Conservatism and Capitalism

keep-calm-and-follow-the-rules-14Yeah, I know I’ve talked about this before but I think it’s important.  I only bring it up because, this site is linked through my sig on several forums and someone came over here, read what I’ve written on capitalism, especially the posts I made a while back about people selling animals on Craigslist, then sent me a private message there asking how I can possibly justify being a conservative and getting upset at people who are “just being good capitalists”.

That’s a valid question.  Here’s my answer:

Capitalism, like anything else, is inherently limited.  It’s like rights.  No right, anywhere, is entirely unlimited.  You have the right to free speech, that doesn’t mean you can scream FIRE! in a crowded theater, it doesn’t mean you can slander people or defraud them or anything like that.  Your right to speak freely doesn’t rid you of the responsibility for what you say.

The same is true of capitalism.  I have no problem with people selling animals.  I’ve been an animal breeder in the past, certainly I think that responsibly breeding animals and selling them is a fine thing to do.  That, however, is not what’s happening on Craigslist.  Craigslist has a rule that you cannot sell animals, period.  Take it or leave it.  Craigslist is a private site, they can make whatever rules they want and people who use the site have two options.  Follow the rules or take a hike.  Capitalism, like free speech, doesn’t guarantee you a forum to carry on your business.  Take it elsewhere.

Pretty much the only people out there who push pure capitalism without limits are the ultra-extreme libertarian lunatics.  Everyone else acknowledges that capitalism without limits is untenable.  There has to be regulation, if for nothing else than to provide a relatively level playing field.  We can’t have companies producing toxic food, for instance, or outright lying to the public, or buying up all the competition so they have a complete monopoly and the public has no choice but to buy from them.  There are always limits, there are always regulations.

That doesn’t stop people from whining about it though, which is the one part I always find funny.  On the Craigslist forums, especially the Flag Help forum, you always have people who show up, ask why they were flagged and when they are told, they sit there and argue about it!  Very rarely do they ever say “oh, I did something wrong, I’ll fix it and try again”, they want to yell and scream that they ought to be able to break the rules because they’re special.  Or the ever-popular “I’ve seen other people do it, I ought to be able to do it too!”  It’s very clear on the site that you cannot sell animals, yet they ignore it because it gets in the way of what they want to do.  Screw the rules!  They’re inconvenient!

I’m sorry, but even more important than being able to be a capitalist, in places which allow it, is the maturity to follow the established rules and accept that you’re doing something wrong when it’s pointed out to you that you are.  Unfortunately, far too many people simply don’t want to do that.  They want to scream about it and get their way.

So no, I have never once said that the people who have animals to sell should not be able to sell them, I said that they were not free to sell them on a private site with established rules against doing so.  There are plenty of places out there where selling pets is entirely legitimate and permitted by the rules.  Take it to Kijiji, eBay’s classifieds, where you can sell to your heart’s content.  Oh sure, you have to pay a fee to get listed, but nobody ever said that anyone owed you free advertising, did they?  It’s a part of doing business.  Don’t like it?  Be responsible and don’t breed unwanted animals.

It really can’t be that hard to understand, can it?

2 thoughts on “Conservatism and Capitalism”

  1. This is why I refer to myself as a libertarian with a small "L".
    It's commonplace to find folks who argue for unfettered capitalism at the micro level, but shriek and bitch in the next breath about how bloated monopolies are sticking it to them. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
    The number of people who have no understanding of how the world works never ceases to amaze me.

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