Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Attempted DeLong Smackdown

I can't stand it. english.aljazeera.net streaming video (find the link yourself you competitor for band width) is overloaded. Brad DeLong's blog is still eating my comments. I am so desperate for something to do that I might actually do some work.

But first I will make this blog the Brad's blog devoured comments blog.

Also f**k fair use. I will start using your copy fairly when you stop eating my comments.

update: Some have appeared so I am fairusing. Quote becomes a link.

Brad says Marx was a hypocrite because he said workers were exploited and benefited from that exploitation. Dsquared says Marx did not believe in objective moral law and didn't say that exploitation was morally wrong.


I comment.


Minds think alike. I almost commented that the real hypocrisy was sponging off capitalist exploiter Friedrich Engels.

I now attempt to answer to your question of how can pseudo_Marx value neutral social scientist argue that they system must be changed. Pseudo_Marx simply asserted that the system, like it or not, was doomed. He said that change was inevitable. His normative claim was just that everyone would be better off if we made the inevitable transition to socialism sooner.

You object to Marx using the value laden term "exploitation" yet you sneak the value laden term "peaceful" into your proposed alternative approach. You present no argument that Marx new or could have known that the inevitable historical change could possibly be peaceful. What gave you the right to slip the word peaceful in ? You can't appeal to 20th century history without asserting that Marx was obviously precognitive.

Also, since when was Marx an opponent of peaceful change ? He pretty definitely said in so many words that the US constitution was fine (also I think the Swiss one and he admitted he knew too little about the Dutch constitution to judge).

He objected to limited suffrage (what a blood thirsty monster). He predicted that opponents of socialism would use violent means (to me,sitting in the outskirts of the Rome on which Mussolini marched, he seems to have had a point). He didn't advocate introducing violence to a democratic polity wiht universal suffrage (at least not in publications after the Address to the Communist League).

Of course the real live Marx morally condemned people for doing what he did. But his hypocrisy was of the form of claiming he was a value neutral social scientist. It was much deeper than confessing to his moral values and not behaving according to them.

However, he almost never let the mask slip. Look statisticians use the value laden term "bias" but that doesn't make them moralists. How about "fair market value" ? Sure seems to assert that capitalism can be fair. Jargon is often based on ordinary language, but technical terms don't prove that the person using them appeals to all the connotations of the term. Note the key word "proves." I have no doubt that the really existing Karl Marx was a moralist and a hypocrite. I just don't see the proof in your post.

I am not familiar with the writings of this Rand person of which you speak, but it seems to me that the founder of "objectivism" shared the deeper hypocrisy with Marx as well as the minor laps from the un-confessed views of morality.

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