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Intellectual Self-Defense – Capitalist Offense & Defense (Part 3)

Your first defense against anti-capitalist rhetoric is to think clearly and think for yourself. 


Think in terms of the individual and beware of the collective macroeconomic thinking that is prevalent today.


When someone says “society should do something about it” or that “we owe society” something, your ears should perk up, and you should be ready to defend your freedom. 


Society is composed of individuals. Individuals are the central players in life. The individual can change the course of the world on a small scale or a large one.


Socialists try to use the government to pass laws to force individuals to think and do things a certain way.  


Destroying initiative destroys progress.


The price of liberty is philosophical vigilance, which means knowing your case down to its basic principles.  


Our enemies, although irrational, are nonetheless consistent. Therefore, we must be consistent to win the battle for our lives, liberty, and happiness.  


Those who are consistent and do not back down from philosophical confrontation can fight and win this battle.


When our enemies call for more government control of our lives — think of the company town. 


In our history, some companies, such as the Pullman Company, have made many attempts to set up whole cities owned and operated by the company. Their intentions were usually honorable.


You rented a company house and bought groceries in a company store. Your children went to company-provided schools. You got married in a company-built church. Finally, you were buried in a company cemetery.  


For some, it could be a cradle-to-grave company town.  


The downside was that the company began to tell you how to live your life.


If you wanted to go elsewhere, however, no one could stop you. There was no barbed wire to prevent you from leaving.   


Think for a minute about what the collectivists want to do. They want to make the whole country into a vast company town.  


But this time, there is nowhere else to go except to leave the country if they let you.  


The former Soviet Union, current North Korea, and Cuba are such company-town countries. However, the “Company” is an all-powerful government — ready, willing, and able to force its citizens to comply with its dictates. 


People are allegedly taken care of but at a terrible price — their freedom.


If you disagreed under such a system, how could you finance your cause?  


The country controls or censors everything including the Internet.  


If you speak out, you could get fired — and where else can you work when the government owns everything and is the sole employer? 


Or they could arrest you and lock you up forever.


To defend your freedom, do not apologize for your success or your position in life. 


Enemies of Capitalism use guilt as a coercive tool. They can control you for life if they make you feel guilty for your success. 


Lately, they have pushed forward the racist idea of “white privilege” in a blatant attempt to make one feel guilty for their race (if one happens to be white). 


Call it for what it is — racism! Such racism is a total rejection of individualism and the individual, no matter what one’s race.


Learn to defend your principles when attacked. 


Do not remain silent. If you do not know how to argue your case, you can state that you disagree with the speaker. Doing so may also give others the courage to speak up.


Learn to be truly selfish. To be genuinely selfish means viewing your life as your province — your precious commodity. Don’t waste. It is all you have.  


To be selfish means that you want to put only the best food into your body and not cheap garbage.  


Plan also to put the best ideas into your head. 


Being selfish means wanting the best for yourself and your family and being willing to work hard.  


This selfishness is long-term thinking that wants happiness and not suffering to be the outcome of your life.   


A rational philosophy can give you a blueprint for living such a life. I highly recommend Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Read her great novels and non-fiction works.


There are three tests that you can use when analyzing any idea or argument you may hear or read:


#1) Is this a collective perspective or an individual perspective?  


In other words, is this a view that considers us as mere components of a collective or as active agents of change and unique individuals?  


When you hear statements about society’s obligation or the distribution of resources, translate this into individual terms such as personal responsibility, buying, selling, and producing goods.


#2) Ask if force is necessary to implement a policy?  


When people advocate for “Medicare for all” or compulsory national service, they seldom mention the coercive force needed to implement these policies.


In the case of compulsory national service (or the draft), these will be implemented by forcing young men and women to give up their freedom, bodies, and, possibly, lives.


#3) (This test is from Ayn Rand.)  Ask yourself: What would follow if I accept this statement as true?  


Or what would be the logical outcome if such a view were implemented or made real? Or what is the final goal?  


If someone says, for instance, “Children should be seen and not heard,” what might follow? Children would grow up unable to express a viewpoint.  


Or “One man’s gain is another man’s loss” would mean that every time you put a piece of food in your stomach, you rob it from those who do not have food. It’s the economic pie scenario that I wrote about earlier.


When arguing your case, make sure you anchor your arguments to reality. Do not get caught up in the rationalist attempt to argue without referencing the facts.


Above all, you must fight for capitalism, not just against its enemies.  


Have a good defense, of course, but a good offense is the best defense. Know your case and do not apologize for success and happiness and what makes it possible — capitalism and the individual human creativity it releases.

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Ken West is the author of Capitalism WIIFM.


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