The problem isn’t at all structural, else Christianity would be wrong and it’s certainly older than capitalism. But as in everything it’s the person trying to make the difference that does, or doesn’t. And so one by one, individuals and their individual acts make up society. It’s all the abstraction that’s the problem.
Be all that as it may, there was a time when an industrious and pious individual was considered at his word and deed. And our civilization, as were all civilizations, arranged around him in protection of such virtues. And somehow people have become convinced (people who in the end delude themselves into thinking their proxies matter) that civilizations can be made to do well for the masses without consideration for such piety and industriousness. That in fact the only industry that mattered was the industry of the government and that a properly run government ought to get in the way of religion. So laws proliferated and transcendent texts were put away.
Now we have lawyers who finagle behemoth jungles of legislation and statutory swamps for the supposed benefit of the masses, and the affairs of the average Joe are now fettered with a million rules, such things that a pious and industrious individual of virtuous word and deed doesn’t require, save a minimum few. Yes of course that’s how lawyers were instructed – they are only capable of becoming what their schools teach them, which are agents of some edifice of complexity, for the supposed benefit of the masses. Overwrought laws implemented by overlarge government bureaucracies for overspoiled children who cannot manage their own affairs independently, like individuals of piety and industry. So long as people will be petty and unable to resolve their differences on their own, there will always be lawyers and laws springing up to fill the vacuum of common sense and decency. Listen for the herald cry: ‘There oughta be a law’. Short of that, some re-education program and its attendant activism all with the same end in mind, Congressional approval and Presidential signature.
Is it any wonder that pious and industrious individuals who neither seek nor need such assistance seem to be such strange creatures to Americans? But this country was supposed to be about that type, not the sort who have grown up with all the million rules and attorney-nannies. And so the structural is forever to be amended and reformed and changed and revolutionized. Well, of course. I pity the poor fools who take their own definition of self from that unending, un-still complexity.
What is at stake here, in my view, is the very idea of the capacity of individuals for good. And I think that idea will die for lack of experience of its fundamental operation which is the employment of one man by another. For me to see some quality in another man and for me to take the risk in paying that man out of my own pocket for him to do a job is the elemental transaction of industry. For us to agree is a contract. The pledge of one man to do and another to pay. That’s what we cannot forget, lest we forget the very pillar of civilization. For any man who has good honest work and who is entrusted to do it and does it, must inevitably become a good honest man. And so any man understanding that, should he manage to accumulate the means, must then continue and finding other men and good honest work for them in turn. The examples are all around today and in history should we bother to look.
But there is a political class in this country that is prepared to agitate against that simple bond and redefine what work and industry are. They are inevitably those who haven’t experienced the bond, and so there may be some justice in that. For who else but those who don’t know good and honest work would seek to destroy the very idea? If that is our political majority then it will take some work to undo their undoing of work.
The difference between capitalism and everything else is that capitalism honors the contract between individuals and subjects it to the minimum of interference from the government. To the man who risks to pay goes the profit without third parties telling him how. To the man who delivers the work goes the pay without third parties taking a piece. These are the relationships into which non-capitalists wish so ardently to stick their noses. They wish always to investigate, criticize, second-guess, adjust, adjudicate, reform, correct, oh and take a piece of the action for their involvement, their blessing, their approval, their eternal self-righteous and condescending tolerance.
Why? Well for the good of the masses of course. For the people who cannot manage to broker their own deals, to enter into face to face contracts for good honest work. For people to climb pre-fabricated ladders to ‘success’, ladders built by lawyers and their superfluous laws. For the sake of a ‘structure’ that is ‘equitable’, for the sake of a ‘safety net’ for the ‘forgotten’. For people incapable of finding some good and honor on their own, for the people who are ‘useless’ to the ‘current system’. For the least of these my brothers, at the express and punishing expense of those who avoid their schemes.
You’ll never find an adequate amount of charity from the liberal towards liberal causes. By definition they must draft the unwilling, they must bend those who disagree to their will. They choose to redefine the world in defiance of private arrangements so that they can tax a fraction of the world in their master plans to redefine the world. And so for their aims of global justice, world peace, and universal rights they are never satisfied with localities. Their ambition is total, their need for panoptic control is insatiable. They will always claim a higher moral authority – higher than God. Because God’s covenant is with individuals.
Yeah. We live in cities we weren’t born in. We live in houses we didn’t build and we eat food we didn’t grow wearing clothes we didn’t sew. We speak in languages we didn’t master and communicate over computers we cannot program. We drive cars we cannot fix to places we can’t even find without a map or a cluster of satellites in space. We’re leveraged, and we all ought to spend our time de-leveraging and become more independent. The Conservative direction is to enable the self-sufficient, the virtues of individual word and deed.