Saturday 12 October 2013

Does Leftism want central planning - or was that just an excuse?


The early Leftists, Fabians and Bolsheviks, for example, were very keen on central planning and 'rational' decision making in the economy.

Indeed rational planning was the absolute centre, focus and main plank of Leftism in most of its modernizing varieties. 

This led to the desire for totalitarian dictatorship, and experiments with it.


But modern Leftism seems to have dispensed with rational central planning, and embraced uncontrolled chaos with no centralization (instead discipline only by an un-centred mass media) and zero rationality (instead only black-box bureaucratic procedures).

It seems superficially strange - and it would be strange if Leftism really had a positive and constructive agenda - but of course it does not.

Leftism, as it developed, was revealed as a negative agenda - defined by being against this, that and the other (against class inequality, but not in favour of equality, against sexism but not in favour of ignoring sex, ditto race...).

And it turns out that in reality Leftism is against economic freedom, 'laissez-faire' self-regulation and autonomy of economic agents, but not actually in favour of central and rational planning - but actually merely in favour of destroying economic freedom.


It turns out that the Left wasn't really all that bothered about the very thing that was placed at the absolute centre of their supposed political agenda.

It turns out that the Left is more concerned to implement destruction than to create anything in particular.

It is long overdue that the real nature of the Left was recognized - because, let's face it, there is by now plenty of evidence.



josh said...

Even the rational planning was supposed to be "scientific", that is based entirely on an "objective" (ie not human) process rather than human judgment. This excluded little things like wisdom, and agape, and any understanding of natural law that requires the human heart, from the planning process. As such, it was always chaotic, even when it was supposedly organized.

JP said...

What we wanted to build didn't work anytime it was tried. But hey we can still destroy the things we don't like!

Bruce Charlton said...

@josh - Of course rational planning did not work, but it is not as if RP was replaced by anything else.

Matias F. said...

In the development of Leftism, rational planning was replaced by "participation". So instead of centralizing all decision-making to the experts, decision-amking should just be centralized whereafter everyone could have their saying and each man's opinion as valuable as the others. This of course means rule by the general opinion, which is rule by the media, as you have said.

Bruce Charlton said...

@MF - Yes, that's more or less it.

20 years ago I used to work as a trainee manager in a Leftist mega-bureaucracy (i.e Public Health Medicine in the National Health Service) - and the management was beginning to embrace a pseudo-participative model which has continued since.

Thus 'patient participation' means that management solicit the opinions of some of the clients (by questionnaires, focus groups, complaints procedures etc), and use these as ammunition to subvert the authority of the 'frontline' providers of services (doctors, nurses, therapists etc).

Something fairly similar was done in the Soviet Union in its later phases: market research was done about what kind of fashion people wanted, and at some point a few years later something allegedly based on these surveys was eventually provided.

It is all desultory and dishonest in the extreme.

The Crow said...

Does anybody know what they are doing???

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

The Crow: "Does anybody know what they are doing???"

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

It's a harder task than when Marcus Aurelius said that.

The Crow said...

Marcus Aurelius probably didn't have a leftist behemoth to reckon with. And being an emperor has its advantages.