14 Days of Freedom: Day 6

A note about this post: I personally am anti-capitalist but will work with literally anyone who supports a free and humane society. I use defenders of capitalism as an example in this post because capitalism is the example that popped into my head first. If you are a capitalist who supports a free and humane society...I have gone into detail on Twitter about how the two are more than a little contradictory. I will work with you, I do not make personal attacks, only group ones, but I'm not going to shut my mouth to make you feel comfortable.

A lot of people defend the status quo by saying "this is the best we've had it" or "capitalism is the fairest system that exists". This is a shitty justification, most likely untrue, and requires some very lazy thinking.

Let's assume, just for a moment, that since they're the ones making the claim that capitalism is the fairest system we've got, that the burden of proof is on them. (I do believe anti-capitalists have acquitted themselves quite fairly.) What do they point to? The failures of Communism and how capitalism provides us with shiny stuff.

Quite aside from how giving a tiny minority enough wealth to make Solomon blush somehow justifies the exploitation and oppression of the masses, this line of thought is quite lazy. I'm not going to deny that 20th-century Communism failed (due to many reasons, some due to implementation, some due to how it was painted by the capitalist West, actually there was a lot of stuff going on and it's not all down to inherent flaws in Communism as some would like to say). Actually, I'm not going to deny anything. What I am going to say is that the failures of Communism (and other systems too, but most people just go straight for Communism) do not automatically make capitalism the best system, as they discount the possibility that we could come up with better systems in future - and that really is lazy thinking. The logic is that whatever we have at present is best and there is no possible way to improve on it. A quick look at the history books should tell you that that's complete bullshit - not just technologically, but socially, economically and politically. Despite all a misanthrope may say about it (and with good reason), humanity is really quite good at thinking up new ideas and reworking old ones.

It is coming into fashion now to say that humanity is limited and must work within its limits. I do not dispute that: most things in the world are limited. What I dispute is that humanity has come to the limit of its ideas. There certainly doesn't seem to be any hard indication of it, as there are when other limits are present, and I'm wary of people using it as...well...almost as an excuse not to do anything more.

Humanity is cruel and stupid, yes, but also inventive and resourceful. The past can teach us a lot, that's true, but we shouldn't only be derivative. There are limits on the ideas we can come up with, but whether we've reached them yet is doubtful, to say the least. Think. Look forward. Don't be stopped. This unfair system, like the unfair systems that preceded it, are not the best we've had it - and it's likely that better ones can be made.