Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Bill Maher Having the Best of Both Worlds
I really do enjoy the satire that Mr. Maher does. Even as, with the linked segment below, he makes fun of what might be considered an extreme sort of Socialism. Goodness knows that the more doctrinaire of us (like myself) need to step back at times and laugh at our own idiosyncrasies, which we have, of course, in abundance.
The segment referred to here, however, isn't really about Socialism at all. It is about his view that Capitalism, though prone to excess, is still a good system, with the subtext here that the best part of it is it's emphasis on working for what you get; the assumption being that at least some part of Socialism is merely about getting something for nothing.
What I find especially irritating here is that he is a man who enjoys one of the most terrible aspects of Capitalism: it's more than questionable valuation of things. After all, all he does is mouth funny observations about various aspects of society; certainly useful to some degree, of course, but to the point of allowing him to live well in Hollywood? And whether you think that makes him a rich man or not, it still puts him quite a ways above the average citizen he seems to speak for. Should that be worth more than a K through 12 teacher? More than a day care worker? More than a fire fighter, EMT, or policeman (etc.)? And in that context isn't he getting at least a bit of something for nothing? Simply because some skills, in association with notoriety, can bend a market to their advantage?
The fact of the matter is that Socialism has never been about getting something for nothing. It was simply a reaction to the inordinate power of the abstract of money to allow the control of what formulates, and manages production, as well as how the results of that production are distributed equitably. The problem with Socialism, even before the advent of electrified experience retrieval, is that it was based on the assumption that Capitalism could be amended to the dictates of Socialist goals, and still be viable; something that history has ultimately shown to be false.
The problem has always been the dichotomy of having competitive entities, able to have the flexibility to respond to the changes in markets, so as to always put production to the right item at the best price possible, and yet to do that with some kind of socially representative committees who would then put decisions into place, in a time critical manner. As the over bureaucratization of past Communist attempts at Socialism have attested to, this is just damn hard to do. And it becomes infinitely harder to do now with the advent of electricity and the new hyper environments of competition and marketing that result from it.
What is really going on here, as far as Mr. Maher is concerned, at least, is that he gets to enjoy a significant cache in criticizing Capitalism on the one hand, but never going so far as to question its ultimate legitimacy at all on the other hand. I mean, why would he bite the hand that feeds him after all. Even if it really isn't legitimate any more.
I mean, let's be serious here: Just because human skill as a commodity is no longer viable any more? Just because hyper marketing is putting us in an ever increasing environment of fantasy, and exploited base emotions? Just because information, so critical to an informed electorate, is now synonymous with money and, as such, always guaranteed to never flow freely? Or, lastly, because hyper consumption is simply not sustainable on a planet made up of delicately balanced, interactive systems?
Gosh. Why would anybody want to question the legitimacy of an operating system responsible for all of that? Especially if you were enjoying your own bit of something for nothing.