September 27, 2002

&C SAYS THE ANTI-GLOBALIZATION MOVEMENT IS TOAST. The New Republic predicted this last year. Advantage: TNR!

Here’s what I said last fall:

Thousands of people who were scheduled to protest the World Bank and IMF this weekend are showing up anyway, only now they want to protest a U.S. military response to the 911 assault instead. “Violence breeds violence” says one of the protesters. Think about this. If it’s true, then doesn’t it mean that any U.S. retaliation was just “bred” by the 911 attacks, and is thus the terrorists’ fault? And why is it that this maxim is only directed at violence by, well, people the protesters already dislike?

Some readers think I paint with too broad a brush when talking about the antiglobalization people. Well, maybe. I think that there’s a legitimate concern about the growth of corporate power, and especially about the increasing mobilization of government power in direct support of corporate economic interest (see, e.g., the DMCA). But that’s really an argument for more and freer capitalism not an argument against it. Powerful oligopolies tied to governments aren’t really free capitalism at all. I would like to see more and freer capitalism, around the globe, to help poor people become rich (as it does wherever it’s tried). The antiglobalization people (except for a tiny fringe of anarcho-capitalists who don’t really fit in) want to see more government power, and less free markets — they just want that power used in directions they prefer. That’s very different.

There’s also a puerile and narcissistic element to both the antiglobalization and the “peace” movement (no surprise: as the quick shift in protest emphasis shows, they have an awful lot of overlap) that offends me — and that would offend me even more if I hoped to see them accomplish their goals.

Still seems to fit.

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