“We are watching capitalism destroy itself right now,” [Whedon] told the audience.
He added that America is “turning into Tsarist Russia” and that “we’re creating a country of serfs.”
Whedon was raised on the Upper Westside neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1970s, an area associated with left-leaning intellectuals. He said he was raised by people who thought socialism was a ”beautiful concept.”
Socialism remains a taboo word in American politics, as Republicans congressmen raise the specter of the Cold War. They refer to many Obama administration initatives as socialist, and the same goes for most laws that advocate increasing spending on social welfare programs. They also refer to the President as a socialist, though this and many of their other claims misuse the term.
This evidently frustrates Whedon, who traces this development to Ronald Reagan[.]
We have people trying to create structures and preserve the structures that will help the middle and working class, and people calling them socialists,” Whedon said. “It’s not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal […] it’s some people with some sense of dignity and people who have gone off the reservation.”
Whedon obviously can’t tell the difference between laissez-faire capitalism (i.e., free markets) and the state-regulated capitalism we have today. Or the difference between democratic corporatism and tyrannical absolute monarchy. As with most on the left, he directs his criticisms almost exclusively at the market and big corporations.
To the extent that leftists criticize government, it is mainly to indict a particular White House administration or the existing crop of Congressmen for allowing themselves to be corrupted by Big Business, not the state as such. If only we could get the “right people” (read: Democrats) into power and eliminate corporate personhood, they think, benevolent government will be restored and all will be rosy again. Nevermind that the Democratic politicians, including Obama, are a bunch of corporatists too. Nevermind that corporations would still exist and influence politics without state-granted personhood and limited liability.2
But in Serenity the main villain was, properly and refreshingly, a tyrannical government.
If leftists like Whedon truly want to eliminate corporate influence in politics and help the poor and middle class, they should direct their ire at the state itself. The state is not inherently benevolent. The state is the great enabler of corporate evil. It is the state that enacts and enforces laws and regulations, often at the behest of the big corporations themselves, that have the effect of oligopolizing the market, entrenching the status quo, and squelching competition. It is the state that all too frequently sides with corporations, helping them get away with practices they otherwise would not be able to get away with.
To end corporate influence in politics and break any undue power corporations have in the market, the only viable solution is a complete separation of economy and state. Government intervention in the economy must be eliminated entirely. Only when the state lacks the power to do anything to help or hurt corporations will they lose the incentive to influence it to their advantage. To accomplish this, however, the state itself must be abolished. It will never be enough to get the “right people” into power or impose new constitutional limits on the state. The nature of the state is such that the worst among us rise to the top and constitutional limits inevitably prove ineffective and are even subverted to justify more power.