"What’s necessary is that the Philippines becomes more humane, progressive, and liberal."
It’s good that the mainstream international media are increasingly debating “capitalism versus socialism” instead of merely bickering over the incoherent petty details of our mixed-system (the welfare state) and how some of its features might be fixed, reformed, or extended (but never rescinded!). Just to be clear, socialism is the legal taking from the productive, giving to the unproductive, and government pocketing the difference.
The welfare state, in fact, is fundamentally unjust, an abomination that’s prone to fiscal bankruptcy due precisely to its moral bankruptcy. A system that institutionalizes the robbing of Peter to pay Paul, because a democratic majority approves of it and political demagogues benefit by it, doesn’t make it right. Looting and mooching aren’t morally justified if socialized, any more than a rape is morally justified if it is a gang rape inflicted with the approval of some sordid majority.
Far more important than a debate about the relative practicality, efficiency, or productiveness of capitalism and socialism is a debate about their relative moral merits. That capitalism is the superior productive system has been obvious to all but the most dimwitted for at least two centuries. But many people today (especially politicians, academics, intellectuals, and church leaders) still insist that socialism is morally superior because it requires the sacrifice of egoistic and individualist aims for the common good; well, it does require sacrifice, but that’s why its morally inferior and patently unjust. Rational egoism is the essence of morality; individualism is the basis of respect among persons; capitalism enshrines both.
No system—like socialism and its communist and fascist cousins—that requires human sacrifice can be called “humanitarian.” None that opposes advances in science, technology, industry, or energy can be called “progressive.” None that seek to suffocate or extinguish civil, economic, and political liberties can be called “liberal.” Capitalism, to its credit, is humane, progressive, and liberal. It’s a shame that so few people (politicians, academics, intellectuals, or church leaders) know it or expound it; until they do, the “debate” has not been joined.
The socialists today are numerous, vigorous, and even arrogant, despite socialism’s horrid historical record. Capitalists today, in sharp contrast, seem few and dispirited, and even if not unaware of its wonderful track record, nevertheless seem unable or unwilling to defend rational egoism and individualism. If you can’t defend capitalism morally and recognize that being moral means being rationally egoistic, you’ll be ineffective; you may even facilitate the persistence of socialism.
Consider how often people, upon hearing of some new socialist scheme, declare that “it sounds good or feels good,” but is “probably” too costly and impractical. “Sounds good or feels good” is code for “is moral,” or “is just,” or “is fair.” In fact, it’s none of those things, if it requires human sacrifice. If you endorse or condone socialism’s alleged “morality,” you ensure that we’ll suffer from its impracticality.
Politicians, the conventional defenders of our current welfare state, have said that the Philippines will never be a socialist or communist country. Note how this is a negative proposition, delivered defensively. They don’t ever mention capitalism—let alone defend it—let alone defend it morally. What’s needed today isn’t just the avoidance of evil but the pursuit of good; what’s necessary is that the Philippines becomes more humane, progressive, and liberal, by becoming a fully capitalist country and joining the top ten wealthiest nations club for a change.