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The anti-capitalist mentality
[September 27, 2002]

By Nicholas Provenzo

Consider the following statement issued today at a press conference by the leaders of this weekend's "anti-capitalist convergence" in Washington, DC after hundreds of protestors were arrested for acts of violence and disorder, including halting traffic, throwing smoke bombs and vandalism of local businesses:

"We are disheartened by the violence which was perpetrated today by the police. Hundreds of people were arrested for doing nothing more than expressing their political beliefs using legal, nonviolent forms of protest and civil disobedience. Protesters and onlookers were shoved, beaten, and pepper sprayed by the police, who seemed determined to prove their "control" of the situation by hurting innocent people." [Italics added].

Using legal forms of civil disobedience? There is no such thing. People determined to prove their control of the situation by hurting the innocent? That sounds more like the actions of the protestors. Yet being bereft of logic has never stopped the anti-capitalist movement before. Tomorrow it is expected over 15,000 people will assemble to protest capitalism outside the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund.

So just what then are protestors who bring mayhem to our capital demanding? Nothing less than to exempt the world from reality. According to their website, the protestors "reject a social and economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and exchange," "reject a system driven by an exploitative logic that sees human beings as human capital, ecosystems as natural resources," and "reject the idea that the world is only valuable in terms of profit, competition and efficiency." That's a lot of rejection.

Yet it is only through a system based on the private ownership of the means of production and exchange that relationships between individuals are peaceful and voluntary. It is only through a system driven by reason and logic that the facts of reality are adhered to and contradictions avoided. It is only though a system that allows the so-called "exploitation of the ecosystem," i.e. farming, mining and anything else that evidences that human beings live on the earth, that allows mankind to prosper. And of course it is only through a system that allows profit that our right to the fruits of our labor is respected. The anti-capitalists stand against everything that makes the world free, happy and prosperous.

Of course, as the history of the non-logical, non-free and non-privately owned world has shown, the rejection of reason, individualism and private property reaps nothing but suffering and misery. And it's interesting to see that the tactics of the protestors is not to use argument to make their case (because perhaps they have no argument), but to resort to "direct action," a term that means little more than violence. Such ideas and "direct action" only proceed from thoughtlessness, want of reflection and profound disrespect for the rights of others.

Yet it is precisely thoughtlessness, want of reflection and a profound disrespect for the rights of others that seems to define much of our era. It is saddening to see on TV the many protestors who are obviously college-aged. Its disheartening to know that while there are a host of voices on their campuses that encourage them in their irrationality, there are only a few voices that speak up with an alternative. If the freedom and prosperity made possible by capitalism is to be sustained and advanced, this needs to change and soon.


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