I ended our last post by advocating for capitalism, flaws and all. Three years ago, I would never have imagined myself doing so. I was All. In. on universal basic income (which I'm placing bets will be rolled out with the rapidly incoming central bank digital currencies AKA programmable money), Housing First (which usually leads to Housing Lost), Harm Reduction (which is more like Harm Outsourced to The Community - and I live/worked in social work in Seattle, the open-air drug den capital of the United States, so I speak from extensive and heartbreaking experience), and more Radical Left goodies.
I was totally out on capitalism because of how "unfair" it was: and by "unfair," I meant inequitable. It not only didn't guarantee the same outcome for everyone, it wasn't even sorry about it! It heartlessly pitted people against each other to compete for basic (and "scarce") resources while enabling the "privileged" few to get to the top. The people that claimed that "anyone" could make it if they just tried hard enough were blind to how many ways capitalism amputated meritocracy at the hip, how many structures served as barriers for so many people, how oppressed everyone (but some certainly more than others, of course) was by The Man.
And then, three years ago, I woke up, surprised as everyone who knew me as the entrenched, constantly angry Radical Leftist (but I repeat myself) that I was. More accurately, I got woken up by the sound of standards crashing down all around me: academic, athletic, professional-performance related, creativity and the arts, public-infrastructure maintenance, cleanliness, actual safety of public areas, the list goes on. It started with anger at the injustice of me having to take all these standardized tests to get into college and the people coming after me didn't (and they're getting their indoctrination paid for now). And it has led to the realization that this "leveling of the playing" field that The Left is calling for is actually a lowering of the standard of living for everyone so that "the marginalized"/the people allegedly left out of the system, which the Left name as (often in this order): POC, trans folk, members of the LGB+ , fat people, disabled people (maybe, if they get mentioned at all) no longer feel excluded. Apparently, lowering standards so marginalized people can feel included isn't racist, trans- or homophobic, fatphobic, or ableist, but advocating for equal opportunity (not to mention health, excellence and rigor) are.
Lowering standards will not produce equity or eradicate inequality. All it will do is lower the standard of living for everyone. It's not because the Left is wrong about the painful reality of inequality. It's that inequality, as Jordan Peterson says, cannot be eradicated. This is not to say that we should accept situations that can be changed or that we should give up on improving as many lives as we can...but that's just it. In the last 15 years, the West has lifted something like a billion people out of poverty...because of capitalism. Not some imaginary socialist utopia that is, as far as everything in history has shown us, a contradiction in terms. Capitalism, which is not a perfect system, either, and has certainly enabled some ugly behaviors. But, given that the world we have does contain a perfect system or allow for the total abolition of all inequalities and the attempt to do so will destroy our ability to help and empower the very people the Left claims to care about, it's our best option. Especially if we want to care about the poor/marginalized. We'll turn there in our next post.