It's a satire video, clearly aimed at the Tea Party. Only satire works a whole lot better when it is making fun of real people, not a fictional fantasy group of people that you have projected onto another.
It starts out with people at the beach, who discover signs that say it is a Public Beach, and then they ask, "Isn't that -- SOCIALISM?"
No, it isn't, and this Tea Partier doesn't know anybody who would say it is. So it pretty much misses the mark as far as real people, but I suppose it's spot on to the fictional group of people the media has made us out to be.
It goes on to ridicule these fictional people who don't believe in any environmental regulations or public property such as parks or beaches. Ha ha. (it defends itself by noting that some Capital "L" Libertarians have talked basic anarchism up for quite some time. But the Tea Party and sympathizers Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent ... aren't such Libertarians and their images were used in the video.)
Now this guy is not a leftist. He used to be a hard core Libertarian, and maybe he assumes I am because I use it with a lower "l" as an adjective to describe myself .... a libertarian conservative. But he quit work many years back and went to college, only to never be gainfully employed again save a part-time job here and a part time job there, and has been hanging out with Intellectuals™ feeling awfully smart. I think it's got something to do with compensating for low self-esteem, flailing around for something to be superior about.
He's latched on to Catholic Social doctrine that developed out of Leo XII's Rerum Novarum, and does not see our Founders' vision and the Constitution as compatible with it. At one point he said he sees "nothing good" about what our Founders built.
I fired back that this was a misrepresentation of most Tea Partiers position -- that it was ignorant or dishonest. He replied that it must be true because it obviously "hit home" and irritated me. Well, you know it "hit home" the way someone accusing an innocent person of, say, robbery -- would "hit home".
The subject line on his reply was a tip-off. It was simply, "Polemic".
People who use words like "polemic" in every-day conversations are trying to prove something to themselves and to those they are talking to. Nobody uses "polemic" outside of academics speakin' the lingo. And I do think he was way too impressed by the academics he's been hanging around. It goes along with words like "heteronormative", "hegemony", and "reify".
And as Severian put it, there's a certain hyper-specificity (ok, now am I being a hypocrite here? ;-) Nah. Everyone knows what "hyper" and "specific" mean) to his argument, in that he had to insert a definition of capitalism into the email so that it was clear what he was talking about.
Capitalism: an economic system that prioritizes property over persons, recognizes no limits on the accumulation of property, rewards accumulation of token wealth, presumes that the only criterion for judging the justice of a contract is the absence of fraud, presumes that every individual is free to reject any contract offered, and that the common good is advanced by this.Well is that, down to the last dotted "i" what you mean when you talk about "capitalism"? Because if it isn't, there's no point in arguing with him. But it's a bit of a red herring anyway, because capitalism isn't a morals system or even a cultural blueprint. Nobody "designed" capitalism and imposed it on us. It is natural human behavior. It was observed and described. And if you're looking to it for moral guidance, you're looking in the wrong place.
In his email he also said that the Constitution is horribly incomplete. Of course, when you design in an amendment process that is a de-facto recognition that it might be incomplete. But more importantly, it really wasn't designed to be a morals system, either. If you are looking to the Federal Government for moral guidance, you're looking in the wrong place. That's not what it's for. If you're looking for your house to feed your kids, you're looking in the wrong place. That's not what it's for.
It was written to unite the several states, to guarantee certain rights, put the power in the hands of The People, and to restrict the Federal Government so that it would be difficult to abuse, because the Founders' recognized the imperfection of humans, including and perhaps especially their own.
Capitalism is what it is. It is not a belief system or a political system like socialism or communism or fascism. It's just human nature. The Founders put a few curbs on it to outlaw fraud, and otherwise treats us as big boys -- to be self-reliant and teach our children to be the same.
As a matter of fact, (and I should put this somewhere more prominent) I think that pretty much sums up my beliefs on what makes for a good person and thus good social rules for living.
Self-reliance, personal responsibility, empathy, charity, and a recognition of the weaknesses inherent in the human condition. Christianity calls this "sin". Christ himself said even the just man sins seven times daily.
This last bit is important for several reasons. If we don't expect people to be self-reliant and personally responsible, blanket charity becomes a crutch and a hinderance. If we don't help people when they truly can't make it for whatever reason, it makes us a cold society. But if we can't decide for ourselves, each and every individual one of us, when to give and when to stop -- when it has become counter-productive, we encourage this crutch and encourage larger swaths of society to be dependent on them -- and everyone is the poorer for it.
This is why government ideally has no place in the charity business. But that does not mean that we don't have a place in it. When you look to government for it, you're looking in the wrong place.