"America" stands for "capitalism."
An attack on capitalism is an attack on the heart and soul of
Christian ethics. To say “I do not support capitalism” is to
say “I support the use of violence to get what I want."
"Capitalism" means "liberty."
The whole world knows that capitalism works and socialism is a failure. The fall
of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union shout
this truth across the globe.
- Capitalist countries are free and prosperous,
- Socialist countries are enslaved and impoverished.
And yet, virtually everyone in the United States has been trained in government
schools and by a government-dominated media to believe that socialism is better than
capitalism, and that no economy can succeed without some socialism.
This is what makes this campaign so controversial: we are
working to eliminate all socialism and establish pure "laissez-faire"
is Capitalism Hated?
Most Americans over 50 were taught that “capitalism” was better than “socialism,”
and that America was “capitalist.” More recently, “capitalism” has fallen
out of favor. The ostensibly conservative Richard Nixon
famously quipped, “We are all Keynesians now,” by which he meant, nobody is a
Few people today are willing to identify themselves as defenders of capitalism.
Capitalism is not trendy in our day. A self-identified “socialist” is far more
likely to get a teaching position at a major university than one who openly defends
“laissez-faire capitalism,” ceteris
In the last few years I have been studying capitalism in more detail, by reading
the works of those who defend it most
passionately. This study has been an eye-opening experience. I believe “capitalism,”
rightly understood, is more compatible with Christianity than socialism in any
That little phrase “rightly understood” is the whole enchilada.
The story is told of the six blind men who offered descriptions of an elephant.
Each was viewing only a part of the animal, one feeling the trunk, another the tail,
another the huge legs, etc., and their varied descriptions of “an elephant”
reflected their limited investigation.
Most descriptions of “capitalism” (particularly by those who attack it) are
as far from reliable as those of the blind men. More ironically, the blind critics
of capitalism are not only viewing only a part of the economic animal, but they are
actually describing themselves, with one
socialist critic of “capitalism” describing his own leg, another socialist
critic of “capitalism” describing his own ear, etc. In other words, most
criticisms of “capitalism” are criticisms of policies which are completely
un-capitalistic, or they are pointing to problems created by socialism, not
The name “capitalism” was coined by Karl Marx, a
vehement opponent of capitalism. Capitalists have adopted Marx’s term as their own
(without accepting Marx’s content, of course). One of the most comprehensive
defenses of capitalism is George Reisman’s treatise on Capitalism.
It is a huge book, but easy reading, and full of insights. I would now put him among
my top ten favorite writers.
After a good deal of study, I offer this definition of capitalism:
is a social system based on
the rejection of the initiation of force or violence against others.
This definition will surprise many who attack
capitalism. Ask a critic of capitalism to define “capitalism” and the critic’s
definition will not even be close to this definition.
Nevertheless, I do not know a single self-described defender of capitalism who would
disagree with this definition. In fact, most would agree it gets to the
very heart and soul of the dispute between capitalism and socialism. For the
benefit of those who doubt, I would be happy to supply the quotations and footnotes
from the writings of self-conscious defenders of capitalism to buttress my claim.
The quotes would be many and lengthy. I would quote Ayn Rand,
George Reisman, Milton Friedman,
Ludwig von Mises,
and many other defenders of capitalism.
As an example, the Libertarian Party, unquestionably
the political party most vigorously committed to capitalism, requires its members to
sign this pledge in order to join the party:
I do not believe in or advocate
the initiation of force
as a means of achieving political or social goals.
That is the full extent of the Libertarian Party membership pledge. It is widely
viewed as the sine qua non of
libertarianism. It is often referred to by defenders of capitalism as “the
principle of non-aggression.”
(Of course, anyone can vote Libertarian, without taking
This is not just an abstract academic debate. Socialism rationalizes violence.
Socialism has meant slavery and death to hundreds of millions of human beings. Too
many on the left who claim to be for peace defend The Welfare State (welfare
socialism), which turns out to be window-dressing for The Warfare State. To oppose
capitalism is to oppose the only economic system that repudiates the initiation of
all violence. To wrongly define capitalism as a system that “exploits” the poor
or in some other way initiates force against others is to pull the plug on an
effective force for peace.
Rightly understood, then, an attack on capitalism is an attack on the heart and
soul of Christian ethics. To say “I am not a capitalist” is to say “I
support the use of violence to get what I want.”
Again, this is based on the definition of capitalism offered by the most
scholarly defenders of capitalism, not those who attack it.
Find someone who is called a "capitalist" who uses the
violence and coercion of the State to crush his competitors and exploit the poor,
and you have found someone that every self-identified defender of
capitalism would say is not a "capitalist."
|This is the issue: Is there any human activity that is more efficiently
carried out under threats of violence and force than under liberty?
- Is it the case that human beings cannot be trusted to produce milk and bread
for the children unless they are threatened with prison terms by "the
- Is it really true that Americans cannot manufacture and distribute computers,
clothing, housing, groceries, without "the government?"
America became the most admired nation on earth because it stood for the
proposition that capitalism (liberty) succeeds and socialism fails.
Throughout this website we have discussed over 200 areas of human endeavor where
it is often alleged that Americans could not succeed without government regulation.
But all you have to do is look at the things you have and enjoy, compare your life
with that of most people living in socialist countries, and ask, "If the
federal government were to be abolished, would entrepreneurs and businessmen make
sure that I had access to the best quality at the lowest price?"
If you answer no -- for example,
"No, businessmen are greedy and immoral and would only manufacture shoes
of low quality and sell them at rip-off prices, unless bureaucrats were regulating
and you added,
"And consumers are stupid, and would always buy low quality at a high
price and wouldn't care for their family unless federal bureaucrats were making
sure families paid attention to the
most important things."
-- then you have a religious faith in the State and its regulators, and believe
that when greedy businessmen and stupid consumers are elected to government
positions by their greedy and stupid peers, these newly-elected human beings
suddenly lose their greed and stupidity and become altruistic and intelligent
overseers of others. "Statism" is a religious belief in the depravity of
human beings and faith in the sanctified State.
History tells us that where there is "Liberty
Under God," you and I will work hard, with creativity and integrity, to
provide goods and services which benefit the lives of others. We will find ways to
produce better goods than our competitor and will bend over backwards to do so at a
lower cost. In our efforts to get the business of others, we will improve the lives
of our customers, because we know that where there is liberty, our customers have
the freedom to shop elsewhere, and other Americans have the freedom to start a
business which will sell what consumers demand.
History proves that capitalism works and socialism fails. The great economists
have explained why:
von Mises, Human Action,
Yale Univ. Press, 1949, 885pp. + index
Reisman, Capitalism, Ottawa, IL:
Jameson Books, 1998, 998pp. + index
and Decisions, NY: Basic Books, 1980, 383pp. + index
Mises in particular, and his Nobel
Prize-winning student, F.
A. Hayek, conclusively proved that without the price mechanism of the free
market, socialist planners can never allocate resources in the most efficient
manner. Mises’ work has
never been refuted:
Kevin Craig accepts as a matter of unchanging economic law the fundamental
inefficiency of centralized government planning over free market decision-making.
The reader can turn to the bibliography
below for a nearly complete defense of the concept.
Insights Into the Benevolent Nature of Capitalism
If socialism is a violation of basic economic laws, then our concept of "the
government" must be repudiated. The key to a well-governed society is "Liberty
Under God," not "the government." The key to prosperity is
capitalism, not socialism. Every action of "the government" is the
imposition of socialism. We must eliminate every trace of socialism from America.
Socialism is immoral.
But what about crime?
OK, you concede, capitalism builds better and cheaper cars than the Kremlin. But
what about crime? If we abolish the government, crime will break out and capitalism
will collapse into "anarchy" (chaos).
This too is statism.
This is the belief that you and I are basically criminals in waiting, and only
politicians can be trusted to keep us in line. Of course, you and I and other
criminals in waiting are the ones who will "vote" for these sanctified and
benevolent overseers, who will keep us from acting out our criminal proclivities.
Although in every other area of our lives we are "depraved," when we vote
we are wise and community-oriented. Once criminals like you and I "vote"
for our fellow criminals, they become sanctified protectors of law and order and
keep us from our depraved ways.
If you own a business, you cannot be trusted to hire a security agency to guard
your store. Your insurance agency isn't smart enough to tell you to hire a
protection service in order to continue your insurance coverage. And I must be
forced to pay for your security service with "taxes," because I am too
greedy and you are too stupid to make sure your business is safe.
Here are the links to prove that this statist thinking is unrealistic:
- Check the "Crime"
article in the pull-down
- Check the "sanctions"
article in the pull-down
- The Founding Fathers believed that "the government" could never be
powerful enough to prevent all crime -- and we shouldn't try to make it that
- Most businesses today rely on capitalist security agencies, because socialist
police forces have given up on preventing crime. They only arrest some
of the criminals after the crimes have already been committed and the
damage has been done. If the government were taken out of the crime-prevention
business, capitalists would scatter to provide high-tech crime prevention
services that would dramatically reduce crime.
- Socialist courts have no competition, and no incentive to become increasingly
just and fair. There is no reason why competing courts
provided by the Free Market cannot adjudicate disputes and provide redress
- The history of the "Lex
Mercatoria" is a history of the conquest of crime by Laissez-faire
- Murray Rothbard has applied the
ancient wisdom of the Lex Mercatoria to contemporary
criminal and legal issues.
- * "Laissez-faire"
comes from a French phrase meaning "let us do," or "let us
work" -- let us do what we do best.
- Let Henry Ford make cars so efficiently and at such a low price that even the
poor can own one.
- Let Bill Gates make software that enables even the most machine-shy to operate
- And let Sam Walton establish a chain of stores to sell the products of
capitalists in every American town.
Socialism could never have done these things, so we say to socialists,