by Glenn Littrell
It is ironic that Jonah Goldberg ["Ungrateful capitalist keep whining", Aug., 1, Indianapolis Star] credits capitalism with having given more to humanity than any idea except religion while at the same time promoting capitalism not as an economic system but as an pseudo-religious belief. Too many in this country confuse capitalism with a system of government, or worse, a religion. As has become the common practice Mr. Goldberg seems to believe that capitalism will right all wrongs and prevail over all evils by the power of its righteousness.
But capitalism has accomplished nothing by itself. Mr. Goldberg and others are willing to ignore the role democracy, human nature, religion, law, political movements [suffrage, civil rights, workers rights], science and the arts have played in making this country great. To him these things were made possible by capitalism. Ignoring that capitalism has existed in other countries that have achieved little. As a matter of fact it exist now in Communist China and it has alleviated or changed little except to benefit the communist elite.
Capitalism has been the motivating factor behind slavery, imperialism, war profiteering and even genocide. Capitalism has given us land, oil and rail barons who have enslaved, oppressed and swindled the working man for centuries. Yet Mr. Goldberg calls capitalism "...the greatest system ever created for alleviating human misery..." and gives it sole credit for benefits that the working class now enjoy even though most of those benefits were obtained by the working class in defiance of the capitalist.
Whenever the dark side of capitalism is exposed that dark side is dismissed and blamed on the human element, most often greed. This is where Mr. Goldberg and others at the alter of capitalism show there hypocrisy: If humanity's vices corrupt capitalism then aren't humanity's virtues its saving grace? In other words the role of capitalism in history is dependent on those other ideals that Mr. Goldberg sets aside. Unfettered capitalism is not perfection. To see capitalism without control just look at the drug trade or other black markets. Without rules of play a market sinks into chaos and violence.
Capitalism is a desirable economic/financial system. It is not a form of government or religion. Without controls and limits it does not contribute to mankind it only diminishes society for the benefit of a few. Capitalism is a good system when it is prevented from running amok. It is for these reasons that we should resist Mr. Goldberg and others tendency to deify capitalism.
In the words of A. M. Schlesinger: "The object of liberalism has never been to destroy capitalism...only to keep the capitalist from destroying it."