Don’t get me wrong. I’m still the artist behind the spoken-word album, Capitalism Is My Bag, Baby. But here’s the problem. Because most people on the right love and respect capitalism and pretty much everyone on the right feels the very real need to defend capitalism from the Occupiers, technocrats, sans-culottes, nudgers, equalizers, faux pragmatists, and other members of the Social Justice League, we don’t spend enough time focusing on the limitations of capitalism.
I say “limitations” rather than “faults,” because limitations aren’t necessarily faults. This is a really important distinction that is sometimes lost on people. A car that can’t go more than five miles per hour is faulty. A car that can’t drive through solid rock is simply a car. Water has no protein. But few would say that water isn’t essential or good. Water does what it does, but it can’t do things water can’t do. Air is awesome. I use it every day. I’m using it right now! But if ever there was a good illustration of how “necessary” and “sufficient” aren’t the same thing, air is it.
And so it is with capitalism. Okay, technically we don’t need capitalism the way we need air or water. Cavemen didn’t have it. And, as a result, they ate a lot of grubs, scraped their dangly bits on rocks while running away from large hungry animals, and usually died a violent or painful death at a young age. The North Koreans don’t have capitalism and many North Koreans would count themselves lucky to live like cavemen. In fact, much of the West didn’t have it, in a meaningful sense, until around 1700 at the earliest. And that’s why it stunk to live in 1700 — literally and figuratively — for a lot of people.