When I was in college (graduated 2016 so not THAT long ago), I took a class in which I was the only free-market advocate. All of my classmates identified as socialists, or in a few cases, authoritarians. I spent the first few weeks arguing with them, but eventually gave up. I couldn't give them a reading list, I couldn't give them Hayek or Mises, and I didn't know that I could get free copies of I, Pencil from FEE. I wish I could go back in time to that class with the newest tool for advocacy- the truth that you can't whine about capitalism in a Patagonia sweatshirt.
You can't call capitalism evil if you have an Amazon account. You can't complain about capitalism if you've downloaded Uber. You can't decry an evil system if you go to a grocery store and everything you need is there. You can't complain about capitalism if you chose your outfit. You can't moan about capitalism at a private school.
I wish I had pointed out all the fruits of capitalism on my classmate's bodies. I wish I had pointed out the cornucopia of choice we lived in, and how that wouldn't be an option in an "equal world" in which the state provided our needs.
If you're still in college (maybe you're a Campus Ambassador,) try this one out next time you meet a socialist in a Patagonia sweater.
Yes, Trish! I have the same problem while performing activism on campuses! Although I will say I find those students that tweet about the evils of capitalism on their Rose gold iPhone 7 while listening to their favorite Spotify playlist on their new Beats by Dre headphones, all while wearing their neww Patagonia sweater generally are unwilling to have a discussion about how the market allows for these choices of products at prices consumers are willing to pay. I've tried to explain how it is really the free market that allows for trade of goods and services that allows for this, but they remain firm on their belief that we can have Rose gold iPhone 7s and Beats by Dre with socialism.
In case you're wondering, they are never willing to take a free copy of "I, Pencil"...even if just to use it as a drink coaster to spite me. Does anyone have advice on how to make capitalism more palatable in this situation?
What I try to emphasize when I'm meeting with 'Big-L Libertarians' is that the people we disagree with usually come from the best place they know. Socialists come from a worldview in which the role of government is to serve the people, and the role of people is to serve the government through taxation. In their brain, the relationship between citizens and the state is a mutually beneficial relationship and the state is comprised of benevolent people who won't rule against the consent of the governed. That's a rosy worldview, a pretty picture. In their minds, the state takes care of people because it has the power to do so. They don't know public choice theory. They haven't read Friedman. They haven't read Payne. They haven't read history. They don't have the information that we do about the way the state abuses people and power. They're coming from the best place they know based on what little information they have. So if we acknowledge that they're coming from the best place they know, maybe that's how we open the door?
Milton Friedman on Donahue (1979, 3 of 5)
I completely agree with this article. I have a Libertarian friend who told me at the beginning of last semester that he was a borderline democrat. He is an economics major, and I told him that it was dumb to be an economics major and a democrat at the same time. He laughed at first, but as he delved deeper into his studies, he eventually came around and told me that he couldn't believe he was for bigger government. He and I would occasionally go have lunch and discuss the major issues such as religion, politics, law, etc. etc. He would ask me questions as to why big government was bad, and eventually I pointed him towards this website. The reason I tell you this, because this article, was one of the best examples of capitalism at its finest. I love this article, and will be repeating it as often as I can to Liberals and left-leaning Libertarians alike, and because I am a college student, I am about to head to a big time university. Thank you for posting this!!!