Capitalism Haiti is no longer the least known poorest nation right off our coast. It is now an attraction of general liberal piety (which in most cases leads to helpful aide, but in some can lead to futile and knowing condescension) and particular conservative ideological fixation. What does an idea need to be considered truly pure? It needs an example of success, a proving ground. The geographical, ecological, and political Lockean “blank slate” unto which can be drawn conclusions about the ideological concepts that are en vogue as a grand explanation for some aspect/s of human activity. What better then a earthquake ravaged (thought style potentially viable) hellscape? With the plethora of aide, charity, and money flooding into Haiti since the aforementioned disaster, conservative American politicians and their economic high capitalist high-priests are using the occasion to highlight their beliefs on the “free” market and poverty alleviation and elimination.
Or rather how the free-market should take the place of poverty alleviation etc. There is no problem of any size or scope, we are told, that cannot nor should not be solved by the more rigorous promotion of western style free-market corporatist/capitalist economics and philosophy. Why help a people who do not have the will to help themselves? The free market, through its greatest manifestation the corporation, should do the work that corrupt and overbearing big brother governments. What better way to help the under motivated masses of the former slave nation. A conservative political action committee with the inane sounding name National Alliance For Liberty and Freedom had this to say about why Haiti is the terrible place to live that it is in a petition they are sending to the White House: “…Further, any donations to Haiti will only serve as a “moral hazard”, in effect underwriting their bad choices. Haiti had some of the highest tax rates in the Western Hemisphere, hampering the natural innovation of its citizens and making it difficult for corporations – today’s engine of prosperity – to operate in that country. Their rules and regulations were among the most onerous as well, preventing true innovation to occur. Without such onerous rules and high taxation, Haiti could have been a thriving commercial center able to better withstand the earthquake and its aftermath.”
An interesting position, as it is largely because of the civil government imposed upon Haiti by its former occupiers the United States and its Military Industrial/Corporate Complex. The implication therein is that the Haitian people are incapable of exerting any effort in regards to their own benefit because they have been stifled by an over bearing liberal government… I wonder if this is the same government that Conservatives have decried as near nonexistent and ineffectual to the point of being essentially non-existent? But we are ignoring the true, coded, meaning of the statement from the PAC quoted above; the not so subtle racist message of why a country populated mostly by blacks should be stricken with such poverty and misfortune. Conservatives and capitalists must play a dangerous and hypocritical game of bait and switch with the critics of its theories and its potential converts to the same. The true racism of the conservative capitalist theories is not just apparent in the ranting of demagogues Like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson (the latter went so far as to suggest a sort of convoluted millenarian view of why Haiti is so trouble; some nonsense involving Devil Worship and a tinge of Imperialist nostalgia mixed with a religious fervor that will not be discussed hear as it deserves its own full treatment in another essay).
The more subtle incipient racism of the Reagan’s and their “welfare queens”, and the Bill Cosby’s and their “dead beat black dads” and baggy trouser wearing ghetto trash, is apparent just beneath the surface of the seemingly well meaning “concern” for the well being of the “inner city” poor who are now joined in absentia by the black Haitian people. For what are Haitians in the minds of most Americans but black, and poor? And this, to many in the conservative capitalist power structure, and the plebian reactionaries who mindlessly follow out of patriotism or ignorance, is an oxymoron of the highest order. So we are truly supposed to believe that the same people who like the columnist Cal Thomas believe that Haiti is “a cursed land by any definition”, believe at the same time that it is the vagaries of the Liberal “tax and spend” system of government that is the cause of all Haiti’s ills? We must remember that Haiti is populated by refugees of the “Dark Continent” another realm that can either be improved by capitalist pragmatism or be condemned as a misfit of geography, markets, and society.
When a society fails in its capitalist pursuits it is blamed upon a liberal bureaucracy and/or a “thug” culture that is seemingly a natural state of affairs in countries that lack that certain… Caucasian je ne sais qua. South Africa… better left to the whites. Ditto Zimbabwe and the former colonial centers in Africa and to a lesser degree the Indian Sub Continent. When the capitalist system succeeds it is because of the “bright minds” who lifted themselves out of squalor and deprivation (overcoming their natural place in the world?) in order to BECOME an exemplar of the sanctified corporate class. Why is it that when a disadvantage person of color succeeds he does so in spite of the poverty and the culture into which he is born, but the Caucasian does so by learning from the very same? We must therefore wonder whether the conservative capitalists have not already condemned Haiti and its people to their condition and use their seemingly well meaning suggestions and solutions as something of a mask with which to hide the true face of their greed and condescension?
For what are we to believe when the all giving corporate market system that is seemingly designed to save and better lives is described by Milton Friedman, one of the premier minds of the conservative/corporatist philosophical system, thusly: “When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system,” I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting [sic] puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.”
A free society undermined by the false idea that corporations should have any social conscience? But what is this blasphemy? Had we not been told by the heirs of Friedman that the market was the true source of human compassion and betterment in a world otherwise beset by “socialistic” liberal milquetoasts? We must realize one unpleasant, but essential, fact: conservative capitalist thinkers do not want Haiti to succeed as a nation, they do not want any “third world nation” to succeed without first their having established a well ordered aristocracy that can control the passions of the “natives” in a “free” market. In the eyes of the these capitalists those who were not born into a world that “nurtures” their urge to acquire and succeed in the ways the see as civilized and proper are doomed to a unfortunate, though deserved, slavery that will never end and indeed should never end. The Republicans, Capitalists, and Fundamentalists of the world sneer at the words of Haitian Revolutionary Toussaint L’Overture: “I was born a slave, but nature gave me a soul of a free man….” The only freemen in a capitalist system are those who learn quickly how to enslave others, and then blame that state of servitude upon the one lying in chains.