Friday, 23 October 2020

James McGill Buchanan: Part One

 In 1955, the US Supreme Court issued its second Brown v. Board of Education ruling. They called for dismantling of segregation in public schools, across the US, "with all deliberate speed". 

Now, some people in Virginia, including the president of the University of Virginia, Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr, were appalled by this. They felt it seriously over-reached into "states' rights". 
Any state, they felt, should be able to discriminate against any people they felt were inferior, because of race, religion, gender, or whatever damn thing they chose. They saw it as a deliberate attack on the cherished values and way of life of southern Americans. 
Well, white southern Americans, anyway. And, really, from their point of view, those were the only southerners that mattered. Darden had a young economist on faculty, James McGill Buchanan. Buchanan had written a proposal that touched Darden deeply. 
It was as if they thought with one mind. Buchanan saw the ruling as not just an attack on the State's right to discriminate, but he also foresaw how giving these people more rights would inevitably lead to actual depletions of the bank accounts of people like himself. 
He realised that those with resources would be called upon to subsidize the creation of equality. He imagined his taxes going up to accommodate all these people who had, hitherto been treated as inferior. And he did not like that. 
His proposal to Darden was that if Darden could find the resources to create a centre at the university for Buchanan, he (Buchanan) would create a new school of political economy and social philosophy to counter these incursions into the traditional southern way of life. 
Darden was excited by this, and found the money for Buchanan's centre. However, despite working very hard, Buchanan and his staff were unable to stem the tide of civil rights and progressive thought through the 60s and 70s. 
But, sometime in the 80s or early 90s, Charles Koch discovered Buchanan and his work and began to pour money into Buchanan's Centre for Study of Public Choice. And things began to happen... 
Buchanan had an idea, stemming from that Supreme Court ruling, that would change how the right would conduct politics. His core idea: that people should not be allowed to use their numbers to force legislation favouring their position. 
That no person of property should be made to give up any of their property, through taxation or otherwise, nor should business profit be thwarted, simply because a large number of people wanted certain things to happen. Think about that for a moment. 
Buchanan's core premise is the antithesis of democracy. He believed that law-makers should not heed the will of the people, but, rather, should protect the most wealthy. Ostensibly from the will of the people. Obviously, Buchanan felt that labour unions were terrible... 
Unions picked employers' pockets based on the sheer number of workers relative to the number of employers. He was opposed to the will of the many impinging in any way on the will of the 1%. 
This is a very brief introduction to James McGill Buchanan. It is largely drawn from the book, Democracy in Chains, by Nancy MacLean (@NancyMacLean5) . I encourage you to get a copy and read it. 
What has this got to do with Canadian politics? Well, look around. What you see happening in Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and being proposed by the federal CPC, is all based on Buchanan's ideology. 
Just like in the US, think-tanks in Canada (Fraser Institute and others) are busy churning out propaganda to support this ideology. Our American-owned media is controlling the way news is reported to subtly sway Canadians to favour a corporatocracy. 
It's all around us. Before you flame me, think. Think about how closely Canadian conservative parties mirror what the Republicans are doing in the US. Think about what might underlie their actions. No, it is not because they are stupid or incompetent. A lot of people think that. 
But that is not the case. They are bad for Canadians because they are not serving Canadians. They aren't bungling. They are doing their jobs. It's just that their jobs are not what we think they are. Think about it. 
That's it for the first instalment. I will give everyone some time to process this information. There will be more. Much more. Stay tuned! 

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