Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I still think Weber is full of it

Hrrm so I’ve been putting this off for awhile now, mostly cause I really don’t feel like having to continue this argument, but meh I’m stubborn.
So anyway Max Weber. I continue to have massive issues with Weber’s basic liberal ideology. His positions against the revolutionary actions of contemporaneous groups such as the KPD do not fit within even within his own ethics. Weber thinks that revolutionists become wrapped up in an ethics of conviction to the point where their ideals lead to unnecessary violence, charismatic leadership etc. Unsurprisingly this has become the typical mainstream reaction to any and all revolutionary movements. Cynically dismissing these groups as either hopelessly utopian who will irresponsibly risk the lives of others or as cynical manipulators willing to do whatever is necessary for the cause. Yet for all this cynical posturing as ethical, the converse is true. Weber is engaging in a politics of a conviction, a conviction of doing nothing extraordinary.

Weber takes for granted the immense amount of violence perpetrated by the state in a systematic and routinized manner. Weber characterizes the status quo as bad, but ultimately something that we can live with, and maybe even improve. This is wrong. A quick look at the One campaign site, a very respectable mainstream anti poverty group, is a pretty good indicator of what is deemed normal in our current stage of capitalism, one supposedly beyond the imperial excesses of the early 20th century.

“Every year, 10 million children die before their fifth birthday – that’s one every three seconds – nearly all of them from preventable causes.”

“ One person in seven has no access to clean water for drinking, cooking or washing."

“More than 854 million people in the world go hungry.”

What’s so sad is that people think that these problems can be solved under the aegis of a capitalist society. Yet in the past 25 years, with the expansion of neoliberalism, and the penetration of capitalism all over the world, we have seen marked decreases in living standards worldwide in both the developed and the “developing” world. We’ve seen the bloom of the informal economy and informal settlements. A billion people now slums living in a state of precarious survival.

Yet even in the US we have 45 million people without basic healthcare. We have 2.2 million people incarcerated (China has only 1.5 million) a great many of them for non violent offenses. While productivity skyrockets our wages stagnate, our excess productivity loaned back in the form of subprime loans, pay day advances and high rate credit cards. Economic calamity slinks behind every corner as the day when a perfect storm of credit crunches, oil shocks, and falling wages causes a steep global recession.

Yet we sit back and wait for our government to solve our problems. War’s already been declared by the elite on everyone else. They’ve already busted unions, lowered wages, sponsored paramilitaries, and sponsored genocide. Yet we debate whether or not we should defend ourselves and if this system “works.” It’s never worked and it’s never will, its designed to expropriate and dominate and will continue to do so. We have a political economy sick with mutated typhoid and Tylenol aint gonna help. To sit here and bash our heads against the wall of government is a grossly immoral action. We cannot afford to sit and wait. We and Weber presume that the possible violence necessary for the elimination of oppression is worse than the levels of everyday atrocity. But this is pure idiocy and grossly irresponsible. We’re living in a world of cynical conviction. All too wrapped up in our hope for personal advancement at all costs. We’ve lost sight of the ethics of responsibility, i.e. a responsibility to stop the violence of everyday life.

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