How Can You Defend Capitalism?

The Protester:  Capitalism is subjugation of those who have nothing to those who have everything.  It is a never ending war between the workers and the bosses.

Capitalism is the consistent application of peace to every aspect of life.  The result of this ideology is the material success that we see around us - the extended order that arises spontaneously when people are free to own property.  This "economy" is the emergent property of the action of free people. 

The Protester:  But in free markets, the capitalists will rule the working class! 

In a purely free society, a man's wealth is the product of helping his fellows by providing them with goods and services that they accept without coercion.  His wealth is his power, and it is the product of his sweat, his genius and his benevolence to his fellows.  He cannot conquer without convincing, and he cannot enslave without mutually agreed remuneration.  

The Protester:  But markets fail!  We cannot allow the animal spirits to rule mankind.  

Capitalism is not utopianism, and its consistent application will not provide everyone with increasing prosperity in perpetuity.  Some will thrive while others fail, and prosperity will be guaranteed to noone in spite of good, honest, hard work.  The economy is the emergent property of free people acting peacefully, and it is beyond foolish to try to steer it, stimulate it, regulate it or prop it up.  It is simply wrong - intellectually and morally.

The Moderate:  It's "crony-capitalism" that we are against!

Fair-enough, but what you are referring to is not capitalism.  It is the power of the politician to regulate, to give and to take away that perverts the relationships of honest men.  It is to the Senator's power that he owe's his flock of cronies.  If you are against a social system in which government officials curry favor by dolling out "public" funds and "public" property, call it by its name - socialism.  If you rail against politicians who support nationalistic economic policies by forcefully imposing their will, foreign and domestic, call them by their name - fascists.  If you appose protectionist tariffs and quotas imparted upon us by the planners to prop up their pet industries, then stand against mercantilism.  The only way to stop these evils is to cut off the power that feeds them.   

Now, perhaps more than ever, capitalism is in need of a defense.  As the 21st century beatniks "occupy" Wall Street, it is clear that the most active among us are not necessarily the most well informed.  More disturbingly however, most Americans do not have a firm grasp of the position that they think they are supposed to hold - namely, that free markets function better and are more humane than the statist regimes of communism, socialism and fascism.  It is the recognition of this fact, tempered by the moral sentiments of altruism, that drives the common American to hold in the highest regard our so-called mixed economy.  This unseemly gargoyle, which we call the American system, is the bastard child of freedom and control - of enlightenment and despotism.   
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