In the early days of our war in Iraq, the people there began looting when we destroyed Saddam’s oppressive hold on the populace. When confronted with this fact at a press conference, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld summed it pretty well to the reporters when he said:
“Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. Stuff happens.”
I originally wanted to make this post about “Greed vs. Capitalism.” However, as I sat to write, I realized a few important things; foremost being that the root nature of greed within capitalism goes well beyond economics and extends universally into the realm of freedom.
Greed in capitalism is actually greed in freedom. People are free to be greedy. And like many other naysayers on the topic of laissez faire economics (and most other forms of systemic freedom) might point out, they are also free to murder, to steal, to defame, vandalize, loot, rob and otherwise terrorize other people.
These are terrible aspects of freedom, to be sure. But have you ignored that 80+% of those within freedom DON’T commit crimes? Steal from the elderly? Live extravagantly?
Do you ignore that freedom also brings us self satisfaction? Freedom of religion! Freedom to work as desired. The Freedom to love whom you want. The freedom to take care of your family as you desire, to move where you want and do what makes you happy. You are free to leave poverty — if you know how. You are free!
Sure, capitalism allows the greedy to flourish. So that’s like, 10%, maybe, of our population? I don’t care what the greedy make. Stop caring so much about what everyone else is doing and start worrying about yourself. What are you making? Are you merely jealous, or do you always pull the trump card that “OH! The Greedy just prey on the poor people!”
1st) The Greedy exist in every economic system.
2nd) In any other system, they’re known as nobles or generals, both of which are inherently oppressive to the populace.
3rd) Poor people are mostly poor because of an internal culture of self-perpetuating poverty, very little of which has to do with being oppressed by anyone but themselves.
My family has gone from middle-middle-class to shit poor. We lived in trailers with holes in the floor and roaches in our beds. But despite our rather rough economic condition, never were we poor. “Poor” is a state of mind. “Lack of funds” is an economic situation.
We weren’t poor, and thanks to my hard-working, hard-saving, economically educated mother (through her parents and life, not college), we climbed out of that hole to a relative degree of comfort, given other struggles we had.
Stop decrying the evils of the greedy rich.
I consider the terrible condition of a poor man believing he is both owed what I have earned, entitled to my comforts and of the mind that he is otherwise unable to provide for himself a far greater evil than the greedy. You can blame the rich all you like for wielding a weapon of economic deceit, but I hold in as much contempt the man who refuses to remove his own veil of ignorance and happily walks under the knife.
And the greater supposition on those of removing our freedoms in order to limit its negative aspects, such as greed, equally suppress the positive aspects of ambition, growth and transcendence. Instead of freeing everyone so at least the good have an opportunity to build personal wealth and take care of their own needs, some would limit everyone — intent on publishing the guilty instead of freeing the innocent.
I believe the quote goes:
It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness a thousand times.
For those of you so intent on limiting the greedy that you are willing to suppress everyone else’s freedom to do so, consider your actions. Limiting everyone so a few can’t abuse their freedoms is like ending vehicle traffic as we know it because a few abuse the privilege!
It is better to remain free and punish only those who have actually committed acts of deceit, theft and other crime. Don’t make morality relative by saying some people can’t have a percentage higher than others. It’s only immoral if one uses immoral tactics to achieve it. It’s not wrong that some have more than others. It’s only wrong if those who have came at the immoral advantage of those who didn’t have, and building wealth through a successful business is hardly taking immoral advantage of people.
Freedom cannot be taken at the slightest chance of abuse. Freedom is an inherently dangerous prospect. I would rather have freedom.
Its benefits so far outweigh the costs.