Betsy Newmark links to an article that demonstrates clearly how socialism's "social justice" advocates have taken over our k-12 education system and are determinedly undermining capitalism:
Working in an elementary school classroom they trace their efforts to tell students that private property ownership is bad by creating a town out of Lego where everyone has to have the same-size house and how valuable it is if the public can have rights to private property. As Martin summarizes their article,According to the teachers, "Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation."
The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society -- a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."
They claimed as their role shaping the children's "social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity ... from a perspective of social justice."
So they first explored with the children the issue of ownership. Not all of the students shared the teachers' anathema to private property ownership. "If I buy it, I own it," one child is quoted saying. The teachers then explored with the students concepts of fairness, equity, power, and other issues over a period of several months.
At the end of that time, Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that "All structures are public structures" and "All structures will be standard sizes."
How Orwellian is that lesson? It sounds like something out of Animal Farm but now it's being taught to children as what is optimal rather than to be condemned.
These teachers are so ignorant that they don't realize that the rights to private property are not only the essence of our democratic system as well as the best guarantee for a thriving economy. Who would want to invest and improve anything in an economy if they didn't have guarantees that they would be able to reap the profits from their invested time and money? And these teachers are so proud of their Lego lesson on socialism that they wrote it up and submitted it to an education journal. Amazing.
This is yet another example of a pervasive intellectual trend in the West to continually bash capitalism, private property, business, and free trade; while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of all of them.
Our academics--even the kindergarden ones-- rail against business and private property. Our government constantly seeks to control them. Our youth are propagandized to death about its evils from pre-school through college.
Make no mistake about it, what those teachers are doing is indoctrinating their students minds into an unquestioning obedience to the collective.
While our popular culture refrains sensitively from prtraying Islamofascists as villians in movies out of political correctness (yet another aspect of socialism's quest for "social justice"); it does not hesitate to make businessmen evil and malignant oppressors of the innocent. Individualism, the pursuit of profit, and private property is always bad and everyone must bow to the will of the collective. Islam (the name even means "submit"),even in all its terrorist varieties, does very well by this perverted moral standard.
One very harmful result of this sorry educational situation is that there are few people--even among those who stalwartly defend the free market, who understand and appreciate the essential morality of capitalism. Certainly our children, taught by ideological purists like the ones above who are leftover from the 20th century debacle of socialist/communist tyranny--never even have a chance to rationally consider any ideas not approved by their aggressively collectivist teachers, so intent at quashing those aspects of human nature they don't like.
This is child abuse, pure and simple. It is indoctrination. It is the willful manipulation of young minds which cannot never be allowed to develop even the capability of thinking for themselves. And these perverts call it "social justice."
In fact there is nothing that is "just" about it. It represents the worse kind of oppression with the goal of enslaving the human mind. And enslavement is exactly what is required to establish their socialist utopia, since it refuses to acknowledge the reality of human nature.
Socialist ideologues like those teachers know that in a free market of ideas, their pathetic system-- which has only brought human misery, slavery and death to those who have embraced--cannot function in a real world. Thus they must "stack the deck" and take absolute control over the thinking of the utopia's future citizens.
On some level they even understand that the very foundation of capitalism is human freedom in its most classical, liberal tradition. And that frightens them to death.
Capitalism's incredible production of wealth is the economic side-effect that occurs when political freedom is present. It has been argued, and I agree, that both economic and political freedom are absolute prerequisites for moral behavior.
Children propagandized by dogmatic tyrants like the ones above have had not only their capacity to think for themselves abrogated; they have had their capacity to make moral choices taken from them.
The moral case for capitalism is not taught in our schools, nor is it argued much in our culture. In fact it has been more or less universally accepted by the intellectual elites that systems such as communism and socialism are "morally superior" to capitalism (hence more "socially just")--even though in practice such systems have led to the death and enslavement of millions, and to those unlucky enough not to die from them, they have led to the most horrible shrinking and wasting of the human soul.
The truth is that neither socialism nor communism nor any kind of religious fundamentalism is compatible with morality at all.
If one's actions are coerced by the state or religion, or both; if human activity is indoctrinated, legislated, regulated and ordained down to the last minute detail--particularly to the degree we see in other countries of the world (e.g., Cuba, China, most Middle Eastern countries, North Korea, and now in Venezuela--then how can it possibly be argued that one's actions are moral? Human behavior under such systems is not voluntarily chosen, but actively coerced.
Morality, though, must always be a matter of choice, not mandate.
One cannot hold a person responsible for actions that are coerced or forced from him. Morality can only exist when freedom of action exists; and thus moral actions in any field of human endeavor require freedom.
Conduct may only be thought of as moral or immoral when it is freely chosen by the individual. It is only then that the moral significance of the action can be assessed. It is only when we are free to act that we can exercise moral judgement.
Which brings us to a capitalist economic system. Only in a free economic system within a free political system is it even possible to be moral, since benevolence toward others, compassion, charity, and generosity cannot exist without freedom. Benevolence, generosity, charity, and compassion that are mandated by the state, or by a religion (on pain of death or other consequence); or by any regulations on behavior; or by force--are meaningless insofar as individual morality is concerned.
Taking the mind of a child and feeding it exclusively on your ideological pablum is not only the most cruel and abusive of behaviors; it also ensures that such a mind becomes cognitively stunted and morally impaired (much like the minds of the teachers who so proudly perform such oppressive acts).
In a previous series of posts on Narcissism and Society, I stated:
We have seen that the development of a Cohesive Self is dependent on two separate, equal and parallel developmental lines that arise originally from the biological and psychological fusion of the Infant and Mother early in life. If each of these lines are not interrupted in their normal evolution the Infant will eventually become an Adult with both narcissistic poles adequately developed and be able to function in the world in a healthy way—both in his attitude toward his own physical and psychic self; and in his attitude toward other human beings.
In some ways, the rise of human civilization from the cave to the present day has resulted because of attempts through the Rule of Law and social controls to set limits on the unrestrained Grandiose Self. This is primarily due to the destructiveness of the Narcissistic Rage generally associated with that part of the Self.
Because of this, the Grandiose Self has received a bad reputation philosophically, morally, and politically. The natural development of Governments and Religions (which ultimately are an expression of the Idealized Parent Image/Omnipotent Other side of the Self)have all too often attempted to ruthlessly suppress the Grandiose Self--much to the detriment of the individual AND the success of the particular society or religion.
In fact, despite the obvious truth that governments, nations, and religions are in a much better position to wreak far more systemized misery and death on human populations, it is almost always the Grandiose Self that gets the blame. As Wretchard at The Belmont Club pointed out in a recent post, a review of the 20th century, for example, shows that all the "people's revolutions" supported by the Left and purportedly for the purpose of "freeing" large populations of people; resulted instead in enslaving them and increasing authoritarian rule.
Without a political or economic framework that is able to incorporate what we refer to as "human nature" into its calculations, all so-called "perfect" societies and ideologies will at best simply fail in the real world; and at worse cause untold human suffering. With the best of intentions (this is perhaps debatable), the social engineers of philosophy, political science, and economics have caused so much more slavery, misery and death on a grand scale--that the grandiose CEO's of the largest corporations can be considered mere pikers by comparison.
When we talk about the individual versus society; or the individual versus the state; or indeed any discussion of individual rights versus the rights of a group, we are also referring to the psychological tension between the two poles of the Self. Any political or economic system that expects to succeed in the real world will have to accommodate that tension, and find a way to optimally negotiate the needs of BOTH sides of the Self--that is, they will have to take into account human nature.
A perusal of any list of economic systems will demonstrate that ALMOST ALL OF THEM are relatively extreme expressions of the Idealized Parent Image/Omnipotent Object. Almost all emphasize the group, the community, the collective, the nation, the state, or god at the expense of the individual. Examples are numerous. Socialism and Communism; fascism and religious fundamentalism.
The major exception is Capitalism, where the individual and the individual's needs are emphasized over the the group.
Just yesterday I wrote a post about the "self-esteem gurus" of education who have twisted the minds of our young and perverted the development of a healthy narcissism into a much more malignant variety. We see evidence of this malignant variety in the behavior of teachers who would force their own world view onto the minds of defenseless 5-year old children. One of the questions asked college students in the study from yesterday's post was "If I ruled the world, it would be a better place." Sociopathic narcissism (what I call "sociopathic selflessness") is the defining characteristic of the "dictatorship of the do-gooders". They claim to strive for "social justice" and to "end poverty" and bring about "peace" and "brotherhood"---so, how is it that they never seem to notice that their ideology always brings about the exact opposite of those things? (see the paragraph above about cognitive stunting and moral impairment).
The WSJ put it thusly (from a previous post of mine):
Policy makers who pay lip service to fighting poverty would do well to grasp the link between economic freedom and prosperity. This year the Index finds that the freest economies have a per-capita income of $29,219, more than twice that of the "mostly free" at $12,839, and more than four times that of the "mostly unfree." Put simply, misery has a cure and its name is economic freedom.
The reason that systems such as socialism and communism don't work in the real world and are ultimately destructive of the individual self; and of the human soul, is that they remove moral action and judgement from the individual and place it in the collective. The individual is not permitted to make his/her own moral judgements, and must obey the mandates of the collective. This can only work when the individual is stripped of all freedom to act independently and fears reprisals for doing so.
Thus political freedom and economic freedom go hand in hand. Capitalism cannot exist for long inside an oppressive regime. Since it is more compatible with human nature than any other economic system, it will cause any totalitarian regime that permits it to some degree to last longer (China is a good example), but that can only be a temporary state. Without true political freedom, economic freedom cannot last and will either wither away slowly; or, alternatively cause individuals living under the oppression to demand more political freedom.
You can't be a "little bit" free because human nature will always demand more and more freedom once it has had a taste of it; until the despot who rules is finally deposed, or he totally crushes those who oppose him. In situations where the latter happens, you will always find the worse scenarios of poverty, oppression,misery, death, genocide and/or human degredation.
Likewise, true political freedom cannot last, and in the end is meaningless, where there is no economic freedom. Think for a minute about what money really is. Anti-capitalist intellectuals are rather fond of the phrase "money is the root of all evil" (see here for a further discussion of this point), but, in truth, money is the most efficient method of allowing individuals to make moral judgements. The phrase "put your money where your mouth is" is actually a more meaningful insight for understanding the importance of money and its relationship to freedom.
This is, of course not to say that everyone will make good and/or moral decisions. Nor do all people necessarily spend or even earn their money wisely. They clearly don't. But that is neither here nor there. That is why political freedom demands a rule of law, and the protection of individual and property rights from other individuals and from the state.
In essence, capitalism is actually good for the soul. It is the only system where the soul and the self can flourish, where individuals have a right to their own life and liberty, and can make the specific choices in the pursuit their own particular happiness. Malignant do-gooder teachers, more committed to imposing their ideology on young minds ("If I ruled the world, it would be a better place") rather than teaching student to think for themselves, are not in the business of education; they are in the business of soul murder.