It is a good idea when analyzing any social phenomenon or institution to look at how it is viewed in the present context by various groups in society and ask why they hold the view that they do. This can be a revealing exercise. If we know about the ideology of a certain group, and we know their general opinion of a certain institution, we can put them together and perhaps see something in that institution that we may have missed if we were to rely entirely on our own reactions, perspectives and prejudices. (MFW Standpoint theory.)
When it comes to capitalism today in the West, we can safely say that it is viewed in a poor light by the liberal intellectual establishment, commonly referred to as the Brahmins. If you are a former libertarian turned reactionary, I urge you to put aside whatever perspective bias you may be suffering from after years of imbibing Rothbard and living inside the libertarian echo-chamber. Pick up the NY Times and see what people with actual power in society today think of capitalism. It’s an interesting contrast from the endless praise and even outright worship it gets from the bow-tie/fedora sect.
Mainstream liberal sentiment is overwhelmingly negative on the question of capitalism. Opinions range from disapproval to outright hatred. Capitalism is blamed for whatever problems progressive liberals see in society, and their proposed solutions seem to always involve further expanding the reach of the democratic mega-state over more and more sectors of the economy. “Privatization” and “deregulation” are the mainstream progressive liberal’s favorite bugaboos. They are the cause of all the country’s economic ills. Corporations are talked about by these people the same way superstitious people talk about goblins, spooks and evil spirits. For-profit corporations are assumed to be acting in bad faith all the time. Conservative politicians and lobbyists are considered Satanic because they supposedly take money from these corporations and use it to underminedemocracy. Democracy, quite literally, means whatever it is that progressive liberals want at any given time.
The radical left, which is really just an ideological training ground for up and coming Brahmin youth before they join the ranks of the Democrats, hate capitalism with an all consuming passion. They cite the same basic reasons, though their rhetoric is somewhat more strident. They will usually base their arguments on popular texts by various radical communist and anarchist intellectuals. Proudhon, Bakhunin, Marx, Chomsky, Howard Zinn* et al* make up the essential reading list for the average college Brahmin today. Their differences with mainstream progressives are merely stylistic. In terms of actual content there is little difference between the narratives promoted by the young radicals of the Occupy movement and those promoted by the Democratic Party. The path from reading Noam Chomsky to lining up at the polls to vote Democrat is short and well trodden. These are just two groupings that fall within the same overall political and ideological caste. The common thread is that they all worship the same abstract ideals of equality, freedom and democracy.
The obvious question is why do they hate capitalism? What is it in capitalism that so contradicts their value system? The answer becomes obvious when we look at the ideals they value. They see capitalism as a system that is unequal, undemocratic and unfree. Obviously capitalism makes some people rich, and leaves others poor. Therefore it is bad because inequality. Honestly, no deeper analysis is required on this point. Really. That is about as deeply as the average liberal has pondered the issue. Democracy is conceived of as a horizontal decision making process where everyone gets a say. The idea that everyone getting a say is good goes unquestioned. Capitalism is not democracy. It is hierarchical and authoritarian. Decisions are made by bosses and carried out by workers. This just won’t do. Authoritarianism is bad. Freedom means the ability to act without any outside limitation. Capitalism presents an intolerable restriction on this ideal state of affairs.
This case against capitalism is retarded. The left does not understand the fairly simple mechanics of a market economy, and thus can never make accurate predictions about the likely results of their own policies. Their critique is shallow and ill thought out. One can easily make the argument that it is in fact capitalism that has created the material conditions that allow this sort of faggotry to thrive. Libertarians make this claim all the time, vainly thinking that maybe they will be able to convince one of these stubborn, self-important fools that they are undermining the very system that allows for all their senseless shit-eating. Right wing reactionaries tend to oppose capitalism for this very reason. After all, capitalism in the modern context is a fundamentally liberal institution, even if the left of today is too far gone to understand that.
Obviously, leftist hatred of capitalism is certainly no reason to support it, but it does give reason to take a second look and see if there are institutions there worth supporting. The standard definition of capitalism is the private ownership of capital assets (the means of production) utilized to produce goods and services for profit on a market. Private ownership of the means of production, or anything else, is a necessary institution for any society. The fact that this is the very institution that is most consistently under attack from the left is revealing. Hatred of private property is at the heart of the leftist opposition to capitalism, far more than any opposition they may have to markets. This hatred of property is nothing less than an attack on civilization itself.
Property is the physical foundation of society. Property is elitist, inegalitarian and hierarchical. It necessarily creates an inequality between those with and those without. This originally manifests itself in human history as an inequality in the ability to successfully engage in violence. Those who secure property for themselves through violence and are able to defend it are then in a better position to acquire more and more property due to the lowered risk of further violence that comes with each subsequent property acquisition. This in a nutshell is the origin of the ancient landed aristocracy, and ultimately the state. Under the state social life becomes more predictable as property norms are established and enforced. Wealth and productivity increase. This is a fundamentally healthy process.
The next step is increased trade and markets. Markets are simply a non-violent means of distribution and exchange. They are necessary if people want to avoid constant violence over resources. This is not to say that violence is necessarily bad. All markets exist and are sustained within a context that contains a perpetual threat of violence to maintain order. Markets are a means to avoid incessant violence, but like any stable human system they rely on men willing to use violence to back them up when rules are broken and norms are not respected. The idea of a purely free, voluntary and non-violent market has never been anything but a dildo of massive proportions.
Division of labor, productivity and trade help create the material conditions for the development of civilization and meaningful human existence. So then what is the problem with capitalism? In truth, I am not sure. Nor am I convinced that capitalism is the cause of the crisis in the West, or if it just throws the crisis into sharp relief. The crisis is not economic. It is spiritual. Capitalist productivity has probably contributed to a general feeling of ennui that sets in when a society has reached a point of relatively easy affluence. Add to this an intellectual class that has been overtaken by people that hate their own culture and actively seek to deconstruct its traditions, identity and sacred institutions in the name of universal equality, and you have a perfect recipe for the kind of spiritual apathy and malaise that is afflicting the West. When gay pride parades constitute the most vocal form of public celebration you know there is a fundamental problem of morale.
One thing that can be said for sure is that capitalism in its present form offers no obvious corrective for postmodern dildocracy, and is vulnerable to being corrupted by it. This is no reason to become enamored of socialism, communism or any explicitly anti-property ideology though. In comparison to these, capitalism is at least tolerable. The essential institution that capitalism preserves is property, without which we cannot even have a society. It is also the institution that is fundamentally under attack by all leftist narratives.