Hamilton Against Anarcho-Libertarians, Hamilton Against “Hamilton”

Pragmatically Distributed avoids tabloid sensationalism.

And not because we wouldn’t fit such a role.  We would, in fact, be great in it.

If we were so inclined (we are not) we would have a Twitter account updated continuously with 140 character sensationalism, memorable hashtags, and useful advice scandalous in nature:  How to avoid prison for driving a woman in a Model T across state lines for moral purposes, how to smuggle bottles of Dom Pérignon past customs on your return trip from France during Prohibition, what Bible passages according to your local Reverend justify the use of strikebreakers (hint – they are primarily, but not exclusively, in the Old Testament.)

It would make for the most scandalous horror-mongering the Union has seen since Taft was stuck in the White House bathtub.  The UK’s DailyMail wouldn’t try to compete.

But we have a chosen a route different, and substantive at that.

Nevertheless, events intrude; and the intruder of the moment is this hashtag event involving the treatment of Vice President-elect Pence at the hands of the cast of “Hamilton”.

How wrong is this?

Trump’s wisdom was to run for the presidency on the most Hamiltonian platform in a century; Trump’s genius was to win by disguising Hamilton’s crypto-Royalism as Jacksonian populism.

The result of the hijacking of the Republican party by Trump has been to pull it back (unwillingly) to its glorious origins in Hamilton’s Federalist Party and Lincoln’s Golden Age GOP of 1860 to 1932; and for this his Vice President-elect was heckled by the pothead actors of “Hamilton” who have never read any books and consequently do not realize the electoral college they want abolished was a favorite project of Hamilton.

Obviously the Hamilton of “Hamilton” is nothing like the Hamilton of history.  He was not, as this play would have it, an illegal immigrant druglord from Juarez; his powdered wig was not powdered with cocaine; he would not even allow Mexicans to work as janitors, let alone be enfranchised, considering his elitism was such that he barely trusted wealthy white men to vote.

But who is surprised?

By now you should expect the Left to be wrong about everything.

Pragmatically Distributed would only consider it newsworthy if the Left was correct about Hamilton, or anything.

This tabloid headline too shall pass; we do not dwell on it further.

What we will dwell on is whether the right understands Hamilton because it is the right that is supposed to sometimes get things correct.  The evidence so far is meager.

As far as we can tell the grasp the Trucon right and libertarians have about the founding father of the Republican Party is only a marginal, still inadequate, improvement.

No, these Trucon Vermin were not exterminated by Otis the Index on the early morning of November 9th, 2016.

Currently they are hand wringing about Trump’s plans for infrastructure.  The fault they find with these is made on libertarian, small government grounds?

Because we will defend Trump’s infrastructure agenda next week, and because the Trucons are still lost in space clinging to false libertarian and anarcho-libertarian arguments about the economic role of the Federal government, we offer this refresher definition of capitalistic, libertarian, and liberal economic systems, establish what the role of the government sector should be in each, and refute anarcho-libertarian economics in favor of capitalism:

Capitalism – In capitalism government actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all private actors, individual private actors are free to make successful or unsuccessful business decisions of any kind  within this system so long as they do not violate its rules.

LibertarianismPrivate actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all private actors, individual private actors are free to make successful or unsuccessful business decisions of any kind  within this system so long as they do not violate its rules.

LiberalismGovernment actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all economic entities, government actors make all individual economic decisions within this system for all economic entities.

In the case of Hamiltonian Capitalism specifically (and Anglo-Saxon Capitalism generally) the Central government’s role in the private sector is to arrange a common environment of business rules that affect all private actors without favoring individual private actors.

This Federal role ends when individual private actors then decide what specific business actions to take within the established environment.

In Hamiltonian economics, the trade environment is rightly the province of Federal action because this environment is shared by all private actors:  For example, it is proper for the Federal government to sign trade agreements to import raw materials used by American manufacturers because these trade deals make resources available to all manufacturers for their potential use.

Once this common trade environment is established, the Federal government ends its role and waits for individual manufacturers to decide for themselves which, if any, imported raw materials to use in their individual business processes.

Those manufacturers that fail because of their wrong decisions are allowed to be liquidated and replaced, without government interference, with more efficient firms in Schumpeter’s process of “Creative Destruction”.  Those manufacturers that succeed must succeed on account of correct business actions and without direct government intervention.

Anarcho-Libertarians agree with Hamiltonian capitalists on giving freedom to private actors to make individual business decisions.

Where Anarcho-Libertarians always fails (and conservative critics of Trump’s infrastructure policy likewise fail) is the point where individual private actors fill the government’s role of setting common rules for all actors.

This arrangement is inferior to Capitalistic systems because of the existence of a deep conflict of interest between the profit motive of individual actors and the requirement for the business environment to show no favoritism to specific private actors.

Returning to our example of trade agreements, Libertarianism would fail in the task of negotiating a trade agreement if it were made by individual manufacturers instead of a national government because the single most powerful manufacturer or a conglomerate of manufacturers would collude to rig the deal to favor themselves unfairly against weaker competitors, perhaps by making a deal with the exporter to sell their resources at a higher price to smaller manufacturers, to sell exclusively to the largest manufacturers, or some other kind of collusion.

Only a central government acting as fair arbiter (to the extent fairness is humanly possible) on behalf of all manufacturers would break this relationship between profit motive and the need for common rules.

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4 thoughts on “Hamilton Against Anarcho-Libertarians, Hamilton Against “Hamilton””

  1. So, where does the current situation in the West fit in with this model, in the way that banks were bailed out after the financial crisis for example; with the way corporate lobbyists try to establish monopolies or oligarachies by exploiting Washington connections and so on? Is this a corruption of the Capitalist model? Or something else entirely?

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  2. So, where does the current situation in the West fit in with this model, in the way that banks were bailed out after the financial crisis for example; with the way corporate lobbyists try to establish monopolies or oligarachies by exploiting Washington connections and so on? Is this a corruption of the Capitalist model? Or something else entirely?

    In part it is corruption of Capitalism by the Left.

    Another, intractable, reason is that there man is inherently unable to always adhere to an ideal societal model of any type.

    While in theory, Capitalistic Anglo-Saxon governments which establish the rules common to all businesses should never take the interests of specific businesses into consideration or intervene on their behalf, it is inevitable to powerful corporations will use their influence to try to sway how they are regulated.

    The paradox is that, although Anglo-Saxon governments (or any economy which uses them as their economic model) cannot be purely objective in legislating business, they have to attempt to be objective and keep the pure Capitalistic system as their target – a target which human nature prevents them from ever achieving – or else business standards slide down to Argentinian levels of corporate favoritism.

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  3. Do you believe in full democracy? Obviously this was not the case in Hamiltonian America. And the kind of Nation you are describing would require such exacting standards in public life that it seems to me its leaders would have to be kind of disinterested natural aristocrats whose desire was to uphold a very idealistic system of government intertwined with an economic model and idea of liberty that just could not capture the imagination of the voting public (maybe I am being cynical here). Would you limit the franchise?

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  4. Do you believe in full democracy? Obviously this was not the case in Hamiltonian America.

    I see advantages to restricted democracy. Historical examples where statesmen were voted into power by elite electorates – Ancient Greece, the Roman Republic, 18th century Imperial Britain, numerous city states of Renaissance Italy, America for its first three decades, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – were often successful. Their achievements and failures greatly influenced Alexander Hamilton’s own philosophy of state.

    The usual problem that afflicted this style of democracy was that voting elites over time inevitably became remote from their constituents. The resulting popular discontent then became either fodder for demagogues or led to the gradual dilution of the standards which limited who could vote (such as Britain’s dismantling of Rotten Boroughs.)

    I might be as inclined to severely limit the franchise as was Hamilton but for the fact America already implemented with spectacular results his economic, foreign, and domestic policies from 1860 to 1932 when the franchise covered most white Americans. With that track record I have no objection to giving over 70% of whites a vote.

    I am more concerned about the racial makeup of the electorate than restricting it to certain white subgroups, although I would be favorable to some minimal restrictions on which whites could vote; e.g., no one with a criminal record may vote for a certain number of years, raising the minimum voting age to 28 except for those serving in the military, and so on.

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