Capitolism and Democracy

A friend posed to me the following question:

"Can capitolism house a democratic society?"

That's a really interesting question. No. Not truly it can't. But a democratic society can house capitolism. There's the rub. We are supposed to start from the democracy and work from there. Instead, we start with the economy.

Capitolism is not in and of itself evil, but basing a society on capitolistic principles prior to democratic ones is evil. Additionally, anything that can be wielded by evil people can and will be perverted in order to commit evil. This happens in every governmental and economic system. It is not the systems themselves that fail. It is the failings of evil people that allow the best of systems to fail. Capitolism does not commit evil. Rather it is a sytem that enables evil epople to readily commit certain kinds of evil acts. Sadly, the same can be said of democracy. Plato was deeply concerned with rule of the mob in which an ignoble but charismatic leader could wreak great havok. We got to see that concern realized during the Reagan administration. Reagan was a monster, yet many people still perceive him as a the epitome of human wonderfulness.

I base my principles on democratic ideals. Like any other system of government, democracy can be perverted by evil people and wielded for the sake of evil. I won't give up on democratic ideals because I believe that the only appropriate method of governance is one in which the rights and power of every individual are respected, but what I am really shooting for is a world in which people - all people - simply choose to stop being evil. In that kind of world, governmental and economic arrangements would simply work themselves out. Iniquities would be reasonably settled, and defective governments would be changed to make effective ones. That may never happen. We almost certainly won't see it in our lifetimes. That is irrelevant to me.

In a world full of suffering and hate, I cannot bear to sit idly by. I must act or be lost. My life will be totally empty and meaningless if I do not at least try to make the world a better place. I try to do this by spreading compassion. If everyone can sympathize - Nay! EMPATHIZE - with everyone else, evil will fall by the wayside. This is the means of achieving social revolution without force, without violence, and without the dramatic upheavals that have precipitated every other dramatic change in human societies that have occurred since the beginning of the human race.


Alan Wescoat