Capitalism’s ‘civil war’


George Monbiot attributes Brexit to a ‘civil war’ between “warlord capitalists,” roughly mapping to capitalist libertarians and anarchocapitalists, and “housetrained capitalists,”[1] who don’t map neatly to any of the conservative tendencies I have identified. For the “housetrained capitalism,” I would be tempted to suggest neoconservatism, which takes the U.S. political and economic system as ideology; however, the impetus for neoliberalism, which neoconservatism embraces as a moral imperative,[2] comes directly from Monbiot’s “warlord capitalists,” but is corrupted by power.

Karl Marx’s mistake, identified by Michael Bakunin,[3] was to think that the machinery of government could be used to render itself obsolete and dismantle itself, leading to an egalitarian society, that is, communism, properly understood. (The Russian Revolution instead replaced one elite with another.[4]) Monbiot describes a “pollution paradox” and entirely misses that irony:

[Boris] Johnson’s government [in the United Kingdom] is what warlord money buys. It could be seen as the perfect expression of the Pollution Paradox, a concept that I think is essential to understanding our politics. What this means is that the dirtier or more damaging an enterprise is, the more money it must spend on politics to ensure it’s not regulated out of existence. As a result, political funding comes to be dominated by the most harmful companies and oligarchs, which then wield the greatest political influence. They crowd out their more accommodating rivals.

It isn’t just about pollution. Damaging enterprises with an interest in buying political results include banks developing exotic financial instruments; property developers who resent the planning laws; junk food companies; bosses seeking to destroy employment rights; and plutocrats hoping to avoid tax. It’s why we’ll never have a healthy democracy without a radical reform of campaign finance.[5]

It is capitalism, specifically Monbiot’s “warlord” kind, and even more specifically, the anarchocapitalist kind, that would dismantle government but replace it entirely with an economic hierarchy instead of communist egalitarianism.

George Monbiot, “Caught in the Crossfire,” November 27, 2020,

Donald Trump

So one question has been how a delusional raging narcissist understands having to leave the White House:


Barack Obama seems never to have recovered from having to repudiate his pastor and having to claim a false equivalence between Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and a cop.

  1. [1]George Monbiot, “Caught in the Crossfire,” November 27, 2020,
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126); Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Irving Kristol’s Neoconservative Persuasion,” Commentary 132, no. 2 (2011), 25-29; Garrett W. Sheldon, “The Ethical Heresies of The Neoconservatives,” Journal of Religious Thought 38, no. 2 (1981): 65-69.
  3. [3]Brian Morris, Bakunin: The Philosophy of Freedom (Montréal: Black Rose, 1993).
  4. [4]Emma Goldman, “There Is No Communism in Russia,” in Red Emma Speaks: An Emma Goldman Reader, ed. Alix Kates Shulman, 3rd ed. (Amherst, NY: Humanity, 1998), 405-420.
  5. [5]George Monbiot, “Caught in the Crossfire,” November 27, 2020,

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