This essay will review capitalism as based off of the website , which acknowledges Amy Rand as the ideological leader of the capitalist ideal, such as Karl Marx would be considered the leader of the communist ideal. The author admits he has never read Amy Rand.
The first portion of the "Capitalism Tour" is a stance on reality:
"Reality is absolute: Reality is that which exists. It is absolute. It is the standard of the true, the false, and the arbitrary. Things are what they are, independent of our or anyone else's feelings, ideas, wishes, desires, and emotions. Or, in the immortal words of Aristotle: A is A. To be, is to be something: finite, limited, and non-contradictory."
This would be a flawless statement, if reality in itself was such as it is described – absolute. However, absoluteness of reality is irrelevant when one considers the factors that compose past and contemporary reality, the varying thoughts or ethics, manifested in "civilized" rule, which determine how we live, and determine different spheres of reality.
According to such a philosophy as presented, government is government. Sub-levels of government are democracy and dictatorship. These are true. However, this explanation does not recognize that feelings, ideas, wishes, desires, and emotions determine reality. For instance, good and evil is a nonexistent reality. Good and evil differ within the various spheres of the beholder, thus proving that they are in fact contrary visions of reality. Hence, A is to A superficially; within one's own view, i.e., one who composes and makes possible this reality, reality is not universally absolute, but individually.
Point 2: "Reason is man's means of survival. Reason is man's only means of knowing reality, upon which his survival in reality depends. Whether man is alone on a desert island, scurrying around with a pack of savages, or living in a city of billions: man must think – and then act on his thinking, if life is his goal."
This, naturally, coincides with the first point, that there is a set reality. Interpreting this passage, to reason is to accept, contemplate, and act on reality to achieve life. This is survivorship, the most basic reality known to any living organism. Survivorship among humans is subject to those elements that determine our realities.
Survivorship is then subordinate to reality. That is, survivorship is the embrace of reason, reason subject to the individual and eventually collective thought as imposed via law and order. To obtain food to live is reason, yes; to clothe oneself to live is reason, yes. Nonetheless, reason such as God and State, classified by society as means of survival, impose a sphere of reasoning as a mean of survival. So here, we see the separation of man and embodiment of man. To reason to live is only permitted by reason to cooperate – such as those opposed to God and State have been exiled, oppressed, or killed for actions that defied the established reality.
Point 3: "The individual is sovereign. Man is a rational animal, and reality dictates that to survive, man must be rational - by choice. Man is a being of free will. Man can choose to think, drift, or evade - but choose he must. His thoughts determine: his character, his values, his emotions, and his actions, and so his thoughts determine his destiny. As reason is solely the attribute of an individual, and man's thinking determines his choices and actions, then each man is the master of his own destiny. The individual sovereign."
Rationality is present in choosing edible foods – it is not present in reality. Because there is no absolute reality, there inevitability is no rationality, as in one sphere something will appear irrational in another. Therefore man is also an irrational animal – his reality may dictate something other than a different or opposing reality. Choice is clearly not an option of rationality when a sphere of reality is imposed upon another.
Free will is then, in all realities, philosophically abiding to suppression. Man can choose to think, drift, or evade, and he can also choose to impose. Of course, then what is interpreted as free choice is actually influence. Man's choice is distorted depending on what reality he lives in.
Man's thoughts are commonly based around the organization that he regards as the central order, the government that supports society. Man's thinking is licit depending on the imposed bounds of those in power. Man is not the master of his own destiny, as another man or group of men can control destiny.
This is addressed in the next point: "Man is an end in himself, and not a slave to the ends of 'society.' Man can gain immense values from living with other men in society - namely knowledge and trade - if it is a human society. A human society is one in which each man holds as an absolute: that every man is an end in himself, and that other men are not his pawns, nor is he theirs. Or, in the words of John Galt, 'I swear - by my life and by my love of it - that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.' Such is the credo of the rational egoist - the independent mind - who recognizes no authority higher than his own judgment of the truth. Such a moralist recognizes that man's life is the standard of value - that which supports man's life is the good, and that which destroys his life is the evil. Individualism is not opposed to man living in society. Individualism is opposed to man living in society as a slave."
Due to economic and political imposition, conceived as power (as determined by the history of man's realities) as a sphere of reality, man is an end to society. If he were not, government would not exist; capitalistic economy would not exist. A human society (contemporary society as we know it – in this example, of course a capitalist one) does offer knowledge, but offers it at a price. Knowledge is subordinate to capital. Because trade gains capital, those who control trade are then those in economic power. They are then free to set standards (impose standards) upon society via the economy.
Men are pawns because their existence depends on and therefore is subordinate to capital. All men persist depending on their possession of capital. There is not equilibrium in the capitalist system because some men have more power than others; the man with more money is bound to give his employees less money that he gains. This is the absolute (facts, not differing realities, that can vouch for arguements) of society. This is what composes society, and is thus A to A.
John Galt's statement, when considering this analysis, is crushed by the capitalist ideal. Living for the sake of another man is providing him with enough money (to get resources) for him to live. A man living for the sake of you is when he produces your capital. This point goes on to prove that there are different spheres of reality with the words, "who recognizes no authority higher than his own judgment of the truth." This does not mention society's bounds of that truth, bounds pertaining to classes, capital, suppression, and so forth.
The explanation presented borders with the capital theory: "that which supports man's life is the good, and that which destroys his life is the evil." Essentially, capital is "good" because it is rational, as in it gains man his privilege to the necessities of life. A lack of capital destroys life, and is therefore "evil."
These are not man's individual choices, but those imposed by a different sphere of reality. The argument for capitalism does not encompass reality as cast over man, but only the individual ethics of man. The analysis here is not complete because it does not consider the external figures that affect goods and evils of society (plural because it applies to different people's ideas). The idea that each man has a good and evil proves that there are different conceptions of good and evil.
This is not to say, however, that the external force is at all necessary. Man's independent rational and willingness to cooperate in a society (whether it is imposed or influenced) proves that state is not a necessity. The state's imposition over the people also proves that the state is not directly related to the society, and is therefore not affiliated directly with the common people.
"Individualism is not opposed to man living in society. Individualism is opposed to man living in society as a slave." These terms are ironic; the capitalist system utterly perpetuates itself on the basis of defining classes by amount of capital. The slaves of society are those who are on the lower spectrum of imposed society. The theory of individualism in this respect is then contradictory to the capitalist philosophy, which elaborates on exploitation and classes.
However, capitalism does acknowledge man's common "rights," meaning the moral virtues as created and upheld by the government: "To live in society man needs rights. To live rationally in society, man requires only one thing from his fellow men: freedom of action. Freedom of action does not mean freedom to act by permission, which may be revoked at a dictator's, or a democratic mob's, whim, but the freedom to act as an absolute - by right. Man requires rights to those actions necessary to support his own life, the most fundamental right being the right to life, from which all other rights, including the right to liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, derive."
I essentially agree with this standpoint. As a member of society, man should be (as modern morality should have it) be entitled to certain rights, those which should at the least support his life. Nevertheless, man should not have to have these rights imposed upon him from a higher organization, and pay that organization due. Instead, man should express his freedom as a collective member of society, rather than an estranged inferior citizen, not only concerning a dictator or a democratic mob, but government as we know it in general.
Secondly, freedom is not an absolute. One reality is essence has no "right" to impose freedom upon what it considers contrary or evil. Freedom is instead a common moral, that which is not "right" so to speak - for there is no absolute right, as there is no absolute reality – but rather something that is widely embraced by the world population. Freedom is still then an element to the conceptions of differing realities or different individuals. Also, the right to life is rational because it is a human necessity; without life, there would not be a human. The right to life of course comes from life itself, and there should be no further argument concerning that topic.
The next page in the tour elaborates on man's rights: "Rights are moral principles......... Rights are moral principles defining a man's freedom of action in a social context. Rights are inalienable - they may not be morally infringed upon, i.e., a thief may rob you, but morally he is in the wrong, and you are in the right. Rights are not guarantees to things, but only guarantees to freedom of action (right to liberty) - and a guarantee to the results of those actions (right to property)."
Rights are exactly what the first line states: "moral principles." I wish to emphasize the term "moral," for there are no absolute rights. In social context, man doesn't need a higher body to determine his rights, that is, establish the boundaries of his personal right, but instead collectively and willingly decide rights with other people. This means that instead of law, a better society would exist upon moral, which would then compose the society's moral principles.
Morally, rights should not be infringed. The example provided proves the capitalist system's inadequacy to fulfill its statement. In other words, why should this robbery occur? Not to mention, the example provided is a contradiction. While it claims that when you experience a robbery, you are in the right, the robber, for the sake of his morals and his sphere of right (reality), is then also in the right. This portion of the tour has obscured the definitions of morality and right. Right is something that is individually absolute, as expressed by the individual, not universally. A moral is something that is not right, but collectively considered to be proper and, by everyone's personal right, "right."
Morally, it is agreed personal rights shouldn't be infringed upon. However, current capitalist governments abridge the "rights" given to (imposed on) citizens, such as America's Patriot Act. Freedom of action is then subject to exceptions. Freedom of action should be a universal "right," i.e., a rational necessity to life. Freedom of action is also what much of the world considers moral.
Final Statement: This is the end of the first part of the critique on the Capitalist Tour at For any of those who may misinterpret my arguments of personal right and such, the society that I wish to endorse is not one of anarchy, where, for example, murderers are free to practice their right of killing. This is not moral – this is destructive. It is irrational because it hinders life.
When personal right is mentioned, I consider it to mean that it would have moral influence, not moral imposition. That also includes that moral influence would affect a personal right, and moral imposition wouldn't. For any that are confused about the difference of the two, moral influence means a social effort, as a whole, for the betterment of society, without higher authority. Imposition of rights may recognize the personal right, but impose economic, political, and social forces upon society from a body separate from the people.
As far as law is concerned, to totally abolish law is premature; instead or immediately abolishing it, however, law (restrictions), can wither away for ideally the government would wither away. In the society I wish to advocate, vice would be controlled, as long as there was a willingness to do so. Eventually, government and law would cease because there would be no need for them – capitalism would be gone, and crime and opposition (as the society would be mutually trusting and morally abiding to each other and the universal conception of morality it would thrive under) would be obsolete.
I, according to my right, consider it fine to morally influence. To impose a right, however (your right over another), is not moral. Also, capitalistic exploitation can be proven by facts and therefore is absolute – likewise, anything that can be proven by fact as right or wrong then can bear their titles without philosophical argument. Any questions you may have, feel free to e-mail me.