Here’s a letter that I sent this morning to the Gray Lady:
Slavoj Zizek rightly complains – if with understatement bordering on the vulgar – of being “deceived” by communism (“20 Years of Collapse,” Nov. 9). But like many other pundits who feign wisdom by steering clear of what they mistakenly interpret to be an extreme position, he complains also of being “disillusioned” by capitalism.
Capitalism is indeed poles apart from communism, but not in a way that renders society best served by some compromise between the two. Unlike communism and milder forms of collectivism, capitalism is not imposed; it is simply what arises when adults are free to engage in consensual commercial acts in cultures that respect private property rights and largely reject both status and superstition as guides to decision-making. Also unlike communism, capitalism conscripts no one to serve other persons’ ends; individuals can opt out of capitalist societies.
Perhaps most importantly, unlike communism, capitalism promises neither to produce heaven on earth nor to engineer any New and Better Man – and so capitalism gives rise to none of the murderous zealotry endemic to communism.
Donald J. Boudreaux