Fact: in politics, rhetoric is more persuasive than truth. I know you know this already.
This fact is especially troubling for Libertarians and other political groups that favor free market Capitalism because understanding the benefits of the free market takes time and effort.
Capitalism is often counterintuitive, it requires blind faith in the capabilities of mankind, it goes against desirable and emotionally satisfying worldviews, and it admits tough and sometimes undesirable realities.
Convincing people to vote for laissez faire policies and politicians is an uphill climb. To demonstrate, here is a list of premises one must probably concur with to view Capitalism in a positive light. I will present each premise somewhat cynically in order to demonstrate how negatively they are subject to being perceived.
- Invisible Hand/Spontaneous Order-There is no plan. You just have to wait. Things will work themselves out.
- Innovation-There is no need to commission an agency as a public good to solve problems. People will just do it. Don’t let your lack of imagination hinder the imaginations of others.
- Market Forces– There is no need to dictate which businesses should survive and which should fail. The best ones will survive, and the worst ones will fail. It’ll just happen eventually.
- Winners and Losers– Some people will succeed, and others will fail. It’s a competition like any other.
- Equality is Useless– We’re not going to be equal. Stop looking in your neighbor’s bowl, and start filling yours.
- Competition is Good– We shouldn’t play nice. We should battle each other for customers and resources.
- You Might Lose Your Job– The economy will shift from time to time. That means you might have to shift too. Keeping you permanently employed holds everyone back.
- Risk is Good– You are not safe, and you should never feel comfortable. It is vital that you are at risk to become impoverished or die.
- No Free Lunches- If you received something at no cost to yourself, and it was not given to you directly and voluntarily, you are complicit in thievery. You either earn or steal.
- Your Help Hurts-Whenever you try to create a system to take care of people, you wind up weakening them. Your systems cause immaturity, idiocy, and perversion.
- Greed is Good- Individuals wanting more for themselves and being allowed to pursue their desires is the only way to create wealth sustainably. The desire for material goods and security drives improvements in the populace’s quality of life, not compassion.
- Rich People Should Keep Their Money- Being mean to rich people hurts poor people. Being nice to them makes everyone richer.
- The Rich Contribute the Most- The reason rich people have money is because they add the most value to the most people’s lives. If you wind up with a lot, you’ve brought about a lot of satisfaction. If you wind up with nothing, you haven’t satisfied anyone.
- Sentimental Value Doesn’t Pay the Bills-It doesn’t matter how much you care about something. If it’s only value is sentiment, it will only provide you with a wealth of emotion. You need to add monetary value to incur money.
- Sharing is Bad- We shouldn’t share public goods or property. Private ownership is the only way.
- We Should Change the Environment- The environment is a violent and murderous villain. We have to alter and rearrange it to better suite ourselves.
- There is No Social Justice-Populations will never mirror each other. There is no reason for racial, gender, or random groups to be represented equally or to share equal outcomes.
- It’s Your Fault-You are going to make mistakes and miss opportunities. There is no one to blame for this but you. Find a mirror.
- Not Everyone Agrees with You-Unless other people like your ideas, they are not going to work out. You have to satisfy or create demand, not dictate it.
- The World is an Imperfect Place-Some people will work really hard, play by all the rules, and fail. And that’s that.
Free market Capitalists are at a major disadvantage because of what entertaining our ideas entails: an objective, unemotional viewing of human nature and limited resources. I feel that I have a knack for detaching myself from my emotions, which makes objectivity fairly easy for me. But I understand that some people have a harder time letting go. Favoring objectivity generally means favoring brutal, honest, and blunt realities over comforting, disingenuous, and bent truths. Sadly, persuasiveness is likely more important than reason and evidence, so selling Capitalism to the masses is a daunting task.
Juxtapose this to a Socialist like Bernie Sanders saying we can have free healthcare, education, and social security paid for by greedy, evil rich people. Who is generally going to win the crowd’s favor in that debate?
The irony is that the honesty free marketers value so highly is the very thing that holds us back. If we were comfortable lying like Socialists, we’d be violating our principles. Maintaining the principle of honesty and persuading the masses are generally mutually exclusive.
In my next post, I will try to explain these premises in a more convincing and lighthearted manner while also being perfectly honest. I believe this is necessary if we ever want our movement to grow and appeal to a larger audience.