Regime Change - The glaring Ethical Blind Spot for the Progressive Left
A seemingly sacrosanct truth within prosperous western democracies is the need for a state-based antidote to corporate greed and avarice. Otherwise we are unable to provide for those left behind by the machinations of supply and demand economics. It is argued that when left unchecked, markets become oligarchic or monopolistic, leaving the consumer and citizen with no power and unaffordable prices. It is the role of the government to thus ensure that these market failures, which in mainstream media take on a Machiavellian complexion, are resisted and expelled through legislation and bureaucracy.
The problem does not dissipate however, when the Government itself becomes the greedy monolith. When the state seeks to prosecute wars overseas against the will of the citizen, when through the various surveillance and intelligence bureaucracies it infringes upon rights privacy, we begin to realise that the various apparatus’ of the state are manned and controlled by the ilk of corporate executives. More than that, in moments of unaccountability the human desire for ambition and power exceeds the cooling current of selflessness and honesty.
Therefor, when looking upon the failed campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere, we realize that the interests of the Government are tantamount to that of the populous. Trying to topple Bashar Al-Assad in Syria by funding, arming and training extremist Saudi backed affiliates is a reflection of the common, pernicious thread running through the statist story. When we see that Government’s bail out the banks at the tax payers expense, to the tune of hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars, we recognise they are simply preserving the system which generated the crisis to begin with. Those in the Government are not by some constitutional miracle transformed into better people than those who run corporations. The same greed runs through both, however Government officials are one step closer towards the legislative apparatus than corporations and several steps closer than individuals.
Suspicion and skepticism of Government is not unique any position, particularly regarding wars and foreign affairs. Many truly progressive, statist thinkers and pundits express the same concern over military intervention that Libertarians would. However, the key difference and I would argue the ethical blind spot in the argument of the progressive, is that by acknowledging that the State is as capable of evil as corporations are, they should be arguing for the limited involvement of the State in our lives overall. For example, why should we want the same people who armed Fundamentalist Islamic Extremists and leapt on the back of White-Helmet fake news surrounding Syrian Government chemical weapons attacks, to be in charge of Healthcare, education and housing?
Government’s are far more prone to governing on the basis of public sentiment and news polls than they are to lead on the basis of sound policy. Debunked governmental market intervention’s are continually propogated on the basis that they are pleasing to the eye, like the minimum wage and foreign aid. These are policies based in self-interest only, as they remain empirically antithetical to truly beneficial results. One notices that bureaucratic glory doesn’t arrive silently over years, but must be exalted with thunderous applause from new legislation and committee.
When an Australian Government refuses to move an inch to bring home Julian Assange, who’s only ‘crime’ was publishing documents, why should we expect such an ethically depraved conglomerate to become virtuous, efficient and competent in other areas? Perhaps there is some political moraliser machine which once stepping into office and swearing an oath of allegiance to a flag or a document subsequently sets you on the path of the just and virtuous. I do not know of it yet.
The only logical conclusion one can draw from repetitious state sanctioned violence and violation is that we should be constantly seeking to limit rather than expand their range of control. Particularly, by virtue of the fact corporations donate many hundreds of millions of dollars to political campaigns across the board anyway, even allegedly highly progressive political campaigns. There will always be corporate interest in politics, however, this can only truly be minimised if the state interest in us is minimised, for the politicians are ultimately accountable to themselves only.
Therefor reducing Government over reach is not only the logical but the empathetic and impassioned response, as we have seen time and time again that the most defenceless and poorest individuals are the ones who suffer at the hands of statist posturing and interventionism.