Capitalism is Working

Progressives, Trotskyists and other end-times catastrophists can't face the fact that the world is better today than it's ever been before. They can't face that fact simply because if it were taken to be true by the majority of people, their revolutionary fire would quickly be put out. That would also mean that they'd be unable to justify their grabs for power, for vengeance and for the political implementations (usually totalitarian in nature) of their own private political fantasies.

George Monbiot & Matt Ridley

On the subject of progress (which 'progressives', almost by definition, deny), writer and journalist Russell Lewis writes: 

“The human race, as a whole, is healthier, better fed and housed, longer-lived and more prosperous than at any time in history. Children no longer die like flies. There is for most people far more security, leisure, Culture and entertainment than ever before, and, contrary to the pessimists, who are always with us, the environment is vastly improved, especially in terms of clean air and water and surroundings in country and town. If there is anything about our civilisation, as Gore insists, it is that we are so blind to its benefits.” (39)

Just in case you think that Russell Lewis is referring exclusively to the West (which he isn't), the popular English science writer Matt Ridley (in his book The Rational Optimist) adds his own take on this:

“... even if you break down the world into bits, it is hard to find any region that was worse off in 2005 than it was in 1955. Over the half-century, real income per head ended a little lower in only six countries (Afghanistan, Haiti, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia), life expectancy in three (Russia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe), and infant survival in none.”

More to the point:

“The rich have got richer, but the poor have done even better. The poor in the developing world grew their consumption twice as fast as the world as a whole between 1980 and 2000.... Even Nigerians are twice as rich, 25 per cent less fecund and nine years longer lived than they were in 1955. Despite the doubling of the world population, even the raw number of people living in absolute poverty (defined as less than a 1985 dollar a day) has fallen since the 1950s. The percentage living in such absolute poverty has dropped by more than half – to less than 18 per cent.... The United Nations estimates that poverty was reduced more in the last fifty years than in the previous 500.” (15)

So despite all that, Ridley also notes the following:

“In an airport bookshop recently, I paused at the Current Affairs section and looked down the shelves. There were books by Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Al Franken, Al Gore, John Gray, Naomi Klein, George Monbiot and Michael Moore, which all argued to a greater or lesser degree that (a) the world is a terrible place; (b) it's getting worse; (c) it's mostly the fault of commerce; and (d) a turning point has been reached. I did not see a single optimistic book.” (291)

As you can see, Matt Ridley refers to Britain's best-known left-wing environmentalist, George Monbiot, in the passage above. Mr. Monbiot is also an ultra-posh public-schoolboy and Oxbridge snob who was brought up in Henley-on-Thames. The victims of his snobbery range from every right-wing person on the planet, supermarkets, Disney cartoon characters, City workers, people who fly on planes, heterosexuals, people who laugh and, last but not least, every member of the working class save, of course, the 'progressive' ones.

Like many other British public-schoolboys, Monbiot no doubt believes that it's his destiny to have a profound political impact. (His daddy was an MP.) Now it's also true enough that George is somewhat politically hip and wears t-shirts. The question is: why the hell should that stop him from being a elitist snob -- just like a Fabian socialist of the early 20th century -- who wants to impose his own political vision on the world? (Who says that writers and activists have less of an impact than politicians? Oh, yes, that's right, Noam Chomsky does.) Is Monbiot really excused from all that simply because he's not a Tory or employed in high finance? Really? Stalin, Chairman Mao, and H

itler weren't conservatives or capitalists either.

Anyway, you'll be surprised to hear that George Monbiot had some very unbiased and objective things to say Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist (from which the passages quoted come).

Where should I start? Well, here's a selection: Ridley's “intellectual dishonesty runs deeper than I imagined”; he's “telling people -- especially rich, powerful people -- what they want to hear”; he “will continue to deceive”; he “made a series of shocking errors and distortions”; he “misrepresented economic history”; he indulges in “blatant cherry-picking”; and, last but not least, “[c]rucifixion would have been too good for him”.

And no, as I said, I still don't care if Sir Monbiot wears underpants made out of bark, makes love to dolphins and never fails to use fair-trade condoms.

Naomi Klein

Now let's take the godsend that is anthropogenic global warming. It has supplied revolutionary Leftists with yet another reason to try and destroy capitalism (along with democracy).

However, many Greens and environmentalists have been very careful not to come out too explicitly against capitalism lest they're mistaken for old-school communists who, like watermelons, are “green on the outside and red in the inside”. Despite that, this isn't the case with Naomi Klein.

Commentators have said that Klein only “turned to environmentalism” in 2009. In fact she was very quiet on global warming until her most recent book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, which was published in 2014.

Anyway, Naomi Klein makes an explicit link between global warming and capitalism. Indeed she makes an explicit link between global warming and the pressing need to destroy capitalism. She writes:

"Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It's not about carbon -- it's about capitalism.”

To add to that, we also have this Biblical extravagance:

"Climate change is a civilizational wake-up call, a powerful message delivered in the language of fires, floods, storms, and droughts. Confronting it is no longer about changing the light bulbs. It's about changing the world -- before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe.”

So what's the good news prophetess? This:

“The good news is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.”

It's not surprising that Naomi Klein wants to bring about the death of capitalism when you consider the fact that she was born into the Church of Revolutionary Socialism. Her paternal grandparents were communists, her grandfather was a “social activist” and her parents (according to Klein herself) were “hippies”. In other words, Klein would have received about as much intense Leftist brainwashing as Noam Chomsky (who had a very similar background) received.

Nonetheless, Naomi Klein hasn't been the only Leftist to jump on the global-warming bandwagon as a means to destroy capitalism (or at least to have a massive dig at the evil West). Take all those fellows who deliriously argued (in the 1960s and 70s) that capitalism-induced global cooling was going to destroy the world and then -- seamlessly -- went on to argue that capitalism-induced global warming was going to do exactly the same thing!

The other thing about these catastrophists or revolutionaries in that up until the 1950s they rebelled against poverty and carried out their “war on want”. But then the affluent 1950s came along and... guess what, they rebelled against that too! (Much as George Monbiot is doing today.)

Matt Ridley (again) comments on this phenomenon, specifically on the position of Herbert Marcuse. He writes:

“Even the good news is presented as bad news.... Herbert Marcuse, who turned Marx's notion of the 'immiseration of the proletariat' by steadily declining living standards on its head and argued that capitalism forced excessive consumption on the working class instead.”  (291)

Yes, capitalism is bad when it brings poverty, inequality and ill-heath. And capitalism is still bad when it does the opposite of these things.


Finally, in a quoted passage above, Matt Ridley delivers this ultimate crunch line:

“The rich have got richer, but the poor have done even better.”

Yes, millions of Leftists worldwide take it as being an iron law of (Marxist) logic than if the rich get richer, the poor must necessarily get poorer. After all, isn't that precisely what Marx himself stated some 160 years ago?

As many people know, this prize piece of scriptural bullshit has been proved wrong countless times and in countless respects. (Yes, even in Marx's own day.) Yet still the believers believe. Still they keep the faith.

Paul Austin Murphy's blogs can be found at Counter-Jihad: Beyond the EDL and Paul Austin Murphy's Philosophy. He's had pieces published in Broadside News, Intellectual Conservative, Liberty GB, New English Review, Faith Freedom, 4 Freedoms, Human Events, etc.