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Either Give Up Capitalism or Shut Up

The Chinese calendar has a special place in my household because we enjoy dining out for egg rolls, lo mein, and stir-fried delights. At least, we used to. For most restaurants, the placemat at our seats has the cyclical display of birth years and associated animals from Chinese tradition. My daughter’s cousins think it is funny she was born in the Year of the Rat. 

In keeping with the themed years (and probably practicing cultural appropriation), it seems well established that 2020 was the Year of the Hypocrites.

More than anything, conservatives hate that blatant hypocrisy and double standards are always on display from the political left. We didn’t love everything about Donald Trump. We hardly love establishment Republicans. What we do love, though, is fairness. We expect equal treatment under the law and equal treatment of people. Is that really asking for too much? Trump doesn’t get it, and so we instinctively jump to his defense.

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The show trial in the Senate last week made this point perfectly clear. In addition to the provably fraudulent pieces of “evidence” and the fact that impeachment has been sought since Trump’s inauguration, one of the most compelling compilations of evidence came in the form of naked hypocrisy vis-a-vis the tone and diction of political rhetoric. The video played by Trump’s legal team clearly showed that the same speech used to condemn the former president was milder than the speech used everyday by the very same people accusing him of incitement. They know exactly what they’re doing, and that makes it worse than if they just misspoke.

In the wake of the election, it is probably safe to say that most conservatives would have preferred that Trump directed his time, resources, and energy to defending two Georgia Senate seats or saving us from the predictably empty Kraken, but to suggest any of his legal and entirely valid quests for election justice were the latest manifestation of tyranny are simply outrageous. The New York Times ran a piece just this week explicitly mentioning Russian interference in the 2016 election. They still talk about collusion, which even three years of FBI work didn’t corroborate. We also know it was Hillary that colluded, so what’s this about Trump and Putin again?

This quotidian hypocrisy is not only infuriating, it is unhealthy and dangerous for our society. 

While there are too many hypocrisies to name in a single column, the time has come to end the debate about the evils of capitalism. It is in this space that hypocrisy rules the day. Yes, there are flaws and imperfections with the model (particularly when it is imbued with cronyism), but to suggest there is a more fair or better economic model ignores human nature, human history, and basic realities.

Bernie Sanders espouses socialist ideals while living in three homes, each of which is worth more than the median value of the average American home. He writes books to the tune of millions of dollars and when gets called out for it, he says we should just write our own book instead. Why not share the wealth, Bernie? People are too stupid to notice this, though; they’d rather laugh at the image of the curmudegony, bemittened fool. Capitalism suits this fraudster just fine.

Joe Biden has picked up the torch of his former boss. He (unconstitutionally?) killed the privately-owned Keystone XL pipeline, will raise taxes for the purpose of redistribution, and he will embody the most socialist values of his party. Meanwhile, he lives a personal life of luxury and unlike Donald Trump, has no problem earning the $400,000 annual paycheck of tax-payer dollars. I have yet to see him donate or tithe any of his personal earnings. However, that doesn’t stop him from demanding more from you.

There are then individual experiences that we each have encountered in our daily lives. The friend that votes Democrat but won’t pay their fair share on a split bill, the uncle that supports higher taxes to pay for his socialized healthcare while living in a lake house, a sibling that fully embraced societal lockdowns but justified traveling home for the holidays, or the black colleague that makes more than everyone in the office else but says the system is rigged against black folks. This list doesn’t even include every politician that has broken their own Covid rules or beefed up the Hollywood and political elites that beef up their security teams while demanding you lose access to guns and walls.

We need a stronger word for hypocrisy that conveys the depravity of these people.

The endless gains from capitalism has made us soft, ungrateful, and unknowing of hardship. At the time of this writing, temperatures across the country have plummeted to uncommon lows. Put succinctly, it is freezing. And yet, how many of us are suffering for lack of warmth? Certainly anyone reading this article is enjoying a modicum of comfort, and certainly more than anyone else in human history or much of the contemporary world. We have heat pumped right into our individual homes, courtesy of cheap and abundant fuel sources. This is further made possible by the transportation infrastructure and devices designed to generate heat. We take such things for granted, but the gas furnace wasn’t invented and patented until 1919. Do you realize that except for the last 100 years of all of human history we haven’t had heat this cheap and efficient? The same could be said of air conditioning. Just to be clear, these weren’t invented in Soviet Russia.

As it pertains to reading this article, there is then the glaring fact that doing so requires a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Computers were the product of American ingenuity; personal computers became readily available thanks to people like Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and other Americans. The smartphone was also the product of American capitalism. Does anyone wonder why these products were not only created, but created well? Actually, people probably do, so here is the naked truth: Each invention offered a profit motive. The inventors saw that there was a market demand and they had to deliver the best product in order to capture more of the market. It is that simple. We should be thankful these guys are bajillionaires; we all benefited from their efforts.

I am at the point where I am tired of listening to fraudulent and hollow complaints of capitalism. You don’t like the system? Then give it up. You can give me your paycheck, you can give me your car, you can give me your phone, you can give me your house, you can give up your prescription drugs, you can deliver a baby in your tub, you can chop down your own tree and split the wood for a heat source, and you can grow your own vegetables and butcher your own pig. Seriously, if you say you hate capitalism, you are the biggest fool and ingrate to ever walk the Earth. 

There are only two options for those that despise this wonderful meritocratic system. If you are the type of person that honors the native grounds you’re on (as in, land stolen by colonizers), then you can either pitch a tent and migrate with food sources or shut up. Societies evolve. Get over it. If you are the type of person that thinks AOC is correct in her assessment of the world, then you can open your home to the dregs of society by letting them sleep in your bed and letting them eat your food. After that, please hand over your paycheck to them. Otherwise, you can also shut up. 

Our system is not perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than any alternative. I will take the flaws of our system and strive to make it better, however I will not denigrate the numerous successes of capitalism. With temperatures hovering at -20 degrees Fahrenheit, all of the world’s information at the tip of my fingers, a healthy baby thanks to first-world medical advances, a cupboard full of diverse food items, and more cluttering items than anyone else has ever had cheap and easy access to, I will choose capitalism every time.

Anyone that says differently is simply a liar or a fraud. Or just really stupid.

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