Jonah Goldberg has an interesting column about Financial reform. He writes:
“If by “capitalist” you mean someone who cares more about his own profit than yours; if you mean someone who cares more about providing for his family than providing for yours; if you mean someone who trusts that he is a better caretaker of his own interests and desires than a bureaucrat he’s never met… then we are all capitalists. Because, by that standard, capitalism isn’t some far-off theory about the allocation of capital; it is a commonsense description of what motivates pretty much all human beings everywhere.”
Perhaps so. And yet, not all human beings, surely. After all, if it were so for all human beings, would capitalism have such staunch opponents? If we are all supposed to be capitalists, than what is it that makes a man join the Army, where, by all accounts, bureaucrats he’s never met will make decisions on which his life depends. Or what about someone who joins the Church? How many pious Christians can claim to care more about their profit than anyone else’s?
I have to disagree with Goldberg on this point. Not all humans are capitalists, at least not by this definition. He goes on to say:
“At the end of the day, it is entirely natural for humans to work the system — any system — for their own betterment, whatever kind of system that may be.”
He’s correct here; but he would have been wrong if he had said “it is entirely natural for all humans to work the system.” I have no idea if he intended to write that or not, but if he really did mean only some humans engage in this behavior, then he is contradicting his own previous assertion.
For there are, whether he cares to acknowledge it or no, many people who are in fact willing to abide by the rules of a system in order to preserve it. And even those who work a Socialist system are by no means the same as the enterprising Capitalists who seek to make a profit. After all, a Socialist–even a system-working one–is still dependent on the system to achieve his ends. He is not “standing on his own two feet”, as True Capitalism compels him to do.
Not that Goldberg’s column is without merit. He is quite correct in asserting that the problem with Socialist regulations is that those who are selfish–in the Randian sense–will attempt to play the system to their own personal advantage, disregarding the well-being of others. Where he goes awry is in foolishly assuming that everyone will do so.