It's not easy being a devotee of capitalism these days. What with the tendency of capitalist elites to cry for public bail-outs for their self-inflicted wounds while at the same time they continue to fleece the very same individuals whose tax dollars are needed to bail them out. What capitalism needs is an intervention. But right now, instead of wanting to set capitalism down on a chair with some friends and getting it to deal seriously with its addictions and its moral failures, most of us are thinking something else entirely.
Right now, capitalism is like a junkie that has broken into our home and is waving a gun around, demanding our money and making all sorts of other offensive and ludicrous demands besides.
How does an ordinary middle-class devotee of Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman rationalize their delusions to their bewildered fellow citizens? For the most part they're reduced either to rote recantations of the past (dubious) successes of capitalism, or they're blathering the capitalist version of the "no true Scotsman" excuse that democratic socialists were accused of when they tried to argue that environmental regulations, public health care and a subsistence wage for the unemployed weren't a diluted form of Stalinism. (The difference of course, is that democratic socialists relied on something called "democracy" to prevent the same power of the state that allowed it enforce vehicle emissions to metastasize into the power to enslave people in concentration camps, whereas in a "free market" the vast wealth of the "winners" is invariably used to bribe both courts and legislatures to distort the market to accommodate their wishes and entrench an oligarchy.)
More and more, fans of "free market" capitalism tend to keep their embarrassing philosophical predilections to themselves. The same is true for their political choices. Who among us would now offer, without trepidation, that they voted for lying, blustering failures like Toronto's mayor Rob Ford? Who were the die-hards supporting the lying incompetent Tim Hudak? Who now proudly stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the torturing, pedophile-enabling, serial incompetent, anti-democratic stephen harper? Very few people. Only the worst of the bunch. The most incorrigible of shit-heads.
Yes indeed. These are tough times for the sad, deluded types who worship the money of other people, who hang on the words of lying propagandists while their own lives turn to shit because of the policies they embrace. 1991, the end of the Cold War, in which Soviet command economics collapsed of its own accord, was a long time ago. Capitalism was devolving itself at the time, in response to its own unworkability and failure. But the correlation of the death of a rival economic system gave the imaginations of these simpletons a new lease on life. Two decades of continued failure (more frequent and intense financial crises, increasing household debt, more pervasive poverty, less political legitimacy and an increasing resort to authoritarian measures to suppress dissent) are starting to penetrate all but the dullest of consciousnesses.
It's about bloody time. These fools have held us back for too long.