Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TGIF: Is Capitalism Somethng Good?

The question concerning the relationship (if any) between the free market and capitalism can be addressed at many levels. Let’s start with history. The word capitalist was indeed first used disparagingly by opponents of “capitalism.” But it is important to realize that among those opponents were advocates of property rights and free markets, such as Thomas Hodgskin and later Benjamin Tucker. Why?

The reason is this: In the periods regarded as classic “capitalist” eras, government intervention on behalf of capital was commonplace. Moreover, it was integral not incidental.
The rest is here.


D. Saul Weiner said...

I agree. It sure seems like we are shooting ourselves in the foot by embracing a term which (for good reasons) turns off people we would like to persuade, who might otherwise be open to what we are promoting.

Another term which I think we are mistaken in using is "regulation". How can be against regulation? It is just like other terms such as reform, progress, which beg the question. But by using the word, we are conceding something that we shouldn't. We ought to refer to activities generally designated as regulation as interference in the free market. Call a spade a spade.

Bob Kaercher said...

I don't know, I think Kinsella makes a good point in his comments. The common defintion of capitalism you find in dictionaries and encyclopedias is simply "private ownership of the means of production."

Considering that easily accessible definition we should probably just assume that statist leftists really do simply have a problem with the "private ownership of the means of production," so any modification of libertarian usage of terms is not likely to have any effect on their thinking.

That being said, if you really do think you could work past a particular person's conceptual blinders by using substitute terms then language is wonderfully flexible enough to accommodate what it is that you're trying to communicate.

But for libertarians to say that they are positivley against capitalism serves more to obfuscate and confuse than it does to communicate clearly.