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The Anti-Capitalist Impulse on the Right
Townhall.com ^ | October 24, 2009 | Carl Horowitz

Posted on 10/24/2009 4:53:59 AM PDT by Kaslin

Irving Kristol, who died last month at age 89, inspired some highly mixed feelings in me. On the positive side, this renowned public intellectual was possessed of political realism, a firm anti-utopian grasp of the possible. Like Thomas Sowell and P.J. O’Rourke, though more understated, he had a superb gift for deflating the morally-charged conceits and histrionics of Left egalitarianism. On the negative side, he exhibited a shockingly narrow and vitriolic view of contemporary culture. That hatred, unfortunately, did much to sour his view of capitalism. And his widespread influence on this count has become painfully apparent.

Arguably more than anyone else in the 20th century, Irving Kristol and Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) defined, in different ways, the American Right’s view of capitalism. Each thought little of latter-day liberalism and the capitalists who accommodated it, but Kristol believed that businessmen who behaved contrarily to civilized (or “bourgeois”) norms were at least as bad as socialists. Established political authorities thus have an obligation to ban certain buyer-seller transactions – a great many of them, actually. Modern societies, like ancient ones, must affirm objective truths.

Mises, by contrast, saw projecting motive onto capitalists and their customers as a futile and potentially tyrannical exercise. In his book, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, the preeminent Austrian economist observed that animosity toward capitalism is manifest in a dislike of capitalists. Opponents of business, he argued, view businessmen as profit-obsessed reprobates undermining societal well-being:

As they see it, this ghastly mode of society’s economic organization has brought about nothing but mischief and misery…For these scoundrels nothing counts but their moneyed interests. They do not produce good and really useful things, but only what will yield the highest profits. They poison bodies with alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and souls and minds with tabloids, lascivious books and silly moving pictures. The ‘ideological superstructure’ of capitalism is a literature of decay and degradation, the burlesque show and the art of strip-tease, the Hollywood pictures and the detective stories.

These words, though written more than 50 years ago, have an oddly contemporary ring. More to the point, they refer to moralists on the Right as much as those on the Left. That’s all the more troubling since many among the former – like Irving Kristol – have been professed friends of free enterprise. The truth is that the Right carries a cartload of petty anti-capitalist resentments of its own.

This goes against the grain of accepted wisdom, which sees anti-market attitudes as an almost exclusively Leftist vocation. Such a view is understandable. The Left’s reigning idea is that the market, left to its own devices, is incapable of providing moral justice. While capitalism may be efficient, its enormous social costs require rectification through outside control. Inevitably, that means a massive expansion of the State, so long as the “right” people (e.g., Barack Obama, Hugo Chavez) run it. Yet traditionalists of the Right have their own pedigree of fear and loathing of capitalism long predating the rise of the Left. Their arguments raise the age-old philosophical distinction between “wants” and “needs.”

For many centuries, almost all societies were de facto “conservative.” That is, the main tenets of classical conservatism, steeped in reverence for hierarchy, were so ingrained that they required no political movement to promote them. People simply “knew their place.” Those of low hereditary status risked severe sanctions if they pulled rank on their social betters.

Luxury, a manifestation of early capitalism, thus was something to be feared. Its widespread availability, authorities believed, would lead to sloth, lechery or worse. In later centuries, those justifying such a moral code frequently pointed to fallen ancient civilizations whose masses of people had grown spoiled, soft and weak from luxury. Only landed nobility had the right to fulfill wants. Everyone else had to be content with rigidly-circumscribed needs. In his book, Luxury: The Concept in Western Thought, Eden to Smollett, John Sekora notes:

(T)he pursuit of luxury, however considered, was viewed as a fundamental and generic vice from which other subordinate vices would ensue. In the Old Testament, where it is equated with disobedience to God, it is the cardinal sin of the Israelites. In Plato and Aristotle, the Cynics and the Stoics, it is the first and most important violation of nature and reason. For the Roman historians, it is the primary factor in the dissolution of the Republic. For the Christian theologians, it is prima facie evidence of both disobedience to God and love of a degraded world.

The prohibition against luxury also assumed a common legal dimension: sumptuary laws. Such enactments reinforced existing hierarchies. By making food, clothing and other consumption items associated with aristocrats off-limits to commoners, those in power could be insulated from challenge. During the ancient Roman Republic, authorities published a book containing the names of everyone found guilty of luxurious living. England during the Middle Ages prescribed the color, material and type of clothing for people of various ranks and trades. Such laws were not necessarily rigorously enforced, but their mere existence inhibited the development of business culture. For if shame and approbation were attached to living “too well,” what intrepid entrepreneur would service such illicit desires?

Sumptuary laws pretty much had become extinct by the close of the 18th century, as modern ideas of sovereignty, rights and contract took hold, but the instinct to mistrust and punish those of low status has remained powerful. Military life, where rank is paramount, is probably the clearest example of tight restrictions on dress, speech and other outward behavior. Countless unwritten laws of etiquette still prevail. An employee does not, for example, drive a flashier car than the boss without inviting suspicion. Highly liturgical religions also have maintained a strict code of appearances, as do various sectarian cults. Margaret Atwood’s dystopian 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, isn’t that far-fetched.

Capitalism, more than any other institution, dissolved the idea of the forbidden in everyday life. Under the Austrian or libertarian view, capitalists have the right to offer “frivolous” goods and services, and consumers have the right to buy them. Economic knowledge is subjective. The people best able to calculate the wisdom of economic decisions are those participating in them. Parties outside their frame of reference, especially in the realm of government, lack the knowledge or moral standing to intervene.

Traditionalists generally find this infuriating. For them, the exercise of personal freedom is tantamount to its misuse. A healthy culture, in their minds, must prevent adults from attending immoral concerts, watching immoral TV programs, and reading immoral magazines (or allowing their offspring to do likewise). This was the rock upon which Irving Kristol stood, not to mention Robert Bork, Walter Berns and David Lowenthal, all enthusiastic supporters of censorship. As licentious appetites must be whetted in today’s carnival of consumption, they argue, authorities should restrain people from indulging those appetites. Capitalism, while more efficient than socialism, undermines virtue. New sumptuary laws, of a sort, are needed.

This is the central argument of Kristol’s popular 70s-era book, Two Cheers for Capitalism. For him, capitalism earns a cheer each for efficiency and liberty. But it doesn’t earn a third cheer because it lacks the means of satisfying the search for existential authenticity. Worse yet, it lends credibility to darker existential impulses if money can be made. For the remainder of his career, this view would be his leitmotif. As long as people such as Hugh Hefner are permitted to run profitable enterprises, Kristol argued, capitalists would be the gravediggers of capitalism.

It was Kristol’s founding partner of The Public Interest, sociologist Daniel Bell, who gave this view its fullest expression. In his own 70s-era book, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, Bell, a self-described socialist in economics, liberal in politics and conservative in culture, was apoplectic that the “counterculture” was becoming integrated into capitalism. America apparently was better off with its artists starving. While running a successful business still requires traditional economic calculation, he argued, marketing and advertising require pandering to base instincts. “The consequence of this contradiction,” writes Bell, “…is that a corporation finds its people being straight by day and swingers by night.” Bell reveals his hysterical authoritarianism in the following passage: “The question of who will use drugs, engage in orgies and wife-swapping, become an open homosexual, use obscenity as a political style, or enjoy ‘happenings’ and underground movies is not easily related to the ‘standard variables’ of sociological discourse.”

Many conservatives, in fact, since have made the argument that rising discretionary income has had the unintended effect of stimulating amoral wants. The late Canadian social philosopher, George Parkin Grant, a self-described conservative, defended socialism on precisely such grounds. And a new generation of “crunchy” American conservatives, such as Rod Dreher, Jeremy Beer and John Zmirak, are hardly friends of the market either.

Kristol was of the same cast of mind. Contempt for cultural freedom was his trump card. Though hardly a socialist, even socialists didn’t arouse his ire as much as counterculture-friendly businessmen did. He supported the idea of a “conservative welfare state,” and even defended “soaking the rich” under certain circumstances. One wonders whom he had in mind.

All of today’s arguments on the Right against “amoral” capitalism in a real sense ratify the Kristol-Bell thesis. Public policy, in their minds, must wage all-out war against anti-bourgeois forces masquerading as legitimate businessmen. This view, unfortunately, is akin to destroying the village in order to save it. For there would be no end to the Torquemada-like enthusiasm for rooting out immorality for fun and profit, replete with boycotts, censorship, arrests, and confiscatory taxes on luxury items. This obsession reaches its apogee in ceaseless (and baseless) campaigns against “Hollywood,” typically led by people who admit to not even seeing films they denounce. Since capitalists can’t be trusted with capitalism, they must be brought under strict social control. That advocates of this view haven’t necessarily practiced what they’ve preached (e.g., Bill Bennett’s costly casino excursions) does not invalidate their principle that liberty must play a subordinate role to hierarchy and tradition. The neoconservative critique of modernity isn’t that huge of a leap from Marx’s denunciation of the “fetishism of commodities.”

My response is this: Certain people at any given time will misuse their freedoms. But that in itself is insufficient cause for yanking freedoms from everyone. Irving Kristol, Daniel Bell, Robert George, Roger Kimball and Robert Bork, among others, don’t see things that way. Casting dark shadows of dispersion upon the pursuit of happiness, they would remove the freedom of the great many to enjoy the fruits of others’ creativity. Filmmakers such as Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson and David Fincher would be looking for alternative work. So would stand-up comics such as Margaret Cho, Chris Rock and Richard Lewis; musicians such as Depeche Mode, the White Stripes and Iggy Pop; and novelists such as Philip Roth, Gore Vidal and Chuck Palahniuk. What a dreary world these defenders of tradition would have us endure!

The Left, we are told, wants to create a “nanny state,” regulating adults as though they were children. That’s largely true. Yet moral busybodies of the Right have their own idealized nanny state. They may be comfortable with fatty foods, tobacco and alcohol, but they seek to banish film, drama, painting, literature, music and other cultural expressions not meeting their religious or cultural criteria. Such an impulse is not only bad civil liberties, it’s also bad economics. That’s why in the end, Ludwig von Mises, though not without his flaws, far more than Irving Kristol is a lodestar in the quest for human liberty.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: capitalism; irvingkristol; kristol
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 10/24/2009 4:53:59 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Only capitalism recognizes the inherent freedom of the individual. Only capitalism allows an individual to state unequivocally that no one has more standing in the question of how that individual will live than he does.

Any real desire for freedom must accept capitalism as essential; there is no other approach to economics that is compatible with freedom.

2 posted on 10/24/2009 4:59:18 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Buck Ofama!!)
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To: muir_redwoods
Only capitalism recognizes the inherent freedom of the individual.

Pure capitalism, perhaps. But crony capitalism/corporate fascism takes its economic power and buys off government - so you get company towns and other abuses of corporate power.

3 posted on 10/24/2009 5:00:55 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: Kaslin

Thomas Sowell rarely uses the term “capitalism”; instead, he says “a market economy.” It’s not unusual for people who say they don’t like “capitalism” to agree that they *do* like being able to buy or sell what they choose, work at the job they choose, have options for where to live, and so on.

Similarly, Dr. Sowell never uses “health care” to describe the relevant industry. He always says “medical treatment,” because that’s really what is being bought and sold.


4 posted on 10/24/2009 5:04:56 AM PDT by Tax-chick (God is great, and wine is good, and people are crazy.)
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To: Kaslin

It’s a weak cultural argument that can’t address the topic of “political correctness, “ as this writer does not. When certain ideas and cultural norms have been driven from the public square and forced to exist isolated and underground (none more so than 20 years ago “homosex caused the AIDS epidemic”), then you’re not taliking about a free market of ideas, no matter how much license is granted to the cultural leftists.


5 posted on 10/24/2009 5:05:07 AM PDT by gusopol3
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To: Kaslin

This is an argument between Libertarians and Conservatives. Conservatives pro capitalism have their limits. Once it goes against nationalism e.g protecting national businesses, they turn against capitalism, not realizing being pro-capitalism is pro-society


6 posted on 10/24/2009 5:05:23 AM PDT by 4rcane
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To: Kaslin
people who admit to not even seeing films they denounce

Guilty, but I don't really think I need to see "Brokeback Mountain", "Bowling for Columbine", "Sicko", "Farenheit 9/11", "An Inconvenient Truth" and so forth to know they're crap.

7 posted on 10/24/2009 5:07:29 AM PDT by Hardastarboard (Maureen Dowd is right. I DON'T like our President's color. He's a Red.)
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To: Hardastarboard

I agree. The only reason we need for *not* seeing a movie (tv show, play, comedian) is that we don’t want to. The free market at work!


8 posted on 10/24/2009 5:11:20 AM PDT by Tax-chick (God is great, and wine is good, and people are crazy.)
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To: dirtboy
But crony capitalism/corporate fascism takes its economic power and buys off government - so you get company towns and other abuses of corporate power.

WRONG

You drank the liberal kool-aid.

There is only one reason capitalists engage in government influence and payoffs, etc......that is because the gov't can affect their business.

If government would keep its nose out from regulating, preferences, etc, business would have no need to try and influence that government.

McCain and others laments the large sums of money in politics. That money would not be there unless there was a potential return on that money via favors, contracts, regulations, etc.

Don't accept the liberal, large-government that can make or break an industry and then hate the corporations that pay protection money to that liberal, large-government in order to survive.

9 posted on 10/24/2009 5:12:44 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Hardastarboard

I agree 100 percent with you


10 posted on 10/24/2009 5:14:50 AM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for 0bama: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Erik Latranyi
There is only one reason capitalists engage in government influence and payoffs, etc......that is because the gov't can affect their business.

Oh, horsecrap. Try reading both past history and current events. Folks like you who think corporations can do no wrong are useful idiots for those corporations, quite frankly.

11 posted on 10/24/2009 5:17:48 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: Kaslin

A agree with the general premise but we have to be careful. When government grows under GWB/Obama and you have huge government contracts, and bank bailouts , and monopolies many caused by government, some not, the concept of freedom breaks down. In those case the high salaries and bonuses are hardly freedom because the government is taxing it, or creating it.


12 posted on 10/24/2009 5:18:43 AM PDT by sickoflibs ( "It's not the taxes, the redistribution is the government spending you demand stupid")
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To: Kaslin

bookmark


13 posted on 10/24/2009 5:30:38 AM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: dirtboy
But crony capitalism/corporate fascism takes its economic power and buys off government - so you get company towns and other abuses of corporate power.

Got that backwards. Politicians use their power to create crony capitalism. This is the inherent myth manufactured about Capitalism by the Left that really needs to be debunked. Capitalist do not manufacture fascism, fascism corrupts capitalism to it's own ends.

14 posted on 10/24/2009 5:36:41 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Note to the GOP: Do not count your votes until they are cast.)
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To: MNJohnnie
Capitalist do not manufacture fascism, fascism corrupts capitalism to it's own ends.

Wrong. The process is symbiotic.

15 posted on 10/24/2009 5:40:34 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
Oh, horsecrap. Try reading both past history and current events. Folks like you who think corporations can do no wrong are useful idiots for those corporations, quite frankly.

I never said corporations can do not wrong.

Don't lie about me because you are a big-gov't, pro-regulation closet liberal.

Don't like it when I put words in your mouth, do you?

The fact remains that you cannot refute the premise that corporations would not care as much about government if government could not affect their bottom line.

16 posted on 10/24/2009 5:40:52 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: dirtboy

Strictly, what you are describing is Corporatism, not capitalism. It was described by an Italian economist named Gramsci but it’s full implementation awaited another Italian named Benito Mussolini


17 posted on 10/24/2009 5:41:22 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama: The Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers)
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To: dirtboy
Oh, horsecrap. Try reading both past history and current events. Folks like you who think corporations can do no wrong are useful idiots for those corporations, quite frankly.

At some point, whoever is in power will abuse it. The difference is that when corporations abuse power, there's usually a check and balance, whether it be lawyers, govt, or media, to rectify the situation.

The problem with a govt with too much power is that it has limited check and balances, especially if the govt controls the media and individual liberties such as gun ownership.

I think the article misses the important concept of a middle ground. A strict moral authoritarian govt is as undesirable as a strict amoral unauthoritarian govt. On one hand you have the Taliban, and on the other hand you have hedonistic Europe. Both will fail.

I think America is unique in that it had (maybe still has) found the perfect balance between a culture of individual freedoms and a culture of Christian morality. The Christian work ethic was a perfect fit for capitalism and the antidote for the resultant "pursuit of luxuries."

I do not believe that capitalism can survive without this unwritten Christian ethic. Without this ethic, morality is replaced with a written set of "thou shalt nots" that codifies the behavior of every minutia of our lives. As a result, no longer can business transactions be trusted with a handshake or a mutual understanding. Instead lawyers and juries decide who wins and loses.

This realization is why I switched from being a libertarian to a conservative.

18 posted on 10/24/2009 5:42:42 AM PDT by foobarred (My post is less racist than your teleprompter.)
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To: dirtboy
Oh, horsecrap. Try reading both past history and current events. Folks like you who think corporations can do no wrong are useful idiots for those corporations, quite frankly.

No what is pure horse crap is this notion that their is this evil capitalist cabal out there manipulating everything to the determent of the "little guy" That is total Marxist manufactured myth. Corporations are nothing but collections of stock holders. They exist to maximize profits. Since Das Capital the Marxists have manufactured this myth of "evil capitalism" that has been successful exploited by the Leftist politicians ever since as their fraudulent threat they are defending the "little guy" from. All the corporations are doing is paying the Big Government thugs protection money to be left alone

19 posted on 10/24/2009 5:43:08 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Note to the GOP: Do not count your votes until they are cast.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Don't lie about me because you are a big-gov't, pro-regulation closet liberal.

I'm not. I stand by my comments that folks like you are a useful idiot for corporate fascism by your pretending that it's all the fault of government. We saw the practical limits of anti-regulation dogma reached last year - for example, the exemption of credit default swaps from regulation and the lack of regulation of ratings agencies. But some folks refuse to learn from both history and current events.

The fact remains that you cannot refute the premise that corporations would not care as much about government if government could not affect their bottom line.

Google Archer-Daniels Midland and Enron and get back to me.

20 posted on 10/24/2009 5:47:25 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: Toddsterpatriot; Mase; expat_panama

Interesting, but heavy, read. (I think the author looses a little grip when he starts discussing “popular” culture). Maybe if he stuck to discussing capitalists on the Right vs. anti-capitalists on the Right.


21 posted on 10/24/2009 5:49:35 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: MNJohnnie
No what is pure horse crap is this notion that their is this evil capitalist cabal out there manipulating everything to the determent of the "little guy"

Where did I say there was a cabal? Certain corrupt companies, such as Goldman Sachs or Archer-Daniels Midland, have deep influence in government and exploit government to either expand their bottom line (exempting new commodities exchanges from regulation, ethanol subsidies) or protect it at taxpayer expense (AIG bailout). The process has evolved over time. It is symbiotic, but has happened throught the industrial revolution - during the Ludlow massacre, the governor of Colorad had been bought off by mining interests, in whose mines workers died at twice the national rate. And that governor turned the National Guard on striking miners. I think unions have largely outlived their usefulness nowadays, but 100 years ago they were vital towards breaking the incestuous grip of corporations and government.

22 posted on 10/24/2009 5:52:05 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: Kaslin

The author just assumes the general moral decay decried by Kristol can continue indefinitely without undermining the bourgeois values necessary for its continuations.

If this is untrue, which I believe, then unrestricted capitalism carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

It is really very simple. The free market economy is the economic version of evolution in biology. Survival of the fittest, the best suited to its environment. The scientific method is a way of applying roughly the same principle to the search for knowledge.

Evolution, the free market and science are not and cannot be moral. They are merely the most efficient ways of arriving at results. What those results will be is not inherent in the system. Any moral component must come from outside these systems.

IMO the free market produces, among many wonderful and useful products, much that is objectively harmful to society, degrading its moral capital. We are presently living off accumulated moral capital, but we’re not reinvesting. We may live to find out what happens when that capital is finally gone.


23 posted on 10/24/2009 5:55:49 AM PDT by Sherman Logan ("The price of freedom is the toleration of imperfections." Thomas Sowell)
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To: foobarred
I do not believe that capitalism can survive without this unwritten Christian ethic.

Or at least some kind of basic personal sense of responsibility. IMO that is why the Candadian banking system did not face the potential of system meltdown over bad mortgage securities that our system did. And that responsibility was manifest at all levels. Homeowners can't just walk away from mortgages without facing additional exposure to other assets. Banks held on to their mortgages instead of dumping them on others. Regulators focused on risk management instead of micromanaging the business side. And bankers got rid of exotic investments they could not understand.

Whereas in this country, everyone looks to government as a means to get 'free' money. And that happens whether you are a homeowner who over-extended or a corporate executive who wants all the rewards but wants taxpayers to cover the risk.

But your post is basically spot-on.

24 posted on 10/24/2009 5:57:44 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
What a naive fool you are.

The government had full authority to regulate these areas, but failed in its duty.

So when government does not do its job, you blame capitalism.......brilliant.

I guess the failure to regulate subprime mortgages is also the fault of big banks?

25 posted on 10/24/2009 6:00:13 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: dirtboy
The two chief enemies of the free society or free enterprise are intellectuals on the one hand and businessmen on the other, for opposite reasons. Every intellectual believes in freedom for himself, but he’s opposed to freedom for others.…He thinks…there ought to be a central planning board that will establish social priorities.…The businessmen are just the opposite—every businessman is in favor of freedom for everybody else, but when it comes to himself that’s a different question. He’s always the special case. He ought to get special privileges from the government, a tariff, this, that, and the other thing…
--Milton Friedman, quoted in Reason magazine.

There's a better one out there about business using the government to keep their competitors out of the way, but I couldn't find it.
26 posted on 10/24/2009 6:01:15 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: muir_redwoods
Only capitalism recognizes the inherent freedom of the individual. Only capitalism allows an individual to state unequivocally that no one has more standing in the question of how that individual will live than he does.
Of course. It almost goes without saying. This article reminds me of my ongoing discomfort with the word "conservative" since it does contain manifestations of nanny-statism, though not nearly as rigid or encompassing as socialism.

I prefer the word "Republican" to "conservative"... or rather, I WOULD prefer that word if the party hadn't been long ago taken over by GHWBush/Rockerfeller socialist elitists.

So for now, despite it's weaknesses, "conservative" is the best word we've got.

27 posted on 10/24/2009 6:01:30 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: Erik Latranyi
The government had full authority to regulate these areas, but failed in its duty.

No, folks like Phil Gramm got specific exemptions inserted into law for new commodities exchanges and for credit default swaps - at the behest of their contributors. Investment banks pressured the FTC to increase allowed leverage ratios.

You call me an igorant fool as you display your rampant igorance of the details.

I guess the failure to regulate subprime mortgages is also the fault of big banks?

It was a combined failure at all levels - individuals, banks, ratings agencies, and government. But corporate shills like yourself like to just blame one side, just as the Dems try to blame others for their pushing for laxer lending standards.

Try reading up on why the Candadian banking system did not face collapse and get back to me.

28 posted on 10/24/2009 6:05:37 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: 1rudeboy
There's a better one out there about business using the government to keep their competitors out of the way, but I couldn't find it.

A principled free-marketer like Freedman gets it. Enron was in favor of carbon 'markets'. Regulations become a barrier to entry for competitors.

29 posted on 10/24/2009 6:07:43 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: 4rcane
This is an argument between Libertarians and Conservatives. Conservatives pro capitalism have their limits. Once it goes against nationalism e.g protecting national businesses, they turn against capitalism, not realizing being pro-capitalism is pro-society
On the other hand, Libertarians care nothing about the survival of the Republic in a dangerous world. Though they pay lip service (minimal) to the idea that the government has the duty to protect borders, the reality is Libertarians never saw a military action or defensive strategy that they didn't fundamentally oppose.

To me the important thing is the Republic of the United States of America. Without that Republic, there is no freedom, at home or abroad.

Capitalists, left to their own devices, would be over-run by Chicago-land thugs... hey, like today!

Without a healthy REPUBLICAN party (a party that believes in the principles of the Republic of the United States as much as those of the free market), we end up with socialism and slavery. At home and abroad.

30 posted on 10/24/2009 6:07:47 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: foobarred

Excellent post. I agree.


31 posted on 10/24/2009 6:08:10 AM PDT by Sherman Logan ("The price of freedom is the toleration of imperfections." Thomas Sowell)
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To: Kaslin

Immorality is hardly an exclusive characteristic of capitalism. Other economic systems definitely boost their share of it. In fact, the leftist economic ideologies are a triumph of immorality.


32 posted on 10/24/2009 6:08:35 AM PDT by etradervic (Democrat uber deficit spending proves that the swine flu originated in DC)
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To: samtheman

Personally, I prefer “Constitutionalist”, it puts leftists in the position of overtly arguing against the Constitution.


33 posted on 10/24/2009 6:08:56 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama: The Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers)
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To: dirtboy

Wow.. You are quite the fool.


34 posted on 10/24/2009 6:11:39 AM PDT by Onerom99 (I)
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To: Onerom99

Care to elaborate? Or do you just rely on your opinion rather than facts?


35 posted on 10/24/2009 6:12:40 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: muir_redwoods

I agree. “Constitutionalist” is a good word. The brilliance of the Founders is enshrined in the Constitution and it specifically says that government only has authority over those things that are specifically given to it in the document.


36 posted on 10/24/2009 6:12:52 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: samtheman

Great, now the party has two members ;-)


37 posted on 10/24/2009 6:16:22 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Obama: The Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers)
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To: muir_redwoods

There is a constitution party and this is one of its planks:

American Sovereignty: American government committed to the protection of the borders, trade, and common defense of Americans, and not entangled in foreign alliances.

That sounds too much like the Libertarians to me. Too much like sticking your head in the sand.

If Reagan had been a member of this party as POTUS I wonder if he would have been able to win the Cold War.

No, give me the Republican Party, but let me work my hardest to make it more conservative and less socialist.

It’s the only vehicle we’ve got.


38 posted on 10/24/2009 6:19:38 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: Erik Latranyi
"There is only one reason capitalists engage in government influence and payoffs, etc......that is because the gov't can affect their business. If government would keep its nose out from regulating, preferences, etc, business would have no need to try and influence that government."

Dirtboy is right, and you are wrong. A specific example is the use of money power by the Walt Disney company to get legislation passed to extend the copyrights of their cartoon characters. Mickey Mouse should long ago have passed into the public domain.

Large accumulations of power, whether by government OR businesses, are bad.

39 posted on 10/24/2009 6:20:03 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog ( The Hog of Steel)
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To: dirtboy
I still can't find it, but I found another one:

I have been impressed time and again by the schizophrenic character of many businessmen. They are capable of being extremely farsighted and clearheaded in matters that are internal to their businesses. They are incredibly shortsighted and muddle headed in matters that are outside their businesses but affect the possible survival of business in general. This shortsightedness is strikingly exemplified in the calls from many businessmen for wage and price guidelines or controls or income policies. There is nothing that could do more in a brief period to destroy a market system and replace it by a centrally controlled system than effective governmental control of prices and wages.
--Milton Friedman.

40 posted on 10/24/2009 6:28:13 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Kaslin
For these scoundrels nothing counts but their moneyed interests. They do not produce good and really useful things, but only what will yield the highest profits. They poison bodies with alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and souls and minds with tabloids, lascivious books and silly moving pictures. The ‘ideological superstructure’ of capitalism is a literature of decay and degradation, the burlesque show and the art of strip-tease, the Hollywood pictures and the detective stories.

There's truth in that but it is called supplying the demand.

41 posted on 10/24/2009 6:31:50 AM PDT by Graybeard58 ( Selah.)
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To: Kaslin

Profit is what motivates people to grow food, build houses, make computers and generally take the effort that creates the standard of living that is attainable (not guaranteed)in a free society. What the philosphically tilted economists like Kristol object to is what they view as capitalism’s dark side, but the dark side is human nature and not a flawed political system. Among free people, it is manifest in excess and debauchery; in closed societies, it’s manifest in oppression, torture and murder. Until man figures out how to alter human nature, those will be his choices.


42 posted on 10/24/2009 6:48:38 AM PDT by Spok
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To: Wonder Warthog; dirtboy; Erik Latranyi
Both you and dirtboy are wrong because you fall for the Marxist fraud that blames capitalism for the bad actions of Government.

Government choose to reward Disney and punish it's competitors, Disney merely defend it's interests in it's copyrights, Government acted to reward Disney.

The problem here is the Marxist have successfully indoctrinated too many Americans with this notion of the evil capitalist cabal.

Yes, there are bad actors in Business but to blanket blame all Corporations for bad actions at some corporations is simplistic nonsense. It also is a simple way to scapegoat business for the corrupt incompetence of Government. Rather then hold them accountable for their actions, the Left merely blames "Big business" for the failure of Government and the good little American voters buy the nonsense.

The solution is not a blanket condemnation of business but to hold Government accountable for it's failures. Government exists to protect us from force, fraud and abuse. The solution to it's failures is NOT to blame business but to hold Government accountable for it continual attempt to overreaching it's legitimate power.

43 posted on 10/24/2009 7:12:28 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Note to the GOP: Do not count your votes until they are cast.)
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To: Spok
Until man figures out how to alter human nature, those will be his choices.

We have figured it out. Religion alters human nature. Whether it be Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc., religion puts in place a set of ethics, defines culture, and places boundaries on behavior. Even in a modern society with sophisticated social structure, cultural norms and ethics are far more powerful in shaping human nature than any govt mandated law would do.

Dirtboy posted about the Canadian banking system and their sense of individual responsibility versus ours. Canada has no laws mandating personal responsibility. No govt does. But their culture protected them from individuals taking advantage of an onerous situation that is allowed from a legal standpoint.

I'm not saying that religion is the sole remedy for the eventual self-destruction of Capitalism. However, one must realize that virtue does play a huge part on whether a nation can survive regardless of the economic system.

As a conservative, I believe that govt does have a role to play in promoting virtue. The govt, with its massive power, must be careful in doing so, and should use direct legislation as the bastion of last resort (e.g., Prohibition). There are many other methods the govt could use in perserving "useful" virtue, such as having an English-as-an-official-language policy; enacting loser-pay laws in curbing frivolous lawsuits; or simply cleaning out corruption by passing term-limits on Congress.

44 posted on 10/24/2009 7:15:00 AM PDT by foobarred (My post is less racist than your teleprompter.)
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To: MNJohnnie
Both you and dirtboy are wrong because you fall for the Marxist fraud that blames capitalism for the bad actions of Government.

Second strawman you've erected so far on this thread. The Dems are a large part of this problem. So are many pubbies, such as Phil Gramm. But that does not change the historical fact that companies historically have turned to governmen to either increase their bottom line, shut out competitors, or have taxpayers assume risk.

Yes, there are bad actors in Business but to blanket blame all Corporations for bad actions at some corporations is simplistic nonsense

That's your third strawman, show me where I have blamed all corporations.

The fact that you cannot debate this subject without abject reliance on distorting my position points to the weakness of yours.

45 posted on 10/24/2009 7:16:00 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
But corporate shills like yourself like to just blame one side, just as the Dems try to blame others for their pushing for laxer lending standards

While Marxist shills like yourself squeal about "big Business" to avoid having to confront the failure of Government to perform it's legitimate functions.

46 posted on 10/24/2009 7:17:05 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Note to the GOP: Do not count your votes until they are cast.)
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To: dirtboy
Instead of just squealing the same Neo Marxist dogma over and over try actually reading and responding to the point raised in the posts to you.
47 posted on 10/24/2009 7:18:16 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Note to the GOP: Do not count your votes until they are cast.)
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To: MNJohnnie
While Marxist shills like yourself squeal about "big Business" to avoid having to confront the failure of Government to perform it's legitimate functions.

Fourth strawman. I also hold our corrupt establishment leadership in both parties as culpable (in the case of the GOP, last seen shilling for a hard-left corrupt candidate in upstate New York). But the discussion here is about nature of the relationship of corporations and government.

48 posted on 10/24/2009 7:20:10 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: MNJohnnie
Instead of just squealing the same Neo Marxist dogma over and over try actually reading and responding to the point raised in the posts to you.

If you would do something other than erect strawman posts, I'd be glad to.

49 posted on 10/24/2009 7:20:50 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: MNJohnnie
"Both you and dirtboy are wrong because you fall for the Marxist fraud that blames capitalism for the bad actions of Government."

I suppose you think that folks who OFFER bribes are guiltless, and only those who accept them should be blamed??

"Government choose to reward Disney and punish it's competitors, Disney merely defend it's interests in it's copyrights, Government acted to reward Disney."

And Disney's actions went beyond the legitimate actions of business in doing so, by suborning government.

"Yes, there are bad actors in Business but to blanket blame all Corporations for bad actions at some corporations is simplistic nonsense."

I suggest you go back and re-read what I actually wrote. "Blanket blame" is nowhere to be found. But by the same token, putting the blame ONLY on government is simply idiotic. BOTH sides end up suborning liberty to their own benefit.

The "country club Republicans" go too far in favor of business, and the socialist Democrats go too far against it. Both are wrong.

50 posted on 10/24/2009 7:21:40 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog ( The Hog of Steel)
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