Christopher Lucero | The Myth of Pure Capitalism

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

A recent “Right Here Right Now” column (Denise Lite, June 22) railed against socialism and praised capitalism — a reasonable proposition. It stated, “America is at the precipice of choosing between a capitalist or socialist country, and voters better study up before making that choice.” 

The argument is flawed, false and/or naive. 

Most polemical rants fail because of their basis in emotion. This one was sprinkled with meritable factoids, yet the conclusion — the title even — were somewhat shallow and in the end, baseless nonsense.

Since it was a polemic targeting a political opponent, and especially pleading to “end socialism,” it reminded me of Martin Niemöller’s Poem, “First they came …” (…) 

The June 22 RHRN proposed that we are “choosing between capitalist or socialist,” an expression of binary clarity. Such proposition is impossible and/or unwise. I recalled something from basic macroeconomics: Any purified socioeconomic system, like pure capitalism or pure communism or pure socialism, is totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is very bad for freedom: It is the systematized crushing of human spirit. Luckily there exist no purely capitalistic, socialistic, communistic, or theist socioeconomic nations ANYWHERE on Earth ( This made me certain that the position was misleading nonsense.

The nonsense that dominates right-wing positions seeks to induce dissatisfaction where none should reasonably exist. Cultural dissatisfaction and emotionally based rhetoric generates wildly whipsawing behavior, lashing out against many perceived enemies and evils even when their culture’s own leadership is demonstrably not honest or truthful.  

I suggest more thoughtful argument for capitalism over socialism. Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), is his witnessing of the rise of National Socialism in Germany after World War I. Hayek witnessed firsthand how right-wing attitudes capitalized upon a dissatisfaction among common Germans in order to seize power, to then campaign for a change in world order brought about by an acceptance of genocide. Hayek’s premise is about individualism and free-market capitalism. It is a slog but well worth it. It cohesively argues the same factoids utilized and poorly assembled by the June 22 RHRN column. Hayek’s book also reveals disturbing parallels between what happened a century ago in Germany and our current experiences of today’s right-wing search for power — Jan. 6 vis-a-vis the Beer Hall Putsch, as one example.

The June 22 RHRN author exhibited base and alienating rudeness, inviting anyone who “believes in socialism” to “consider moving.” The author might also consider moving, but then find that a pure capitalist locale — remember that binary choice — is nonexistent except when anarchy is rampant. 

A pure capitalist place will never exist because organizing for governance requires social support, and admitting socialism in some degree. The family unit itself is either a communist or socialist structure. Who runs their family like a capitalist?

The very first sentence of our Constitution, “We the People,” commits to — “socializes” — five common goods that the nation will provide for its citizens  — a “social contract.” It then goes on in the articles to describe the framework to fulfill that contract.

Perhaps the June 22 RHRN author would consider moving. Where is that capitalist Valhalla? Pure capitalist locales are plagued by constant tribal warfare over territory and resources, like Somalia, Nigeria, or Sudan. Independence and thrift in those places is only assured by the individual’s abilities to command and dominate via violence. Maybe that what is really being proposed by the June 22 RHRN column. This reveals why our nation is now considered by conservative rhetoric to be third world: It fulfills their own endgame. “Its not a bug, it is a feature.” 

The places that are ranked by The Heritage Foundation as outstanding capitalists — Singapore, Switzerland, etc. — tend to be authoritarian … and socialist. Nearly all have universal (socialized) health care. “Obamacare,” for example.

Might we worry that cultural dissatisfaction induced by nonsense rhetoric, sustained and potent, might lead the U.S. to go down the same path as Germany?

“Right Here Right Now” is “Wrong Here Right Now.” Vote accordingly. Happy Independence Day from Friedrich Hayek and Martin Niemöller. 

Christopher Lucero


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