I consider myself a conservative Republican; I am in fact a Bush administration appointee, in a small-potatoes way. (I’m on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts, and was confirmed by Congress.) But capitalism strikes me as the spoiled brat of the political and philosophical universe.
I strongly agree with Jaron: people don’t need to declare their loyalty to capitalism every time they open their mouths. Everyone knows about capitalism’s successes; we need to spare a little attention for its failures too. The US university is one big one. Everyone knows that elite US universities occupy the wacko left of the ideological spectrum. Because they run the ed schools, they’ve gradually turned the public schools into wacko-left institutions also, where children learn every day about all the awful things (aand none of the good ones)the US, western civilization, amd white men in general have foisted off on the world.
Why does it work this way? In part because humanities and social science professors are paid approximately nothing. They’ve always earned less than their accountants, but nowadays I’ll bet they make an order of magnitude less. (Science profs are underpaid too, but at least we have consulting opportunities, etc.) Why shouldn’t U.S. humanities professors hate this country and hate capitalism when their mediocre-ist students routinely get rich while their professors can’t even pay their damned bills? Do we really think this is a clever way to run a country—to pay the people who have maximum influence on the attitudes of young people so little that they’re bound to be resentful and angry? Nowadays, colleges that have managed their portfolios well are swimming in money and are putting up new buildings right and left. How much of that filters down to the faculty? Zero.
And why do we want to be a nation that worships rich people anyway? Conspicuous consumption used to be bad taste. Unfortunately taste has been abolished. And students have never been so obsessed with money, and so indifferent to spiritual things. It’s not the tech industry’s fault. But the next time a multi-billionaire tech bigshot tells me how wonderful capitalism is, I’m going to throw up. Obviously they think it’s wonderful. But there’s more to life. Jaron is one of the few top technologists I know who makes an attempt to speak about the “more.”