…and the state’s enemy is a well-grounded and life-sustaining common culture.
Notes Towards the Definition of Capitalist Culture, By Terry Hulsey
I was asked by a long-time online friend to comment on this post by Hulsey. A worthwhile read – every time I went through it I found another gem. I hope I do it a bit of justice with this review.
For those who want a very brief comment: I agree. For the rest you will only have to suffer through a few hundred words.
Let’s get right to the punch line:
The humane activity formerly designated as “culture” has been emasculated with the advent of the modern state.
I would modify slightly: the advent of the modern state has only, could only, and as sure as night follows day will certainly become reality with the emasculation of a common, generally accepted culture. For this we can thank cultural Marxists (I prefer cultural Gramsci-ists); libertine libertarians carry this water for the state as well.
What will the capitalist culture be like in general? …Common law and traditional usage will supplant the poison of revolutionary positive law.
Consider what this means: inherently “common law and traditional usage” suggests the thing known as “conservative” culture – whatever happens to be “conservative” in a certain locale. This is a necessary (but I would argue insufficient) requirement to achieve a society without a state.
What do I mean by “conservative”? A culture tomorrow that is not noticeably different than the culture today; “common law and traditional usage.” This “conservative” approach minimizes the possibility of increasing conflict drive by radical change in the culture. Need examples be offered? I hope not.
This does not preclude evolution – it only precludes radical change by fiat and force; in other words, no room for positive rights; no room for culture-destroying advocacy or actions. Call this non-libertarian if you like, yet you will never move toward a libertarian society without this requirement.
This is a “necessary” requirement, but not “sufficient.” A common culture minimizes the possibility for conflict, but not every “culture” is sufficient to sustain life – therefore, inherently, not every culture has a future. Given that a society without a future will eventually devolve into violence, not every culture is conducive to minimizing potential conflict; such cultures will always demand a state to provide security. Always.
Those values are already widely and voluntarily shared among libertarians and radical capitalists.
What values do libertarians and radical capitalists share?
Needless to say, this vision of capitalist society rests on a capitalist culture – a set of shared values that are total yet voluntarily held. I say “total” without reservation, for a capitalist culture cannot succeed where any permanent member is not committed to the absolute fundamental values of the rights and sanctity of the individual, and absolutely convinced of the threat of the state to those values.
Total. Consider clearly what this means: no one to lobby regarding favors – no business subsidies, no anti-discrimination laws. It is my property and you have no claim to it and you have no claim as to who I allow on it. I don’t want to bake your wedding cake – in fact I don’t even want to see you on my property!
This is again necessary, but insufficient. Consider:
The self-educated individual – confident in his gender, his heritage, his religion, and the traditional culture that he seeks to project into the future – stands as a threat to the very existence of the state: He does not need its ministrations.
How is his “gender,” “heritage,” “religion” identified? How was it identified yesterday? The answer to this question will guide how the culture will be identified today.
Where then to begin the creation of capitalist culture? The destruction of the moral pretenses of the state is the irreducible first step toward the realization of a capitalist culture….
Of this there is no doubt. I will suggest that the defense of the traditional culture – and a culture designed to sustain life – is equally vital.