Showing posts from September, 2010

Two Cheers for Conspiracy Theories

I don’t have much of a dog in this race. But I confess that I’m put off by blanket attempts to distance anti-authoritarian politics from “conspiracy theories.” In practical terms, whatever the literal meaning of the words, a conspiracy theory is an account of an event that differs significantly from the account of the event endorsed by the mainstream media and the political establishment—characteristically in a way that can be seen as injurious to the establishment’s interests, and often involving the attribution of responsibility for mischief to the establishment or its agents. If those C. Wright Mills called “the power elite” are essentially thugs and bandits— as a sensible class analysis suggests that they are —then there is surely good reason to expect them to engage in theft and violence. If political leaders are selected for their ambition—and so their willingness to put principle to one side—and their inclination to serve the interests of the power elite, there is surely

Class Struggle, Conservative Style

Codevilla, Anthony. The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do about It . New York: Beaufort 2010. Pp. xxvi, 150. Index. 978-0825305580. $12.99. Paper. I Class is a libertarian issue. When today’s believers in free markets hear someone mention “class struggle,” they may be tempted to think of Karl Marx. The rhetoric of class conflict has been largely Marxist during the past century. But students of libertarian history know that classical liberals Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer pioneered class analysis before Marx (he gave them credit for doing so). Class was a central feature of the work of such libertarian stalwarts as Franz Oppenheimer, Albert Jay Nock, and Frank Chodorov. Class theory formed the heart of libertarian and one-time SDS leader Carl Oglesby’s neglected classic, The Yankee and Cowboy War . An article on class theory was featured in the very first issue of the Journal of Libertarian Studies . And class analysis has continued to be an aspec