Karl Marx on Margaret Thatcher?

Well, it is of course not so, but reading The Capital again, I got stuck when I came to the footnote 2 on page 605:[1]

Bentham is a purely English phenomenon. Not even excepting our philosopher, Christian Wolff, in no time and in no country has the most homespun commonplace ever strutted about in so self-satisfied a way. The principle of utility was no discovery of Bentham. He simply reproduced in his dull way what Helvétius and other Frenchmen had said with esprit in the 18th century. To know what is useful for a dog, one must study dog-nature. This nature itself is not to be deduced from the principle of utility. Applying this to man, he that would criticise all human acts, movements, relations, etc., by the principle of utility, must first deal with human nature in general, and then with human nature as modified in each historical epoch. Bentham makes short work of it. With the driest naïveté he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shop- keeper, as the normal man. Whatever is useful to this queer normal man, and to his world, is absolutely useful. This yard-measure, then, he applies to past, present, and future. The Christian religion, e. g., is “useful”, “because it forbids in the name of religion the same faults that the penal code condemns in the name of the law”. Artistic criticism is “harmful”, because it disturbs worthy people in their enjoyment of Martin Tupper, etc. With such rubbish has the brave fellow, with his motto, “nulla dies sine linea”, piled up mountains of books. Had I the courage of my friend, Heinrich Heine, I should call Mr. Jeremy a genius in the way of bourgeois stupidity.

The difference between Bentham and Thatcher was that she did not pile up mountains of books but made, by applying the same way of thinking, a country relatively rich, its people relatively poor and the thinking absolutely un-societalist = lacking any consideration of solidarity. Indeed,

there is no such thing as society

– after the country had been reduced on individuals and at most family and neighbourhood, the plan is now Europeanised: BREXIT was and is an expression of exactly the same thought.

[1]            Marx & Engels. Collected Works. Volume 35; Lawrence & Wishart, electronic books; 2010

Annunci

Blurring Borders

The STOA Report on The Collaborative Economy informs that

[t]he founders of Defense Distributed are not terrorists. They are US based libertarians who support gun ownership, and found in 3D printing a means to allow ordinary people with no advanced skills to create and own a gun without having to obtain a license.
And the small print of the footnote adds:
• Under US law guns manufactured by individuals for personal use are not subject to a licensing requirement.
Of course, as a contribution on the website on 3DPrint assures
officials in every country see it as their responsibility to try and fight many new designs and new issues that someone like Wilson brings to the forefront, especially as threats of terrorism surface constantly
There is no doubt urgent need for such “protective policies” – I talked the other day to a friend who lives in a village near Brussels – she, a vivid and brave women, is afraid these days to go to Brussels, and she said many are. I do not even mention the fear of students, and their parents here in China.
There is something else that is possibly more remarkable than the technical side – and the side of the control of technology. The article from the mentioned 3DPrint-site talks about
[r]esponding to press questions regarding accessibility for terrorists with a ‘don’t really care’ attitude
and this is what “libertarians” of a certain kind do – they don’t care, to be more precise: they do care only for themselves, following one of their “great masterminds” who asked
who is society?
and replied:
There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.
Indeed, the(se) libertarians entered systematically the stage in the 17th century, in particular in England, the home land of the capitalism we have today. And it is the(se) libertarians whose activities evoke discussions, suggesting that
[i]t is not yet clear just how much this technology presents a real danger to the public
What is not clear? If we pose the question that technological advancement has to be applied to the advancement of private wealth, if we see the public as secondary, its wealth a result of
individual men and women and … families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.
to quote Thatcher again, then it is clear how much real danger there is: it is the danger of the past that as nightmare burdens our society – the nightmare of total and systematic individualism … – difficult to get back under control, as known for a very long time:
Sir, my need is sore.
Spirits that I’ve cited
My commands ignore.”To the lonely
Corner, broom!
Hear your doom.
As a spirit
When he wills, your master only
Calls you, then ‘tis time to hear it.”

And they are really not terrorists?