Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?


Samarami's picture

Classic Cato Obfuscation and Intellectual Bullshit.

Were I the late Daily Bell (rip) I would uncover their dominant social theme.

But I'm not, and I shan't.

If you are interested in learning why intellectuals oppose capitalism I suggest you read this.


mhstahl's picture

I must agree, Sam. Obfuscation and bullshit.

It has been my personal experience that there really is a broad range of thought among academics. Few, truly, do support the status quo, which is generally defined as "capitalism."

But, then neither do I, or you.

Oftentimes "libertarians"-particularly the catoist variety-first re-define "capitalism" as a free-market that in no way resembles current reality, and then excoriate those who don't support a system that is a figment of their imagination that they generally poorly explain. Nozick does this very thing in the posted article. It is nothing but a straw-man of Goebbelsian proportions that does nothing to actually address the issue. Rather, it perpetuates pointless animosity.

Certainly, there is a dominant social theme, and there are no shortage of "court" historians and especially economists (a "science" that violates all the rules of actual science), but there are plenty of others who make every effort to present honest analysis.

If we approach "capitalism" as it actually is in the US system, it is an ugly political patronage system that is fully shot through with government force and favor granting. "The Market" may sometimes pick winners and losers, but just as often-or more often- Senators make these choices-or state representatives, or city councilmen, or the damn zoning board or health department.

Considering this, the glory of "capitalism" is deeply tarnished and corroded, and the difference between it and outright socialism is one of degree rather than kind(and not so many degrees, either.) I see no reason to be perplexed about why "intellectuals" oppose this, or even why they are so easily enticed into socialist economic models. 

To my mind, rather than accusing them of some sort of academic rent-seeking, time might be better spent presenting a case for freedom rather than "capitalism." I have done this personally, with open Marxists, and, frankly, was shocked to find just how much common ground there was between my ideas and theirs.

But that's just me.



Samarami's picture

Think this might be a duplicate. I'm so confused now I'm just goin' to bed.


Samarami's picture

Screwy. Had a long comment with several links to your excellent comment, Mike. But in the time it took to put it together and click "send" I apparently got signed "out" from STR. I checked before I started writing -- this same thing happened to me less than a week ago -- and, yes, I was signed "in".

But I got another red-letter drop-down flag with a rather snotty "you-are-not-authorized-to-submit-comments" -- and the blamed program gobbled up what I had spent the last hour typing.

Never to be retrieved, except in my withered old brain.

Maybe I should compose on Notepad or Word and paste it -- but seems this temperamental program doesn't like that either and will kick it out as "bot".

Oh, me. Oh, my. Life's a bitch and then ya die.


mhstahl's picture


I can't tell you how many times I've had that happen! I've taken to copying long posts(Use ctrl-c) before I post them, so that if that happens, I can then just paste it in again. That seems to work quite well, though sometimes I have to fix links, etc...but at least the post is still there.

It's still quite frustrating.

There is another aspect to this that I'm rather surprised I did not mention, since it is something of a pet peeve. The way that research is presented, and conducted, in the social "sciences" is designed to mirror "hard" sciences. The problem is, economics, sociology, history, certainly political "science", and even disciplines like archeology(though it uses real science) and anthropology(social anthropology, not physical) are NOT sciences at all. They are interpretive disciplines, where any and all conclusions are the result of subjective analysis rather than objective experimentation. No one can argue that a certain amount of electrical voltage will light a light bulb to x amount of brightness-any variation can be identified, and predicted with utter certainty, there is no other possibility at all, the correlation is 100%, always. As my one time Chemistry Prof used to say, "has to be." Even where there are unknown variations in science, there will be an explanation, even if it is not yet understood (like quantum mechanics.)

This is simply not the case in "social sciences," yet conclusions are presented in the same manner, and researchers are taught that they are, in fact, doing science. They are not, they are simply using numbers and complex equations to verify assumptions and make predictions that can never be anywhere near the same certainty as science. The problem with this is that it grants a false certainty to the research, which makes it much easier to entrench a given perspective.

The folks who first postulated this notion had names like Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx (yes, that Karl Marx)-the original "objectivists." Is it any wonder that there is a bit of a left tilt?

There is some hope that this science fetish is starting to wane, though. Thirty or forty years ago, there was a serious attempt to turn history into a "science." It was a bridge too far, and the backlash manifested itself in post-modernism, which not only rejects history outright as simple conjecture, but all such attempts, and questions even "hard" science. Today, virtually all historians reject the notion that history is in any way a science...to the point that many now consider history a form of art (which isn't quite right either, but is far and away more accurate.) Personally, I'm of the opinion that history should go back to where it began academically, as a sub-discipline of literature.

All that said, anyone who seriously studies human society-and the government's actions within it, cannot help but be profoundly dissatisfied with how things are now, and the question becomes, "how might it be better?." Though it pretends to be "radical", what I usually see from Cato is a defense of the status quo that is shielded by a morass of rhetorical mumbo-jumbo and name-calling intended to make it look like they are champions of something new.

I think that this is also, many times, true of people who really do have radical visions of how they think things "ought" to be, they present it as an absolute objective certainty, rather than what it is; a philosophy based upon their perspective. The Earth is a big place, and the solar system even bigger; there is plenty of room for multiple perspectives and philosophies-but none of them are objective science.

I hope for a day when those who claim to oppose Marxism finally throw out his rule book, now THAT will be a debate worth having!



Darkcrusade's picture

Don't i know it!!! Sometimes a 10 on the frustration factor.

Best for me to keep it short and sweet> http://www.scribd.com/doc/40022953/Handbook-for-Rebels-and-Outlaws-Resis...

“Everyone would work for everyone else; there would be no more war; and the whole world would be turned into one big jolly factory without an owner, and with playgrounds attached. . . . You say you want to make men brothers.What you really want is to make them ants.” -Rex Warner.

The Professor “After all, the United States fought one of the bloodiest civil conflicts in history little more than a century ago. We know that it can happen here be- cause it has.”

Roy Licklider. -Stopping the Killing: How Civil Wars End

“I foresee that man will resign himself to new abominations, that soon only soldiers and bandits will be left.”

Jorge Luis Borges. - The Garden of Forking Paths''

''Do you like to lie? Become a journalist.

Do you like to slander the dead? Become a historian.

Do you like to libel the species? Become a nov-elist.

Are you an authoritarian? Do you like to degrade, humiliate, and domi-nate others? Become a prison warden–or an elementary school teacher.

Are you a sadist? Are you excited by the agonized shrieks of helpless beings? If you like to torture animals to death, become a kosher butcher.

If you like to torture people to death–to poison, burn and cut them with impunity— become an oncologist.

Do you enjoy doing evil and spreading terror? If killing strangers from behind with a knife, a garrote, or your naked hands arouses you, become a military commando.

If mass murder is your interest–if exterminating thou-sands of people like germs and insects pleases you—become a combat pilot.

Or–if you prefer to kill without danger to your own person–find employment in an abortion clinic. Over his career, one abortion pioneer in Canada personally killed more than thirty thousand unborn humans!''

Glock27's picture

I can not recall the fellow's name, but he is considered to be the father of propaganda, he used his Uncle Freud's work to develop a commercial use of the ideas. Ergo, science. The science we see that comes from the government are synthetic science devised to portray exactly what they want it to. Business use this same model in selling their products and when it becomes funky they have a team of scientists whom declare there is absence absolutely nothing wrong with the product. This can be recalled from the tobacco industry years ago. I don't think anything has really changed. I really wonder what science is. When looking at the global warming issue, too many scientist fell in with the others in the proclamation that the earth was warming and it was all our fault. There are too many sciences that are synthetic, fraudulent, cheap deceivers for sale at the right price.

Ironic. I just finished two paragraphs regarding synthetic science and suddenly it disappeared on me. Anyone know what is going on?

Glock27's picture

The idea that politicians are of the psychopathic/sociopathic tendency carries considerable weight; how else could the American people find themselves in such ridiculous situations. I know this nation is rather unique compared to all the other countries, but deep within my hear, mid and soul I find this idea to be a truth. Many will say truth is relevant to a given situation. I see truth as being eternal and unchanging and circumstances does not alter the truth. Politicians as psychopaths makes a lot of sense to me. I recall when [o]bama was running for the majestic position of President, he was very clear about who he was and what he intended to do--change America, make us into a poor nation to level the playing field with all the other nations of the world. To date he has achieved much of his desire to create havoc in this nation. It seemed insane to me that people voted for him knowing what he intended to do, it stuck out like a sore thumb.

I have to say that common sense plays a role in my choice to view politicians as psychopaths. Given all the rules, regulations, executive orders, lies, cheating, violence used against American People, common sense plays a significant role in arriving at the truth. Facts are not always what they seem to be, yet in the political world facts are the last thing a politician wants to bolster his or her ideology.