Friday, December 18, 2009

Dangerous Freedom: The Case for Capitalism

By Esteban Camacho

Throughout the last few days, I have been thinking of our society, and its socialcharacter. By this, I mean the traits that we hold as a civilization in America, not individual traits that we each have to make us individuals. Focusing on Americaʼs social character, as well as the social characters of many other economically and politically free societies, I have come to a simple, but dangerous conclusion which I shall mention in the next few sentences.

As my BIO says, I am quite influenced by political philosophies, especially those with economic opportunity in the mix. As I study the works of Karl Marx and other minds from the radical period following the Enlightenment, it is apparent to me that some minds in this world look to freedom as a danger to society. Marx goes as far as saying that free economic systems such as Capitalism contain the seed of their own destruction. In short, I agree with this statement, especially following the cultural changes in the liberal mindsets of this country. My conclusion is the following: capitalism DOES contain the seed of its owndestruction, if it is ever to be destroyed.

Also, the liberal wing in America tend to want a sense of security and togetherness that the freedoms of this country simply cannot analyze and make occur. This leads into the belief that free systems such as Capitalism and Democracy are dangerous, and ultimately only benefit the individual. Because of this dangerous feelings, some mindsets (the liberal mindset) wish to do away with systems like Capitalism, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. The solution to this? A social system which the goods are more equally distributed throughout society and where the individual can find oneself in a state of belonging, rather than a state of individualization.

Before I go on with the brief explanation of my thoughts, I know many readers, especially those of liberal mindset, will be slightly offended or at the very least will be asking the question of why I believe it is the liberal mindset (and not the conservative one) that believes freedom is dangerous. I shall answer this question, but I must point out that the answer is in our everyday lives in this country. The policies that the American people have come to support, and the policies that the current Congress has come to adopt, are policies of liberal ideologies.

These liberal ideologies are ones where the community itself is the focus, not the individual. These policies are often related to socialism by many Conservative voices, large or small. Well, the plain fact is that these are indeed socialist policies. I do not call them “related to” socialism, I say they are in the very root socialism. The issue with the word socialism is that it has been treated by this society as evil, and with good purpose. This is the reason many liberals in America are simply refusing to admit that their entire policy rack, their main party or domain, their belief systems… are all based on the ideas of socialism. Social medicine, the current socialist proposition, is one not to omit from this discussion. Observing the programs of other countries, one might be inclined to believe in that system, and perhaps one does.

This discussion is not about social medicine, so I will not go into detail about the shortcomings of those policies. However, I have brought up the “ideal” system because it proves my point. In the bills cycling through Congress about the reformation of our health system are many regulative tendencies. Regulation is the lack of freedom, period. Whether this be for the good or bad of the society is beyond the scope of this discussion and can be inserted in a future topic.

First, lets mention the example of regulation by taxation. Several Congressmen have proposed that if an individual decides against purchasing an insurance option, that particular individual will be taxed at a certain percentage due to his lack of social cooperation. To the minds of those that support social medicine, this policy might be favorable to you. However, to the individual that decides not to “opt-in” to the system, this is a rather punishing policy. The individual that I have just mentioned values his individuality, and thus, decides to do as he/she wishes.

The federal law, as well as all of its supporters would say otherwise, the individual choice in not of optimal efficiency for the community and must be stopped. Therefore, this act of choice, this act of freedom, has been constrained and punished. There are many other examples I can quote from the legislation, but they are out of the scope of this simple discussion. The liberal mindset in America has also created a bubble that does not include political reformations such as the health care system.

One of these many examples would be the simple hatred for capitalism and systems alike. Everyday in this country we hear about the hatred for corporations, the hatred for free enterprises, and the idea that it must be further regulated in order to relief exploitation of the worker. Lets make clear that I am not here to deny any worker exploitation, as it surely does occur, even though I do not believe it occurs at the scope that the American left sells it as.

Capitalism is based on one thing: self-interest. By this, we can logically conclude that the individual makes the decisions, businesses can compete, human nature would be to get the best for oneself, and personal choices affect oneʼs overall image. Capitalism, with its ideals of self-interest, cannot occur in a restricted society, only a free society can house capitalism, and therefore, those that condemn capitalism are condemning a form of freedom.

This hatred for capitalism is seen today in many policies, including the health legislation I have just mentioned. This capitalist issue is further complicated by the comparing of the classes. As Marx states: the history of the world can be summed up to one thing: class warfare. This, Marx states, is the reason why capitalism will eventually be destroyed by the masses, and that this process of destruction is inevitable. While I agree that capitalism will be destroyed if things remain the way they are, I do not believe it is inevitable.

The contemporary liberal, in economic sense, sees general socialism as the best escape from this capitalist freedom, whether that liberal admit is consciously or unconsciously. After all, socialism offers a way of inclusion into society, a way of financial, political, and economic safety. The socialist system would be one of submission, yes, but at many positive expenses. No longer would we have class warfare, since all property would be abolished and wealth would be distributed in order to make individuals more equal.

A socialist system would, after all, create new and strong communities of persons who will believe in helping each other at any expense, and capitalism would not exist, therefore, the worker will not be exploited as a means to gain profit. Yes, this all sounds very ideal. With this, I go back to a bit of personal history. The first time I truly though out philosophical issues was in my Junior year of high school. Cuba was undergoing some common issues with US government, and my Teacher, Mr. Estrada, gave us a simple assignment. “Take out a piece of paper, and write down an answer of any length to this question: do you prefer free speech, or free health?” As I think about this, that question could be branched out into other areas of government policy.

All students, in the midst of their very American counterparts, answered with free speech, and gave a brief description why. Of course, should this be a national survey, many individuals with the likes of the liberal mentality will choose free health. Most Americans know that the country of Cuba and its government give all of its citizens access to free health and education, at the expense of common American freedoms such as free speech and trial laws.

Freedom is dangerous to some. There are several options that these particularindividuals mold as solutions to the problems of freedom. Yes, capitalism and democracy are systems where people CAN be exploited, where the individual can feel insecure because of the lack of societal structure, where the individual must work countless hours in order to satisfy his hunger for material objects which temporarily satisfy the insecurity brought by capitalism. All of these reasons, and more, are causing the common American liberal to have an inner rebellion against the likes of Capitalism. However, there are many things which should be kept in mind as we think of the negatives. Systems like capitalism give the power of success to each and every individual.

Democracy ensures that our leaders will behave as we want them to behave. Capitalism allows the individual to take control of the market and mold it as the individuals see fit. Democracy allows for free speech, freedom of expression, assembly, and eve individuality, which to me is the most important attribute. Capitalism allows for advancements in technology faster than every other economic system that has come to existence. Capitalism also allows the great creation of wealth.

Even Marx admits that socialism cannot come before the creation of a strong capitalist system in order to create the wealth which is to be distributed. The American left does believe capitalism to be dangerous, and with that, believes that a system that creates economic freedom is dangerous. do I have a solution for this? Absolutely not. The only thing I can do is hold freedoms dearly, and pass the word of my love for a capitalist system. I suggest you do the same.

What do YOU believe? Do you agree with my arguments? Do you disagree? Do you believe we should move into a socialist economic and political system? Do you believe capitalism is the most efficient? Let me know in the comments, or by email.

Esteban G. Camacho was born in 1989 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. There he lived in a lower class family with his single mother for 11 years before moving to the contiguous states. Esteban became involved with politics when he reached his senior year of high school. When he got to college, he immediately pursued further education in the fields of government and economics. A staunch conservative and an advocate of the free market economies of the world, Esteban spends his time researching political backgrounds, economic titles such as Wealth of Nations, and strengthening his conservative base. Esteban believes in personal responsibility, individual liberty, equal opportunity, and in the American dream. Among his favorite quotes is: “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” Esteban resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science.

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1 comment:

dumbpatriot said...

I support capitalism for many of the reasons you state. I firmly believe that the majority of goods and services are most efficiently provisioned by the marketplace. However it's a matter of record that capitalism left to it's own devices (although to a much less degree than say socialism /communism) can threaten life, liberty and make nearly impossible the pursuit of happiness.

I believe that sensible government regulations that work to foster competition and protect consumers can indeed make markets work better and that central planning of this nature does not qualify as socialism (which is of course an ownership model).

Capitalism is here to stay. It's merits have been proven. It's has been the single most effective tool in the battle against poverty this world has even known and is most compatible with individual liberty. This isn't debatable. Today's debates should focus not on what the alternatives to capitalism should be (that debate has already been settled), but rather what "brand" of capitalism (i.e proper balance of markets and regulations) best achieves the ideals of our nation and protects not only the individual but the commons.