Tuesday 22 October 2013

Conservatism, Capitalism and Fallen Man

Richard Murphy points to Aditya Chakrabortty's recent article on the loneliness created by neoliberal capitalism.
The flipside of economic individualism is loneliness.
It’s been a fundamental contradiction in conservative ideology for a very long time: the very capitalist system that they worship destroys the ways of life that they would have conserved. This is why the ‘fall of man’ narrative is always so appealing to conservatives – bad people do bad things because they’re bad (i.e. for no rational reason) and the only solution to their evil and fecklessness is admonishment and discipline. There’s no social or political prelude to bad people doing bad things, there’s no causality. There’s just a rot, a pox that’s somehow ‘in their bones’ – particular to them as individuals – and needs to be beaten out of them. (See the response to the London riots, for example.)

The whole ideology is really one big exercise in having their cake and eating it too – fueling a system that is fundamentally socially transformational and expecting the same old ‘family values’ to persevere unchanged. It’s as violent as it is irrational.