Ask any kid of college age, challenges Francis Menton, aka The Manhattan Contrarian, what he or she dislikes about America, and you’ll most likely hear “capitalism.”
Mr. Menton then explains that capitalism is not a belief system.
There is no political party anywhere that claims to stand for “capitalism.” There is no place you can go to find a list of the beliefs in the capitalist creed. A person who is described by himself or others as a “capitalist” is not someone who subscribes to some belief system of “capitalism,” but rather just someone who deploys investment capital in a business.
Rather than referring to a belief system, the word “capitalism” is best viewed a merely a descriptive term for an economic system that arises naturally under certain conditions.
But “capitalism” is a terrible word to be used as a descriptive term for this system for two reasons:
- The suffix “ism” gives the completely false impression that this is a belief system, when that is not true at all.
- The word gives the suggestion that “capital” and the use of capital are the most important characteristics of this system, when instead there are other far more important characteristics to pay attention to.
Freedom Based Economic Order
Mr. Menton prefers that term “freedom-based economic order.” Alas, he points out, he has been unable to capture the essence of that concept in a one-word term
The “Thank You Economy”
Jay Nordlinger in NRO came up with the term he calls a “Thank you economy,” learned, he says, long ago.
A free economy is a “Thank you” economy.
The buyer hands the seller the cash. The seller says, “Thank you.”
The seller hands the buyer the good. The buyer says, “Thank you.”
No one feels screwed. The benefit is mutual.
This is very, very rare in the long history of human affairs.
“The relevance of this discussion to Independence Day is that a freedom-based economic order is very much provided for by our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,” Mr. Menton reminds readers.
The freedom-based economic order is no more than what arises naturally in human affairs when there are secure rights in private property that can then be freely exchanged.
The pertinent phrase in the Declaration, is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” which are said to be “unalienable rights” coming from the “creator.”
What aspects of the freedom-based economic order are far more important than the presence of capital and capitalists? Here, Mr. Menton, lists three:
- A tremendous prosperity has been unleashed, unlike anything the world had previously seen.
- People can live with a great degree of independence and autonomy from overlords and ruling elites.
- While in pre-existing systems people organized by tribes and ethnicities and fought endless wars for control of land and resources, now people of all ethnicities are able to live together in peace and create mutual prosperity by exchange of goods, services, intellectual property and labor.
Accordingly, Mr. Menton, #3 ranks as the most important, and, as he emphasizes, #3 is “almost unrecognized by our progressive intellectuals.”
Those who rail against supposed “oppression” of ethnic minorities in the United States somehow can’t see ethnic minorities by the dozens rapidly working their way up the economic ladder here, while Communist China seriously oppresses ethnic minorities like Uyghurs and Tibetans, and while ethnic and tribal conflicts persist endlessly in places like Africa and the Middle East.
Independence Day, for progressives, is just another day to hate on America.
On 3 July, the NYT wrote that the American flag has become the “Symbol of Unity That May No Longer Unite”:
From the NYT, 3 July
What was once a unifying symbol — there is a star on it for each state, after all — is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront.
Somehow, continues Mr. Menton, “for those who arrogantly think that they have all the answers to perfect and save the world, the blessings of what they have have become impossible to see.”
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