so, the ideas of THEIR OWN ideological forebears invalidate conservative arguments. Their ideology rests on quicksand.

In reality we live amid a Distorted Market. Money created at whim is pumped into the economy, which distributes it in an exaggerated, irrational fashion. In the Fifties, when there was a more stable currency, a factory worker could earn ten grand a year, the chief exec of the company 100 grand. Today the factory worker is up to 40 grand in some cases (where there hasn't been union busting). The CEO meanwhile earns twenty million!

Think of a flattened-out map of the planet; distorted reality where the size of the land mass increases the farther away one moves from the equator, so that Greenland appears gigantic. This is economic reality today. The only fixed point on the economic map is near the economic equator, where the minimum wage remains at the $5.15 an hour it was ten years ago. The poor are held down while wealth flows greatest to those atop the economic pyramid, whether the beneficiaries be basketball players or bankers.

THE RESULT is that the working poor work harder and harder just to survive. It's all but impossible to be a true bohemian today. (This society allows only for the trust-fund fake kind.) Low-pay writer-workers like myself, Frank Walsh, and other ULAers are being increasingly squeezed as cost-of-living increases; one paycheck away from the street.

THE ANALOGY in literature to conservative ideologues are those who believe that writers at the top of the literary pyramid are truly deserving; that lower-class writers are shut out because we're "untalented" and have nothing to say. The only way literary liberals are able to justify this distorted thinking to themselves is by embracing the god of style. ULA writers are untalented because we don't follow the accepted bourgeois writing styles endorsed by writing programs. It's akin to saying we're not dressed properly. Our own many-varied writing styles look unfamiliar to the bourgeoisie. We're unacceptable to the cultural doormen, who rigidly enforce a status quo literary dress code as a way of excluding lower class writers from consideration.

LIBERAL establishment writers are considered deserving because they're credentialed by the most elite educational institutions in the country-- places like Brown and Columbia. The Believer's editors and writers, for instance, are from these places, and so they have to be great!-- even if their ideas are unimaginative, their writings unreadable, their essays without content, their stories and poems boring.

THESE WRITERS, despite their liberal posturing, enforce a cultural caste system. Caste is the foundation of their existence as writers, the argument for their privileged standing. Without realizing it, they've bought the substance of conservative ideology.

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