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Six Good Things About Capitalism

by Christopher Chantrill
February 16, 2016 at 12:00 am


EVERYBODY IS recoiling in shock at the Millennial Kids. How could they be rallying to the socialist Bernie Sanders? Don’t they know that socialism has been a disaster wherever it was tried? Did they never hear of Venezuela?

OK, I do understand. Bernie is offering the Kids free college. And who ever refused a politician offering free stuff until they got their first paycheck and notice the deductions?

But why be surprised? The Millennial Kids have been taught for 20 years by government teachers. You think the lifer wardens and trusties at the government child-custodial facilities are going to teach the inmates about the wonders of life outside the razor wire?

So when Peggy Noonan wrote that:

In the young [Sanders’] support is understandable: They have never been taught anything good about capitalism and in their lifetimes have seen it do nothing — nothing — to protect its own reputation.

she struck a chord in me.

Actually, those Kids probably have seen a capitalist do something to protect its reputation. Ever heard tell of them “Koch Brothers.” They have put their mouth where their money is.

And look where it got them. It got them mentioned by the execrable Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and denounced by the left everywhere as the epitome of evil villainy. Do you wonder why most capitalists keep their heads down?

So it falls to us foolish scribblers to stand up for capitalism. Here are six good things about capitalism. (Hey, Peggy, how often do you use your bully pulpit to say anything good about capitalism?)

Capitalism has increased per-capita income by 30 Times in 200 Years. That is 30 times as in 3,000 percent. As Deirdre McCloskey writes, there has been nothing like it, ever. She calls it The Great Enrichment and The Bourgeois Era, but that doesn’t really begin to describe the utter impossibility of the whole thing.

Capitalism is not investment, or savings, or accumulation. It is Surprise. Capitalism is the surprise of the textile revolution. Imagine! Cheap cotton textiles for the masses! It is the surprise of the oil revolution, bringing the illuminating oil for those oil lamps in Western movies from 80 cents a gallon down to 8 cents. When I was a young computer guy, working on an IBM 1130 with 32KB of memory and a 1MB disk, I never imagined the possibility of a smartphone with 32GB in my pocket which would play tunes in my car. Back then, it was inconceivable! Not to mention the pseudo-random noise communications.

Capitalism is permanent revolution. You want revolution, you Bernie guys? Real revolution, unlike the fake revolutions of lefty politics where one ruling class is replaced with another? If you do, then you want capitalism. Capitalism is the story of nobodies changing the world. Who was Hargreaves, inventor of the spinning jenny? A nobody. Who was John D. Rockefeller, inventor of the oil industry? A clerk in a store. Who was Andrew Carnegie, who brought us cheap steel? A telegraph messenger. Who was Steve Jobs? A college dropout. You want to talk revolution, forget politics and create a business start-up.

Capitalism gives young people a chance. Notice something about corporations in their growth stage? They hire young people. Notice something about well-established corporations and government? They are full of time-serving middle-aged lifers. ’Nuff said.

Capitalism learns every day. Government never learns. Of course, capitalism doesn’t want to learn. That’s why capitalists like the ethanol guys in Iowa are so eager to crony up with government and get permanent subsidies. But the capitalists have to learn, and they learn every minute, every day from the world’s most amazing information system, the price system. Of course, the price system isn’t a Newtonian mechanical system at all; it is more accurately a probability state function, like in quantum mechanics. If you want a system, go to government, where Newton’s Third Law operates in a blind battle of equal and opposite forces battling to a bloody stalemate.

Capitalism is the deadly foe of discrimination. Can’t get a job because you are brown or black or white or female or male or gay or Muslim or Christian or an immigrant or young or old? Capitalism says: No Problem! We’ll hire anyone, especially if you are cheap! That’s why they had to have all those Jim Crow laws to enforce segregation in the South and the Davis-Bacon law to enforce “prevailing wages” in construction to keep blacks from competing with whites. And that’s why we are talking about building a wall on the Mexican border.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Capitalism is the magic bullet for young people, because it is a rebellion of termites constantly undermining the foundations of established privilege and power.

But now you understand why Bernie Sanders doesn’t like capitalism. For an old geezer like him, there is nothing good there.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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