Friday, April 30, 2010

Goldman Sachs and Libertarian Ethics

The men and women who run Goldman Sachs see nothing wrong with how they sold their products. Nothing at all. They made money for themselves and their company. That is what they were supposed to do. Isn’t looking out for number one and maximizing a company’s profits regardless what has to be done to do so what businessmen and businesswomen supposed to do?

This wasn’t always so. The fictional investment banker George Wilson, of Tom Clancy novel fame, is concerned about his clients. Their money is his money and he treats it as such. Goldman Sachs, on the other hand, sees its clients as marks. They are suckers to be duped into putting their money into junk so Goldman Sachs can maximize its profits. This is the way of the modern business world. Businesspersons have become sociopaths who care only about themselves and their own welfare. Freedom has become the right of the strong to prey on the weak. Any attempt by the weak to protect themselves is labeled socialism. And the rationalization of this way of life has the nerve to call itself conservatism.

Libertarianism as it exists today is an attempt by the wolves to convince the sheep they can live without a shepherd. Through willpower alone the sheep can make themselves into wolves and protect themselves. Indeed they must do this. The shepherd, after all, limits the freedom of the sheep. It is obvious the shepherd limits the freedom of the sheep. If the sheep wish to become free they must tell the shepherd to go. Because the sheep want to be free they tell the shepherd to go and attempt through willpower to make themselves into wolves.

But willpower alone isn’t enough to make a sheep into a wolf. It is obvious the only animal to profit from this process is the wolf. Wolves find sheep lacking a shepherd easy prey. So libertarianism is not conservatism. Libertarianism simply leads to the world described by Thomas Hobbs. A world where every person’s hand is held against his or her neighbors. A world where life is mean, nasty brutish, and short. One wonders how people who consider themselves conservatives can support it.

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