Carte Blanche: Big Businesses Despise The Free-Market
Last week, Tucker Carlson took to his show on Fox News to go on an anti-capitalist rant, emerging in favor of the economic agenda of Elizabeth Warren. He did not present any new information, as he relayed 18th-century mercantilist fallacies in support of “make-work” government interventions, protective tariffs, and trade restrictions. Tucker blames a lack of economic authoritarianism from the federal government for a loss of jobs and stagnant wages in the United States, referring to the interventionist agenda as “economic patriotism” as if calling it “patriotism” changes anything. He also ridiculed the apparent libertarian ideologues that he claims make up the Republican Party, protecting the market economy and prevent economic patriotism. This is a confusing statement, to say that Republicans in Congress are protecting economic freedom when almost literally none of them are. Maybe Carlson lives in an alternate reality where Lindsay Grahm is giving lectures on the virtues of free banking and Justin Amash and Rand Paul make up the three-quarters of the GOP. He blames his imaginary free-market fundamentalism in the Party on an extremely cliche justification for statism, the influence from multinational corporations and other wealthy businessmen like the evil Koch Brothers. In Tucker Carlson’s view, if all of the GOP would just break their influence from corporations that push for laissez-faire, they would see that government is far better at running the economy for American workers than the anarchic chaos of individual liberty. Only, the Republicans will call the agenda “economic patriotism” as to not be confused with the socialist Democrats.
Every libertarian experiences the identity initiation Carlson and other statists refer to. We obviously grow up as the children of wealthy CEOs, and at around age ten, David Koch shows up at our doorsteps with a suitcase full of cash for us, only if we promise to read the works of Mises and Rothbard and to support free markets. We try to keep it a secret, but most of the leftists are just too darn smart for us. Charles and David Koch even have a secret time machine that they used to travel back in time and teach economics to the first Austrian Economics students and enlightenment figures, basically engineering the whole free-market conspiracy. This is the only reason anyone dissents to the obviously good ideas of “economic patriotism.” But in all reality, can anyone think of one prominent libertarian billionaire besides the Koch brothers? Good luck. However, its somehow easy to list statist leaders of major corporations like chips, but that goes against the popular narrative. Besides the reality of the interventionist policies that Carlson and Warren espouse, the big business- laissez-faire narrative is incorrect. The largest corporations and their leaders overwhelmingly reject the free-market, they have been a driving force for an interventionist government throughout history, and the supporting axiom of class identity politics is not based on reality.
In our present state, corporate interests tell a contradictory story to the popular narrative. Beginning with the economic patriot herself, Senator Warren has been a receiver of the largest source of donations from Alphabet Inc., a corporation that she actually wants to break up with antitrust! It turns out that the biggest crusaders of big tech regulation, Warren and Bernie Sanders have raked in some of the largest contributions from Silicon Valley. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, has regularly advocated for powerful regulations on his own corporation. If we want to believe that free-market ideology is only a sellout to the corporate world, it seems awkward that we have to entirely discount the corporate powerhouse of Silicon Valley. But it does not end there, as Elon Musk continues to receive government contracts to make SpaceX America’s aerospace contractor, running his project with taxpayer money rather than investments. The largest banks, that are frequently demonized, have absolutely no desire for a free market in money and banking, but would rather hold up their government enforced central bank which they use to plan the economy and regulate themselves. Furthermore, trade barriers and tariffs, which are central to the economic patriotist solution, are supported by cronyist domestic producers everywhere for an artificial share of the market.
Regardless of how many times the pundits relay the myth, it is nothing new. The power of big business has always pushed for economic interventionism. Many of the government infringements that progressives view as curbing “predatory capitalism” were pushed and created by the evil capitalists themselves. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was created by the railroad industry itself to better form cartels. Likewise, the powerful banking interests during the progressive era formed the most powerful cartel and treasured program of the statists in our economy, the Federal Reserve. In fact, nearly all of the major industries during the industrial revolution had attempted to use government as a cartelization device, including petroleum, steel, agricultural machinery, and sugar, far from pushing for laissez-faire (Rothbard, 91). Social Security, a fan favorite, is another major program that was directed and promoted by the larger business organizations of the day as a mandatory pension plan to damage smaller competitors. An organization involved in the legislation, the Industrial Relations Councilors (IRC), was set up to “promote a new form of corporatist labor-management cooperation, as well as promoting pro-union and pro-welfare-state policies in industry and government.” The IRC was started and engineered by the Rockefellers. And so on, and so on, the behind the scenes story of each major intervention comes forward.
As history unravels, we should understand why average people continue to believe the caricature of libertarian corporations when it obviously does not exist. The main reason is that the statist worldview does not take into account individual beliefs, but rather class identity. This belief in identity is called polylogism by Ludwig Von Mises. Polylogism is the notion that different groups of people have different and incompatible modes of logic. It is described as a false axiom of many ideologies, namely Marxism, which attributes that the bourgeoisie have different logical structures of the mind to lead them to sympathize with capitalism. Polylogism essentially allows the believer to discredit ideas because of the identity of the individual espousing them, and to vice-versa attribute identities to individuals espousing certain ideas. This is true of all forms of identity politics and is certainly true of the unrealistic narrative of laissez-faire corporate leaders. Although the popular statist today will deny the use of class identity politics, traces of polylogism still remain in their rhetoric. How else would commentators like Tucker Carlson get away with attributing free-market advocacy to corporate interests, when nearly the exact opposite is true?
As a refutation to the statist narrative, Mises also describes the actual role of ideas in society. All humans act according to their subjective values. Although culture and personal beliefs may shape subjective value scales, acting in accordance with them is the same in all humans. Just as subjective values can change over time, various ideas can be spread throughout society, influencing ideological change. Polylogists believe that ideology is already predetermined by one’s identity and that for this reason, history is already determined. Echoes of historical determinism still exist in today’s statists, every time they refer to their government expansionist agendas as inevitable “progress”. On the contrary, ideas and ideology are spread by subjective values and the spontaneous order of influence and knowledge passed through individuals. This leaves the future of society entirely undetermined and open to various ideological influence and change. Various societies in history have experienced various periods of popular belief, completely irrespective of identity. The influence of Marxism in Europe sparked the spread of socialist thought through elite, intellectual property owners, the exact people that were supposed to oppose the movement. During the late 1800s in the United States, lower-income immigrants in certain cities voted almost entirely for laissez-faire Democrats (Rothbard, 115). It is possible for any idea to have influence and to shape society as such.
The traces of polylogism and historical determinism that still exist in popular thought today must be rejected entirely, and replaced with Mises’ explanation as the narrative of classical liberalism and libertarianism. Part of this rejection of identity politics involves exploding the myth of those supporters of the unhampered market must somehow be perpetuating the desires of big business, based on realities of the past and the fallacious axioms by which the myth is based. What is ironic about Tucker Carlon’s commentary is that he speaks of Elizabeth Warren’s economic patriotism as being free of identity politics, to attract conservative voters. Carlson’s nonsensical categorization of all those supporting libertarian principles rejecting average Americans and selling out to large corporations is pure Marxist identity politics. It is the same rhetoric of class identity that Marxian economists of the past used in their debates against the Austrian School of Economics on various topics. They were unable to disprove the logic of the Austrians and therefore dismissed it as “bourgeois reasoning”.