The following is a correspondence that took place between myself and the Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism (CMDC at www.moraldefense.com). This was put together for article-form on Thursday, December 27, 2001, at 5:00 AM.
LETTER ONE - ME TO THEM
TO: http://www.moraldefense.com/Feedback/Default.htm (*praise)
I was eager to read a thorough defense of Capitalism and I discovered yours. There were several flaws with it, however. First, it dealt with Capitalism versus hard-line Communism, and did not investigate the tenets of Socialism (Reactionary Socialists, Bourgeois Socialists, Democractic Socialists, etc., as mentioned by Friedrich Engels in "Principles of Communism," published October/November of 1847). Secondly, the error of the not dealing with the various forms of Socialism left the defense gallantly full of holes. I also find the application of ethics towards an economical system as being fraudulent.
In the 1800's, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, it was not a glorious time, nor was it even a pleasant time, unless you were one of the few abusive Capitalists. Children at the age of five were sent down to coal mines to die; and if they did not go down they were whipped. If they refused to go up chimneys cleaning, individuals would light the fire below them; they barely lived past 10 years of age. Men and women worked 17 hours a day in dangerous conditions being paid pennies an hour. Was this the work of a devil? Perhaps of a tyrant? No. It was purely the work of Capitalism. Who put an end to these horrible things? Was it the Capitalists themselves, out of their good heart? Perhaps the government leaders? Or maybe the clergy? The answer is no on all cases. (The church, as it stands, is responsible for openly killing people by the thousands; but then the church makes its profits from the sweat and blood from these good people. Religion: grossly disgusting.) It was not the government, clergy, or the Capitalists who stopped these horrible things. It was and always has been: the people. There were brave warriors who fought for reform. There was Percy Bysshe Shelley, Henry Stephens Salt, George Bernard Shaw, and Robert Green Ingersoll, for a few examples. In his wonderfully spoken speech, EIGHT HOURS MUST COME, Ingersoll addresses the working hours...
"I HARDLY know enough on the subject to give an opinion as to the time when eight hours are to become a day's work, but I am perfectly satisfied that eight hours will become a labor day. The working people should be protected by law; if they are not, the capitalists will require just as many hours as human nature can bear. We have seen here in America street-car drivers working sixteen and seventeen hours a day. It was necessary to have a strike in order to get to fourteen, another strike to get to twelve, and nobody could blame them for keeping on striking till they get to eight hours. For a man to get up before daylight and work till after dark, life is of no particular importance. He simply earns enough one day to prepare himself to work another. His whole life is spent in want and toil, and such a life is without value."
Is this the kind of society and government that you wish to mold as a Capitalist society? The most important regulations on business are perhaps a minimum wage and minimum working day, as well as working conditions. Will you build a society bent on Capitalist greed only so that your great grand children can die at the age of 7 in a coal mine? And if they do not succumb to that fate, perhaps they will lose a valuable limb to a dangerous machine. These are not the principles of a devil, as they would seem, nor of a murderer or a killer, but purely of Capitalism. If you find the concept of a world where everyone works as long as they can for only a handful of people in horrible, dangerous conditions with low pay and a short longevity - if this worldview is attractive to you, then by all means continue with your tirade of Capitalism and your largely foolish assertion that Capitalism is "ethical." If you think, however, that there should be a minimum wage, working conditions where people cannot die or be harmed seriously while working, or that there should be a limit to the hours that consist of a workday, then join the tenets of Socialism.
LETTER TWO - THEM TO ME
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 17:03:04 PDT
Thank you for visiting our website. I'll try to address your inquiry.
I don't see how. We're making a primarily *moral* argument, and that argument applies equally to all forms of statism, including all forms of socialism. But...
This, perhaps, explains why you think our argument is full of holes when it is not.
You have your facts wrong. No one was forced to work in dangerous conditions--people chose to do it. Compared to what people used to be paid for the work they used to do, the 1800s were a positively wonderful time for everyone, *relative* to their previous conditions.
You'll find no defense of religion from us. We are staunch atheists.
A few points:
*The minimum wage puts the very people you claim to care about out of work. If you don't believe me, try setting the minimum wage at $ 30 per hour and see what happens. The law is an immoral violation of the rights of workers and employers to freely negotiate wages.
*People can work as many (or as few) hours as they choose to. If they don't like their job, they can quit.
*It is in the interest of an employer to have happy, healthy workers, not miserable dead ones. Miserable or dead people don't provide much or any labor.
Greed is good. That's our fundamental argument. And we can back it up on more grounds than that "it works." It not only works--it's moral. It's funny that the very Leftists who attack religion are the same ones who take Christian morality to its logical conclusion. Plus, Communists and Nazis (aka National Socialists) have killed a lot more people than religious people have. And, at least today, the Church is a voluntary organization--everyone *has to* obey the state that you socialists worship.
Thanks again for visiting our site and for your feedback. If you have any other questions for the Center, please feel free to contact me.
CMDC Policy Intern
The Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism
LETTER THREE - ME TO THEM
TO: "Mark Kormes"
I shall address the points you have brought up...
I did not know that you were so poorly versed in economics and in history in general. The conditions of the Industrial Revolution make Feudal Serfdom seem appealing. People were forced to work in dangerous conditions, otherwise they would starve from that necessity they lacked called food; at least in Serfdom people were guaranteed food and proper rest. In the Industrial Revolution, there were no other possible jobs. People had to work in dangerous conditions. Large factories had put small shops out of business, as factories could overproduce cheaper products compared to the small shops. See, there was no choice in any meaningful sense; death or work till death are the only two options. Only the select few who had amassed a large amount of wealth through family ties lived luxurious lives.
This is perhaps the most outlandish and egregious example I have yet to lay my eyes upon. I hope that the concept of Socialism does not escape your mind. The point of a Socialist government is to create properly needed boundaries between employee and employer so that both may live prosperous lives and advance in their own field. In a Capitalist economy, the employees cannot advance at all, as they are paid pennies an hour and work 17 hours a day. It was by Socialist reform - strikes, unions, boycotts - that the worker attains the rights under a government that he surely deserves. Can you honestly side yourself with such vagrants as John D. Rockefeller who forced children to work in coal mines? Of course, under your "flag of freedom," children deserve the choice of either starving in the streets or dying in coalmines. This flag of "morality" that you wave and call Capitalism; when you want to bring the economy back to a state where children starve in the streets and die in coal mines, don't bust your ass climbing to that higher moral ground.
Yet another flagrant disrespect for reality. When you quit your job in the Industrial Revolution, you have no food and death becomes inevitable. There were no jobs offered by humanitarian Capitalists, because I find the term "humanitarian Capitalist" to be in outright contradiction. Sure, you may find greed to be an excellent driving force, but what will you have when you have replaced all compassion with complete greed? The Industrial Revolutionists remained unshaken at what they had: the bodies of dead children on their hands. Perhaps you, as a Capitalist, remain unfrightened by the site of dead bodies, (perhaps you even indulge on consuming them) or perhaps you are simply ignorant. In the 1800's, if you didn't work a specified hour amount and in such horrible conditions, you did not eat. There was no "free economy" or "free choice." It was a monopoly over employees.
Your ignorance is appalling. Your little reasoning of "employers want happy employees" does not automatically erase the graves of the dead children and workers off the graveyards of the planet, nor does it even imply in the slightest that any Capitalist has shown regard for his workers during the Industrial Revolution, and if they did, they were far and few between. Why would an employer pay his workers more money, provide them with good and safe working conditions, and give them fewer working hours when it is more costly to do so than not to do so? The fact of the matter is that with an indefinite amount of workers that work for nearly nothing, there is no reason to provide them with good working conditions. Were the African slaves provided with good working conditions, good pay, and good treatment? I doubt it. In fact, no analogy is necessary, because regardless of your unfounded facts and insurmountable ignorance, the workers of the Industrial Revolution worked in horrible conditions for many hours while being paid pennies.
1) It does not work. 2) It is unethical. Try picking up an 8th grade history book and actually reading about the economics of the Industrial Revolution. Tell me if the deaths of countless children under the machine of Capitalism was a "working theory" or an "ethical theory." Your ignorance is egregious.
I am not a Nazi. I have not denied this but have expressed it clearly. And the church is not a voluntary organization when they kill you for disbelieving.
Please, learn the facts about economics and history. Once you have, please respond with an intelligent argument that actually can grasp the facts as they stand without making them up.
END OF LETTERS
I have yet to receive a second e-mail from them. Nonetheless, even though they cannot beat my arguments with efficiency, profitability, or rights for the worker, their site is still up for those who wish to read a rather pathetic defense of Capitalism. Until them, fight the Capitalist system. Socialism, my brothers. Let us unite.