“Right-wing ideologies are deliberate and conscious efforts that seek to “defend power and privilege against movements demanding freedom and equality.””
As much as I try to avoid them, occasionally a video or article comes across my radar that makes me shake my head in disgust. The latest one is a video clip of Joe Rogan’s podcast where he bravely and virtuously defends capitalism. I’ve transcribed some quotes:
“There inevitably is going to be some form of competition and some people are going to get out ahead, and some people will get upset that some people are out ahead, and there’s going to be all sorts of reasons. Some people are going to be ahead ‘cuz they’re assholes. Some people are going to be ahead because they get up at 5 o’clock in the morning while you sleep till fucking noon…They’re some people that are totally ethical and they just do a lot of work, and they do better…You can be an ethical person and be a super ambitious crazy person who wants to succeed in business for some reason. They’re not mutually exclusive. So when everybody says capitalism is evil and it’s the problem, man… No, no no, you saying that is a problem. [Capitalism is] not a problem.”
Oh Joe Rogan, one of the brilliant, pragmatic, philosophical and economic minds of our time… HA! Rogan trots out the old tried and true libertarian/Protestant work ethic argument for economic oppression: “We work harder and are simply motivated as hell, that’s all!” I seriously despise when people go here. This argument, that some people get ahead because they’re assholes and some people get ahead because they’re just motivated and ambitious, is terribly fallacious. I mean, if we think about it, what the hell is the difference, really? Rogan’s right, they’re not mutually exclusive; assholes are ambitious too! This meritocracy rhetoric is so, so insidious. One can be ambitious and motivated to create beautiful, meaningful things that contribute to society in tremendously beneficial ways, which is great!, but if they simultaneously feel they’re intrinsically “better” than someone else, and therefore deserve to rule (economically or politically) over all the other “lazy” slobs out there because they do these great things, they’re assholes. Period. And thus we see the real sickening root beneath this meritocratic rhetoric; as Corey Robin points out very clearly in his book, The Reactionary Mind, conservatism, in it’s various forms, basically boils down to a defense of hierarchy and privilege and is “a reaction to democratic movements from below.” Right-wing ideologies are deliberate and conscious efforts that seek to “defend power and privilege against movements demanding freedom and equality.”
The Joe Rogan clip ends with another common capitalist truth bomb:
“The whole reason you have a fucking laptop to complain on is because of capitalism.”
How many times, O’ Lord, must I suffer this nonsense? Capitalism didn’t make my iPhone, Joe, a human in China made it. And that human (a worker), by physically putting together the phone, created way more value for Apple than what Apple chose to pay them; that worker’s surplus labor was stolen. This is where profits come from crying out loud! Now I won’t argue against capitalism being an improvement over feudalism (a modest improvement), and yes we have laptops and iPhones, but we also have a lot of shit that no one would ever need, ever (e.g. the beer selfie stick ((it’s a real thing!!))); our planet is in peril largely because of our nihilistic and suicidal economic system. Defenders of capitalism can hopefully agree with its critics that it’s not perfect by any means, and that over the years we’ve made it a bit better by regulating it, restricting it, and changing it. Capitalism took centuries to transition from feudalism, but something new will eventually emerge from it. Sadly, it’s most likely the case that reactionary conservatives, like Joe Rogan, won’t let their precious hierarchy-making system go without a fight.