A fundamental basis of capitalism is that it’s balanced on the dollar which is naturally reconciled with basic numbers. But humanity is far more complicated and there is nothing natural about reducing it to numbers. Humanity requires judgment. So as long as capitalism drives everything to the ends, conflicts with humanity can only be expected. Socialism, which is balanced on judgment, might seem like a far better idea but is plagued with the problem that people, though capable of judgment, often suck at it.
The “good life” was a definition that recently surfaced to the center of attention at a political online discussion in which conservatives used the term to describe what conservative politics offers… A chance at the “good life”.
As one of the conservative participants put it so eloquently… “I prefer to live in a country, and have a form of government where I do have a chance at the good life however slim it might be. What the libs want for this country would mean ZERO chance of my ever becoming rich.“
That’s a new one one me, I guess I need to brush up on the “liberal agenda” 😉
For the sake of argument, I mentioned that perhaps there is more to the good life than getting rich. I suggested that my own life is pretty good, I have a good job, great family, nice house in a nice neighborhood… Of course, there’s always more that I would like, but when I look at other people across the world, it’s not too hard for me to see that the American middle-class is a pretty damn good place to find the “good life”.
Then I made the big mistake. (Folks, never do this when talking to conservatives about economics or politics…) I pointed out how I thought the liberals created the American middle-class. Well as far as I can tell, the middle-class emerged out of the Progressive era as a result of political compromises with workers’ movements. As someone else on the discussion board pointed out…
“[FDRs] new deal enshrined them [protections] after ordinary Americans organized, struck, negotiated, stood their ground and refused to acquiesce to industrial feudalism. Without the New Deal, we might have had a real revolution…”
I can see that compromises like that tend to avoid the bloody alternatives. The Magna Carta for instance is probably a contributing reason why the English never had a violent king-killing revolution like the French and Russians did. In any case, the FDR compromises and resulting “social” programs initiated a promotion in living standards for the working class family, much like what the poor Russian people thought communism was going to do for them, but didn’t.
Although it’s flamboyant capitalism that gets the limelight, I think that behind the scenes, it’s our modest version of socialism that makes America so attractive to immigrants. They see every American with a personal car and TV – as materialistic and attached to vibrant capitalism as that seems, it’s the government enforced wages and compensation that increased the savings and purchasing power of the working class, which led directly to the opportunity to tap their savings and hence one of the multiple orgasms of capitalism, consumerism. Dwellers of the third world already see the success stories of capitalism in their own countries, the treads of the boots that crush them.
I wouldn’t even call myself a socialist, at least not an anti-capitalist, there’s a lot to be said for the incentives and dreams of capitalism. I value the mix of both that we have here in this country, which was the point of my argument. We incredibly lucky Americans benefit from the best of both worlds. These whiny conservatives should look around and see how lucky they are, most of them *are* living the good life. It would be nice also if they understood that socialism is just as important to their current good life as capitalism is before they go pissing on it. (Talk about biting the hand that feeds…) After all, it’s nice to dream about making it big, and it’s nice to work toward it too, but for the enormous majority of Americans that try but don’t make it, they can still count on minimum wage, health benefits, human resource departments, overtime pay, 40/hr work weeks, weekends, vacations, maternity leave… All those things brought to them by the very liberal notion of social obligation.
I went on to explain how capitalism, with it’s dedication to a disinclined market, is a functional, bi-polar model that really only works for those who have actually achieved a position of control. Everyone else gets the Newtonian equal and opposite force. In other words, to make money, you have to take it from someone. So to put this in simple terms, anyone dreaming about making it big in capitalism is currently under attack by those who are already there and if they aren’t pinned down to the dirt, chances are they have some liberals to thank.
And after my explanations, what kind of response do you think I got? Well, here’s another quote…
“The “good life” consists of the total absence of people with a mediocre education attempting to use government to give everyone else their own particular definition of the “good life”. Simply put this means…the absence of liberals…even the worst evangelist cannot use government to enforce their vision without becoming a liberal in the process.”