As both a capitalist and an Old Rightist, I was ambivalent about Sam Francis’s article declaring capitalism the enemy (Principalities & Powers, August). There is much truth to his analysis, but his blanket condemnation goes too far.
Small-scale capitalism provides much of die freedom that remains in this country. The entrepreneurial boom of the last decade, and the wealth that has been created, are marvels to behold. What does Dr. Francis propose as an alternative to capitalism?
These caveats aside, Dr. Francis is right about the corruption of contemporary American capitalism. This is not necessarily endemic to capitalism itself, but rather to the mutant, manic “bubble” capitalism of the last five years. The stock-market boom has created much wealth but it has also done much evil.
Without the boom, illegal immigration would be much lower. The rising stock market has financed the growing power of the politically correct element in the country. Without the boom, there would have been no bombers over Serbia: The rising stock market has financed the global world hegemony long sought by the lovers of empire.
American capitalism is going through a stage comparable to that of the 1920’s and 60’s: Enormous gains in wealth accompanied by a sharp decline in the culture. This decline will be arrested the same way it was in the previous two eras—by a stock-market crash. When the bubble bursts, Americans will wake up to the decay that they have tolerated in their Faustian trade for money.
Capitalism is not the problem; it is the financial bubbles that seem to occur two or three times every century. Once the current mania ends, rightists will leave Ayn Rand for Edmund Burke. Making money through capitalism is not evil; making the pursuit of money one’s God is. American culture needs a stock-market crash.
Dr. Francis Replies:
I have no disagreement with the late Blake Joyner about the value of “smallscale capitalism” in sustaining freedom (although I would prefer the term “business” or “enterprise” to “capitalism” in this context). I do disagree that “American culture needs a stock-market crash.”
What American culture needs is an economic system and an economic elite that can consistently work together with the culture, the nation, and the people that make private enterprise possible rather than working to destroy them as contemporary managerial capitalism does.
Mr. Joyner was one whose life exemplified how American business and businessmen should work to protect and preserve both cultural tradition and personal liberty, but I cannot say he was representative of most American business leaders today.