George Orwell and Ideology: ‘George Orwell is paradoxical in the best sense: he is beyond doxa, outside the camps and categories of conventional political discourse. Admiring critics snip and squeeze, but Orwell will not be tailored into an ideology. An anticommunist nonpareil who never doubted that it was necessary to support the United States against the USSR, Orwell in 1948 expressed a preference for Henry Wallace, that scandal to Cold Warriors. In fact, although Orwell called himself a socialist, he scorned both socialism and capitalism as those terms are ordinarily understood, because he rejected the modern political doctrine which is the foundation of both.’
Our Corporate Military: An excellent rebuttal to Nicholas Kristoff’s horrid article in the NYT a couple weeks back. ‘Aside from that, I think Kristoff has it exactly backward: The military is almost a parody of American corporate culture. It’s riddled with hierarchy, with Taylorist/Weberian bureaucratic work rules and standard operating procedures, and all the irrationality that goes with them. The only difference is, the pointy-haired bosses wear a different kind of uniform. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Brazil,” or read Dilbert on a regular basis, you get the idea.’
Hilaire Belloc on Property: Old but still quite good critique of industrial capitalism and a presentation of an alternative and better world. As I’ve written before, the basic tenets, and many of the techniques and and strategies, of distributivist thought and praxis are more or less the same as market anarchism and mutualism. Our primary differences lie in the role of the state: Belloc and Chesterton were, I think it is fair to say, ‘minarchists’ of sorts, envisioning a highly constricted, highly democratic state, but still a state, with a role in securing the new economic order, and a lesser role in maintaining it. Otherwise, distributivism and market anarchism are very much in agreement about what a better world would look like: an economy and society made up of small-holders, small firms with distributed production (on this note, see Kevin Carson’s A Low Overhead Manifesto), widespread worker-control and cooperative firms in situations where large industry is still required, and deep networks of mutual aid and support.
Mao Inc. China’s Terribly Successful Communist Party Turns 90: ‘China’s communists have not been shy. Little is sacred, while almost everything can be bought, even the Great Hall of the People. When the party is not in session in the magnificent building, with its more than 300 rooms and enormous paintings, companies like Ford and Kentucky Fried Chicken can rent space at astronomical prices.’
Why Does the War Go On? ‘Tens of thousands of American troops will remain for at least three more years, some of them will be maimed or killed, and Obama offered no good reason why.’