The Need of the Right Wing to Blame outside Forces Socially
If there is ever one characteristic that truly defines the mindset of the capitalist/right-winger, it is this one. Because this group possesses such an intense need to promote themselves as a superior form of life over that of the regular person, they are seemingly in capable of performing any kind of self analysis. Because of their own sense of self-superiority, they are incapable of admitting they themselves can make a mistake or create a system of operation with contradiction. With such a profound intellect beyond that of the common masses, they could not have possibly erred, and thus any failure or crisis must rest in the hands of some evil invading influence. This means no internal analysis or self-criticism is required.
The history of written and practised right-wing though is rife with examples of outside invading evils that ruin or harm the glory of right-wing belief.
Adolf Hitler possibly the most prolific right winger in history who’s image still haunts political thought to this day. The Fürer is the prime example of the right wing outsourcing of blame for internal problems and failings.
In the beginnings of Adolf Hitler’s political life he made it clear what was the cause of all of Germany’s problems, the Jews of course. All throughout Hitler’s reign of terror he constantly blamed the Hebrew existence for all of the Germany’s problems, but importantly, the state in which it was in when he became the leader of it.
Irrelevant here is the cause/causes of World War One, nor is it important what brought about its conclusion. Here we are only interested in its effects on Germany in the social and economic spheres.
At the end of World War One Germany was forced at gun point to sign a document of surrender. In this document were numerous conditions of surrender. Many of these conditions were quite harmful to both the economy and nation dignity of Germany. The post-war recovery of Germany was nearly impossible.
This document signing (along with the actual defeat of Germany in the war) were the catalyzing series of events that which set Hitler on his path to become the future leader of the nation. This event was an irresolvable paradox in Hitler’s mind. His belief that the German people were superior was unchallengeable, yet Germany lost the war. This could not be the case given the superior nature of German blood. Unable to resolve this paradox, (i.e. admit that the German people made a mistake or was not as strong as he thought), he came to the conclusion that there must have been some kind of force alien to the German people that would cause this failure or weakness.
Enter the Jewish question… The psychological motivation for Hitler’s hatred of the Jews has been a long standing debate spanning almost seven decades. The actual cause of Hitler’s hatred towards the Jewish people is not important here. What is important is that we accept that these motivations (whatever they were), were irrational. This irrational hatred had a direct influence on his assumptions about Germany’s loss in World War One and the post-war period.
For whatever reason (because I’ve never been able to figure it out) Hitler thought that some kind of Jewish influence must have caused Germany’s leaders to sign such ridiculous terms of surrender. Whether it was Jews working inside the German government or a conspiracy of Jewish bankers working in their own interest (monetary or racial) more than national pride. Of course to him they had no national pride because they were not a part of it and believed themselves above it.
The idea of national pride coming from its leaders over their own interest (Jewish or not) was ridiculous. No leader after the industrial revolution actually cares about national dignity. The examples of this are numerous, but they are not important here and distract from the point. These leaders are only interested in retaining their position and power. They also wish only to serve the interests of the economic elite who fund their campaigns, who really control the country. Nationalism to them is merely a campaign position and a rallying cry for war. They have no interest in their countrymen, only so far as they can be used for their own interest. Hitler utterly failed to understand this.
The internal contradiction here was competing interests. Since Hitler did not understand that, he assumed Jewish banker interest had interfered with national pride. This would not be the last time Hitler blamed social and class conflict on the Jewish people.
Later on, Hitler’s only true opposition was communists in Germany. And like a crutch, Hitler leaned on his anti-Semitism to rally people to his cause.
Communism rose in Germany for the same reason it did everywhere else. Communism is and always has been an expression of class warfare. So long as there has been a capitalist class, there has been a proletariat. This struggle between a ruling rich and exploited poor expressed itself in class warfare. To Hitler, there were no classes, only German’s and non-Germans. To him the communists and their struggle against capitalist domination and fascism was another outside influence corrupting the perfect infallible German people. The communists were therefore a poisonous influence destroying Germany. All that was needed was for Hitler to discover that Marx was at one time Jewish. (I’ll note here that Marx denounced his Jewish roots and became an atheist. A fact White Supremacists and Nazis deliberately overlook).
From here on out Hitler blamed all contradictions and problems within Germany on the Jews. Nothing could possibly be wrong with the system, politicians couldn’t possibly corrupt and self-serving, not could there possibly be class conflict because everyone was German and the same race. Therefore in his mind there must have been some foreign content causing all the problems in his perfect world and perfect people. All Hitler did was project his own prejudices on the society and system he didn’t understand.
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A modern day example of right wingers engaging in persecution in lieu of introspection would be the illegal Mexican immigration issue. This issue is one of the oldest issues facing the people of the United States. For as long as there has been immigration there has been hysteria over Mexicans entering the country. Of course this influx of people has had more to do with the right wing policies put out by the US government than with any decisions made by Mexican society.
US economic domination of Mexico has existed for more than fifty years. The single most intense form of this domination is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The effects of this “agreement” on the working and poor class in all three nations (US, Mexico and Canada) are too numerous to list here, we will focus only on the effects that pertain to this particular issue.
One of the most damaging aspects of the free trade agreement was the flood of cheap agricultural products into Mexico. Of course these agricultural products were actually cheaper than Mexican farmers could produce. This undercutting in cost drove millions of Mexican farmers bankrupt. These farmers gave up farming and went into the cities looking for work, the “Makiladora” sector. The problem was (and still is) that there is not enough work. Underemployment in Mexican cities is astronomically high. This lack of jobs caused the poverty rate in Mexico to rise from 35% to 65% to 75%. The BAFTA agreement more than doubled the poverty in Mexico despite its claim that it would lower it.
The economic ruling elites in the United States were the ones who pushed and lobbied for this agreement to be signed. These results of the agreement were anticipated because they would serve the interests of both Mexican and American businesses. The minimum wage laws are ignored and the people responsible for enforcing them (the government) are working with these same businesses.
These harmful policies were created by the wealthy elite in America and propped up by elites in Mexico. The end result of this outright conspiracy against the working and poor in Mexico was a flood of illegal immigrants into the United States.
The response to the immigration issue by the right wing media and particularly the right wing masses has been astoundingly ignorant. They’ve blamed Mexicans for coming across the border into the United States. These people blaming the Mexicans for wanting a better life have completely ignored their own hand in the creation of the situation. The right-wing supporters supported the right wing policies that created the situation. But at no point will they criticize themselves for creating this situation. The only conclusion they can come to is that Mexicans are conspiring to take their jobs.
Interesting to note is the return of the nationalism versus economic conflict from the Nazi example. Many right wing working class people and some right wing media are outraged at companies who hire illegal Mexican labour. They call them all kinds of nasty things including “traitors to the country”. These right wingers lambast the companies for not hiring Americans, spouting national interest.
Of course with all right wingers they are unable (or unwilling) to see the economic interest behind the hiring of illegal immigrant Mexican labour. It’s no secret how much cheaper Mexican labour is than the labour of a US citizen. The bosses of the places who hire them have nothing but their own profit motive in mind. Obtaining cheaper and cheaper forms of labour is the oldest component in capitalism. So of course the American companies are going to hire Mexicans, they’re more cost-efficient. The working class right winger just like Hitler could not understand class conflict, because their system is pure and infallible (as they believe) it had to be some outside influence causing problems internally. Mexicans are to the American right wing what Jews were to the Nazis.
A failure to see the internal contradictions (based on the belief of superiority) leads to a xenophobic witch hunt which manifests itself in the ugliness that is racism. Put simply, the refusal to conduct an internal analysis inevitably lays the blame on things external.
The Need of the Right Wing to Blame outside Forces Economically
The history of the right wing blame game of outside forces is a history of economics just as much as is social. In fact the lack of introspection is less obvious in the field of economic, which makes the existence of it all the more devious. While it is debatable which of these cases of deliberate ignorance has caused the most harm, I feel it must be economics given the history of economic influence over social policy. Often social policy is engineered toward economic policy. Almost always this is done to justify it.
The lack of capitalist introspection is caused by one important factor: maintaining profits. Capitalism is well known for its cold blooded and quite frankly inhuman drive for profit. Over the centuries this murderous motive has manifested itself in many ways: exploiting children as slave labour in Saipan and other 3rd world countries, Joseph McCarthy sentencing union activist to death claiming they were Soviet spies, murdering three million in Iraq and Afghanistan for corporate profits, etc. Not to mention the cause of the African Holocaust, the slave trade.
As previously stated, all these things were done to increase or protect profits. This unwilling to do introspection is all to avoid acknowledgement of the internal contradictions that make up the system. Capitalism always has and always will lead to crisis. Constant crisis is acceptable to capitalists because it maintains their profit and their power in society. What they fear is a participatory democracy, and that would mean democratization of the economy and removing the power the capitalists hold over us, the masses, the real citizens of the world. This constant crisis is what keeps us in line. But exactly what crisis’s are we speaking of.
This is how capitalists themselves define crisis/recession. This is taken directly from Economics for Dummies:
“Macroeconomists’ biggest task is to try to prevent – or at least shorten recessions, those periods of time during which the economy’s output of goods and services declines.”
– Pg 97, paragraph 1
Now this is honest, this description of what causes a recession is actual truth. (Incidentally, it’s about the only truth in the book.) The book continues:
“…recessions begin with what economists call shocks – unexpected bad events like terrorist attacks, natural disasters, the introduction of bad government policy, or sudden spikes in the cost of important resources like oil.”
– Pg 97, paragraph 2
In other words, “it is someone else’s fault”, is what is being said here. A common theme for right wingers. Another externalization of an internal conflict. Here the book is not specific on what causes demand for goods and services to fall. In fact it says almost nothing. It uses a bunch of complicated graphs and uses words like aggregate demand, increasing inventories cause output to fall and PE = A + c(1-t)Y.
These are just fancy ways of showing “we made too many things and no one’s buying them”. It is made to be difficult on purpose so as to discourage you from trying to understand it. The truth of the matter is like this: Capitalism is a system of contradiction. It always has and always will be. (This includes the Tea bagger version of capitalism.) The only person to have ever exposed so clearly the contradictions of capitalism was Karl Marx. His work Das Kapital analysed capitalism in a way no one has been able to trump. Every capitalist or “bourgeois” economist (as we Marxists call them) has only ever praised the system and explained how it (theoretically should) work, and not criticize its internal contradictions. This is why capitalists are always scratching their heads and forming inquiries to investigate what caused a particular recession. And we’ve seen from the capitalists own words, it is someone else’s fault.
Here is how Marx explained why, “The economy’s output of goods and services declines.”
C + V + S
This formula shows the production of all wealth in society. It is the manufacturing of commodities alone creates all wealth in society. Bankers and traders create no value whatsoever. They merely steal value from workers and capitalists. This will be explained later for simplicity’s sake.
C represents constant capital, meaning all materials, equipment, electricity costs and mortgage on a factory. We call this constant capital because we know their productive capacity. A machine will always create so many pieces per hour, or 6 tons of steel will always be 6 tons available for production.
V represents variable capital, meaning the money spent on employee’s wages. This includes wages, bonuses, supervisors or anything else that would contribute to the pay workers receive.
S represents surplus-value, the amount of value the capitalist extracts from his workers. In capitalism this is called profit.
These three components make up the cost of production. No capitalist will deny this formula, they have their own version of it, and it contains different terminology, but it equates to the same thing. Now let us add numerical values to our cost of production equation:
C5 + V5 + S5
For simplicity’s sake we will assign a value of 5 to each of the variables in the equation. Normally this equation would be brutally one sided in favour of surplus-value when it comes to corporations. In any case, the total value of all these variables is 15. Meaning the total cost of production is 15 dollars.
This is where the problem begins. Because all wealth is created through production, all workers’ wages and the bosses wealth comes from production. If the cost of all the commodities is 15 dollars, how are the workers supposed to purchase this value when they are only paid 5 dollars? And this is assuming all workers in all fields will spend all of their wages on commodities. Of course you would be correct in saying that the boss also contributes to consumption, however a fair amount of his surplus-value is reinvested back into production.
As you can see it is not actually possible for the total value generated by production to be purchased. This leads to what Marx called “overproduction”. This over production causes an overstock that is not sold. If product cannot be sold, a profit cannot be realized. So of course “the economy’s output of goods and services declines”, too much product was created. This internal contradiction is acknowledged by bourgeois (capitalist) economists, they just use a bunch of fancy words and formulas to make it look different.
Of course capitalist economists know about this self-defeating aspect of capitalism. They also know this leads to crisis. These economists are not stupid; they don’t have some insane utopian version of capitalism like Tea baggers. One of the economists who came up with a temporary solution was John Maynard Keynes. He came up with the idea of having the government control part of the social demand. They do this through government spending, infrastructure and endless military spending.
This doesn’t solve the problem; it merely taxes worker’s wages and capitalist’s surplus-value. This creates no new value and does not keep things balanced. It just held off recession for a while. Recession returned, but it was Milton Freedman who came up with neo-liberal globalization. Recession has returned recently, but for different reasons.
This internal contradiction is hardly a “terrorist attack, natural disaster, a bad government policy or a sudden spike in the cost of important natural resources like oil.” And this is the most common cause of recession.
(I will now backtrack to explain why only commodity production creates value and not bankers and retail type businesses. Banks only make a profit by lending money. Their profit is interest which is extracted from the capitalists’ surplus-value. It also comes from the workers’ wages when the loan is a purchase made on a credit card. Retail stores create no value because all they do is add to the cost of an item in order to remain in business. This money they bring in comes out of the workers’ wages and the capitalist’s surplus-value. All non-value producing industries operate in a similar way to these two industries.)
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There is a more recent example of a contradiction that exists within capitalism. It is speculative trade, and it caused the current global economic recession. To explain how speculative trade caused the current crisis, I will first have to explain what fictitious value is.
When a bank or any other financial institution creates a loan, they are essentially giving out money ahead of production. (Ahead of the creation of value). A capitalist will go to a financial institution and ask for a loan. The capitalist is signing a contract that states he will use the credit he is given to create value in the future through production. Which means the value doesn’t actually exist; it is fictitious because it has not yet been created. In fact, if the business fails, then the value is never created. It is a loss because the value is fictitious.
This fictitious value also exists among the working class as well in the form of consumer credit. When you and I make a purchase on a credit card we are being given money ahead of the creation of value. That value to be created is our wages. This fictional credit also has disastrous effects if too many of these fictional values are not created.
Now that I have explained fictitious value, I can now explain how speculative trade nearly brought economic life to an end.
There is another type of credit out there mostly held by the working class, a mortgage. The type of mortgage we are interested in is the sub-prime mortgage. A sub-prime mortgage is simply a mortgage where the interest rate is lower than the standard set by the Federal Reserve. But why would a mortgage company give a mortgage under prime?
Banks and financial institutions make money by collecting interest on loans. Therefore the more loans a bank makes the more profit they can realize. However, if a person’s income is too low, they have a good chance of defaulting on that loan. One way to temporarily overcome this problem is to lower the interest rate. However this carries with it a danger, the Federal Reserve sets the prime rate at its lowest point that is safe. Banks ignored this warning so they could realize more profits. The problem is that too many high risk mortgages were given out and they defaulted. It created a housing bubble and it collapsed.
Once again, the drive to put out high risk loans was not the work of a natural disaster or bad government policy. In fact this would not have happened if banks had followed government policy. Listening to the Federal Reserve would actually have prevented this crisis. This is what the Federal Reserve is there for. The drive for profit at a risk is an internal contradiction of capitalism.
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There is another form of fictitious value that is even more harmful, speculative trade. To explain this speculative trade I have to explain another form of fictitious value, stock and shares.
When a business wants money to start up, they have the option of putting out stock. They’ll print up a bunch of papers and call them stock certificates. The certificates will be assigned a value and then be sold in public. When you purchase these stocks you are loaning this business money. You loan them money return for a share in future profits. Essentially as a stock holder you will be receiving a portion of future surplus-value. So what is wrong with this? Why is this a bad thing?
When you but a stock and loan that money, you are giving money ahead of the creation of value. You are giving money on the promise that value will be created in the future. The difference between stock and a mortgage is that this fictional value (because value has not been created yet) can be sold to another person for a profit.
Now this is the danger, because this value is fictional and promises to create value in the future, the value of the stock can grow wildly out of control. When a lot of people want a certain stockist value in trade can massively exceed the promised future value. If people think a stock will be really profitable, they’ll pay a lot of money to get it. What they are doing is paying a lot of money for a value that doesn’t actually exist. These companies can and do often do fail making the stocks worthless. When this happens in large numbers the stock market can crash.
This is exactly what happened in the 90s with the .com bubble. A whole ton of people started up internet companies thinking this was going to be the wave of the future. Stock traders agreed and though those stocks were going to be great future values. Because everybody wanted them, by the law of supply and demand their value in trade rose quite high. Of course as we found out, almost all the companies failed and all that money was lost. A huge bubble of promised value was created, but that promised value was never generated so the bubble popped. Sub-prime mortgages created the same thing, a huge promise of value in the future (from collecting interest) that was never realized.
Stocks are placing a cost on a value that doesn’t exist. I don’t know how much more obvious a contradiction this could be. This could be the largest contradiction in all of capitalism. No one can blame the Federal Reserve for this one; it has no say over stocks or the stock market. Nor, can you blame global warming or Osama bin Laden for this contradiction.
As we have seen, a major characteristic of the right wing and capitalists is a denial of personal responsibility. It seems as though no matter what obstacle appears or what mistake is made, or internal conflict breaks out, it is always the fault of an outside force. This is kind of mentality displays an extraordinary amount of narcissism. A mentality like this is very dangerous, just look at what happened to Nazi Germany in World War Two. The Nazi belief in their own superiority and infallibility lead to their own down fall.
Throughout the history of human social change we have seen that it is always the right wing that blocks advancements in human rights. It was slave owners and large land owners, businessmen, who opposed the emancipation of African slaves. It was the right wing who opposed equal treatment in civil rights that cried society would collapse if women were granted equal rights. During these struggles it was the progressive left who aided them.
Hopefully one day we can eliminate this hateful ideology from our collective consciousness.
Those right wingers in the economic field have done no better. The refusal to address the internal contradictions has caused tremendous harm around the world. The American economic elite starved to death 12 million Americans during the Great Depression, a fact conveniently forgotten. Right wing economics that dominated England starved 80 million people to death in India and Bengal.
According to the World Health Organization and the UN, during the 90s, over a hundred million people died of preventable diseases. While all this happened, pharmaceutical companies refused to provide drugs at cost to the third world. A hundred million people did not have to die.
When the social right wing and the economic right wing get together, unimaginable things happen. When social prejudice and economic self-interest combine, things like the African slave trade happen. The loss of 150 million lives all for sake of personal profit. Unfortunately, the real numbers of those killed by capitalism will never be known.
This denial of personal responsibility and refusal to perform any kind of introspection is common to all right wingers and capitalists. The stateless capitalists, Tea baggers are not immune from this ignorance. The stateless capitalists also practise this denial; the only difference is what invading external force they blame. To the Tea bagger the Federal Reserve is to blame for all the woes of capitalism. To them capitalism is as Adam Smith wrote in “the Wealth of Nations”, and the industrial revolution changed nothing. It must be the Federal Reserve (a body created by capitalists) because capitalism is flawless. If the complaint be environmental destruction or inequality or human rights abuses, then denial will suffice. “That’s not capitalism!” they so adamantly scream. Because capitalism can do no wrong.
The only thing we can do as a race of human beings is try to eliminate such hateful, exploitative, murderous ideology from our collective consciousness. Things must change, and they must change now.