One of the recurring discussion topics common in libertarian circles concerns the question of political action. To some anarchists, in particular, politics is strictly forbidden. Arguments for this range from the lack of feasibility for achieving change to the assertion that attempting to vote amounts to violence; a vote for a candidate, policy, or other action inevitably brings the force of government to bear on others.
As we live in a world where political systems exist and are accepted by the vast majority of people, I see no way to exclude politics from any attempt to bring about a free society. The political arena is, at the very least, a place where new ideas and approaches can be communicated to a more willing audience. Absent the air of politics, few people appear receptive to challenges of their social beliefs.
Concerning feasibility, this argument is akin to sour grapes. Seeking a goal is valid regardless of the fruitfulness of the effort. If this were how all innovators thought, where would ever innovation occur?
With regards to the understanding that political action must result in government force, Murray Rothbard had this to say:
I see no other conceivable strategy for the achievement of liberty than political action. Religious or philosophical conversion of each man and woman is simply not going to work; that strategy ignores the problem of power, the fact that millions of people have a vested interest in statism and are not likely to give it up…
So, while politics may perpetuate violence against individuals, it is but one of the ways to move us ultimately toward liberty.
Recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein have brought the issue of sexual harassment toward the front of the “social consciousness.” After a sting operation capturing Mr. Weinstein’s long-time abuse of power on tape, Hollywood’s finest came forward to condemn the actions of this particular mogul as though they were first hearing of them. During Mr. Weinstein’s tenure, his antics were well known across an industry which concurrently lectured the rest of us about equality, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and the like.
As progressives in Washington slowly came out to condemn their generous benefactor’s despicable actions, their counterparts in Hollywood signaled the viral masses to shout out “Me Too” as a call of solidarity. This is yet another example of the supposed “elite” attempting relevance in the face of their exposed hypocrisy. Additionally, and more importantly, they’ve chosen a movement which has its roots in far more sinister abuse than that of Mr. Weinstein. While his actions cannot be condoned, he abused his power over mature adults willingly bending themselves to it. They remained silent about his abuses despite having a community of supposed champions for women. They chose the fruits which his power bore to the obscurity which he threatened.
“Me Too,” on the other hand, was started in response to sexual abuse of young girls and women by the most vile members of society. These girls are literally powerless, having no viable alternatives available, and are permanently scarred by the abuse they’ve suffered. While Mr. Weinstein’s actions are worthy of scorn, associating them with a movement for women and young girls that have survived truly horrible abuses can only serve to diminish the relevance of real victims of sexual abuse.
Karl Marx, among other advocates of communism, developed his class struggle ideology around the assertion that labor is exploited. His claim rested on the fact that labor is never paid for the full value it creates. When a worker builds a chair, for example, the amount of compensation offered for the labor is far less than the amount that will be received for the chair. It is this difference, realized by the capitalist, which represents exploitation. Even in those cases where workers have voluntarily entered into the arrangement, Marx would argue that they were due the entire value of their labor.
There can be no argument that labor does not realize the full value of the exchange. However, this is merely the seen. There are many aspects of the production process ignored with this description of “labor exploitation.”
The job of the laborer exists because sufficient capital was raised to identify the market, build the facility, and acquire the materials to produce the chair. The risk for all of this is borne by the entrepreneur and those who contribute the capital for the venture. Without the investment, the potential for labor evaporates. Additionally, while the worker usually requires compensation for his labor within a short time frame, the business owner does not receive any compensation for their investment until the product is finally purchased on the market. This further exposes the investor to risk; the product might not ever be purchased despite capital being expended on facilities and labor. All of this constitutes the unseen.