Capitalism and its dissident discontents

Interesting video by Ramz Gates Paul, “Communism Sucks”

The problem is, Ramz defaults to a false dichotomy that one must choose between capitalism or communism, when in reality most governments are a mix of social welfare and private enterprise, with varying amounts of regulation and public spending (the so-called mixed economy). Being critical of capitalism doesn’t imply support for socialism or communism, nor does being opposed to the concept of civil or constitutional rights imply support for communism either. Ramz expects us to take his word that there are these alt-right rolls espousing Marxism, but gives no evidence, no names, or makes any effort to address their arguments, assuming such individuals exist.

It’s not so much that capitalism’s right-wing discontents oppose private ownership, but there is the belief, justifiably so, that wealthy companies and individuals use their resources to influence politics (so-called crony capitalism and corporatism ) and the cultural agenda, to steer the country in a direction that enriches them at the cost, to the determinant of everyone else. This is why Tucker Carlson is so popular by the alt/dissident right, because he understands that the culture war is also a class war, and that left-wing biased corporations such as Disney and Target are not just selling goods and services but also selling an ideology/agenda.

I don’t even think even Milton Friedman could have envisioned tech companies forgoing potential profits by censoring and disenfranchising a large percentage of their potential audience, in the name of ideology and political correctness (although Amazon, to it’s credit, has not been so bad in this regard). Such companies–Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Instagram–not only control the flow of discourse in terms of determining whose messages are visible or suppressed depending on supposedly ‘impartial algorithms’, but also have exhibited a tendency of colluding, meaning that getting banned from a single social network such as Facebook significantly increases the odds of losing one’s Instagram or Twitter account, but also being banned from Paypal, Apple, and Google (losing access to Gmail). This what happened to Alex Jones: after being banned from Facebook and YouTube initially, he was subsequently banned from Twitter, Spotify, iTunes, and MailChimp.

There is also the belief that modernity and careerism have corrupted society and made it needlessly complex, and there is nostalgia for simpler, less competitiveness times, when anyone who was able-bodied and of good moral character could good make a decent living and raise a family, without having to go $50,000 into debt and waste four years to be lectured about ‘white privilege’ and oppression. It is disputable if such a time ever existed, as people tend to romanticize the past, but the evidence suggests the barriers to entry for the middle class have been raised, whether it’s home ownership and rent becoming more expensive or too much debt.

There is also the agreement, both by the alt-right and the alt-left, that entrepreneurship and the American dream, which are related to the ethos of the so-called ‘Protestant work ethic,’ are false religions (much like religion being an opium for the masses) , but rather than entry into heaven, salvation is through the accumulation of material wealth and social status. And that entrepreneurial success is mostly a function of factors outside of one’s control such as parents’ wealth (even having a high IQ , which helps greatly in regard to being successful at life, is still the luck of the draw).

That is why the article Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money, 2015, went hugely viral multiple times on Reddit and elsewhere, because everyone regardless of their political affiliation can relate, and it’s true: someone finally said what many have long believed but hesitated voicing for fear of being labeled anti-capitalist or a ‘hater’: that many of these self-made success are are not actually self-made, but rather the product of the fortuitous alignment of many improbable factors. Even on this blog, the article Entrepreneurship is Overrated is one my 5-most successful articles, having went viral, so evidently this message resonates with a lot of people.

These hucksters who sell the idealization of the American dream, from the very bottom of the dregs such as YouTube personalities promoting get-rich-quick schemes, but even some esteemed but overrated intellectuals, instill this brainwashing on all levels, that if you fail it’s your fault because you didn’t work hard enough, not because you didn’t have the foresight of choosing the right parents. Capitalism is very expensive , not just in terms of the high failure rate, but the high start-up costs, and such costs have exceeded inflation, such as rent, leasing, and insurance. Whether it’s tuition, healthcare, car payments, or credit card debt, we’re living in an era in which everything has become so expensive and people are strapped for cash just to get by, let alone start businesses. Even if small business has a positive expected economic value due to the outsized returns of the few successes relative to the multitude of failures, the risk of ruin is so high and the costs are so great, that one needs a lot of resources (time and capital) to have any hope of overcoming the odds and reaping those positive expected returns, hence having rich parents (having more spins on the roulette wheel of life) of just being lucky and hitting gold on your first strike, helps greatly in this regard.

To be continued