By Austin Anderholt | United States
“Never argue with stupid people. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
A good long discussion can solve many political debates. In my experience, even the most liberal, pro choice, anti gun leftist can come to terms with the most pro life, gun owning, anti gay Christian fundamentalist with a long enough discussion. In fact, I believe debate can settle all political issues; all of them, except one. Capitalism or socialism?
Every capitalist I’ve talked to seems to ask why those “stupid commies can’t just understand economics” and every socialist I’ve talked to seems ask “Why are those capitalist pigs so greedy?” They simply cannot understand eachother.
To understand this bizarrely strong divide between economic ideologies, we must understand how a debate works. Almost every single political debate follows a structure:
There is one resolution, “X” and there are two positions. The positive argues that “X is true” and the negative argues that “X is false”. For example, one resolution in the abortion debate might be that “Abortion is murder.” The pro life positive might argue that “The resolution ‘Abortion is murder’ is true.” and the pro choice negative might argue “The resolution ‘Abortion is murder’ is false.”
This form of debate can follow every political issue, except the age old “Socialism vs. Capitalism” debate. Why? Because left and right think on an entirely different paradigm in this argument. There is no “Should we have X?” because under socialist ideology, leftists demand that “Healthcare is a right!” and that “I worked hard, so I get my share!” The entire ideology of leftists will dismiss dissent as evil and intolerable.
This idea of entitlement comes from not a bad argument, but no argument, replaced by emotion.
For example, the idea that “How hard I worked should determine how much I earn” is absolutely preposterous to not only a capitalist, but a rational thinker. I read a lot of books about business, and in many of these book, always one of the main differences between a rich mindset and a poor mindset is that “Rich people know that output determines how successful, they will be, while poor people assume that because they worked hard, they will earn a lot.”
This mindset between rich and poor can be seen not only in socioeconomics, but in left and right economic theory itself. One of the foundational principles of leftism is the labor theory of value. This theory states again that “How much I earn should be determined by how hard I try rather than how hard I produce.” Again we see that this is absurd. If a man is to build a business without breaking a sweat, the free market is totally justified in rewarding him more than a man who works extremely hard only to fail. As rational thinkers, we know that without the evil rich businessmen that provide our jobs, healthcare, and services, society would cease to exist.
Moreover, we simply cannot reward people for being unproductive. A great example of this was the collectivization of farms in the early days of the Soviet Union. Rather than letting the free market reward successful farmers with the income to buy more land or hire more people (which would lead to more effective farming) Soviet leftists rounded up successful peasants as “kulaks” and murdered them by the millions. They then rewarded the poor, unsuccessful peasants with more land. This resulted in huge famines of course. Killing the only productive members of an economy and replacing them with unsuccessful failures is doomed to fail.
However, leftists don’t care about what’s doomed to fail. Leftists will never debate this issue with logic and reason. They are more moved by the sad image in their heads of the “poor homeless people” than by statistics that prove socialism is what makes people poor and homeless. This is what makes the debate between capitalism and leftism so impossible. The debate is happening on two totally different paradigms. The capitalist paradigm follows reasoning and evidence, while the leftist paradigm follows emotion.