Democracy Or Capitalism: Is That The Question?

Duly Noted

About an imaginary conflict.

The international Left and its double agents work tirelessly as clandestine surrogates of the noble cause collectivism. This crowd has found a new phrasing to support their combat against individualism and the welfare of the striving in free markets. 

The clever catch-question is something like “can democracy survive capitalism”? 

The inquiry launched is propagandistically genial as it injects a not-too-subtly imbedded answer. It simplifies an involved topic to rally the confusable that are already misdirected in their search of easy secular salvation. 

When an issue is raised in a novel way, the ones that bring it up get the privilege to answer it. The surprise of those that have “not thought of it” guarantees that. In this case, one may retort to “can democracy survive capitalism” with a “can democracy survive collectivism.” One may deepen the inquiry by raising the related issue of whether “collectivism” is the right word for “socialism”. The term ”socialism” is misleading because it becomes, by exempting the National Socialists, associated with the sainted Left. That being so, left-socialism’s crimes are fed into Orwell’s “memory hole”. Then follows the whitewash to reclassify the mass murder as the sin of anything to the right of what is not way out Left.  With that, the page is cleaned, and the duped give absolution for the misdeeds of socialist collectivism as light fender-benders. 

The belief in the conflict between capitalism and democracy would be a sign of ignorance if it would not be obvious that the claimants know the opposite to be true. Institutionalized liberty and economic freedom are connected ideals that emerged at the same places to be advocated by the same people. Significantly, the relationship is not accidental. Those that deny this also negate that “if it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, and if it swims line a duck, then it must be a duck”. Indeed, personal freedom without economic freedom is nonsense. Freedom as a system enables its subjects to make their personal decisions to their assumed advantage. The result is expressed by access to personal wealth and through wealth creation by the community. 

What this does not include is a guarantee against failure and to equal amounts of success. This needs to be so as we are all differently endowed and motivated. Reflecting differences, individuals will be differently successful in divergent endeavors as they pursue diverse goals. The implication: associating freedom, fairness and the equality of final results with a just order represents a logical error. In erecting systems to unite what does not match, we construct schemes that deny the laws of nature. The upshot results in oppression because the pursued goal contradicts human nature. One may stipulate that a scheme that promises the equality of final results must be a dictatorial. Therefore, the question becomes not whether democracy can survive capitalism but whether liberty can survive imposed artificial equality. 

Here the term “capitalism” is to be examined. Capital is the result of accumulated productive capacity that is created by deferring its consumption. From the Stone Age and its chipped-off-the-rock tools, communities created “capital” in the form of their means of production. The better spear brought an advantage that rewarded inventiveness and thrift. The aggregate of such efforts increased the tribe’s access to goods that assureds its survival. The gadgets became a shared advantage. Since then, capital became common to man’s social creations. As a result, in practice, capital cannot be abolished. 

The agitators against capitalism know this. What anti capitalists want to do is to expropriate those that own the working capital of advanced economies. This is to be done by “socializing” capital. This means that capital is to be put under the control of the state that acts in behalf of its members. If distorting collectivist glasses are removed, then the goal becomes clear. It is that capital is to be transferred from a multitude of individual owners –note that through retirement funds everybody is a capitalist- to the state. Since there is a political class, this means the control of the community's capital by that elite. Through the supposedly impartial state, its power is shored up thought the added control of the economy. 

To perform, government has a monopoly of power where it is sovereign. The advocates of collectivism wish to  bolster this might by rounding out political power with economic power. The result is a total concentration of clout. Something comparable we have not witnessed since the Dark Ages. The path to totalitarian rule is close on the slippery slope of the Actonian temptation inherent in the corrupting role of unchecked authority.

If in leftist terms, capital is the source of an evil that reminds us of original sin, then the above is condemning. The left has dropped its suspicions regarding the state. The days when it wanted to make chop soy out of the state waned once it got control of bureaucracy. That changed the anti-capitalist program. From advocating “capital’s”  abolition, it went to expropriating individual capitalists. The loot from confiscation is to be transferred to “society” which is achieved by putting it under the control of the state. The result: state capitalism. 

Why this state capitalism is pretended to be superior to the individual capitalism of many is easy to explain. The proposed arrangement gives the managers of state power total control over capital. The result is that the governing class, albeit not formally the owner of capital, attains full control over its use. The fusion of political and economic power mutes into a dictatorial entity. But, for those that yield this might, this merger bears a benefit. The “right people” attain control that the mass is too immature to exercise to support policies designed to better its lot and its moral condition.

In the case of capitalism vs. democracy, your judgment will reflect your taste. Ultimately, you will choose who you trust, or distrust more. Is your preference the persons that destiny allows to hold fused economic and political power?  Or do you opt in favor of numerous individual citizen holders of capital that are subject to laws legitimized by a majority? The choice might be easy even your good fortune and life depends on it.