December 21, 2011 by galudwig
Cato the Younger from politicalreader.org makes some interesting observations on Gingrich, electoral incrementalism, child labour and capitalism and democracy.
Suffice to say that I disagree with the general idea of his post, which seems to be that children should be prohibited from doing any work at all, and should in fact be forced to go to school, not by their parents, but by some law that says so. As I replied in a comment on his post, I don’t see why we, as members of a society, should be so arrogant as to use our majority opinion to stuff our ideas of what is right for a child and what isn’t down kids’ throats. If a kid wants to look for a job doing manual labour, and its parents don’t object (as I can see the point of children not being able to choose for themselves entirely) and the hiring company actually wants to employ it, then there should exist no law that makes this illegal.
Now, to be honest, I don’t know what exactly Gingrich’s comments or the bill Cato refers to in his post entail, but if they aim to relax labour laws, then I cannot but cheer it on.
In his last paragraph however, Cato the Younger claims that
capitalism and democracy are no longer compatible if they ever were
Depending on what one’s definition of capitalism and democracy is, this can be both obviously true and obviously untrue. First of all, it is obvious that today, there is not a single country in the world where private property is respected in the way that would befit a true free society with a free market and therefore, capitalism has already been subverted by government regulations and interference to an extremely high degree. Secondly, if democracy is taken to mean that the majority of the population has the right to decide anything they want no matter the consequences on individual rights, then I want nothing to do with it.
Laissez-faire capitalism means the absence of governmental interference and/or coercion in the free exchange and cooperation of individuals and the pursuit of liberty as a principle. Democracy is a means of organising society, but cannot be an end in itself. Pure democracy is simply mob rule, the dictatorship of the majority. With these definitions, pure democracy and pure capitalism are not compatible and we should reject the former and embrace the latter.