Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Which is More Materialistic: Capitalism or its Alternatives?

Posted by Tony Listi on May 15, 2008

Marxism is specifically atheistic. By denying the supernatural, transcendent, and spiritual aspects of reality, it is inherently materialistic and deterministic. The world is atoms, their random motions, and absolutely nothing else. Marxism seeks to satisfy material needs and desires regardless of the moral consequences (because morality, a transcendent thing, doesn’t exist). Communism, socialism, and welfare statism are merely derivatives of this Marxist theory.

Capitalism inherently believes that all human beings have free will and should be free to exercise that freedom without coercion from others in economic matters. Now the very idea of free will and freedom presupposes the divine, the supernatural. Freedom presupposes something more than a mere mass of atoms and random chance. It presupposes something more than the material world. It presupposes something (or someone) that can actually choose, i.e. the soul, and thus presupposes a Soul-Maker too. Thus capitalism presupposes the transcendent and spiritual and thus is less materialistic than any of its alternatives.

There is a distinction between materialism and productive use of the Creation. But of course, if you are an atheist, this distinction necessarily has no meaning for you.

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8 Responses to “Which is More Materialistic: Capitalism or its Alternatives?”

  1. Robert said

    It’s as if you never heard of Ayn Rand.

  2. foospro86 said

    I have definitely heard of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged. I’ve just never read much of her work.

    Of course, she was an atheist, I believe. So I’m not sure she would actually like or agree with the post.

  3. Robert said

    And that’s the very point. Ayn Rand developed a defense of capitalism without any presupposition of the supernatural, which destroys your argument. You need to demonstrate the flaws in Rand’s logical arguments for your argument to even begin to have plausibility.

  4. foospro86 said

    I’m not sure how Ayn Rand’s defense of capitalism “destroys [my] argument,” but feel free to explain. If my argument has nothing to say to her and her acolytes, so be it. But it should have something to say to people who consider themselves religious or spiritual in some way.

    But moreover, the aim of this post was not a wholesale defense of capitalism. Please don’t accuse me of failing to achieve something I never set out to do. My object was much narrower: defend capitalism from the claim that it is materialistic and that its alternatives are somehow less materialistic. My target is people who think “materialistic” actually has a negative connotation. Of course, atheists of all stripes (liberal or libertarian) believe that the material world is all there is and thus must think it silly to brand someone or something as “materialistic,” as if it were a bad thing.

  5. Robert said

    Foospro86, you wrote originally,

    Now the very idea of free will and freedom presupposes the divine, the supernatural. Freedom presupposes something more than a mere mass of atoms and random chance.

    Free will and freedom don’t presuppose the supernatural, as Rand showed. That’s where your argument is destroyed.

  6. foospro86 said

    If you would be so kind and generous, please present Rand’s actual argument in a nutshell (at least).

    Frankly, I don’t see how one could conceive of the coexistence of freedom/free will and strict materialism/naturalism. If there is nothing but the material world, then everything has a material cause. That would mean freedom is a sham, merely the product of the random motion of atoms in one’s brain. Freedom would be reduced to meaningless physics and biochemistry. Freedom would have no intentionality and thus wouldn’t exist.

    In fact, there is no Truth or Reason without the transcendent:
    C.S. Lewis writes in Miracles:
    “Thus a strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by Professor Haldane: ‘If my mental processes are determined wholly by the [random, uncontrolled] motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.’ (Possible Worlds, p.209)”

  7. Soar said

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Soar.

  8. alfiesaden said

    hello – is it just me !! can any one explain why when i type in the yahoo browser “conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com” i get a different site yet whe i type it in google its ok? could this be a bug in my system or is any one else having same probs ?
    alfie saden

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