Socialism vs. Capitalism: Part II
In Part I of this series, I stated the contemporary “conventional wisdom” definitions of socialism and Marxism. A brief attempt was then made to reveal the true meanings and the modern origins of socialism and communism, and to touch on some of the consequences that societies around the world – including the U.S.A. – have suffered and are suffering as a result of implementing socialism and/or communism. [Much more on this in Part III.]
In this article, I will state the “conventional wisdom” definition – a la Hegel (indirectly), Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, et. al. – of “capitalism.” Brief attempts will be made to provide the true meaning of “capitalism” (economic Liberty) and its Source (and sources).
After reading this article, some readers may come away with a better understanding of and appreciation for what “capitalism” is not. This could be a very good thing. However, my hope and prayer is that this article evokes a greater understanding of and appreciation for what “capitalism” is. Please, please enlighten me if you think I have erred in anything that I have written in this article. I, too, desire a greater understanding of and appreciation for what “capitalism” is and is not! I value your input!
First, though, a clarification – not to mention a measure of perspective – is in order. [NOTE: Avid readers and dedicated seekers of Truth please click here, here, here and here. (Isn’t it amazing how much I have learned about social justice, collectivism and the difference between a column and an article since 2003?) If you scan the four links above, you may skip the next 3 paragraphs and move forthrightly to the head of the class.]
A worldview is an individual’s comprehensive philosophy of life. There are about as many worldviews as there are human beings on the planet. However, there are four institutions that fundamentally shape every worldview: Religion, Politics, Economics and Science.
Culture is to a nation (or to a society or region) as worldview is to an individual. A nation is defined by and is united around its religious cosmology, ethic, principles, teachings and customs; its political structure/philosophy; its economic system and its language, arts, architecture, traditions and technologies (i.e., scientific/artistic approach/accomplishments).
In today’s America, there are two dominant and competing cultural worldview philosophies. Both have many names or “labels.” The first is the “Anglo-American,” the “Judeo-Christian,” the “Christian,” the “conservative,” the “classical liberal” or the “traditionalist” worldview. The second is the “Franco-German,” the “secular” (or “secular/atheist”), the “modern liberal” or the “Progressive” worldview. Capitalism is the economic system of the former. Socialism is the politico-economic system of the latter.
Modern “conventional wisdom” declares that capitalism is an unfair economic system under which the rich get increasingly wealthier and more politically and economically powerful, and the poor just get poorer and evermore politically and economically screwed. Let’s analyze just what makes this a dastardly diabolical lie.
The U.S. Constitution, as written and ratified by the Framers and the people, embodies the Anglo-American/Judeo-Christian worldview. During the height of the “Progressive Era,” several significant changes were made to the U.S. Constitution. At least two of the most important – and destructive – of these changes occurred in 1913. The Sixteenth Amendment gave us the “graduated” or “progressive” income tax – in violation of Article I, Section 8, paragraph i, clause ii. The Federal Reserve Act relinquished powers given to Congress in Article I, Section 8, paragraphs i-iv, to a small group of powerful and influential bankers. Crony “capitalism” was born. Not coincidentally, at about the same time, the myth of the robber barons began to be accepted far and wide. See here.
What is crony “capitalism”? It is a cozy relationship between industrialists and government. It enables the politically “plugged-in” and the rich and the powerful to get special favors and favorable legislation at the expense of their rivals and potential competitors. Crony “capitalists” are not true capitalists!! Any relationship whatsoever between business and government smacks of socialism!!
What is “capitalism?” Capitalism is economic Liberty. The United States of America was founded upon Religious Liberty, Political Liberty, Economic Liberty and Scientific Liberty.
What is Liberty? Liberty is the virtually absolute right of every human being to think, to say and to do anything and everything he wants as long as he does not violate the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. The Rule of Law is Liberty. The will of man, imposed via fiat (as by a dictator or by some “enlightened” elite), via legislation (as to favor some interests over others) or by a majority (as in a “pure” democracy), is tyranny.
Capitalism (i.e., free-enterprise or economic Liberty) will never, ever approach its full potential in any society that refuses, at least generally, to embrace the Judeo-Christian ethic: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Any society that will not embrace the Judeo-Christian ethic will either accept the will and the rule of man, or will seek self-enrichment at the expense of others. Although, especially in the last five to ten years – largely because of crony “capitalism"—the myth may be more true now than ever; it is still a myth (if not an outright lie) that the rich are always getting richer and the poor are always getting poorer in the United States of America.
If you doubt this, please see here, here and here. Even if you are not an avid reader or a dedicated seeker of Truth, please read the above links and consider the data given therein. The preservation of Liberty requires – demands – vigilance, knowledge, wisdom, hard work and an understanding of Truth!
The Ultimate Source of capitalism is the Holy Bible. Please see, for just a few tiny examples, Exodus 20:15 & 17, Acts 4:32-5:11 and II Thessalonians 3:10. Read and profoundly contemplate the entire Bible and the words, speeches, letters and memoirs of America’s Founders and Framers. You will soon clearly see that the goal – the hope, the promise and the objective – is Liberty and Justice for all.
The modern roots of capitalism – as an organized economic philosophy – sprout from Adam Smith (1723-1790), Ludwig Heinrich Elder von Mises (1881-1973), Freidrich August von Hayek (1899-1992), Ayn Rand (1905-1982), Milton Friedman (1912-2006), Murray Rothbard (1926-1995) and others.
I admire all of those people and profoundly appreciate their great contributions to the fight for economic Liberty. Probably not one of the specific contributors to modern "capitalism” cited above was a Spirit-filled Christian. At least one (Ayn Rand) was an avowed Atheist. Yet each, in his/her own way, made powerful arguments for the moral superiority of “capitalism” (free-enterprise; economic freedom) over all other economic philosophies/systems.
Some of my more conservative and Spirit-filled Christian readers may be asking, “How could any sound and true moral argument possibly be made by any person who rejects God as man’s Creator and Author of Law?” Excellent question!
Smith, Mises, Hayek, Rand, Friedman and Rothbard were all Libertarians. They strongly believed in Rule of Law. They just shortened it from “The Rule of the Law(s) of Nature and of Nature’s God,” to “The Rule of the Laws of Nature.” Equally, if not more importantly, Libertarians by-and-large vehemently accept, abide by and preach the second part of the Judeo-Christian ethic: “[L]ove your neighbor as you love yourself.” [Please study Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. If you are anything like me, you will begin to believe that Rand utterly rejected the second part of the Judeo-Christian ethic about as powerfully as she despised the first part. Then, however, once you examine her “god” (i.e., Reason – her reason) and her worldview philosophy, you will understand profoundly that she passionately believed in the idea – “Love your neighbor as you love yourself! It’s eerie; uncanny! Ayn Rand’s intellect was phenomenal. Yet she could not see the proverbial forest for the trees. She never realized, sadly, that her economic philosophy was mostly borrowed – stolen – from the very Source that she so reviled.]
Conservatives and Spirit-filled Christians can and should learn a great deal from Libertarians. Libertarians have exerted much blood, sweat, toil and tears into making a highly effective and legitimate (if not complete) "moral” argument for economic freedom. It is incomplete because it is an argument for economic freedom—not for economic Liberty. It is not completely moral because it is based upon human “wisdom” (or “reason”), not upon the Word and the Will of the Creator and Author of Law.
We conservatives must willfully and lovingly accept Libertarians into the fold, so to speak, and unite with them in making the moral argument for “capitalism,” and against socialism and communism. We must go farther! We should begin right now to complete the moral argument for economic Liberty; and we must work relentlessly – with great effort, thought, resolve, prayer and revelation – to make and to promote our arguments for religious Liberty, political Liberty and scientific Liberty!
Libertarians have all but single-handedly kept us (the U.S.) from becoming a socialist – even a communist – nation up until now. If they are not with us on 6 November 2012 to elect a conservative/Libertarian U.S. Senate, to retain a conservative/Libertarian U.S. House of Representatives and to defeat Barack Hussein Obama, then, by 2016, the United States of America will be a socialist nation with little chance of ever turning back – barring a Third Great Awakening; a sovereign and powerful movement of God’s Holy Spirit.
Where have we conservatives been? If we do not begin right now to make and avidly to promote and propagate our moral arguments for religious, political, economic and scientific Liberty, we will very soon find ourselves a small minority – and whipping boys; scapegoats – in a totalitarian state that was once, not too long ago, the United States of America.
The Roots of “Capitalism”
Exodus 20:15 (“Thou shalt not steal.”) and 20:17 (“Thou shalt not covet…that which is thy neighbor’s.”) show conclusively that not only is private property God’s Will, but also that a man’s property must be respected in thought, word and deed. Acts 4:32-5:11 graphically shows that socialism/collectivism leads to disaster. Then there is II Thessalonians 3:10, Matthew 20:1-16, Matthew 25:14-30 and countless other verses, principles and ideas expressed in God’s Word. The roots of “capitalism” developed in the fertile ground of God’s Word and Will – the Holy Bible. Yet “capitalism” did not even become a sapling until the United States of America was established. It became a mighty tree when it was cultivated and nurtured with religious, political, economic and scientific Liberty – the American Ideal.
Was all of the progress over the past two hundred years mere coincidence? Did not comprehensive, individual human Liberty (the American Ideal) have something to do with this exponential boom of human progress? In 1776, with very few exceptions (mostly involving guns, gunpowder and the printing press), virtually every human being on Earth lived all but exactly as he would have 2000 – even 5000 – years prior.
Even before it emerged from a sapling and into a great tree, there were those who wanted to cut it down, or even to destroy it from the roots. They are the adherents of Franco-German worldview philosophy; secularists, “philosophes,” atheists, modern “liberals” – “progressives.”
What “Capitalism” is NOT
Whenever materialism, collectivism, moral relativism, a sense of “entitlement” (greed) and/or dependence upon government – among the rich and the poor – become(s) prevalent in any society, economic Liberty (“capitalism”) is all but totally doomed.
If materialism and greed pervade a culture, “capitalism” cannot – will not – exist. It is true that the powerful engine of “capitalism” is individual self-interest: Someone wanting to provide a good or a service to his neighbor for profit. However, self-interest is different from purely selfish interest; and greed (i.e., covetousness another thing altogether.
In a truly “capitalistic” culture, the Judeo-Christian ethic must be the dominant cultural ethic. Then, and only then, avarice, greed and oppression will be held in check by competition and the bottom line – and by all the other Laws (and principles) of Nature and of Nature’s God.
“Capitalism” is the economic backbone of any free society. Creeping socialism (redistribution of wealth by an “enlightened” elite) destroys economic Liberty. In fact, socialism also undermines religious, political and scientific Liberty; and it nullifies true Justice.