Friday, July 9, 2010

The Freedom to Fail - A short reminder

Public Domain. Work of US Army, photographer Alexander Gardner. Antietam.

This short post is a reminder about something that is both very obvious, and very easily forgotten.

Let's say a man guaranteed you everything you would need, your house, your food, all your manufactured goods, healthcare, water, and no death. Now suppose two situations:

1. These things must still be made by human hands - what happens when making soap just isn't a very glamorous job? What happens when everyone decides that they'd rather be lumberjacks or grow food? Who do we get to clean the toilets?

2. All is given to humanity - as all the conflict and hardship of the world slip away, and work becomes pointless, people become formless, and experience does not shape them. With no "salting with fire" as Christ put it, no one learns how to be brave, how to love, how to do, to enjoy life, or to understand who they are. People lose their very names.

Both of these are as far from a utopia as could possibly be imagined. In (1), men are forced through life, and the society comes to eliminate the individual as need after need and want after want slowly scrape away our lives and force all of us in to quiet desperation, and in (2), the individual is eliminated not by tyranny, but by a vast empty space of unworthwhile life, and a world that has no place for him. None of this is technical or complicated, but is just a reminder about why we all must suffer and want - not as punishment, not as depravity, but as the heroism that tragedy brings out of every one of our hearts, and the need for a world where we can belong.


The Gangster of Love said...

Ok, your point is made quite clearly. However, what you done is taken the overall concept of Communism and only argued the negative...or what could become the negative. Nothing wrong with that, this is your blog, you can do what you want! :) I would encourage you to test yourself though, why not do a similar post and only discuss the negative aspects of Capitalism?

Jeremy Janson said...

I actually wasn't just talking about economics - I was stating a larger truth about human life in general, though it could definitely be applied to PART of an analysis of economics. I wasn't even thinking about Communism when I wrote this, I was thinking about people who complain that God has let them slip down the cracks and taken from them the blessings of life. Actually, if I had wanted to discuss the downsides of Communism, there would be a few other far more immediate ones, namely beauracratic graft, a uncreative production base, a lack of personal ownership, political correctness (Chernobyl - to avoid embarassment they demanded nothing be done for 3 days) and hypervulnerability of a society towards any human error (graphite core reactors).

But since you asked, the downsides of Capitalism - unstable pricing, the tendency towards monopoly in smaller economies, difficulty with territorial expansion (less government investment), and a lack of wartime readiness would be among the first to come to mind. Also the tendency of societal norms, such as favoring aristocrats or old money, to distort the market. The CSA, I'm not sure if you know this, essentially resorted to wartime Communism during the Civil War and was able to build munitions industries in what had previously been a village with a few railways running to it (I know what my next post will be about - ATLANTA!) sufficient to give the graycoats everything they needed to shoot and stab.

Maximus Doom said...

Great blog! In my humble opinion, I think you are saying that we as humans must always be pushed or challenged lest we die. Without some struggle; we would cease and life as we know it would descend into nothingness — hence; ignorance is not bliss; but perhaps bliss IS ignorance.

Jeremy Janson said...

Exactly MD, exactly! :-) Thank for stopping by, and I'm really happy you enjoyed this blog I really do need to update more often!