F. Swemson

Should We Abandon Capitalism?

Posted on March 7 2010 6:00 am
I'm an Objectivist, a disciple of Ayn Rand since I was 15. Graduate of NBI (Nathaniel Branden Institute) 1964 I was a philosophy major @ NYU & dropped out to join the Marine Corps Served as a Combat Photographer in late 60's I've been writing for over 20 years.
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As a system, absolutely not, as for the term itself though, perhaps we should.

In an article in the Telegraph on Thursday 3.04.10, the Chairman of Marks & Spencer, the leading department store in London, made some interesting remarks about capitalism. He spoke mostly about the perception of capitalism and the free market system, in the eyes of people around the world, and the fact that the term itself has begun to become so negative, that they forget the fact that capitalism is the only system which has ever worked, and that every time it was tried, communism led to misery, oppression, and the murder of millions. He even suggested that we find another name for it. Why not ? The progressives found another name for communism, didn’t they?

This evening on Glenn Beck, (3.05.10), Glenn spent the entire hour on the subject of how the progressive left has taken over our education system for the express purpose of trying to brainwash our children with an incredible array of anti American propaganda designed to make the younger generation believe that the American way of life, and our free market economy has failed them. As we know of course, it’s the progressives themselves and their big government that are responsible for virtually all the misery that America is suffering through right now. Their anti-American propaganda has been evolving since the beginning of the progressive movement, when they first began to demonize the dollar sign itself, as a symbol of evil, greed and the oppression of human rights. Remember the old Monopoly men in their top hats carrying bags with $ on them ? They’ve been around for longer than the board game.

I first learned about this from Ayn Rand while attending lectures at the Nathaniel Branden Institute in NY in 1964 while still a teenager. Ms Rand used to do all the Q&A’s after the lecture, and did some of the lectures herself. She was mesmerizing. Ms Rand spoke about the dollar sign quite frequently. To her it symbolized the best part of America, our freedom to better ourselves, and our most basic freedoms of thought & speech. She said that the dollar sign itself was derived from the initials U.S., and that seems likely in that it’s just an S superimposed over a U with the bottom cut off. Having escaped the Soviet Union on her own when she was 15, Ayn Rand was disgusted by the idea that America could be using its own symbol as a sign of depravity, and she proved herself right in 1957, when she published her own view of where America was headed.

The progressives were so successful with their propaganda that the very word “capitalism” itself, in the minds of so many people, has come to symbolize greedy bankers taking huge bonuses paid for with taxpayer money, or evil insurance companies who deny the people access to their right to health care. Glenn’s been hammering away at the difference between rights, and good & services for a few days now. But it looks like the progressives are directly responsible for the current perception of the term “capitalism”as well. It first came into popular use when Karl Marx used it in his writings, however it’s actual roots go further back than that. Thackeray is the first to publish a work using the term in his novel, The “Newcomes” in the mid 19th century. It was actually used earlier by a Frenchman, A. R. J. Turgot (1727-1781) who used the word “capitaliste” in an essay on the “Formation and Distribution of Wealth”. And that brings us to the reason why the progressives don’t get it. They don’t understand the very nature of wealth itself.

Looking back in history to feudal times, when the kings and the lords, and the dukes owned EVERYTHING, including the peasants who worked their land, the downtrodden ones justifiably thought that anyone with that much power had to be evil, because they kept all the wealth for themselves.

This fear of the concentration of wealth and power into the hands of anyone, was one of the primary things that influenced our finding fathers. Americans back then truly feared the concentration of power in anyone, including businesses and especially in their government.

The progressives, still think of wealth as something that exists in a static quantity in the universe, with the only question being how it should most fairly be divided. They don’t understand that wealth is something that’s created, primarily because they’ve never participated in the process. Look at their leaders, President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Senator John Kerry, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and you’ll see that not one of them has ever contributed to the economy in a private sector job that was involved in the production of wealth. In a way, the same is true of a big portion of the Hollywood elite. While they’ve worked hard and made lots of money, making $10MM to $20MM for a movie, or $500M for a concert, gives them a pretty warped view of what it truly means to go out to work to make a living.

I’ve tried to explain this to several of these people, with the following example since I’ve spent much of my life as a builder:

“A man takes a piece of raw land, and with his own ingenuity, skill and sweat, he takes the trees and the rocks and the dirt to build himself a home. The difference in value between the raw land, and the land with the home on it, is wealth created by that man…”

Most of them still don’t get it though… All they can see is a man who owns a big house, while others live in hovels, so of course they decide, due to their unbelievable arrogance and conceit, that everyone would be better off if THEY were in charge of splitting up the wealth… We heard it in the clip of Van Jones, “Give THEM the wealth!  Give THEM the wealth! The key word there being “the” wealth… Like Obama, he only sees that big pile.. because he’s probably never put in a full day of honest productive work in his entire life. They’re scared of capitalism because they know they’re in trouble right now, and if it will help us defeat them, I don’t mind abandoning the term “Capitalism” for a while.

They think that they’re entitled to be the royalty, and their biggest fear right now, is that the crowd demonstrating outside their windows, may have finally caught on to their game. We’re already seeing some of the rats abandoning the ship. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are scared that this crowd might even have a guillotine.

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