The Nobility of Capitalism

Today the Denver Post published an attack on capitalism by Daniel W. Brickley of Littleton. Following is my reply:

Capitalism: The Only Moral System

I’ll untangle Brickley’s many confusions. Capitalism protects people’s right to live their own lives and interact voluntarily with others, by their own judgment, free from political controls. Capitalism means a system in which individuals rights to property and contract are consistently protected. In capitalism, the job of the government is to protect people from force and fraud.

To the degree that politicians interfere in the market, that is not capitalism, but its opposite. If “bribed governments” grant to some businesses political advantages to seize wealth by force or forcibly harm competitors, that is not “unregulated capitalism;” it is a market controlled to some degree by politicians.

Capitalism is regulated (made regular) first by a government that protects against force and fraud, and second by the independent judgment of individuals. If you don’t like a company’s products or services, don’t buy them! If you think you can do better, you are free to try. But this is not the sort of “regulation” that the enemies of capitalism have in mind. Instead, they call on politicians to control the economy and violate people’s rights.

Brickley is right about one thing: capitalism is incompatible with pure democracy. Capitalism protects individual rights. Pure democracy is mob rule, it is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner, it is 51 percent of the population enslaving the other 49 percent.

Brickley calls capitalism, the only system compatible with the reasoning mind of man, a “religion,” and equates it with Soviet communism. This is pure projection. For the full justification of capitalism, see Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Capitalism is marked by men of drive and genius developing the goods and services — the health care, the technology, the food, the housing, the cars — we need to thrive. Their motive is to produce life-enhancing products and exchange them voluntarily with others for their personal gain. No motive could be more noble.

As for nastiness, we need look no further than Brickley’s smear campaign against capitalism and capitalists.

Ari Armstrong

One thought on “The Nobility of Capitalism”

  1. Ari,

    I wish you’d put a lot more argument behind democracy as mob rule and how to inhibit that tendency. I’ve suggested an ‘asymmetric democracy’ amendment wherein any provision that increases government spending or reduces the freedom or autonomy of individuals or groups must pass with 3/4 plurality (and conversely only 1/4 required to reduce government power/spending or expand individual liberty/autonomy).

    Personally, I don’t think 3/4 is high enough to prevent mob rule, but 3/4 is all you need to amend the constitution, so difficult to push it higher. Note that single provision requirement prevents horse trading issues. Most government expansions are passed with a little bit of pork in it for each of the nay-sayers.

    I look forward to seeing more from you on this issue.

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