Signs at the most recent anti-America rally in San Francisco, infiltrated by Zombie (you won't believe some of the posters and the incredible hatred directed at America and President Bush...oh wait, you probably will believe it):
[TO: The World
EAT $HIT ...We want you to be satisfied]
and, "Capitalism is suicide"
What do we want? WE WANT SOCIALISM! When do we want it? WE WANT IT NOW!
Presumably, in the minds of the so-called artists, socialism will (1) will satisfy you and not give you $hit and (2) is life-affirming. It is very interesting, don't you think, that in the real world exactly the opposite is true? How many people are desperately trying to enter Castro's Cuba or Hugo's Venezuela to escape from the poverty of capitalistic countries? And how many people risk their lives and sacred honor to escape from those regimes--and many others who live under the boot of communist and socialist thugs? How many of our privileged Hollywood elite seek their medical care in Iran or Cuba or North Korea (perhaps Michael Moore will be the exception) ?
These posters, the artists who created them, and the useful idiots who celebrate them are examples of a pervasive intellectual trend in the West that seems to mindlessly bash capitalism, private property, business, and free trade at every opportunity; while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of all of them.
Our academics--even the ones who teach children as young as 4 and 5 years of age-- 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.
Students from kindergarden through college are indoctrinated by dedicated idealogues into the "perfection" of systems like communism and socialism and encouraged, not to think but to cultivate an unquestioning obedience to the collective.
While our popular culture sensitively refrains 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 the bad guys, always evil and malignant oppressors of the innocent. Individualism, the pursuit of profit, and private property is always portrayed as 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.
The truth about communism was exposed in the last century; and even with all the millions of lives it destroyed and the economic misery that it instituted wherever it had been forced on humans there are few movies that have come out of Hollywood that depict it as villainous or evil.
In the minds of all the neo-Marxists, dead-end communist stooges and anti-war idiots who participated in the anti-American 4th of July protest in San Francisco, cosmic megalomaniacs and dedicated communists like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hönecker, Ceaucescu, Kim, and Castro are simply misguided humanitarians whose atrocities are not worth mentioning--especially compared to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
There are few people--even among those who stalwartly defend the free market, who understand and appreciate the essential morality of capitalism.
In the free market of ideas, socialism and communism have had their chance and they immediately shut down any ideas that threatened them. In the real world they have been show repeatedly to bring human misery, slavery, death and oppression--notwithstanding all that glorious rhetoric and propaganda about their wonder achievenments and the ideological purity of their healthy youth as depicted in the third poster above, marching in lockstep to bring the wonders of communism to a skeptical world.
In every place that communism has had a foothold, the first step is to close the minds of the young and banish any critical thinking capability. The leaders know that their scam cannot work unless they "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. That is why both they and the Islamists hate it with a passion that is unsurpassed in its virulence.
Capitalism's incredible production of wealth is the economic side-effect that occurs when political freedom is present. Capitalism can certainly exist where there is no political freedom; and to the extent that it is allowed in places like China, for example, it benefits even systems that are dedicated to crushing the human spirit.
It has been argued, and I agree, however, that both economic and political freedom are absolute prerequisites for moral behavior. And, where one or the other is missing, moral behavior stagnates.
Communist and Socialist systems--all collectivist systems, in fact--are immoral because they have, by their very nature, eliminated individual moral choice and given that perogative to the state or collective.
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 never made good on their promises and only created universal social injustice and poverty.
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, Venezuela, Iran--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, and not a 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.
In a previous series of posts on Narcissism and Society I said,
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.
In the warm and fuzzy sociopathic selflessness of today's socialist and communist remnants (otherwise know as the political left), the goal is a utopian "dictatorship of the do-gooders". These clowns march around agitating for abstract concepts like "social justice" and an "end poverty" and "peace" and "brotherhood"; yet in the real, i.e. concrete world, how is it that they never seem to notice that their ideology always brings about the exact opposite of those things?
Not only is there a strong link between economic freedom and prosperity (see here for example); there is the undisputed fact that countries which are free and prosperous preferentially engage in trade with their neighbors--not in war. They have no need to project their economic and social failures and disasters on others, demonizing them so as to distract their miserable and dying citizens. Such political tactics are the everyday bread and butter of the collectivist regimes in the Middle East, for example, who must blame the prosperous democracy of Israel for all their own inadequacies.
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 maximize individual wealth for long when it exist within an oppressive political regime. Since it is more compatible with human nature than any other economic system, capitalism will cause any totalitarian regime that permits it to some degree to last longer (China is a good example), but that is only a temporary state of affairs. 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 until he totally crushes all 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 represents. Anti-capitalist intellectuals are rather fond of the phrase "money is the root of all evil" (or the love of money); 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 moral choices. 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 precisely why political freedom demands a rule of law, and the protection of individual and property rights from other individuals and from the state.
As I have stated before, capitalism is actually good for the soul. It is the only system where the an individual's soul and his self can flourish; where individuals have a right to their own life and liberty, and where they can make choices in the pursuit their own particular happiness.
What we see in the4th of July protest captured by Zombie's camera (and I have only posted three pictures, go see all of them) is the empty, meaningless, and soul-dead ideology of the left in all its naked glory.
They have for some time been dizzy from their own disinformation and drowning in delusion and denial.