Good afternoon, fellow Capitalists. My name is Jim Keena. I’m an author, a patriot, and a radical for Capitalism. I’m so passionate about Capitalism that I wrote a book. My novel, Insurrection Resurrection, is a resounding celebration of capitalism and freedom. It’s a dark satire that features a resurrected Thomas Jefferson leading a radical reformation of modern American government, consistent with the principles this nation was founded on. The novel also satirizes religious fanaticism and intolerance, which is particularly relevant today, given the events of 9/11.
Today, we celebrate Capitalism, which has been a spectacular success wherever it has been allowed to flourish. I can spout statistics to prove the stunning ability of Capitalism to generate abundance and improve humanity’s standard of living around the globe. But I’ll let others do that, because I believe the productivity of Capitalism is so obvious that it’s not worth wasting time here to affirm it. There are more important things to talk about than statistics.
When we celebrate Capitalism, what is it that we’re really honoring? Are we celebrating concepts like price theory, supply and demand, and the profit motive? Perhaps some economists do handstands over these dry principles. I believe most Americans, however, are deeply passionate about the freedom implicit in Capitalism. Capitalism is the economic manifestation of the much larger principal of human liberty. After all, isn’t Capitalism essentially the free movement of labor, the free movement of prices, and the free movement of capital? Capitalism is wonderful in its ability to generate abundance and to efficiently allocate resources, but it cannot exist without the freedom that underlies its market mechanics.
Let’s explore the essential role of political freedom in Capitalism further. America is considered the bastion of world Capitalism, but Thomas Jefferson’s 1776 Declaration of American Independence was not a Capitalist manifesto. In fact, what could be called the Capitalist Manifesto of that time was Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, published in Scotland, also in 1776. Jefferson’s Declaration didn’t set forth new economic theories, but rather defined a much broader set of political principles. These principles–sovereignty of the individual, constitutionally limited government, and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—were the universal prerequisites that Adam Smith’s Capitalism needed to flourish. The Capitalist splendor of America is a direct result of the political principles that this nation was founded on.
So when we celebrate Capitalism, we honor the political principles that make America great, because they are inseparable. But I believe we are honoring something deeper, too. Today, we are honoring a moral code that is unequaled in its scope and clarity. When we celebrate Capitalism, we are also paying homage to the moral principles that every person has the right to their own life, and that all interactions between people must be voluntary. Any other alternative to these profound moral principles will inevitably yield slavery and organized oppression, even if the alternatives are superficially altruistic movements like socialism. When the world loses sight of the exacting moral principles of freedom of choice and individual sovereignty, we get corrupt governments, abusive tyrants, brutal communist regimes, and barbaric concentration camps.
There is something even deeper that we venerate when we celebrate Capitalism. Thomas Jefferson turned the world upside down when he proposed separating Church from State. In the grand context of history, this was an intellectual revolution more stunning than the political and military revolution against Britain, because all previous power structures relied upon religious intolerance as a freedom-stifling crutch. Jefferson knew that free men require free minds, untainted by mysticism and unbounded by dogma.
Recent events are gut wrenching reminders. The Muslim extremists who murdered five thousand of our fellow Americans on September 11th did so because of mysticism and intolerant religious dogma. Their minds were not free. Osama bin Laden and the World Islamic Front declared a Jihad against Jews and Crusaders in 1998. By heeding this allegedly divine call, extremists in 2001 surrendered their rational minds and enslaved themselves to an irrational, barbaric strain of Islam. When mysticism supplants reason, Islamic zealots murder Americans, Nazis incinerate Jews, and Communists starve proletarian peasants by the millions.
The tragedy of September 11th makes the interconnection of reason, morality, freedom, and Capitalism startlingly clear. The right to life is not sacred in an irrational world consumed by mysticism, where gods can apparently order massacres, and zealots can apparently gain eternal salvation by murdering women and children. If the right to life is not a moral absolute, then political freedom is impossible. If you do not own and control your own life, you are not free. Without political freedom, we become slaves chained to each other and our governments. When that happens, Capitalism becomes impossible, because it is simply the free movement of labor, capital, and prices, with private property and the rule of law as the guarantors of this economic freedom.
America’s war on terrorism is a microcosm of a bigger war that has gone on for thousands of years. It is bigger than a battle for Capitalism. It is a battle for human minds. This battle has raged throughout all of human history. It is a battle of reason versus mysticism. It is a battle of sovereign individuals versus gods and kings. It is a battle of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, versus governments that have stepped beyond the bounds of protecting us. If reason wins, if sovereign individuals win, and if life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness prevail, then Capitalism is the economic system that will flourish forever. But if mysticism suffocates our minds, if gods and kings use us as pawns, and if governments become an end in themselves, then there will be no such thing as Capitalism, and there will be no safe place in the world for those of us celebrating here today.
The wonderful news today, though, is that we are winning this war, slowly but surely. Jefferson’s Declaration and the subsequent rise of America was a political, moral, and intellectual triumph. In the past two centuries, tyrants have fallen around the globe and the seeds of liberty and free markets have been planted. Communism has been unmasked as an immoral, bankrupt, and brutal failure. Capitalism is slowly coming to life in Russia and even China. People are discovering the power of freedom and the integrity of America’s founding political principles.
The battle is far from over, though. Even in America, there remains much confusion about our identity and our principles. So let us commit ourselves today, with the energy and enthusiasm that we have demonstrated with this Walk for Capitalism, to champion the cause of reason, to defend the vision of political freedom, and ultimately, to lead the charge for world Capitalism. All that is right and just in the universe declares that the future belongs to us!
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