He was discussing how mutual respect is what is missing from our society and then extrapolated that to condemn our capitalist system as exploitive and disrespectful, and then went on to explain how true disrespect was assuming that one person has power over another person, and that one person knows better what the other person needs.
I wish I could find the right way, the perfect words to explain to him the reality of his thoughts, and I will attempt to do so here.
I fully agree, it is very disrespectful to assume that you or anyone else knows better what someone else’s life might need. That is very very true. But I am eternally confused as to why so many people, typically on the left of the political landscape, then take that truth and apply it to capitalism. If you want an example of pure disrespect of people’s individual rights, if you want to see pure narcissistic contempt for people ‘less than’ the elite, if you want to study how through the ages of man, people have been subjugated by those that feel they ‘know better’, the proper place to look is to the left. This current administration is an excellent example, but Wilson and FDR, are even better examples because they were actually successful in their narcissistic attempts to ‘better peoples lives’ in their own image. Since the times of the Kings and the Kahns till the communists, and in many lands today run by dictatorship, it is precisely the liberal socialist style agenda that claims intellectual superiority over the common man, and subjugates the common man to live under what the elites in power claim to be in the common man’s best interest.
Capitalism has been the only socio-economic system that eliminated the power position of the elites and allowed the common man to take control of his or her own destiny. It is scary though I suppose, and maybe that is why so many people refuse to see this reality. Once you are responsible for yourself… you are responsible for yourself! Fail? That was all you. But fear of the unknown is what allowed so many centuries of centralized leadership. People shouldn’t focus on how scary it is to fail, but how exuberant of a life one lives when they try, fail and eventually succeed.
The real interesting part about the “capitalism is slavery” argument, is that people seem very confused about history when discussing ‘the new way’ or ‘the old way’. Many people on the left ardently argue that we need to move forward, into a future where we are a perfect socialist system, but they completely ignore that the socialist style system they are trumpeting is older than any government. Collectivist feudalism is no goal, it is actually capitalism that set man free from bondage. Capitalism is actually the new and promising way. We can study hundreds, nay, thousands of years of centralized planning. We have little more than two centuries of capitalism as a social construct to analyze.
That being said, I would like to expand on this concept in a more natural way. Capitalism is not only the most respectful, fair and non-enslaving system to ever exist, it is actually the most natural and organic economic structure ever implemented. The cycles of nature themselves are capitalistic. All elements of nature work to support each other without ever sitting down and discussing how it is going to be structured. It is all entirely voluntary trade, just like capitalism. The bees don’t demand the flowers provide pollen, the flowers and bees have a voluntary relationship. Just like capitalism. Now, if you are just going to skim over that concept and complain about it, instead of considering its weight, I would like to add, yes, the bees themselves do act in a socialized manner, but, and this is a big but, the bees can function that way because they have a single goal. The entire population is focused on just one goal. This is never true of humans. Maybe in times of national unity we have similar notions on a certain subject, but at any given time, there are as many goals as there are people. The only way to allow those people to achieve their goals is to allow them to interact with each other voluntarily. Capitalism.
It is so interesting to me to hear people discuss capitalism like it is some evil construct (especially by people very interested in the natural course of the world) when capitalism is actually the only natural state of an economy, and the only respectful way for each person to strive to achieve their goals.
Now, I recognize that many will argue and point out the flaws and catastrophes brought about by capitalism. I will have to agree on certain counts, although I will usually point out the subversive socialist government program that skewed the natural playing field and caused a perverse incentive to alter the otherwise natural course of capitalism. But beyond that, it is important to remember, that nature itself is flawed and allows for catastrophe in many ways. It is even part of the natural cleansing process of the earth’s systems to clear away with catastrophe. My point being, no economic system is perfect and will ever protect every single element of the system. The lion must eat. The river must flood. That is not disrespectful or unfair, it is the natural course. What is disrespectful and ‘unfair’ is someone standing up and declaring that they know best when the lion should eat and how deep the river should rise.
Under any socialist style system, like the one we struggle to succeed under here in the United States, there is little that is voluntary. Socialists and the liberals who pretend not to be socialists, don’t believe in voluntary trade, they believe they know better how the exchanges should occur. That, my friend, is disrespectful.