“Capitalism” is a misnomer for a vision that most of us on the right are passionately attached to — freedom of association. We should not be defending “capitalism” at this point in history because the capitalist tradition has become overwhelmingly corrupt. We should be defending freedom of association under the rule of law. This rhetorical strategy gets us back to the economic freedom which we once associated with the term “capitalism.”
Freedom of association requires the criminalization of fraud so that the risk of association is reduced. But the government has stepped in lately to decriminalize, de facto, the fraudulent activity of big business — making “capitalists” completely reliant on bureaucrats to keep them out of jail and in business. The shotgun wedding of big business and big government is a fait accompli with both parties wielding a shotgun.
Socialism is forced association between the government and business (where the latter has been just as coercive as the former), the government and consumers and, therefore, consumers and consumers, which by its very nature ends the rule of law. Forced association requires arbitrary government power and, by extension, arbitrary business power. It is the rule of men, of capitalists, managers, bureaucrats and social engineers. All forced association is tyranny. If I have to pay for other people’s mistakes under the health care system, then the government has made everyone else’s behavior my business — or so it says. If this forced association had never been allowed in the first place, the degree of separation, of freedom of association, would have left me and all others in charge of ourselves.
Ever since the incarnation of Christ, true Christians have been fighting for the freedom to associate in the Church, and not to associate primarily through the state. I am a protestant, but I appreciate the clear Catholic understanding that Christ established the physical Kingdom of God the moment He arrived on earth; and that the kingdoms of this world should be facing a well-organized, historically continuous and authoritative Church which asserts primary dominion over the world; which is always and everywhere resisting the arbitrary power of the secular state. Every inch of the world belongs to God. None of it actually belongs to the modern nation state. The Church’s will to power is based on the theological conviction that only The Church can be the primary source of social construction of a sort which is compatible with individual freedom and God’s overarching will.
When it comes to establishing a society, the modern state and The Church are competitors. The state loses to the Church only when we agree that the state has no right to force people to associate at the point of a gun. The rule of law is all about keeping people from interfering with each other and, otherwise, keeping the government from interfering with anyone at all — including The Church which is rooted in freedom of association.
Everyone agrees that private business is not supposed to be regulating society as a whole. Consequently, socialism makes all business a public accommodation, and a regulating branch of the administration overtly competing with the Church. This is why all orthodox Catholics should be admonishing their church not to surrender; not to become the cuckold of socialism.
And “conservative” Protestants should be organizing their churches into a force to be reckoned with from the government’s anxious point of view. The mission of the so-called Enlightenment was to give secular government its modern victory over The Church as a competitor for dominant, temporal power. The Church must reassert its dominion over the people and the earth, explicitly arguing that secular government is strictly secondary. The Church must be the champion of freedom. Insofar as it is explicitly opposed to modern secular government, The Church is the champion of freedom. It is, above all else, the champion of religious freedom and is therefore explicitly opposed to big government and any caliphate. Unfortunately, both the Catholic and Protestant churches have been taught to be the obsequious partners of the modern, socialist state.
As a practical economic exercise, capitalism is not some principled philosophical commitment to freedom of association. The capitalist pursues monopoly offers to labor and to consumers. If he can get the government’s help in achieving a monopoly offer he will. If he cannot, then he insists that the government standardize the offer that any firm can make and guarantee him a profit. At that point, the theorists may claim that capitalism is dead, but all too many capitalists don’t care.
Big capitalism morphs into socialism. Big business, out of sheer cupidity, partners with Big Government to control the culture. It accepts advantages from the government not the least of which is the regulatory regime itself, which keeps small business from competing. Small business could nibble big business to death on a regular basis if it were unleashed. But it cannot afford the costs of government compliance. This requires huge economies of scale. Big government — socialism — keeps small business from destroying big business simply by piling on the mandates and regulations; by making sure that every small business is guilty of a felony and survives only if the government allows it to. Compliance costs may keep many small business ventures from starting up in the first place. There may be enough capital to provide the envisioned product or service, but not enough to satisfy the whole regulatory regime.
What the state gets in return for its protection of big business (literally bailing it out if need be) is something like a universal church with which to regulate the culture. Big business, stretching across a large geographic area, across entire countries, entire continents, and even the world, is in a position to impose the exact same culture on multitudes of people who would otherwise work only under their own tradition. Big business is not a natural melting pot which people enter into without duress. It is an economic bulldozer which flattens them into the same two dimensional image; a behemoth which forces great masses of people to massively conform. Therefore it is essential that it constantly presents itself as the champion of diversity. The cleverness is satanic. Big business disguises itself as the conservator of diversity precisely because it is by nature just the opposite. It is the most important government program in existence globally for inducing mass conformity, both with respect to business culture and consumer culture, and the people know it. Their legitimate bias against big business remains unseduced in the face of the diversity trick.
The goal and consequence of forced association is the loss of subcultural identity by degree. The modern nation state cannot tolerate competing traditions. It requires one consumer culture with one hundred percent participation. It insists on being the dominant tradition itself. It does so by proposing that the value of diversity is absolute. It is really just establishing a dominant, liberal culture in which our very real, traditional differences are not allowed to make any significant, incommensurate difference; in which conflict is not allowed to disrupt business. We must all be associated economically through the welfare state so the government and big business can make sure that we all have a vested interest in each other’s behavior — in making it universally rational and scientific; in making us all the passive sheep of the diversity shepherd who turns diversity into a sham. The system is established to preserve the power of big government and its tool — big business, including The Fed.
This is satanically clever: Pay lip service to diversity, while making its incommensurate exercise progressively impossible. Force everyone to amalgamate as the outcome of liberal diversification.
We must now try to destroy any and all advantage provided by the regulatory regime to big business. We must put small business in a position to niche market big business to death. If a big business is truly worthy, given complete freedom of association, it may survive — but without being a tool of the government.
We must also continue to withdraw into our own communities of tradition, proving to the government that it cannot actually homogenize us. We must nurture our traditional identities and differences until the government tries to end them by force. That is the moment at which modern liberal government commits suicide by proving it is totalitarianism leading up to the totalitarian moment. It cannot accept the hegemony of The Church, which is the only kingdom in which human freedom is actually respected.