Why Capitalism?

I mean, there’s a lot of other forms of government out there. Communism, socialism, monarchy, democracy, etc. So why exactly is capitalism so important?

Not for the reason you might think

On the surface capitalism appears beneficial to all, with every able bodied person being able to forge their own success and reach for the stars. This is not a bad idea. By nature we seek to reach farther than we need to. We are discontent creatures, and let’s just be honest, we can always have more. With capitalism, the mass accumulation of wealth is not just allowed, it is intrinsic. At some point I actually believe that this system functioned properly for a time. I feel that individuals were driven by the prospect of fortune, something that would not exist in a government such as socialism. This is still not ideal. Stripping existence down to revolving around currency means we are effectively lessening our humanity. But, it still worked. There’s a reason that’s past tense.

Look at our world now. We’ve definitely come a long way, and we’ve got the medals to prove it. We’ve abolished segregation by skin color and sexuality. Women are equal to men in every respect. There are labor laws, food regulations, programs for those in poverty, and we have increased understanding of everything under the sun. This must surely be paradise.

The sad truth of this great nation is that it was never built to last. It was created in a haste and the parties involved were all wealthy. We can look back and say thank god we aren’t as barbaric as those racist, sexist, disease ridden imbeciles. But, certain aspects of the world never change.

When society advances, the people regress

There was a time when artists and thinkers, visionaries and inventors, and ignoramuses lived together and were happy to do so. There has always been an undeniable division in society, evidenced by classes and labels. In fact, looking back at when culture experienced its highest point, it can be agreed that even Rome had its fair share of shortcomings. The problem with anarchists and indeed revolutionaries is that they all want to model a new society after an existing one. But, if you look back into history it is evident that no society has utterly succeeded.

A working society is a bit of an inconclusive term. What exactly is a “Working Society”. If we define a working society as a society that merely functions, we are in effect speaking on behalf of all forms of government including dictatorships. A concrete distinction between society and governments must be instated. A government is not the sum of a society, but society is a product, in part, of its government. The idea of freedom is beautiful, and we are said to be graced with the privilege of deciding our own destiny. However, very few people understand what freedom even means.

The starting point for discussions relating to governments and culture should be setting in stone what precisely is desired. In America, the goal was clear. We desired freedom from the shackles of an unjust government. This was hundreds of years ago, and the goal of our nation has changed. We are told we have freedom from the moment of birth. We are shown those who have fought to preserve it. We are bombarded with images of countries in which freedom is not even a hope. But stop for a second and ask yourself, what is freedom?

Freedom of choice can be said to define freedom. So, let’s operate under that pretense. A person is offered two different candies, and are told they can choose to eat one or the other, or both. Freedom. But, what if a person was offered the chance to pursue an education, accumulate wealth, and pay for goods and services, or live life as a degenerate? No person in their right mind would choose to be destitute. When offered a choice from a murderer between life and death, virtually unanimously, life will be chosen. Is that truly freedom?

Magicians employ tricks to captivate their audience into believing in something that didn’t actually happen. The main tools in a magicians arsenal are distraction and forced choices. Allow me to clarify the latter. When offered a choice between cards, the magician will grant you freedom to pick whatever you wish, but from the beginning it is all an illusion. In fact, it never mattered what you chose in the first place. You are asked to verify that the deck is shuffled, then six random cards are selected by the magician. The cards are laid out in two horizontal rows and you are asked to choose one of them. You pick the top one and then are asked to select any two cards.   You select two and two are removed. The magician then takes one of your cards and amazingly guesses the card in your hand. What you don’t realize is that the magician knew what the card was from the start. When you picked the top row you happened to pick the row containing the card. When you selected two cards the magician took out the one he did not know. In the end you were left with the card the magician wanted you to have.

Deception for fun is accepted, even sought after. We love to be dazzled by sleight of hand tricks and mental illusions. The greatest part of the magician’s job is that his audience enjoys the deception. We don’t need to know how the trick works, that would take the “magic” out of it. We enjoy magic shows because it’s cathartic to release our hold on reality for a time. There is great comfort in ignorance. So why does any of this matter? It’s hardly relevant to my existence if a magician performs tricks and fools everyone. In this case, you are correct, and magicians are indeed only interested in entertaining for a living. Deceit, however, is very relevant to us all, and the greatest magicians in the world have been fooling us for years from their ivory podiums.

Freedom is a lie. We choose what we wear, what we eat, how we talk, who we love, and what we believe in. But the age of revolutionary ideas and changes is over. Let’s examine our “Freedom”. We have the freedom and privilege of education.

Don’t make me laugh.

We are “free” to be thrust into a mandatory school system. We have the freedom to be taught about what someone else deems appropriate, and we are so blessed that it can be taught any way that they please. We are free to be assigned a letter to determine our intellectual worth, and to learn that these letters form a number that will dictate our validity. We have the freedom to accept what we are told without inquiry, and become adept at memorizing information and rules. We are “smart” when we master our powers of recollection, and are worthy when we prove that we can answer questions well enough to be considered worthy to work. The reality of secondary schools is harsh. We are bound to a curriculum, taught to bury our creativity, forced to learn subject matter that we never chose, and if we don’t, then we are criminals. Oh yes, the truancy officers notice when we don’t show up bright eyed and bushy tailed to school. But, we’re free, right?

We are privileged with unlimited access to the best health care in the world. And who wouldn’t be content with medicines that treat symptoms without curing the cause? We are fortunate as well, to have unaffordable medical expenses tacked on to such wonderful treatments as chemotherapy. There is indeed a price for your life, and it numbers in the hundred thousands. In fact, medical expenses are higher here in America than anywhere else in the world.With the price of medical practice rising and the average wealth of the majority of the American population diminishing, the outlook for the future is bleak at best.

So how does any of this relate to freedom? It relates because of the forced choices.You don’t have to go to college, but good luck building a successful career. You don’t have to make a lot of money, but good luck affording medicine. You don’t have to relinquish your freedom, but the price asked for keeping it is profound. The idea of success is a rich man’s dream and a poor man’s dying wish. To have gained great riches, to have attained a prestigious degree, to have nothing to fear when sickness and disaster strike. That, is our working society. Keep the poor where they are, and keep feeding the rich.

When did our freedom become a cage?