THE FEIGNED STUPIDITY OF PRO-CAPITALISTS
[Also see "Beware of Anti-Revolution Pessimism"]
Here is an example of what a real person, named Gabriel, wrote on Facebook in defense of our capitalist system of class inequality:
"John This is why I support capitalism. I don't need to "whip" anyone or "force" anyone. Someone starts a business and hires workers to produce goods. Workers take the jobs in order to earn an income and provide for themselves and their families. I get to go to said stores to shop and buy the goods I need."
I call this "feigned stupidity." Why? Because if Gabriel has even the slightest familiarity with the real world and is not wearing blinders to deliberately remain ignorant of reality, then he knows very well what the real reason is why working class people "take the jobs in order to earn an income and provide for themselves and their families." Gabriel also knows full well why these working class people don't just decide to be rich capitalists (like, as Gabriel puts it, someone who "starts a business and hires workers to produce goods") who get richer every day from the labor of working class people without having to do any work themselves.
Gabriel says working class people make their decisions purely voluntarily, that--as he puts it--"I don't need to 'whip' anyone or 'force' anyone." Gabriel pretends not to know that the reason working class people make these "voluntary decisions" is because the rich upper class uses the violence of its police forces and National Guard or 82nd Airborne Division or the routine everyday credible threat of such violence to force people to choose between taking the oppressive jobs or else not be able, as Gabriel puts it, "to earn an income and provide for themselves and their families."
This violence or its credible threat is the only reason that working class people work hard every day to make capitalists rich. Alice Walton, one of the Waltons who owns Walmart, owns $54 billion of wealth and all she does to "earn it" is collect art. The Walton family gets $4 million richer every hour, and it's not because they work hard. It's because they make other people work hard for them.
Capitalists, with no basis except "might makes right,"* claim to own the land and mines and buildings and factories, etc., that working people use to produce--with their labor--all of our social wealth including all of the things in the stores that enable Gabriel "to go to said stores to shop and buy the goods I need." Capitalists claim that since they own the land and mines and buildings and factories that therefore they own everything that workers produce with them. And the capitalists enforce their claim of ownership with police or even military violence or its credible threat, as working class people discover whenever they challenge that capitalist ownership.
But Gabriel pretends not to understand this because he doesn't see anybody being whipped.
Gabriel pretends not to know how truly oppressive most of the jobs that "workers take" are, even though working class people know full well the sordid truth, as I write about here.
In order to defend capitalism, Gabriel pretends to be stupid. It does indeed require feigned stupidity to defend capitalism.
* Here is "Round 3" from "We Debate Mr. Billionaire" (B is the billionaire and E is the egalitarian):
B. My billion dollars of wealth is rightfully mine! It’s my private property. You have no right to take my property away from me. That’s theft. It’s against the Constitution. It’s morally wrong!
E. Just curious, Mr. Billionaire, but what exactly do you own that is worth a billion dollars?
B. I’m proud to have you know I own General Equipment Corporation and ten thousand acres of prime farmland in Illinois. More than YOU’LL ever own.
E. Yes, no doubt. So you like to farm, do you? What do you grow?
B. Mostly corn.
E. Where did you learn how to grow corn?
B. Well, I don’t actually grow it myself. Farmers rent my land and they do the farmwork.
E. I see. Ten thousand acres. How long does it take you to inspect your land?
B. Well, I haven’t ever actually inspected it personally. I don’t even live in Illinois. But I hear it’s excellent farmland. The realtor who helped me buy it was well informed and assured me it was.
E. Oh yes, speaking of buying it. Who did you purchase those ten thousand acres from?
B. The previous owner, of course. I bought it with profits I made from General Equipment Corporation.
E. Yes, of course. The previous owner. And who did HE buy it from?
B. The previous owner to him, obviously.
E. So if we keep going back in time we get to the original owner, right?
B. I suppose so.
E. Native Americans, such as the Chippewa, once lived on that land and considered it their home. If anybody was the original owner, they were. The Native Americans didn’t claim to own land because they understood that land belongs to all people the same as the air we breathe and that whoever actually uses the land to support life has a right to it. But they were driven off that land by military force, by violence. They were swindled with treaties that the U.S. government routinely ignored in order to take their land from them. That’s how the land became the private property of somebody and how you came to own it—even though you don’t actually farm any of it or even live in the state where it is. Your ten thousand acres is stolen property. And you dare to say that if we return that land to society to be used for the common good, and let real farmers farm it and belong to the sharing economy that way, that that is THEFT!
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